All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, April 21, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
April 21, 2014
Guests: Rory Reid, Michelle Goldberg, Nikki Silvestri, Michael Barbaro,
Tara Dowdell, Tim Carney
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes
starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes, the
standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal government is
not over yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): Bundy still refuses to pay the million dollars in
grazing fees he owes the federal government, and now after an aborted
attempt by the Bureau of Land Management to impound his cattle, Bundy tells
conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones that while he is not looking
for a civil war, he is, quote, "not in a negotiating mood."
CLIVEN BUNDY, RANCHER: We`re not going to negotiate with big government.
We`re not going to negotiate with BLM. We`re only going to back up and
strengthen our county sheriff and hope he does his job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Keep in mind the county sheriff`s job, according to Cliven Bundy,
involves disarming federal agents.
On Friday, I brought to you an interview with Nevada state assembly woman
Michele Fiore, who was attending a celebratory barbecue near the Bundy
ranch and who came on this show to express her solidarity with the Cliven
Bundy family and his armed supporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do you recognize the authority of the federal government?
NEVADA STATE ASSEMBLYWOMAN MICHELE FIORE: Oh, I recognize the authority
that they believe that they have. I just question it. You can`t come here
with guns and expect the American people not to fire back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: While it may not surprise you to hear that kind of talk from a
Nevada state legislator, you probably never heard of until Friday night it
is something of a game changer when the Nevada Republican United States
senator starts to chime in.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. DEAN HELLER (R), NEV.: What Senator Reid may call domestic
terrorists, I call patriots.
HAYES (voice-over): Nevada`s Republican Senator Dean Heller believes the
Bundy ranch supporters are patriots; he is talking about the hundreds of
militia members and states` rights activists who stood with Nevada rancher
Cliven Bundy and against the federal government.
Heller says these men and women are patriots.
So does the website infowars, a paranoid online haven run by Alex Jones.
Jones is the wildly popular conspiracy theorist whose stories often make
their way from his website infowars, where on any day you can find
headlines about vaccines, mass fluoridation and the 9/11 cover-up into the
so-called mainstream GOP establishment.
Alex Jones was a champion of Clive Bundy from the very beginning.
ALEX JONES, RADIO HOST: Because he is saying he`ll do whatever he has to
to not be -- have his grazing rights stolen by these pirates.
HAYES (voice-over): Drudge elevated the story and it made its way onto FOX
Next think you know, so-called mainstream Republicans are calling people
like this patriots.
HELLER: What Senator Reid may call domestic terrorists, I call patriots.
HAYES (voice-over): But the Alex Jonesification of the GOP is much bigger
than the Bundy ranch; take Greg Brannon, tea party Republican candidate for
Senate in North Carolina. He`s running neck-and-neck with establishment
favorite, Tom Tillis for the Republican Senate nomination.
In 2011, he said that a 9/11 truthers question needed to be answered.
GREG BRANNON (R), N.C.: I`m a 9/11 truther. And I had a friend of mine
ask me, or tell me, look on the Internet, Google the Pentagon and show me
where the plane hit the Pentagon.
Where is the plane?
A Democrat and a Republican were the co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission.
And when they got done they didn`t put their stamp of approval on the
commission. They said there`s data that we did not put in there. So
things like this have to be asked.
HAYES (voice-over): Brannon`s flirtation with a 9/11 truther probably
seems fringy to you, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Brannon is a
connoisseur of a wide range of Jones-backed theories from ObamaCare as
socialist plot to vaccines to something called Agenda 21.
BRANNON: This scam of Agenda 21, this scam of humans are poisoning the
Earth, is a scam. They`re using that to control you, to control me, to
control life. That is why ObamaCare, Agenda 21, NDAA, all of these things
are the collective over the individual.
HAYES (voice-over): And you will never guess who has endorsed Brannon`s
bid, someone who is well acquainted with the Right`s favorite conspiracy
theories, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KY: I`m pleased to be here to support a fellow
physician, to support Greg Brannon.
HAYES (voice-over): Rand Paul is also a fan of Alex Jones and he has been
a guest on Jones` radio show over the years. Paul apparently takes his
cues from Jones on fringe obsessions, like Bilderberg, a yearly meeting of
people that Jones believes secretly run the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know anything about the Bilderberg group?
PAUL: Only what I`ve learned from Alex Jones.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know -- for the people that don`t know what is
going on, can you tell people who are the Bilderberg group, if you feel
comfortable doing so?
PAUL: Yes, well, I`m probably not the world`s expert on it, but I think it
is people who get together who are very wealthy people, who I think
manipulate and use government to their own personal advantage.
HAYES (voice-over): For more and more Republicans if you`re not out on the
fringe, you`re not in the party`s mainstream.
HAYES: Joining me now, Rory Reid, former chairman of the Clark County,
Nevada, Commission, 2010 Democratic nominee for governor. He`s the host of
"What`s Your Point?" on KSNB in Las Vegas and is the son of Senator Harry
And Rory, were you surprised by Senator Dean Heller`s comments? What`s
your response to calling them patriots?
RORY REID, FORMER CHAIRMAN, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA, COMMISSION: I was
surprised. I have seen all that stuff on the Internet that you`ve been
describing that`s pretty unbelievable. But to have a U.S. senator say
that, I was disappointed.
I am not questioning that these folks are not devoted to their country; but
they also need to be devoted to the institutions that made our country
great and to the rule of law, which is the hallmark of our country.
HAYES: You spoke about things you`ve seen on the Internet; I want to give
you a "Prison Planet" headline in which you were prominently featured. I
have actually seen discussed in all sorts of corners of the right-wing
media and not just in the most conspiratorial circles, that the reason that
the BLM came for Cliven Bundy`s ranch is so that you could help the Chinese
build a solar plant on that land.
Do you want to respond to that allegation?
REID: It`s ridiculous. That would be a great story if it were true. I
don`t represent anybody, Chinese or otherwise, else who has an interest in
developing anything on that land.
HAYES: And how much do you see the kind of fringe elements that are kind
of stoking the standoff between Cliven Bundy and the government? How much
do you see them gaining traction in Nevada politics where you are?
REID: Well, I think the more often that Michele Fiori is on TV, saying the
things that she says, the less likely that those points of views are going
to be accepted by anyone.
I saw her when she was on your show; I felt sorry for you, having to try to
ask rational questions, and she has been on my show as well and she has
said about the same things. So I think that kind of extremism won`t be
accepted once people see it.
HAYES: Well, that was what was surprising to me about Dean Heller`s
comments, because he`s someone who he won a very, very tight race two years
ago in that election; he is not seen as a Rand Paul kind of figure. He is
not seen as a sort of hero of the Republican right-wing grassroots.
And what I interpreted in that comment is that he understands there is
energy, momentum, passion and power behind this little insurgency around
the Bundy ranch. And it is something that he cannot cross.
REID: I don`t know what he was thinking. He tends to be a reasonable guy.
He supported immigration reform. He supported an extension of unemployment
insurance. Maybe he just had a bad day last Friday. But I think those
were unfortunate comments and anything that is said that gives credence to
those kinds of ideas, I think, is misplaced.
HAYES: What about your father calling the folks there domestic terrorists?
There is a lot of backlash over that. That phraseology for him seemed to
me a bit hyperbolic.
What do you think of that?
REID: Well, if my job was to respond and comment on everything my dad
said, I would have another full-time job, so I will decline that request,
I would say, though, that anybody that looks at that situation would
realize that what those people are doing is simply inappropriate in
America, if you don`t agree with the government you can`t point a gun at it
and threaten it until you get what you want. That is just not what we do
HAYES: You have said that you think Bundy should be prosecuted or the
folks around him should be prosecuted.
What is the next step here?
And does this go away or does this become some kind of enduring rallying
cry or enduring political issue in your state?
REID: I don`t think it can go away. There are hundreds of ranchers in
Nevada that pay their fees, pay their taxes do what they`re supposed to do.
I don`t think the government can let this stand. And there are thousands
of ranchers all over the country that, when they have a problem with the
BLM, they sit down to try to work it out. They don`t call their friends
and threaten people.
HAYES: And so what do you think the next step for the BLM is?
Clearly the way they went about trying to capture the cattle here, ran into
the possibility of some really terrible violence; they smartly backed off.
But the question now I think is whether the rule of law obtained in the
Bundy territory and in regards to that, what do you see as the next step?
REID: Well, I have been just as critical of the BLM; I think they
overreached and I think they should have had a plan to successfully see
this through if they were going to start.
But I will leave this in the hands of law enforcement; I`ve read and
believe that different branches of law enforcement are looking into this.
And I assume that they`re going to do what they`re supposed to do, which is
protect the citizens of Southern Nevada and sustain the law.
HAYES: Rory Reid of Nevada, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
REID: Good to be here.
HAYES: Joining me now, Michelle Goldberg, she`s my colleague at "The
Nation," where she`s senior contributing writer. She`s also author of
"Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism."
I found the moment around the Bundy ranch really interesting because it
hearkens back to so many ways in the kind of mid-`90s militia revival
Right. And what do you think has changed and hasn`t changed since that
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, "THE NATION": Well, and just to be clear, I don`t even
think this is the first time in the Obama era that this kind of militia
movement has -- that we`ve seen an upsurge like this. You saw a lot of
those were on death panels and people showing up at these town hall
meetings and kind of shutting them down.
There were a lot of threats and also a lot of conspiracy theories, ideas
that there was kind of U.N. control that death panels and the like.
And so we`ve seen this before. We tend to see it, unfortunately, in modern
times, basically whenever Democrats are in power. You know, the modern
Republican Party doesn`t see Democratic rule as legitimate.
When the Democrats are in power, Republicans become quite fond of these
right-wing insurgents that used to be kind of beyond the political pale.
HAYES: But the federal government becomes not a legitimate entity when in
the hands of the opposition.
GOLDBERG: Right, exactly. And so all of a sudden the federal government
is tyrannical and is -- yes, illegitimate. And so you saw this a lot in
the `90s with Clinton; there were conspiracies about black helicopters,
there was a lot of kind of playing footsie between the Republican Party and
the militia movement. There was a congresswoman named Helen Chenoweth, who
was almost the congresswoman from the militia movement.
And you saw a lot of -- in the same way that you see Sean Hannity and
people egging them on, you saw the right-hand pundits them egging them on.
What really stopped it was the Oklahoma City bombing, when all of a sudden,
people realized where this sort of thing leads and again, how incredibly
irresponsible it is to throw fuel on the fire of an armed movement whose
dedicated aim is to overthrow the United States government.
HAYES: And I want to make -- I think it is important to make a few
distinctions here when you talk about this -- we`ve seen this kind of
I think what`s been interesting about how we`ve seen the right-wing
backlash play out in the Obama years, particularly in the Tea Party
uprising, was it was through the channels of what we might call normal
politics, right? It was not these armed standoffs.
It was people showing up and screaming at town halls. But that is what
people can do in a free country, as rude as you may find it.
What to me is so worrisome about this particular moment is you have got
people with sniper scopes on their long guns, pointing them at federal
officials. And thank God there was a wise choice made by the BLM to walk
away from this so that we didn`t have some horrible conflagration.
GOLDBERG: Although I think we haven`t had one, I`m not sure we won`t have
one. I think you`re absolutely right, that they pulled back and it`s good
that cooler heads prevailed.
But right now if you look at any of the far right websites, the movement is
absolutely jubilant and believes that it has shown that if you stand up to
the jack-booted federal thugs with Second Amendment remedies that you can
And so once they`ve kind of -- you know, after a test case I think it would
be very unlikely that you don`t see other people trying the same thing.
HAYES: I will say this, the people who believe in the Second Amendment as
the individual right to bear arms, constitutional protected by the Second
Amendment for individuals, the ideological core of that belief is precisely
for those moments, right? The Bundy ranch is the test case of why a
certain kind of person thinks it is important to have the right to bear
arms. And what -- and where it leads to is you should have the right to
bear arms so that your arms when the government comes and the government
can`t push you around, which is not, I think, a belief that a lot of
Americans share but is actually the ideological core of the folks who are
pushing this kind of --
GOLDBERG: Well, yes, I think that a lot of Americans imagine that, you
know, when you talk about the Second Amendment you`re talking about
defending yourself from criminals.
But there is this whole substrata of ideology that basically says that the
local and the state level and the individual have authority over the
federal government who is always trying to encroach, who is always trying
to exercise tyranny, and, yes, that it is your sovereign right to fight
This ideology of Cliven Bundy goes way, way back, the whole idea that the
highest authority rests with the local sheriff.
GOLDBERG: -- over and over again. This is an old far right idea, that
you`ve seen from time to time groups of freemen refusing to pay their
taxes, refusing to obey all sorts of federal laws, saying that they`re only
going to answer to the sheriff.
HAYES: And what you have in the person of Rand Paul through this Alex
Jones-Drudge-FOX News-Rand Paul access, is you have a way of these ideas
moving quite to the center of the Republican Party.
GOLDBERG: So you said what is different, right? We had congressmen who
flirted with this sort of thing before, we never had somebody who was seen
as a presidential frontrunner who more or less endorsed this sort of thing.
HAYES: Saying I have learned everything I know about the (INAUDIBLE)
conspiracy from listening to Alex Jones on tape.
GOLDBERG: Right, I mean, this is astonishing. I feel like you kind of
have seen Alex Jonesish ideas filtering into the Republican Party for a
long time. He did -- he cohosted a show -- one show with Judge Napolitano,
the FOX News guy.
You have seen them kind of edging up to him. But the idea that, yes, he is
a authority figure for a major Republican politician talking about what he
knows about the world, that is new.
HAYES: Michelle Goldberg and her books is "Kingdom Coming." Thanks so
HAYES: Coming up, the sum of what the federal government did at the Bundy
ranch was bigger than just the Bundy ranch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUNDY: They can control an army (INAUDIBLE) literally with sniper rifles.
Who the hell is the man behind that trigger? I want to know. Which one of
us is he going to shoot? Good god, didn`t he grow up in this country? Are
we going to give it up?
OK, this is a hell of a lot bigger than Cliven Bundy, all right? They get
done, they`re setting a precedent, you guys. A precedent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Exactly what would have happened if other people had taken the
Bundy ranch folks` example in resisting the law? We`ll consider that next.
HAYES: Coming up, January 8th was the best day ever for Jeb Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS HOST: A scandal has now erupted around the
governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, a man a lot of Republicans regard
as a consensus candidate for the party`s nomination in 2016. E-mails have
been released showing the traffic backup was the work apparently of members
of Christie`s staff.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two weeks before the monster traffic jam, Christie`s
deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, e-mailed the transportation
official, David Wildstein. "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is how Jeb Bush`s name got tossed into the ring of 2016, but
he is far from the perfect candidate. I will tell you why ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not saying I agree with Cliven Bundy. What I`m
saying is the way this was handled is really suspicious. When in the heck
do we send the federal government with arms to collect a bill? When do we
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, people who break or are suspected of breaking the law find
themselves staring at armed law enforcement officials every single day in
the country. But the better question is I think when is it that people
take up arms against the federal or state government, point their weapons
at federal agents, and face no consequence for it?
The answer to that is hardly ever. Watching the Bundy situation unfold, I
couldn`t help but think back to this scene from the documentary "Let the
Fire Burn". In 1985 an armed left-wing separatist group in Philadelphia
called MOVE had bunkered themselves inside a row house. Police didn`t back
down, there was a standoff, a firefight, and eventually a bomb was dropped
on the house which killed 11 people, including five children.
Needless to say, the right wing media of the time weren`t exactly rushing
to MOVE`s defense. Today, imagine how Fox would react to, say, I don`t
know, the New Black Panthers, a tiny group the network gave huge amount of
air time to in 2012, imagine if they decided to greet law enforcement with
long guns. Or here`s a thought experiment for those who are aghast at the
Bureau of Land Management`s actions at the Bundy ranch and ecstatic that a
crowd bearing guns were able to ward them off. If the people of Occupy
Wall Street were holding rifles and sniper scopes instead of drums and
handmade signs, do you think Fox News would have called them patriots for
resisting tyranny? Do you think for one second that the state would have
just let them hang out in lower Manhattan for weeks?
Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst and Georgetown university professor
Michael Eric Dyson. And, Michael, that is the thing that`s so striking
about this, is any other context, this kind of armed resistance to law
enforcement would be met with absolute horror, condemnation, and probably a
whole lot of state violence if it weren`t this situation.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You are absolutely right.
They would not be handing out pizza; they would not be handing out
plaudits; they would be having a great deal of consternation because they
would see this as a fundamental offense to the rule of government and the
government`s respect in the eyes of the people.
But now we baptize these people on the Bundy ranch, not Al but Clive Bundy,
as patriots. And yet when we think about the resistance in this country,
even armed resistance, against what people perceived to be injustice, they
were roundly criticized.
Think about Robert Williams in Monroe, North Carolina, a black man who
during the height of the civil rights movement, the late `50s and early
`60s, was the head of the NAACP. He argued that black people should take
up and did, machine guns, Molotov cocktails and dynamite to protect
themselves and finally had to seek exile in Cuba. This man was not roundly
celebrated as a person taking up arms against a government that refused to
protect its own people, he was seen as a domestic terrorist.
And yet when race changes, when generation changes, when young white kids
who are defending themselves in the name of their appeal patriotic virtue
are put forth, they are not seen as the carriers of our tremendously
edifying tradition of American self-defense even, especially in light of
the Second Amendment.
HAYES: So you`re saying -- Jamal Buoy wrote this piece. He said, "What if
Bundy ranch were owned by a bunch of black people?: You`re saying that
race colors the perception of whether this is a virtuous defense of liberty
or some kind of horrible assault on the order of the state?
DYSON: Absolutely. Look, when people have guns who we think should not
have guns, our sense of the social order is dramatically changed. Think
about the big brouhaha occasioned by Thelma and Louise. Here are two women
who took up a few guns and had, if you will, a kind of revelry, and of
course ultimate potential suicide, but there was more violence in first
five minutes of "Lethal Weapon I" than in that entire movie. But because
women, who are the ordinary victims of gun play, are now the agents of gun
play, this is seen as toppling the social order. And when race and gender
and class and generation get involved, it begins to change our perception
of who legitimately has a gun.
HAYES: OK, but does this not cut both ways for liberals, like yourself and
me? In that if we see no-knock raids that happen, if we see the
architecture of stop and frisk, if we see all sorts of ways that law
enforcement, the force of it, is brought to bear on people, particularly
people of color, right? And then we see the Bureau of Land Management
going in in what many believe was a heavy-handed or mishandled way, we see
the horrible thing that went down in Waco or Ruby Ridge. Isn`t it cut for
both ways for us liberals to say, well, thank god they did step down?
Like, we`re not going to be sitting here and root on some horrible violent
clash. And I think that`s been gotten lost in this. Like, I praise
whoever had the wisdom in this entire thing to have cooler heads prevail
and not risk a loss of life or bloodshed over a few cows.
DYSON: Of course. We should celebrate that. But what we should do is
apply that to other situations. Would that we would get the same benefit
of the doubt that these people on that ranch get. What about our children
who are not even in any obvious way trying to subvert the rule of law?
What about people who are going about their ordinary business who don`t get
the benefit of the doubt?
Racial profiling is the refusal to be given the benefit of the doubt. Stop
and frisk is the inability to recognize that these are citizens and
patriots. So all I`m asking for is to give the same consideration that was
given to the Bundy ranch to the masses of Americans in this society.
HAYES: I thought about this piece that Howard Bailey, who is a guy who was
deported. He is a veteran; he served in the first, in Desert Storm,
Jamaican immigrant. He got deported over a non-violent drug offense. He
wrote up for Politico what happened, and he talks about when they came in
to deport him. He said officers had guns drawn, pushed their way into my
living room. I think there were seven or eight officers. His child was
there. And I thought, yes, this kind of thing happens in America every
day. Fox News, if you`re up in arms about this, how about widening the
aperture of the kind of tyranny that you see all around you?
DYSON: Absolutely right, but they can`t shine a bright spotlight on that
because it would contradict their fundamental commitment to the belief that
there`s a black and white divide here, that people are on one side who are
liberal, who are horrible, and people who are conservative, therefore are
deserving of state support. My god, if you`re going to be concerned about
deportation, bring Slick Rick back and allow him to rap some more.
HAYES: MSNBC political analyst, Michael Eric Dyson, working in Thelma &
Louise and Slick Rick for those scoring at home. Thanks a lot.
DYSON: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, why I talk to people like this on my show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER STEFANO, AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY: Spare me that this is a
HAYES: No, no, tell me about it.
STEFANO: So number one, it`s not.
HAYES: No, no, I want to hear what you say.
STEFANO: Number two, let me finish your question.
HAYES: Jennifer, I want to hear what you believe? Do you believe in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For any cynics out there, it`s not why you may think. That`s next.
HAYES: A lot of people reacted to the interview we did on Friday with
Nevada Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who is sympathetic to ranch
owner Cliven Bundy.
Reactions to the interview tended to run long two lines. A bunch of
conservatives joyously celebrated how I was owned by this woman, that she
stood up for the defenders of liberty, while some liberals bemoaned us
giving a platform or legitimizing her.
So, I just want to say, for the record, why I talked to Assemblywoman Fiore
and why routinely on this how I talk to people from the other side, whether
that is Jennifer Stefano for Americans For Prosperity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEFANO: You don`t know what I did, and how dare you, like Harry Reid, try
to undercut the voice of a woman simply because she disagrees with you?
Now, you may not like where I`m coming from on public policy, but you have
no right to undercut my voice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Or former Deputy Defense Secretary and one of the architects of the
Iraq war, Paul Wolfowitz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: To mock the idea of
taking threatening rhetoric seriously is a liberal mistake, if you like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I think people know where I stand on these issues.
And in those interviews, when someone disagrees with me, they know I don`t
agree with them. But you know what? This is a big country with a lot of
political conflict in it, in case you have not noticed.
And politics is about having those arguments, not just talking to yourself,
not just hearing what you want to hear, but actually learning by listening
to what the other side is saying, not that they`re necessarily right, not
being instantly persuaded or letting them go unchallenged. But it is
important to understand how they`re thinking about the issue, how they see
It is not a wrestling match or a high school debate you need to win in the
moment. And the point is not to bring someone on to thoroughly humiliate
them on national television. No, the point is this. These folks, like
Assemblywoman Fiore, are people we share this country with. I want to hear
And I think I have a better understanding of American politics because of
it. So we`re going to keep doing that.
And you, please, keep sending us your feedback.
HAYES: Last week, we brought you the story of Republicans and some
Democrats in Oklahoma voting to tax solar power by way of a bill allowing
utility companies to charge a monthly fee for residential solar power
But that is just one small example of a far broader attempt to kill solar
power. Today, a great piece in "The L.A. Times" pulls back the curtain on
the staggering breadth of this effort.
The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the
nation`s largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to
roll back state policies that favor green energy, policies that requires
utility companies to achieve a certain share of its power from renewable
sources and a net metering system which allows residential solar power
users to sell their unused power back to the utility company.
These are the very policies under attack by right-wing groups. According
to "The L.A. Times," ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council,
recently drafted model legislation that targeted net metering.
Of course, conservatives have had a longstanding animus towards solar
power. The Reagan administration gutted the research and development
budgets for renewable energy at the Department of Energy and actually had
32 solar panels that had been installed in the White House during the
Carter administration dismantled.
Then there was one of the right`s favorite targets, the Solyndra debacle,
which was recycled for an last year in Arizona by the conservative group 60
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: We have seen this before.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The true engine of economic
growth will always be companies like Solyndra.
NARRATOR: Connected companies getting corporate welfare. Now California`s
new Solyndras, Sunrun and SolarCity, are getting rich off hardworking
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Again, that ad was part of a broader effort in Arizona.
According to "The L.A. Times," a major utility and a tangle of secret
donors and operatives ties to ALEC and the Kochs invested millions to
persuade state regulators to impose a monthly fee of $50 to $100 on net
metering customers. Ultimately, a monthly fee of about $5 was imposed.
There is a reason for all this ideological animus. Solar energy is the
single biggest threat to the fossil fuel industry in this country.
According to a recent report by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company,
cost reductions will soon put solar -- quote -- "within striking distance"
in economic terms of new construction for traditional power generation
technologies such as coal, natural gas and nuclear energy.
So if you`re, oh, I don`t know, the Koch brothers, and you have got a lot
of money in fossil fuels, well, you have got reason to be nervous.
We ask Koch industries to claims made in the "L.A. Times" piece, but have
not received a reply.
Instead, joining me now, Nikki Silvestri, executive director of Green for
All, an organization focused on building a green economy that lifts people
out of power.
And here is my favorite thing about the attack on solar from the fossil
fuel industry and from conservatives is, they say well, all of this is
subsidiaries, and we need to let the free market decide. There is more
ridiculously socialistic command and control than the current utility
You have no choice. You don`t get to pick where your power comes from.
The entire thing is the most command and control, centrally planned thing
that we have in our entire economy.
NIKKI SILVESTRI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREEN FOR ALL: That is absolutely
And, you know, we really have to sit and think about, what are we talking
about? What is the argument? Solar is good for all. It creates jobs and
it is healthy for us. And right now, there is a monopoly when it comes to
power companies. We don`t really have a choice. But now that solar is
starting to become competitive, there`s starting to be arguments against
it, is really what we`re seeing.
HAYES: And the other part of this, of course, is all of this talk leaves
out the biggest elephant in the room, which is climate change, which is
that solar power is zero emissions.
And all these companies -- and the Koch brothers have money invested in
fossil fuels, Exxon and whoever else that have money, they are polluting
for free. They are not paying for that pollution right now. And, so, yes,
if you don`t charge them for the pollution then it has got a pretty good
cost profile on it.
SILVESTRI: That is absolutely true.
And it also leads you to ask the question, what are you actually arguing
against? One of the biggest issues when it comes to climate change and one
of the biggest attacks from the right is you can`t have both solutions that
are good for the environment and good for the economy at the same time.
But then you look at something like solar, we`re in desperate need of jobs
right now and the solar industry was growing 10 times faster than other
sectors in the economy. If you want an argument about a win-win solution,
you have got solar.
HAYES: And that is I think part of why it is such a threat.
Is there a political constituency? As I read about this article -- and I
have been talking to folks on the front lines of these fights. Is there a
political constituency on the other side? Who is going to the capital in
Arizona or Maine or Oklahoma to fight against this kind of rear-guard
action by the fossil fuel industry?
SILVESTRI: Well, you have got people on the ground that are really
interested in ensuring that solar happens for everyone.
And I want to make sure that I understand the question. Are you asking the
question who is on the ground who wants solar or who is on the ground who
is against it?
HAYES: Exactly. Who wants solar? Who is defending solar against this
sort of war that has been declared on it?
SILVESTRI: Well, I have got a great example for you.
We have Volt Energy, which is an energy company that is in D.C. It is an
African-American-owned energy company, one of the few that is actually
growing when it comes to solar. They put a solar project on a church. I`m
actually going to be going to tour it this week for Earth Day.
And this church has been able to use this solar project to educate entire
African-American populations on energy efficiency. And when it comes to
spreading the message in this country about climate change, and how we need
to confront climate change with renewable energy, vulnerable communities
that are hurt first and worst are the ones that really need these messages.
So, not only do you have the solar that`s creating jobs, that is keeping
our communities healthy, but it`s also being used a vehicle to communicate
with vulnerable communities. And I for one, who comes from a vulnerable
community, really wants there to be policies that support solar, so that I
can talk to my family, so that I can talk to my aunt, so that I can talk to
my cousins about why renewable energy is important in a way that they
understand, because the solar panels are on our church.
HAYES: And this is a really important point. Solar represents a threat to
the current fossil fuel incumbents in the same way the Internet did to the
big broadcast companies or the big legacy media companies.
SILVESTRI: That`s right.
HAYES: Which is you just can`t build a little boutique coal fire plant on
your local neighborhood church. Right?
HAYES: There`s no other -- you can`t build a little nuclear reactor in
your basement or your neighbor is going to put in a nuclear reactor.
Solar is distinct in this way, in which it is so small and distributed that
you can have it on a neighborhood church, you could have it on your
neighbor`s house, and that is really, really appealing, I think, to people.
SILVESTRI: It absolutely is.
It is the fact that solar is actually one of those ways that we can have
green for all. Not only is it becoming widely adopted in the United
States, but because of the creative financing efforts that are being used
to make sure that it is affordable, almost anyone is going to be able to
afford solar soon, which means, as I was saying, when it comes to
vulnerable communities, if anyone can afford it, then it is actually a
renewable source that anyone can use, which is incredibly exciting.
HAYES: Nikki Silvestri from Green for all, thank you very much.
SILVESTRI: Thank you.
HAYES: All right, he has got a famous last name, lots of donors behind
him, and a very, very, very long opposition research file -- the problems
with Jeb next.
HAYES: Say you`re part of the GOP donor establishment.
You`re sitting around with your fellow plutocrats tossing candidate trading
cards across the table. 2016 looks, well, honestly, kind of grim. I mean,
there is Rand Paul, fringy, dangerously iconoclastic, Chris Christie,
damaged goods, thanks to Bridgegate, or Ted Cruz, too destructive with his
rule or ruin attitude.
Or how about Scott Walker? Nah. At a certain point, someone has got to
pipe up and say, well, why don`t we just go with the last guy`s brother?
And that more or less is the case for Jeb Bush. The former governor of
Florida who left elected office in 2007 is facing increasing speculation
about his 2016 plans.
And at this point, he does seem to be the object of intense ardor from what
is left of the Republican establishment. But Jeb Bush doesn`t come without
some baggage. Aside from the fact he shares the same last name as his
brother, the controversial painter, and that he views on immigration and
education that the base of his party hates, we now know there is a whole
lot more that Jeb Bush has been up to that might be even less appealing to
voters, thanks to a great new report in "The New York Times."
It points out that after he left office seven years ago, Mr. Bush took an
aggressive and expansive approach to making money and that, at one point,
Mr. Bush sat on the boards of six companies, twice as many as leading
corporate governance experts recommend, given the time and fiduciary
responsibilities of such a position.
Then there`s the kinds of businesses Mr. Bush worked for. Records and
interviews show that Mr. Bush participated in the fevered last-ditch
efforts to prop up Lehman Brothers, where he served as a paid adviser. He
was also on the board of InnoVida, a manufacturer of inexpensive building
materials whose leaders had fake documents, lied about the health of the
business, and misappropriated $40 million in company funds, records show.
The company went bankrupt in 2011.
Its founder eventually went to jail, and investors lost nearly all their
money. But perhaps most egregiously, at least in the eyes of the
Republican base, Jeb Bush serves as a paid director to Tenet Healthcare,
the giant hospital owner which supported President Obama`s Affordable Care
Act, aggressively encouraged Americans to sign up for insurance under the
program, and trumpeted the legislation as a boon to the company`s finances.
The author of that "New York Times" piece, Michael Barbaro, is here with
me, along with Tara Dowdell and Tim Carney, the great scourge of cronyism.
We`re going to talk about Jeb Bush next.
HAYES: We`re back.
I`m here with Michael Barbaro, political reporter at "New York Times,"
political consultant Tara Dowdell, and Tim Carney, senior political
columnist at "The Washington Examiner."
Michael, I thought this was a great piece. I knew that he had kind of been
-- Jeb Bush had gotten out of public life and he had been hustling. But I
didn`t quite realize the extent. I guess the first question is, what`s the
big deal here? Everybody who gets out of public office basically these
days cashes in, sometimes in super shady fashion. What makes Jeb stand
MICHAEL BARBARO, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think the breadth and the number
of companies and the quality of companies that he went to work are what
make this kind of interesting.
You think of prestigious elected officials leaving office. Oftentimes,
they will go work at big blue chip companies. You will work at General
Electric. You might go work at a company like Google, Chevrolet. Jeb Bush
took a more localized approach. He took an approach that sort of seemed a
little more kind of scattershot, and he ended up getting involved with some
companies that had serious problems, and for him politically some serious
political repercussions in the case of a company like Tenet Healthcare,
where he was confronted very regularly over a period of years with a
corporate policy quite out of sync with his political views on the
president`s health care reform.
HAYES: Tim, when I read this piece, I was like, this feels like this comes
from like the stuff of nightmares of Tim Carney. Your whole thing is
basically you that GOP establishment is both -- might be moderate in terms
of it politics, but is actually just this corrupt corporatist entity.
And when you look at something like the Tenet thing, I mean, how is that
going to play in a Republican primary that he`s getting paid by a company
that is making money off Obamacare?
TIM CARNEY, "THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, as Michael pointed out, it
sounds like Jeb did not support the law.
But, still, it hurt Newt Gingrich that he had a lobbying career -- when he
was running in 2012, he had a lobbying career. Although he didn`t
register, he was basically lobbying for Freddie Mac, for ethanol companies,
and for drug companies back during the expansion of Medicare and maybe even
during Obamacare. It hurt Tommy Thompson in his Wisconsin Senate primary.
He only ended up getting only one-third of the vote, barely winning that,
because he had been on health care companies supporting Obamacare before.
There is a significant portion of the Republican base that has figured out
that big business, big government are friends, and that they`re not friends
with the conservative base. And so in any primary, that is not going to be
a majority of the base, but that`s going to be a big enough chunk. And
maybe this is wishful thinking, but I think that would hurt Jeb Bush in the
HAYES: And, Tara, this struck me as the problem of the GOP establishment
in a nutshell.
Like, this article on Jeb Bush, it`s precisely like the fact that he is so
well-connected that is the reason that he is a front-runner. He has got
the name. He has got the pedigree. He has got a Rolodex of donors that`s
essentially endless. And it`s also the reason that he has got this article
about him in "The New York Times," precisely because he is so well-
TARA DOWDELL, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Absolutely.
And it is a double-edged sword for him, though, because he will benefit,
because he will be able to raise big dollars, because he is so, as you
stated, connected. But at the same time, it definitely is a liability
because the Republican Party base is unified, one thing, in their hatred of
And the embodiment of that hatred is the Affordable Care Act. And now he
is a part of this organization or a part of this board of this company that
championed it and also stands to benefit a lot. So there is no way you are
not going to see ads about all of these things coming back to haunt him.
But, at the same time, it is going to depend, because, again, it`s all
about the Benjamins. So, if the opponents, if those in the primaries
against him, if they have the resources, if they have the money, they have
to be able to penetrate with this message about these things. If it
doesn`t get out there, then he may be OK.
HAYES: I thought it was really interesting this the theme that runs
through the article, Michael, which is that he basically felt like he
didn`t have enough money, that he left public office with $1.3 million, I
think, was his net worth. He had gone in with $2 million.
His brother had made this huge $14 million payday on the Texas Rangers,
which, by the way, you want to talk about a corrupt deal, go look at that
Texas Rangers deal, but the point being that there was this real pursuit
for money that, he felt like he was essentially broke when he left the
BARBARO: Well, you have to remember, Jeb took a different path in life and
his career than his brother.
He was a local real estate entrepreneur. He did OK. What he actually felt
was that he missed the biggest boom in the Florida real estate market
because he became governor, which was of course wonderful for his career in
politics, not so great for his family`s fortunes.
When he left that office, he told people he met with in the business world,
you know, I missed out. I missed out.
HAYES: And making up for lost time.
BARBARO: And so he took jobs like at Lehman Brothers and then Barclays and
sitting on these boards. These boards pay very generously. Some of them
pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. And then they will also pay
stock on top of that.
But, of course, what I think this story is not getting enough attention for
is that it may actually spell out the reasons why he does not want to run
for president, which is, he is doing well.
BARBARO: It`s an empire. Its tentacles reach out far and wide and
includes his son, Jeb Bush Jr., so maybe he just wants to keep this.
HAYES: Well, he has, in the words an article, a quote from Al Cardenas,
who is a family friend, a commendable nest egg, which is...
HAYES: All right, here is the other reason that I think Jeb Bush has
And this is, I think, the sleeper issue of this cycle. And I`m fascinated
by the way this is blowing up in the grassroots. I`m going to show you a
Twitter graph, Google searches in New Hampshire, search interest in
Obamacare and Common Core. Common Core is beating Obamacare right now.
And this is something, Jeb Bush is very associated with it. The idea
behind the Common Core is that basically there should be a standardized
curriculum across all 50 states, that everyone should -- there are certain
things that every fourth-grader in this country from Manhattan to Maine to
Texas should know. The Department of Education loves this idea.
They have been pushing it. Jeb Bush loves this idea, has been pushing it.
And, Tim Carney, there is a grassroots rebellion on the right and also the
left against this. And I don`t think people recognize just how big a
threat this is to Jeb Bush.
CARNEY: Yes. It is huge. It`s sort of a quiet army of school-age
parents, moms going out there opposing this.
And there is big money behind Common Core, so that again puts Jeb Bush on
that side of things. And it again highlights this issue that conservatives
are starting to realize, that when government gets more centralized, when
it gets more powerful, then the corporations see a way to benefit from it.
And so you see a lot of big businesses lining up behind Common Core, and
the conservative base, again, lining up against this corporate government
collusion. And Jeb once again is on the side of it. He`s on sort of the
Terry McAuliffe-Rahm Emanuel side of the pro-big business, pro-big
HAYES: Well, and the argument you`re making there, actually, there`s a lot
folks in the liberal and left grassroots who hate Common Core, for a
somewhat similar reason, right, that there`s going to be these standards.
they`re going to be outsourced to a private company that is going to deal
with it. This is the corporatization of education.
Tara, I`m always interested in the way that a primary campaign will bring
out and surface these issues. They may not be getting national attention,
but you start going out and you do town halls in Iowa, you start talking to
folks, and something like this, you are going to see what is really
animating folks at grassroots.
DOWDELL: But what you are also going to see is people flip-flop.
HAYES: That`s right.
DOWDELL: So I think that, while people hold certain positions now, like
Jeb Bush holds some of these positions, I think, ultimately, this is going
to end up one of two ways.
It is going to end up based on where the donors fall and the conservative
media falls. If the conservative media and the donors come together and
say this is our guy, they`re going to whitewash a lot of this and positions
will change. And so the question is, will people -- will he be held
accountable for those positions previously held?
Now, if you look at a Mitt Romney as an example, he was not. He was able
to make it through the primary because people came together and said, this
is the guy.
HAYES: And we were all saying as we were watching this, there is no way
the guy who basically did the test pilot of Obamacare in Massachusetts can
make it through a GOP primary. And of course he did.
CARNEY: But it wasn`t whitewashed. Romney barely survived that.
He was not getting majorities in the primaries until the very end. And so
the conservative media -- this might shock some of you -- but it is not a
uniform thing. There`s lots of us.
CARNEY: Some do whitewashing. Some look at records.
HAYES: Michael, finally, do you think these connections, whether they help
or hurt him from the perception of voters, the donor support for him is
BARBARO: It is.
I think that there was a huge amount of support for Chris Christie among
that moderate, kind of plutocratic universe based in New York, based in New
Jersey, based in California that has begun to splinter and to begin to look
at someone like Jeb Bush, and that may remain a really intriguing figure to
HAYES: Michael Barbaro from "The New York Times," political consultant
Tara Dowdell, and Tim Carney from "The Washington Examiner," thank you all.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2014 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>