All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
May 6, 2014
Guests: Larry Pratt, Carmen Lobis, Robert Spitzer, Michael Coleman, Susan
Watson, Bernie Sanders, Katharine Hayhoe, Alex Deibold
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight as the bitter battle over safer, smarter guns continues to rage,
there is no relief from tragic headlines of accidental gun violence. In
Georgia, news today a 6-year-old shot and killed a 75-year-old relative,
one of at least four accidental shootings that have taken place around the
country since Saturday alone.
Last night, we brought you our extensive investigative report about a new
digital smartgun that can only be fired by an authorized user. It`s faced
fierce opposition from the gun rights establishment.
HAYES (voice-over): What if there was a gun a child couldn`t shoot, a gun
with the technology to ensure it could be fired only by its owner? Well,
that gun exists. It`s real. I held it. I fired it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good shot. How did it feel?
HAYES (on-camera): Wow. Amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah?
(voice-over): It feels like a passive step forward, like the iPhone of
firearms, a smart gun. There is just one problem. You can`t buy it
anywhere in America. That`s not because it is the illegal, and it`s not
because its manufacturer isn`t trying to sell it.
(on-camera): Now the question is can you sell it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the demand is there. I receive e-mails
constantly from people wondering where they can buy the handguns. Red
means you are not the authorized user or you have not activated the watch.
HAYES (on-camera): So when you grip that, it`s telling you eight now you
cannot fire this gun.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.
HAYES (voice-over): The Armatix`s iP1 smartgun only functions if the owner
is wearing a special watch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My code is entered. It says it`s good. I hit enter.
Now I pick up the handgun and it`s green. Green means I`m the authorized
user and now I`m ready to fire.
HAYES (voice-over): If the watch and gun are separated by more than 10
inches after, say, a suspect wrestles it away from a police officer, the
gun stops working.
(on-camera): I`m putting the ammunition in. I can fire, take the
wristwatch away. It is more than 10 inches. The grip tells me cannot
fire. I pull the trigger, I get nothing. I return here within 10 inches,
pull the trigger -- (gunshot)
HAYES: Twice gun sellers have announced plans to sell the smartgun and
twice they have reversed course after an intense backlash from the gun
rights activists. We spoke to Maryland gun dealer Andy Raymond last week
when he still planned to sell the smart gun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY RAYMOND, GUN DEALER: This is all about freedom.
HAYES: Right. It really is, man.
RAYMOND: So even when the NRA, who`s the bastion of great freedom, and
they sit here and say this thing should be prohibited, how hypocritical is
HAYES: So -- so you know what`s funny?
RAYMOND: They are bowing down to fear, bro. It`s cowardice. They`re
afraid. So they bow down to that, and that`s cowardice. That is not what
people who stand for freedom do. You stand up, and you fight for what you
believe. You do not bow down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Andy Raymond says his stance resulted in death threats, and he
slept in his store Thursday night out of fear it would be burned down. In
an emotional video after the backlash, he asked for forgiveness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAYMOND: We won`t sell the pistol. I will not be part of anyone
(expletive deleted) over anyone when it comes to guns. I believe my
principle`s correct. Unfortunately, maybe I was wrong. I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After we reported on Andy Raymond last night, his company`s
Facebook page, once the site of such vitriol filled with messages of
support. "You absolutely did the right thing in trying to sell the
smartgun," one person wrote. "If I`m in the market for an A.R., I`m coming
Andy Raymond`s critics had pointed to a 2002 New Jersey law that requires
once a smartgun is sold anywhere in the country, gun sellers in New Jersey
must, within three years, take other guns off the shelf and sell only
smartguns. That 2002 law had the unintended consequence of rallying
opposition to a single smartgun being sold in America.
And last night, one of its chief backers, New Jersey Senate Majority Leader
Loretta Weinberg told me she would move to repeal the law on one condition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORETTA WEINBERG, N.J. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: If the NRA, the gun owners
of America, those people who have stood in the way not only of the retail
sales, they have also gone after gun manufacturers who were beginning to
develop other technology other than Armatix, that if in fact they would get
out of the way of preventing the research development manufacturer
distribution and sale, I would move the to repeal this law in the state of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We reached out to the NRA for a response to Weinberg`s offer.
Would the organization so opposed to the smartgun soften its stance if New
Jersey was willing to repeal its gun control law? We asked for someone to
come on the show to respond, or at least give us a statement. We have
heard nothing back.
Joining me now is Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America,
the other organization that New Jersey state Senator Loretta Weinberg
called out in her comments last night.
So Larry, how -- how about it?
LARRY PRATT, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: Well, how about a product that`s only
80 percent effective --
HAYES: Larry, last time you and I talked you said this. Where is that
PRATT: It`s from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
HAYES: On the this gun?
PRATT: And, you know, that`s a very, very problematic issue. She`s
basically saying that --
HAYES: Wait a second. That`s the point. That`s the point.
PRATT: -- if a faulty product is for sale --
HAYES: If you think this thing bad in its current iteration --
PRATT: -- we`re gonna have to go ahead and impose her mandate --
HAYES: No, no, no.
PRATT: -- even though the -- the law is talking about --
HAYES: You`re talking out of both sides of your mouth. Here is the
question. Will you back off and allow this thing to be sold and not swarm
people`s Facebook pages and not tell people you oppose this and not sic,
you know, Gun Owners of America on someone that tries to sell it, if
Loretta Weinberg says, OK, fine, we`re taking -- we will take away the
government mandate. If you think the gun is a such bad product, why do you
not trust the market to render that judgment?
PRATT: Well, the market`s not going to be rendering a judgment thanks to
her bullying by her legislation. Therefore, we have make it clear that
this product --
HAYES: No, she`s saying she`ll repeal it. That`s what -- that`s what this
PRATT: Wait. This product is not ready for primetime. Twenty percent of
the time --
HAYES: Larry, why do you -- can you tell me why you single-handedly --
PRATT: Twenty percent of the time it won`t work. And you`re asking people
to put their lives in the hands of a product like that?
HAYES: Do you -- wait a second. Wait a second. Larry, why do you not
trust consumers to render that judgment? I`m not going to run every
consumer decision for everyone in America by Larry Pratt. Why should you
have the veto/ You and the NRA have the veto over what consumers choose in
the marketplace? If you think this is a terrible product, why do you not
trust the --
PRATT: So are we going to say --
HAYES: Why do you not trust -- why do you not trust the market to render
PRATT: -- is it OK -- is it OK to put on the market a car that 20 percent
of the time explodes on you and causes you harm or death? That`s not the
kind of -- our society --
HAYES: Wait a second. Wait a second. You would like to see the
government regulate guns the way they regulate cars? You would like to see
the government step in and decide whether a gun is safe enough to sell the
way they do with cars?
PRATT: No, I want to see the senator -- I want to see the senator get out
of this. The senator is imposing a mandate. She`s violating the
Constitution. She`s sticking a faulty product into our hands that we don`t
want. And the way she`s set it up, all it takes one dealer and the whole
HAYES: Yes, we understand that.
PRATT: -- of New Jersey loses its ability to buy a decent gun for years.
HAYES: She`s offering to repeal it if you withdraw your oppositions to
this being sold.
PRATT: "You do what I say and then I`ll be nice to you." I don`t think
HAYES: Thank you very much, Larry Pratt.
I want to bring in Carmen Lobis, the grandfather of 6-year-old Ben Wheeler
who died in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,
Connecticut. He`s launched a crowd-funding campaign to finance a biometric
locking station for firearms that can only be unlocked by the fingerprint
of a gun owner.
Carmen, you -- you came away from the horrible tragedy your family suffered
with a belief that there was some ways to find smart technology that could
prevent further tragedy.
CARMEN LOBIS, GRANDSON KILLED IN SANDY HOOD MASSACRE: Absolutely. The
fact of the matter is we kind of liken it to a seat belt. It`s very
difficult to know exactly how many automobile deaths seat belts have saved.
But there`s been a one-third reduction in -- in automobile deaths since
seat belts have been implemented. And we see a similar type of opportunity
with the locking station. And incidentally, there are dozens and dozens of
gun safety devices in the marketplace today. And we just happen to fit
into a niche which hadn`t been addressed in the past. So what we`re doing
is using technology to enhance gun safety that gun owners have supported
for many, many years.
HAYES: What -- what is your reaction when you see -- obviously, what your
-- the product that you`ve been working on is a lock for existing guns.
Obviously, the product we talked about in our report is a gun itself that
has the built in safety.
But what is your response when you see folks, Gun Owners of America, other
people, you know, gun activists on Facebook unleash such vitriol on people
that are trying to develop technology to make guns safer?
LOBIS: I can`t honestly say I fully understand exactly what their issues
are. I -- by the way, I know why there is a Second Amendment. And I fully
support that Second Amendment. There have been many instances in the
history of this planet where despots have taken control of countries, and
the first thing they do is remove guns from the hands of innocent people.
So that`s not issue we`re tying to address.
We`re talking to both gun owners, non-gun owners alike, both of whom seem
to support the fact that there is such a thing as gun safety. The National
Shooting and Safety Federal, which ironically is less than a mile from
Sandy Hook Elementary School, supports child safe. It`s a program they
have. Their mantra is "Own it. Respect it. Secure it." Essentially the
same mantra we have. You have a weapon, it`s -- it`s -- it`s
unconscionable to unsecure -- have an unsecured loaded weapon hanging
around your house. It`s just unconscionable.
HAYES: Carmen Lobis, thank you so much for your time tonight. We really
LOBIS: My pleasure. Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now is Robert Spitzer, chair of the Political Science
Department and professor at SUNY Cortland, author of "The Politics of
Robert, it`s fascinating to me the outsized role the smartgun has begun to
take on in the imagination of the NRA. It was mentioned at the NRA
convention. It looms very large over gun rights folks. I don`t quite get
it. Explain to me why.
ROBERT SPITZER, SUNY CORTLAND: There are two things at play. The first is
control. The NRA is all about control of this issue. And that, I think,
is more important than really any other consideration.
The second and related part to it is the fact that industry generally, and
there are exceptions to be sure, but industries generally are leery of
change and technological innovation. And there are many, many examples of
that. There was a brief mention of the auto industry. And we know that
the auto industry was dragged kicking and screaming to auto safety and
improvements in automobiles, American automobiles back in the 1950s, `60s
and `70s saying safety wouldn`t sell. It was too expensive. The
technology was unproven, et cetera.
But because of public pressure and because of government regulations, the
big auto companies were ultimately brought into line, and, of course, we
accept today all sorts of safety features.
But there is no counter-veiling pressure that you can identify that would
have a similar, I think, beneficial effect on the gun community in the NRA
because of its ability to control the people within its -- within its realm
to control the messaging to them, which is a key element of how they get
things done. And that degree of political control, I think, is the over
arching concern about this issue.
HAYES: Well, and it also seems to me that you have a situation in which
there is a small core of folks who are essentially enacting policy through
threat and intimidation. I mean, you have a small group of people doing
ghastly, thuggish things like offering death threats to people that dare to
cross them. And that is a nontrivial part of how gun politics in this
country play out. I mean, that is a significant chunk, even if not a
number in the kind of core constituency of folks that are standing in the
way of just common sense kinds of changes.
SPITZER: Yeah, that, Chris, the dark under side of this constituency. And
of course, the internet facilitates that because people, you know,
correspond and respond anonymously and can do so instantaneously from
anywhere around the country or even the world. So that anonymity feeds --
and you see it in all forms of communication within the internet, but it
certainly feeds the dark responses, the veiled threats, and frankly the
express threats that your guest on last night`s show talked about that he
received. And he`s clearly a gun guy through and through.
And I think most gun owners really don`t operate that way, don`t respond
that way. But there is enough of a -- of a really dark base that has been
fed a steady diet of paranoia and apocalyptic rhetoric over the years that
all the NRA has to do is hit a switch, and those people are unleashed.
HAYES: Robert Spitzer from SUNY Cortland, thanks for your time. Really
SPITZER: Good to be with you, Chris.
HAYES: All right, coming up, what do the Koch brothers have against Jack
Hanna and his animals? I`ll tell you next.
HAYES: Coming up, what do oyster growers in Washington, corn producers in
Iowa, and maple syrup producers in Vermont have in common? A new report
from the White House spells it out and I`ll be talking to an evangelical
climate scientist, you heard that right, and Olympic snowboarder, and a
senator about it all.
HAYES: It is election day, which today means just one thing. Two of the
most powerful right wing billionaires in America are flexing their
political muscle in the unlikeliest of places.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: What`s going on with these two
brothers who made billions of dollars last year in an attempt to buy our
democracy is dishonest, deceptive, false and unfair.
HAYES (voice-over): The Koch brothers learned, the more they throw their
weight around in American politics, the more enemies they make. They have
earned the wrath of Harry Reid and Democratic Senate candidates across the
country. But in their desire to leave no stone unturned, no local election
untouched, they made an unlikely enemy. This guy.
JACK HANNA, DIRECTOR EMERITUS, COLUMBUS ZOO & AQUARIUM: You know, when I
was little, Zeus taught me to love animals and understand the world they
live the in.
HAYES (voice-over): Yes, Jungle Jack Hanna, the guy you see on TV cuddling
HANNA: Oh, I was going to show you something. Squirrel kept in my shirt.
HAYES: He`s the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
So why is Jungle Jack mad at the Koch brothers? Because the Koch-backed
organization, Americans for Prosperity, are lobbying against a small tax
increase to help fund the zoo Jack Hanna is the face of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The billionaire Koch brothers may be best known for
spending big to influence presidential campaigns. But they are now tying
to throw a monkey wrench into the Columbus Zoo levy.
HAYES: Today, voters in Franklin County, Ohio, will vote on a proposal to
support the maintenance and expansion of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
You see, a percentage of Franklin County property taxes go to fund the zoo
and Issue 6 would influence that portion of residents` property tax. Hanna
has been lobbying for residents to vote yes on Issue 6.
HANNA: Hi, everyone, I`m Jack Hanna from the Columbus Zoo. Please help us
with Issue 6. This is a cheetah, the most endangered cat in Africa. By
voting for Issue 6, we can all help save this species and help educate our
HAYES: But Americans for Prosperity, for whom no tax issue is too small,
has jumped into the race like an 800 pound gorilla, urging the voters of
Franklin County to vote no on Issue 6. In misleading mailers sent out to
Franklin County voters, featuring of course a gorilla, AFP called the issue
another money grab and asked voters, "Can you afford 105 percent property
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The local anti-levy group agrees -- the flyer is
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I saw it when you did, Colleen and Brian, we all
saw it at the same time. We weren`t involved with it.
What`s is true is your taxes will be raised 105 percent --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But your zoo portion of the tax.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it was not true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it up with the Koch brothers.
HAYES: To be clear, Issue 6 would not increase property taxes 105 percent.
If that were the case, Americans for Prosperity wouldn`t need to get
involved. In fact, let`s say you own a $100,000 home in Columbus. Issue 6
would increase your property taxes somewhere between 1 percent and 2
percent. That`s $23 a year. From just over $21 to $44.
HANNA: I did not build the zoo. The Franklin County builders built this
zoo. Put the $21 aside. What`s at stake here?
HAYES: But that frustration isn`t stopping the Koch-backed Americans for
Prosperity from getting involved in a local tax levy at a community zoo.
Because while the Koch brothers don`t like you nosing around their
business, they have no problem getting involved in yours.
HAYES (on camera): Joining me now is Michael Coleman, Democratic mayor of
Columbus, Ohio. And, Mayor, are you surprised by Americans for Prosperity
entering into this Franklin County tax levy issue?
MICHAEL COLEMAN, MAYOR OF COLUMBUS, OHIO: You know, I am surprised. These
are out of towners, they`re carpet-baggers, they`re coming into a community
like the city like Columbus trying to tell an intelligent electorate how
they should be voting. Now, mind you, the zoo levy may not pass, but it
won`t be because of the Koch brothers.
I have to tell you that Democrats and Republicans alike don`t like to be
told by two billionaires living someplace else in America how we should be
governing ourselves, taxing ourselves in the city of Columbus. And I can
also tell you that the Republican leading business community feels the same
in the city of Columbus. I can tell you that the Republican leaning
newspaper in the city of Columbus has editorialized against the Koch
brothers coming to the city of Columbus and telling us how we should vote
on something that only we care about. And I can tell you the Koch brothers
don`t care about the citizens of Columbus or any of us that live in this
HAYES: "The Columbus Dispatch" editorializing this way. "Franklin County
voters should decide the zoo issue.," local official said, "not carpet-
baggers who don`t live here and don`t care about our community."
But tell me the honest truth, Mayor. You`re just in the pocket of big zoo.
COLEMAN: I have to tell you something. This is incredible that the Koch
brothers are interested in a zoo levy. But you know what? What that tells
me is that they`re going to be are involved in our school board races.
COLEMAN: They`re going to involved in our city council races. They`re
going to be involved in every issue that comes before the voters in the
city of Columbus, and they`re going to be tell us how we should be deciding
how we govern ourselves, how we tax ourselves.
And I`m here to say, along with Democrats and Republicans, independents
alike -- Koch brothers, stay out of Columbus. We can make our own
HAYES: It strikes me there`s also an asymmetry here. I`m amazed at how
the way Americans for Prosperity seems to be operating is anywhere there`s
anyone trying to raise taxes for any purpose, it is as a matter of
principle wrong and we will spend money to defeat it. Or anywhere there`s
anyone trying to regulate anything -- we looked at an iron works in
Wisconsin that they went after. They did a school board election in Iowa.
And I just -- there is no other, there`s no liberal version of that where
there is some liberal think tank saying -- looking out to find where people
are raising taxes and coming in to support the zoo tax levy.
In Franklin County, I think the thinking is, I don`t know -- if the people
in Franklin County want to tax themselves more for their zoo, God bless
COLEMAN: Well, maybe this is their strategy. Let me roll the this out and
let`s talk about it. Columbus is the center of politics in the state of
Ohio. As Columbus go, so goes Ohio in presidential races. In 2012, the
president and the opponent and their vice presidential candidates were in
Columbus 77 times, in 2012, more than any other city in the nation outside
the city of New York.
Now having said that, the Koch brothers are probably thinking how do I
manipulate the votes in the city of Columbus, not just on tax levies, but
on every kind of election that we`re faced with in the city of Columbus?
And maybe somehow that might influence a presidential election. I don`t
HAYES: I should note that we asked both Americans for Prosperity and the
Koch brothers to come on tonight. They declined. AFP sent us a statement
defending the math in that infamous letter. Mayor Michael Coleman, thank
you so much for your time.
COLEMAN: Thank you., Chris
HAYES: All right, coming up, remember Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore? A
guy who was thrown out of office after he refused to remove a monument to
the Ten Commandments displayed in his courthouse? Well, he`s back after
being reelected and he`s got some pretty novel interpretations of the First
Amendment. We`ll play it for you ahead..
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: The Republicans` health care plan for
America -- don`t get sick. That`s right. Don`t get sick. If you get
sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this. Die quickly.
That`s right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There is a lot of outrage when Florida Congressman Alan Grayson
said that on the House floor during the contentious fight to pass the
Affordable Care Act. Certainly is aggressive, even uncivil to say the
other party wants you to die quickly if you get sick. You can`t really
read their minds and know what they want. But here is the uncomfortable
truth about health care and its reform -- is that lives are actually at
stake. And right now Republican governors and legislators in 21 states are
blocking Medicaid expansion. Three are still considering it, which means
they are blocking basic health care, health insurance, for about 5 million
Yesterday we learned just how the this petty obstructionism affects those
people. A new blockbuster study on the effects of the Romneycare
Massachusetts health reform provides the strongest case yet that ensuring
the previously uninsured saves lives.
"The New York Times" reports the study found the state`s mortality rate --
quote -- "fell by about 3 percent in the four years after the law went into
effect. The decline was steepest in counties with the highest proportions
of poor and previously uninsured, adding to a growing body of evidence that
people with health insurance could reap the ultimate benefit, longer life."
In other words, there are people alive walking around today because of
Romneycare who would otherwise be dead. We also know that the uninsured
rate in the country has been taking a nosedive since Obamacare`s
implementation. In fact, It just reached the lowest level since Gallup
started recording because, surprise, surprise, a law designed to reduce the
number of people who are uninsured is in fact reducing the number of
But that`s not enough, which is to say, even if it sounds hyperbolic or
grandiose, it is the plain truth that Obamacare is going to save and is
right now saving people`s lives. So, however impolite or uncivil it may be
to point out, it is also true that blocking the implementation of Obamacare
will cost lives.
And that fact is far more offensive than pointing it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unrepentant Roy Moore emerged from court today after
a judicial ethics panel said he had placed himself above the law and
deserved the harshest possible penalty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finding no other viable alternatives, this court hereby
orders that Roy S. Moore be removed from his position of chief justice of
the Supreme Court of Alabama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ousted for failing to follow a federal judge`s order to
remove the monument Moore erected in the state courthouse.
ROY MOORE, ALABAMA SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I have absolutely no regrets. I
have done what I was sworn to do.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Remember Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore? It`s been 11
years since he was removed from office after he refused to remove his
statue of the Ten Commandments from his courthouse.
Tonight, he`s back on the bench, back in the headlines, and back to his old
tricks. Justice Roy Moore was a right-wing celebrity in the immediate
aftermath of his demise, barnstorming the country with a novelty replica of
the Ten Commandments a kind of middle finger to the secular progressives
who insist on the separation of church and state.
Moore ran for governor of Alabama in 2006 and got smoked in the Republican
primary. In 2010, he ran again and came in fourth in the Republican
primary, in 2011, formed an exploratory committee to run for president.
But when he didn`t find a groundswell of earthly support, Moore turned his
back -- focus back to Alabama`s high court.
Technically, Moore wasn`t impeached the first go-round, so he could run for
his old job. And he did and he narrowly won and has been back sitting on
the bench of Alabama`s highest court for the last year.
Today, Chief Justice Roy Moore is embroiled in a new controversy because of
remarks dug up by the Web site Raw Story. In January, at an anti-abortion
event in Mississippi standing next to his novelty Ten Commandments statue,
of course, the chief justice went on a little tirade about who he thinks
the Constitution`s First Amendment actually covered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: Everybody, to include the United States Supreme Courts, has been
deceived as to one little word in the First Amendment called religion.
They can`t define it. They can`t define it the way Mason, Madison and even
the United States Supreme Court defined it, the duties we owe to the
creator and the manner of discharging it. They don`t want to do that,
because that acknowledges the creator God. Buddha didn`t create us.
Mohammed didn`t create us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right.
MOORE: It`s the God of the holy scriptures.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amen.
MOORE: They didn`t bring a Koran over on the Pilgrim ship Mayflower.
Let`s get real. Let`s go back and learn our history. Let`s stop playing
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Roy Moore of a decade ago may have defiantly stuck to his guns
after a hideous video like this was unearthed. But this time he`s doing
the old Alabama walk-back, telling "The Montgomery Advertiser" he actually
believes the First Amendment "applies to the rights God gave us to be free
in our modes of thinking and as far as religious liberty to all people
regardless of what they believe."
It seems even Roy Moore knows there is a limit to the kind of rhetoric he
can get away with. The sad thing here is that he will wake up tomorrow he
will the still be the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Joining me now, Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU in Alabama.
So, what does it mean to have one of the most authoritative constitutional
figures in the state of Alabama have this kind of let`s call it
jurisprudence to the First Amendment?
SUSAN WATSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALABAMA ACLU: Well, it does give one
cause for concern.
I wonder if everybody that appears before him would have the same -- would
be treated equally and fairly in the court. I`m just astonished that he so
frequently is out in the public making disparaging remarks about people
either of religion. Earlier this year, he was weighing in on marriage
equality for same-sex marriage.
And he is a sitting justice in the Alabama Supreme Court.
HAYES: Yes. He will have cases of people who are Muslim, Hindu, all sorts
of faiths come before him...
HAYES: ... in the wake of this, and cases that might involve the
separation of church and state or establishment clause issues. And you
have got to wonder, can you expect a fair shake from this person who has
been given authority by the state to render judgment over you?
WATSON: I wouldn`t feel comfortable appearing before him at all.
HAYES: So, here`s my other question about Roy Moore. How did this guy get
back in the state Supreme Court? I thought we had turned the page on the
Roy Moore chapter of Alabama history.
WATSON: Well, in 2012, the good people of Alabama reelected him. And so
HAYES: Are you still in -- in the long tussle that you have been with --
and by you, I mean the ACLU of Alabama has had a long history with Roy
Moore. Are you in any kind of current oppositional litigation stance with
WATSON: Not at the moment. We are not.
But you`re right. We have had a long history with Judge Roy Moore. We
will be ever vigilant and ever ready to protect the rights of the citizens
and the people of Alabama, their constitutional rights, guaranteed by the
Bill of Rights.
HAYES: Does it mark progress in terms of Alabama and nationally the fact
that Roy Moore felt like he did have to walk this back; after he came out,
he actually did have to say, I do believe the First Amendment applies to
Hindus and Muslims?
WATSON: I think that -- I think you`re right, Chris. I think that is some
progress on Judge Roy Moore`s behalf. Maybe he`s checking himself a little
We will forever watch him and make sure that everybody`s rights are
protected here in Alabama.
HAYES: Susan Watson from the Alabama ACLU, thank you so much.
WATSON: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: If you are an Olympic snowboarder, all right, what`s the biggest
threat your sport faces? We will tell you ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY PRATT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: How about a
product that is only 80 percent effective?
HAYES: Larry, you said -- last time you and I talked, you said this.
Where is that number from?
PRATT: It`s from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Were you watching that earlier tonight? Larry Pratt, head of Gun
Owners of America, making his favorite claim about the supposed failure
rate of the smart gun technology we have been reporting on here.
I would like to take a moment to do a little fact-check on that figure he
was quoting from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has the number
right, 20 percent failure rate, except that study wasn`t of the Armatix
smart gun we were discussing.
It was the rate of a prototype fingerprint recognition technology being
tested at the institute 11 years ago.
Google is a wonderful tool, Larry.
HAYES: Oyster growers in Washington, corn producers in Iowa, maple syrup
producers in Vermont, pine beetles devastating millions of acres of pine
forests across the American West and British Columbia, torrential rains,
with effects like the Nashville floods of 2010, drought and wildfires in
California and the Southwest, Superstorm Sandy and coastal flooding on the
East Coast, all of those examples are -- are found either attributed to or
consistent with what scientists expect in a warming climate.
And in the National Climate Assessment released today, they conclude
climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved
firmly into the present.
The report is based upon the work of 13 agencies, 240 scientists, and 60
committee members from local and state governments and the private sector,
including representatives of big oil.
And it gets pretty specific. Those oyster farmers, for example, are hit
because rising CO2 levels are making the oceans more acidic, killing
oysters. In a breathtaking region-by-region assessment, the report states
that droughts will become worse in the Southwest, while flash floods due to
torrential rainfall will plague the Northeast, along with more heat waves.
Already, the observed change in heavy precipitation is 71 percent in the
Northeast from 1958 to 2012. Longer growing seasons will initially benefit
some crops, but that will ultimately be offset by the increase of extreme
President Obama has chosen to draw attention to the report by talking to
meteorologists across the country, including NBC`s own Al Roker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whether it means increased
flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires, all
these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Since the president plans to use these stunning findings to
buttress his administration`s plans to enact new regulations to lower
greenhouse gas pollution from the nation`s new and existing power plants,
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor this
morning in a preemptive strike.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: He will use the platform to
renew his call for a national energy tax. And I`m sure he will get loud
cheers from liberal elites, from the kind of people who leave a giant
carbon footprint and then lecture everybody else about low-flow toilets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Low-flow toilets. I`m sorry. Why are those Kentucky senators so
obsessed with toilets?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Everything costs more. To go back and
retrofit the toilets that don`t work, that no bureaucrat understood or
flushed before they made us use them, costs money. It will cost thousands
to add go back and add some kind of jet stream to the toilets. And my --
we don`t even save money. We flush them 10 times. They don`t work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The senators appear to be working out some flushing issues we are
not aware of.
Well, guess what, Senators? It`s not about the toilets or the low flow or
the jet stream. It`s about air quality and acidic water, sea levels rising
between one and four, possibly up to six feet by century`s end. It`s about
disease transmission and crumbling infrastructure. And it`s about
scientists being more confidence than ever that burning of fossil fuels is
a primary driver of the last 50 years of warming temperatures.
Joining me now, Bernie -- Senator Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont.
Senator, do you see this in Vermont firsthand?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Absolutely.
I live very close to Lake Champlain. Used to freeze up quite frequently.
Now it`s pretty rare. You talk to the tourist industry. You talk to the
ski and snowboard industry. They are worried about the lack of snow. This
last year was pretty good, previous years not so good.
You talk to the maple sugar industry, they are very worried about what
climate change will mean to the great maple syrup that I am addicted to, I
must tell you, in the state of Vermont.
HAYES: I wonder if the constituencies that are at the front edge of
experiencing this are going to get organized in such a fashion so that they
create the kind of political power necessary to counter the folks on the
other side, like the fossil fuel industry.
SANDERS: Well, listen, Chris, I think you`re quite right.
What we are seeing now is what we saw 30 or 40 years ago with the tobacco
industry. There`s huge amounts of money coming into the political process
to deny -- deny the obvious. And that`s that climate change is real, it`s
causing devastating problems right now. And it will only get worse, if we
don`t transform our energy system.
And the good news here is that we know exactly what to do. We know that if
we invest in energy efficiency and weatherization, we can cut back on
greenhouse gas emissions very, very significantly. We can save people
money on their fuel bills and we can create jobs as well.
And we also know that solar, the price of solar is going down. We should
be investing in wind and geothermal, in biomass. And those technologies
are only going to improve, they`re are only going to become more cost-
effective. And when we do that, we create win-win situations, we help save
the planet, lead the world, get China, India to follow us, and we also
create jobs in this country.
HAYES: If there is a dawning awareness of folks, say, in the maple
industry or in the snow tourism industry in a state like Vermont, do you
think there`s -- you spend a lot of time -- you have a relatively small
state. And I know you and I know the way you interact with constituents.
You spend a lot of time talking to them.
Is there a connection in the minds of constituents between climate change
as some abstract thing they may or may not think a lot about and what`s
happening around them?
SANDERS: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Look, we had a few years ago this Tropical Storm Irene, which was the worst
extreme weather disturbance we have had since the floods of 1927. Do you
think people were not unaware of the impact of global warming?
I think, all over this country, people are seeing with their own eyes.
This is not a theoretical debate. They are seeing with their own eyes what
is happening to the planet. You talked about fishermen seeing it. You`re
talking about the ski industry. You`re talking about farmers who see the
change, more and more drought, forest fighters who are now having to combat
more extreme fires -- forest fires and more of them than they ever have
So, I think most people who aren`t under the influence of the Koch brothers
and the fossil fuel industry know the severity of the problem and
understand that, if we do not get our act together and transform our energy
system away from fossil fuels into energy efficiency, into sustainable
energy, this planet is going to face huge problems in the years to come.
HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders, always a pleasure. Thank you.
SANDERS: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: A climate scientist and an Olympic snowboarder will join me next.
HAYES: We`re back.
Joining me now, Katharine Hayhoe. She`s director of the Climate Science
Center at Texas Tech University and science adviser for Showtime`s "Years
of Living Dangerously" series, which I have been participating in. And
Alex Deibold, a snowboarder who won a bronze medal in the Sochi Olympics.
He`s a Riders Alliance athlete with Protect Our Winters.
Katharine, let me start with you.
You are a lead author on the report that came out today.
KATHARINE HAYHOE, CLIMATE SCIENTIST, TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY: Yes, that`s
HAYES: You are an evangelical Christian who is married to a pastor, and
you`re a climate scientist. How does this all work?
HAYHOE: All of the above. It`s a lot of juggling.
HAYES: And do you have confidence that the folks that you are in
fellowship with at your church are persuadable about what`s happening?
When you write -- when you work on this report and you have got two lives,
the life world you live in and your professional life, and when you work on
a report like this, do you think to yourself, like, is anyone going to be
persuaded? Is anyone going to read this?
Is that what you are thinking when you`re working on it?
HAYHOE: Absolutely, because you could do the best science in the world,
and if no one actually reads it, if no one uses it to make smart decisions,
what`s the point?
HAYES: When people say, you climate scientist hoaxers, and you warmists
and you liberals, you are just saying everything that`s weather is climate,
and anything that happens -- we had floods in the past and we had heat
waves in the past -- and anything that is bad, you point your finger at
climate, climate change, what`s the proper kind of scientific response to
HAYHOE: Chris, have you been reading my e-mails today?
HAYHOE: Because that sounds very familiar.
HAYES: Well, what do you write back?
HAYHOE: There are good scientific answers to all of those.
And one of my favorite Web sites in the world is skepticalscience.com,
where they do an awesome answer for all those questions. But here is the
deal. Nine times out of 10, if you sit down, you have a beer, you have a
heart-to-heart with someone who is saying all that stuff to you, when you
get down to the bottom of it, they don`t really have so much a problem with
the science as with the solutions.
They believe the solutions are opposed, are in conflict with our values,
our ideology or, even worse, our faith.
Let me ask you, Alex, you are someone who is coming into this issue from a
very different place from -- Katharine is. I imagine you are not also a
climate scientist in your spare time.
ALEX DEIBOLD, U.S. OLYMPIC BRONZE MEDALIST: I am not.
HAYES: You`re a snowboarder. By the way, congratulations on your Olympic
medal. That`s awesome.
DEIBOLD: Thank you.
HAYES: How did you get pulled into this? Why are you fired up about this?
DEIBOLD: I signed on with Protect Our Winters to try and educate kids.
I`m fortunate enough to have an Olympic medal now, and use that platform to
teach the next generation about how important it is to change and the small
steps that they can make that can have a big impact. I`m certainly no
scientist. And Katharine can maybe weigh in on the numbers more.
But I`m there to try and help the next generation take the steps that we
need, so that kids can enjoy the same upbringing that I did in the great
HAYES: Something as basic as the great outdoors, winter sports, and
snowboarding and skiing, I have already read articles about ski industry
sort of waving the red flag.
Katharine, what do the climate models say about the parts of the country
that are essentially dependent on steady snowfall for a huge part of the
revenue of those areas?
HAYHOE: Well, I`m a skier and a snowboarder myself.
And so I`m doing this for the same reason. I want my kids to be able to
enjoy what I did growing up. And, Chris, the outlook isn`t great. We are
losing snow already at lower-elevation sites. We are getting a more
irregular ski season, so we can`t count on those big money weeks at
Christmas and New Year`s at all of the places that we used to be able to 30
or 50 years ago.
Climate change is not this distant issue that only matters to the polar
bears. It`s affecting us right here today in the places where we live.
It`s affecting our water, our food, our health, our wallet, and it`s
affecting our recreation.
HAYES: Alex, do people in the world of winter sports recognize that? Is
this something people talk about? Or is there awareness of that actually
this entire universe, the subculture of skiing and snowboarding is really
actually pretty squarely threatened by what`s happening?
DEIBOLD: Yes, we are some of the first that are affected.
I had to move. I was born and raised in Vermont. And I had to move to
Colorado to be able to get the kind of training that I needed, because the
snow wasn`t consistent enough in areas like New England. And everything
goes through an ebb and flow.
And there are some snow years that are better than others, but the general
trend is that you are having to go higher and higher and farther and
farther north to find the kind of conditions that we need to enjoy the
HAYES: Is that a known thing? I mean, people in the world of winter
sports, people know that? That`s just like you guys are -- that`s a -- you
DEIBOLD: Yes, absolutely.
I think that we have our finger on the heartbeat of that climate change a
lot more than most, because we are directly affected. Those hot days
during the summer can be a little bit uncomfortable. But when there is no
snow during the wintertime, you can`t snowboard or you can`t ski. And it`s
not one of those things where you`re uncomfortable for a little while.
It`s one of those things where you`re withheld from something that you`re
incredibly passionate about.
And people love the outdoors. And I think that skiers and snowboarders are
some of the first to notice.
HAYES: Katharine Hayhoe from Texas Tech University and snowboarder and
Olympic bronze medalist Alex Deibold, thank you both.
DEIBOLD: Thank you.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening.
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