ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 30, 2014
Guest: Ilyse Hogue, Louise Slaughter, Luis Gutierrez, Mary Kay Henry, Rev.
Charles Williams, Deanna Zandt, Clay Johnson
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight, we are ALL IN.
CROWD: I believe that we will win.
HAYES: It was a high court ruling with World Cup theatrics.
CROWD: Hobby Lobby wins.
HAYES: In the end, five Supreme Court justices decided today that for-
profit corporations hold specific religious rights.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Religious freedom has not been vanquished.
HAYES: Tonight, why this ruling was decades in the making, thanks to
Antonin Scalia, Bill Clinton, and a little bit of peyote.
Then, the president throws down the gauntlet on immigration.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Congress will not do
their job, at least we can do ours.
HAYES: Residents of Detroit make a plea for water to the United Nations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You cannot deny people access to water.
HAYES: Facebook psychology experiment on its own users are coming back to
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should a consumer be concerned about this?
HAYES: Right now, on ALL IN.
HAYES: Good evening, from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
A deeply divided Supreme Court today found a heretofore unrecognized right
to the exercise of religious conscience by for-profit corporations.
Writing for the all male 5-4 majority, Justice Samuel Alito ruled private
for-profit corporations, the Hobby Lobby craft chain owned by evangelical
Christians and Conestoga Woods Specialties Corporations owned by
Mennonites, can opt out of paying for the kind of insurance coverage that
would provide all FDA approved methods of contraception for female flows.
The four specific methods of birth control those objected to do not
terminate pregnancies or caused abortions. Bu the court ruled the
companies` sincerely held religious belief that they do is enough to exempt
them from federal law.
In a stinging 35-page dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called it,
quote, "a decision of startling breadth," declaring that, quote, "the
exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial
legal entities." And reminding her colleagues of the importance of women`s
autonomy on this area, she quoted the 22-year-old decision that reaffirmed
women`s right to abortion in this country. "The ability of women to
participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation has been
facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives."
It is precisely that control that critics of today`s decisions believe was
sacrificed by the five justice majority with Samuel Alito writing for them.
Joining me now, Ilyse Hogue. She`s president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Ilyse, I`ve heard two different kinds of reactions from people that are on
the other side of this from you. So, I want to walk through them.
One is this is not about birth control. This is about religious freedom.
It`s about narrowly construes a statute to protect the religious exercise
of the family that happens to own Hobby Lobby. Birth control shouldn`t be
at the center of our understanding of this case.
What do you say to that?
ILYSE HOGUE, PRESIDENT, NARAL: I think it`s fundamentally about birth
control and in fact it`s more than that. It`s about five male justices
actually saying that discrimination exclusively against women in our health
care system is not discrimination at all and that`s deeply disturbing.
Look, Chris, we all value religious liberty. It`s one of the values our
country was built on. But what we don`t value is the idea that anyone,
much less our boss, can impose their ideology on us and us alone. In this
case, it was very specifically not just about birth control, but about very
specific kinds of birth control that these bosses said they`re not going to
give their employees even though the employees paid for that health care
coverage, with their own wages.
And I think it`s a sad day for women, it`s a sad day for equality and quite
honesty, it`s a sad day for religious liberty and Supreme Court.
HAYES: So, the other way that I`ve heard people respond to this, people
who aren`t in sort of the zealously pro-Hobby Lobby camp, is basically, OK,
groups like yours, like NARAL and Planned Parenthood, are making too much
of this. I mean, women can get contraception if they needed. It`s not
that expensive. ACA still will provide it to most women who are covered
under this mandated coverage.
Is that true?
HOGUE: No, it`s not true. Actually, I think there`s both a tangible
concern, but there`s also a moral concern. The tangible concern is that
these particular types of contraception that they`re objecting to are
actually -- somebody ran the numbers today, amount to a month of wages for
a low-wage worker. You`re asking that worker to pay twice, and this may be
the very kind of contraception that works best for them and their families.
So, tangibly, tens of thousands of women`s health coverage hangs in the
balance with this decision effective immediately. Those stories were not
heard in the courtroom. It was all about the CEO of Hobby Lobby and his
And then from the moral perspective, we`re talking about basic fundamental
equality -- equality to make our own decisions about what we purchase with
our own compensation packages. I think that goes to fundamental freedom
and I think that the court`s decision should send a chill up all Americans`
HAYES: Justice Alito writing for the majority today, essentially limited
the holding it to closely held corporations, which sounds like a small
group. It`s basically I think 50 percent of shares owned by less than five
people. That covers as much as 90 percent of American businesses and
interestingly enough about 52 percent of the American workforce.
The court today, however, did leave open the possibility of the government,
the federal government, directly paying for the women who would not have
coverage via this decision.
Is that something that NARAL and other groups like them will be advocating
for as the fix in the upcoming weeks and months?
HOGUE: Well, absolutely. I mean, we think no woman can be left behind.
The Affordable Care Act went a very long way in makes sure that women were
covered equally in terms of our health care options, and we`re looking to
Congress, we`re looking to the administration, to make sure that that
promise holds true.
We also think it`s really important that voters understand where their
elected representatives are on this issue, 99 percent of women in this
country use birth control at some point in our lives and this is a very
mainstream concern. It`s an economic concern. It`s a health concern. And
voters need to know where their elected officials stand.
HAYES: By that, you mean specifically on the court`s Hobby Lobby decision?
HOGUE: On the Hobby Lobby decision and remedies promised to the women left
HAYES: Ilyse Hogue from NARAL --thank you so much.
HOGUE: Thank you.
HAYES: Today`s extremely polarizing controversial Supreme Court decision
is built upon a piece of legislation that at its time was so
uncontroversial, it passed almost unanimously out of the U.S. Senate.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: What this law basically says is that the
government should be held to a very high level of proof before it
interferes with someone`s free exercise of religion. This judgment is
shared by the people of the United States as well as by the Congress. We
believe strongly that we can never, we can never be too vigilant in this
HAYES (voice-over): Today`s Supreme Court decision was not about the First
Amendment. It was about a law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of
CLINTON: We all have a shared desire here to protect perhaps the most
precious of all American liberties, religious freedom.
HAYES: RFRA passed Congress with broad bipartisan support and was signed
by President Clinton as a direct response to Supreme Court case argued
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Supreme Court takes up the extent to which the
law can interfere in religious activities. At issue, Native American
tribal ritual which involves the use of hallucinogenic drugs.
HAYES: The case was Employment Division versus Smith and centered around
drugs taken during religious rituals by two Native Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hallucinogenic drug peyote comes from a cactus
plant and has been used in religious ceremonies since the days of the
Aztecs. Its use by Native American Indians have been exempted by the
narcotics laws by the U.S. government, then 15 states. In Oregon where
peyote is unlawful, Alfred Smith and Galen Black were fired from their job
as drug and alcohol counselors and denied unemployment benefits.
ALFRED SMITH, PLAINTIFF: We have a right. Constitution says we have a
right to our religion and our belief.
HAYES: The case was argued during the peak.
CARL STEIN, NBC NEWS: The state says there are limits to religious
freedom, it says if drug use is allowed, why not polygamy or ritual
sacrifice? At a time of increased concern about drugs, the high court may
be reluctant to permit drug use any under circumstances.
HAYES: In April of 1990, the court ruled that Smith and Black could be
prosecuted for the use of drugs in religious rituals, and found that such
prosecutions did not violate the First Amendment right to religious
The opinion`s author, Justice Antonin Scalia.
ANTONIN SCALIA, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I suppose you could say a law
against human sacrifice would, you know, affect only the Aztecs. But I
don`t know that you have to make -- you have to make exceptions.
HAYES: The decision was seen by some as an attack on religious freedom.
Enter Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch.
The two co-sponsored the Religious Freedom Act which slams the Supreme
Court for its insufficient deference to religious exercise, saying
government should not substantially burden religious exercise without
compelling justification. The law created a stronger protection than even
what the first amendment provides. Over the next couple years, it would be
used by a number of different religious groups.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For example, Amish groups have used the law to fight
requirements that they put orange safety triangles on their buggies,
symbols they found offensive. More mainstream churches use the law to
fight zoning rules that stop them from distributing food.
HAYES: While part of the law was overturned in 1997, it has largely been
That is until today. When RFRA was cited over 100 times by Justice Samuel
Alito in a decision that allows closely held corporations to refuse to pay
for insurance coverage for contraception based on that corporation`s
religious beliefs. But that`s a far cry from what those members of
Congress voted for back in 1993.
HAYES: Joining me now is Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Democrat from New
York. She was a co-sponsor of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of
So, Congresswoman, as someone who`s a co-sponsor of this legislation, what
is your response to Justice Alito telling you, you voted for something that
made today`s rule possible?
REP. LOUISE SLAUGHTER (D), NEW YORK: He can tell me that until the cows
come home, doesn`t make it true. And, frankly, I think they`re hiding
behind that Religious Freedom Act. I think the real cause here is the
Affordable Care Act. That`s the thing that they really couldn`t stand for.
That`s what`s happened.
But I`m not -- I`m disappointed but not surprised because this is the court
in Citizens United that told us all that a corporation was a person.
HAYES: Did you -- did you think back in 1993 that you were creating a new
set for rights of for-profit corporations --
SLAUGHTER: Of course not.
HAYES: -- to exempt themselves from --
SLAUGHTER: Of course not. What they`ve done, Chris, is taken away the
religious freedom of their employees. They have to comply with the
religious freedom of their employers. Nobody would write a law like that
in the United States. Most courts would never have upheld anything like
Let me tell you, this court is different. And Senator Murphy from
Connecticut and I are preparing resolutions. We have quite a number of
sponsors and 200 law professors behind us, as well as some organizations,
to bring this court and the same code of ethics that all federal judges are
We have evidence, and proof, that they spend far too much time in politic
circles and giving speeches and being at political functions which federal
judges cannot do. And since most of them were not federal judges, we think
it`s a darn good idea for them to have this ethics oath as well.
I understand that`s not going to affect what happened here today. I think
today was really poor judgment on their part. I thought that Citizens
United case was terrible. I`ve learned to respect that.
And what do you expect from a court that says they can hide themselves
behind 250 feet away from people who have no right to go there to protest
but 35 feet against a clinic which has been threatened, fire bombed, acid
thrown at them, everybody harassed, people have been killed. I know of no
such instance of any of that ever happening to the Supreme Court of the
But they gave themselves a buffer, 250 feet -- 35 feet for clinic, can`t do
it. Freedom of speech.
The inconsistency of what they`re doing is mind-boggling.
HAYES: Do you think there will be in desire from your colleagues across
the aisle -- I`m very curious -- if the president were to move forward and
find administrative remedy which the federal government manages to pay
directly for those women who work for employers like Hobby Lobby, what do
you anticipate from your Republican colleagues?
SLAUGHTER: Chris, we did all that. What we did, we exempted those
religious concerns, and we accommodated everything that we could. And
remember, there was nuns in the country that were so wonderful about
getting the health care bill passed.
We have accommodated. We are not -- a corporation is not a person, even
the Supreme Court says so. If 90 percent of the companies in this country
are privately held, any one of them could be publicly held whenever they
want to, what happens then?
SLAUGHTER: The precedent set here is mind-boggling. I don`t want to keep
talking about the Religious Freedom Act, because everybody knows that`s not
what this was based on. It`s based on the Affordable Care Act.
HAYES: You just think the court was looking for something to ground this
ruling in. You are generally distrustful of the good faith of the majority
SLAUGHTER: Or their legal acumen, one or the other.
HAYES: So -- so then what do you think --
SLAUGHTER: Maybe both.
HAYES: What do you think is next here when you talk about the precedent
here? Can you imagine other cases, Justice Alito sort of hand waves at the
possibility of transfusions or vaccination? He says, we`re not touching
that here -- but it seems to open the door.
SLAUGHTER: The fact that he said that this particular judgment right here
does not affect those, doesn`t mean a judgment coming in a couple, three
months or the next term won`t.
SLAUGHTER: They have set a precedent.
HAYES: Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, thank you so much. I appreciate
SLAUGHTER: I find it very dangerous. Thank you very much.
HAYES: Thank you.
Coming up, President Obama does something he rarely does, this time on the
issue of immigration. That story is next.
HAYES: Ever feel like there`s some remote malevolent power out there just
messing with you in subtle ways just to see what happens? Wait until you
hear what the world`s largest social network was up to, coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If House Republicans are really concerned about me taking too many
executive actions, the best solution to that is passing bills. Pass a
bill. Solve a problem. Don`t just say no, on something that everybody
agrees needs to be done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President came before the nation today to say to House Republicans,
OK, time is up. I`ve seen enough.
The comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate one year ago
that has been sitting and waiting for a vote in the Republican-controlled
House and could very likely pass right now if it was brought to the House
when Congress returns from vacation, that bill is dead. It`s dead because
of the demagoguery around the humanitarian crisis at the border has made it
clear now the base of the Republican Party will not budge on immigration
legislation. If anything, it`s managed to move to the right on the issue.
That is what the president more or less acknowledged today. And instead,
he said he would be taking executive action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a
serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Before he takes any action, the president says he`s waiting on
cabinet recommendations likely before the end of the summer. In the
meantime, he`s also asking Congress to approve more than $2 billion in
emergency funds to help the government respond to the large numbers of
immigrants crossing the country at the southwest border.
Joining me now is Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Democrat from Illinois, chair
of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force.
Congressman, you have been outspoken, along with several others, calling
for the president to take executive action. What is your reaction to
today`s announcement from him?
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: You know, Chris, you could hear the
frustration in his voice. I appreciate it. I appreciate that frustration
and I share it with the president of the United States.
And I just want to put this in some kind of context, right? I mean, the
Republicans said, we don`t want the Senate bill and the president said,
let`s craft one in the House. The Republicans said, we want to do it
piecemeal, and he said, OK. They even said --
HAYES: They wouldn`t take yes for an answer.
GUTIERREZ: They came back to us and said, everybody can`t be a citizen
right away. Did the president walk away from the table? At no time did he
walk away from the table and now as you suggest, they took the issue of
children, right? At our border, humanitarian crisis to double down and
they`re not going to do any.
But moreover, last week, Chairman Goodlatte of Judiciary Committee, who at
the beginning of the year, this was going to be a big thing, immigration
reform, said the president`s executive action that allowed 600,000
undocumented, used to be documented, the DREAMers, that thing should just
be thrown asunder.
Look, the president has the authority under the law, I hope one day, Chris,
you and I can have a conversation so you and I can look at this -- because
I think the American people should learn about the statutes on the book,
right, and show the president has prosecutorial discretion, and not only
that, I have the signature of a number of Republican high-ranking
Republicans who have signed such a letter.
HAYES: OK. So explain that, right? Because if the president is going to
do something, the question comes, what should he do, what can he do?
What`s your recommendation on that regard?
GUTIERREZ: Here`s my recommendation -- look, if the DREAMers are good and
the youth, let them be raised by the mom and dads and extend it to the mom
and dads of those DREAMers so they have a mom and dad along their side.
Those are the people who inculcated. Look, Chris --
HAYES: Let me stop you there for folk who haven`t tracked the policy here.
The deferred action announcement by the president in 2012, which allowed
children who were born -- who were brought here as children to no longer
face the scourge of deportation, you`re saying extend using that same
executive architecture, extend that to their immediate family.
GUTIERREZ: To their moms and to their dads -- yes, exactly to them.
And, then, look, if we`re going to deal with children, Chris, we have 5
million children in the united states whose parents are undocumented. We
know that just in the last year, 72,000 American citizen children lost
their mom or dad due to a deportation.
GUTIERREZ: And, thirdly, why do people have to leave the country to pick
up a visa? I`m an American citizen. I marry somebody who`s an immigrant.
Maybe she`s undocumented in the United States. Then they say she has to
return to Dublin or Mexico or the Philippines for 10 years before we can
consummate that marriage. The president can take those kinds of actions.
Now, I will say one thing. You know, if you want to talk about brands,
just like the Republicans said, no, no, no, the president`s yes should be
broad, compassionate, and just generous as he could make it be, because I
think that`s what`s in his heart.
And he has said that he has instructed Homeland Security and other members.
He started that process three months ago. I want to use that point just to
show how far the president, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, the president
said to his secretary of homeland security, you know the recommendations I
asked you to make to ease deportations, I don`t want you to make them
because I don`t want to upset Republicans.
And what was their response to the president of the United States? We`re
going to take you to court, going to sue you if you use presidential
HAYES: So, finally, on the question of the unaccompanied minors -- I mean,
at the same time the president is talking about this, right, that he`s
talking at essentially we think some kind of moving toward executive action
is going to reduce the amount of deportations, he`s also asking for
authority to speed up the deportation process for those unaccompanied
minors who are showing up at the border who right now have a process, they
have due process. They get a court date.
He`s asking us to be able to basically deport them right away. Am I
understanding that correctly?
GUTIERREZ: Yes, well, he`s asking for money because it costs money to put
these children in a safe place.
GUTIERREZ: But I just want to start with this. You know, I`m no -- what
would I say, protector of the president of apologist. You`ve got to give
I mean, the Republicans` view response to the children at the border are
that they`re bringing disease and they`re coming to take away our jobs.
That`s the way they treat the children at the border.
I mean, this administration has treated it as a humanitarian crisis,
bringing in the Red Cross, bringing in Health and Human Services. And so,
the first thing is to treat the children well. Many, thousands of them,
have already reunited with family members here.
I believe, as probably you do, that there`s a process in place. And so,
we`re going to have to discuss that. But part of it is we`re going to need
additional funds if we`re going to protect the children.
HAYES: We`ll see.
GUTIERREZ: Here`s what I would -- here`s what I would say to the president
of the United States. Look, everybody that qualified, everybody that
qualified for relief under the Senate version of immigration reform, the
president should figure out a way to give them relief.
HAYES: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, that is a bold, bold call. Thank you
GUTIERREZ: Thank you.
HAYE: Coming up, the good news out of the Supreme Court if you`re a glass
is half full type of person.
HAYES: Public sector low unions are the strongest remaining part of the
American labor movement. They represent cops, teachers, all kinds of
government employees and communities around the country. If you kill
public sector unions, you would deal a death blow to organized labor in the
And today, final day of this year`s term, the Supreme Court could have done
it. They could have gutted the public sector unions and the good news is
that they did not. In its decision on Harris v. Quinn today, the court
issued a narrow ruling that applies only to the specific conditions of the
case before it.
The bad news is what the court did do. Like all unions, public sector
unions collect dues from the workers they negotiate on behalf of. Those
dues are compulsory because union negotiates contracts for the entire
workplace. And at issue in Harris v. Quinn was whether the Service
Employees International Union of Illinois could compel membership dues from
home health aides they represent in that state.
The court said no, which means SEIU can no longer require members to help
pay for the work it does on their behalf and union protections for some of
the most vulnerable workers in the country are now under threat.
HAYES: At issue in Harris V. Quinn was whether the Service Employee`s
International Union of Illinois could compel membership dues from home
health aides they represent in that state; which means, SEIU can no longer
require members to help pay for the work it does on their behalf and union
protections for some of the most vulnerable workers in the country are now
And, joining me now is the president of that union, Mary Kay Henry. Mary,
can you explain to me first what this workforce is like and why you think
it is important that they specifically have collective bargaining?
MARY KAY HENRY, PRESIDENT OF SEIU: Yes, 20 years ago, Chris, in the state
of Illinois, women, primarily women of color, African-American, immigrant
women, joined together and said, we need to improve our jobs and the
quality of services we provide to seniors and disabled in Illinois.
And, so home care workers all across this country over the past two decades
have said we are going to be invisible no more. The work we do is the
backbone of the American Health Care System for seniors who are exploding
in terms of a part of our population, 10,000 turned 65 every day.
And, home care job is one of the fastest growing jobs in the U.S. economy.
And, so, these women, through their courage, and their perseverance, have
taken wages that used to be $6 or $7 in Illinois and by the end of this
year, they will earn $13 an hour.
They won health care five years ago. They have paid education and training
and they are on their way to trying to make sure we can add retirement
security for these workers because they do not participate in the Social
Security System --
HAYES: So --
HENRY: -- And, so, this is an incredibly important decision today.
HAYES: They do not participate in the Social Security System. That is a
very important point.
HAYES: You can work a whole year on this, right?
HAYES: And, there is no money in the social security account when you are
HAYES: So, this was something that the court -- there are two issues here.
One is who pays these women? Why are they -- I think people when you think
of public employees, they understand teacher, firefighter. I do not think
they necessarily associate that with home health care workers and that was
part of what was at issue. Who is paying for these workers?
HENRY: The Medicaid system in Illinois is the part that provides it, so
taxpayers in Illinois pay for the home care system. Other parts of the
home care system are private insurance dollars or people pay out of pocket
in a cash exchange for home care providers that they bring directly into
their home. But, the women affected today, by today`s decision, are
employed by the state of Illinois through a relationship with their
HAYES: But the paycheck is from the -- is from the state of Illinois?
HAYES: So, the question then is what does today`s decision mean for these
women in Illinois? And, across the country who are providing this
incredibly important labor that is often underappreciated and undervalued
by the market in the absence of collective bargaining?
HENRY: Before Johnson, one of our home care leaders in Illinois said that
what she is concerned about in terms of the impact of this decision is that
wage is could stagnate and turnover could increase, because -- And, she
says we are not going backwards. Again, we are going to move forward.
And, so, we are determined to make sure that no court case stands in the
way of home care workers being able to join together, have a strong voice
to advocate for seniors and disabled that they serve everyday.
HAYES: Now, the court today did not touch the broader issue of public
sector unions. There is a case called Abood which upholds the
constitutionality of public sector unions having compulsory do`s. That
said, Alito did not have kind things to say about Abood.
The Abood court`s analysis is questionable on several grounds. Some these
were noted or appellant before the time of decision. But, several have
become more evident and troubling in the years since. This is him telling
you, Mary Kay Henry, and Liz Sanders have asked me and everyone else in the
public sector unions, we are coming for you next.
HENRY: Well, more importantly, he is threatening our entire nation. 9/11
operators, family service providers, public health nurses, firefighters,
teachers, that being able to join together and make sure you have a strong
voice in being able to create good jobs in this country, and improve the
quality of service in our communities is not OK to justice Alito and we are
not going to allow him to stand in the way of millions of workers joining
together to insist that we deserve better.
HAYES: There are think tanks and legal entities looking for the next
teacher plaintiff to do a full challenge. That will be coming up. Mary
Kay Henry, President of the SEIU. Thank you.
HENRY: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Coming up. Imagine if you had to pay as much for water
as internet access or even your cell phone. In one American City, that is
true for a lot of people and you will never guess what that is leading to.
That story is next.
HAYES: Water service is being cut off to thousands of Detroit residents
and is now a human rights issue with the United Nations responding. It
seems a remarkable thing to have to say in 2014 that human beings in the
U.S. should have access to clean drinking water, no matter how poor they
are, but that is what it has come to in Detroit.
And, after non-profit organizations petitioned the United Nations, Catarina
De Albuquerque, an expert at the UN Office of the high commission for human
rights saying, "The move to cut off water violates international standards.
When there is genuine inability to pay, human rights simply forbids
disconnection," she said. In April, the city of Detroit set a target of
cutting service to 3,000 customers a week who are more than $150 behind on
their bills; reportedly shutting off service to 3,000 of those residents in
In May, water department sent out 46,000 warnings and cut off service to
more than 4,500 residents. Now, we all understand that generally speaking,
nonpayment ultimately leads to a service cut off where utilities are
concerned. But, here is the thing. In Detroit, residents` average monthly
water bill is $65 -- $65.
The recommendation from the Environmental Protection Agency is that
families spend no more than 2.5 percent of their income -- pretax income on
water and sewage. Some Detroit residents are paying 20 percent of their
pretax income. In fact, half of 300,000 residents in Detroit are
delinquent on their water bill. And, so are some other notable residents.
Consider this, between the VA Hospital, Joe Louis Arena, and Ford Field,
there are there are 267,000 in outstanding bills. Somehow, they are not
getting they water turned off, however. Joining me now, Reverend Charles
Williams, president of the National Action Network, Michigan Chapter and
Pastor of King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit. Reverend, who
is responsible for this? I mean who is doing this? Who is the person in
charge that can make this stop?
REV. CHARLES WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Thank you for
having me, Chris. First of all, we should know that the buck stops in one
place and that is at Governor Rick Snyder`s desk. He is the one who is in
charge of the city of Detroit. He sent an emergency manager, which
effectively wiped out our mayor and effectively wiped out our city council.
They can do nothing but rubber stamp with the emergency manager or Governor
Snyder says. So, the reality is Governor Snyder is the only one who can
put a moratorium on shutoffs. Governor Snyder is the only one who can put
together a plan or lower the rates. They need to be lower for residents in
the city of Detroit.
HAYES: The water company at issue you are saying is a public entity that
is part of the city which now is reporting to the governor because of the
emergency manager law.
REV. WILLIAMS: Correct.
HAYES: OK. So, it is --
REV. WILLIAMS: And, you know --
HAYES: Yes? Please.
REV. WILLIAMS: No, I was just going to say -- I mean this is what we are
fighting against is that -- you know, at the end of the day the governor is
in control and he is not saying anything at this point.
HAYES: Why did -- where did this come from? I mean it just seems like
such a -- to people watching this from the outside, this seems a truly
twisted and cruel bizarre turn for any public agency to take to turn off
people`s water in the 21st century in the United States of America. Why is
REV. WILLIAMS: You know, can I submit to you that the same reasons why
Hobby Lobby does not want to pay for health care, the same reasons why they
fought, right wing conservatives fought unemployment extensions, the same
reason why they shut the government down many times, the same reason why
they shut the government down many times, the same reason they would not
raise the minimum wage. I mean, this is because of greed. This is
disenfranchisement. This is privatization. And, at the end of the day, it
is only going to further push Americans into abject poverty.
HAYES: So, the situation right now is you have the Detroit water authority
is sending people turnoff notices. Am I right?
REV. WILLIAMS: You know, I drove up to my church about three months ago
and there was a young man using our water faucet. He had about a couple of
kids inside of his car. And, he was filling up a water pail, and he looked
startled when he saw me. And, I said, "It is OK. You know, I understand
you might need water."
So, organizations across the state of Detroit moratorium now, solidarity
Saturday, people`s water board, and so many others, we decided that we will
come together and we will fight back against this. And, the best way to
fight back against it was to engage the United Nations.
Unfortunately, it is a shame. It is an embarrassment that the city of
Detroit, the great American City that would be right across the water from
Canada would have to be lashed out by the United Nations. When you are
walking up and down the streets of the city of Detroit, you see blue
sloshes -- slashes of paint in front of houses where water have been cut
off and it is embarrassing. It is --
HAYES: Wait a second. Wait a second. Wait a second.
REV. WILLIAMS: It is not right.
HAYES: They are marking the homes publicly with blue paint when they turn
the water off?
REV. WILLIAMS: You can start at one side of the street -- You know, we
were trying to figure out how we are going to get a hold of people. But,
you can start at one side of the street and walk all the way down and you
will see blue marks on the sidewalk where people`s houses -- where people`s
water has been shut off. It is an atrocity. And, you know, we need people
to join this water fight.
Water is a human right and we stand with the United Nations. We call folks
to help us with this across the country. They can go to
nationalactionnetwork.net and they can register. Join us on July 18th in
Detroit, so that we can continue to move this march forward.
HAYES: So, it seems that you are putting this squarely on Governor Rick
Snyder in Michigan. The governor that is calling for a moratorium on
shutoffs. Reverend Charles Williams, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
REV. WILLIAMS: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Coming up, a digital age version of the "Truman Show" and you might
have been Truman and not even known it.
HAYES: Coming up, remember when you created your account on Facebook and
sort of skipped over the whole terms of service thing and you went on the
sign up button? The next story will remind you just how much you sign away
every time you log on.
HAYES: Couple weeks ago, Minnesota man came home to discover his house had
been burglarized. Very disturbing experience, but the burglar had left a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Wood notified police but then noticed
something on his computer.
JAMES WOOD, HOME OWNER: He -- he pulled up his Facebook profile and left
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Police say 26-year-old Nicholas Wig had
checked his Facebook while stealing from the house and forgotten to log
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do not you hate it when that happens? Facebook reports more than
800 million daily active users and as that story reminds us, many of them
are pretty much addicted to their news feeds. And, so, given that many of
us spend so much time on Facebook. Can you imagine the power you would
have if you could manipulate those news feeds on a systemic basis?
Say, to change people`s mood by messing what kind of information they see.
I mean now we know that Facebook did exactly that. In a massive week-long
experiment in 2012, a news which has prompted a furor among Facebook users.
Facebook data scientists working with university researchers skewed what
almost 700,000 Facebook users saw when they logged in.
Some people were shown content with the preponderance of happy and positive
words. Some were shown content analyzed as sadder than average. Company
found that people who saw more happy posts were more likely to post happy
status updates themselves and the same with negative post or emotional
states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people
to experience the same emotions without their awareness.
Facebook did not tell users it was experimenting on them. But, apparently,
since when users sign up they agree their information can be used for,
quote, "internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis,
testing and research. Now, it is important to know here that Facebook is
already manipulating all of our news feeds through its top secret super
complex algorithm. It is doing it to engage user`s and make more money.
The company`s decision to engage in a massive social experiment is a
reminder of the amazing power it holds and the potential for abuse that
comes with it. Joining me now, Deanna Zandt, co-founder and partner at Lux
Digital, author of "Share This" and Clay Johnson, co-founder of Blue State
Digital. And, when we come back, I am going to have them answer this
question. Imagine you had control of the Facebook News Feeds for the two
weeks before the 2016 election. What would you do with it? That is ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Facebook says the study fell within their
CAMERON RUSSELL (?): It is purposefully generalized, so it allows them to
utilize your data.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Should a consumer be concerned about
RUSSELL: You can read it three times and still not know really what they
are doing with your information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We are back. I am here with Deanna Zandt and Clay Johnson. And,
just before the break, I asked them if they had to control the Facebook
news feed for two weeks before the 2016 election what kind of mischief they
would get up to. Deanna, what would you do?
DEANNA ZANDT, CO-FOUNDER AND PARTNER AT LUX DIGITAL: I would show people
lots of videos of baby goats, make everybody happy on the internet. We
need a little love right now with all of this --
HAYES: So, they would be -- everyone would be in the happy control group.
ZANDT: Yes and my happy control group. But, actually -- honestly, what I
would do is I would show people the more personal intimate stories that
maybe are not getting shown to us now that we know how these algorithms are
manipulated by Facebook.
And, one of the things that I have done, discovered in the research I have
done specifically on emotional resonances within social networks is that
people are not now because they are presented with so much positivity and
so much awesomeness of everybody around them doing awesome things, they are
posting less and less more vulnerable and intimate emotional content.
HAYES: So, there is this sort of -- there is this kind of contagion --
HAYES: -- But, the contagion means that everyone has this kind of
competion or race to be like, everybody`s great. Like great day with my --
ZANDT: And, you do not actually have any idea what is going on behind the
scenes. And, this can kind of create both false senses of identity and
authenticity and it just makes people feel really bad. You know? I mean,
it just makes you feel crappy.
HAYES: Well, that -- Clay, I think part of the reason people got so upset
when they found out about this is, is there is this level of emotional
manipulation behind this. It looks like, I mean if you extend to a logical
conclusion like what if we really wanted to depress people, could we do
that? What if we just showed people news of people`s pets dying? Like,
what would that do? Like, it is you quickly go to some very, very dark
CLAY JOHNSON, CO-FOUNDER OF BLUE STATE DIGITAL: Well, you know, this is a
very dark place because where this has taken us is Facebook has a fiduciary
responsibility to promote outrage. What the study really said is, when
things are boring, people use Facebook less.
JOHNSON: And, if they are promoted with bland content, they type less into
the box and produce less content for Facebook. Less content for Facebook
means less pages to show advertising on. And, so Facebook has learned
that, "Hey! You know what, if we really want to make money, we need to
keep people ticked off." So, what I do is I probably keep people focused
on their local issues in their local areas with their local families and
stuff that maybe they can do things about rather than stuff that they can
easily get outraged about but cannot really do anything about.
HAYES: Yes, I mean, I immediately thought about, what if Matt Drudge could
control everyone`s news feed for two weeks and, like, what could --
JOHNSON: He does.
HAYES: What could Facebook do to immigration? -- Well, he sort of does,
right. That is what is perverse, exactly.
JOHNSON: Right. What if Facebook decided to, I do not know, make five
supreme court justices hate women? You know, then this could have just
very much happened.
HAYES: Well, the point here -- the point here also, I think that people do
not have an understanding. I think the key thing to understand here about
the news feed, this thing that you are looking at when you are log in to
Facebook is, "For a long time, I think the expectation was they are not
doing anything. They are chronologically showing me the updates of the
people in my circle."
Like, I was habituated to expect that, that is all that was happening, A la
twitter, right? A friend just went skateboarding, and he just said he went
skateboarding and another friend just had this. And, I am reading it in
chronological order. That is not at all what is happening with that news
feed right now, right?
ZANDT: No, not at all. And, it has been this way for several years. They
have this algorithm as you mentioned that will show you what it considers
it`s top stories. And, that`s the kind of magic secret sauce of Facebook
and where they make their money and being able to target people both with
advertising, suggested posts, and content that they think a person is going
to find interesting or relevant in the sense that they will want to then
share it, comment it and interact on Facebook, specifically. So, we are
not being showed just straight up what is happening.
HAYES: So, to play Devil`s advocate, I mean, that just sounds like they
are trying to tailor the user experience, so that you will like it more.
ZANDT: Well, this is the whole point about social services including
Twitter, Facebook. We often say in the technology world that if you were
not paying for this service, you are the product, right?
And, this is the huge problem that we are running up against with these
services is that we have clicked that box that says agree to the terms and
conditions, but we do not know what we are signing away.
ZANDT: We do not have a way of easily understanding that. And, there is a
lot of people out there that are advocating now for an internet bill of
HAYES: So, you have some basic sense, like "Oh, I am not being
ZANDT: Yes. Maybe -- you know, maybe, if I am depressed I am not going
to, you know, get shown really depressing stuff.
JOHNSON: But, we as consumers really have to take some I think
responsibility here and understand that when we are engaging in these
services, we are always. If it is an advertising-base medium, that is the
point of advertising.
JOHNSON: It is to manipulate us into buying a car or whatever.
JOHNSON: And, if we are using these services, we have to accept that we
need to use them cautiously, we need to have good information healthy diets
and use them in a proactive way rather than passive way. If we are going
to, you know, not be as manipulated as we should be.
HAYES: But, part of the issue, right, is that the algorithm makes -- I
HAYES: -- One of the things that happened when they started fussing with
the news feed was, they were able to just turning a knob to massively
increase the traffic of BuzzFeed or -- I mean you had outlet, but all of a
sudden, there were 300 percent growth and all these crazy explosions. And,
it just makes you realize the power they have. I mean Facebook can just
say, we are going to change one little thing and you are going to get twice
as many readers.
ZANDT: Yes. Absolutely. And, this is why it is much more valuable --
JOHNSON: Now, what if they say they want to topple the government of
HAYES: Right, exactly.
ZANDT: Yes. -- much more valuable to be encouraging people to participate
in multiple spheres so that not all of their eggs are in one basket. I am
actually work on a project created to, it`s called the weather report on
And, we are going to be creating a social service around emotional health
and being able to hold spaces for positive and negative emotions, be able
to teach people how to have emotional I.Q. around this stuff because it is
so dangerous to be so easily manipulated by these services.
JOHNSON: My recommendation is to take an outrage break.
JOHNSON: Just stop being outraged for a week.
HAYES: That is probably a good idea. The internet makes it hard. The
world makes it hard sometimes. The world plus the internet makes it hard.
Deanna Zandt and Clay Johnson, thank you both. That is "All In" for this
evening. "The Rachel Maddow Show" starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST OF "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": I am outraged by the
HAYES: How dare you.
MADDOW: Thanks, Chris. Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
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