ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
July 29, 2014
Guest: Julia Ioffe, Daniel Levy, Luis Gutierrez, Irin Carmone, Deanna
Zandt, Nancy Giles, Charles Duhigg
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight, we are ALL IN.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s not the new Cold War.
HAYES: With wars on two continents threatening to spiral out of control,
tonight, a diplomatic turning point -- new sanctions on Russia and new
strains on the American relationship with Israel.
Plus, a new GOP theory of what`s really driving the president`s immigration
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He sees this as an equivalent of the Democratic Party
voter registration drive.
HAYES: How Satan is profiting from Hobby Lobby, why OKCupid deliberately
sent its members on bad dates, and how Republicans really feel about
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s all a scam started by
Democrats at the White House.
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
In a summer of conflict and war exploding all across the world, President
Obama was working the levers of diplomacy on multiple fronts today, some
with more success than others. After American intelligence released what
it says is evidence of Russia not just arming the separatists in Ukraine,
not just providing the tools which the separatists have been accused of
shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but actually firing artillery
from their side of the border into Ukraine, a diplomatic turning point
today. European Union, which has been by far the most reluctant party to
put heavy economic pressure on Russia, announced today they would do just
that -- passing their most sweeping sanctions to date against Russia`s
finance, defense and energy sectors.
And President Obama unveiled a corresponding set of expanded sanctions by
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Today is a reminder that the United States means what it says, and
we will rally the international community in standing up for the rights and
freedom of people around the world. In other words, today, Russia is once
again isolating itself from the international community, setting back
decades of genuine progress. And it doesn`t have to come to this. It
didn`t have to come to this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Kremlin has yet to respond to the new rounds of U.S./E.U.
sanctions, but Russia has previously vowed to retaliate against Europeans
companies with interest inside its borders.
Joining me now, Julia Ioffe, senior editor at "The New Republic", where
she`s been covering this story very closely.
So, the big question so far has been -- how to apply pressure to Vladimir
Putin from the U.S. and Europe when Putin clearly has his own calculation
of interest such that he seems willing to bear any kind of international
program or outrage because he cares that much about who`s governing in his
backyard. So, the question is, is this a game-changer?
JULIA IOFFE, THE NEW REPUBLIC: I think it very well might be. And you
know, you asked how you can put pressure on Vladimir Putin, exactly like
this. You know, the game he was playing before the crash of Malaysia
Airlines Flight 17, was to divide and conquer the Europeans, to create
splits and factions within the E.U., to create, you know, like one party
that was against sanctions while another was for it.
Now, all of those differences have fall on the wayside after the crash of
the jetliner. And, you know, frankly, these are really tough sanctions
brought from the U.S. and the E.U. You know, you have people saying that
even companies who aren`t sanctioned -- nobody from the West is doing
business with them just because they don`t know who`s next on the list.
So, you know, Putin talks tough, that he`s willing to talk any amount of
economic pain for geopolitical gain, but that`s not true. And I think once
these sanctions start to have a chilling effect, they already have, but
once they start doing it even more, we`ll see just how much he blusters.
HAYES: Yes, there`s already some metrics to indicate that the round of
sanctions implemented thus far are having an economic effect in terms of
the Russian stock market, capital flight particularly. Jack Lew at
Treasury was talking to a reporter today, talking about some of things
they`ll be looking at.
Is there any evidence to suggest fracturing inside Russia around Putin`s
strategy as this economic round of coercive diplomacy starts to hit
IOFFE: I think there might be some pressure from businesses and from
oligarchs, although they`ve been so heeled and well-trained to be his lap
dogs since the arrest of Mikhail Khodakovsky in 2003, that I think the
pressure is not really going to come from there.
You have to remember that when Putin came to power in 2000, the average
wage in Russia was $50. It`s $1,000 now.
IOFFE: And this is a key -- this is a key part is the cornerstone of his
legitimacy. Not just his rule but his legitimacy, this tacit social
contract with the Russians, that if they stay out of government, he will
make their lives and he will make economic conditions in the country better
And this is -- that`s why they can leave politics to him. If that starts
to crumble, which it very well might under these -- you know, under these
sanctions, some of the banks that the U.S. sanctioned today are really
major banks that have a lot of, you know, average people depositing their
paychecks in there. You know, they`re massive, massive banks.
You know, the U.S. officials said today they`ve already sanctioned five out
six major state-owned Russian banks. That`s huge. Once it affects the
average Russian, economic unrest is not something Putin does very well.
HAYES: That`s interesting. He fears that more than political unrest in
IOFFE: It would cause --
IOFFE: The problem is it could cause political unrest.
HAYES: Finally, is there a way to get off the crash course? I mean, the
president today reiterating we`re not in a new Cold War. The way all this
has gone basically the Maidan in Kiev, and from the uprising there, to all
that`s followed after it, is a kind of ratcheting up on both sides. And,
we do something, Russia responds. Russia does something, we respond. Now,
we are at this point where things are just building toward each other, is
there an off-ramp?
IOFFE: Yes. I mean, U.S. officials are saying that there`s been an off-
ramp the whole time, that it`s a chief plan proposed by Ukrainian President
Petro Poroshenko. It calls for decentralizing Ukraine, protecting Russian
speakers, you know, closer relationship with Russia.
But, you know, so far -- but so far Putin has been willing to get that off-
ramp. We`ll see if this added pressure of sanction, which even people who
are close to Putin are saying are serious and having an impact, we`ll see
if that pushes him back to the bargaining table.
HAYES: Julia Ioffe from "The New Republic" -- thank you.
All right. Speaking of diplomacy, a truly astounding baffling diplomatic
development today between the U.S. and one of its closest allies on what
was the bloodiest day in the three-week conflict in Gaza. Israel pounding
the territory with airstrikes and artillery shelling that left 128
Palestinians dead and 1.7 million Gaza residents without power or water
after the main power station was struck.
The continuing devastation and bloodshed has put a severe strain in
U.S./Israel relations particularly over the last few days, the White House
publicly calling for a cease-fire. Israel asserting they`ll continue until
they get their mission accomplished. And much of the Israeli press and the
political class absolutely hammering Secretary of State John Kerry for
attempting to bring about a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY DANON, ISRAELI POLITICIAN: You do not negotiate with the Hamas. You
do not beg with the Hamas. You make them beg. What Secretary Kerry did in
the last week was a mistake. You put Israel and Hamas in the same level.
It`s like I will tell you that the U.S. and al Qaeda are in the same level.
Secretary Kerry`s proposal was an insult for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, Israel Channel 1 aired what they said was a transcript of a
private call between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu. A purportedly tense conversation in which Obama forcefully
demands Israel cease its operation in Gaza. It`s a leak that if real would
represent a gross violation of diplomatic protocol. But a quick glance of
the transcript translated from Hebrew by "The Times of Israel" suggests
that the whole thing is completely bogus.
It reads like a cartoon robot version of each side`s imagine talking
President Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate unilateral
ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: and what will Israel receive in exchange for a cease-
I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire. Silence will be met with
Hamas broke all previous cease-fires, it`s a terrorist organization
dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities
The White House and the prime minister`s office issued strong denials, both
sending out a series of two tweets within minutes of each other that use
the exact same language verbatim, identical.
We`ve seen reports of an alleged POTUS and Netanyahu transcript. Neither
reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality.
Shocking and disappointing, someone would think to misrepresenting a
private convo between POTUS and the PM in fabrications to Israel press.
And part of what`s driving the Israeli government`s position, Netanyahu
saying last night, quote, "This could be a long campaign" is near unanimity
of Israeli public opinion right now, 86.5 percent opposing a cease-fire in
a recent poll.
And this video purportedly released today by Hamas gives you some idea of
what`s driving the fear behind Israelis support for the war. You`re seeing
militants from Gaza entering from tunnels into Israel where last night,
five Israeli soldiers were killed.
The Hamas military commander appearing on TV today said there will be no
cease-fire without lifting the siege on Gaza that`s been in place for
Daniel Levy was a negotiator in Palestinian talks under Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak and the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva
initiative. He`s now Middle East program director of European Council on
Foreign Relations and he told us this evening what he thinks about
diplomatic back and forth between the U.S. and Israel.
DANIEL LEVY, EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS You know, Chris, I wish
I had a better answer for you than to say that really in the Israeli press
and in senior Israeli official circles, to the extent to which it has been
open season on the Obama administration since day one, this is just become
an unfettered, unprecedented, I think, onslaught against Secretary Kerry
and against the president. It`s unfortunately part of a broader phenomenon
where during this conflict, the Israeli media has really abandoned any
sense of doing its job responsibly. In some areas, there`s been notable
exceptions but they`re rare, and has been a mouthpiece of the government.
The Israeli government, sadly, has grown used to a reality where it can
drag the American administration through the mud, it can hurl any insult at
the administration either anonymously or sometimes named. The defense
minister did it in person not anonymously, and there`s no consequence for
that because of the bizarre way your politics plays out and this is
It also, by the way, means that when Israel complains why isn`t America
more effective in the region, well, one of the reasons it`s not more
effective is because its allies who does everything to back up treats it
HAYES: We also have a real substantive gap between the position of the
White House and the position of the Netanyahu government. The White House
wants a cease-fire as soon as possible, is working through Secretary Kerry
to get it. The Netanyahu government has basically said we have certain
objections we want to see happen, the destruction of tunnels, the
demilitarization of Hamas and Gaza, those are the conditions, and let us
finish the job, more or less.
LEVY: Well, except here`s the disconnect, Chris. The Israeli government
said it wanted a cease-fire and it accepted an Egyptian proposal. And so,
I think Secretary Kerry understood his marching orders, if you like, from
the Israeli prime minister, as being get a cease-fire.
The thing that apparently wasn`t accounted for is if you want a cease-fire,
you need both sides to agree, and the thing that the original Egyptian plan
hadn`t done was to get Hamas buy in. So, actually I think Secretary Kerry
did the right thing. He said, OK, who can guarantee Hamas buy in. Right,
let`s work with the Turks, let`s work with the Qataris, let`s get Hamas to
say yes and think we were almost there. There are internal divisions
inside Hamas also. But we were almost there.
And I think the Israeli prime minister then shifted the goalpost. The
problem for the Israeli prime minister is that he has three choices. If he
wants a cease fire, which is the first choice, you need both sides. The
second choice is he could unilaterally declare an end to this, which is
what might happen, but that is much more risky, far less guaranteed than an
The third option he said he doesn`t want which is to be sucked in to a long
and perhaps very long operation and Israeli presence in Gaza. Remember,
Israeli occupied Gaza fully, not the partial occupation we have now, for
over 40 years. So, I think Israel has undermined the cease-fire effort
unfortunately and what we see is a terrible reality where, of course, the
Israelis face rocket fire and have had a lot of military losses, but
there`s a 300:1 ratio when it comes to civilian losses in terms of
Palestinian versus Israeli, the vast majority of Palestinians are
civilians. There`s been virtually no Israeli civilian casualties.
I`m not saying we should want Israelis to perish -- of course, not. But at
the same time we cannot want or accept the kind of destruction that`s going
on there, and it has to be brought to an end.
HAYES: Daniel Levy, European Council on Foreign Relations, former
negotiator in peace talks with the Israeli government -- thank you so much.
LEVY: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: We`ll be right back.
HAYES: The president isn`t getting what he wants in immigrations and some
Republicans are still furious about it all. I`ll explain, next.
HAYES: A few days left until Congress goes on recess, having once again
not done much to solve the problem they`re offset about, the House
Appropriations Committee today moved forward with a $659 million border
supplemental bill to be voted on Thursday, money to try to deal with the
humanitarian crisis at the border. It`s a fraction of the $3.7 billion
President Obama asked for and it would change a 2008 law to make it easier
to deport unaccompanied minors -- a provision many Democrats including
notably Hillary Clinton has said they do not support and yet, and yet it
still won`t get the votes of certain House Republicans like Congressman Mo
Brooks of Alabama who might as well said that President Obama is secretly
instigating desperate Honduran toddlers to show up on the border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: But the president does not want to fix the
problem. The president supports the surges in illegal alien children and
other illegal aliens coming to our country again because he sees this as
the equivalent of a Democratic Party voter registration drive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Meanwhile, Senator Harry Reid says he sees an opening to attach
comprehensive immigration reform the gang of eight bill previously passed
in the Senate with bipartisan support, to the House bill, and hash out a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, if they pass that, maybe
it`s an opening for us to have a conference on our comprehensive
immigration reform. They`re finally sends us something on immigration.
Maybe we can do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Speaker Boehner`s office immediately shut down that ideal, saying
in a statement, in part, "Let me be as clear as I can be with Senator Reid,
the House will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it
back from the Senate in any fashion, nor will we accept any attempt to add
any other comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it,
including the DREAM Act, to the House`s targeted legislation."
The Senate comprehensive immigration bill would likely pass in the House if
the speaker allowed the vote, as we`ve said here many times. But we`ve now
reached the point where the president`s 2012 executive action on children
of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. known as deferred action or
DACA. The current humanitarian crisis driven by chaos in Central America,
and unaccompanied minors showing at the border, and comprehensive
immigration reform have all merged together in a political discussion in
Washington and this comes as the president moves ever closer to further
executive action on immigration reform. "AP" reporting the administration
may act before the midterm elections to grant work permits to potentially
millions of immigrants who are in this country illegally, allowing them to
stay in the U.S. without threat of deportation, according to advocates and
lawmakers in touch with the administration.
And if you think the GOP`s angry now, just wait until that happens.
Joining me now Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Democrat from Illinois.
Congressman, I want to talk about executive action in a moment. First, the
back-and-forth in terms of what the House and Senate are passing,
particularly this changing of the 2008 protection for these unaccompanied
minors. Are Democrats going to go along with that?
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: I believe not, Chris. I have suggested
to the Democratic leadership and to the members of our Democratic caucus,
if the Republican majority in the House wants to pass this, they should
pass it with their own votes. If they have 218 votes, Chris, there`s not
much we can do.
But Democrats should have a Democratic position. A position based on our
values. And we should never undermine a bridge, undercut the rights of
If there is one thing we should agree as Democrats, actually as the
Congress of the United States is, we should not do that to the children.
They should have their day in court.
So, here`s what I believe. You`ll see very, very few if any Democrats
voting for the proposal, and I believe that as of today, the Republican
majority doesn`t have the votes. I say the president of the United States
has said to the Republicans once again -- we have a national problem, I
asked for your help, and they`ve given us a political blueprint that they
think is just going to get more votes. Their response is political. We
want to solve the national crisis.
HAYES: So, we are all seeing at the same time -- I think it`s remarkable
of the trajectory of this issue as the Republicans are lurching every right
word as every day passes, we`re seeing this now. Ted Cruz and other Senate
conservatives urging rejection of the House border security package, which
is the right most flank in this debate at the moment, because it excludes
language that would prohibit expansion of President Barack Obama`s deferred
action policies. They`re basically saying submarine this thing unless you
can block any further executive action.
What do you think about that?
GUTIERREZ: Well, here. Let`s put it this way. The president of the
United States said you guys want to do it piecemeal, I`m good. Let`s do it
that way. You don`t want the Senate bill, let`s draft a bill in the House.
You don`t want a conference, OK, let`s draft a better bill than the one in
I mean, each and every instance, the president said yes to them, but they
don`t know how to take yes for an answer, because this is a do-nothing
Congress. They cannot get over doing nothing even when the president
suggests to them that he`s ready to sit down and work it out with them.
So, I met with the president two weeks ago, met with Jeh Johnson, secretary
of the homeland security, with the group of members of Hispanic
Congressional Caucus, for breakfast last Friday. Look, Chris, there is
absolutely no doubt that the president of the United States has a
responsibility to help those affected by the broken immigration system and
I have no doubt that he`s going to act in a meaningful broad wide generous
HAYES: OK. If he does something along the contours of what`s been
reported in terms of work permits or some kind of quasi-status for folks
that takes them out of the legal shadows of fear of deportation,
Republicans are going to go nuclear. I mean, they are going to lose their
minds given everything that`s happened over the last several months.
GUTIERREZ: So, look, I don`t want to say the president said this, but
here`s my understanding from having met him and talking to others. I
believe that millions upon millions of undocumented workers who have roots
in the community, who have American citizen children, who have established
businesses, who would benefit from the Senate bill, who would benefit from
the Senate bill -- I think the president`s going to act.
GUTIERREZ: And if the debate going into 2016 is first it was repeal Obama
carry and now it`s repeal the president`s executive order, that is the
fight I want to have electorally going into the 2016 presidential.
HAYES: Millions and millions. That`s the word.
GUTIERREZ: I`ve got to tell you. I believe the president of the United
States is going to act broadly and generously. That`s my belief. He
didn`t say that to me, but that`s what I believe he`s going to do.
HAYES: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, always a pleasure. Thank you.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: All right. One of the best trawling operations I`ve seen in a long
time, I`ll tell you what it is -- ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: This whole talk about the impeachment is coming from the
president`s own staff and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Why?
Because they`re trying to rally their people to give money and to show up
in this year`s election. We have no plans to impeach the president. We
have no future plan.
Listen, it`s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. The impeachment wars are getting weirder and weirder.
You can`t tell who`s for it or against it or against the over people saying
they`re for it. Very through the looking glass situation right now.
House Speaker Boehner was, of course, responding to Democrats floating the
idea that Republicans want impeachment. But as White House spokesperson
Dan Pfeiffer pointed out on Twitter, John Boehner made similar denials
leading up to the government shutdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: There should be made no comments regarding a government shutdown.
That`s not the goal here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We all know what happened then.
Now, Republicans have begun taking great offense when the Democrats
suggests the GOP wants impeachment. And in response, senior campaign
manager of Democracy America took to tweeting out instances of Republicans
-- well, calling for impeachment to remind us this did not materialize out
of thin air.
South Dakota GOP calling for impeachment. House Judiciary Committee holds
hearings on executive lawlessness. Senator Lindsey Graham to Congressman
Steve King and the list goes on and on.
Of course, I totally get why Republicans think this is all a cynical ploy
by Democrats considering the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
just had its biggest fund-raising haul this election cycle and sends out
fund-raising e-mails like this one.
But Sarah Palin got this whole impeachment ball rolling with her op-ed on
breitbart.com. Monday she went on conservative radio host Michael Medved`s
show to defend the idea.
You want to talk about through the looking glass, listen to her explaining
the reverse psychology.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: I absolutely, passionately believe
it is possible. First, I believe liberals want us to believe that they
love hearing this talk of impeachment because they`re going to be able to
turn it around for their re-election bids.
It`s kind of a reverse psychology thing that they`re playing on us and some
people are buying into it. That`s why I`m going to be even more adamant
about explaining why we should impeach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sounds so familiar. Where have I heard this before?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE PRINCESS BRIDE")
VIZZINI: But it`s so simple. All I have to do is divine what I know of
you. Are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet
or his enemies?
Now a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet because he would
know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I`m not a
great fool so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you
must have known I was not a great fool. You would have counted on it. So
I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "THE PRINCESS BRIDE")
HAYES: So to sum up the GOP establishment`s current stance on impeachment,
HAYES: Is the Supreme Court willing to give Satan the same protections
it`s given to a God? It`s a question the Satanic Temple is demanding an
answer to as part of an ingenious trolling response to the court`s very
controversial, very real Hobby Lobby ruling.
In that case, you might remember the court found that under the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act the craft chain Hobby Lobby does not have to comply
with the part of the Affordable Care Act that mandates employer-sponsored
insurance plans cover a full range of contraceptives with no patient copay.
The reasoning was that RFRA, that law, gives privately held corporations
the ability to opt out of laws that violate the owner`s sincerely held
OK. So along comes the Satanic Temple, the same people who are trying to
install this goat-headed satanic statue outside the Oklahoma state house.
Given the court`s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, Satanic Temple has some
sincerely held religious beliefs of its own they want to see honored.
The Satanists believe that, quote, "the body`s inviolable, subject to one`s
own will alone." And they say they "strive to make all decisions regarding
personal health based on the best scientific understanding of the world
regardless of the religious or political beliefs of others."
You will find the violations of those sincerely held beliefs, the Satanists
say, in many of the 35 states with so-called informed consent laws on the
books. These are laws requiring women seeking an abortion to be given or
offer information about abortion that`s often medically disputed or
downright disproved by an overwhelming majority of scientific research.
The Satanists have helpfully provided an opt-out form letter on their
website which women seeking abortion are encouraged to print and take with
them to their doctor.
If and when a doctor fails to recognize the Satanic Temple`s opt-out letter
as valid, that is when the Satanists say they will fire a lawsuit.
So is this a really well-played joke or could we actually see the
Satanist`s bodily autonomy case before the court?
MSNBC.com national reporter Irin Carmon has been reporting on that very
question and she joins me now.
All right. So is there something to this? I mean obviously no lawsuit has
been filed yet. So you`ve got to find a plaintiff who has the injury who
goes and tries to do this and they`re rejected. Then they file a lawsuit.
But could you actually -- would this have legs?
IRIN CARMONE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is an act of epic trolling
that is brilliant because one of the things the Supreme Court said in its
Hobby Lobby decision is we can`t question people`s religious beliefs.
If they say it violates their religious beliefs, so be it, whether it`s
scientific whether it`s documented, that doesn`t matter. So once you open
up that door, you open up the door to all kinds of religious claims.
HAYES: Right, although one thing we should note, right? The Hobby Lobby
decision stipulates and has never contested that the belief held by Hobby
Lobby it`s sincere. Sincerity actually is part of the test, right?
CARMONE: That`s true but the courts have been very reluctant to get into
the sincerity question --
HAYES: For obvious reasons. Who`s going to say?
CARMONE: -- how are you going to check? It would only be if for example,
in the Iban Suds (ph) case, if somebody say it`s anti-government views,
then that`s not a religion. But in most cases if you say it`s my religion,
then that`s OK.
The thing is in prisoner cases they sometimes question the sincerity, but,
you know, if the court has said there are these kind of religious
exemptions, then why not here.
Now they probably, if they really are going to file a lawsuit, they need to
look for a federal law because the Supreme Court has previously found that
RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, doesn`t apply to state laws.
So there is a perfect federal law that they can go for. That`s the Hyde
Amendment, which bans federal funding of abortion and impacts low income
women every year unless their state allows their state Medicaid funds to
cover abortion these women are out of luck. The Supreme Court heard a free
exercise claim in 1980. They said this violates the religious rights of
the women seeking abortions, the Hyde Amendment. They didn`t listen to it.
But that was before we had RFRA. That was before we had Hobby Lobby.
HAYES: So this has been contested before the court before. They didn`t
actually take the case or they didn`t agree with the plaintiffs that they
CARMONE: They took the case. It was one of several claims. This is Harris
versus McRae in 1980. They said basically that they`re not even going to
consider the free exercise claim. There were other claims that they
considered, because the women hadn`t shown that it violated their religious
But if you had a woman, let`s say she was a reformed Jew, let`s say she was
a Unitarian universalist, she says that her religious freedom, her
religious belief dictates that she plan her family, that she chart her
destiny and that the state is putting impermissible burdens in the way of
that, that it is -- that she should be exempted from that law, well, why
would the court say it`s OK for Hobby Lobby to be exempted from that law
and not that woman?
HAYES: What this gets to is a suspicion of many onlookers that some of the
people on the court actually don`t have the a kind of value-neutral view of
religion. Scalia, for instance, writes the opinion in the original case
that gets all this started, saying, no, you can`t smoke peyote religiously,
peyote is illegal. And in oral arguments, he says, what next? Can Aztecs
talk about human sacrifice? We can`t just let all these people. But of
course that`s not Christianity. What that Satanic example gets to here is
like are you guys really serious about all religions being on a level
playing field? Or are you not?
CARMONE: And of course if they`re not serious, then that`s a violation of
the establishment --
HAYES: MSNBC.com national reporter Irin Carmone, thank you.
Do you ever feel like the Internet knows you better than you know yourself?
There`s a reason for that. The latest company to reveal the social
experiments they are performing on their users ahead.
HAYES: If you happen to be one of the around 30 million users on the
dating site OkCupid and you recently went on a just terrible date, possible
explanation for that experience showed up on the company`s blog yesterday,
where this guy, cofounder Christian Rudder, happily admitted to running
experiments on its members in a post titled "We Experiment on Human
And he said they did this so they did this because, quote, "OkCupid doesn`t
really know what it`s doing. Neither does any other website. And
experiments are how you sort all this out."
One of the experiments proved what I think a lot of us already suspected.
People`s profiles are pointless. Everybody just looks at the pictures.
When OkCupid removed pictures and profiles for a seven-hour period last
January, people left the site en masse, which is that huge valley in the
graph you`re looking at. It`s like, oh, text and words about your inner
life? No, thank you.
The experiment that seems to have users most upset today is when OkCupid
tossed aside something they built their entire business around, their own
so-called matching algorithm that helped them determine people
compatibility with one another.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically OkCupid`s matching algorithm helps us decide
whether two people should go on a date. This, the ability to take real-
world phenomena and make them something a microchip can understand is I
think the most important skill anyone can have these days.
Like you use sentences to tell a story to a person, you use algorithms to
tell a story to a computer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: When people join OkCupid, the site`s algorithm tells them who else
on the site would be a good match to them based on their answer to a bunch
of answers, do you believe in God, do you like to be the center of
attention in a relationship. And they get a match percentage.
If you have a 90 percent match percentage with someone, for example, that
would be a good match. OK. So OkCupid wanted to know if their algorithm
actually worked because it was a good algorithm or if it was just a
testament to the power of suggestion, like we tell you you feel compatible
so you feel compatible.
So they matched people against their own algorithm. They went out of their
way. They took 30 percent matches, people their own algorithm deemed to be
bad matches and told them they were good matches, 90 percent matches and
they learned that actually being a good match mattered a lot less than you
Quote, "If you have to choose only one or the other, the mere myth of
compatibility works just as well as the truth."
Here`s co-founder Christian Rudder talking to BuzzFeed about users feeling
manipulated, quote, "At OkCupid, if the algorithm changes, yes. They go on
different dates, discover different people, maybe even marry somebody
different. That`s not me playing God; that`s just a fact of the service."
This comes after we learned last month Facebook was experimenting on
manipulating users` emotions by method messing with their news feed
algorithm. In the era of the omnidirectional Internet we exposed the most
vulnerable parts of ourselves to a host of faceless corporations all the
time. Articles we cook on, who we like on dating sites to what we decide
to buy. And it`s becoming the case these corporations know what we want
more than we know what we want.
Joining me now, media technologist Deanna Zandt, co-founder and partner of
Lux Digital, and Nancy Giles, contributor to "CBS Sunday Morning."
OK, so I kind of go both ways on this, fair or foul, what you do think?
DEANNA ZANDT, COFOUNDER AND PARTNER, LUX DIGITAL: Totally fascinating.
And I think people in OkCupid expect to be a little bit more experimented
on and to have things happen to them more. OkCupid is often pretty
transparent about their activities. And they publish really interesting
data trend analysis that often shows the reinforcement of social bias and
all kinds of interesting stuff. So I think there`s more of an expectation
That said, it`s not the greatest thing to just tell people after the fact
or to not make it clear up front that this, by the way, may happen to you.
This comes back to what we talked about earlier.
HAYES: Informed consent.
ZANDT: Yes, and the Internet bill of rights, that we need to adopt some
sort of standards.
HAYES: I got to say, my first thought -- I thought his point about
experimentation is the way we figure stuff out was a good one, like we
don`t sure. And so we`re experimenting.
I also had this weird like kind of lawyerly liability thought which they
are lucky that no one had something terrible happen like an assault?
HAYES: I`m serious, happen on the date --
HAYES: -- with these two people that their own algorithms --
ZANDT: Maybe this is explaining some of the harassment that women
experience so deeply on dating sites.
GILES: -- these terrible algorithms.
NANCY GILES, CONTRIBUTOR TO "CBS SUNDAY MORNING." OK. I`m on OkCupid.
I`m putting it out there I`m on it. It`s an odd phenomenon anyway you look
at it. One of the things that drew me to it had to do with those
statistics, I was fascinated by the idea of we`ve kind of done this work
and we think that if you fill out enough questions they have more to go on.
We think this person has a 90 percent capability of being a match. The
other statistic that I love is the enemy statistic, which is also their --
90 percent match or 90 percent enemy.
HAYES: Oh, they tell you who your enemies are?
ZANDT: Yes. They tell you to run screaming.
GILES: So that was what they were talking about. They were taking enemies
and putting them with people and pretending that they were -- can you
imagine? Suddenly I`m on a date, having drinks with some white supremacist
and sparks fly?
HAYES: That`s a good rom-com.
HAYES: Here`s the question, though, for you, right? As a consumer do you
GILES: I`ve been feeling a little funky about it before any of this
information came out because another thing that happens is they have this
category called instant matches and a lot of people have been showing up on
mine and it says -- it comes back and says, "you like each other," and I
look at them and I go, I didn`t like him. I don`t know him. I`ve been
thinking I`ve been doing something wrong.
So now knowing that they`re sort of fooling with stuff. It`s all a
crapshoot anyway you look at it. I`m not that upset.
HAYES: So here`s one distinction between -- because I think the Facebook
experiment got a lot more blowback than this is getting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
HAYES: And I think one of the distinctions here is the end goal of this.
The Facebook experiment was about maximizing advertising views and so
they`re running the experiment on their users for the benefit of their
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
HAYES: In this case, OkCupid is running the experiment on their users for
the benefit of their users. They`re trying to make their algorithm better
for the people who use the site. It`s morally surer footing than the
Facebook experiment? Maybe that`s crazy.
ZANDT: That`s like a slightly higher moral --
HAYES: Parsing with Jesuitical precision.
ZANDT: Well done, sir, well done.
GILES: At least it`s not advertising dollars that they`re screwing with,
it`s just people`s lives. That`s all.
HAYES: And then the other way that it seems worse is like there are real
live dates happening here as opposed to just a news feed, right?
ZANDT: Well, it was really interesting, too, how they measured what they
considered successful interactions and it`s something like if you traded
more than four messages with someone they consider that a certain level of
interaction; that is more interesting.
ZANDT: When I went around and asked people, I used to be on OkCupid, I`m
not anymore because it didn`t work. But hey, that`s just me. Still
HAYES: Oh, we`re running the dating block on the show.
ZANDT: So when I asked people about this, similarly people were like,
well, so, I meet more people. One of my friends flat out confessed, he
says, I`m a huge data nerd and you`re messing with my data. OK. Sure.
Maybe I`ll meet different people.
GILES: There`s something about the whole approach by OkCupid that has made
this kind of interesting because they at least took the time to ask you
these questions and tried to find some match. The numbers thing is really
HAYES: And I like (INAUDIBLE) what I also find fascinating is the idea
that you`re taking a mysterious human experience and reducing it to
algorithms and data, which is everyone who is operating successful media
Deanna Zandt, Nancy Giles from "CBS Sunday Morning," thank you both.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. When a company knows your daughter`s pregnant before
you do. Next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So did you know this, stores tracking your every
move? Well, may have finally taken it too far? Target`s advanced
advertising system even knew about a teenage girl`s pregnancy before she
could break the news to her own father.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That story, the story of how Target figured out that a woman was
pregnant before her dad knew? That`s in Charles Duhigg`s book, "The Power
of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business." And he joins me
now. He`s also a reporter for "The New York Times."
Tell the story because it`s an amazing story.
CHARLES DUHIGG, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": So Target a couple of years ago,
about a decade ago, decided that they wanted to try and figure out which of
their customers were pregnant because pregnant women are very valuable to a
HAYES: They buy lots of stuff.
DUHIGG: They buy everything, as we know who have children, you buy a lot
And so they hired this guy to look through their data and try and figure
out which customers are pregnant and not telling Target.
And what this guy named Andrew Poll (ph) figured out was that when women
become pregnant they have these shopping habits. They tend to buy a bunch
of vitamins at a second point, the second trimester.
They buy a lot of washcloths and cotton balls in the third trimester.
And by looking at people`s shopping patterns they could actually figure out
about a million women who they guessed were pregnant who hadn`t --
HAYES: So they were just looking at -- and, again, it`s like OkCupid.
They`ve got an algorithm -- cotton balls, these vitamins. We run it
through a program it says, oop, your odds of being pregnant are 94 percent.
DUHIGG: That`s exactly right. And we live in this age where we can tell
almost anything about people, based on the data that they generate. We all
generate this data every day now because of the Internet and because of
credit cards and loyalty programs.
HAYES: So here`s my big thing about this. And your book is fantastic, by
the way, and you tell a lot of really interesting stories.
So why don`t we think about this in terms of privacy. My bigger thing is a
profound philosophical question about whether we are autonomous agents with
domain over what we do. I`m serious. Hear me out. OK.
My bank has an algorithm and that algorithm alerts them if they think
there`s credit card fraud based on purchases, right.
Now I go through my life and I think I`m making all sorts of purchases. I
made an impulse buy here and I went to this restaurant. None of it alerts
the bank because the bank knows what I`m going to buy.
Isn`t that creepy? Doesn`t that eat at something profound about who we
DUHIGG: The bank might actually know you better than you know yourself.
HAYES: They absolutely do because I never Tripwire and then when the card
is hacked and someone buys groceries up in -- $200 worth of groceries up in
a matter, it`s somewhere that I don`t live, it`s like boom, right away.
DUHIGG: Absolutely. And you could trick the bank. You could do things
that you don`t actually want to do in order to trick the bank into --
HAYES: Could you though? That is the question.
DUHIGG: You could. You could get good enough. I believe that you have
the skills to do that.
But here`s the thing. There`s this tradeoff between convenience and data,
right? The reason why it`s so great to use a loyalty card or a credit card
or to be able to go on OkCupid is because it`s really convenient.
It used to be that if you wanted to have a one-night stand, you had to
actually go to a bar and buy a drink. Now you can just go online and press
a couple of buttons.
HAYES: It`s actually been simplified. You can do it on your phone --
DUHIGG: Absolutely. It`s amazing. But the point is that when you do
that, the more convenient life becomes, there`s a cost to that. And the
cost is data. It`s privacy. You trade to companies who make this
convenience available to you, information about yourself that they use to
predict your habits.
HAYES: But there has to be some kind of -- I think the way we think about
the way these relationships work in other spheres when we say, well,
there`s a trade-off between these two things, something we want for a cost,
some kind of guiding architecture that isn`t just anything goes, right?
You can do whatever you want with my data because I`ve signed some terms of
service agreement that of course I haven`t read.
DUHIGG: Absolutely. And in Europe there are much stronger regulations
around and the U.S. is considering these right now. We saw this out of the
Facebook thing. The FTC is looking into it.
I think the question is how much do people actually care? The 24-year-olds
who are on OkCupid, they probably don`t care that much. They probably
think it`s kind of fun to be experimented on.
As you get older, as you have kids, as we start talking about more and more
serious things like insurance companies conducting tests on us to try and
figure out what health problems we have before they insure us, then it
becomes more serious and we`re maturing as a community, as a country and as
a world in conversations about this.
HAYES: We also -- there is also the other part of this. As the data gets
collected and if you can accurately find out something valuable about that
person, that become a commodity you can sell. So if you know that so-and-
so is -- if you know, if you can figure out so-and-so is headed for an
early death you can go sell that data to insurers.
HAYES: And there`s something that strikes us I think deeply in an
intuitive sense is perverse about that.
DUHIGG: Well, it`s an interesting question because think about when you
sign up for your life insurance, they ask if you smoke. And the reason why
is they`re trying to figure out are you going to die earlier or later?
HAYES: But the point is that that`s a transparent interaction. I think
the thing here that gets slippery about all of this is you have
interactions with people in which you are exchanging data in a transparent
fashion and then you have interactions with all these companies in which it
doesn`t feel like you are because you`re not tracking yourself the way they
DUHIGG: That`s absolutely right. The thing that consumers have to
recognize or anyone has to recognize is that every company is doing this.
OkCupid might be a little more honest about it. Everybody is tracking and
learning everything they can.
HAYES: They made that point. OkCupid says if you use the Internet, you
are subject to experiments at a constant --
DUHIGG: Absolutely. And we like it because it makes the Internet better
for us. It makes it better at giving what we want. We just have to be
cognizant that there is this tradeoff. And it`s a maturation. This is
happening. People are becoming more and more aware of this.
Unfortunately when you`re 24 years old and you`re posting pictures of
yourself in a negligee, you don`t think about the consequences.
HAYES: Well, and I think there`s -- getting back to this, my philosophy
degree showing here, but there is -- it gets to a really profound question
about preference and it gets to really profound questions about do we want
what we say we want or do we want what our behavior reveals us to want?
And right now the Internet is constantly looking at our behavior. We think
we want X and the Internet is saying you want Y. It`s a profound question
about what we actually want that I don`t think we`ve quite sorted out. I
think that`s part of the discomfort.
Charles Duhigg, the book again, "The Power of Habit."
It`s been a massive hit, big best seller. Check it out.
All right. That`s is ALL IN for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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