All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, August 7th
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 7, 2014
Guest: Lawrence Korb, Michael Breen, Kevin Sutcliffe, Mark Lane, Eleanor
Holmes Norton, Jacqueline Keeler
ARI MELBER, GUEST HOST (voice-over): Tonight, we are ALL IN.
CROWD: No more genocide!
MELBER: Breaking news: The U.S. is considering airstrikes in Iraq as
the violent offensive by the terrorist group ISIS creates a desperate
humanitarian situation. We`ll have the very latest.
One man`s mission. California business owner is facing death threats
after providing shelter to a family fleeing violence in Guatemala.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They think it`s OK for them to now threaten my
MELBER: He`ll join us live tonight.
And, under pressure. The Kansas City Chiefs reach out to local Native
American tribes, while the Washington Redskins team owner doubles down.
DAN SYNDER, WASHINGTON REDSKINS OWNER: A Redskin is a football
player. A Redskin is our fans.
MELBER: ALL IN starts right now.
MELBER: Good evening from New York. I am Ari Melber, in for Chris
And we begin with breaking news: tonight, the U.S. is launching a new
humanitarian intervention in Iraq and potentially military airstrikes.
Here is what we know: a mission is under way to provide humanitarian
relief for an estimated 40,000 people facing religious persecution,
stranded on a mountaintop in northern Iraq according to U.S. officials.
Today, the president authorized the mission to drop food and water.
The help is for those 40,000 Yazidi refugees, it`s a minority religious
sect, they`re isolated on top of the Sinjar Mountains, under threat of
death from the Sunni militant group ISIS, and they`re need of food and
water after ISIS took control of their ancestral hometown.
The group is taking control, of course, large parts of Northern Iraq,
marching towards Kurdish territories and this week seizing the largest
Christian town in Iraq, sending many religious minorities fleeing.
Now, tonight`s operation does not, does not indicate any military move
against is, but officials say the U.S. is ready to defend U.S. personnel
and resources in Iraq if threatened.
The commander-in-chief always has the emergency authority to react to
a live attack in the field. But let`s be clear: any long-term military
engagement on the ground would certainly provoke a domestic debate about
the president`s authority there in the region.
Joining me now is NBC News White House correspondent, Kirsten Welker.
I want to speak to you, first, Kirsten, about what we know about the
humanitarian piece of this and what the limits are to make sure it doesn`t
escalate into a larger military conflict there.
KIRSTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ari, first
to the humanitarian part of this operation. We know that it will begin by
daybreak, if not overnight, that there will be air drops of food and water
and medical supplies to those 40,000 people who are stranded in the
mountains of northwest Iraq. In terms of any military intervention, any
air strikes, we know that U.S. warplanes are at the ready and they are
ready to move if President Obama should give the green light which he has
not done yet.
This will be based on, I am told, the extent to which the
administration perceives these extremist forces are gaining ground on the
city of Erbil. That is where we have a U.S. consulate, and so, there is
deep concern that they will continue to move toward the U.S. consulate
there, that they will threaten U.S. interests there, and, of course, they
have been making a number of gains capturing a number of cities as they
have moved north.
So, that is part of what has been under consideration here tonight.
Earlier today, during the press briefing with White House Press Secretary
Josh Earnest, he reiterated something we heard from the administration
consistently, which is that they don`t think the ultimate resolution to the
crisis in Iraq is through military intervention. They are calling on the
Iraqi government to create an inclusive government. They believe that that
is the only way to resolve this in the long term.
But, of course, Ari, that leaves a lot of questions about what
specifically can happen in the short term. I am told that if there is any
type of military intervention, it will be limited in scope, and the White
House reiterating tonight that there won`t be U.S. boots on the ground.
Part of the way to think about this is in the context of Libya. You
will recall that the president perceived there to be a humanitarian crisis
there, so he made the decision to move in with no American casualties
resulting in that operation.
So, that is part of what`s guiding the president`s thinking tonight.
I am told he has been in meetings since early this morning. Those meetings
have to some extent stretched throughout the afternoon and we are waiting
to hear from more guidance from the White House an update on his thinking
at this hour -- Ari.
And on a night like tonight, you might expect to hear more from the
White House. We`ll bring anything that comes up from aides, or in theory,
from the president, if they choose to come out. We don`t know that at this
I do want to ask you, though, about the context beyond just the White
House saying they don`t want military intervention here. Neither do the
American people or the Congress. Indeed, it was just Friday, as you know,
Kirsten, that the House passed a resolution requiring authorization from
Congress for any combat troops on the ground in Iraq. And that passed not
in a partisan way, as we`ve seen in so much of Washington these days, but
passed by 370-40.
What can you tell us about the White House staff`s awareness of that,
as well as 55 percent of the public saying they`re against any intervention
WELKER: I think that backdrop is hugely important, and it helps to
guide to some extent the president`s thinking on a number of these foreign
policy issues. Of course, he ran on a platform of withdrawing from Iraq,
withdrawing from Afghanistan. Of course, we are in the process of
withdrawing from Afghanistan now. That mission set to be completely 2016.
But I ask that specific question of a White House official here
earlier this evening and the response I got was this is a humanitarian
crisis. And so, right now, those political considerations are to some
extent being put on the backburner.
Another word that we`ve been discussing here today, Ari, is the term
genocide. There is deep concern that if there`s not an intervention in
some way by the United States, that this could escalate into a genocide.
So, those are among the things that the president is weighing as he
tries to determine what specific actions he will take if he decides to take
any actions in addition to that humanitarian aid which he`s already ordered
MELBER: Right. You mentioned that and the other breaking news
tonight on the same story here. U.N. Security Council putting out a strong
statement referring to attacks on civilians based on ethnic lines.
Speaking to the concern about genocide, you mentioned.
Kirsten, stay with us. I want to consider this conversation with
Lawrence Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and
former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.
And former Army captain, Michael Breen, who took combat in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and after leaving the military, relevant tonight, he clerked
in the Office of White House Counsel.
Good evening to you both.
Let me start with you, Mr. Korb.
When you look at that doctrine that we heard about in the Libya
context, the Responsibility to Protect, and you hear the reporting from
Kirsten tonight talking about the White House thinking about this in terms
of the humanitarian -- the humanitarian element. What is the military
approach here in a place where people don`t want another war, but
apparently the White House feels there is something that must be done on
LAWRENCE KORB, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Well, I think this is
the key thing. It`s not an attempt to get rid of is or take control of
Iraq again. It`s an attempt to save those 40,000 people and other
minorities being prosecuted.
If you use the Libyan model, you got U.N. authorization as you
mentioned, and have to make sure you keep it to that. It`s not nation-
building. You don`t want to get yourself in a situation where you become
de facto supporters of Maliki, so he can stay in government and not develop
the inclusive government.
It`s sort of like the President Clinton, you know, always felt bad he
didn`t do any more in Rwanda. I mean, that`s the type of thing you`re
talking about here.
MELBER: Yes. But let me go to Mr. Breen here.
Let me say if you`re watching at home or watching in Washington
tonight, or watching Iraq, you could feel very brad for what is happening
to these people, and also know when you look around the world right now,
there is a lot of humanitarian problems, as we know. The question here,
the military question the White House is going to have to answer is do we
want to put more people at risk for something that starts out humanitarian
but could end differently? We know the history in this country.
MICHAEL BREEN, TRUMAN NATIONAL SECURITY PROJECT: That`s an
interesting point, Ari. And I think it`s well-taken. It`s worth pointing
out we have a security interest here, clear national security interest, in
that ISIS or the Islamic State, or whatever they`re calling themselves this
week, this is one of the most dangerous groups in the region this week.
They`re a little unlike anything we`ve seen before. They`re currently
heavily armed with U.S.-supplied weapons, by some accounts. They`re
reaping in over $1 million a day just in black market oil sales from areas
they control. They`re in control of the second largest dam, hydroelectric
dam in Iraq, which gives them the ability to supply power and water to the
areas they control.
So, they`re starting to look a lot more like an army in a country than
a terrorist organization.
MELBER: Yes. They say --
BREEN: And they made their intentions extremely clear. I mean,
they`re slaughtering everybody. This is not part of their organization.
MELBER: Captain, as you know, they say they are a state right now.
BREEN: Absolutely. Absolutely. So I think, you know, the long-term
trajectory of this thing is not good from a national security standpoint.
I also think you have to consider the moral responsibility the United
States has. I mean, this is a country we invaded in 2003. I was on the
ground in 2003 as an Army officer, as you said. I watched the
disintegration of Iraqi society as an army officer in Baghdad.
So, we`ve got to ask ourselves, are we willing to see 30,000 to 40,000
civilians who are, as you say, trapped on a mountaintop? Where I spoke to
a few individuals who I knew from service days who served on that mountain,
and they say even elite U.S. troops, temperatures are 135, 140 degrees
during the day. Elite U.S. troops have run out of water there and needed
to be rescued just from dehydration. There`s only one road up and down.
By all accounts, those people have anywhere between a couple of days
to half a week at most of time left where they can survive. They will die
of exposure, dehydration, or starvation inside a half a week unless they`re
provided with some assistance.
And you also have the option to execute a very low-risk military
operation to supply food and water to these people. Now, that will extend
the clock a little bit, but I agree, there are serious questions that need
to be addressed. What`s happened then? What`s next?
MELBER: Right. And you`re speaking to two issues here, one, the
authority, and the other the risk. Debating the risk is difficult. You
know a lot about this. You`ve been over there.
Larry, let`s talk about the authority here, if these folks are in as
much danger as all the reporting suggests. The Responsibility to Protect
doctrine we mentioned earlier, that was used in Libya, is known as R2P in
international circles. It`s basically an often misunderstood notion. It
says that nations must protect their citizens from genocide, war crimes,
crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and must take action to help
other nations whose governments can`t or won`t protect their peoples.
In your view, does this provide enough authority for everything the
White House wants to do without Congress here?
KORB: Well, I think if you go back to Libya, that was authorized by
the U.N. and NATO. And I think, you know, Mike has a good point. We have
a special responsibility here since we went in and disrupted that society.
But I do think it`s important for us if we`re going to use that and
not go through the Congress that we get the U.N. authorization or the Arab
League, some international thing. You may remember in Syria, we couldn`t
get that and couldn`t get the support of the Congress, the British
parliament turned it down. So, the president decided not to do anything.
You`ve had almost 200,000 people killed in Syria. So I think you have
to be careful.
We do have a special obligation here because of what we`ve done, but
we should really act through the international community if our purpose is
humanitarian. And I think you have to be very careful because once you
start a military operation, the question becomes, where do you stop? Let`s
say -- well, we`ll bomb them a little bit. What happens?
You know, it`s very ironic, today is the 50th anniversary of the Gulf
of Tonkin resolution that got us started with bombing in Vietnam and you
saw where that ended up.
MELBER: And, Captain Breen, given your time in the White House
Counsel Office, tell us what you can about that part of this, when the
White House responding to, as you mentioned, a rapid ascension of ISIS,
something we`re going to talk about later in the show.
Do they already have a working legal model of what they can do
BREEN: I mean, I think -- I think they certainly believe that they
do, and if you look at the precedent of Libya and look at the precedent of
just executive action, the use of military force, I mean, this is an area
of law where -- I mean, it`s often debated, but, you know, practical terms
the executive has a lot of authority. So, especially if they`re reacting
to a national security crisis, especially also in the case of a purely
I mean, I think what you`ll see, if we do do this tonight or tomorrow
morning, you`ll see aircraft, cargo aircraft dropping food, water, other
supplies to these people. But keep in mind, those aircraft will be
escorted by fighter aircraft, and so if ISIS on the ground decides to shoot
up and engage our transports as they`re dropping the food in, you may see a
response from the fighter aircraft.
So, you know, the shooting can begin in a whole bunch of different
ways. It`s not always an order from the top it`s a messy battlefield down
there. So, I think just illustrates we`ve got to be thinking down the
line, what next, what next? To paraphrase -- to quote David Petraeus, how
does this end?
MELBER: And, Captain, briefly on that point, do they have the ability
to do what folks were doing in separatist parts of Ukraine, to shoot our
folks out of the sky?
BREEN: I think that`s unclear. I would be surprised if they can do
that. But it all depends on what kind of a flight profile, what kind of
altitude that these aircraft are flying. You know, I both don`t know that
in this particular case and would hesitate to get into it anyway.
But I don`t think they necessarily have the capability to shoot that
high but they do have -- they probably do have access to some surface-to-
air missile capabilities.
MELBER: All right. Stay with me.
I want to bring Kirsten back in who is at the White House following
the story tonight.
Kristen, the other thing I want to ask you about on this is a strong
statement coming from the Pope today and whether the White House is openly
talking about that element of this. Let me read. It says the Pope "made a
pressing appeal to the international community to take initiatives to put
an end to the humanitarian drama underway, to take steps to protect those
involved and threatened by violence." That courtesy of the Catholic News
Your reporting on whether the White House has responded directly to
any of that?
WELKER: Well, so far, they haven`t replied directly to that. But I
can tell you that they are aware of the calls. Not only that you just
mentioned, but also the calls from Capitol Hill, a number of lawmakers
coming forward and urging the president to take action to deal with this
mounting humanitarian crisis.
One point I want to make, Ari, to the conversation you were having
based on my conversations here -- all different aspects, NATO support, the
U.N., are things being discussed right now behind the scenes and, of
course, that`s part of why these negotiations, these discussions, take so
long. The president typically deliberative before he comes to any
conclusion, particularly when it comes to taking military action.
They are having very similar conversations here behind the scenes at
the White House as the one that you just had in terms of what type of
support the United States would need if, indeed, they did decide to move
forward with any type of military strike.
MELBER: Yes, deliberative, and that`s clearly important here. As you
mentioned earlier, the president obviously known more for disentangling out
of Iraq than going in.
Yet, Larry Korb, one of the criticisms about that approach, Charles
Krauthammer saying tonight that basically the president is expressing too
much of his thinking and not enough of his final decisions. Is that a fair
criticism in your view?
KORB: No. That`s absurd.
I mean, before you commit -- when you don`t have a vital national
interest, Mike was talking, yes, we have a security interest, but it`s not
vital. This is not a war of necessity. You should be deliberative.
That`s how we got ourselves so messed up in Iraq. We went rushing in
there without thinking what would happen after we got on ground, didn`t
send enough troops in.
So, no, I like people are being deliberative because I remember I was
involved in another war we call Vietnam. We kept going in and deeper and
deeper. And it was no end to it.
And basically, we were -- we lost 60,000 people dead, 300,000 wounded.
And what did we get? So, no, I like somebody who`s deliberative, and I`m
all for that because once you start a war, it becomes much more difficult
to stop it.
MELBER: All right. I want to thank you for your contribution
tonight. NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker there, Lawrence
Korb from the Center for American Progress, and former Army Captain Michael
Breen -- thank you to each of you. I appreciate it.
And, inside ISIS. A reporter from Vice News actually spent weeks
embedded with this rebel group that`s having such an impact on our foreign
policy and our thoughts tonight. The first and only journalist to be so
will be here. That`s straight ahead.
MELBER: The latest on the developing situation in Iraq, the
humanitarian intervention, and the U.S. open potentially to airstrikes
there if necessary. All this as the rebel group ISIS pushes a violent
offensive across the country. Protests today at the White House from
people now asking the U.S. government to help those people in Iraq.
Stay with us for the latest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We Muslims are the ones who want to enforce Sharia
in this land. I swear to God, who is the only God, the Sharia can only be
established with weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Tonight, the U.S. here is launching a new humanitarian
mission in Iraq, a response that`s caught many by surprise just like the
rapid success of the terror group ISIS surprised so many observers.
The group`s first major incursion into Iraq hit Mosul, the nation`s
second largest city. ISIS overran the city and sent thousands of Iraqi
troops fleeing from there, that was in June. Today, ISIS controls land
from the northwest Syrian border, where the group exploited a vacuum during
that country`s civil war, down towards Baghdad.
ISIS seized all this land in under two months. And today, the group
took control of Iraq`s largest dam, which provides water to much of the
country. That gives ISIS new leverage over infrastructure, in addition to
its ongoing efforts to intimidate Iraqi troops and civilians alike. That
intimidation continues in the current crisis at Mt. Sinjar, where 40,000
are stranded with food and water running out.
An ISIS fighter tells Vice News they are fighting a religious war with
no end in sight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I say to America, that the Islamic Caliphate has
been established. And we will not stop. Don`t be cowards and attack us
with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq.
We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag
of Allan in the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That footage is from a filmmaker working for Vice News who
embedded with ISIS as they pushed through Iraq.
And joining me now is Kevin Sutcliffe, head of Vice News Europe.
Good evening to you.
KEVIN SUTCLIFFE, VICE NEWS: Thank you for having me.
MELBER: I mentioned before we had someone from Vice, not the
reporter. We have you, the editor. How did you get so much access here?
SUTCLIFFE: Well, we spent a lot of time with the filmmaker, trying to
find out a way in, trying to work a safe way in and a safe way out for the
filmmaker. We made the right contacts over a period of time and we were
satisfied that we could get in, inside, and try to find, build a portrait
of what life`s like in the Islamic State.
MELBER: When you are working with a group this dangerous, what did
you do to secure the safety of your reporter, and what do you think ISIS`
goal was in granting you this video access?
SUTCLIFFE: Well, I think the first thing, a filmmaker like this has a
huge wealth of experience going back years. So, we were able to draw on
that to make a decision about how he could get in and how he could work
So, once we`ve done that, once we`ve got the bona fides and the
invites that we got from ISIS to come in, we decided it was safe and we
could manage the risk of him going there.
MELBER: And they, what do they get out of it?
SUTCLIFFE: What do they get out of it? I don`t know. You have to
I think what we got out of it was an extraordinary portrait of the
Islamic State -- a very chilling portrait of the determination of the
people inside this state, to an expansionist state. A group of people who
are so determined with weaponry to expand beyond the borders of Syria and
Iraq. In fact, they do not recognize those borders now. They`re spilling
over into Lebanon where there`s fighting now. This is a Middle Eastern
sort of crisis in the making.
MELBER: Yes. I was discussing this just earlier in the show here.
And obviously we`re on a night where the eyes of the world are on ISIS,
with 40,000 people here in what`s being called a humanitarian crisis.
And I`ll read something from one ISIS fighter saying, "Al Qaeda is an
organization and we are a state. Osama bin Laden, God have mercy on him,
was fighting to establish the Islamic state to rule the world and -- praise
God -- we have achieved his dream", end quote.
You say they don`t acknowledge those other borders. That`s because
they say they`re creating new borders for a caliphate.
SUTCLIFFE: Yes. That`s right. And it`s worth remembering that they
split from al Qaeda because al Qaeda felt this group was too brutal to be
associated with which is extraordinary.
MELBER: Let`s pause on that point. You`re saying from your reporting
here, and your news organization`s reporting, al Qaeda found this group too
SUTCLIFFE: That`s -- ISIS went their own way, and you can see online,
you can see anywhere. They`re posting videos of the most extraordinary
brutality. We have in the film Syrian regime were overrun in a small part
of Raqqa, and the 50 or so soldiers were killed. Their bodies were
beheaded and displayed in the center of town.
MELBER: Yes, that has been a big par of their effort when you look at
what they`re doing going after people in each town they run into. It is
that intimidation we`ve been reporting on. It would seem that media,
Internet, and video is a part of that campaign.
SUTCLIFFE: They have a very sophisticated media campaign, and I think
the social media is pull of these images and they`re disseminating. They
know exactly what they`re doing.
What we`ve attempted to do, and I think we`ve done it very
successfully, is to show you a very chilling portrait of what it`s like to
be there. An independent filmmaker has gone in and has operated and come
back with something that I think is an exclusive. No one else has got
there. I think of the portrait you get, you`re inside the Sharia courts,
you`re seeing how they indoctrinate children. You`re seeing how they
operate the state.
MELBER: Kevin, doesn`t that -- and doesn`t that, Kevin, go to the
point that Washington is debating tonight whether the president is moving
toward the right action here? Doing some kind of humanitarian drop there
Because it seems to me that if you actually define this as a
humanitarian mission, whereby you want to protect people who come into
contact with ISIS, you would have grounds for humanitarian mission anywhere
is ISIS in charge. Any young woman in any area that ISIS is in charge of
is in a humanitarian emergency.
SUTCLIFFE: In the Vice News film, we see arms men going around
enforcing law, enforcing Sharia law, enforcing women to wear veils. This
is an extraordinary thing.
I can`t see how the humanitarian mission is going to work. This --
the genie is out of the bottle.
MELBER: You cannot see how the president`s mission will work?
SUTCLIFFE: I think the genie is out of the bottle. I mean, how do
you stop this? This is a small, organized determined force. There`s only
7,000 to 10,000 fighters. Look how fast and how quickly they`ve spread
across Syria and Iraq and towards Lebanon now. How do you stop that?
MELBER: Well, and what is the risk factor? You heard some of the
guests earlier tonight including a former secretary of defense saying, yes,
there is risk, but this can be done in a controlled way. That`s what White
House aides are telling our reporters tonight.
You don`t think based on your knowledge of ISIS that that is true?
SUTCLIFFE: I think what the film shows you is the determination of
these people. They do not see boundaries. They absolutely are convinced
they`re doing God`s work and they will continue to do that everywhere.
They are, I think, ruthless, brutal, and very, very scary.
MELBER: And what was your reaction as a filmmaker in seeing some of
SUTCLIFFE: One of the things that really struck me was what`s it like
for people when ISIS comes to town? How did you live? How did you get by?
Because not everyone who`s coming in Raqqa and these places is a supporter.
They`re patrolled. Their streets are patrolled by armed men who are
imposing the most draconian rules and lifestyles -- lifestyles that were
alien to them less than six months ago. That`s extraordinary.
MELBER: And final question, as the president moves forward on this
humanitarian mission tonight, as we`ve been reporting, in Iraq, do you
think based on your knowledge of ISIS that there is a risk that they will
try to use any U.S. involvement there on the humanitarian front to ensnare
the U.S. further?
SUTCLIFFE: I have no idea. I think that their view is an
expansionist view. They simply wish to establish a bigger and bigger
caliphate in the region. That`s their determination. They`re anti-
American. They`re anti-Christian. They are pro what they`re trying to do
and they`re doing God`s work in their view.
MELBER: Kevin Sutcliffe from Vice News -- thank you very much for
being here tonight.
And you can also watch the first installment of that ISIS report on
Vice.com we should mention.
A California man decides to take in a migrant family from Guatemala
and now he`s getting literal death threats. We`re talking to him. That`s
MELBER: For the first time in 22 years, Hawaii is bracing tonight for
a hurricane and a second hurricane is actually right behind it, Hurricane
Iselle. A category 1 storm is expected to make landfall on the big Island
of Hawaii late tonight, bringing rain and strong winds with it.
Then, Hurricane Julio, right now a category 2 storm, is on track to
pass just north of the Hawaiian Islands on Sunday morning. Governor Neil
Abercrombie has issued an emergency proclamation as Hawaii braces for the
potential of massive power outages and widespread flooding.
The last time a hurricane hit Hawaii was a category 4 storm and six
people were killed. It caused more than $1 billion of damage. Tonight,
more than a million people on the islands are bracing themselves for the
potential one-two punch of Hurricane Iselle and Julio. We will continue to
monitor the storms and bring you the very latest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Hold that flag up high. Hold that flag
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: After watching a group of American flag waving protesters
turned back buses carrying migrant mothers and children last month, a small
business owner near San Diego decided to take action. Mark Lane
volunteered to personally take in a family from Guatemala and now receiving
he says, he started receiving death threats as a consequence of taking a
stand and just trying to help.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Mark Lane runs Poppa`s Fish Company but
when we were there, he was busy taking calls from immigrant activists
across the country. Lane says, he does not have a position on the
immigration crisis, but decided to take a stand against Murrieta when his
5-year-old son asked him, "Why these buses carrying undocumented women and
children were blocked?"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK LANE, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: Why do I have to explain to my 5-
year-old why people are mad at the buses when really they are mad at the
people inside of the buses?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Lane took in a mother, his two teenage sons and 23-year-old
daughter. According to KGTV in San Diego, that family fled Guatemala after
gangs threatened to kill the sons for not joining their gang and the 23-
year-old daughter was raped multiple times during their journey to the U.S.
The backlash against Lane began when he helped launch the Facebook
campaign, boycott Murrieta, California. And, after he decided he had to do
something personally to help those families in word spread. A Facebook
page encouraging a boycott of his business popped up. That page has since
been taken down. Joining me now is Mark Lane. Good evening to you. How
LANE: I am good, thanks, Ari. Thanks for having me.
MELBER: You bet. Mark, let`s start with what you mentioned there in
that local broadcast. This conversation you were having with your son.
LANE: We were watching the news and the news of the protests came up
and he just happened to be sitting on my lap. And, he is an innocent kid
and looked and saw what was going on and turned to me and said, "Hey, dad,
why are the people mad at the buses?"
That was just kind of -- something inside me, like, "Why in 2014 do we
need to tell a 5-year-old they are not mad at the buses, they are mad at
the people inside of the buses?" You know, that just kind of triggered
something inside of me.
MELBER: And, how did you go about making contact with this particular
LANE: Well, we started -- we started doing some things online. And,
then, through that, I came into contact with a charity called "Border
Angels." They are a local charity. And, they put out a post looking for
host families. We called them and said -- you know, I talked to my wife.
She said, "It would be OK."
We called them and said, "We could do it." And, maybe three or four
days later they called us and this family needed help and we went and
picked them up and they have been with us ever since.
MELBER: And, what did you learn about what they went through on their
way to the U.S.?
LANE: You know, it is -- before they left, the gangs were recruiting
them. They said, no. They said they would kill the whole family. They
came and took the daughter. She was gang raped as a mechanism of getting
the boys to start working for the gang.
They decided, you know, that day they had to leave. They did not have
money. They walked to the border. The father was beat up as they left.
He almost got beat to death. The family escaped. They came across Mexico
from the train called Lavestia, the beast, where people ride on top and
promptly all their money was stolen, the little bit that they had.
It took them a couple months to get across Mexico. Again, the girl
was abused. The boys were beat up. And, it was just a tough journey for
them. They got to Tijuana and turned themselves in to the border patrol
and are now in, you know, immigration proceedings.
MELBER: And, do you think the U.S. should try to find a permanent
home for them or ultimately process them and send them back?
LANE: I do not think it is the U.S.`s job to do either one. It is
just the judge is going to decide the disposition of them. That is what
the law asked to be done. And, so they are going to go through the
process. Immigration judge will decide if they get to stay or they do not
get to stay. You know, that is just way it works.
You know, for me, it is more of an issue of how do we treat them while
they are here? You know, they are here. They are here legally. They are
here on refugee status. And, I just do not believe we should terrorize
MELBER: And, so when you got all this response, the targeting of sort
of you and your business, and according to local reports and one interview
I read with you previously, you said people were actually making threats to
you and your family. What do you make of that? What is your reaction to
LANE: You know, it is disappointing to me that, you know, we are in
2014. That there is still not a clear understanding of first amendment
rights and what is free speech and what is terrorizing, what is
threatening, things like that. You know, they set up the page to boycott
my business and to boycott me.
I have zero problem with that. And, if they want to do that, that is
their first amendment right. But when they put my kids` pictures all over
their hate sites, my wife threatening us, I was getting phone calls. You
know, that Tuesday, they were going 100 miles an hour. You know, that I am
a race traitor. I am a traitor to the country. We are going to kill you
and your family. We are coming down there. That kind of things.
You know, someone posted on their site that Mark Lane deserves a
severe beating in front of his customers. That is not free speech anymore,
you know? You can have hate speech. That is covered. But, you cannot
threaten and you cannot, you know, go after people`s families and things
line that. That is just -- it was disappointing. It made me angry and
just strengthened my resolve in what I am doing. You know, if they reacted
that harshly, I know I am doing something right.
MELBER: Yes. And, Mark, so what do you want to say to folks who are
looking at this or folks who support you on a way to move ahead on
LANE: You know, one of the things that happened that really touched
me was the way they were dehumanized. You know, they are disease ridden.
They are vermin, lice ridden. We cannot dehumanize people just because
they lost the birth lottery. We won the birth lottery because we were
here. That does not make us better than them. It does not make them worse
We need to treat them as humans. We need to let the process do its
thing, and, you know, while they are here, there are solutions, you know,
the government needs to get busy and get some funding to provide judges,
you know? So, they can get the process going. Provide more agents to
create the security for both the Americans and for the refugees coming
You know, we need -- congress needs to provide funding to make sure we
are detaining them humanely. I mean, they are in cages. They are sleeping
on the floor. You have got children next to each other sleeping on floors
next to outhouses.
LANE: And, we just --
MELBER: Go ahead.
LANE: -- We just need to treat them humanely. We need to be able to
fund that. And, on the front lines of it are people like me, you know,
there are thousands of families across the country that are hosting
families, and we are doing it on our own dime.
LANE: It is important -- it is important that, you know, that is the
American way. We have always done that. We have always helped people.
And, you know, in that spirit, it is kind of the strength of my resolve and
we are working on a foundation that we are going to announce later this
week. We are going to help support the families that are working to be
shields, really from the hate.
MELBER: Well, you know, Mark --
LANE: -- to these kids and these women.
MELBER: I appreciate that and what you are doing. We cover this
issue a lot. We cover politicians in Washington who talk about a,
quote/unquote, "Humanitarian Crisis," but, often, it seems more like a
political football to them.
You are obviously in your own way on the front lines of that. I just
want to read, again, something you said. "We cannot dehumanize people
because they lost the birth lottery." I hope people hear your message,
Mark. Thanks for sharing it with us tonight.
LANE: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
MELBER: Of course, you bet. Now, up next, how the Kansas City chiefs
are trying to prevent a Washington redskins-style controversy. That is
MELBER: Back in the 1990s a group of Kansas City Chiefs football
players pose for a poster that, well, let is say it is hard to imagine a
team today thinking this was a good idea. But, while the team has shied
away from some of the more offensive associations with its name, the chiefs
are still among the teams that play the tomahawk chop during game and they
allow fans to show up to home games dressed like this guy.
Yes, that guy. But, it would seem that the chiefs know they have a
potential publics relations night mare looming. In June, a mid-mounting
criticism over the Redskins name and logo, the U.S. patent and trademark
office canceled the team`s trademark registration, deeming it and the logo
disparaging to Native Americans. That decision is under appeal. Redskins
owner Dan Snyder defended the team name, meanwhile, in a new interview on
Monday on ESPN 980, a radio station he actually owns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN SNYDER, REDSKINS OWNER: I think that it is time that people look
at the truth and the history and real meanings and look at us for what we
are. We are a historic football team that is very proud, that has a great
legacy that honors and respects people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: They respect people. They say so themselves. Now, the
plaintiff in the trademark case against the Redskins was a Navajo and
social worker named Amanda Blackhorse who also protested the Cleveland
Indians, a team that has recently scaled back the use of that cartoonist,
quote, "Chief Wahoo," end quote, logo. There it is.
Blackhorse has criticized the Kansas City Chiefs as well and the
chiefs are now, according to the "Kansas City Star" trying to, quote,
"Avoid a cultural free for all by forming an alliance with American Indian
Groups." The chiefs have reportedly reached out to several of them. And,
Chiefs` President Mark Donovan has held meetings with at least two local
American Indian leaders in the past week, alone.
But, for the Chiefs, like the Redskins, Indians, Chicago Blackhawks
and other teams with these native American names and logos, it is simply
getting harder and harder to keep the critics at bay. Eleanor Holmes
Norton as Washington`s representative and Jacqueline Keeler is a Navajo
and co-founder of the group, Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry. Good
evening to you, both.
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, (D) WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVE: Good evening.
JACQUELINE KEELER, CO-FOUNDER OF ERADICATING OFFENSIVE NATIVE
MASCOTRY: Good evening.
MELBER: Congresswoman, the clich‚ term is a tipping point, are we
there on this issue yet?
REP. HOLMES NORTON: We have tipped. You have got not only the second
time native people have won in the patent and trademark commission. They
lost the first time on appeal only because of the technicality. You have
got members of the House of Representatives.
I am one of ten, who have filed a bill to cancel the trademark. You
have got 50 senators who call for canceling of the trademark. You have got
religious leaders, civil rights leaders. This is a movement, and the law
is on our side.
The native people are winning, and I do not know what Roger Goodell of
the NFL and Dan Snyder are waiting for. Do they want to be kicked? Do
they want to be dragged, kicking and screaming across the line? Shame.
MELBER: Yes. Jacqueline, let me ask you on that point. You know, I
was reading up on this today and one of the bizarre counterarguments you
hear from the defenders is, well, we should really be focused on the plight
of Native American Indian communities, reservations, economic issues. I am
not aware of the rule that says you have to only do one of these two
things. But, what do you say to that argument?
KEELER: Well, I think that native people are able to do many things
simultaneously. And, certainly we work on those issues as well. I have
spent 20 years working in native communities on these issues. And, I think
the reason this is really important is because it affects all the other
We are stereotyped. We are marginalized and our issues become
obscure, obscured by mascots. Everyone knows the mascots. They know the
stereotypes, but they do not know anything about us. And, so, when it
comes time to make decisions like policy decisions, funding decisions,
these are harmed by this lack of knowledge.
And you see that in Supreme Court justice rulings, you know, and where
children are taken away from the tribes. You see that in funding where the
Indian health service, their funding is reduced because there are a lot of
misconceptions about native people.
And, this is why, you know, mascots have to go. Basically they
promote stereotypes, outdated stereotypes about native people and they
pigeon hole us, so that real native people are not seen for who we are and
nobody knows anything about us.
MELBER: Congresswoman, do you think that teams would get away with
this with roughly comparable terminology or imagery about larger or
potentially more politically powerful groups?
REP. HOLMES NORTON: This is a very important point. They would dare
do this to African-Americans or Hispanics, but look at the difference
between us. Native people are 2 percent or 3 percent of the population.
African-Americans are about 10 percent and Hispanics are an even larger
The larger the number, the more difficult it is to use the stereotype.
Stereotypes in a diverse society are intolerable and harmful to children
and to the people, themselves, as you have just heard, and they are not
Except when the group is so small and so spread out that it is harder
for them to fight back. Well, I tell you one thing, native people have
raised the consciousness of people far from native people and now what we
have is a movement in every part of the country.
MELBER: Jacqueline, do you agree with that?
KEELER: Yes. She is absolutely right. You know, most native people
live off the reservation, like 60 percent to 70 percent, and so native
youth are subjected to these mascots and images in their schools, on T.V.,
by their friends -- You know, alone. You know, they are like a minority
amongst minorities in urban and suburban communities and rural communities.
And then -- And, so, studies show that this really affects native
youth self-esteem, lowers it. Studies show that even native youth who say
they are OK with mascots, their self-esteem is measurably lower after
seeing a mascot.
And this has -- it is a real taking from one of the most vulnerable
populations in the United States. Native youth have three times the rate
of suicide of any other group of youth in the country, and those are from
the CDC figures.
MELBER: And, congresswoman, what do you say to the argument on
politics, not on substance, mind you, but on the politics that more needs
to be done to win this effort because you still see polls showing a
majority, one poll showing 71 percent of people saying this does not need
REP. HOLMES NORTON: Yes, is not that interesting that what we have
had in the last few years is a consciousness raising effort led by native
people. I am a third-generation Washingtonian. I have lived with the
Washington team all my life. And, I am a civil rights activist, civil
They had to raise my consciousness. So, of course they are going to
have to raise the consciousness of the American people. People did not
know, shame on us, but we did know. We did know, and now we know. Once
you know, there is no excuse.
MELBER: Well, what you just said is not easy to say, I think,
especially for a politician. Maybe you are not a normal politician,
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton, thank you and Jacqueline Keeler, thank
you for joining us and for your work.
KEELER: Thank you.
REP. HOLMES NORTON: Of course.
MELBER: And, now we are going to turn next to an update on the
situation developing in Iraq. Stay with us.
MELBER: Tonight, the United Nations Security Council is condemning
those attacks on religious minorities in Iraq by the terrorist group
commonly known as ISIS. And, the U.N. is calling on the international
community to support the Iraqi government and help it in steering Iraqis
affected by the violence that has, as we have been reporting tonight,
orchestrated. They have been orchestrated by ISIS.
Now, here is what we also know in terms of what the U.S. is doing.
NBC News reporting that a humanitarian operation has now began. It is
under way. It is expected to include some kind of air drop of humanitarian
supplies in Northern Iraq.
Officials tell NBC News the military has not carried out any air
strikes in Iraq but the military is standing ready to defend U.S. personnel
and resources if necessary. Now, that is our show, "All In" for this
evening. "The Rachel Maddow Show" starts now with Steve Kornacki sitting
in. Good evening, Steve.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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