ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 26, 2014
Guest: Marie Harf, Areva Martin, Robert Reich, Robert George, Daria
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight, we are ALL IN.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America does not
forget. Our reach is long. We are patient. Justice will be done.
HAYES: Two more airstrikes in Iraq, an American jihadi killed
fighting for ISIS, and the U.S. begins surveillance flights over Syria.
Tonight, the latest on the ISIS offensive.
Then, a new recording said to be gunshots from the Michael Brown
shooting. How does this possible new evidence square with what we already
Plus, the Republican immigration problem in one handy video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We came all the way from Florida because you want
to deport us.
HAYES: And when it comes to taxes, this fast food chain is thinking
outside the country. Robert Reich on Burger King`s bolt to the great white
ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
U.S. officials have confirmed to NBC News the U.S. military is now
flying unmanned and manned surveillance flights over northern Syria, using
drones like this and other aircraft in what is widely seen as a step toward
potential U.S. airstrikes against ISIS forces inside the current Syrian
border. Officials also told NBC News that President Obama authorized the
flights for the purpose of selecting potential targets for strikes
including ISIS weapons, equipment, and a critical supply line from Iraq to
This, as the U.S. conducted two airstrikes near Irbil, Iraq, today, in
the continuing air offensive against ISIS in Iraq. If that campaign is
expanded to Syria, it would mean the U.S. is effectively aligning with
Syrian President Bashar al Assad in the fight against ISIS, the same Bashar
al Assad the U.S. officials were threatening to attack exactly one year ago
after his regime was found to have used chemical weapons in Syria`s
horrific civil war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: President Obama believes there must
be accountability for those who would use the world`s most heinous weapons
against the world`s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious,
and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If it seems inexplicable, the U.S. has gone from threatening
to bomb Assad`s forces to potentially joining the war against Assad`s
enemy. That speaks to just how ugly and messy the situation is in Syria,
where the U.N. estimates more than 191,000 people have been killed since
the civil war began in 2011.
Have a look at this graphic put together by "Think Progress." This
spider web shows all the many players in the Syria conflict and how they
are in conflict or aligned with each other from outside governments seeking
influence, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey and Qatar, to the Syrian government
of Bashar al Assad himself, to various groups that are fighting for control
inside Syria against Assad, Islamists like al Qaeda, the Islamic front and
Nusra brigades, to a group viewed as more secular, the Free Syrian Army, to
the notorious ISIS itself.
The allegiances and conflicts are myriad and often confusing, any
given stretch of time, different factions may be shooting at each other one
moment or shooting next to each other at some shared third enemy the next.
Speaking today in North Carolina, President Obama addressed the murder
of journalist James Foley by ISIS militants and vowed the U.S. is committed
to seeing ISIS vanquished.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Rooting out a cancer like ISIL won`t be easy and it won`t be
quick, but tyrants and murders before them should recognize that kind of
hateful vision ultimately is no match for the strength and hopes of people
who stand together for the security and dignity and freedom that is the
birthright of every human being.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Earlier today, I asked NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman
Mohyeldin about the significance of the U.S. announced decision to start
surveillance flights over potential ISIS targets inside Syria.
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly in
terms of U.S. military operations, a very significant step. It does
suggest that the U.S. is considering possible targets on the ground.
There`s no doubt that the U.S. has maintained very strong intelligence over
Syria for some time, but the fact that this involves both unmanned and
manned flights would suggest the U.S. is planning some type of attack on
Syria. That doesn`t mean it will carry out, but it does at least suggest
that military preparations are under way.
Now, keep in mind, we already know that the U.S. has put troops on the
ground when they tried to rescue James Foley, and that already has drawn
criticism from the Syrian government, which is saying this is a violation
of its sovereignty and warned the United States not to do it.
HAYES: So, it`s really difficult to get your head around the current
battlefield conditions in Syria because there are so many groups from the
Free Syrian Army, to Assad`s forces, to ISIS, the Nusra Front, you can go
on and on and on. What are the battlefield conditions? It seems to me
that there`s been a chaotic stalemate for at least six months or so. Is
that more or less accurate?
MOHYELDIN: Absolutely. In fact, there`s a sense of cannibalism among
some of the Syrian rebels because they`ve been fighting each other. And
that has made it extremely difficult for the United States to identify
potential lines or fault lines or even battlefield lines between the
moderate Syrian opposition that it has supported, that it has given weapons
to, that it wants to see succeed in toppling the regime of Bashar al Assad,
but also the hardliners and those hostile toward the U.S. and its allies,
including not only ISIS but al Qaeda-affiliated groups that are operating
There are some pockets that we know are firmly in control of some of
the groups. That is possibly where the United States could start if it
were to take out any operations. But it`s not going to be able to go
beyond that to tip the balance of the fight in favor for one group over the
other because in some areas, they`re fighting side by side and in others,
they`re fighting against each other.
HAYES: Given how complicated and chaotic it is in Syria, given the
fact that Assad doesn`t have many allies left in the region, and ISIS
certainly doesn`t seem to be ingratiating itself to many people, as someone
who`s covered the region for as long as you have, how do you think American
airstrikes against ISIS in Syria would be perceived? What would be the
kind of regional ramifications of that?
MOHYELDIN: Well, certainly, you know, among several countries in the
region, U.S. military involvement would be welcomed news. You know, I`ve
spoken to some diplomats in the region, and they say the fight against ISIS
is no different than the fight that the U.S. is engaged in in other parts
of the world. It would be a logical extension of U.S. military operations.
But at the same time, what we are saying just a few seconds ago is
that the fight against ISIS in itself is only one group. It would not
necessarily be -- you`re not going to be able to dry out the conditions for
that ideology by military strikes alone. You have to think about this from
two perspectives, short-term military operations to contain ISIS, long-term
defeat of ISIS` ideology. That`s probably not going to happen on a
battlefield. That has to happen with genuine reform across the Arab world
and Muslim world.
But for the time being, fighting on the ground, the U.S. can certainly
contain ISIS, which has been expanding very rapidly both in Iraq and in
Syria over the past several months. So, they can slow down that advance
and they can certainly at least prop up some of the moderate rebels that it
has been supporting over the course of the past several months, as well.
HAYES: There`s also news today of the U.S. resupplying Kurdish forces
with arms. At what point does Kurdistan go from being basically
independent in everything but name to being actually fully declared an
MOHYELDIN: Well, you know, that`s the aspiration of the Kurdish
people, but there are geopolitical realities that make it nearly impossible
at least for the time being. There`s no doubt that any Kurdish national
you speak to would like to see an independent Kurdish republic. As you
mentioned, they`re pretty much are an effective independent state. They
certainly have a lot of sovereignty in terms of how they conduct their
internal affairs and even to some extent their foreign affairs.
But keep in mind that if Kurdistan was to be declared an independent
state, it would be a landlocked state surrounded by countries that are not
necessarily friendly to it, including Syria, Iran, the new Iraq, and
Turkey, and it would be at that point compelled to try to establish
diplomatic relations for all kinds of reasons. And that would make it
Kurdish officials that I`ve spoken to over the last several months and
years have always said their biggest reality on the ground is reason
they`re unable to declare a state. They can`t declare a state unless the
neighbors around Kurdistan want to see an independent state and for the
time being, none of those countries want to see an independent Kurdistan.
HAYES: Ayman Mohyeldin, NBC News foreign correspondent -- thank you,
HAYES: There`s big news today about two Americans who are involved in
this incredibly messy, complex situation, though in very different ways.
This is Douglas McArthur McCain, of San Diego, California, grew up
playing basketball, who was described as a goof ball in high school and who
was as first reported by NBC News killed over the weekend allegedly while
fighting with is in Syria, according to the Free Syrian Army which was
fighting against ISIS in that battle.
A U.S. official today confirmed McCain`s death and his presence in
Syria. This is footage from the battle between ISIS and the Free Syrian
Army in which McCain is believed to have been killed. Both groups are
opposed to Syrian President Assad, but the Free Syrian Army is viewed as
the moderate, secular opposition by western forces.
Free Syrian Army Forces discovered about $800 in cash and an American
passport on McCain`s body after that fight, allegedly among three foreign
jihadists fighting with is who died during the battle. Thirty-three-year-
old McCain who had taken to call himself "Duale Thaslaveofallah" on social
media tweeted this in May, "I reverted to Islam 10 years ago and I must
say, inshallah". That means God willing in Arabic. "I will never look
back. The best thing that ever happened to me."
We also got news about another American in the region today, a 26-
year-old woman who ISIS has been holding hostage since last year. Sources
told NBC News ISIS has demanded a $6.6 million ransom and/or release of a
Pakistani neuroscientist convicted of attempted murder in New York in
exchange for the release of the aid workers whose name is being withheld at
the request of her familiar.
Before brutally killing American journalist James Foley, ISIS demanded
ransom more than $132 million in exchange for his release.
Joining me now, Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the State
All right. Marie, I first met you face to face almost exactly a year
ago, in the State Department, in Foggy Bottom. I come down to Washington
to interview John Kerry, and it was about a push from the State Department
to the White House for possible military strikes against Bashar al Assad.
Here we are one year later and it looks like the groundwork is being
laid for possible airstrikes against a group that is fighting Bashar al
How are American people supposed to make sense of this?
MARIE HARF, STATE DEPT. DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON: Well, I remember that
day well, Chris, and I`d make a few points on that. The first is that we
will not be working with the Assad regime or coordinating with them to
They are not the answer to ISIS. They are the reason that ISIS has
been able to grow in strength. They`ve been able to flourish. They`ve
allowed them to move freely back and forth to Iraq.
So, on the one hand, while they may be fighting ISIS in places, on the
other hand, they have allowed them to grow. So, we`re very focused right
now on how we, working with other partners, whether it`s the Syrian
moderate opposition as you just mentioned, the Iraqis, the Kurds, working
with those partners to take the fight to ISIS. We`re not going to be
working with the Assad regime.
HAYES: OK, but isn`t war zero sum at a certain level the enemy of my
enemy is my friend. I mean, if, in fact you bomb ISIS, do you that then,
ergo, strengthen Assad?
HARF: Well, unfortunately nothing in Syria is as simplistic as that.
And from your reporting that you just did, I think that`s very clear.
We have been clear that we will take the fight to is and do whatever
we can regardless of geographical boundaries to protect Americans. But
we`ve also been clear that Assad has lost all legitimacy to lead. You
look, 190,000 people dead.
That`s why we`ve increased our support to the moderate opposition
because they`re fighting a war basically on three fronts. Against the
regime, against ISIS, and against Nusra. It`s a really tough challenge.
HAYES: OK. The "A.P." just had a story quoting folks within the
administration, again, these are things that according to the "A.P." are
being contemplating of bombing both ISIS targets and possibly Assad
targets, which I got to say begins to start sounding like madness that we
are going to essentially going to try to kind of ration out our bombing on
both sides to maintain this horrific equilibrium because there`s nothing
but bad options left.
HARF: Well, when I`ve heard conversations inside the administration
and certainly what we`re focused on right now is how we can take the fight
to ISIS directly. We`ve talked about doing that in Iraq. You mentioned
more strikes around Irbil today.
But what the president is considering is what options we can take,
what actions we can take, to really degrade ISIS` capability, but long term
as your correspondent just said, there`s not a purely military solution
here. We need to cut off the flow of funding to ISIS which has been
extraordinary and has allowed them to flourish. We need to cut off the
ability for foreign fighters like the American that we saw killed recently
from getting there. So, it`s a challenge on all fronts here.
HAYES: Does the American government know how many Americans are
fighting under the banner of ISIS right now?
HARF: Well, we know there are dozens, possibly up to 100 Americans
who have gone to Syria to fight for various extremist groups, that`s ISIS,
and Nusra and some other splintered groups. We don`t have an exact number.
But we track these people. We knew this individual, Douglas McCain, was
there. We`re aware of his death, as we said.
So, we track these individuals because when it comes to the threat to
the homeland, that`s probably the most concerning aspect right now is that
an American could come back to the United States and try to promote their
HAYES: There was a period where we were talking about the vetted
opposition. You just mentioned the Free Syrian Army. How can you give any
assurances at this point of anyone being vetted in the maelstrom of chaos
and violence that is Syria?
HARF: Well, we go to great lengths to vet people we give any
assistance to. And particularly when we`re talking about this new
Department of Defense program we asked Congress to authorize, to train and
equip the Syrian opposition, we go to great lengths to vet them for exactly
the reason you mentioned. We don`t want our assistance falling into the
HAYES: Right, but if an American kid who liked to play baseball and
hip-hop can end up fighting for ISIS, one images a Free Syrian Army fighter
with an American weapon can someday decide he also wants to join ISIS and
there`s not exactly going to be a process in which he hands over his
Marie Harf from the State Department -- thank you so much.
HARF: Yes, thank you.
HAYES: All right. Up next, a new audio recording has surfaced that a
lawyer of the man who recorded it said it`s from the very moment that
Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown in Ferguson. If the tape is
validated, it could become a key piece of evidence against Officer Wilson
or in his defense? We have the tape. We`ll play it for you, ahead.
HAYES: There`s some good news out of the Middle East today. A new
long-term cease-fire between Israel and Hamas would ease travel
restrictions and allow much needed humanitarian aid into Gaza. The current
war began 50 days ago and resulted in the deaths of 2,140 Palestinians,
including at least six people killed by airstrikes just today and 70
Israelis, including two civilians hit by rocket fire just as the cease-fire
was being announced.
And I have to say, it is very, very difficult to say after all this
horrible destruction and death and cruelty and sorrow exactly what it was
We`ll be right back.
HAYES: Tonight, we`ve got new audio recording purporting to capture
the exact moment when Michael Brown was shot by police officer Darren
According to his lawyer, a man who wants to remain unidentified came
forward with audio of the gunfire which he says he recorded inadvertently
while taping a video message to a friend. While the recording has not yet
been confirmed as the actual shooting, the lawyer, Lupa Blumenthal told NBC
News the FBI has a copy they`re working to identify and has spoken with her
client. She`ll be on "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL" later
Federal officials won`t confirm they have this specific recording.
They do confirm they`re collecting audio and video of the fatal incident on
tape which the lawyer played for NBC`s Ron Allen. You can hear what sounds
like gunshots in the background of the man`s amorous message.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are pretty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re so fine. Just going over some of your
videos. How could I forget?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: We counted what seemed to be a burst of six gunshots followed
by a three-second pause and then four more shots.
At this point, we don`t know happened immediately before or after the
recording or whether it is the shooting of Michael Brown. The lawyer tells
Ron Allen she`s confident it`s the real deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS: No doubt in your mind that this is real?
LUPA BLUMENTHAL, LAWYER FOR PERSON WHO RECORDED AUDIO: Absolutely
not. He`s a very solid citizen, you know, he`s -- I think that if it came
to testifying, he would be a very reliable witness. And he has no reason
to make it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Law enforcement officials told NBC News it`s impossible to
know at this stage what significance the tape may be, but a spokesman for
Bob McCulloch, St. Louis prosecutor leading the grand jury investigation,
said if it`s validated, the tape could be a key piece of evidence.
It will be added to what is already a large and, frankly, very public
body of evidence, including multiple eyewitness accounts of the deadly
confrontation recounted in interview after interview and amateur videos
taken by various angles shortly after the shooting, and given how public
the location was in the middle of an apartment complex, in the middle of a
Saturday -- I was there Saturday afternoon and there were dozens of people
around -- there could be more potential evidence to come.
Given everything we`ve seen, will be enough to clear the threshold for
Joining me now is Areva Martin, civil rights attorney and legal
So, Areva, first, I want to get your response to this new recording,
which, again, it`s very difficult for us to verify. But any given piece of
evidence it seems to me can be used by either someone seeking an indictment
or someone in defense to put what facts they need to, to defend their
client. So, it doesn`t seem that any individual piece of evidence so far
has been dispositive.
AREVA MARTIN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Absolutely, Chris. And what`s
important at this stage is that this case is being presented to a grand
jury, so the traditional rules of evidence at the grand jury stage, those
rules are relaxed. So, the prosecutor can present any evidence, even
evidence that is typically considered hearsay or otherwise unreliable.
And we know this prosecutor has vowed to submit all of the evidence
that`s come to light in this case. So, we should suspect if this, you
know, audio is verified that this evidence will be presented to the grand
HAYES: OK. Let`s go -- Areva, can we do criminal procedure 101 here?
HAYES: I think there`s some confusion, right? We`re watching this
grand jury process play out. We know a shadow of a reasonable doubt is a
threshold for conviction in a reasonable -- in a criminal case. What is
the threshold? What is the evidentiary threshold that has to be crossed by
a grand jury to return an indictment?
MARTIN: Much less. Think of it as a preponderance of evidence. So,
as you correctly stated, at a trial, when we`re trying to determine guilt,
the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt.
But at this level, all we`re trying to determine is was a crime
committed and who committed that crime? Is there probable cause for the
case to move forward to an actual jury trial? So, they`re not determining
guilt or innocence. This is really about whether there should be a trial
on whether excessive force was used by the officer against Mr. Brown.
So, again, the rules of evidence are far more relaxed, and almost
anything can be presented by the prosecutor. And it`s his choice. No
judge is going to be there to rule evidence inadmissible or to, you know,
make any kind of objection, evidentiary rulings. This is the prosecutor`s
And sometimes lawyers say a prosecutor can take any case to a grand
jury and leave out with an indictment if that`s his or her intent.
HAYES: Right. There`s the old joke about you can indict a ham
MARTIN: Ham sandwich, yes.
HAYES: -- if you want to.
And, again, this is -- this is a process that is in some ways by
design skewed towards the prosecution, right? I mean, it is just the
prosecutor presenting evidence, he`s presenting people to people he`s kind
of established a rapport with, right, because these are folks --
HAYES: -- that are sitting in a grand jury room week after week or
day after day depending on the details of it.
HAYES: So, it is usually a case if a prosecutor wants an indictment
in a specific case, they can get an indictment, although not always, right?
There are times when --
MARTIN: Not always, but high probability, and you have to remember,
there`s no defendant. There`s no defense attorney. And there`s no judge.
And what evidence is presented, again, is in the sole discretion of
that prosecutor, so he can tell a very persuasive story that can cause
those grand jurors to give him an indictment. And we don`t need unanimous
vote. There are 12 grand jurors in this case. We only need nine to side
with this prosecutor for him to get an indictment in this case.
HAYES: So, final question here is, how to think about the
prosecutor`s role in this? Because I think there`s some way in which some
of the communication out of Bob McCulloch`s office is kind of that he`s a
sort of neutral arbiter here, that his job is to kind of take the evidence
collected by investigators and present it to the grand jury as a kind of
courier step. Is that the way it works?
MARTIN: That`s the way this is being skewed in this case, Chris. But
that`s not the normal way you think of a prosecutor and a relationship to
the grand juror.
The prosecutor`s job is to seek justice, and if a crime has been
committed, to actually leave that grand jury with an indictment. And, you
know, there`s some concern in this Ferguson community about whether this
prosecutor can be unbiased given some of his history with respect to
indicting others who -- where there`s a belief that they engaged in
So, a lot riding on this case for this prosecutor and all eyes are
HAYES: Civil rights attorney Areva Martin -- thank you very much.
MARTIN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: All right. You may see this corporate logo and think of
whoppers or burgers with fries on them or even that weird creepy ad
campaign from a few years ago. Wall Street sees dollar signs and
opportunity in the land of moose and syrup.
Plus, what it looks like when DREAMers show up at a Marco Rubio event
involves perhaps the worst attempt to cover a 15-foot-wide sign ever.
HAYES: Now that President Obama has returned from vacation, he could
be announcing any day now what actions he`ll take on immigration -- whether
he intends to use his executive power in light of House Republicans`
continued stonewalling of legislation. And in the run-up to that, the
dreamers, a group of young, undocumented Americans brought here as
children, have been confronting their political opponents, particularly in
the GOP, which somewhat amazingly has become the pro-deportation party.
Their targets include people like Marco Rubio once thought to be the
party`s great immigration hope and who just last year helped pass
comprehensive immigration reform through the Senate. More recently,
actually just last month, Rubio said he supported ending relief for
undocumented childhood arrivals, the DREAMers in question. So, yesterday,
bunch of Dreamer activists showed up in a GOP fund-raiser in South Carolina
when Marco Rubio was speaking, and this is what it looked like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE, UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: My name is Jose, and we are Dreamers
from the state of Florida, and our Senator wants to deport us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER (1): Senator Rubio, you do not stand
with Latinos. Latinos stand with Dreamers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PROTESTER: Senator Rubio, stop flip-flopping with
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER (2): We are here, Senator Rubio, came all
the way from Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right, all right. Now, stop the tape right there. This
is sort of an interesting move by the man in hat and stickers. The old try
to cover a 15-foot-wide sign with your 2-foot-wide body. And, once it
becomes painfully clear the math is not in his favor, well, he tries to
move around a bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER (2): We are here, Senator Rubio, came all
the way from Florida because you want to deport us and our family. You
want to deport us and our families, Senator Rubio, and we know that your
mother who live --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ultimately, our mustachioed bestickered friend in the hat
realizes the futility of what he is trying to do and grabs the entire sign
and leads them out of the fund-raiser.
The entire things are pretty good encapsulation of the GOP`s
immigration conundrum. Young Latino organizers being booed by an audience
of predominantly older white people, not a good look.
HAYES: There is a story today from the fast food chain, Burger King,
that was big enough to knock the return of chicken fries from the top of
their press release website. That story is up for $11.4 billion. Burger
King is set to buy the Canadian restaurant chain and purveyor of coffee and
donuts called Tim Horton.
It is a merger that was anticipated a few days ago and provoked a
wave of preemptive backlash because many people thought they knew exactly
what Burger King was up to, something called a tax inversion.
A tax inversion deal is essentially when an American company acquires
or merges with a foreign company, usually a smaller one based in a low-tax
country then reincorporates and moves its headquarters abroad to lower its
tax rate. President Obama described it this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If you are doing
business here, if you are basically still an American company, but you are
simply changing your mailing address in order to avoid paying taxes, then
you are really not doing right by the country and by the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But, because people have seized on the so-called tax
inversion aspect deal, a few other things are being overlooked. When it
comes to total market value before the merger, the companies were not very
far apart relatively speaking. And, as MSNBC Contributor, Josh Barro,
pointed out in "The New York Times," "By some measures, Tim Horton is a
bigger company than Burger King."
In 2013, Tim Horton set a $3 billion in revenue. The Burger King is
$1.1 billion in revenue. So, in that sense, Canada is the biggest market
for the combined company, which seems to make Canada, well not a crazy
choice to base a new company. It is true that by moving its home to
Canada, where there is a lower corporate tax rate than the nearly 35
percent corporate tax rate in the U.S., the highest on the books in the
world, Burger King would undoubtedly save money on taxes.
But, this is important. According to the government accountability
office, some property U.S. Corporations paid an average effective tax rate
of around 13 percent in 2010. So, there is a real question here for
liberals and conservatives alike whether the current corporate tax policy
is good policy.
And, joining me now is a former secretary of labor in the Clinton
Administration, Robert Reich. Robert, I fail to see why -- I know why, as
a liberal, I am supposed to want a high corporate tax rate, but given the
fact there is this massive gap between what it is on the books and what is
And, given the fact that it creates incentives for all kinds of
shenanigans like inversions possibly start to sweeten the deal on the
Burger King, why should not we just get rid of the thing or lower it and
get the taxes from some other part of our tax collection that we can
FMR. SEC. ROBERT REICH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR: Well, by that
logic, Chris, why not lower taxes on the wealthy because they certainly try
to hide a lot of their income? I mean, the problem is once you get into
the business of a race to the bottom, and that is basically what a lot of
corporations are doing, internationally.
They are trying to use whatever shenanigans they can to avoid paying
taxes. Then there is no end to it. I mean, yes, if we had major tax
reform and had a territorial tax system, so that American companies could
not shift their profits abroad to transfer pricing and have a system where
they paid fully on all the business they did in the United States, that
would be one thing, but we do not have that. You know, if pigs could fly,
that would be nice as well. Burger King --
HAYES: But, wait. But, Robert -- is not it the case -- let me stop
you there. Is it not the case that corporations as entities are even
better and more sophisticated at debating taxes than even rich individuals,
who themselves are pretty good at doing it?
FMR. SEC. REICH: Yes. Corporations are terrific. And, undoubtedly
what a lot of people are afraid of right now is that a lot of American
corporations are following in the footsteps of Wal-Mart`s attempt,
Walgreens` attempt, also Burger King`s apparent attempt, are going to be
doing this because it looks like an easy way of making some money.
What is not being considered, however, is all of the ways in which
the United States actually supports these former or present American
companies. I mean, look at all of the Medicaid and all of the food stamps
that you and I and other taxpayers are providing to the employees of Burger
King because they are paid minimum wages. Well, we are still going to go
on paying that. It is just that Burger King is going to be paying fewer
HAYES: OK. Burger King also -- I went back and read this Joe Nocera
column from 2012, and I did not really know much about Burger King as a
company; but, in some ways it is kind of a perfect symbol of modern
American finance capitalism. It is basically been this kind of shell
company that has been private equity turned over and over.
It was in Richman`s scream for clever financiers. In 2002 Goldman
Sachs along with two private equity firms, TGP and Bain Capital teamed up
to buy Burger King. Their $1.5 billion purchase price included only $210
million of their own money. Four years later, they took Burger King
public, first they rewarded themselves with almost half a billion in
dividends. This thing has just been kicking around Wall Street as a kind
of human corpse to suck the blood out of.
FMR. SEC. REICH: Yes, interestingly. I mean Burger King is going the
way of a lot of American corporations that used to be businesses set up to
do something like provide hamburgers.
FMR. SEC. REICH: It is now a finance company. I mean, essentially
it is a finance company. All American companies are becoming finance
companies. And, yes, the financial company that is owning Burger King
stands to make a lot of money by this transaction. It is not that they are
investing more money in jobs.
In fact, their reputation, this finance company that owns Burger
King, their reputation is you buy companies and you actually slash
payrolls. You squeeze customers. You squeeze as much profit as you
possibly can get out of it, and now their reputation is going to be, you
also go abroad to get lower taxes.
HAYES: There is got to be something wrong with a system in which
takes a company that has been troubled, whose franchisees have been
troubled and sort of moves it through different rings of ownership with
each time there is a new owner they take a lot of money out of it. And,
they kind of brand prospects or actual business prospect, never quite seem
to improve. What exactly is happening here?
FMR. SEC. REICH: Well, what is happening is two things. Employees
are not getting any place, obviously. They are being paid nothing. The
rest of us, as I said before, are subsidizing those employees to keep them
out of poverty. Shareholders are doing fairly well.
I mean, when the announcement yesterday came through, shareholders
did remarkably well in the very short term. But the people who are the --
but the people who are the big winners, obviously, are these big finance
types. These private equity types. They are treating Burger King as a
HAYES: Yes. We will think about that next time you get a whopper.
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, thank you so much.
FMR. SEC. REICH: Thanks.
HAYES: All right, after Ferguson, we reached a fork in the road for
our politics. My challenge to small government conservatives, ahead.
HAYES: Couple weeks ago, early in the Ferguson protests that followed
the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, as police in riot
gear were ordering demonstrators off the streets, they encountered a group
of people gathered not on the street but in a private backyard to observe
and protest the police action that night. St. Louis "Riverfront Times"
captured what happened next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER: You go home!
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: You go home! You go home! You go home!
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Hands up! Hands up! Hands up!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PROTESTERS: Hands up! hands up!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER: This is my property.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What you just saw is the police in Ferguson, Missouri, firing
tear gas at a small group of unarmed protesters standing in a private
backyard after one of them says, "This is my property." Can you imagine a
scene more designed to inspire conservative outrage than this? If people
on their own property in their own yard engaged in their constitutionally
protected right to peaceably assemble and they are met with big government
in the form of riot gear and a tear gas canister in their faces?
People invoke the founders a bit frivolously for my taste, but this
thing pretty clearly seems like exactly the kind of thing the founders
would have hated. And, indeed, there was this moment, two weeks ago, after
the tear gas and rubber bullets and the images of snipers on top of
S.W.A.T. vehicles came out of Ferguson, Missouri, when it really did seem
like some strange, very important left/right political coalition was
falling into place.
Ted Cruz came out with a statement expressing his concern over what
he was seeing after the apparently illegal arrests of reporters Ryan Riley
and Wesley Lowery saying, impart, quote, "Reporters should never be
detained. Free press is too important simply for doing their jobs." Rand
Paul to "Time" Magazine writing, quote, "There is a legitimate role for the
police to keep the peace. There should be a difference between a police
response and military response. The images and scenes we continue to see
in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action."
Even Glenn Beck, someone I really rarely agree with about anything
ever, wrote last week, quote, "The local police are supposed to protect and
serve, not shock and awe residents and transform their towns into a middle
east-like war zone at the flip of a switch. Imagine for a moment how
history would be different if the Birmingham police were militarized like
many towns are today."
Now, as surprising as it was, it did make a whole lot of ideological
sense. Keep in mind, Obama-era conservatism is the same political movement
that rails against the petty indignities brought about by recalcitrant
clerks at DMVs, and Obamacare navigators controlling health centers with
clipboards. It is a political movement that staged a massive freak-out
over the admittedly invasive TSA body scans, a political movement. It is
adopted as its unofficial flag the yellow and black Gadsden flag with a
hissing snake, snapping back and being stumped on with a defiant message,
do not tread on me.
There is no set of people who should be better equipped with the
ideological priors to recognize the specific kind of indignity and
infringement of liberty presented by overzealous, uncaring and
unaccountable police officers. But, I fear that all that might soon seem
like a distant memory. As recent polling shows opinion on Ferguson and
policing in general, dividing along depressingly predictable lines. The
biggest dividing line is race. There is also a political division.
When asked to rate, how well local police do at using the proper
amount of force for any given situation, only half of republicans think
police do a good or excellent job, compared to 24 percent of democrats who
feel the same. Part of this has to do with the great polarization machine
of which I am at times admittedly a part.
The ricochet reasoning that says foolishly, well with Al Sharpton is
for it that I am against it. But, here is the core truth that comes out of
Ferguson. And, it holds true in tens of thousands of cities and towns
across this nation. When the police stop and frisk you, because you fit a
profile, when they make snide, abusive, or condescending comments or order
you around, that is what treading looks like.
That is what petty tyranny feels like for millions and millions of
our fellow citizens. And, so, after Ferguson, conservatives really have a
choice. To be true to their principles and join liberals in a coalition to
rethink and remake the way criminal justice works in this country, to
attack the cancerous growth of the criminal justice and prison system, or
to stick with articulating the politics of white racial grievance and
resentment and fall in line behind police authority and mass incarceration.
But you cannot have both. So, choose. I hope you will join us.
HAYES: Imagine for a moment if conservatives in America applied the
same level of skepticism to the police as they have for, say, the IRS.
Joining me now is Robert George, Associate Editorial Page Editor of the
"New York Post," and Daria Roithmayr, Professor of Law at University of
Southern California, author of "Reproducing Racism." She also co-wrote a
great piece with Dahlia Lithwick at Slate about the constitution in
ROBERT GEORGE, "NEW YORK POST" ASSOCIATE EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR:
Imagine if democrats applied the same skepticism to the IRS as they do with
HAYES: That is a good point, right? But, here is actually why --
And, I will defend this, actually. So, that is true, right? Official
government pronouncements, at least by journalists should be treated with
skepticism. That said, it always strikes me there is a weird inversion
among conservatives, which is the places where government action have the
highest stakes, which is in military and law enforcement when there is guns
involved, when there is bombs involved. It seemingly are the places where
the least amount of skepticism is applied and the places where the stakes
seem relatively minor, at least compared to whether you drop a bomb or not
like a tax mandate, is where you get the most, right?
GEORGE: Well except, you know -- I mean our country was kind of
founded on the idea of fighting against a tax mandate, so I would not
necessarily say that the stakes are low just because it is a tax -- I mean,
tax is money.
HAYES: Right, but it was taxes but it was also -- I was thinking a
lot about the founders. I was going back and reading federalists when I
was in Ferguson, because it was also -- When you look at fifth amendment,
fourth amendment, and third amendment, which is core in -- A lot of what
they are rebelling against is this feeling of the petty indignities of men
with guns being able to tell you what you to do. I can come into your
place and I can take your papers, because I am the guy with a gun.
HAYES: And, it is precisely that sense of indignance at that kind of
petty journey --
GEORGE: And, just to disagree with the way you set this up, I still
think there is still a lot of possible discussion and ability to work
together amongst democrats and --
HAYES: I do.
GEORGE: -- and libertarians.
HAYES: I agree.
GEORGE: But, I -- look, there has always been -- there has been a
kind of a tension within the right, within conservatives between law and
order conservatives and government skeptic conservatives. That is in there
for a long time. I think that is -- I think that tension is actually even
greater now. You know, about --
HAYES : And, I think the non law and order side, the sort of
government skeptic is ascended in some way.
GEORGE: Is ascended. Yes, I could agree with that.
DARIA ROITHMAYR, PROFESSOR OF LAW AT UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN
CALIFORNIA: But, the law --
ROITHMAYR: But, the law and order side comes back whenever there is
race at issue and that is where the law and order side really in some ways
found their first footing --
ROITHMAYR: -- During Reagan, Nixon, and Goldwater, the whole law and
order conservative movement in some sense came to power precisely in
reaction to the civil rights movement. So, it is not surprising we see an
ascendant law and order movement again in response to racial unrest or
unrest that is classified as racial.
HAYES: Well, this is a really important point because if you want to
look at law and order as the politics of law and order, which are a
political formulation that have led to policies, actual policies, that have
led to us incarcerating more people --
ROITHMAYR: Mass incarceration, right?
HAYES: -- They really start -- they are really successful in `68 with
Nixon. And, that is two years after Watts Riots. That is kind of a call
in response that happens, the Watts Riots and law and order policy.
GEORGE: No, I do not disagree with that. I mean, Nixon ran on --
Nixon ran on a kind of a law and order, you know, appealing -- appealing to
the silent majority. That is, you know, that is a fact. But you are now,
as you said, you are having this kind of an ascendant libertarian
government skeptic. I mean, I might -- about two months ago, I was
actually surprised, on my timeline, I had both democrats and liberals out.
GEORGE: There was a black liberal that was defending the police and
a white libertarian was talking about how -- about how the police need to
be restrained. And, he is distrustful of them. And, I was kind of
surprised how it was playing out. I think it is more dynamic now post-
HAYES: Daria, the big core of this all to me also seems to me we have
got these kind of legacy politics. We got legacy policies and we also have
the fact that, look, crime is horrible. OK? Being the victim of crime is
terrible. I grew up in New York in the Bronx in the 1990s when the murder
rate was three, four times what it is now. OK?
I know firsthand that it is awful to be a victim of crime. The fact
is we have the lowest crime rate in this country now since around 1957 or
so. And, yet it does not -- seems like the politics as they relate to
crime shift much more slowly than the actual facts on the ground would
ROITHMAYR: Well, I would say two things. First, I think there
certainly does seem to be an opening for a fiscal conservative to argue
against mass incarceration surely on fiscal grounds.
ROITHMAYR: But, what I think you are leaving out of the picture is
the question of economic anxiety. So, economic anxiety brings out the law
and order conservatives in a way that I think you have to take into account
with regard to explaining why conservatives do not get behind a mass
incarceration, which actually that would save a lot of money. That
economic anxiety research shows provokes law and order conservatives in
some sense to increase their conservatism and in some cases democrats do
that as well.
GEORGE: And, that is exactly -- that is where the immigration fight
GEORGE: People seeing people coming in here illegally or being given
amnesty. That has both a legal and an economic discomforting aspect.
HAYES: You know, when I was in Ferguson, I was thinking about this
phrase, law and order, because I never thought about the second word in it,
right? So, law, we think about the crime and the breaking of laws. But,
there were scenes that I saw in Ferguson that were legal but would be
viewed by some as disorderly. Right? Which is that there was protected,
peaceable assembly on the sidewalks on certain nights when the police --
GEORGE: -- on their own property.
HAYES: Right. That was --
ROITHMAYR: Constitutionally protected disorder.
HAYES: That is exactly right. And, it struck me for the first time
in that phrase that I have turned over my head that, of course, you know,
Nixon kind of made famous, that that order part is a sort of important
component in terms of what it is doing politically. It is not just crime.
It is a sense that everything and everyone is in their proper place, Daria.
ROITHMAYR: Right. Right. A sense of stability, a sense of order is
what in some sense gives reassurance in the face of economic anxiety. And,
so, to the extent that disorder is coupled with economic anxiety, we need
to hold on to ours, lest they take it away from us. Law and order becomes
even more important in the face of racial unrest of the kind that you saw
HAYES: So, what do you think? Do you think there is space here? My
fear is this all plays out in this very predictable way --
GEORGE: As you know, you have already got Rand Paul, and Cory Booker
looking at sentencing kind of guidelines, so I think that might be a
building block that we can work on. And, I think, I really do think that
there is going to be more discussion on the militarization of the police as
GEORGE: You have already got Nancy Pelosi has been talking about
that. The administration is talking about that. I think they may find
some republicans who will look at it as well.
HAYES: Robert George --
ROITHMAYR: I would agree with that, but I would add that as the
protest phase of Ferguson moves off and we go on to the question of whether
or not there was excessive force in the shooting, you are going to see an
ascendance of the law and order conservatives come back.
HAYES: Yes. Robert George from "New York Post," Daria Roithmayr from
the University of Southern California, thank you, both.
GEORGE: Thank you.
HAYES: That is "All In" for this evening. The "Rachel Maddow Show"
starts right now from down the hall. Good evening, Rachel.
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