All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, October 6, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
October 6, 2014
Guest: Devi Nampiaparampil, Stephen Morse, John Suthers
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN:
DR. MITCHELL LEVY, ASHOKA MUKPO`S FATHER: We`ve seen people died
from this. Many, many people.
HAYES: The journalist who contracted Ebola while documenting the
disease in West Africa is back on American soil tonight and in touch with
LEVY: He said to me, I`m going to get through this. I`m going to
get through this.
HAYES: While politicians have found a way to turn Ebola into a
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: The military is not trained to go
catch Ebola and die. The president`s priorities are all mixed up here.
HAYES: Then, ALL IN America coal country starts tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s my 10 people multitrillion millionaires and
ten thousand eat up with black lung and die.
HAYES: Our series begins in Harland County, Kentucky, where we
investigate the war on the war on coal.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Who started the war on coal? It
was Barack Obama.
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D-KY), SENATE CANDIDATE: I don`t agree with
the president`s war on coal.
HAYES: Plus, the epic Ben Affleck/Bill Maher smack down.
BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: Because it`s gross! It`s racist.
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening, from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
A dark milestone today in what has become the world`s largest ever
Ebola epidemic. A nurse in Spain is now the first known person to contract
the virus outside West Africa. After helping the treatment missionary who
died of Ebola contracted while doing charity work in Sierra Leone, one of
the countries in West Africa that has been very hard hit.
Following a briefing today with top U.S. health and security
officials, President Obama called on allies around the globe to step up
their efforts against the epidemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ll be very honest
with you, although we have seen great interest on the part of the
international community, we have not seen other countries step up as
aggressively as they need to. This is an area where everybody has to chip
in and everybody has to move quickly, in order for us to get this under
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president also announcing the administration is working
on new measures to screen people entering the U.S. More on that in a
In Dallas, the first patient arable diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.,
Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, remains in critical condition today
after his health deteriorated over the weekend. Texas health officials
announced today that Duncan has begun an experimental treatment for the
virus, receiving a first course of the antiviral drug Brincidofovir on
It`s one of three drugs now approved by the FDA for experimental use
on Ebola patients.
Meanwhile, Ashoka Mukpo, the American who contracted Ebola while
working for NBC News in Liberia returned to the U.S. today, where he`s
being treated in the bio containment unit at the University of Nebraska
medical clinic. And unlike the patient in Dallas, Mukpo seems to be in
relatively good shape at this point, walking off the plane today under his
own power before getting on a gurney en route to the hospital, and even
greeting his loved ones as health workers wheeled him in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HELEN FINLAY, ASHOKA MUKPO`S GIRLFRIEND: He gave a little wave
earlier when he first came in and that was really reassuring. I`m very
happy to have him back home on American soil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Mukpo later spoke with his parents via video conference
following his hospital evaluation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEVY: He said to me, I`m going to get through this. I`m going o get
through this. And I think it`s him building self confident. But he`s
strong enough and they see that he`s not physically weak and that`s really
encouraging to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: His family later announced that Mukpo will also receive an
experimental treatment of a specific drug that`s not yet determined.
Joining me now, Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil, assistant professor at NYU
School of Medicine.
All right, Doctor, here`s why I wanted to talk to you. You see the
picture -- you hear the awful news that Thomas Duncan has deteriorated over
the weekend. And then you see Mr. Mukpo get off the plane. And I was
thinking, what exactly is the difference? We know that there are thousands
of people who have died in West Africa and thousands who have survived it.
So, what determines the outcome for a patient who`s contracted the
DR. DEVI NAMPIAPARAMPIL, NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, it`s hard to
know. I mean, there could be a variety of factors. I mean, it could be
the time they get diagnosed and how quickly we start treatment. I mean, we
don`t have a treatment specifically for Ebola, but we do have a lot of
things that we do to support people with the complications in terms of
fluid management and other things.
So, it`s possible that one person got a little bit more in the way of
treatment earlier on versus the other one.
HAYES: So, that`s one big indicator. We know in the case of Mr.
Mukpo, he was basically diagnosed right away. As soon as he ran a fever,
he was moved to medical attention. Whereas, Mr. Duncan went to the
hospital, was sent back and ended up going two days later in an ambulance,
that makes a big difference, right? How early it`s diagnosed and treated
in terms of it`s --
NAMPIAPARAMPIL: Yes, we think so, especially its effect on the body.
So, its effect on the kidneys, its effect on the liver, if you`re anemic or
if your blood counts are low, if you`re dehydrated, that can make a
I mean, the other thing to think about is, are these people in good
health to begin with? So, most likely, the younger journalist was in good
health, at least we think so. Whereas, the other one, we don`t know enough
about his background.
HAYES: So, what is going on? What does the disease do to the human
body that makes it so brutal and so deadly for so many thousands that have,
in fact, perished?
NAMPIAPARAMPIL: Well, the reason it`s deadly, I think there are a
couple of different reasons. But in terms of its effect on the body, one
of the things is that it causes you to bleed. So, you start to lose blood.
As soon as you start to become dehydrated and your body isn`t able to pump
that blood that you have, you start to put a strain on the heart and on the
lungs, because the heart has to pump the remaining blood everywhere.
HAYES: So you have a strain on the heart, you also have this danger
of dehydration, my understanding is -- even if you take away the
experimental drugs, the treatment regime is basically giving people the
care they need for the symptoms and then eventually, the virus just goes
away. Is that right?
NAMPIAPARAMPIL: Well, that`s kind of how a lot of virus has worked.
I mean, if you think about the flu virus, for example, you know, we don`t
have a cure for that either. But what we try to do is manage symptoms with
it. It`s cough, cold symptoms, you know, fever, we try to get people
through all of that stuff so their immune system can fight it. So, that`s
the idea even with Ebola treatment right now, before the experimental
treatments. The idea is to manage all of those symptoms.
So, if you have kidney failure, there are treatments we can do to
kind of guide you or manage you through that, until your body is back in
shape to fight it.
HAYES: And the idea that -- and that like the flu, that if you can
come out of the worst periods, the virus eventually goes away, right? You
are no longer testing positive once you --
NAMPIAPARAMPIL: Exactly. But you might have some immunity to it,
still. If you`ve beaten it -- just like with any virus, I mean, that`s why
we need a new flu shot every year.
NAMPIAPARAMPIL: Because we are able to get immunity to some of them,
then they don`t -- they`re not likely to affect us as much anymore. So,
each year, there`s different strains. So, with Ebola, it`s the same thing.
If you beat it, you may be able fight it after that. So --
HAYES: Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil, thank you very much.
NAMPIAPARAMPIL: Thank you.
HAYES: Oh, following his meeting with health and security officials
today, the president laid out his priorities for addressing the Ebola
outbreak here in the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Most particularly, we`ve got to make sure that our health
workers informed. You know, we`re also going to be working on protocols to
do additional passenger screening both at the source and here in the United
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But those additional screening measures are unlikely to
satisfy the number of law makers calling for an all-out travel ban, between
the U.S. and infected countries, something the White House says it has no
intention of doing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
THOM TILLIS (R), NC SENATE CANDIDATE: Now, we have an instance where
someone traveled from Western Africa, to Europe and to Washington, D.C.,
and then to Dallas, and exposed a number of people. I think until we know
we have the situation under control, we should do everything we can to
protect the safety and security of the people here at home.
GOHMERT: The president`s priorities are all mixed up here. All you
got to do is shut down the traffic in and out of the places where there`s
high risk of Ebola. But political correctness is going to get people
killed in all of these areas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly, West African individuals should not be
coming to the United States. You know, when your grandma taught you that
you don`t get around somebody that`s sick. And you don`t let sick -- if
you`re sick, you don`t get around other people. Why don`t we use this
common sense before it`s too late?
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Those folks are not the only ones talking tough on Ebola on
Friday. Right here on this program, Dallas County District Attorney Craig
Watkins was up for re-election, we should note, told me he`s considering
bringing charges against patient Thomas Eric Duncan, a man who it appears
likely contracted the disease aiding a dying pregnant woman and a man who
health officials say is currently fighting for his life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG WATKINS, DALLAS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We have a
responsibility to protect the citizens of Dallas County. And if this
individual knowingly and intentionally and even recklessly put the citizens
in harm`s way, then we have a responsibility to at least look into the
possibility of criminal activity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Stephen Morse. He`s professor of
epidemiology at Columbia University.
Good to see you, Professor.
STEPHEN MORSE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Thank you. Nice to be here.
HAYES: OK, let`s start with the travel ban idea. I guess it sort of
has some kind of intuitive appeal, just shut down, all you got to do, as
Louie Gohmert said, is shut down travel to those parts that are affected.
This is a good idea -- from the perspective of an epidemiology, is it
good idea or bad idea?
MORSE: Well, in practical terms, just like shutting down our border,
you know? So, what`s going to happen ultimately I think is that people
will find other ways to get here, and perhaps find that they have to be a
little less honest about where they`ve been and what they`ve done.
So, I think people can disagree about this and their honest
arguments, pro and con. But at the moment, I favor the idea that we should
keep travel open so that people come in and are encouraged to be honest
about it and not stigmatized, not made to feel isolated.
HAYES: This is a key point, it seems to me, is that part of a big
part of fighting an epidemic. And we saw this with AIDS/HIV, particularly
in the 1980s, is secrecy, taboo, stigma, are the enemies of good public
health, right? So, if you say, OK, we have a travel ban from these three
countries and someone says, well, I have to get to America for my friend`s
wedding or a funeral of my beloved grandmother, they`re going to go to a
neighboring country and say, no, no, I wasn`t in Liberia. And then you eve
got a problem on your hands.
MORSE: And, in fact, that happened, there was someone who went from
Guinea to Senegal, eventually was found -- luckily, there were no other
cases. But this kind of thing happens all of the time. And, obviously,
anyone who can afford to fly to the United States is going to be able to
find another way to get here from another city.
HAYES: This also relates to this idea of criminalizing the
transmission, that Craig Watkins, Dallas district attorney, made some
headlines with that. Does that strike as a good idea from epidemiological
MORSE: Well, in any case, these are human beings who`ve fallen
victim to a disease. They`ve -- I can`t imagine that you can think of them
as criminals. They haven`t gone around spreading the disease. They`re
suffering from it. And I think we need to treat them appropriately.
Epidemiologically, I think also, we need to get as much information from
him possible and encourage them to be about it.
HAYES: That strikes me as a big part of this, is if you start to
have fears on any kind of criminal consequences or travel bans, if you
raise the incentive people for people to lie, to not tell you the full
truth, you make it harder for everyone to do their job to contain this.
MORSE: I think we`ve seen many examples of that, and it`s just human
HAYES: Stephen Morse, thank you very much.
MORSE: Thank you.
HAYES: Today, Supreme Court decision not to act on same-sex marriage
cases is a big deal. I will tell you why, ahead.
HAYES: All right. It`s a big night tonight here at ALL IN because
"All in America" is back. We have been to seven states to bring you this
week`s series, "Coal Country". Tonight, we`re in Kentucky, where two
politicians in a marquee Senate race in the country are battling it out
over who loves coal more. But there`s a dark truth hidden in Kentucky, and
I`ll report on that, ahead.
HAYES: As of this morning, as much as 60 percent of Americans live
in states with full marriage equality. Just two years ago, that figure was
a mere 11 percent and it`s hard to see how we don`t get to the full 100
percent in the near future.
In the meantime, here`s how we get to today. Last year, in the
United States versus Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled that the government
cannot deny federal benefits to same-sex married couples in validating the
federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
And following that landmark decision, a bunch of very, very smart
lawyers in a bunch of states brought a series of cases challenging those
states equal marriage bans. They started making their way through federal
court system, and a really funny thing happen.
First, the federal judge struck down Utah`s same-sex marriage ban.
And then the Oklahoma ban was struck down by another federal judge. Then,
the Virginia ban was overturned, too, and then Wisconsin, and Indiana, in
federal court after federal court.
Federal judges agree that according to the Supreme Court`s logic, in
its landmark Windsor case, that state same-sex marriage bans were
unconstitutional. Those five decisions that I just mentioned were all
appealed to our country`s highest court today. And guess what?
A lot of people are anticipating the Supreme Court would take the
case. I mean, after all, the court never came right out in that Windsor
decision and said state same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. But
the language and logic it used in those cases has led basically every lower
court, with some exceptions, to conclude the court also must mean the
Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
So, people thought clearly, the court is going to step back in. It`s
going to want to get back in and weigh in and just clarify once and for
all. That didn`t happen today. In fact, the court refused to hear the
pending cases, essentially saying no thanks. You guys figure it out.
And what that means on the ground is that all of those rulings in the
states overturning gay marriage bans become the last word on the issue.
Those bans cannot stand. The inevitable answer to you guys figure it out
as the lower courts continue to (INAUDIBLE) marriage bans is bye, bye
Joining me now, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.
Attorney General, you were on a petition asking the court to hear
this case. Is this a good day or a bad day for the citizens of your state,
ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN SUTHERS (R), COLORADO: It depends upon your
perspective. Obviously, the proponents of gay marriage, it`s a very good
HAYES: What`s your perspective?
SUTHERS: I would have preferred the Supreme Court to take the case,
decide it and give some national clarity to it.
We`re still going to have somewhat of a patchwork. We`re going to
have states that have politically adopted gay marriage, we`re going to have
states where it`s been judicially imposed and we`re going to have some
states where bans are going to continue until further cases are decided
with the prospect that at some point in the future, the court could take it
up in the future. I would have preferred, and I think most of my
colleagues would have preferred, that the court gives some clarification
HAYES: As attorney general of your state, when you petition for
appeal, do you sign the petition asking for the court to grant certain in
the Utah case and have contested in your own state, were you doing that as
your role of attorney general, fidelity, to defend the state`s laws? Or
because you thought the law was a good idea?
SUTHERS: No, very much a creature of the law. I`m defending a lot
of laws in Colorado. I`m defending some gun control legislation that a lot
of people in my party and Republican Party don`t like. I`m defending all
kinds of controversial laws. I think it`s my duty to do it, to get the
courts to decide the issue.
HAYES: What about all those other states in which attorneys general
made a different decision and chose not to defend?
SUTHERS: My personal opinion is that they should have defended their
state law, got the case decided as soon as possible. This is what`s
happening. Judicial processes ought to be allowed to work.
HAYES: Would you defend any law that the state of Colorado passed?
SUTHERS: Not if there was on-point appellate law saying that that
law was unconstitutional. That`s not the case here. You gave a very
accurate description of what`s occurred. Why the court said that the
federal government could not (ph) recognize validly -- same-sex marriages
in states that recognized it, they did not say that states couldn`t ban it.
So, the question was still to be decided. The non-decision today, of
course, decides it in states like Colorado.
SUTHERS: We today went to court. We`re lifting, getting the stays
lifted and Colorado, as soon as those stays are lifted, will recognize same
HAYES: Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, great pleasure.
Thank you very much.
SUTHERS: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Ben Affleck calls Bill Maher gross and racist.
We`ll play you the tape ahead.
HAYES: The last two years, Bill Maher has sparked controversy for
his views on religion, particularly for his views on Islam. Lately, he`s
been defending those views by saying he`d just speaking on uncomfortable
truths, standing up for the principles of all liberalism. In his words, in
the Muslim, that is what`s lacking.
On Friday`s HBO`s "Real Time" Ben Affleck pushed against this
criticism and pushed back hard.
BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: So you`re saying if I criticize -- you`re saying
that Islamophobia is not a real thing, that if you`re critical of something
BILL MAHER, TV HOST: Well it`s not a real thing when we do it. It
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not denying that certain people are bigoted
against Muslims as people.
AFFLECK: That`s bigamy.
MAHER: But why are you so hostile about this concept?
AFFLECK: Because it`s gross! It`s racist.
MAHER: It`s not. But it`s so not.
AFFLECK: It`s like saying, "you shifty Jew."
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Absolutely not.
MAHER: You`re not listening to what we are saying.
AFFLECK: You guys are saying if you want to be liberals, believe in
AFFLECK: Freedom speech, like, you know, we are endowed by our
forefathers in the name (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ben, we have to be able to criticize bad ideas.
AFFLECK: Of course we do. No liberal doesn`t --
MAHER: But why --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Islam is the mother load of bad ideas.
AFFLECK: Jesus Christ.
MAHER: It`s just a fact.
AFFLECK: How about the more than a billion people who aren`t
fanatical, who don`t punish women, who just want to go to a school, get
some sandwiches, pray five times a day, and don`t do any of the things --
MAHER: Wait a second --
AFFLECK: You`re stereotyping. You`re taking bad things and painting
the whole religion with that same brush.
MADDOW: All right. Two things. First of all, the definition of
Muslims as people who just want to go to the store, eat sandwiches and pray
five times a day is basically perfect and can`t be improved upon.
Second of all, put me down on the Ben Affleck camp on this strongly.
I think to suggest that what is happening in the Muslim extreme form, some
of Muslim countries is representative of the views of all Muslim is gross
and racist. Or to obsess over what the particular problem with Islam is.
What`s also a bit gross is that these are five non-Muslim guys
sitting around talking about what the Muslims think. And from that
standpoint, it`s just a very weird conversation to have. If you just
changed the faith, everyone would immediately recognize it as bizarre or
For instance, can you imagine a conversation with a group of gentiles
sitting around the table having a conversation about the Jews being
particularly violent or the Jews believe X, Y and Z? It is inconceivable
for very good reason.
For more than 12 years now, the American media has had this debate
about the nature of violent Islam and the nature of the Islamic religion as
a distinctively nefarious -- affairs, yet time and time again, there`s this
conversation that occasionally bubbles into surface about the Muslims that
so often doesn`t actually include, you know, Muslims.
So, if you`re going to have this conversation about the Muslims are
this or the Muslims are that, or the Muslims believe X, Y and Z, then have
it with someone who actually practices the faith you`re talking about.
Like this conversation which I found a bit more enlightening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, Reza, you don`t think that there`s anything
more -- there`s -- the justice system in Muslim countries you don`t think
is somehow more primitive or subjugates women more than in other countries?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear what you just said? You said in
Muslim countries. I just told you that Indonesia, women are absolutely one
hundred percent equal to men. In Turkey, they have more female
representatives, more female heads of state in Turkey than we have in the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, and in Pakistan --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop saying things like Muslim countries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Pakistan, women are still --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It turns out, as a general rule, that asking people to
explain what they believe and why is a whole lot more enlightening than
speculating about their beliefs as if they`re not in the room.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: This is a big new poll out of perhaps this year`s
murky race and have some good news for Democratic challenger, Alison
Lundergan Grimes who is hoping to unseat Senate Republican Leader Mitch
McConnell in Kentucky.
After a month of polls showing McConnell with the advantage in the
race, the new Bluegrass poll has Grimes taking the lead, 46 percent to 44
percent, which represents a 6-point swing to the Democrats since the survey
was last conducted in late August.
Now, this is just one poll and the two-point edge is within the
margin of error. It suggests that with just one month ago until Election
Day, Alison Lundergan Grimes` Senate hopes remain very much alive.
The huge issue in the Kentucky Senate race, of course, has been coal
and specifically, which candidate loves it the most, which is why today,
conservative professional troll, James O`Keefe released a new video
designed to undermine Grimes` claim that she is an ally of the coal
According to O`Keefe, his team went undercover in the Grimes
campaign posing as allies and got staffers to admit that the Democrat is
not telling voters the full truth.
HAYES: Now, keep in mind, that`s not exactly the Grimes campaign manager
and we should note that James O`Keefe is the king of dishonestly edited
misleading videos. So who the heck knows the full story with this one or
what`s in the part of the tape that we`re put up.
But we should note this, to James O`Keefe, what you just saw is a
smoking gun showing that Grimes and her supporters are trying to destroy
the coal industry.
What those staffers appear to be saying in that video in fact is the
same thing the people in the absolute heart of coal country will tell you
if you just bother to ask them. We know that because we went down to
Harlan County, Kentucky. We talked to them ourselves.
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: A war on coal is a war on all of Kentucky. And
I`m here to tell you this fight has just begun. We`re not giving up.
We`re going to push back against these people in every single way we can.
We`re going to stop this war on coal.
HAYES (voice-over): In Kentucky, there is a war on coal.
ALISON LUNDERGAN-GRIMES, SENATE CANDIDATE: I don`t agree with the
president`s war on coal. I think it`s wrong for Kentucky.
HAYES: A fierce competition is being waged to win the approval of voters.
MCCONNELL: The war on coal is not just a war on Eastern Kentucky. It`s a
war on the whole state.
HAYES: And in a marquee race of the midterm elections, it may come down to
this. Which candidate loves coal more?
GRIMES: I am the pro-coal candidate in this race.
HAYES: To hear the campaign rhetoric, coal is the engine that drives
Kentucky. But the reality on the ground tells a different story. Coal is
an industry in ruins. A decline decades in the making.
(on camera): Was it a good living?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I made right about a hundred thousand dollars a
HAYES: A hundred thousand dollars a year?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
HAYES: That`s a good book.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I consider it was and I did say it was.
HAYES: What happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to work one day and got what a lot of people
calls layoff slips, but mine read our jobs was eliminated. So I take it
that that won`t be anymore, those jobs won`t be anymore.
HAYES (voice-over): Deep in the heart of coal country lies Harlan County,
Kentucky. Frank Dixon has lived here his entire life. He`s worked on
mining since he was 19. But in December of 2012, he was told his job had
been eliminated. Now he is on food stamps.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you work every day and go from not working, it`s
just you don`t know what -- you`re depressed. Still depressed.
HAYES: Harlan County is a community that has been defined by coal with a
long and complicated history. It`s been the site of some of the country`s
most violent labor disputes.
ANNOUNCER: In the 1930s, it became somewhat of a legend because of a
shootout between the miners and the coal operators, bloody Harlan they call
HAYES: Efforts to unionize in the 30s were defeated and the movement
seemed to disappear until the 1970s when a strike to organize a non-union
mine in the national headlines.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: The violence has started up again as the United mine
workers try to get a wage contract out of a company owned by a big utility.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: As the strike dragged on for more than a year, two
miners were shot, one man was killed. The day of the miners`s funeral, a
new contract was signed. Ironically, in the same room where the funeral
HAYES: The image of the resolute miner has come at a price. Over the
years, the dangerous work has caused the deaths of hundreds of miners.
Countless others die from coal dust attacking their lungs. Coal`s
influence here is deep, personal and wide region. Poverty has gripped the
region for as long as coal has defined it.
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: In Harlan County, they say mining coal is a boom or a
UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: The unemployment rate is about 18 percent around here
and 25 percent of the people who live out in the county are below the
federal poverty line.
HAYES: Compounding the problem, the loss of coal jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coal has been mined here in Harlan for more than a
hundred years now. It`s always been a boom and a bust industry.
Unfortunately for Eastern Kentucky, coal has been the alpha and the omega.
It`s been the beginning and the end. There`s been no other industry
to speak of. So during the bust times, which come frequently, everything
collapses in the economy.
HAYES: But the decrease in coal jobs in Appalachia has not been a new
phenomenon. Over the past three decades, American coal jobs has seen a
steady decline. Over 21,000 coal jobs have left Kentucky since the early
1980s. The eastern part of the state where Harlan County is has for the
brunt of that loss.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to our labor statistics, we`ve seen about a
37.5 percent decline in the number of coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky in
service region since 2011.
HAYES (on camera): Say that again, since 2011, 37 percent of the coal jobs
have declined in Eastern Kentucky. That is a huge amount of jobs to leave
in that amount of time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It absolutely is.
HAYES (voice-over): It`s true. Coal jobs have been disappearing from
Eastern Kentucky at an alarming rate and the jobs have left for a number of
reasons. But if you ask people in Harlan County, what is causing the drop
off, it`s pretty simple.
(on camera): How did you understand why they were eliminating the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: EPA played a big part of it.
HAYES: Did they tell you that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just -- people told me that things come down when you
got the president of the United States stands up on national TV and says
he`s going to shut the coal mines down, it`s got to start somewhere.
HAYES (voice-over): The president`s environmental agenda is at odds with
the coal industry. It`s meant to be. Fossil fuel fire power plants, which
include coal are one of the biggest sources of manmade CO2 emissions in the
U.S. a major threat to the climate.
That`s where the EPA comes in. In June, the agency proposed a rule
to cut carbon emissions from existing coal plants by as much as 20 percent
MCCONNELL: This is the single worst blow to Kentucky`s economy in modern
HAYES: While Kentucky is expected to meet a much lower goal, 18 percent
reduction, the new regulations have become an easy political target.
GRIMES: I`m not Barack Obama. I disagree with him on guns, coal and the
HAYES: There`s no question that EPA regulations have hurt coal. But what
politicians won`t say is that fracking has unleashed a natural gas boom
that makes it hard for coal to compete on price. After a century of mining
in Harlan County, the coal supply itself in the region has been drained.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best, easiest to reach scenes are now depleted. It
is now very difficult to get to what`s left of the coal.
HAYES: As one group of retired miners told me, new mining practices also
play a major role in the job loss.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You had all of this mechanization going on, but it`s
come to the point now where they don`t do underground mining if they can
get away with it. They do mountain top removals and surface mining. You
can mine a whole mountainside. And I`m talking about a whether or not he
will mountainside, within a year or two, with around 7-12 people and that`s
all you need.
HAYES (on camera): Wait a second. Say that again. You can mine a whole
mountainside with 7-12 people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With 7-12 people.
HAYES (voice-over): With those kinds of factors, it doesn`t seem likely
mining jobs will be coming back, which leads many living in Harlan County
hanging in the balance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, the unemployment rate, officially, is
14 percent, which is bad. It`s twice the national rate of 6 percent.
HAYES (on camera): Yes, that`s high. That`s peek-grade recession level.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is, but the real number is worse. The real
number is 60 percent. That`s the size of the adult population of Harlan
County that`s not considered part of the work force.
HAYES: It`s 60 percent?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 60 percent for the work force isn`t looking for
work long enough that they are not even counted as part of the labor core
anymore. The number I`ve got for you is 52 percent for Harlan County. If
you look at all the personal income, 52 percent or more than half comes not
from wages and salaries like all of us would want for ourselves, but from
government transfer programs.
HAYES (voice-over): Since our conversation, the unemployment rate in
Harlan County has dropped to 12.1 percent and still one of the highest
rates in the state, leaving coal with a complicated legacy.
(on camera): Has coal been good to Harlan County?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coal has done nothing but rape, ravage and steal from
Harlan County. It`s made 10 people multi-trillion millionaires and 10,000
beat up with black lung and died. I watched my father die, choke to death,
smother to death.
I watched my father-in-law smother to death. No, coal has not been
good to me and Harlan County, as far as I`m concerned. It paid me a wage.
It paid me a wage, and thank God for the union or I wouldn`t be sitting
here in the first place. And that`s all it`s ever -- that`s all coal has
ever done for me.
GRIMES: I am the Kentucky candidate who will forge relationships and
bipartisan alliances to make sure we restore coal to its rightful place as
a prime American export.
HAYES (voice-over): To hear the political class talk, coal will make a
MCCONNELL: That`s how we get jobs and opportunity for everybody in
HAYES: But members of this community aren`t counting on it.
BETHANY ASLINGER, STUDENT/HARLAN COUNTY: I saw somebody say something like
coal is going away. But, you know, it can make a comeback. But thing is,
I don`t have time to wait for a comeback. So instead of young people
speaking up, they`re leaving. They`re going away. That`s our resource.
Those people are our resource and they`re leaving. So do you want to hold
onto this coal resource?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think people need to face up to the fact that if
their nation doesn`t do something to get into some different types of
renewable energies, it`s going to be the end of us all. And coal, to me,
I`m facing up to the fact it`s through.
HAYES: And yet, the war on the war on coal rages on. It exists to create
GRIMES: I will fight to make sure that coal has a long term place in our
national energy policy.
HAYES: And bad guys.
MCCONNELL: Everybody understands who started the war on coal. It was
HAYES: But for the people living day-to-day trying to make ends meet,
there`s a realization that while the war on coal rhetoric is louder than
ever, the war on the ground is over and coal has lost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alison Grimes and Mitch McConnell, they`re talking.
It`s over with.
HAYES (on camera): You think -- they`re both going to talk about how much
they love coal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. They`re just talking. They have no idea.
HAYES: So from your perspective, it doesn`t matter?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it`s over with. It`s over with. It`s done.
HAYES: I want to thank the folks in Harlan County who were incredibly
welcoming and hospitable over down there.
I`m going to talk to the sixth generation coal miner, the president
of United Mine Workers of America, Cecil Roberts ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARL SHOUPE, RETIRED COAL MINER: No, coal has not been good to me or
Harlan County, as far as I`m concerned. It paid me a wage. It paid me a
wage. And, thank God for the union or I wouldn`t be sitting here in the
first place. And that`s -- that`s all it`s ever -- that`s all coal has
ever done for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Coal mining is one of the most dangerous jobs out there. And the
United Mine Workers of America has fought some of the toughest, bloodiest
battles in American labor history.
Today, that union faces a very uncertain future because of all of
the forces from mechanization to environmental regulation we just told you
about. That head of that union, Cecil Roberts, sat down with me to discuss
some of those challenges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CECIL ROBERTS, PRESIDENT, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA: They`re going to
increase the coal consumption in China every year for the next 20 years.
Let`s take one segment of our society in Appalachian and reduce greenhouse
gases. Impossible. Absurd. Ridiculous from our perspective down in
What I`m suggesting, I don`t think a lot of people in government
want to hear from us, just to be honest about it. It`s the feelings of the
people and yet frankly, I share that view.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The rest of that interview coming up next.
HAYES: That`s Cecil Roberts in the blue. He is the president of the
United Mine Workers Union appearing with Alison Lundergan Grimes at an
event with Bill Clinton, as well in Kentucky. Endorsing her candidacy for
U.S. Senate, Roberts called Grimes a strong supporter of coal, which
carries a lot of weight in a coal state.
Because if there is anyone who wants to see coal flourish, it`s the
head of the Mine Workers Union. And like Alison Lundergan Grimes, Cecil
Roberts told me in an extensive interview, he is frustrated by the Obama
administration`s EPA and furious about what has happened to jobs in the
ROBERTS: There has been 14,000 coal miners lose their jobs in Appalachia,
five states, since 2011. Remember, for every one of those coal mining jobs
that`s four other jobs. And those are the best jobs. And many of those
are union jobs, by the way.
HAYES: How much of that, let`s talk about the period from 2011. How much
of that is natural gas just beating up on coal and how much of that is EPA?
ROBERTS: I have knowledge that cheap natural gas is a problem for coal
competiveness because once you measure this on a million btu basis, I`ve
been told by the experts, natural gas is selling somewhere around $4 a
And coal has trouble competing with that, but we have to take this
in its totality. This is not something that`s occurred really in the last
few years. There`s been an effort by many in the environmental community
to make sure there`s another coal-fired power plant constructed in the
But, remember, when folks brag about, well, we`ve been able to keep
200 brand new coal-fired power plants from being constructed, those would
have been state of the art with technology power plants that would have
been built, perhaps it would have been fewer emissions going into the
atmosphere over the last several years.
So this has been about a ten-year fight, not a couple-year fight
from all of our perspective.
HAYES: Right. And that`s true. And a lot of that has to do with the fact
that it is the most emissions-heavy fuel source, in terms of -- when
compared with natural gas. And even when compared with, well, certainly
ROBERTS: I`m sure.
HAYES: But here`s my question to you. When you imagined the world 50
years from now, when you think about I`m in this world that my
grandchildren are going to inhabit, what is the ideal situation?
Forget about this one percent at the margin, that 1 percent, the
people. If you could wave the magic wand, having looked at this for 30
years, being born in a company town, what do you want to see happen for
Appalachia and coal in general?
ROBERTS: What I want for my grandchildren, which, by the way, I have five
of them, I want them to have a better life than I have had. And quite
frankly, we all know that most experts say that`s not going to happen on an
Because jobs, good-paying jobs, when I got out of high school, if
you didn`t want to go to college, you could still live a middle class
lifestyle. All you had to do is get in the car, go to Detroit, go to
Flint, go to Pittsburgh.
There are literally thousands and thousands of folks in those areas
that went and were seeking their own dream. Where are you going to go now,
Chris? Because a friend of mine said something to me very interesting.
They were talking about the fact that this is a worldwide problem.
China wants to be just like us and a friend of mine said the EPA wants us
to be just like China.
So what they`re suggesting is we`re supposed to give up our middle
class dreams and a future for our children in an economic basis so that
China can expand, Vietnam can expand and all around the world.
HAYES: I hear so much about the good old days in Appalachia. That
industry, there is a case we made. The coal industry has done nothing but
take value out of the ground and go elsewhere.
ROBERTS: And you know who has been the number where you know institution
HAYES: You. Yes.
ROBERTS: That`s exactly right.
HAYES: But then let`s not go into the nostalgia --
ROBERTS: No, you were asking about what I wanted for my grandkids. I
wasn`t talking about the past. I would love to think that people in
Appalachia, if they wanted to, they could go to work in a coal mine under a
United Mine Workers contract with all of the safety protections of that
Plus the fact that they could make $75,000 to $100,000 a year and
have a pension plan they could rely on. I have to say to you, our pension
plans as well as our jobs are at risk mere. All of the time this debate
started is what we really need here, we wouldn`t do any of these things
without a just transition.
Nowhere you know is talking about a just transition. There is none.
It`s just an unemployment line that`s all that`s waiting on folks. I`m
sorry I`m so passionate. But you don`t want a guy to come in here and say,
you`re right, Chris, because I`m just not going to do that.
HAYES: No, no. I agree with that. It`s the people like myself that have
to basically stop burning coal. The math is pretty clear. We have to stop
burning coal. I think 50 years from now, no one somehow have a job mining
coal in the world.
ROBERTS: But you know and I know that`s not going to happen. Let`s talk
about reality. You want me to accept science, you accept science. You
really believe that in your lifetime, you`re a young man, that you`re going
to see the day that China stops using coal or even cuts back?
No, you`re going to be 85 years old, heading into 90 years old
looking to be on that Smoker`s jar and China is going to be burning huge
amounts of coal.
HAYES: But if that happens --
ROBERTS: Let me give you the answer to climate change. The answer to
climate change is not the devastation of the coal industry in the United
States. It`s -- I believe and what Senator Obama said who is has now
apparently forgotten this.
I was 20 feet from him in 2008. He said if we can put a man on the
moon, we can figure out how to burn coal cleanly. Where is that president?
Where is that Senator Obama? That`s what I would like to know?
I don`t want to be overly critical. I like the president, OK. But
on this issue, we`re miles apart. If we do not find a way through
technology to extract carbon from the burning of fossil fuels, whether it`s
coal or natural gas, then we are not going to deal where climate change in
your lifetime. That`s a fact. That`s reality.
HAYES: I don`t know if that`s true. Let me just say this. People think
they know well what the next 50 years of technology will bring, and they
don`t. Our predictions on this have been terrible. People thought we`d
have jet packs, they didn`t think we`d have the internet.
ROBERTS: I agree.
HAYES: What we do know is we know what coal does. We know what it does in
the air, we know what it duds to the people that mine it.
ROBERTS: There is a couple more points in reality that we have to face.
First of all, coal is the fastest-growing fuel source in the world. And by
2017, it`s going to be the leading fuel source in the world. So how much
sense does that make.
And let me ask you, even though I`m not supposed to do this, but I`m
older than you, so I can ask you something. Do you believe that if we do
not find technology to extract carbon from the burning of coal that the
Chinese and India and the developing world is ever going to deal with this
HAYES: I don`t see it.
ROBERTS: I don`t see it.
HAYES: I don`t know what technology will get to scale cheapest enough or
ROBERTS: That`s not the real question. The question is do you think that
they`re going to stop burning coal and if they are not?
HAYES: They`ll do what`s cheapest.
ROBERTS: Correct. We want to be like you. We have a right to be like you
and we`re going to do whatever we have to do to have energy in the cheapest
way we can get it. And that`s coal.
HAYES: You can find the full interview with Cecil Roberts on our Web site,
allinwithchris.com. Tomorrow on "All in America", coal country is big
coal, the new big tobacco. Startling similarities, tomorrow night, "All in
America: Coal Country", right here 8:00 Eastern.
That is "ALL IN" for this evening. And "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW"
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