All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: December 23, 2014
Guest: Dean Baker, Lena Taylor, Liz Winstead, Josh Barro, Tera Dowdell,
Russ Collins, Sam Seder
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
UNIDENTFIIED MALE: Now, the good news.
HAYES: The economy enters beast mode.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Dow now officially topping 18,000.
HAYES: An economy growing by 5 percent, unemployment under 6 percent,
the average cost for a gallon of gas plunges under $2.50. And they said it
couldn`t be done.
TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Let`s grow the economy
by 5 percent.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: We get the
unemployment rate down to 6 percent, perhaps a little lower.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: I believe we can get
gasoline down to somewhere between $2, $2.50 a gallon, and that would be an
HAYES: Tonight, a closer look at the roaring Obama economy.
Then, Sony reverses course and will release "The Interview" in select
theaters. We`ll go to one of the theaters that has been selected.
And a look back at the silver linings for the terrible, horrible,
almost no good year that was 2014.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I am proud that
we can announce a historic agreement.
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening, from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
And good news for the holidays. Tonight, the U.S. economy just posted
its highest growth rate in more than a decade. The Commerce Department
said today that gross domestic product rose 5 percent in the third quarter
of 2014. That`s the strongest growth rate in one quarter since 2003.
The news comes to top a whole bunch of numbers that show the economy
performing above many people`s expectations in certain crucial aspects.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 hitting record highs today.
Consumer spending continue to make solid gains into the holiday season.
Unemployment rate down from 10 percent in 2009 to less than 6 percent
today, a steady in monthly job growth since the recession, culminating in
321,000 new jobs since last moment, the biggest burst in hiring in nearly
Now, all of this good economic news is coming at the time of the year,
a time when economic activity is most intense and consumer confidence is
key. And also, when it can be particularly useful to look back at
In this economy, under this president, has defied a lot of the
predictions of doom and gloom that have been made.
Start with what Obamacare means for jobs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Obamacare is killing jobs. And if jobs is the priority, then
we`re going to have to replace Obamacare.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Obamacare has been a huge job
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: The health care bill has massive tax
increases on individuals and employers that will cost us jobs.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s going to
increase spending, increase taxes and destroy jobs in America.
MCCONNELL: I don`t know about effort. I think it`s going to put any
lipstick on this pig.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As McConnell put that lipstick away, President Obama now on
track to see 12 million new jobs created on his watch, if current trends
hold. By contrast, there were just over 1 million jobs created during
President George W. Bush`s two terms.
President Obama`s critics also said his economic policies, including
letting the Bush tax cuts expire on the highest incomes, would lead to a
massive slowdown in economic growth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you raise taxes on the so-called rich, you
actually slow the economy.
BOEHNER: The Obama economy is producing slow economic growth.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Obama`s tax increase could bring
economic growth to a standstill. Zero growth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to put those people to work, put pro-
growth policies, not socialism in place.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Fair point.
Well, today, "The Wall Street Journal", not exactly a hot bed of
support for the president or socialism, acknowledge the U.S. economy now
looks stronger than it has in more than a decade. I guess those tax cuts
didn`t destroy growth after all.
And let`s do one more, remember what critics had to say about the
president`s energy policy specifically and his supposed determination to
make gas more expensive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
RYAN: What`s frustrating about the Obama administration`s policies
are, they`ve gone through great lengths to make oil and gas more expensive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wanted higher gas prices and he got them.
GINGRICH: It`s essential both for our economy and for our security to
get back to an American energy program that is designed to maximize our own
production, the opposite of Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Today, gas prices are so low, about $2.38 per gallon on
average than none other than Newt Gingrich is tweeting out a picture of the
sweet hookup he`s getting on gas at his local Costco.
Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Josh Barro, national correspondent
for "The New York Times" "The Upshot".
I is kind of striking how -- I mean, in another context, it`s the kind
of top line economic numbers, if you were like to go out and give a
PowerPoint or you were running and you wanted to put a five-minute speech
together as a presidential candidate, you would be pretty happy with.
JOSH BARRO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely.
And I mean, the other thing that`s special about these numbers is the
economy has been growing for five years, but it hasn`t felt like that from
those people. Now, we`re finally getting the economic growth that actually
shows up in the lives of low and middle income Americans as higher
standards of living, particularly low gas prices. The average American
household consumes 1,200 gallons of gasoline a year. So, if the price of
gas falls by nearly a dollar a gallon, that`s really serious money in
HAYES: Yes, that`s a hundred bucks a month. Hundred bucks a month is
BARRO: No, it`s not. And so, people go out and spend that money and
that`s leading to higher job creation and it`s leading to self-sustaining
economic growth. We`ve seen stuff like new car sales are finally back to
the level they were before the recession. We`re finally building more than
a million new homes a year. We`ve got all the way down to 500,000 in
depths of the recession. And that means people are going back to jobs in
the auto industry and in construction and things like that.
HAYES: Yes. There was -- every time you sort of walk in the
building, I walk in the building and think about doing an economic story,
right, there`s always a big problem which is all of these top line numbers
look great, but then there`s this chart which shows what happened to this
recovery, which is the key to understanding the politics to this, the key
to understanding I think the president`s approval. The light blue there is
the income gains for the bottom 90 percent. The dark blue is the income
gains for the 10 percent.
In previous recoveries, the bottom 90 percent gets the bulk of the
gains, the 10 percent will get a little bit. You see that flipped over in
the last three recoveries where the rich are getting most of the gains, and
then something happened we`ve never seen before. Not only -- it`s not the
rich got most of the gains, they got all plus over a hundred per cent of
the gains because people on the bottom rack were actually losing money.
BARRO: Right. And that chart you show, that`s through 2012. So, I
think if we were able to look at it right now, we`d see a different number,
because falling gas prices are real income gains and because -- at least in
the last jobs report, we saw wages actually ticking up. Let`s get them up.
BARRO: And this makes sense. The thing that was going to cause wages
to go up was when employers finally needed to pay more to get people to
We`ve seen this thing the last few months where more people are
getting into jobs, but there are even more job openings being created.
There are lot of job openings that employers aren`t filling because they
can`t find people for jobs for the wages that they`re offering. That can`t
stay like that forever. Eventually, they`re going to have to offer higher
wages, and that`s going to mean more real income increases for ordinary --
HAYES: That`s a really interesting question. I mean, it`s a high
stakes question, right? Which is there`s some broken structurally with
distribution in the economy or is it just we continue to have slack. We
have slack, we have slack, we have slack. As we start to come up against,
you know, real -- we`re not a full employment, but something that looks
closer to it.
HAYES: We`re starting to see wages do what we would want them to do.
BARRO: Right. We`re not a full employment, but I think we may be
there in a year. Like it`s actually within sight and we need to be
thinking about what kinds of policies the government should have in a place
where we don`t have slack. We`ve been so used to making policy for where
it just like, getting anybody to spend, get anybody into a job. We`re
almost running to a point where we`re not going to need that as the first
I think the question will figure out obviously both of those things
that you described are true. There are some extent where there are
structural problems in the economy.
BARRO: People who have been unemployed for years and now don`t have
skills that are appropriate for new jobs to go into.
HAYES: And there`s a real problem with what we call household
formation, right? That`s still a real obstacle. We feel seen a slow down
in people basically leaving their parents` homes, going out into the world,
finding a job. There`s some indication that`s party student debt, weak job
market, all these things. But that also has to pick up.
BARRO: Yes, one interesting thing with that recovery in housing, by
the way, is that construction of single family homes is still pretty weak.
Construction of multi-family building is stronger than it`s ever been, and
that`s in large part because a lot of people who are forming households,
they`re either don`t have the money to make a down payment for a home or
they`re saying I saw what happened in the last crash. I don`t want to put
all of my money in a home and risk losing it again. So, we`re seeing those
rental apartments getting built and that`s allowing those households.
HAYES: And you are seeing this show up in optimism polling. Here`s -
- this is the chart showing a percentage of people with the positive view
of the economy. It exceeds a negative view for the first time in seven
HAYES: And this is exactly what I think we`re talking about. That
first chart you saw, it doesn`t matter what the Dow is. It doesn`t matter
what the tough unemployment number is. What matters is real wage group.
Like, do I have more money in my pocket? Do I think I`m going to have more
money next year?
As we start to see that, we are seeing that tick up, and I also think
if we are a year from now where you`re saying we`re going to be, the
politics of everything flip around. I mean, we know this from political
science. Presidents approval ratings are highly correlated with growth in
personal income, right? A year from now, oh, Obama`s tanked, he`s a lame
duck, could look very different if we`re in a place that you suggest we
BARRO: Right. And the other thing worth remembering is, you know,
you have this Democratic president with a Republican Congress that hates
him, seems like you`re not going to get anything done. The last two years
of the Clinton administration looked like that.
HAYES: That`s right.
BARRO: The Republican Congress hated Bill Clinton so much they
impeached him. But people remember that as a period that was actually
pretty productive on policy.
HAYES: The unemployment is about 4 percent.
BARRO: Right. The economy was so strong, there was just so much
money to throw around in Washington and it was easy for the Republicans and
Bill Clinton to find stuff to do together. If the economy gets strong
enough, you end up in that position.
HAYES: That`s interesting.
One last note in this, and I don`t even have to have a discussion
about this. But just an accountability moment, "Wall Street Journal" by
Michael Boskin, March 6, 2009, Obama`s radicalism is killing the Dow --
just so that we`d keep everybody in mind. Obama chart showing the chart
rise of the doubt from March 6th, 2009 to today. There you go.
Michael Boskin, I hope you`re watching, Michael, just a reminder. You
were very wrong. Extremely wrong.
All right. Josh Barro, thank you.
BARRO: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Another prediction Republicans have gotten wrong is about how
Obamacare is going to, as Mitch McConnell put it in an op-ed last year,
lead to dramatically higher premiums. That just has not happened.
Instead, premiums have increased at a low rate as competition has grown
Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office came a lot closer predicting
that outcome correctly than Republicans did. Under Director Doug
Elmendorf, CBO has been widely respected for striving to produce fair,
unbinding findings on the impact of various policies.
So, we`ll never guess what many Republicans are looking to do in the
new Congress. They want to get rid of Elmendorf. Replace him with someone
more amenable to the changes they want to make to how the CBO calculates
the cost of government policy.
Joining me now, Dean Baker, co-director of Center for Economic and
Dean, I`ve of two minds about the CBO because it`s one of these things
where I always get -- I get very suspect from people say an institution in
Washington isn`t political. I feel like it`s like I go for my wallet when
anyone tells me that something isn`t political. I feel like someone is
trying to get something over on me.
At the same time, it does seem to me that CBO under Elmendorf has done
a pretty good job producing quality numbers that people can then make
political arguments based on.
DEAN BAKER, CENTER OF ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH: Well, first off,
I would agree that it`s not political in the sense that, you know, Doug and
the past heads of CBO, have been good and not sort of narrowly answered,
either Democrats or Republicans.
But I think you can take some issue with the quality of the numbers.
You`re mentioning Obamacare. They`ve consistently overestimated the cost
of Obamacare and underestimated the number of people who`ve been covered.
Now, that gives President Obama the opportunity to say, look, we did better
than projected. But on the other hand, when they were looking to push
through the bill, when they were talking about it before it was actually
implemented, the fact that you could point to CBO numbers that wasn`t very
good wasn`t very helpful.
I can mention other things. Their minimum wage estimates, they
assumed, you know, certainly to my view, a much higher estimates of job
loss than the literature justifies. And to take a really big thing, they
grossly underestimated the severity of the recession and the quickness of
the bounce back, which was not helpful when you`re talking about pushing
HAYES: So, then, the question becomes, OK, so maybe Elmendorf should
go. Do you trust the kind of nonpolitical nature, at least the nonpartisan
nature, let`s put that way, the nonpartisan nature of this institution,
which is meant to just return modeling, return numbers, projections, both
sides can use to make their policy arguments. Do you trust that could be
preserved if House Republicans get rid of Elmendorf and put someone else
BAKER: Their motivation getting rid of Elmendorf is to get rid of
that nonpartisan aspect. So, I don`t have any doubts about what their
motivation is. Doug is an honest guy. I don`t know him real well, I know
him a little bit. He`s made mistakes, and that doesn`t make me happy.
But I think they were honest mistakes. The people they get in, you
know, if they`re looking to get rid of Doug, it`s not because they`ve made
the criticisms that I just made. It`s because they want someone who`s
going to basically cook the numbers for them and that`s not a good story.
HAYES: And we went through one round of sort of number cooking. It
sort of lost the history a little bit. But it was a big policy debate of
the earlier years of the Bush administration, which was about the cost of
those tax cuts. And the numbers were blatantly cooked, while everyone
watch them being cooked and some people call this out, Paul Krugman,
yourself, among others. But it was massively distractive.
It wasn`t the CBO doing it, but if you brought that inside the CBO,
you give the CBO`s imprimatur, that would be a real problem.
BAKER: Well, it`s a mixed story, because I would have to hope that
you and others in the media would be saying, look, these guys are hacks. I
mean, we have other hacks around town. We have any number of Peter
Peterson front organization, saying the world is going to end, we have to
cut Social Security, get rid of Medicare, whatever it might be.
So, I`m not sure that that would be quiet as bad as a story. And
again, when CBO has the wrong number, I was mentioning the stimulus, we can
go back to the 1990s, they were saying that the unemployment rate couldn`t
get below 6 percent without causing, you know, spiraling inflation. And
people like me were saying no, that`s not true. Great. Who cares about
you? CBO says -- well, CBO was completely wrong.
So, when you have people have that imprimatur of, you know,
impartiality and they happen to be very wrong in a really big way, that`s
HAYES: Well, Dean Baker, I`ve asked you, if called, will you serve as
head of CEO?
BAKER: I`d love to see that one.
HAYES: I would love to see the universe in which Dean Baker is the
head of CBO. I don`t think we`re just there yet.
Quickly, on this question of the economic numbers that Josh and I were
just discussing, are you in line with the basic contours of what we were
seeing? Which is that we`re -- it seems we`re coming up to the end of the
slack and starting to get something that looks like genuine gains for
ordinary working people.
BAKER: No, I`m afraid. Josh misreads the wage numbers, as a lot of
people. That was month. Monthly wage numbers are very erratic. If you
just take a three-month average, that`s not asking too much, wage growth
over the last three months was somewhat slower, 1.8 percent at annual rate
than it had been over the prior year. Now, maybe we`ll see December,
January look good again, but making any strong statements about one month
of wage growth, that`s just -- that`s just bad judgment.
HAYES: Dean Baker, professional economist and professional rainer on
parades -- thank you for joining us.
BAKER: Thanks for having me on.
HAYES: All right. When it comes to the criminal justice system and
the prosecution of deadly police shootings, St. Louis County appears to be
just like New York. And now, it`s just like Milwaukee. That story is
HAYES: How`s GOP taking the holiday news dump to a whole new level
this year? You may remember the Friday after Thanksgiving, when basically
no one was paying attention, they chose to release their findings of the
report on the Benghazi scandal which essentially said there is no Benghazi
scandal, clearing the White House of any wrongdoing or coverup.
Today, two days before Christmas, when no one is paying attention,
Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee
released a report showing no link between the White House and the IRS
scandal over the mistreatment and heightened scrutiny of some conservative
So, they found nothing on Benghazi, nothing on the IRS, perhaps
Darrell Issa could have saved a lot of trouble and just held the hearings
on the days before holidays when no one was paying attention.
HAYES: As New York continues to grieve for the two police officers
murdered in Brooklyn over the weekend, Mayor Bill de Blasio led the city in
the moment of silence today, at 2:47, marking the exact minute when the
assailant opened fire into the officer`s patrol car.
De Blasio called for healing in a divided city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: I just want everyone to
think, what can we do to help those families? What can we do to move
forward together? It feels tremendously painful right now. There`s always
darkest before the dawn. These families want a city filled with peace and
unity. It`s our job, all of us, to create that, to support them and work
for a better day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Vigils for the slain officers have continued throughout the
city last night and today, including the makeshift memorial that sprung up
at the site of the shooting, which de Blasio visited for the first time
The White House announcing today that Vice President Biden will attend
the first funeral for one of the officers, Rafael Ramos, this Saturday, at
the request of the president.
The funeral date for the other officer, Wenjian Liu, has not yet been
set. While the mayor has called for a moratorium on protests of both
officers have been laid to rest, some activists, while unequivocally
condemning the murders, are pushing back on that request.
The group Answer Coalition sent a statement, "This is a misguided
response to the current situation is meant to chill the expression of free
speech rights." And a march organized by that group shut down part of 5th
Avenue in midtown Manhattan this evening, the first protest in New York
since the shootings took place.
Protesters are also tonight out in the streets of Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, where another fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man will
not be prosecuted. Milwaukee County District John Chisholm announced
yesterday there would be no charges for former Officer Christopher Manney
in the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton last April. Manney was responding
to a call about a man sleeping into downtown park, apparently unaware that
two other officers had already visited Hamilton and then cleared him. He
then began a pat down, Dontre Hamilton, when a struggled ensued, according
to police, and the officer fired up to 14 shots, killing him.
Unlike the case of Michael Brown in Ferguson or Eric Garner in Staten
Island here in New York, there was no grand jury in the case of Dontre
Hamilton, and that`s because Wisconsin actually passed a law requiring an
independent probe in every case where someone dies in police custody. It`s
the first of its kind in the country, meant to address the same concerns
about local D.A.s` conflicts of interest that were raised in Ferguson and
But in Milwaukee, the same process yielded the same result as those
cities, and as with Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the Department of
Justice has now opened a civil rights investigation into the death of
Joining me now is Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor, who represents
And, Senator, your reaction to the district attorney`s office that
there will be no prosecution?
STATE SEN. LENA TAYLOR (D), MILWAUKEE: Well, there`s no question that
myself, as well as many others, are extremely disappointed with that
result. But candidly, if I can tell you, we were not shocked. This is a
systemic and issue result that`s happened for years, which is one of the
reasons that the legislation was drafted in a hope to be able to create a
more independent process.
I will tell you that the D.A. will suggest that he allowed for many
experts in order to be able to come to this decision. It was eight months
and, in the end period, the officer has been fired because of the choices
that he made to pat down the suspect instead of, or the gentleman sleeping,
instead of assessing the situation in such a way like the other officers
did, to see that there was no need.
TAYLOR: So, the real legislation is not the legislation at this
juncture. It really is, what can we do to make sure that our officers have
the type of training that they need on the front lines because this,
candidly, is a systemic issue.
HAYES: So, my question to you is, we have watched these grand jury
processes and many people witnessing them have come away with a sense that
it`s just so inherently a conflict of interest. Ask a prosecutor to
prosecute a member of the police force when they work together hand in
glove every day of the year to get convictions.
You have this process that was passed in Wisconsin, this law. What is
your conclusion about that? Is the idea here that, well, the process was
the process that advocates have called for, so you kind of have to live
with the results? Or was the process actually doesn`t work? You`re
reassessing the legislation? What`s your takeaway here?
TAYLOR: I think the first is a reassessment of the legislation is
something that`s happening already, because one of the issues is because
Milwaukee is the largest force, part of what ended up happening is some of
the individuals that were doing investigations were people who were retired
from the Milwaukee police force.
TAYLOR: So, it created maybe what still is viewed as a conflict of
interest, because some of them are still getting pensions from being on the
Milwaukee police force.
So, although the legislation, I believe, was good in its effort, the
question is what do we do for a place that is as large as Milwaukee for
investigations to be able to happen? And, regardless of that legislation,
what do we do to address the situation so that we don`t have a Dontre
Hamilton situation, period? What trainings do we do upfront?
I mean, many of the pieces that the common counsel has laid out, they
should be commended. That is true leadership the way that they`ve come
together and assess the entire situation and identify multiple things and
issues that should be looked at, unlike what the mayor did with just saying
he would do mental health in 2017.
HAYES: Well, explain that, right. The common council was brought
together to issue some recommendations for reforming policing in Milwaukee.
And my understanding is did they meet with an announcement today or
yesterday with some of those recommendations?
TAYLOR: Today. Today and it has about five different items. Off the
top of my head, Chris, I don`t remember each of them. But I can tell you
it was basically looking at mental health training, something that the
mayor also had spoke about, making sure that all of the officers have that
But they went even further to talk about the importance of looking at
the cultural competency training that has to happen in a city where we are
the majority, meaning people of color. However, the force is not
necessarily made up in that way, and there has been a breakdown in police
community relations. We want that to be healthy, because our police, they
are our community. We`re in this together.
And so, it`s important for them to have that cultural competency
training to deal with some of the breakdowns. Community policing piece
that the common council put in is so important so that the police can have
constantly, a community`s impression about what things can be done to
address policing in their community. Those are just some of the things
that I can remember off the top of my head that the common council wanted
to do which I think is crucial.
HAYES: Those are some images from last night`s protests happening
around Milwaukee, protesters stopping traffic.
State Senator Lena Taylor, thank you so much for joining us. Really
TAYLOR: Thank you so much, Chris.
HAYES: All right. Up next, I`ll talk to the manager of a movie
theater choosing to show "The Interview" in his theaters on Christmas.
Don`t go away.
HAYES: Tonight, freedom has prevailed. Those, the words of actor-
director Seth Rogan to the news that yes, the people have spoken, freedom
has prevailed, Sony didn`t give up, The Interview will be shown at theaters
willing to play it on Christmas Day.
Somewhat anti-climactic ending, at least we think it`s the ending of
the saga surrounding the controversial comedy, which angered the North
Korean government with its story line involving the assassination of their
leader Kim Jong un.
Attack -- a hacking ensued possibly by the North Koreans, though
possibly not, counter hacking ensued,
possibly by the U.S. government, but also possibly not.
And today, Sony announced it would allow The Interview to be screened
in limited release by theaters
brave enough to show the film.
Rogen is celebrating, James Franco is celebrating, even the president,
who is not in between them in that photo, just to be clear, who had called
Sony`s decision to pull the film a mistake, he is celebrating the 180
The president applauds Sony`s decision to authorize screening the
film. As the president made clear, "we`re a country that believes in free
speech and the right of artistic expression. The decision made by Sony and
participating theaters allows people to make their own choices about the
film and we welcome that outcome."
So, there you go, a relatively small number of Americans will get to
see a bromantic comedy about an assassination plot, which is, I guess what
counts as a Christmas miracle in 2013.
One of those people making his own choice about this film Russ
Collins, director of the Art House Convergence, National Coalition Of
Independent Theaters all over the country. His state theater in Ann Arbor,
Michigan will be screening The Interview on Christmas Day.
So, I guess, Russ, the first question is do you have any trepidation
about the reprisals directed at you for screening the film?
RUSS COLLINS, ART HOUSE CONVERGENCE: It`s certainly something that we
think about. We`re not approaching it with a great deal of fear and we are
keeping in touch with the police officials in our
community to make sure that they`re supportive of what we`re doing, which
they have been so far. And, also, if they come across any information that
would Indicate that there would be some concerns, we obviously will act on
HAYES: Well, I`ve got to think this, I mean, all the threats of
violence seem to be not necessarily particularly credible given what had
preceded it, but it does seem that...
COLLINS: I would agree.
HAYES: If whoever did this, whoever hacked Sony, right, they`ve
demonstrated they certainly can hack, they are good at that. And it would
probably be trivial just to like mess with your whole life. I mean, if
they wanted to, couldn`t they just like come after your bank accounts or
your post your emails to the world or take down your theater`s servers?
COLLINS: I suppose they could. But one of the thing about being an
independent cinema is you`re a relatively small business. So, our able to
recover from those things are much simpler, I think, although it would be
difficult, but much simpler than a large corporation like Sony.
And I don`t think I have any really nasty e-mails out there, but you
HAYES: You never know, dude. That -- those are famous last words.
So here`s a question, do you talk to Sony about this? Because what
you`ve ended up with -- it`s sort of a strange situation, right. They
pulled the film under duress. It was going to be to 2,000 to 3,000
screens. Now it`s looking like 200 to 300. They`ve kind of converted this
into an art house independent film release. What was your indication like
with them about doing it through this channel?
COLLINS: Well, our initial communication was a post that just
supported the employees of Sony. It`s a very difficult time that they`ve
experienced the last
We worked with Sony employees in booking films and marketing the films
that we do. So we know folks that work at Sony, and their life has been
very difficult recently not having any e-mail, not having any telephone,
not having any access to their own files.
So we posted a sympathetic and empathetic letter to them. And we said
hey, if independent cinemas can do anything to help, if that would be
screening the film, we would be happy to consider that.
And we got a lot of positive response from the Art House Convergence
theaters, which is an association -- a loose association of independent
cinemas in North America.
HAYES: Is this movie going to be good?
COLLINS: Well, I haven`t seen it so I can`t say. I guess Rotten
Tomatoes has given it about a 50 percent rating. So, it`s a little short
of a red tomato, but I`m sure if you like Seth Rogen and James Franco
certainly is a compelling performer, you might want to check it out.
And it certainly is one of those things that, as President Obama said,
is a free speech dynamic. And that`s how the independent theaters got
involved here. We saw that there was -- one of our colleagues, Sony, was
in distress. We wanted to send them a message of support. And one of the
things that we can do, because we are very concerned about Freedom of
Speech, we said we could go ahead and do what we can to do screenings
and we are happy to do it.
HAYES: If you can`t show dumb comedies in America what has this
country come to? Russ Collins, thank you for joining us.
COLLINS: We`re also showing The Imitation Game, which is a little
smarter I gather.
HAYES: Yeah, I`ve heard that is very good.
Thank you for joining us and good luck.
2014, well it was not exactly a banner year for good news. In fact,
when we first tried to think of some stories that inspired and encouraged
us, we literally drew a blank in the meeting.
But then finally managed to think of a few. So those silver linings
are coming up next.
HAYES: Well, it`s two days before Christmas and we`re supposed to be
in a festive mood because It`s the holiday season. But, to be honest, it`s
been a pretty rough year, news-wise. I mean, between the rise of ISIS and
the Middle East in violent tumult, deadly spread of Ebola across much of
West Africa and a few moments when it looked like we might be dealing with
a straight up war in Europe with a nuclear power, much of this year has
been spent with the anxious feeling the world might be about to spin off of
its axis at any moment.
But, because it`s the holiday season, because a lot of good things did
happen this year, we thought we`d take some time to run through some of the
linings of 2014, great things that happened, some that got a lot of
attention, some that didn`t.
To do that, we invited some friends of the show to give us their
Joining me now Liz Winstead, co-creator of the Daily Show, Sam Seder,
host of online podcast Majority Report, co-host of Ring of Fire radio show,
Tera Dowdell political consultant who used to work for former New Jersey
Governor James McGreevey and back with us MSNBC contributor Josh Barro,
also of the Upshot New York Times.
All right, well, this morning -- it`s sort of funny, because I was
like oh, we should do this kind of segment and then sat there looking at
each other blankly. But then once we got going, we came up with some
stuff. But I will save mine.
I`m start with you. What`s your first nominee for silver lining of
TERA DOWDELL, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: The Affordable Care Act, aka
Obamacare. Remember when the Republicans said that this is going to rip
the country apart, it`s going to destroy the country. Well, it hasn`t
destroyed the country. Health care jobs are growing, the coverage gap is
getting better, more people have insurance. And blacks, in particular, the
coverage gap has fallen for African-Americans, it`s projected to fall even
Now, here`s the wrinkle, though, the wrinkle is in the states that
have not expanded Medicaid, that is where we see blacks lagging behind and
unfortunately disproportionately. We are more in those states. There are
more of us...
HAYES: Particularly the southeastern U.S., places like Alabama,
Georgia and Mississippi.
DOWDELL: But it`s still better.
HAYES: I can`t tell -- obviously, it`s a silver lining from a human
But I will say this, like I am genuinely surprised that it`s this far
in continues to be as politically divisive and unpopular as it was.
I mean, I think I was wrong. I think I got the politics of the
Affordable Care Act wrong and this year I think pretty definitive about
that. Because it really is working. It`s not perfect, there`s a lot of
things about it that are terrible, there`s a lot of ways in which people
have now come to associate everything they don`t like about the American
health care system with Obamacare, even though it messed with it as little
as possible. But politically, it is a
little surprising that it hasn`t been a bigger boom.
SAM SEDER, MAJORITY REPORT: But it`s not, because 80 percent of
health care costs are borne by 20 percent of the people. So there`s a lot
of people out there who don`t realize the biggest benefit of the Affordable
Care Act is that their health insurance actually is going to be there when
they need it.
It`s just that that there not that many people need it in that way.
HAYES: Unless -- you have to sort of wait long enough for the
carousel to go around in which people
cycle through periods.
SEDER: And that`s going to take a long, long time frankly. And so
you`re going to see an impact ultimately on medical bankruptcies and
whatnot, but it`s very hard to sort of experience these things if
you`re not actually experiencing them.
HAYES: So my question is -- my question now on the Affordable Car Act
is we`re looking at the politics of the Affordable Care Act in 30 years to
look like the politics of, say, Medicare, which is no one can touch it, or
the politics of abortion which is that it was divisive when Row came down
and it`s -- like it`s just a perpetual battle.
JOSH BARRO, NEW YORK TIMES: I think it`s somewhere in between. I
guess that`s the safe answer. But I mean, I think in 30 years, we won`t
look at Obamacare as a program, because it`s not one program, it`s a whole
bunch of policies, many of which are separable from each other. And even
the coverage expansion comes from two very different channels. Starting in
2017, states are going to be able to rip up the model that comes in the
federal exchanges and come up with their own way to cover people.
So I think you`re going to see people not think of it so much as one
HAYES: That`s right. It will be a thing that`s there when they need
All right, Josh, your nomination for silver lining.
BARRO: Yeah, I think there`s been this sense that things are spinning
out of control both around the world and in the U.S. And I think when you
dig into the numbers things actually look a lot better in certain areas and
particularly, here in New York we`ve had all of these -- all these thing
happening around policing and people lose sight of the fact that major
crime is down 5 percent this year in New York from last
Year, which means it`s down 80 percent from 1990.
HAYES: Can we put of the graph of crime decline? This is 2009 and
2013. I mean, we just have to -- there is nothing in my life, aside maybe
from plane safety, that has been a more successful revolution -- or a
larger social transformation than the just insane decline of crime in this
country in the last 20 years. Murders falling by 75 percent. Like nothing
falls by 75 -- can you imagine if poverty fell by 75 percent? Carbon
emissions fell by -- I mean, there`s all these things that I would love...
LIZ WINSTEAD, CO-CREATOR, THE DAILY SHOW: I think common sense has
fallen by 75 percent.
BARRO: And the funny thing about this improvement is it`s in defiance
of predictions from both the left and the right. When we descended into
this economic crisis in `08 and `09, people said -- yeah, inequality and
unemployment will drive crime up. From the right, people here in New York
said, oh these things Bill de Blasio are doing with policing are going to
drive crime up.
DOWDELL: And they haven`t.
BARRO: As incarceration rates have fallen a little bit in the last
few years for the first time in decades, that hasn`t brought an increase in
SEDER: Stop and frisk is down 90 percent. I mean, 90 percent.
HAYES: And this actually gets to something fascinating, which is that
the most fascinating thing about the crime drop is we have no idea. It`s
just a mystery. It`s a social policy mystery.
HAYES: All right, I`m going to Liz and Sam`s takes. I`m also going
to give you my own silver lining nominees. I will try to keep them non-not
completely sports related after. More on 2014 silver linings after the
HAYES: Speaking of good news, some of my family is here tonight. And
when they are here, we have a policy, a very strong policy at All In that
my daughter gets to look at some cute animals, which works out well for
you, the viewer.
Tonight`s request, Ryan? Monkeys. Those are monkeys. That`s a baby
monkey it appears. I don`t know what genus of monkey that is, I don`t know
if genus is the right word, but they are definitely monkeys. They are
Ryan, are you here? Come here. Come here.
RYAN HAYES, CHRIS HAYES`S DAUGHTER: Hi.
Did you like the monkeys?
RYAN HAYES: Yeah.
HAYES: Did you get to see them?
RYAN HAYES: No.
HAYES: Can you say we`ll be back after the break.
RYAN HAYES: We`ll be back after the break.
HAYES: Nailed it.
HAYES: Back with me at the table, Liz Winstead, Sam Seder, Tera
Dowdell and Josh Barro talking about silver linings. Sam was definitely
not using his phone. Not putting in a press for you or anything.
All right, Liz, your nominees.
WINSTEAD: Well, I think in the wake of what we`ve been experiencing
this week with racial tensions, it was really nice to see Minnesota and in
turn the country roundly mock KSTP for trying to make hey out of Betsy
Hodges posing with an incredible activist.
HAYES: This is the pointergate scandal?
WINSTEAD: Here we are, which we`ve all done. And then people finding
photographs of themselves doing it, it just made me feel really happy that
a calm prevailed, especially knowing Betsy. She grew up in the
neighborhood I grew up in, which is like Darion (ph), Connecticut the mean
streets of nothing, those tough streets.
Those tough streets of Minnesota. Those Lutherans are out there
So, I just don`t like -- it was a moment in...
HAYES: Where people saw it for what it was.
WINSTEAD: People saw it for what it was. We seem to lately
immediately go to that fear space, immediately just create circumstances
are not -- shouldn`t be prioritized, never mind a scandal. And it was just
-- people just shut it down.
HAYES: And part of that connects to some of the other stories we`ve
seen is that none of that story was -- it was basically germinated by the
police union, right, because they were in a battle with her over a bunch of
reform policies, contracts, things like that. And so they clearly said
hey, look at this, we`ve got this photo, right?
And it`s just like a reminder, police unions play for keeps, dude.
Like they are -- that`s a reminder this year, they comport themselves on a
whole other level of just no hold`s barred when it comes to politics.
SEDER: You know, it`s interesting, if you go back to `97, you can
find reports at that time of them passing around documents saying they
don`t want Rudy Giuliani, of all people, to come to their own funerals. I
mean, so this is something that they have been at for a long time. It`s
sort of a tired playbook to a certain extent.
SEDER: Yeah, but the amazing thing to me right now is there`s a bill
waiting for Governor Cuomo`s signature or veto that will move police
disciplinary procedures back into collective bargaining, take away the
ability of police commissioners around New York State to discipline
officers, passed almost unanimously through the legislature and it just
goes to how both Republicans and Democrats...
HAYES: Incredibly powerful.
Your nomination, Sam.
SEDER: Over the summer, there were two -- one was 90, one was 91
years old, women in Iowa, who, finally after 72 years of being in a
relationship, got married together.
And it -- you know, that story stuck with me the
whole year. I mean, I just thought that was such a -- imagine to wait 72
years to make...
WINSTEAD: For anything.
HAYES: You`ve really got to hope that`s not disappointing, that first
WINSTEAD: I don`t feel any different.
SEDER: But that to me was sort of -- illustrative of what happened in
this country so quickly it seems. I mean, obviously it`s been years in the
making, it`s been an incredible struggle, but marriage equality is,
basically -- we`re on the other side of that...
DOWDELL: We hit the tipping point.
HAYES: Yeah, and a year after you know, the decision and the Windsor
came down last year. This year was the year in which all of these district
courts and appellate courts basically said, you know, this is not
SEDER: That`s right. In Scalia`s own words, he predicted it and he
was right, it fell like dominos. And it`s basically -- there seems to be a
concession on some level from long time opponents almost to the point where
you see it leveraged about other places.
Like, you know, ISIS, you see the way they don`t allow gay people to
HAYES: Yes, no, exactly right. That`s exactly right, it has become
an indicator of moral depravity. The persecution of gay people has now
become a human rights violation, an indicator of moral depravity for people
that conservatives want you to hate.
I`m going to give some of my nominees in an awesome montage of her
acting in an incredible way after this break.
HAYES: We are back once more with Liz Winstead, Sam Seder, Tera
Dowdell and Josh Barro talking about the silver linings.
So to me one of the defining features of this year, particularly I
would say sort of the summer starting with the immigration crisis on the
border and the Gaza war into ISIS and the rise of ISIS into Ebola was this
sort of cloud of fear that seemed to kind of roll over the American
populous. And my surprise and
disappointment with how easily it seemed like the fear switch got flipped
in the American populous, like oh, my god, we`ve got to be terrified of all
of these things, all of these threats.
And admits that, the silver lining for the people I think who sort of
refused to bow to it, some of the amazing families of the Americans
murdered by ISIS who sort of showed incredible grace and defiance.
But, also, this nurse, Kaci Hickox. She was such a bad ass. She
comes back from selflessly giving health care to dying people with Ebola,
exposing herself to it, right. Comes back and this grandstanding governor,
Chris Christie, sticks her in this completely medically unnecessary
She basically says I`m going to sue you. He says fine, you can leave.
She goes back to Maine where another Governor Paul Lepage says you can`t
leave your house, you`re quarantined.
She says oh, yeah? Just watch this. Take a look at this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning,Kaci Hickox just left her home. It
was minutes ago. She was on her bicycle, we believe, with her boyfriend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: she went for a bike ride with her boyfriend this
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was with her boyfriend, right?
RICK LEVEN, JOURNALIST: Well, John, it`s not every day that a bike
ride with your boyfriend makes national news.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just jumped on the bikes and they were off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you decide to do it?
KACI HICKOX, NURSE: You know, because we just wanted to enjoy this
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now she`s like riding a bike and she`s got the
helmet. Why do you wear a helmet?
HICKOX: This is something my partner and I like to do. Since we`ve
moved here, this has been our trail.
All right, guys, thank you so much.
All right, guys, thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend returned from a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did they stop you?
HICKOX: They did not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hickox is not staying inside
her home as state officials have asked her to do.
HICKOX: There`s no legal action against me. So, I`m free to go on a
bike ride in my hometown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s really getting annoying now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kaci Hickox is not behaving like a professional.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She should be quarantined for being obnoxious.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very immature, selfish behavior.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does it feel to be out on the road?
HICKOX: It feels amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not sure why someone who is such a
humanitarian in West Africa becomes sort of not a humanitarian when they
come back home.
HICKOX: You know this morning Ted and I just said we want to go for a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You woke up and...
HICKOX: Here we are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...something you guys do often?
HICKOX: We do, yes.
Thank you, guys. I have to go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s in that very crowded area in Maine swarmed
by press who are hanging on her every word as she walks in an out of her
house. I think she`s enjoying this just a little bit.
We`re going to talk about that coming up.
HAYES: Kaci Hickox of course never actually got Ebola. She was
asymptomatic and had tested negative at the moment that all of that was
happening, but just incredible.
WINSTEAD: And what was so amazing was, this gaggle of press chasing
her down because they`re outraged that she`s around and going around
whether or not she has Ebola. It`s like, you all know she doesn`t because
you would not be chasing her around. You`re such losers that you actually
HAYES: Well, but she had also -- I mean, in defense of the press, she
had also been turned into the story by Lepage basically saying you can`t
leave your house and her saying I`m going to leave -- you know what I
DOWDELL: I`m going to leave my house anyway.
HAYES: It`s like I`m going to leave my house.
DOWDELL: And she also attracted the attention of Chris Christie who
attracts a ton of attention. So she went from one bully to a lesser -- the
bully Chris Christie. Then she goes to another state with a lesser-known
And so, yeah, so that was going to attract a lot of attention.
HAYES: It was also just to me a testament of a really important truth
which is, like, if you just --
when people expect you to cave, if you just don`t cave, like it`s amazing
what happens, right, like she could have just been like all right I guess
I`ll stay in this like weird tent without a shower for however many days.
Or, OK, fine I`ll stay in my house. She was like no.
And then it was like what are you going to do? Are you going to come
and send a state trooper and actually physically arrest me?
WINSTEAD: Well, also, too, what I love is she said I am going to -- I
am going to pick a directive from science, not from fear mongers, not from
these nightmare people, but from actual science and I would like all of you
think about science the next time you start doing crazy stuff.
SEDER: But the helmet? She`s got to capitulate to a helmet. I mean,
WINSTEAD: Ebola is really actually a good casing for your head.
DOWDELL: But do you see how the election ending somehow cured Ebola
in this country.
HAYES: Well, that was the amazing thing, right, it`s just like all of
that fear, all of the sort of fear bubble it really felt like as soon as
the election was done, it was like the air just came out of it.
DOWDELL: Because the Republicans stopped fearmongering.
HAYES: Well, I think also -- I think also the news cycle shifted.
BARRO: Right, I think the thing about our fear
switch being turned on so quickly, the upside of the
collective tiny attention span...
HAYES: Is that it gets turned off so quickly.
BARRO: That`s right.
People have forgotten about all these things we were panicking about.
SEDER: I do think, though, that we are more susceptible to fear than
we have -- I mean, certainly maybe we`re still seeing some type of latent
9/11 effects. But it really is sort of stunning, how quickly.
DOWDELL: But there`s less provocation, too.
HAYES: Liz Winstead, Sam Seder, Tera Dowdell and Josh Barro, thank
you all for joining us. That is All In for this evening. The Rachel
Maddow shows starts right now.
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