All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, February 9th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Monday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: February 9, 2015
Guest: Steve Cohen, Matthew Yglesias, Patricia Todd, Drew Fitzgerald, Ron
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN:
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a practice of
not meeting with leaders right before their elections.
HAYES: High stakes political drama at the White House as the
president tries to save a nuclear deal with Iran in the face of obstruction
from Republicans and Israel`s prime minister.
OBAMA: It does not make sense to sour the negotiations a month or two
before they`re about to be completed.
HAYES: Tonight, the growing movement to delay Benjamin Netanyahu`s
speech to Congress.
Plus, shades of George Wallace as a constitutional crisis roils
And then, the plaintiff behind a Supreme Court case that could destroy
Obamacare, who also calls the president the antichrist.
A shocking twist to "Imma let you finish-gate 2".
KANYA WEST, SINGER: Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have
given his award to Beyonce.
HAYES: And requiem for tandem computers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The `80s called, they want their store back.
HAYES: What the end of RadioShack means for brick and mortar stores
ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
The brewing conflict between President Obama and Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached a whole new level today with the two
leaders taking backhanded shots at each other in public from different
sides of the globe.
At a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President
Obama was asked about the controversy over Netanyahu`s March 3rd address
before a joint session of Congress, an address largely seemed to lobby
against a nuclear deal with Iran. The speech planned in coordination with
Republican House Speaker John Boehner has been widely criticized as
politicizing U.S./Israeli relations.
And President Obama responded by throwing some shade in Netanyahu`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a practice of
not meeting with leaders right before their elections, two weeks before
their elections. As much as I love Angela, if she was two weeks away from
an election, she probably would not have received an invitation to the
White House. And I suspect she would not have asked for one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I suspect she wouldn`t have asked for one.
Just minutes after President Obama made those comments, Netanyahu sent
out a series of tweets reaffirming he is moving ahead with the speech, even
amid reports he was considering logistical changes to the speech in
response to all the criticism. Netanyahu said in remarks today, it`s his
duty to speak to U.S. lawmakers about the dangers of a bad deal with Iran.
That rationale points to the fundamental conflict at heart of this very
public, perhaps unprecedented diplomatic flap.
It`s not about the two leaders` personalities or even about whether
the planning of the speech violated protocol. It call comes down to a very
real substantive disagreement over relations between Iran and the rest of
the world. If President Obama gets a deal on Iran`s nuclear program, it
would arguably be the most monumental achievement in Mideast policy since
Carter`s Camp David Accords. It could all but cement his foreign policy
legacy, ending 3 1/2 decades of hostility between Iran and the U.S., and
reshaping the political dynamics of the entire Middle East.
At his president conference today, the president said negotiations are
coming down to the wire and is now a question of Iran`s political will.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: At this juncture, I don`t see a further extension being useful
if they have not agreed to the basic formulation and the bottom line that
the world requires to have confidence that they`re not pursuing a nuclear
weapon. We now know enough that the issues are no longer technical. The
issues now are does Iran have the political will and the desire to get a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: At the same time, the Israeli prime minister seems to think
that any deal that comes out of a deal with Iran will be a bad one. He`s
long sounded the alarm about the Iranian threat and many, both in Israel
and the U.S. have voiced concerns that the new landscape after the deal
would be an uncomfortable place, for the state of Israel.
But even when Netanyahu`s position on Iran maybe popular at home,
among his constituents, his attempted end-run around President Obama is
not. One prominent Israeli columnist wrote in an op-ed address the prime
minister, quote, "Obama is wrong and you`re right, but if there is any
chance of bumping him from his position, you`re making every possible
mistake and turning him into an adversary. How many clues do you need to
understand you should change direction?"
A plurality of Israelis now think Netanyahu should cancel the speech,
according to a poll conducted by Israeli`s Army Radio: 47 percent versus 34
percent who say he should go ahead with it.
Many prominent Jewish Americans think the space is a bad idea, too,
including Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League who`s
now calling on Netanyahu to scrap it. While Israeli diplomats have
reportedly been warning that Israel`s friends in the U.S., there will be
harmed ties between the two countries.
And if Netanyahu`s goal was to convince Congress to pass new Iran`s
sanctions, that already appears to have backfired, with Democrats who favor
new sanctions recently decided to give the president another two months to
reach a deal. Now, a growing number of Democrats are planning to skip
Netanyahu`s speech all together, including some prominent members of the
Congressional Black Caucus, and Vice President Joe Biden whose office just
announced he`ll be out of town during the prime minister`s visit.
Joining me now, Congressman Steve Cohen, Democrat from Tennessee, who
is signing on to a letter to Speaker Boehner asking him to postpone
Netanyahu`s speech until after Israeli elections and the deadline for the
talks with Iran.
Congressman, why have you signed on to this letter? What do you want
the speaker to do?
REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: Well, I don`t think we should have a
person up for election in two weeks and a person who`s obviously being used
politically to attack the president`s position on negotiations with Iran
that are so important. I would like the speaker to put the speech off
until after the latter of the two circumstances so that Prime Minister
Netanyahu can have a dialogue that is not considered political and isn`t
Right now, the House of Representatives is being turned into a
political theater. A couple of weeks ago, there was an attempt to pass a
bill that would have in essence provoke Roe v. Wade. And it was done at a
time that there was a pro-life crowd up here marching on the anniversary of
the passage of -- not the passage but the declaration of Roe v. Wade. And
it was done for political theater.
This is political theater too and the United States House of
Representatives shouldn`t be used for political theater. It`s hurting the
House. And I think what`s going on now is hurting Israel, because there is
so many people including myself who are strong supporters of Israel who
don`t think this is good for Israel.
Israel needs to be close to the United States and close to the
president for its protection and its future.
HAYES: So, let me ask you this: how many people, when push comes to
shove of the 435 members of the House, and the 100 senators, how many
people are going to make good on a threat not to show up? It seems to me
there is a game of chicken being played by Netanyahu here. He says, I`m
going to show up, and I dare you not to come.
COHEN: Well, to some extent, that`s going on, and I would just think
by going, and having to determine exactly what my position should be on
that day, but by going, you`re being assured by Speaker Boehner. Speaker
Boehner should have not invited Prime Minister Netanyahu and put him in
this position. Prime Minister Netanyahu should have understood that --
HAYES: Well, Congressman, if I could just interject here. From all
of the reporting that we have seen and it`s not definitive, this was not
sprung upon Prime Minister Netanyahu. It seems he very much wants to come
and speak, and understands the circumstances under which he is coming to
COHEN: Oh, I`m not suggesting they didn`t each have mutual motives,
and there are mutual motives. Speaking before a Congress with congressmen
standing up and applauding, which will happen, will probably help Netanyahu
in his election, and it helps Boehner with Republicans appeal to people
that are supportive of Israel, particularly the AIPAC crowd, this meeting
in Washington that week. And it`s kind of like whichever crowd comes to
Washington, whether it`s the pro-life crowd, January, or AIPAC in March,
we`re going to use Congress as a television studio to help promote the
Republican tide of that group.
And that`s just wrong. We should be legislating, and we should be --
not interjecting politics and foreign policy. You know, the president
controls foreign policy, if these negotiations don`t work, if there is not
an agreement, there is going to be war. There`s going to be bombings in
And if Israel does that, which most likely they would do, they need
the United States` help or support. We are their strongest allies, and you
don`t cause problems with the president who controls the military, not
Speaker Boehner, at a time like this. So, I think this whole conflagrance
(ph) of events is hurting Israel and is putting Israel in a bad position.
And whether it`s for the benefit of Prime Minister Netanyahu`s election,
but it`s just not good.
HAYES: Congressman, we will eagerly await your decision if, in fact,
it is not postponed and we will check back with you. Congressman Steve
Cohen of Tennessee, thank you very much.
COHEN: You`re welcome, Chris.
HAYES: As President Obama pursues a nuclear deal with Iran, tries to
negotiate deadly conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, his critics
continue to call for increased military engagement on all fronts and this
has been, I think, one of the central dynamics of the president`s second
term. Of hawks condemn him for standing by while the world burns,
President Obama has shown a profound reluctance towards getting involved in
another round of long-term military commitments that stretch our resources
and tie our hands and other efforts. Although, let`s be clear, that
reluctance could give way in the face of sustained pressure. Just ask the
3,000 troops in Iraq, and the pilots flying bombing missions against ISIS.
In an exclusive interview with Vox, the president explained his
approach to foreign policy, striking a balance between realism and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The goal of any good foreign policy is having a vision and
aspirations and ideals, but also recognize the world as it is, where it is,
and figuring out, how do you tack to the point where things are better than
they were before. It doesn`t mean perfect, it just means better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was just one part of a very fascinating in-depth
interview President Obama gave to Vox, in which he got uncharacteristically
philosophical about his priority for the country and his approach to
The two people who conducted that interview are joining me now, Ezra
Klein, editor-in-chief of Vox.com, and Matthew Yglesias, Vox`s executive
And, Matt, let me start with you because you did the foreign policy
stuff, and you asked him about sort of what grand theory is here. He gets
attacked a lot for essentially what his critics view as fundamentally a
kind of ad hoc approach. What do you think you learned? What do you think
-- were you satisfied with his answer there is some sort of coherent vision
MATTHEW YGLESIAS, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, VOX.COM: Well, you know, I think
one of the most coherent things that sort of guides the president, at least
as he explained it to us, is a sort of a fundamentally optimistic belief
that in a lot of ways, the big trends in the world are positive ones. What
is important for him, as the leader of the most powerful influential
country on earth is to kind of not overreact and not mess things up.
He really emphasized that violence is down around the world, that
poverty is down, that what lands on his desk tend to be sort of the crisis
of the day, the crisis of the moment. But that excessive focus on crises
and on possible military solutions can distract attention from the sort of
underlying dynamics that are much more optimistic than that, and in which
there`s a big risk that the United States is going to sort of do too much,
go to far, and kind of expend its strength.
HAYES: You know, that`s a fascinating point and it stands in some
ways, Ezra, in some ways I think the way he views the domestic sphere, at
least it came in your questions to him, particularly on the inequality
front, where he basically, it seemed to me in your exchange on that, he
basically says look, we can get a better business cycle going. We can
hopefully get job growth and wage growth and stuff like that. But the
long-term trends that are driving wealth to the 1 percent, those were here
before I was here and it`s going to take a long time to undo.
EZRA KLEIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, VOX.COM: Absolutely. But I do think
that something as important is the degree of control he feels he has over
the two dimensions. So, when he talks about inequality, he talks about
pre-tax and post-tax inequality, talks about how in the past more was done
before taxes, more was done at the corporate level, more was done in the
culture. It was considered unseemly to have the CEO pay that you have now.
And so, there was not as much of a need for the government to get
involved, but nevertheless, it is possible for the government to get
involved, to use redistribution taxes, other mechanisms, to both alter the
simple tax and transfer dynamics to reduce inequality, and to potentially
alter things like shareholder representation within companies, and to also
alter the distribution of prepay tax. I think that`s a current to where --
how he feels the U.S. is capable around the world wherein I think he is
much more cautious about the idea that our commitments can have very
unintended consequences and that our ability to predict and to calibrate
our actions in order to get specific outcomes is weaker than many Americans
in Washington would like to believe it to be.
HAYES: I want to come back -- Matt, I want you to sort of talk about
that, because there`s one level which you can say, I was writing the
script, that`s right, and it always strikes me, well, here is someone that
so often, come sit at this desk, cover the news cycle, and some set of
people saying, you must do something, send arms to the Ukrainian rebels,
intervene in Syria, do this, do this, and the president is saying no, no,
But at same time, you know, there are 3,000 servicemen and women in
Iraq right now. We`re running bombing raids and we`re essentially at war
with ISIS. We are about to get an authorization to use military force. I
mean, I guess my question is like, is that reluctance just for show?
YGLESIAS: Well, you know, I don`t think it is for show. When we
spoke about ISIS, you know, he specifically says, well, look, I could send
200,000 troops. That is a reminder there is a long way to go from 3,000 to
what is sort of all in on sort of Iraq like that. He says he doesn`t want
to do it because he doesn`t think it will work. He thinks you can have
ground forces in there and keep a lid on problems, but they could never
So, he doesn`t want to over-commit to the situation. At the same
time, I think it is difficult for him politically because he doesn`t want
to draw a bright line against getting involved. It would be a lot simpler
or more satisfying to some people, frankly more satisfying to me to simply
wash our hands of certain kind of situations, but he feels the need at
least to be involved to some extent, but to sort of try to do what he
thinks he absolutely has to without getting sucked as far in as he might
go, because the paradox of American military power is that it`s the
mightiest military in the world. It can do a lot, but still, it really
can`t do everything. We can`t be in Ukraine, and Syria, and Iran, and
every place simultaneously.
So, you`ve got to sort of pick what you do and it winds up being
difficult to communicate and, frankly, a little difficult to rally
supporters behind, but there is real a logic to it.
HAYES: Ezra, part of the story of this interview is that the White
House has been making these efforts to go to new venues. They are doing an
interview with "BuzzFeed", they talk to guys at Vox, they did the YouTube
There is an interesting exchange you guys had about polarization in
which it seems the president thinks that part of what is polarizing people
is the media itself. I wonder if you were sold that he -- you`re sold on
his understanding of what actually is driving polarization?
KLEIN: I don`t think there is any doubt that the media is polarizing
people. I don`t think there is any doubt at all.
I think there are parts of his description of polarization I am more
skeptical off. He I think assigns gerrymandering a higher weight than I
would. I think when you look at the political science evidence around
gerrymandering, I think it has role in increasing party polarization, but
it isn`t sort of as big I think as folks intuitively believe.
The place where I think I part with the president`s understanding of
the situation is I think he is fundamentally more hopeful about it than I
am. I think we really are politically becoming red and blue Americas and I
think polarization is flywheel quality, where once we sort aggressively
into parties, all kinds of things begin to reinforce those party
So, those party identities have become very powerful, something I
spoke to him about was the way they actually have become important in
racial identity too. Back in the `90s, Republicans and Democrats show no
difference on what they thought about the O.J. Simpson verdict. Now, you
see huge differences in Republicans and Democrats on the Zimmerman verdict.
So, I kind of think polarization is a trend that is going to keep
continuing and we need to figure out ways to govern amidst it. I think he
is, in general, more hopeful that there are ways for a president to get
around polarization and speak to a non-polarized middle in the electorate
which speaks to things like his work on YouTube, on "Between Two Ferns",
some of the more nontraditional efforts he has made.
HAYES: Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias of Vox, thanks a lot.
KLEIN: Thank you.
YGLESIAS: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. The first gay marriage in Alabama`s history took
place today. But that`s just the beginning of the story. I will explain
HAYES: The 2016 primary season is, of course, right around the
corner. You may thinking how hard will it be for new slate of Republican
presidential hopefuls to live up to the standard of discourse set in the
2012 context. Rick Perry for getting the third government agency he wanted
to abolish, to Newt Gingrich floating his plan for colonizing the moon, to
Mitt Romney trying to settle an argument during a televised debate with a
I`m here to tell you, you can start popping the pop corn now because
the upcoming election is going to be worth watching. And the Republican
takes are going to be very, very hot indeed.
Here is a quick preview from likely 2016 contender Mike Huckabee
speaking this morning on FOX News about which religious groups get more
support from President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Everything he does is
against what Christians stand for, and he`s against the Jews in Israel.
The one group of people that can know they have his undying, unfailing
support, would be the Muslim community. And it doesn`t matter if it`s the
radical Muslim community or the more moderate Muslim community. He said
that our greatest threat was climate change. Elizabeth, I assure you that
a beheading is much worse than a sunburn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just wait until the guy hits the campaign train. If Mike
Huckabee can turn Barack Obama into an antichristian, radical Muslim-
loving, pro-beheading supervillain in less than 30 seconds, imagine what he
will do to Jeb Bush during debate season. Republican primary might wined
up sounding like a "World Net Daily" comment thread, but it will not be
HAYES: This morning, for the first time ever in the state of Alabama,
same-sex couples got married. Legally sanctioned by a federal court with a
stamp of approval from the Supreme Court of the United States, which
refused to halt it. Tori Sisson and Shante Wolfe were the first in
Montgomery County getting their marriage license at the probate office.
Some major Alabama counties were ready with new forms provided by
Alabama Department of Health. Jefferson County probate judge Alan King
made it clear yesterday that he is prepared to go forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE ALAN KING, JEFFERSON COUNTY PROBATE JUDGE: We usually have one
window open. We will plan to have two windows open. We`ll be ready, you
know, we`ll be ready with the forms, we`ll be ready with multiple windows
open, and it will be like, we`ll just -- whatever happens in Jefferson
County, we will be ready.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In Birmingham, after marrying one couple, the judge there
asked for a picture with the newlyweds.
Now, in some ways, this is unremarkable in the sense that 36 states
already have sanctioned same-sex marriage and Alabama became the 37th. But
in other ways, the path to this was a lot more contentious and hard fought
thanks to a stubborn Alabama tradition of -- to put it mildly -- thumbing
its nose at the federal government.
It started a little more than two weeks ago. And a federal judge,
U.S. District Judge Jeannie Granade (ph) struck down Alabama`s ban on same-
sex marriage, a ban that was part of Alabama`s state constitution.
However, that same judge agreed to put on hold on her own ruling for 14
days to allow for an appeal. And, indeed, the Alabama attorney general
appealed the decision.
But the appeals court, the 11 circuit court of appeals denied the
Alabama attorney general`[s request for a stay. So, with the hold on the
original federal court set to expire, marriage licenses would be issued to
same sex couples in Alabama starting today -- not so fast, says Chief
Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Now, that name may ring a bell. You may remember this judge, he`s the
one who refused to remove his Ten Commandments display from the courthouse
years ago. After long legal battle, a federal court ordered it remove, and
later, Judge Moore was removed from office by his peers for his defiance.
But he made a come back.
If you were wondering what happened to that guy, the answer is that he
is currently serving chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. And
yesterday in that role, you will never guess what Judge Moore did, he
essentially instructed probate judges to ignore the federal ruling on gay
marriage and stick to what he said was is the Alabama constitution.
And this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court in 7-2 vote refused to extend
that hold on the federal judges order, means it was about to go into
So, you got the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to stop gay marriage in
Alabama, and local probate judges, the ones who are going to actually issue
the marriage license, they now have a choice. What do they do? Do they
follow the lead of the highest court in the nation and issue those
licenses, or listen to Judge Roy Moore and refuse?
Major counties like Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville basically
told Roy Moore we`re going to go to the highest court in the land, buddy,
and granted those licenses. Same-sex marriages began in Alabama today,
making it the 37th state to do so. But, and here`s a big but, about 50 of
Alabama`s 67 county probate courts still refuse to issue same-sex licenses,
according to Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.
Joining me now, Alabama State Representative Patricia Todd, the first
openly gay elected official in the state.
What -- how is this playing, today`s news, in Alabama? It is a state
that most recent polling shows high levels of opposition to same-sex
marriage and marriage equality. What is the ripple effect has been like
STATE REP. PATRICIA TODD (D), ALABAMA: Well, we`re all disappointed
in the probate judge`s lack of their ability to do their job. You know,
when they got elected to office, if they didn`t have to wear an oath to the
Bible or their religious preference, it was to uphold the Constitution of
the United States. And today, we saw many of them today fail at their
HAYES: Do you think those probate judges are going to have any
accountability? I mean, this seems like a kind of political gamey (ph) for
them, maybe not a moral gamey (ph) or legal one, but politically, are they
going to face any reprisals for doing this, or is this politically safe for
them to do on those counties?
TODD: Well, the reality is it is probably politically safe for them
to do, but, you know, we`re not elected to office to do what is politically
safe to do. We`re here to do what is right for the people of Alabama. And
you know, unfortunately, Judge Moore is over the whole judicial branch in
Alabama. So, you know, to think they may be fined or penalized, I`m not
sure they`ll do that. I`m sure he won`t do that.
HAYES: He is their boss, right? In an administrative sense, the guy
at the top, the boss of bosses of the probate judge of Alabama is Roy
Moore, who is telling them directly don`t do this. The flip side is that
you got very courageous judges who said, you know, told their boss to buzz
TODD: Well, that`s true. Those are the largest urban areas in
Alabama, so we knew we would get good support from those probate judges,
and the others -- we`re not sure what would happen. Eventually they will
have to start issuing the licenses like everybody else, you know? It may
be a sign of protest, but to me it was like you were elected to do a job,
and today, you didn`t do it.
And they not only -- they denied everybody a marriage license.
Straight or gay, so --
HAYES: Oh, wait, that`s how these probate judges dealt with it? In
those 50 counties? They just said no marriage licenses today?
TODD: That`s correct, they refused to issue any marriage licenses
HAYES: So, then, how does this play out? Is there concern about this
legal status of marriages are that are happening? Obviously, this is
headed to Supreme Court. It looks like it will be resolved one way or the
other. But what is the next steps, do you have a kind of strange tale of
two states for the foreseeable future where folks can get married in some
counties and not in others?
TODD: It`s Alabama, we have done this before. It is amazing to me if
people know anything about Alabama history that here we are again with some
people standing in the schoolhouse door, so to speak, refusing to uphold
the Constitution and carry out a federal court order. But, you know, as I
said last time, Missouri is a Show Me State and Alabama is the Make Me
State. It will be interesting to see what happens.
But, you know, all of this will become so normalized as more people
come out, more people get married, start having discussions, and in a
couple years, we`ll look back on this and think that wasn`t such a big
deal, was it?
HAYES: Yes. Well, someone I think is going to make the state of
Alabama sooner rather later.
Alabama State Representative Patricia Todd, thank you very much.
TODD: Thank you.
HAYES: There were lots of moments at the Grammys including one of
near deja vu.
Plus, who are the plaintiffs behind the case that could kill
Obamacare. One intrepid reporter went on a journey to find them and, oh
boy! That`s ahead.
HAYES: All right, in my book, biggest headlines out of the Grammy
awards last night were as follows. One, Iggy Azalea`s tribute to former
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko; Rihanna`s dress, which prompted
a slew of quinceanera memes; Pharrell`s outfit, which led to people to
speculate whether he was auditioning for the sequel to Grand Budapest
Hotel; several powerful moments of political symbolism that really came
through last night.
During Pharrell`s rendition of his Grammy-winning song Happy, and
during Beyonce`s performance of a gospel song featured in the film Selma,
performers raised their hands in the unmistakable hand`s up, don`t shoot
gesture that emerged from protests of the shooting death of unarmed 18-
year-old Michael Brown six months ago today.
And Prince, when presenting best album of the year nodded to a phrase
that`s become a rallying cry for social justice protesters all over the
country Black Lives Matter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE, SINGER: Albums still matter, like books and black lives,
albums still matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Then he announced the winner. Many expected it to be Beyonce,
including, apparently Kanye West who decided to register his own surprise
and perhaps dismay by hopping on stage with Beck who was the actual winner.
At first, the stunt seemed to lots of people like a very funny good
natured callback to this now infamous moment from the 2009 MTV Video Music
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KANYE WEST, RAPPER: Yo, Taylor, I`m really happy for you, I`m going
to let you finish; but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. One
of the best videos of all time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s the Beyonce reaction shot that really makes that moment.
That interruption and last night`s near interruption of an acceptance
speech both for awards that Kanye felt Beyonce should have won. And
everyone thought he was pulling a deftly timed self-deprecating joke last
night. Kanye, himself, was quick to correct the record and say he was not
in fact joking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEST: The Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back,
they need to stop playing with us. We ain`t going to play with them no
more. Flawless, Beyonce video, and Beck needs to respect artistry. And he
should have given his award to Beyonce.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now Beck said there`s no hard feelings telling Us Weekly he
was just as surprised saying, quote, "I thought Beyonce was going to win.
Come on, she`s Beyonce."
But by far my favorite moment of the entire night wasn`t actually
anything happening on stage, it was the reaction shot of Beyonce and Jay-Z
as Kanye was about to reprise his I`m going to let you finish moment, the
sheer horror on their faces that don`t do it, don`t do it.
As he walked on stage, Beyonce mouthing, no Kanye, And then erupting
into laughs when Kanye pulled the nose of the airplane up just in time,
deciding this time to let someone else finish.
HAYES: Early next month, the Supreme Court will consider a lawsuit
with the potential to gut Obamacare based on a legal argument crafted at a
right-wing conference that many have dismissed as ridiculous, and which
has, as it`s plaintiffs, four people who seem largely disconnected from the
case, including one who says she doesn`t know how she became a plaintiff.
And says she opposes exactly what the lawsuit sets out to do.
The case, called King versus Burwell, rests on a poorly drafted
sentence in the hundreds of pages of the law. The people behind the
lawsuit say the wording in that sentence means that people in states that
did not set up their own health insurance exchanges, instead relying on
federally run exchanges, those people are not legally eligible for the
Obamacare tax subsidies that help millions of low and middle class people
afford health insurance.
Now if the Supreme Court agrees, it blows a huge hole in the
Affordable Care Act, because it means people in as many as 37 states will
suddenly lose their
subsidies. And the effects would be likely catastrophic. 8 million people
could lose their health insurance. Premiums can skyrocket by 35 percent or
more, nearly 10,000 people could die prematurely each year.
The law could also completely collapse.
Now that is obviously a nightmare scenario for Obamacare supporters,
but also creates a potential political disaster for Republicans who will
have to grapple with a very real and very dire consequences for many of
Now, to be fair, there are at least four Americans, you would think,
would benefit from such a ruling: the plaintiffs, you know, the real human
beings who are supposed to be personally suffering as a result of Obamacare
insurance in states on the federal exchange.
But as Stephanie Mensemer (ph) learned when she tracked those
plaintiffs down in a great piece of reporting for Mother Jones, those
plaintiffs seem to have little to nothing to gain from the case other than
in two cases, the potential satisfaction of helping to destroy the
signature achievement of a president they consider to be, quote, "the idiot
in the White House and the Antichrist."
And that is not even the craziest part, one of the plaintiffs, Brenda
Levy, you can see here arguing against allowing gay Boy Scouts in a local
news segment, she said she didn`t even know how she got on this case
adding, and I`m not making this up, "I don`t like the idea of throwing
people off their health insurance."
Joining me now is the author of that piece, Stephanie Mencimer, senior
reporter of Mother Jones. Stephanie, great piece of reporting.
So, let`s start with the beginning. You have got impact litigation,
that`s the way it always works, right? Some legal minds craft a litigation
strategy. They want to challenge a law. They`ve got to go find
plaintiffs. What unites these plaintiffs? How are they the ones who are
injured in the sense of having legal standing?
STEPHANIE MENCIMER, MOTHER JONES: Well, I think -- they don`t
actually have much in common on some level. But they -- at heart, the
courts have said, well
they`re forced to buy insurance and if they don`t they will have to pay a
fine and that is the basis for their standing in this case.
But as it turned out, two of them don`t even have to pay a fine and
they don`t have to buy insurance, because insurance would eat up too much -
- the premiums, even subsidized premiums would eat up too much of their
income, and so they`re eligible for a hardship exemption.
HAYES: So -- OK, so two of the plaintiffs are eligible for hardship
exemption. I don`t want to get too into the weeds here, but there is this
exemption that lets you out mandate, right? If buying insurance, even
subsidized insurance is going to cost too much you can get a hardship
exemption. If that is the case, how do these two people even have legal
standing? Like how have these been named plaintiffs in something that`s
gone up to the Supreme Court if, in fact, they aren`t actually harmed by
what they say they`re harmed?
MENCIMER: Well, the lower courts just kind of let it fly. The
government challenged this and the courts, the lower courts said it was OK.
And lawyers have told me that the judges are kind of reluctant to throw out
these sorts cases on standing, because they think people should have access
to the courts.
But this case is really unusual in how weak the facts are, the fact
patterns of each of the individual plaintiffs. And this isn`t the first
time it has happened. All of these ACA cases, you know, challenging
Obamacare, have had trouble with keeping their plaintiffs. That happened
in the case that went to the Supreme Court in 2012. They had to substitute
a plaintiff at the last minute because one of the people in the case filed
bankruptcy and had all sorts of medical bills that she couldn`t pay. So
they ruled -- they said, oh, she doesn`t have an injury. She can`t bring
But I think the people bringing these cases have struggled to find
people who are both willing to deprive millions of Americans health
insurance and also who fit the criteria, the really narrow criteria that
they need to challenge the law.
HAYES: And this Brenda Levy woman who you interviewed, I mean, she
really -- I was left kind of shaking my head, like, is this -- is she
actually connected to this case? Did someone pull her name out of a phone
book? Like, how is it the case that she is about to go before the Supreme
Court and doesn`t -- at least according to your reporting, know what were
connection is, necessarily?
MENCIMER: I wish I knew. She really just was totally confused. And
you know, she is -- she was really unusual. I mean, she actually said she
used to be in the Sierra Club, and was a Mother Jones reader. And she`s a
teacher. So she was different from the other people in the case. She
didn`t seem like somebody who just really had it in for President Obama.
And also in her case, she was looking at -- she told me that she was
about to pay $1,500 a month for health insurance premiums because she
hadn`t gotten on
Obamacare. And if she had taken Obamacare, she could get the same
insurance for $148 a month.
So she was kind of confused a about a lot of things, I think. And you
know we`re still waiting for her lawyers to explain some of that.
HAYES: Wow. I`m left speechless.
I mean this -- look, I understand that this lawsuit is being brought
at a high level of kind of statutory interpretation, but the basics of the
law, the basics of the law, like, you need plaintiffs who can demonstrate
an injury. The standing is a real thing. It`s just remarkable to me this
thing is in front of the Supreme Court and that box doesn`t seem so
Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones, thank you very much.
MENCIMER: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: All right, it`s the end of an era.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: A new generation of affordable cellar phones at an
incredible price breakthrough from RadioShack, the technology store.
GIRL: Hi, dad, it`s me.
ANNOUNCER: And now there`s a totally portable phone at a price we
dare the competition to beat.
GIRL: He says we can.
OK, be there soon.
ANNOUNCER: RadioShack, the first name in cellar telephone technology.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: $2,495, we dare you to beat that. We say goodbye to
HAYES: So I did a live Facebook chat today. I got a lot of great
questions, including one viewer asking me to weigh in on his lunch options.
Spoiler alert, I told him to steer clear of the calzone.
If you missed out, you`re going to have another chance next Monday
same time, same place: noon Eastern. We`re going to start doing this every
Monday on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/AllinwithChris.
Check it out while you`re there. Go ahead and hit the like button
too, would you please? Stay tuned.
HAYES: All right, that was a commercial for RadioShack that aired
during Superbowl XLVIII. Just about a year ago. It was funny, self-
deprecating and a very expensive wink and nod acknowledgment that perhaps
the company`s best days were behind it.
Last week, the 94-year-old company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy
with about $1.2 billion in assets and close to $1.4 billion in debts.
Liquidation sales have already begun. And of the approximately 4,000
stores in the U.S., around half of them will be sold off to a consortium of
companies, including the cellphone provider Sprint. The rest will be
Now it is not exactly a huge surprise. In fact, it was more than a
year ago, a few years ago, that The Onion ran this satirical headlines,
"Even CEO can`t figure out how RadioShack still in business."
RadioShack ends its run as the butt of jokes, but will be remembered
as far more than just a place to pick up batteries for all the stuff you
bought at Best Buy, the company played an intimate role in the birth of the
personal computer with its Tandy. And for the generation of computer
hobbyists that helped launch the entire PC revolution, it was destination
Speaking to Wired magazine about the news, Apple co-founder Steve
Wozniak reminisced of his regular trips to his local store as he and Steve
Jobs were working their magic in the 1970s.
"You had a few catalogues that were full of things like walkie-
talkies, but if you went down to RadioShack you could actually see
Eventually, RadioShack shifted from a place for hobbyists to tinker
with computers and gadgets to a straight-up consumer electronics store, but
was eventually boxed out by bigger box stores like Best Buy.
RadioShack in the new millennium was an anomaly, a 100-year-old
business model in the age of Amazon.com.
Steve Wozniak who says he still tinkers said, quote, "I use RadioShack
probably more than any other electronics store aside from the internet."
And that`s part of the problem. When we return, who, or what killed
RadioShack? We shall present the suspects.
HAYES: Joining me Ron Insana contributor to CNBC; and Drew
reporter from the Wall Street Journal.
All right, so first we`re going to talk about who killed it like game
of Clue, who killed RadioShack. But before we get to that, like is there
something to mourn here? I mean, I mourn it because my grandfather, my
dear beloved grandfather, my mom`s dad, was just this kind of amazing
hobbyist, tinker guy. And I remember going to his house and there were all
these like random little bits of electronica I thought were so cool, that
like made me kind of got me interested into tech at an early age.
But I don`t know, is there something to mourn here?
RON INSANA, CNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I grew up with them as well -- well,
having covered, as you like to refer to it creative destruction or as we
now call it disruption. You know, RadioShack in many ways didn`t keep up
with the times. When I was a kid, yeah, we`d go in there we`d buy our
amplifier cords, you know, our guitar cords or whatever we needed for, you
know, our musical band, our musical group to work. We went there.
But, look, I mean, they`ve been displaced by so many different
opportunities, whether online or in bricks and mortar stores that they`re
not as relevant as they were.
HAYES: Well, part of it is the big box retailers, right.
DREW FITZGERALD, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yeah, that`s true. And
part of it is online. I mean, the sad thing is that, you know, your
grandpa may not be having those trinkets around, but guess what your
grandson can buy that online and you can buy it online.
And there seems to me there`s a trajectory here that reminded me of --
it reminds me of the bookstore trajectory. When I was in the 90s it was
like everyone was like, oh, these big box chain stores are, you know,
kicking out the local book sellers and then now they`ve turned around and
Borders gets killed by Amazon.
I mean, the big question is are we going to go to stores in 10 years?
But it depends what for, right. I mean, if you can get your gear
online and you don`t need to feel it and you don`t have to have that
tactile experience, of course you can get stuff online.
Clothes, a little bit different. Cars, a little bit different.
HAYES: Well, restaurants, OK.
We say that now. And I wonder how much that`s innate preference and
how much that`s just acculturated. Meaning, it would -- I remember when
Zappos launched. I was like who the heck is going to buy shoes that they
can`t try on? I remember thinking that. Well, the answer is lots of
And lots of people buy clothes. Like it`s possible to me that we just
like people your age cohort, my age cohort.
INSANA: I`m a lot older than you are.
HAYES: Perhaps not you. That like basically this is just like people
will get accustomed over time to just ordering everything.
FITZGERALD: Well, we`re a long way away from that. There`s still
roughly like about 10 percent -- less than 10 percent of sales are done
online. I mean, we still go to stores for a lot of things.
And we`re only a few blocks away from Amazon will be opening a
HAYES: Which is tech support, right.
INSANA: Here in New York City.
FITZGERALD: ...like 600 stores country, right, is the plane?
HAYES: Amazon is going to 600 stores?
FITZGERALD: That`s what I`ve heard, but I don`t...
INSANA: Well, we may be a long way away from that. There`s still
sales taxes to deal with. So...
HAYES: OK, so here`s the other thing. So part of it is just the big
box retailers, part of it is Amazon, right, online. Part of it also is, I
think, which if the fascinating thing about the shift from hardware to
So, here is an example. 1991, RadioShack print add. The following
items are for sale: AM/FM clock radio, in ear stereo phones, microthin
calculator, a Tandy 1000 computer.
OK, in the same add, a VHS camcorder, a mobile cellar telephone, a
deluxe portable CD player, a handheld cassette tape recorder. All of those
items are now in one smartphone, right. We have gone from hardware to
FITZGERALD: Well, here`s another point about that. Back in its
heyday, in the `70s, almost everything -- everything we bought at
RadioShack was made by RadioShack.
FITZGERALD: It was the Tandy company.
You know what it`s like RadioShack now? Apple. I mean, it`s a very
different type of brand. But you go to Apple you get only Apple products.
And Apple isn`t doing too poorly, especially in retail.
HAYES: And they`re doing well in retail -- that`s a good point. I
never thought of that, right.
And RadioShack wasn`t just a middleman, right, they were...
INSANA: Yeah, it was called a Tandy corporation even in the ads. You
know, the ad on television.
And so, look, I mean, we`re still going to go to stores. I mean, I
have a 17-year-old daughter who as much as she orders things online, she
still wants to go to the mall with her friends. She wants to hang out.
There is a social element to retailing that you can`t get online even if
you`re communicating with people. Look, these kids text each other at a
sleepover sitting next to each other, but they still want to got out and
have some fun at the mall and go shopping for stuff.
HAYES: So you don`t think -- OK, so let`s stores still exist, right.
Here is another theory for the demise of RadioShack I thought was
fascinating. This is the Wall Street Journal, which is basically like the
death of American hobbies was the thesis.
So here is the following. In 1979, the average worker put in 1,687 a
year, according to the Economic Policy Institute. By 2007 that number was
1,867, net difference, 181 hours a year represents more than a month of
extra work every year.
You do wonder if the world that RadioShack, which is like the
tinkerers world, right, does anyone have time to do that anymore? Was that
just like erased by...
FITZERALD: A lot fewer people.
A lot fewer people -- there`s a big movement -- and RadioShack has
worked really hard over the past couple of years to reclaim that. They`ve
had a lot working against them, mostly the fact that there`s no money
selling smartphones anymore if you`re selling it in the store, unless
INSANA: And remember, too, tinkering is a younger person`s
experience, right. So our kids are tinkering with different things...
HAYES: And they`re tinkering -- right, exactly, software as opposed
INSANA: But they still go out and buy hardware. They still play
baseball, they still play football, they still go to sporting goods stores.
That stuff is not...
HAYES: Oh, you mean like physical things in the world. That`s not
hardware, that`s a baseball bad.
INSANA: That`s hardware.
HAYES: OK. OK. But not in like a technical, not in like a computer
INSANA: Well, no but dammit, people do other things than that as
well. I mean, and so you do have to go to stores...
HAYES: Not for long.
INSANA: You think baseball is going away?
HAYES: It`s all going away.
INSANA: We`re going to have flabby little kids.
HAYES: We`re going to have these chips in our head, it`s going --
we`re going to basically be brains in vats in 10 years. Mark it down. If
you could invest in a brain -- are you watching me for viewer for
INSANA: Oh, really?
HAYES: Brain in the vat. Brain in the vat technology, long on brain
in the vat technology 10 years from now.
FITZGERALD: Stay long Apple.
HAYES: Exactly. Or just go long Apple.
Ron Insana, Drew Fitzgerald, thank you both.
All right, that is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show
starts right now
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