All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: March 18, 2015
Guest: Matt Welch, Robi Ludwig, Gabrielle Glaser
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: If I could take on 100,000
protesters, I can do the same across the world.
HAYES: Presidential contender Scott Walker says he can take on ISIS.
But did he just cave to pressure from Iowa farmers?
HAYES: And as the 2016 campaign season ramps up, a reminder what the
Republican candidates can expect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is the Congress rolling over and letting
this communist dictator destroy my country?
HAYES: Then, what Benjamin Netanyahu`s resounding reelection means to
Israel and the United States.
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA ADVISER: He mortgaged the future in order
to win an election.
HAYES: Former White House adviser David Axelrod joins me live.
Plus, desperate measures against drought in California, the movement
against Alcoholics Anonymous, and when the conversation about race
conversations gets awkward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I`m actually black. You assumed
HAYES: ALL IN starts right now. Good evening from New York. I`m
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who last week faced harsh criticism
from President Obama for signing an anti-union bill into law, and then
cited the president`s words to argue he may well be the front-runner of the
GOP presidential nomination. Well, that Scott Walker is now getting the
attention that comes with front-runner status and he is crumbling the face
Last month, in an instantly infamous comment, Walker asserted his
success in battling the Wisconsin labor unions, with evidence he could
stand up to ISIS. But forget ISIS, on three separate occasions this month,
Scott Walker has shown he can`t even stand up to politicos and pig farmers
in Iowa, whose first in the nation caucuses he appears desperate to win.
First, Walker flip-flopped on immigration, repudiating his previous
support for comprehensive immigration reform and putting himself in
ideological alignment with Iowa Representative Steve King, who staunchly
opposes immigration reform and once said of children of illegal immigrants,
quote, "They`ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they`re hauling
75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."
Walker was confronted about his immigration flip flop on FOX.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: You said you supported it.
WALKER: And my view has changed. I`m flat-out saying it. Candidates
can say that. Sometimes they don`t. I`m saying --
WALLACE: So, you changed from 2013?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One week later, Walker went to Iowa to flip-flop yet again,
dropping his previous opposition to ethanol mandates and offering a new
stance that is, as "The Milwaukee Sentinel Journal" politely put it, well-
suited to a state covered in corn fields.
Walker had previously dismissed the ethanol mandate as, quote, "a big
government mandate". But that was before he was courting Iowa farmers.
And now, Walker is even sacrificing his staff to keep Iowa happy.
Liz Mair, veteran Republican strategist, someone I`ve had on the show,
was tapped on Monday to lead Walker`s online communication efforts. During
a Steve King hosted event in January, while speaker was mocking immigration
activist, Mair had tweeted, quote, "Iowa is once again embarrassing itself
and the GOP." She also tweeted, quote, "The sooner we remove Iowa`s front
running status, the better off American politics and policy will be." In
another tweet, Mair had pointed out that many Iowans are dependent on the
very agricultural subsidies Walker had suddenly learned to love.
All of this did not go over well with Jeff Kaufman, the man who
happens to be the Iowa Republican Party chairman. A man who told "The New
York Times" that Walker should fire Mair, saying, quote, "I find her to be
shallow and ignorant, and adding that if I was Governor Walker, I`d send
her her walking papers."
When the Iowa GOP speaks, apparently, Scott Walker listens. By last
night, less than a day after she had joined the campaign, Mair had
resigned, saying in a statement, quote, "The tone of some of my tweets
concerning Iowa was at odds with that which Governor Walker has always
encouraged in political discourse."
Scott Walker says if he can take on unions in Wisconsin, he can take
on ISIS. But Walker`s pandering on Iowa has conservative columnist Phil
Klein drawing a different conclusion, "If Scott Walker can`t stand up to
Iowans," he said, "how can he stand up to the Islamic State?"
Joining me now, Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of "Reason Magazine".
Well, what do you make of all this?
MATT WELCH, REASON MAGAZINE: It`s embarrassing is what it is,
frankly. I mean, Liz Mair is someone -- she`s more libertarian than your
average Republican. But here`s the thing, so is every single GOP
strategist under the age of 40. They are more libertarian than your
average Republican. She wants to get rid of -- she wrote a piece for
"Reason" in 2007 -- saying that she wanted to get rid of farm subsidies,
right? And these kinds of things.
HAYES: I met her -- I met her at some confab in D.C. years ago, and
she immediately struck up a conversation about farm subsidies.
And let`s just be clear, this is how a conservative principle
HAYES: The idea is that ethanol is basically a wasteful government
mandate that has been put in there by red seeking large corporations that
benefit handsomely from it and use their lobbying dollars to keep the
mandate flowing so that they can make money off of it. It`s inefficient.
It`s not good for the environment.
WELCH: It`s bad for the environment. And this is exactly what Scott
Walker used to say.
Here`s the problem with Scott Walker on all of this stuff. Yes, he is
a semi front-runner at this point. Right now there`s a strong anti-
establishment mood on the right. It hasn`t expressed itself yet in
presidential nominees. It didn`t in 2012. Mitt Romney was not the anti-
establishment candidate. John McCain certainly was not the anti-
So, one thing that the anti-establishment candidate wants to see the
electorate, they want to see somebody who`s going to stand up to
corporatism very strongly and also just going to be an authentic type of
person. This move is 0 for 2 on both of these fronts. He`s flip-flopping
-- you saw him on FOX, I mean, explaining his --
WELCH: -- incredibly inauthentic, the ethanol is even worse. And
this move with Liz Mair just shows kind of the same thing.
HAYES: It also says to me about the fact that we like to talk about
our American political debates, about the size and scope of government.
When it comes down to it, they aren`t in most cases, right? They`re about
competing interests, they`re about competing coalitions, they`re about
competing groups of people that have competing conceptions of the good.
The idea that we`re actually having this spectrum question about moral
government -- like here`s the ethanol example that`s perfect. Has nothing
to do with a philosophical debate about more or less government, right?
WELCH: Yes, but there`s more of that discussion on the right and in
this campaign that there has been in a while because of the inroads of the
Tea Party and more kind of libertarian on economics bent out there, and
also on social issues as well.
So, Ted Cruz is out there campaigning in Iowa, where he`s doing pretty
well on a socially conservative message. But he`s saying, I am not going
to tell you the thing that we always tell you, I`m against these subsidies.
They`re dumb. I`m against the mandate. They`re dumb. Let`s move to the
So, there`s more of a talk like that. There is a talk about the size
and scope of government among people like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and some
other people. But you`re right, in the functionality, in Washington, we
have a budget, one is $3 trillion, one is $3.8 trillion, Republican,
Democrat, they`re both big.
HAYES: There`s a question, too, about the process, we`re going to get
to this in a second. We`ll play incredible, incredible sound of Rick
Santorum getting a question at town hall. We played you a little clip at
the beginning, which is the dynamic process by which a primary is this way
in which donor interests, grass roots activists, everyday voters, politico
is their staff, right, in this dynamic process, create a set of positions,
right? They put stakes in the ground.
And to me, what`s dangerous here is allowing certain interests in Iowa
to dictate what stake you put in the ground, particularly Steve King on
WELCH: Yes, Steve King is a, I think, very nightmarish politician.
Anybody named King who`s in the Congress, I think qualifies there.
But this whole act with Liz Mair, I mean, Breitbart ran this pretty
awful story, and that if Andrew Breitbart was alive, he`d probably be
ashamed of, trying to say that Liz Mair is an awful person because she
likes gay marriage and that she`s in favor of comprehensive immigration
reform and these kinds of things. It`s different groups trying to set up
and sort of police the movement. Trying to police --
HAYES: Exactly right.
WELCH: -- Scott Walker. Well, you know, Michelle Malkin came out
today and said this is a great example of us trying to vet Scott Walker.
They do agree that there is a vetting process, imperfect and kind of
ugly as it is. But at some point, it`s people who are trying to push this
candidate into this position in which they don`t have -- they can`t move.
HAYES: People are trying to hammer flags into hills, right? And
those flags stick around. We saw that in 2012 on immigration particularly.
Matt Welch, always a pleasure.
WELCH: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. One of Scott Walker`s likely rivals to the GOP
presidential nomination and erstwhile presidential candidate, Rick
Santorum, was in South Carolina over the weekend to speak at the National
Security Action Summit where he fielded a very lengthy question from a
self-described schoolteacher -- retired schoolteacher and political
activist named Virginia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIRGINIA: The American people put Republicans back in office in the
house and the Senate, and the two things we asked y`all to do were shut
down Obama`s executive amnesty and shut down Obamacare. And you didn`t --
you let us down on both issues.
Why is the Congress rolling over and letting this communist dictator
destroy my country? Y`all know what he is, and I know what he is. I want
him out of the White House. He`s not a citizen. He could have been
removed a long time ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Virginia went on to tell Santorum that the president is trying
to destroy the United States, literally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIRGINIA: I don`t think the country will be around for the next
election. Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago,
and the three admirals and generals, he has totally destroyed our military.
He`s fired all the generals, and all the admirals that said they wouldn`t
fire on the American people, if you asked him to do so, if he wanted to
take the guns away from him. This man is a communist dictator. We need
him out of that White House now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Rick Santorum was absolutely offended by this question. But
not for the reason you might think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: First off, I take somewhat
offense to referring to you, because I`m not a sitting member of the
Senate, so I`m not taking blame for any of that stuff, all right? I mean,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: How dare you call me a member of Congress?
Santorum then we went on to call the president a tyrant.
Joining me now, MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid.
This is a reminder of what the next year or so is going to be. And
it`s what I was saying with Matt, which is, the base get to say in the
primary -- I would think it is a good thing. I think this is the dynamic
process by which our political parties sort out where they are on things.
But that woman, and -- you know, God bless her, she`s got strong
views, and she is participating in the civic process. And I don`t want to
begrudge her that. But she`s representative of how a lot of people feel.
And candidates in the primary are going to have to think about how
Virginias in the world are going to vote, particularly in the Iowa caucus.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. It`s hard
to pity a wealthy powerful man like Jeb Bush. But when you hear things
like that, you begin to understand the dilemma of somebody like a
establishment Bush or a Scott Walker, who by the way became the Milwaukee
County executive, by kind of seeming like an old-fashioned Republican, not
a radical Republican that was going to undo the entire union movement in
They have to still cater to a base that -- you talked about the base
deciding. In Iowa, the farthest right part of the base decides. And since
there isn`t this imperative to go ahead and try to win it, you have to
cater to that base, at least somewhat. And to the extent that these
candidates are willing to have ideological elasticity -- and bend some of
their views to cater to the people of Virginia, then they have to own that
in the general if they make it that far.
HAYES: Well, and that`s actually the thing. And you can see Rick
Santorum doing this thing. I mean, you were talking about pity for -- I
actually felt pity for Rick Santorum. He was very patient.
You know, they are going to have to walk through this minefield, which
is not say things, there`s cameras everywhere. They`re going to do a
million of these events. They`re going to be doing them all day.
They`re going to do town halls. They`re going to get Q&As, and
they`ve got to walk through, and just enough to get the crowd on your side.
But not say a thing like -- well, yes, of course he tried to nuke
REID: No, exactly. And, yes, Obama is trying to destroy the country.
I mean, this was John McCain`s central dilemma, his whole brand was
about straight talk, right? That`s why the media fell in love with him.
He was on the straight talk express.
He was much less popular than Sarah Palin in 2008, much less,
significantly less. The crowds were smaller, because she was willing to
say the things and throw the bombs that he at first was sort of grudgefully
trying to avoid. But once he went all in, once he did that, that helped
There is this dynamic where Republicans, their base has gone so far to
the right, at least the most vocal part of it, that it would take a strong
self-possessed person with an already established sterling reputation to
stand up and say, you know what, that`s wrong. And that kind of a person
could probably win a general election.
HAYES: And the question I think is whether we`re going to see someone
like Jeb Bush take that route, right?
REID: I wouldn`t count on it.
HAYES: I don`t count on it either, because -- again, let`s talk about
Iowa, the numbers, right? One of our producers is noting today I think
that you can fit the amount of people that participate in the Iowa caucus
inside the Indianapolis Daytona 500 stadium, right? So, you`re talking
about not just -- you`re talking about one state, you`re talking about the
Republicans in a state, and you`re talking about not even a majority of the
registered Republicans in the state of Iowa participate in the caucuses.
So, you`re in the territory of the kind of people that are motivated
enough, they will come to these sort of things.
REID: And you also have to remember, too, that the base of the
Republican Party has been spurned for a long time, not by the general
population, but by the Republican Party. The Republican Party has said,
you want this person that`s far to the right, we`re giving you McCain. You
want this person that`s far to the right, you`re getting Mitt Romney.
They understand that the establishment of their own party not only
does that, but then goes to Washington like Mitch McConnell did and said,
I`m cutting deals. You don`t like me, you can`t beat me because I`m going
to take the Tea Party apart. And he said he was going to do it and he did
HAYES: Let me tell you something about the donor class and the donor
class in both parties. They have contempt for the base, the donor class.
And there are people who are sitting around the donor class writing the
$500 million checks, in the super PAC, that video is their nightmare, and
they want someone who has contempt of those people.
And that`s the bizarre perverse truth at the heart of American
politics in the Citizens United era. We`ll see how it plays out.
REID: We shall see.
HAYES: Joy Reid, always a pleasure. Thank you.
REID: Thank you. Same here.
HAYES: If you had any friendly wagers that Benjamin Netanyahu wasn`t
going to win another term as prime minister, you lost. Is the U.S.-Israeli
relationship broken now?
David Axelrod will be here to talk about that with me, ahead.
HAYES: Here`s what Robert Durst, heir to a great real estate fortune
and now accused of murder, here`s what he had in his hotel room at the time
of his arrest on Saturday for the 2000 murder of Susan Berman. Ready?
$42,631 in cash, mostly in $100 bills, packed in small envelopes. A
piece of paper continuing a series of UPS tracking numbers. Durst told
detectives it was the numbers of a shipment of large amounts of cash. Five
ounces of marijuana. And in his position who can blame him. A .38
revolver that one spent shell casing and live round. A fake Texas
identification under the named Everett Ward, and a rubber latex mask, which
as described in a search warrant would cover an individual`s head and neck.
Durst`s arrest came the day before the final episode of "The Jinx",
HBO series about his life, during which Durst seemed to make a startling
admission during a visit to the bathroom while he was still miked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT DURST: There it is. You`re caught. You`re right, of course.
But you can`t imagine. I`m having difficulty with the question. What the
hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News authorities
decided to arrest Durst on Saturday because they were concerned he could be
a flight risk.
Back in a moment.
HAYES: In the end, it wasn`t even close. Benjamin Netanyahu`s Likud
Party defeated its center left challenger by six seats in yesterday`s
parliamentary election, a decisive victory by any standard, but especially
in Israel`s complicated multiparty system.
Less than a week ago, it looked like Netanyahu`s days in power might
be numbered. Polls showed Likud trailing four seats behind Isaac Herzog of
And it would seem like a desperate play to make up ground. The prime
minister tacked hard to the right to try and peel off support from Israel`s
far right nationalist party. He vowed to continue banning -- expanding
settlements in the occupied territories. He renounced his support for
Palestinian statehood, a central tenet in the peace process for decades,
and on election day, he resorted to what`s been criticized as overtly
racist fear mongering, calling on supporters to counter the wave of Israeli
Arab voters heading to the polls.
Well, it appears to have all worked. Two of Israel`s far right
parties fared worse on election day than they had in recent polls,
suggesting their supporters ultimately made the difference for Netanyahu`s
With a mandate like that, it looks increasingly likely he`ll form a
right wing government, without the participation and influence of some of
the more moderate parties. So now that Netanyahu has put his thumb in the
eye of the American president with his speech to Congress, and disavowed
the two-state solution, the pillar of American foreign policy, at least in
rhetoric in the Middle East, as he prepares to serve a third consecutive
term as prime minister, the question is -- has something fundamentally
broken in the U.S.-Israeli relationship?
The White House today criticized the tactic used in the home stretch
of the campaign saying, quote, "Rhetoric that seems to marginalizes one
segment of the population is deeply concerning and it is divisive," and
acknowledged the administration will have to re-evaluate its approach in
light of Netanyahu`s reversal on the peace process.
Former Obama adviser David Axelrod was even more forthright about the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AXELROD: It`s harder to defend when your policies were not for a two-
state solution. We`re going to continue to settle the territories. It
puts -- it puts the United States in a very difficult position. He
mortgaged the future in order to win an election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`re joined now by David Axelrod, former senior adviser of
President Obama, now an MSNBC senior political analyst and author of best-
selling memoir, "Believer".
David, you`re a crafty smart guy about politics. So, let`s just talk
about the politics here. Netanyahu`s a very gifted politician, and he knew
where the votes were, and it looked like he went and found them.
AXELROD: Oh, yes. I mean, nobody should ever doubt that. Bibi
Netanyahu is a masterful politician. He understands his country and
politics of his country. And, you know, I think the trip to Congress was
his first run at trying to galvanize the right. That didn`t work.
And so, in the last 48 hours, or really the last four days, he went to
defcon 5, or whatever it is, and he hit every hot button there was. And he
did it, you know, skillfully, if not shamefully, or shamefully, and
skillfully -- in terms of separating himself from the peace process,
dividing his own country, Arab and Jew. And, you know, it was really
remarkable, remarkable performance.
As a matter of pure clinical politics, it was very, very well done.
The problem is, now he`s going back and he`s going to be the prime
minister. And one of the ramifications of all the things he did in order
to win that election, that`s concerning.
HAYES: Well, that`s the question. Let me play devil`s advocate. I
mean, if I`m Netanyahu, I say, look, U.S.-Israeli, you know, relationship
is built on a lot more than whether we say we want the peace process, which
everyone doubted I was lying anyway, it`s much more robust than any
president and prime minister.
What are you guys really going to do? Are you going to walk away?
Are you going to start changing your votes at the U.N. Security Council?
Are you going to start condemning the settlements? Are you going to start
backing Palestinian moves in the International Criminal Court?
Like what actually are you going to do? I mean, that is what
Netanyahu has to be thinking when he wakes up as prime minister again.
AXELROD: No, there is no doubt about it. He`s gambling. We do have
a strong special relationship with Israel, and that transcends the
relationship between this government and the current government of
Netanyahu. And you can see it in the military assistance that`s provided
and all the other things that America has done for and with Israel over the
last six years.
But what he`s done is made it much more difficult -- America has stood
almost alone for Israel in a lot of these international forums over the
last several years, when the Palestinians have put pressure with lots of
allies on the Israelis. And part of the reason we were able to do that is
because Israel spoke to the notion of a two-state solution. There was an
Now, that that`s not the case, now that he`s declared that he`s going
to continue to settle the territories, that there won`t be a two-state
solution, it becomes much harder to defend Israel in these international
I think he`s done his country a great disservice, and he`s put
additional pressure on our relationship in that regard. I think in other
ways, Chris, you`re right. The relationship will continue to be strong.
And it should continue to be strong.
One thing we should say, whether we like the tactics of Netanyahu or
not, they just had a really robust election in Israel. That spoke to the
vibrancy of democracy in that country, and underscored the fact that
they`re the one reliable democracy in the region.
HAYES: Well, I mean, part of the robustness of the turnout had to do
with the fact that Avigdor Lieberman pushed for a provision in the Knesset
that was aimed at cutting out the Arab parties which then joined in to the
Joint List and actually came out to vote in record numbers. So, there`s a
little bit of a backlash effect there.
But in terms of Netanyahu, do you anticipate him essentially trying to
walk back that comment about blocking a Palestinian state and say, look, I
was on the campaign trail, it was an interview, they asked me, I said, of
course, the official position of this government is we were committed to a
peace process? Two states for two people living side by side, will he be
able to do that?
AXELROD: One thing about Bibi Netanyahu is every day is a new day.
He does what he needs to do when he needs to do it. And he felt he did
what he needed to do, if it`s in his interests. If he sees it in his
political interest to change, or walk-back that position in subtle ways, or
not so subtle ways, I wouldn`t -- I wouldn`t be shocked if he did.
After all, for six years he`s been telling the world that he was for a
two-state solution. And he reverses that position on the eve of an
election? I mean, what does that tell you about his situational ethics?
He`s going to make the decisions that he thinks are good for him. The
question is whether he thinks it`s in his interests to make that move. Now
that he has a right-wing government.
You know, in the last government he had moderating influences in the
cabinet. Now, they`re all going to be in the opposition. And it makes --
it calls into question whether he`ll feel pressure in order to hold his
coalition together, whether he`ll feel pressure to move, and he may not.
HAYES: David Axelrod, always a pleasure, David. Thank you.
AXELROD: OK, great to be with you.
HAYES: If you`re watching the show yesterday, you witnessed a pretty
awkward moment between two of our guests getting that`s been a lot of
attention. My thoughts on what happened, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I regard my Starbucks as my third place. And I --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, to quote Melady Hopsin, your terrific board
member, this is a third rail issue.
Why would I want, as a customer or as a shareholder, a third rail
running through my third place?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Riding on the cusp is a small piece of this
overall strategy. Whether a person wants to admit it or not, we all have
some level of unconscious bias.
And if we could approach that with a higher degree of empathy and
compassion and understanding, it will go a long way to bridge the divide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Last night on this show we had a conversation about having
conversations in the wake of Starbucks` new initiative, encouraging
baristas to talk openly to customers about race as part of a campaign
called "race together".
The conversation we had, Nancy Giles and James Smooth, was pretty
fascinating I thought. But, at one point it got kind of awkward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SMOOTH, PRODUCER: When somebody picks my pocket, I`m not going to
be chasing them down so I can figure out whether he feels like he`s a thief
deep down in his heart. I`m going to be chasing him down so I can get my
I don`t care what he is, but I need to hold him accountable for what
And that`s how we need to approach these conversations about race. Treat
them like they took your wallet and focus on the part that matters. Holding
each person accountable for the impact of their words and actions.
HAYES: And this gets to something that -- the point you`re making
there, which is that when we talk about conversations about race, rather
than saying, you are a racist, or -- just focus on the individual things
that happen, right?
NANCY GILES: I can`t not tease Jay about the kind of like, brother
way he was trying talking.
You know, like, hey, with the rap music in the background.
SMOOTH: I`m a rap guy.
GILES: Yeah, I know. But it`s kind of, it`s another interesting,
funny thing about race.
Like, there would be some people that feel that you co-opted something
like that, and other people might feel like well, that`s his background and
that`s really cool, too.
Yo, like, you know, if somebody takes my wallet. I mean it`s really
interesting since you weren`t talking that way to me --
SMOOTH: It`s also interesting because I am actually black, but you
assumed otherwise. And this is the sort of awkwardness we can look forward
Giles: See? Absolutely.
HAYES: Now a lot of people have been sharing that part of the
conversation today. Sites like Father Jones, Gawker, New York Magazine, Jay
Smooth was even trending on Facebook at one point, which is great because
Jay Smooth should always be trending, on all social media platforms.
There are a couple of things I want to say about that interaction.
First, sometimes live TV is hard, things can go in unexpected
directions, and I think that both Jay and Nancy handled themselves
incredibly graciously. We were all sort of joking and talking about it
after we got off the set.
The second thing I want to say about that interaction is that we came
pretty close to something profound about what race is, and what it isn`t.
Race is not a real thing. It`s not. It is a social construct. It`s not
a blood type, it`s not a fingerprint, it`s not some biological thing that
you can extract from someone. It`s not something that`s out there in the
But at the same time, racism, racial hierarchy, racial prejudice,
racial inequality, those are all very real. Very, very real.
And that`s the fundamental paradox of this whole thing.
You can see someone across the room and think completely the wrong
thing about, quote, what race they are. But the perception about, quote,
what race they are has massive consequences for everything from housing, to
Which brings us back to part of the problem with our conversations
about race, whether they`re on cable news or over macchiatos.
We don`t need to talk about race, which is not real. We need to talk
about racism, which very, very much is.
HAYES: Yesterday California state regulators unanimously approved new
water use restrictions aimed at residents.
The crackdown on consumption comes four years into the state`s
historic drought, and after a slew of genuinely terrifying headlines, one
noting that "California has about one year of water left". Another that,
"water-strapped California is all out of snow".
Today, NOAA announced the planet just has officially had its warmest
winter since they started recording temperatures.
This winter was California`s warmest, too, by a long shot. And the
snow pack that usually provides the state with 30% of its water, is at its
second lowest level in recorded history.
You can see in a year-by-year comparison how the drought has enveloped
March of 2011, just two parts of the state were abnormally dry. Two
years later, much of the state was experiencing severe drought. And now,
huge swath of the nation`s largest state, that grows most of our food, are
in exceptional drought.
The most extreme category according to the national drought mitigation
Needless to say, it`s a dire situation.
The state`s most recent answer, trying to put some limits on water
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lawn sprinklers will to come on only a limited
number of days each week. Local water agencies will either have to limit
outdoor watering to two days a week or establish their own local limit.
That could be, technically, as many days as they want.
Other new rules will ban all outdoor watering for 48 hours after
Restaurants will only offer drinking water upon request. And hotels
will only change sheets and towels upon request.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I should note, they grow a lot of our food, not most of it.
Right now, the state of California is where New York was after
Sandy, or Texas after the 2011 wildfires.
They`re not just talking about the effects of changing climate
patterns, they are living them.
I spoke with California`s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, and asked
him if these new regulations go far enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GAVIN NEWSOM, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Yeah, it`s small ball,
Look, two things happened yesterday. We extended the existing
emergency provisions for another 270 days, and we added a few additional
things to the extent -- those critics, I think, are right and accurate. By
denying people the ability to have water when they sit down at a
restaurant, automatically they have to ask,
and requiring now hoteliers to encourage guests that are staying multiple
nights to ask for whether or not they want their towels washed and their
So, it`s relatively small ball.
The bottom line is we can sit here and pray for more rain, that`s an
immediate solution, but we`re not able to legislate it. That`s not
necessarily going to work.
We can talk about conservation, which we must, and efficiency, which
But, I think we`re going to have to move towards mandatory rationing.
We have a voluntary rationing that`s been out for a year. It`s just
simply inadequate to the moment, just 10% or so reduction from the 20% the
HAYES: Okay, you just said a phrase that I have never heard a
politician with any ambitions ever say, which is the phrase mandatory
rationing. Which is essentially anathema in American political vocabulary.
You`re someone who`s going to run for governor? You want to govern
this state. You want to have a future statewide and you`re going to run
around telling people that you`ve got to do mandatory rationing?
NEWSOM: Well, you know my frustration is this is serious. This is
This is the fourth year of dry. We went through three years of the hottest
in recorded history.
Last year, literally the hottest ever in recorded history in
I`m sitting here, behind me you see the skyline of San Francisco,
wasn`t a drop of rain in the entire month of January. It`s close to 100
degrees down in the
southern part of the state this last weekend.
This is serious.
And, we can play small ball, we can deny restaurateurs again from
glass of water, we can call for voluntary rationing, because that polls
better, or we can lead.
And, I guess at the end of the day we have to ask ourselves are we
just stewards or are we going to step up and step in and actually share our
private thoughts, trust me, private thoughts are ample around a requirement
for some mandatory reductions, or we can continue to play the finger in the
wind politics, that frankly has put us in this crisis in the first place.
It`s both mother nature and a man-made crisis, because we haven`t
seriously enough over the last few decades.
HAYES: So you`ve got two things here, right, as you just noted.
There`s the fact that water rights have always been complicated. Water
is a scarce resource, particularly in Southern California. You know, L.A.
shouldn`t exist but for the fact that, as we know from Chinatown, and lots
of other stuff, right, you have water there that is very hard to get, and
has to be rationed.
And now we`re on the front edge of a climate crisis.
I mean, as you think about running to be Governor of a state, this is
not a temporary situation, right?
You`ve got to think, this is the next, into the foreseeable future and
it`s only going to get worse.
NEWSOM: Yeah, it`s the new normal. And, you know, compound that with
the growing population, and inadequate infrastructure that was built for a
world that no longer exists a half century ago.
Now, a couple of good things have happened.
We passed a $7.5 billion dollar bond that includes some wildlife
restoration, or rather, some restoration efforts related to some
environmental protections that relate to storage and conveyance. Those are
important things. But those are medium and long-term solutions.
We finally passed some groundwater legislation to finally do what
almost every other western state has been doing for years and years, and
that`s have some regulations, some oversight of groundwater.
But the reality is, in the immediate, we`ve got immediate
challenge. And we can`t play in the margins. We`ve got to be honest with
people about this.
And, you know again, the public`s doing a good job. We did see a
reduction of about 9.7% in our water consumption.
But I`ll tell you, if I were Mayor of San Francisco, still, I would
have already, having run a water system as Mayor, require that mandatory,
and I think it`s inevitable that it`s going to be required. And, I think
the state did the
unprecedented yesterday by dictating two local authorities what they should
be doing as a floor, not a ceiling.
And I`m hopeful now that the local agencies will take it to the next
level with that mandatory consideration.
HAYES: Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.
We`re going to try to come out to California. Do a week of shows out
there later this year. Hopefully, we can talk about this more.
NEWSOM: This is the issue of our time out here in the West, so we`d
Love to see you out here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Around the country, if you get caught drunk behind the wheel,
you`re likely to be sentenced to a 12-step recovery program based on
Alcoholics Anonymous, the famous 12-step program.
But, should that be the case? What exactly does Science say about how
effective AA actually is?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: The way things happen on social media is so
abusive. And everyone needs to take personal responsibility for what they
And, by the way, I`m pressing charges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Actress Ashley Judd made news this week when she told our very
own Thomas Roberts she plans to press charges against the people
responsible for sending her threatening messages via Twitter over the
The University of Kentucky superfan was was live tweeting Sunday`s
game against Arkansas, tweeting at one point she thought Arkansas was,
And, for that, just like practically every other woman who`s ever
expressed any opinion of any kind on the internet, Ashley Judd was treated
to a barrage of abusive messages, crude and vulgar language, and threats of
Judd`s refusal to accept that this is the state of social media for
women comes just as Twitter is rolling out a new tool, designed to make it
easier for users to report threats to law enforcement.
Twitter announced the changes yesterday. From now on, after you report
threatening comment to Twitter, they`ll say we`ll offer to e-mail you a
report that includes much of the documentation you`d need to provide to law
enforcement if you want to press charges.
The universe of hateful threatening anonymous trolls is vast. This
feels like maybe, it`s a step in the right direction.
HAYES: I`ve always thought Alcoholics Anonymous is genuinely one of
remarkable institutions human beings have ever bit.
I mean, it operates in a totally distributive, Democratic fashion.
You can find a meeting anywhere at anytime.
AA will even have a meeting on your cruise ship, floating in the
middle of the Caribbean.
And, all of this was built not by government, or by business, but
rather in an incredibly associative way.
Two people started talking to each other and supporting each other on
how to stop drinking. AA meetings grew out of that simple concept.
Millions of people swear by it, say it changed and saved their lives,
including many in our legal system, with courts often mandating AA for
people with alcohol or drug problems.
And more of that, it`s also just a completely central part of our
culture. When someone talks about someone going into recovery, we know what
According to a new article in The Atlantic, "today there are more than
13,000 rehab facilities in the United States, and 70 to 80% of them hew to
the 12 steps".
But, here`s a question, does AA work? Or, more precisely, is there
medical evidence that it works better than other possible treatments?
That same Atlantic article raises new questions about whether AA
actually stands up to medical scrutiny.
I`ll be joined by the author of that piece as well as the
psychotherapist who believes that AA does work, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t drink anything until the First World War.
And then, somebody handed me a Bronx cocktail. And I drank it, and the
whole place of the universe instantly changed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This stuff is the elixir of the gods, for heaven`s
It does perfectly marvelous things for you.
HAYES: That was a scene from the documentary Bill W, about the co-
founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson.
Joining me now, psychotherapist and author, Doctor Robi Ludwig and
Gabrielle Glaser, who wrote that provocative piece on AA for The Atlantic.
Great to have you both here.
DOCTOR ROBI LUDWIG, PSCHOTHERAPIST AND AUTHER: Thank you.
GABRIELLE GLASER, THE ATLANTIC: Thank you.
HAYES: So, I thought the piece was fascinating. There`s some parallel
reporting that`s gone on about heroin addiction. Jason Cherkis writes in
Huff Po, which has been fantastic.
What`s the general thrust here? What`s the case?
GLASER: The general thrust is that we don`t know -- we don`t have
numbers for how AA works.
We have anecdotal evidence for it, which is the narrative that it
worked for your uncle, it worked for your grandfather, therefore, it works.
But we don`t actually have a success rate.
We don`t have AA`s anonymous. It doesn`t -- it`s not studied by
academic institutions, because it is anonymous. And, we don`t have randomly
controlled double blind science behind it.
HAYES: So, we just don`t know as a matter of sort of, empirical
testing, what its success rate, and how that success rate might stack up
against alternative forms of treatment.
GLASER: The best guess is that it`s in the single digits, under 10%.
HAYES: Right, but my understanding is that also, that, the best guess
for other alternatives is also rather low, right? That like, the baseline
that we`re dealing with when we`re talking about people in the groups of
addiction, whether that`s alcohol specifically or narcotics and other
drugs, is that, we`re dealing with relatively low success rates.
And then there`s a question of, how do you even define success?
And, AA defines success with abstinence. And, that`s the metric,
yardstick. And, a lot of people have a really, really hard time to keep to
HAYES: So, what`s your feeling about this?
LUDWIG: I mean, I think it is a very dangerous to put out the idea
that AA doesn`t work.
Does it work for everybody? No. There`s not going to be one form of
treatment that works for everybody.
And also, there are many people in AA, and I treat many of them, who
not only go to AA in order to achieve recovery, but they`re compensating
for, let`s say a
mood disorder that needs to be treated.
So, in addition to attending AA, they see a psychiatrist, they`re in
So, you know, for some people, maybe AA alone would not be enough, but
there are many people in AA, and many therapists who say, let`s work all
HAYES: Right. Okay, please?
GLASER: That`s because you`re in New York.
There are a lot of people, where in New York where psychotherapy is
accepted, and traditionally within AA, you don`t go to an outside source.
You see your sponsor, your sponsor tells you how to do the steps.
Medicine is, in many cases, hundreds of people have written to me to say
that they were
ordered off their meds by their sponsor for their mood disorder.
LUDWIG: Well that`s -- that would be concerning.
That has not happened with any of the cases, with any of the patients
that I treat.
But I have to say, there is a power in being amongst a group that is
supporting you, that is also modeling appropriate behavior.
And yes, it is concerning if a sponsor would advise that.
I`ve not heard that.
HAYES: So let me stipulate a few things here, because I`m sure there
are people watching this tearing their hair out. Particularly, people who
have been in recovery and feel like it`s the most transcendent and
incredible thing that has ever happened to them.
Which is that, like stipulated that literally millions of people
program with saving their lives, turning their life around, right? So, I
just want to stipulate that, right?
The second thing I think people get worried about questioning it,
because they feel like it will essentially give excuses to people to do
things they shouldn`t do that would be self-destructive.
The third thing I want to say is, as a policy matter, we have a
question about, like, is this the best thing for people to do?
Particularly, as you note, now that Medicaid will be paying for recovery,
And there`s a real question, I think, about this question of whether
AA has crowded out other treatments.
Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I found whether AA works
some people or doesn`t, there`s a degree to which when we think of
recovery, we think of the 12-step and abstinence, and maybe that works for
some people, maybe it doesn`t work for other people and it`s hard to get
the oxygen and money into the other stuff.
And we know that in a long list of treatments, AA, an assessment of
treatments, AA comes out on the bottom, if you`re just doing AA by
Cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, which is
helping people resolve the ambivalence they have about using their drugs or
drinking, and there are also lots of peer supported groups, smart recovery,
women for sobriety that are also --
LUDWIG: But, I don`t know why someone would need to attack AA in
order to advise that there are other treatments available.
I think anybody who is dealing with an addiction, we have to know and
get the message out there, no one treatment is right for everybody. If AA
doesn`t work for you, it doesn`t mean AA is a failure.
HAYES: Right. But, here`s the reason I think, whether it`s attacking
or not, is that there is a nexus between 12-step recovery and policy in
numerous places, right?
Courts say, you are sentenced to go to AA 12-step recovery, or, we pay
sometimes, whether it`s health insurance, or it`s through Medicaid, right,
a recovery program, a treatment program is 28 days of this specific type of
LUDWIG: And sometimes those treatment centers have AA within those
treatment centers, within those inpatient units.
HAYES: Often they do, right?
GLASER: By the way, that`s illegal.
To be sentenced to AA is against the law. It`s a violation of the
first amendment, and in the ninth circuit Court
of Appeals two giant cases --
LUDWIG: But, I`m sure you know, too, though, that psychiatrists who
with a book against AA --
GLASER: Lance --
HAYES: Who`s quoted in the piece, retired from Harvard, right?
LUDWIG: Okay, so he also said that alcoholism is not a disease, and
if you do nothing it will just get maybe better on its own comparatively.
GLASER: That`s what the empirical data say.
LUDWIG: There`s also been research that has been highly supportive of
how well AA works for people in terms of, you know, resolving their issues,
abstinent for up to two years.
That there`s a 20% difference if you look at controlled random
So it really depends on the quality of the study, how you`re
interpreting the study, and your own bias.
I would love to know this man`s bias, and where he`s coming from.
HAYES: Let me just say this about the state of research because I do
think there`s actually more -- there is a little more empirically, from
what I`ve been able to determine from the literature, to support AA`s
efficacy than is necessarily included in your article.
GLASER: What`s supported is the social connection that it engenders.
LUDWIG: And that`s huge.
GLASER: But the 12-step facilitation is not AA, that`s what the New
York article says. That the 12-step facilitation is not AA.
HAYES: No, no, just the point that the efficacy is actually coming
out of the social connection that is produced by AA and it reinforces, as
opposed to the specific steps.
But, I think I urge people to read this article. I also urge people to
read Jason Cherkis`s amazing piece about heroin addiction, because we are
in a situation
in which people are struggling so hard to deal with this, and there is a
lot of -- a lot unknowns that we are legislating off of in our policy
Doctor Robi Ludwig and Gabrielle Glaser, thank you both.
That is All In for this evening, the Rachel Maddow Show starts right
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