THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
March 15, 2013
Guests: Alexis Goldstein, Jameel Jaffer, Ben Jealous
CHRIS HAYES, GUEST HOST: Good evening and thanks for staying with us
for the next hour.
Rachel Maddow is clearly not here. She has a long scheduled day off,
in which she is working, I`m sure. I am long scheduled guest host, Chris
Hayes, and I`m especially glad to be here because it was an astonishingly
crowded news day.
Big developments in the Obama administration climate policy, the
politics of same-sex marriage in the history of capital punishment and the
future, yes, the future of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. So, we
have a busy hour ahead.
We begin tonight with day two of the Conservative Political Action
Conference 2013. As you probably heard today, conservatives gathered just
outside of D.C. for the second day of their annual meeting of the minds
conference known as CPAC.
In recent years, CPAC has become, for whatever reason, a really big
thing. It`s a big thing for the conservative movement. It`s a big thing
for the media who cover the conservative movement. This year, CPAC
organizers issues more than 2,000 -- 2,000 -- press credentials for three-
And even this year, with the pretty demoralized and fractured
conservative base it has still been a big event. It exerts this massive
gravitational pull on center-right politics that few other events like it
do. Who is invited, who`s not invited is a story. What the big-name
speakers say, when they get there is a story.
And today, for a study and stylistic contrast, though not substantive
ones, today was the day that titans of the right took the stage to opine on
the future of the movement, 2012 Republican presidential Mitt Romney and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: The fact is, we`re run by either very
foolish or very stupid people. What`s going on in this country is
unbelievable. Our can country is a total mess -- a total and complete
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s fashionable in
some circles to be pessimistic about America, about conservative solutions,
about the Republican Party. I utterly reject pessimism.
We may not have carried on November on 7th, but we haven`t lost the
country we love and we have not lost our way.
I`m sorry that I won`t be your president but I will be your coworker
and I will work shoulder to shoulder alongside you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Coworker. Mitt Romney as coworkers, that`s adorable.
For conservatives, the appeal of CPAC is essentially the appeal of a
big tent revival, or a big industry convention or the appeal of, say, South
by Southwest for hipsters. See, it`s a bunch of other people who are into
the same stuff you`re into. They`re all going to be there. And if you`re
young and in college or just after college, there will be some parties and
alcohol and maybe a little extra curricular activity on the side after
And liberals, liberals get a thrill out of CPAC as well because it`s
the political adversary on display. It allows liberals and progressives to
get their hate on as they watch a bunch of people whose politics they can`t
stand say things that liberals hate hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I want you to take a
look at that stack of paper behind me. It is the most powerful argument
yet against Obamacare.
This law is a disaster. Anybody who thinks we moved beyond it is dead
wrong. Obamacare should be repealed, root and branch.
And I want you know, we`re not backing down from this fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For liberals, CPAC represents a rare moment when the armies of
reaction are all bunkered in one place. Things that stand in the way of
the world being the way we want them to be are all there. The obstacles to
progress, all in one defined geographic area, one convention center.
But the thing is, the obstacles for progress really have two different
components. There are the ideologues of people showing up at CPAC and
organizing CPAC and then there are the interests, who actually unlike,
Donald Trump, for example, don`t want you to know who they are, who aren`t
looking to find free booze while stocking around Adams Morgan at 11:00 p.m.
on a Friday night.
They just want to keep running things the way they`ve been running
them. And while CPAC was going on today just a few miles away, we saw a
window into what it looks like when those interests, the ones outside of
the spotlight, the ones not in front of the cameras, when they get to do
what they want to do.
This is Ina Drew, the former chief investment officers for J.P. Morgan
Chase, testifying before the United States Senate today. Again, she is not
a famous person. You have probably never heard her name before. But she
helped to oversee one of the most colossal hits of the financial system we
have seen since the Great Recession.
She oversaw what has become known -- what has become known as whale
trades, a series of disastrous JPMorgan trades that were uncovered last
year, which nearly brought the global financial system to its knees again.
The whale in this case was a London trader for JPMorgan who made a series
of risky derivative bets that ultimately blew up. The bets cost JPMorgan
more than, get this, $6 billion in losses.
And that sort of shook financial markets around the world when it was
discovered. JPMorgan executives who are in charge at the time that those
bets were made were hauled before Senate panel today, one day after nine-
month Senate investigation concluded, the bank ignored risks, deceived
investors, and fought with regulators who are trying to contain the crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: The derivative trading that produced
the whale trades damaged a single bank. But the whale trades exposed
problems that reach far beyond one London trading desk or one Wall Street
office tower. The American people have already suffered one devastating
economic assault rooted largely in Wall Street excess. They cannot afford
When Wall Street plays with fire, American families get burned. The
task of federal regulators and of this Congress is to take away the
matches. The whale trades demonstrated that this task is far from
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan who has been
incredible in investigating this kind of malfeasance. He said in his
opening remarks today that one of the lessons of these whale trades is
that, quote, "more control is needed". More control is needed.
The forces of reaction in this country are extremely well-practiced in
the diversionary tactics of a sidewalk pickpocket. The big flourish hand
gesture is Donald Trump and Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. That`s the flourish
that draws your attention.
And the other hand, the one that is snatching your wallet, is the army
of faceless nameless lobbyist who work for companies like JPMorgan Chase
who as we speak right now, at this moment, are fighting tooth and nail
against every single rule in the Wall Street reform bill that was passed by
Congress and signed into law by President Obama two and half years ago.
They`re doing that far away from headlines and far away from any sort of
public scrutiny -- note (ph), 2,000 press passes issued --in order to
preserve their ability to make massive reckless bets that make them lots of
money if they workout and for which they are implicitly insured by the
government if they don`t.
Those two interests, the flourished hand and the hand that`s in your
purposes, those two interests can be extremely powerful when they are
working together. Mitch McConnell, who spoke at CPAC today, has also been
busy doing the bidding in the financial industry by trying to prevent us as
country from having a confirmed head of the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau on the agency that is supposed to protect consumers from the often
dangerous practices of Wall Street.
Mitch McConnell and 42 other Republican senators sent this letter to
President Obama aimed at blocking the president`s nominee to head that
agency, Richard Cordray, not because Richard Cordray is a bad guy but,
because they don`t like the fact that agency exists. They object to its
Former Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty, veteran of numerous CPACs
past, now finds himself with Republican politicians as the head of the
Financial Services Roundtable, one of the groups that is now attempting to
weaken the Dodd-Frank/Wall Street reform law at every turn. Former
Republican senator Jon Kyl, a long time members of the Senate Finance
Committee, has now ended a cozy gig as a high paid D.C. lobbyists where
he`ll likely represent some of the same financial interest in which he was
recently in charge of regulating.
If you don`t keep your eyes on what those folks are up to, you`ll find
yourself wallet-less in no time.
Joining us now is Alexis Goldstein, formerly a vice president at
Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch, now an Occupy Wall Street activist,
contributor to "The Nation".
Alexis, it is wonderful to see you. How are you?
ALEXIS GOLDSTEIN, OCCUPY WALL STREET ACTIVIST: I`m great. It`s great
to be here, Chris.
HAYES: All right. You were down there today and you were tweeting
the heck out of this hearing, the "fail whale" as you have dubbed it.
HAYES: First, walk us through the issue here in layman`s terms as
much as possible. We had this trader and he was making these super large
bets and somehow no one was putting a check on him.
GOLDSTEIN: So there`s a lot of deception going on about this, has
been going on for a long time. So, internally, what was reveal bed this
report that the Permanent Sub-committee on Investigations put out, it`s a
300-page report. And what was revealed from the hearing today, is that
they did know something was going on. As early as January, there are
things called risk limit. And that`s basically like a line in the sand
where if you blow through it, it`s a red flag, something funny is going on.
We need look into it.
As early as January, multiple risk limits were being blown through and
this was known by the bank and this was known at the highest levels. But
the bank did not say anything. Jamie Dimon did not say anything when he
came before the Senate and when they add call with investors in April, they
did not report anything.
HAYES: So their cover gets blown, right? People start talking about
it. I know, I have reported on this, that people in hedge funds are
talking about who is this person with these massive bets that are accruing
in London. They call them the London whale. We know about this, right?
And while we know it out at the press, people at JPMorgan are saying,
we`re not sure about what is going on. It now turns out they knew more
than they were admitting. My question to you is, what is the connection
between that kind of risk-taking and the policy that`s on the table. Are
there things right now in Dodd-Frank or things down the line that would
stop them from taking on those kind of risks?
GOLDSTEIN: They are absolutely is. So I want it zoom out for a
second and make everyone aware of where this is happening and where this
risky trade was happening.
GOLDSTEIN: It was happening in the group called the chief investment
office. This is where your money, your deposit or money, excess deposits,
such a technical term that means depositor money that isn`t loaned out.
It`s supposed to be invested in really safe things like treasuries.
This chief investment office did not invest our money in really safe
things. They invested it in these risky, risky trades.
Now, there is a part of Dodd-Frank called the Volcker Rule that is
basically about this exact thing. It says that banks that enjoy FDIC
insurance and the cushion of customer deposits are not to make risky bets,
and are not to do what is technically called proprietary trade. Now, this
rule has yet to be finalized. We have been waiting for a very long time.
It is supposed to be done at the end of this quarter but it needs to be air
tight, because if this rule is not strong and is not done in a complete
way, we are going to see more things like this. Where banks are taking our
money and slapping us in the face in the wake of the bailouts and basically
gambling with our deposits.
HAYES: So I just want it reiterate. You give -- you deposit your
paycheck, you get direct deposit, it goes into your bank account. There is
some set of funds sitting there that are the deposits of Americans in the
bank, right? And that money is invested by this wing of the bank and it is
supposed to be invested in safe things rather than a reckless bet on some
crazy thing happening in terms of the Greek currency for instance, right?
GOLDSTEIN: Right. It`s excess deposits is technical term. So,
anything that isn`t loaned out to a mortgage or small business is an excess
deposit. It`s meant to be invested in something safe.
HAYES: So right now, we have seen this and you and I have talked
about this on my show. I mean, we`ve seen this remarkable, kind of
tornadic battle happening underneath the kind of structure under Dodd-Frank
in which lobbyists are trying to undermine the rules.
Where -- what direction is the Volcker Rule, which is this crucial,
crucial part of the reform, where -- what is the status of that?
GOLDSTEIN: The status is they are trying to complete the final rule.
There`s are a lot of questions about what will and will not be permitted.
There`s a lot of concerns about whether or not there is a London whale
sized loophole that will go into the final rule.
To get a little technical, there was something called portfolio
hedging that said, instead of hedging -- and, by the way, hedging means if
I -- you know, if I buy one thing, how I do offset in case I lose money.
It makes a lot of sense to hedge individual trades, but there`s an
exemption in the Volcker Rule that lets you hedge at the portfolio level.
And for a long time, JPMorgan was claiming that this was a hedge. And
so, people are concerned there`s a loophole in the Volcker around this.
Now, however, today in the testimony, they made it clear that this was
not a hedge. Multiple people from JPMorgan said that. So they lied to us
last year. Jaime Dimon lied before the Senate. And I for one would love
to see the DOJ come and ask questions about whether they made material
misstatements and violated securities fraud.
HAYES: Alexis Goldstein, former vice president with Deutsche and
Merrill Lynch, now an Occupy Wall Street activist, contributor of "The
Nation" -- thank you very much for your time tonight.
GOLDSTEIN: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: OK. A hugely important thing happened in the state of
Maryland today. I`m really excited to be talking to the guy who made it
happen right here.
Also, the massive secret national security apparatus United States
government built after 9/11 may still be massive. Today, it is a little
let secretive, in an amazing and kind of unexpected way. We`ll tell you,
Stay with us.
HAYES: There`s an update on former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
tonight. Hugo Chavez is still dead. That is not the update.
The update is where and how Hugo Chavez will spend the future, like
forever. That`s coming up.
HAYES: From the first days after 9/11, the executive branch of the
American government has claimed extraordinary powers in responding to the
threat of terrorism and the right to extraordinary secrecy about what it is
Many think of this as a Bush era approach to the Oval Office, with
sweeping prerogative to hold prisoners indefinitely or wiretap phones or
demand information from Internet companies about what their customers were
doing, all without public scrutiny.
Despite the hopes and objections of folks on the left and some on the
right recently, President Obama continued to assert a prerogative of
secrecy on wiretaps and capture of suspected terrorists and targeted
killing in countries we are not technically at war with.
Time and again, the courts have deferred the White House. The courts
have gone along. The administration would tell judges before a court, the
court didn`t even have the power to review a case because of the
president`s broad authorities to keep things secret. And the courts would
say, you`re right.
Today, in two separate rulings, two courts that have nothing to do
with each other struck back at that prerogative. In one ruling, a U.S.
district court in California banned the secret letters used by FBI to
demand detailed customer data from banks and Internet companies, so-called
national security letters.
Before today, the Justice Department argued that even challenging the
government`s authority to make this kind of demand was against the law.
Today, the Clinton-appointed judge in the case ruled the national
security letters violate the right to free speech. She banned them
The second case comes from a three-judge panel in the circuit of the
District of Columbia, which is second only to the United States Supreme
Court in national influence. In that one, the panel of two Clinton
appointees and one Bush appointee ruled unanimously the CIA cannot keep the
drone warfare program so completely secret that a lawsuit asking for more
information about it is dismissed our of hand.
It said, the CIA must give the court at least a description of the
records it keeps on drone strikes.
While we are not likely to see the records now posted on
WhiteHouse.gov, there are new limits on White House privilege and that`s
extremely big news.
Joining us is deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties
Union, Jameel Jaffer. Jameel argued the case about drone warfare in front
of the federal affairs court on behalf of the ACLU.
Jameel, it`s good to have you here tonight.
JAMEEL JAFFER, ACLU: Thank you. Good to be here.
MADDOW: Walk me through this case. It started with a basic FOIA,
right? You go to the government and you say, through the Freedom of
Information Act, we are empowered by the statute to get information about
you and the government are doing.
What happened next?
JAFFER: Right. We asked for information about the CIA`s use of
drones to carry out targeted killings.
And the answer that the CIA gave us was that it couldn`t confirm or
deny any involvement in the targeted killing program without jeopardizing
national security. It`s called the Glomar response. The CIA essentially
said we can`t even process your Freedom of Information Act request.
And that`s the question that we took up initially with the district
court, and then to the court of appeals. The question was: can the CIA
really respond or not respond to freedom of information act request in this
way. And the decision we got today is a decision that the CIA can`t do
that. The CIA has to process Freedom of Information Act requests. It
can`t claim that its interest in the targeted killing program is a secret.
It is a very narrow victory in a way because if in a way all the court
is saying is that you the CIA have to acknowledge what everybody knows to
be true. But on the other hand, it can have significant procedural
implications because it means that CIA now has to explain which records
it`s holding, about the drones.
HAYES: So, it has to respond within the sort of four lines of FOIA --
HAYES: It can`t just say, the process, we are cutting off the process
before we are even responding, right? Within the bounds of the FOIA
process, they have to say, well, look, there are these documents and you
can`t see them because these documents are very secret.
JAFFER: Right. And that`s important. It`s not just that they have
to explain which document they have. They have to say why they are not
HAYES: Give a reason.
JAFFER: Right, right. And that`s obviously an important step.
HAYES: One of the things that is fascinating in reading the circuit
court opinion is that one of the things that undercut the CIA`s argument is
the fact that recently, there has been so much talk in Washington by
members of officialdom, sometimes in hearing rooms, about this program that
the CIA meanwhile simultaneously saying, we cannot admit exists.
JAFFER: Well, that`s the kind of, you know, crazy and comical thing,
is that the CIA would talk to reporters or government officials would talk
to reporters, the president went on Jay Leno and talked about the drone
program. And then the CIA would walk in the court and say, all of this is
a secret. And not only is it a secret, but it would jeopardize national
security for anybody to mention it.
So, there was this, you know, profound inconsistency between what the
agency was doing in the public sphere and what it was doing in court. And
this decision narrows the gap between those two things, at least a little
HAYES: The courts have been really quite differential and reluctant.
And seems like there`s a kind of high water mark that was hit in which the
court was pushing back against a lot of assertions both in the secrecy
front and just sort of executive authority front. And a lot of that had to
do with detainee treatment during the Bush era.
And it seems like the courts have been much more differential the last
three or fours years, broadly speaking. Maybe you don`t think that`s the
case. But it seems to me that that has been the kind of way the winds have
Now, I wonder if you think that the cultural and political shift that
we`ve seen around this issue, particularly on targeted killing affects the
courts. The courts are kind of embedded this that same national
JAFFER: Yes. Well, I mean, I think that`s good question. It is hard
for me to say. You know, I don`t know what goes on behind closed doors. I
see the judges when they are at the bench and then they go home and they
write their opinions. But, you know, this is a decision that is based
largely on things that happened in the public domain. It`s based largely
on what government officials were talking about to the press and in
speeches at universities and in law schools.
So, the judges are aware of all of that and we introduced that kind of
thing into the record, when we litigate these cases.
HAYES: Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, thank you
for coming in tonight.
JAFFER: Thank you.
HAYES: In this one day`s worth of news cycle, free major changes have
occurred in three huge areas of American politics and policy -- same-sex
marriage, capital punishment and climate change all today, all today and
all coming up, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every gay lawyer, teacher, doctor, dog catcher, we
have to leave the ghetto. We have to let all those people out there know
that they know one of us and if somebody doesn`t want to step out of the
closet, we open the door for them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole state is in San Francisco, Harvey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harvey, that could be really, really dangerous. I
mean, there is such a thing as a right to privacy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this moment at this time, I`m not saying this
as a supervisor, privacy is the enemy. And if you want real political
power, if that`s what you want, try telling the truth for a change,
starting here. If there`s anyone in this room right now who hasn`t told
their families, their friends, their employers, do it now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My folks know already.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad doesn`t know yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They vote for us two to one, if they know, they
know one of us.
DAN SAVAGE: When a gay person comes out to their parents and perhaps
the acceptance initially is tentative and conditional and as they become
more comfortable with having gay child, when they see their gay child in
relationships, when they see the gay child have a breakup and see that the
pain and their heartache is the same. And that when they see their gay
child in a long term successful relationship, they see the love and the
commitment is the same as their straight children and that can radically
transform a family and it`s our super power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Rob Portman is a Republican senator from Ohio. He`s been in a
Republican Party politics for many years. First, as member of the House,
or one of his major legislative victories in the 1990s was the Defense of
Marriage Act. He was a cosponsor of that bill defining marriage federally
is between one man and one woman, even though gay marriage wasn`t legal,
Rob Portman made sure only straight people had the right to marry.
That was part of his legacy in Congress. And then in 2000, Portman
served in the George W. Bush administration as United States trade
representative and then as White House budget director. 2010, Rob Portman
ran for Senate in Ohio and he won.
Over the course of his 20 years in public service, Rob Portman has
been a pretty run of the mill Republican. People think of him as a budget
guy, a numbers guy. In fact, the Romney 2012 campaign considered him for
vice president but people argued he was just too boring. That`s right, too
boring to be vice president which is quite something.
Today, that dependable Republican senator, the one who sponsored the
Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s, came out in favor of gay marriage.
In today`s "Columbus Dispatch," the senator writes, quote, "I have come to
believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to
love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government
shouldn`t deny them the opportunity to get married."
In fact, Portman became the only Republican sitting Republican senator
to be pro-gay marriage. What`s more interesting is what he credits for his
"Two years ago," he explains, "my son told my wife and me that he is
gay. At the time, my position on marriage for same sex couples was rooted
ion my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a
woman knowing that my son is guy prompted me to consider the issue from
This little moment, little moment of personal empathy, a son coming
out to a father, has been a huge part of this social revolution we`re all
seeing and it shows why as Dan Savage said earlier, why coming out is a
foundational act upon which gay equality was built.
You cannot create these moments of personal empathy until people know
that their friends and brothers and daughters are gay. And it`s not just
gay rights where we see the sort of thing happening.
Republican Senator Mark Kirk from Illinois suffered a stroke a year
ago. Since then, since experiencing a life-altering and debilitating
medical emergency, he told the "The Chicago Sun-Times" that he has a new
perspective on Medicaid, (INAUDIBLE) amount of rehabilitation that most
Illinois residence are not sufficient he said, he`d like to take a fresh
look at his state`s program.
During last year`s presidential campaign, Republican vice presidential
candidate Paul Ryan claimed he thought Social Security was a very important
program. His policies didn`t support that necessarily. That`s what he
said, because when he explained his father died tragically when he was a
teenager, his mom was able to keep the family afloat thanks to Social
Security survivor benefits.
New Jersey Republican Chris Christie was no federal government tax and
spend liberal, but when hurricane Sandy devastated his and other East Coast
states this fall, Governor Christie became probably the most vocal and
confrontational advocate for federal government spending billions of
dollars immediately to help out his and other states.
Even Florida`s Republican Governor Rick Scott who spent years and
millions of dollars of his own money fighting Obamacare tooth and nail now
says he supports that laws expansion of Medicaid in his state. The
governor said his change of heart came when his own elderly mother died
Empathy, especially in elected officials, is a good thing. But there
is also something frustratingly blinkered and limited about this form of
persuasion. If it`s going to take every anti-gay politician having a gay
son for gay people to be treated like other human beings in this country,
then equal rights are going to take longer to achieve than they should.
That`s why this is still necessary in order for change to happen --
things that turn those moments of personal empathy into civil rights
advancements. That`s the work of activists and social movements and
organizing. They build on top of the moments of personal empathy and build
them into votes and city counsels and state legislatures and Congress.
They build the sentiment of the Rob Portmans of the world into civil rights
laws and protection answers build them into a new society.
They build the bridge between the personal and the political.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having 82 votes in the affirmative, 55 in the
negative. Senate Bill 276 with a constitutional majority is declared
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Big news. An amazing and under-covered story out of Maryland
as the state`s legislature has voted to ban the death penalty. House of
Delegates this afternoon voting 82-56 to abolish executions in the state,
joining the state`s senate which passed the ban earlier this month.
The bill ending the death penalty now goes to Maryland`s Democratic
Governor Martin O`Malley who has fought for legislation and vowed to sign
it. Governor O`Malley has been a long time opponent of capital punishment,
promising since he first came into office in 2007 to push for repeal and
making an attempt in 2009. The numbers were not in his favor until now.
The death penalty repeal needed 71 votes to pass the House of
Delegates. Today, it got 82, including two Republicans. And today`s vote
is just a latest in a pretty remarkable string of victories against the
Before 2007, only 12 states and the District of Columbia had abolished
the death penalty. And six years ago, legislators in the state of New
Jersey became the first since the 1970s to abolish the death penalty. The
same year, New York emptied its death row after that state`s highest court
had declared in violation of the state constitution three years earlier.
In 2009, New Mexico repealed its death penalty, followed by Illinois
Connecticut repealed the death penalty just last year and now Maryland
becomes the sixth state in six years to say not to executing prisoners once
the measure is signed.
Will more states follow?
Joining us now is the president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous.
Ben, thank for being here tonight.
BEN JEALOUS, NAACP PRESIDENT: Thank you.
HAYES: OK. So, how -- you worked very hard on this.
HAYES: The NAACP worked very hard on this.
HAYES: How did this get a done?
JEALOUS: You know, this got done because it was bottom up. It was,
you know, our folks going door to door, call centers, it was the Catholic
Church, it was people who frankly had come off of death row like Kirk
Bloodsworth (ph) because they were innocent.
JEALOUS: -- getting out there and telling their stories.
It was the parents who lost children to murder, standing up and saying
my child didn`t believe in this. So, it was bottom up. But it also, we
add governor who had the courage to step forward and lieutenant government
who intends to be the next governor, encouraged us to step forward and say,
this is the right thing to do.
You know, this is the second year in a row. I`ve stood next to a
governor who is former prosecutor who says, look, I know this from both
side. And this is the right thing to do. We just got to get it done.
HAYES: That governor in question, because I think this plays into
politics, Governor O`Malley, he`s often talked -- you know, and again, this
is one of the speculative parlor games.
HAYES: But he`s often talked about as a contender in 2016, the
HAYES: And I wonder what it says about the politics of this issue and
where they are, that he is so out front on this issue, given the fact that
he does have national political aspirations or is said to have national
JEALOUS: You know, this is proof that pre-presidential politics have
changed in this country. Twenty years ago, we had a young governor like
this governor from south of the Mason Dixon line who was running for
president, who felt the need to stop during his campaign to execute three
people, including one who was so mentally retarded. That`s the term the
HAYES: Right, right.
JEALOUS: That he saved his dessert thinking he would come back after
execution to finish it. And it was seen as sort after necessary evil.
Well, it`s no longer --
HAYES: Speaking of Bill Clinton.
JEALOUS: Yes. Yes, yes. That`s no longer the case.
And I think, you know, and this governor, today, he supported marriage
equality last year, supported the DREAM Act. He`s championing the end of
the death penalty. And standing next to him is his lieutenant governor,
who -- you know, let`s be clear, President Obama hasn`t been a real
champion for abolishing the death penalty.
JEALOUS: And yet this man who is thought of perhaps as the next
generation, sort of rising black politicians, out there very clear saying,
look, I have black sons. And when you look at the innocent, who gets swept
up, they are disproportionately black. So, I think this really speaks to
the fact that the politics of our country is evolving. Even as the issue
HAYES: We have Brian Stevenson who is an amazing guy, a few weeks ago
on my show, from the Equal Justice Initiative down in Alabama doing
JEALOUS: Tremendous lawyer.
HAYES: Tremendous lawyer and advocate on this. And while we were
talking about, which is I think what is interesting is the argument made in
the states on fiscal lines. Right, that there is some sort of way of using
this kind of political judo to take the contours of the austerity
boundaries, right? And people say, we got to cut and we don`t have money
and turn around and say, you know what, this death penalty is an
incredibly, incredibly, incredibly wasteful undertaking.
JEALOUS: You know, look, it is actually I think really hard to be
conservative and to defend the death penalty. And you saw it today.
People just get down and say, it is just retribution and we need
retribution. Because typically what conservatives say is that (a), the
states shouldn`t act like God, one. You know, (b), if something isn`t
working we shouldn`t do it. And if it isn`t working and it`s really
expensive, we shouldn`t do that either.
And that is absolutely the argument that, you know, was made. And
it`s very compelling. It`s -- but it`s also in the context of having more
and more innocent people coming off of death row. It`s in the context of
having more and more murder victims families stand up and say, you know
what, the far right wing victims rights movement doesn`t speak for us. All
of that is very important.
HAYES: Yes, the Supreme Court has sort of put a kind of marker down
about the number of states that would have to ban the death penalty before
it would fall into the unconstitutional parameters of cruel and unusual.
And you, Ben Jealous, and NAACP are helping march this country towards that
one by one.
JEALOUS: Yes, eight more states to go and four in play right now.
HAYES: Thank you very much.
JEALOUS: Thank you.
HAYES: God bless, man.
Did you know the Obama administration has under its current legal
authority the ability to make serious progress on the issues of carbon
emissions? Like without Congress, without the courts, without a vote, the
administration can just do it -- which is why what the administration did
today is serious move. That`s coming up.
HAYES: It`s Friday night, so naturally, there`s a significant
deceased world leader corpse news to bring you -- news from smoldering in
his grave bureau, if you stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We, the people, still
believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to
all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing
that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.
Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can
avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: On the occasion of being sworn in as president for the second
time, when he likely commanded about as much attention of the country as he
ever will, President Obama put climate change front and center. It`s one
of the first issues he talked about in detail in his inaugural address
after first addressing the economic issues that are obviously at the front
of everyone`s minds. He went right to climate change, came before
immigration before he talked about detail in war even.
He did the same thing during his State of the Union Address less than
a month later, after first tackling the economy. He went directly to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I urge this congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan
market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe
Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But, if Congress won`t act
soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct -- I will direct
my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take now and in the
future to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of
climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s provoked both bouts of hope and angst preemptive
disappointment among the ranks of people fighting to save the planet from
burning to a crisp, because there are two very important things a president
can do alone without having to go through Congress. Without having to
overcome a certain filibuster in the Senate or go through the House.
One has gotten a lot of attention. Chances are, you have already
heard about it. It is the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline designed to
bring the tar sands of Canada all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. Tar
sands, of course, are dirtier, more carbon intensive form of oil. And
creating this pipeline would be in the words of NASA climate scientist
James Hansen, would be like creating the fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on
The people in the know had supposed all along that Keystone was a done
deal. But a remarkable movement of activist have mobilized to delay it at
every turn and are continuing to mobilize and delay it, which in turn has
made it a top tier issue for Republicans who simply cannot understand why
we are still not pumping Canadian oil sand into Texas already.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: You know there`s one
major shovel-ready project ready to go, and that`s the Keystone pipeline.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s called the
Keystone XL pipeline. And it`s a no-brainer. But it`s been blocked by the
Obama administration now for four years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are absolutely committed as the Republican team
to keep the Keystone pipeline on the front burner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Approving this pipeline seems like a no-brainer.
MCCONNELL: Keystone was an obvious choice.
BOEHNER: There is no reason for the Keystone pipeline to be blocked
HAYES: In case you are curious, that third to last clip there was a
Republican jeans caucus coming up in favor of the Keystone pipeline.
That is the Keystone XL pipeline that is one piece of climate change
policy the president can affect on his own. The other thing the president
can do on his own, without going through Congress, which in the grand
scheme of things might even more significant to Keystone, is that thanks to
the Supreme Court`s ruling in Massachusetts versus EPA in 2007, a decision
little noticed outside of energy circles, it was determined that the EPA
could under its existing authority, under the Clean Air Act, regulate
carbon as a pollutant, which means the EPA could promulgate rules, binding
rules that would make it very difficult for dirty power plants, like coal-
power plans, to continue operating as they are now.
This was the crucial freighted subtext when the president said in his
State of the Union Address that he`d prefer a cap and trade plan like John
McCain and Joe Lieberman had proposed, but that if Congress didn`t act, he
would. That was the subtext that hung in the air when he said he would act
on climate change if Congress did not.
That was the subtext when the president nominated Gina McCarthy to be
the new head of the EPA, because Gina McCarthy, aside form having been one
of Mitt Romney`s top environmental officials during his tenure as governor
of Massachusetts, back when he accepted the science on climate change,
aside from that, Gina McCarthy is also the person who is most recently
running the division that overseas clean air at the EPA and proposed rules,
quite good stringent ones, on new power plants, which brings us to today`s
news, which is really important but also completely and totally buried.
As part of this on-going battle that`s happening outside the view of
the public, we got notice today that those regulations, the one that Gina
McCarthy oversaw of new power plants, which could dramatically reduce
carbon emissions, they are going to be delayed. They`re going to be
reviewed further, and likely revised. This is, of course, occasion for the
wailing and gnashing of teeth by the perpetually, preemptively disappointed
environmentalist with whom I personally cast my lot.
But if there`s one thing we have learned from watching the Keystone
pipe is that public attention matters. And in the absence of public
attention, the White House will only hear from one side, the dirty energy
companies. Your government right now, as you sit and watch this, has the
power without Congress to take what would be the most significant step in
our country`s history to curtail carbon emissions through the EPA process.
And there are people around the country and swarming around Capitol Hill
and in Washington, D.C., and in Texas, and in West Virginia, and everywhere
that fossil fuels are produced and extracted who will stop at nothing to
make sure that does not happen.
Right now, the White House is more or less only hearing from those
people. If you don`t like how that sounds, they should probably hear from
HAYES: An important embalming update tonight. Last week on this
show, Rachel Maddow reported Venezuela`s post-funeral plans for the body of
their late President Hugo Chavez.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: The nation of Venezuela held its state
funeral today for its beloved President Hugo Chavez who died on Tuesday.
But that does not mean they buried Hugo Chavez. All week long, people have
been waiting in line to pay respects to Chavez`s casket. They were still
doing it today, even as the funeral was getting under way.
But this is not a last chance see him now or the opportunity will be
lost forever kind of lineup. What we have learned is that President Chavez
is going to be embalmed and placed in a glass box on permanent display.
Venezuela`s vice president who tonight became the country`s new president
explained that this way, quote, "the people can have him forever."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: They`re going to preserve Hugo`s body forever. Since that
initial reporting, we`ve learned that Hugo Chavez`s permanent installation
might not happen after all. Chavez`s vice president who is now the
country`s acting president has announced that Mr. Chavez`s handlers may
have waited too long for the eternal embalming thing to work.
Quote, "Russian and German scientists arrived to embalm Chavez and
they tell us it`s very difficult because the process should have started
earlier. Maybe we can`t do it."
In fact, government sources told Reuters to expect a formal
announcement this week. The permanent embalming is not possible. It is
not surprisingly a time sensitive proposition. Hugo Chavez died a week and
a half ago. His body apparently has been embalmed, just not with the kind
of super specialized techniques needed to preserve it forever.
The decision to try to preserve his body forever and forever was made
two days after he died. The Venezuelan acting vice president now says that
was too long. That decision was made too late.
One embalmer told the "A.P." that a body needs to be chemically
treated within hours of death unless it`s kept refrigerated.
So, by the time Venezuelan officials decided they wanted to put their
late president on permanent display, it was likely already too late.
But it`s apparently not too late to investigate whether it was
ordinary, naturally occurring cancer that killed Hugo or whether it was
cancer caused by poisoning by dark forces who wanted Chavez dead and
managed to secretly weaponize cancer in order to carry out their plot.
Back in 2011, Chavez himself suggested maybe the CIA was secretly
infecting Latin American leaders, like him, of cancer. Quote, "It`s very
difficult to explain, even with t law of probabilities, what has been
happening to some of us in Latin America. Would it be so strange the CIA
has invented technology to spread cancer and we won`t know about it for 50
And last week, hours before announcing Chavez`s death, vice president
leveled the same accusations. Quote, "There`s no doubt that Commandante
Chavez`s health came under attack by the enemy." And now, he is launching
a formal investigation into the weaponize cancer poison accusation, saying,
quote, "We have the intuition that our commander Chavez was poisoned by
dark forces that wanted him out of the way."
The U.S. government, it should be noted, denies having secretly poison
Hugo Chavez with cancer. State Department saying, quote, "An assertion
that the United States was somehow involved in causing President Chavez`
illness is absurd and we definitely reject it."
You know who else who thinks it`s absurd? An oncologist and former
president of the American Cancer Society who told CNN that the notion that
injections or poisons could have caused Chavez`s cancer has absolutely no
scientific substance. Quote, "Science cannot sustain this hypothesis."
There`s that old line that even paranoids have enemies and Lord knows
Chavez had them by the bushel, including -- and this is important in the
context of this -- and American government that tacitly accepted a coup to
remove him from power, heck, even a "New York Times" editorial page that
cheered on a coup from afar. But there`s one thing we see in the U.S. here
at home and era since 9/11 is that a persistent state of fear tends to
hurtle political leaders and political culture. Same holds true throughout
the world and in Venezuela.
That does it for us. I`ll see you again tomorrow morning. Listen, in
just 10 hours, I am back here at 30 Rock, hopefully talking to all of you.
So, go to bed right now, wake up early. Have a great show on tap tomorrow.
Now, stick around, the great Alex Wagner will bring you "THE LAST
Have a great night.
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