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All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, April 26th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Friday show

April 26, 2013

Guests: Jan Schakowsky, Hakeem Jeffries, Terry O`Neill, James Rubin, Leila
Halil, Anand Gopal

CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Thank you for joining us tonight.

Lots to cover this evening, including the increasing and in some
cases, misleading pressure for the United States to intervene in Syria.

Also, President Obama makes history long overdue history, in a
remarkable story emerges from the aftermath of the Boston bombings.

All that, plus #click3.

But we begin tonight with the big flashing headline breaking news of
the day, from the least popular branch of government, branch of government
widely seen as the most dysfunctional branch of government, the one that
contains the right wing Republican House Caucus committed to obstruction
above all else. In that branch of government, today, today, we saw a
remarkable display of emergency and pragmatic problem-solving come together
in a matter of hours to fix the moment pressing trouble facing America

And that very pressing problem is extended travel delays for frequent
flyers and members of Congress. Yes, it was a long and tortured path to
triumph on this issue. But today, in 361-41 vote, resounding margin, the
House of Representatives overwhelming agreed to tackle the scourge of
flight delays being cause by the furlough of federal aviation workers.

The FAA and Transportation Department started sounding alarms about
furloughs, having workers take temporary time off, back in February,
explaining the consequences they expected to arise from staffing cuts they
were about to be forced to make by the sequester.


MICHAEL HUERTA, FAA ADMINISTRATOR: Flights to major cities, like New
York, Chicago and San Francisco could experience delays. In some instances
up to 90 minutes in peak hours because we`ll have fewer controllers on
staff and this would ripple across the country.

because it involved our employees. But it`s going be very painful for the
flying public.


HAYES: (AUDIO GAP) February.

Then, the furloughs actually started and so did the actual flight
delays and suddenly this week, this week, Congress was demanding to know
why they had not been warned.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope you have some answers for us today. But
the first question I want answered is, why didn`t you tell us about it

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been talking about reduction in available
controller hours of 10 percent for months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you didn`t tell them which airports, which
airlines, which times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We told them they should expect significant
impacts at major hub facilities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, la-ti-da, everyone knew that. That`s what
sequester is all about.


HAYES: La-ti-da is right. That is what the sequester is all about.
But nonetheless, here we are, about two months into the implementation of
the sequester, that everybody said initially they didn`t want, but that
some Republicans have since claimed for having adopted, and now we have the
first part of the legislation to undo part of that sequester, and it`s the
part of the sequester that makes people wait longer at the airport.

And as much as waiting at the airport sucks, here is who will not get
relief from the bill passed today by members of Congress. Thousands of
cancer patients on Medicare who are being turned away by clinics where they
were being treated with expensive chemotherapy drugs. The roughly 70,000
kids expected to lose eligibility for Head Start programs, the 1,000 would-
be scientific researchers who won`t get grants, the older Americans who
stand to get millions fewer meals delivered from the Meals on Wheels
program, the low income families who are getting bumped from section 8
housing assistance. Everyone who eats anything in this country as a
sequester will cost us 2100 food inspections.

And this phenomenon is not lost on anyone. The White House is not
even trying to defend the president`s decision to sign the flight delay


REPORTER: How is it fair or right or just that these kids on Head
Start get their cuts, that these cuts go into effect at the Defense
Department and it`s tough luck. But when a bunch of business travelers
start belly aching because their flights are delayed because of these
furloughs at FAA, they get one of the fastest pieces of legislation to move
through Washington in recent memory.

How is -- why doesn`t the president take a stand against that?

of Congress who needs flights home also. But the fact is, the delays --
delays are a problem for not just business travelers and members of
Congress, but for many Americans. And that`s a real negative consequence
of the sequester. But your point is excellent.

REPORTER: Why is the president making an exception then for air

CARNEY: The president believes it is good news to eliminate this
problem. As I`ve said and, you know, he believes this is a Band-Aid
covering a massive wound to the economy.


HAYES: That`s true. A massive wound. The sequester, let`s be clear,
is a horrible policy that never should have been implemented and should be
repealed completely tomorrow, full stop.

But literally, the only virtue of the sequester, the only virtue, was
the fact that it yolks together cuts across the board such that middle
class folks who want to visit public parks in the summer and wealthy folks
who want to fly for business and leisure and poor folks who rely on WIC
nutritional supplements or home energy assistance, at least they were cut

If this horrendous policy, this self inflicted wound, had one single
tiny little redeeming quality, it was that at the very least, it bound
everyone together.

And now, Congress has wasted no time in undoing that loan semi-virtue
of this despicable policy. And it should be surprising. But it is the
most perfect parable I have ever seen for who Congress listens to.

A Princeton political scientist named Larry Bartell (ph) did a break
through study in which he compared U.S. senators voting records to the
opinions of their constituent. And lo and behold, here is what he found.
He found that, quote, "in almost every instance, senators are considerably
for responsive to opinions of affluent constituent than the opinions of
middle class, while the opinions of the constituents in the bottom third of
the income distribution have no apparent statistical affect on their
senators` roll call votes.

Here is what that looks like in chart form. See, if you fall into a
low income category, you might as well -- well, not exist to your senator.
Middle income constituents do a little better. It looks like their
opinions correlate at least a little bit with the voting records of their

But look at the high income group. These are the people whose
opinions seem to matter to their senator the most. The FAA deal cut today
is what this chart looks like in real life. Recent polling and research
shows majority of Americans, majority of Americans, do not travel by air in
a given year. The minority of Americans who do travel by air, who travel
frequently enough to be inconvenienced by the sequester`s flight delay
after a month are certainly the more affluent among us.

Defining feature of Congress since Republicans control the House in
2010 is the fact that it has been wholly unconcerned with doing much of
anything except pursuing the pet projects of the donor class. And what
happened today is like a perfect reductio ad absurdum of that idea, in so
far as some of the people in this country who travel, and from doing it on
tight schedules, are themselves members of Congress.

This is one step away from voting themselves a pay raise in the midst
of the sequester.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: You know, I have to travel probably
more than most of my constituents and I face the same things that most
people face. And I think my constituents know it.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, I think it was important to give
flexibility so that we won`t inconvenience people in this really
unacceptable way.


HAYES: Inconvenience people in an unacceptable way.

Here is what I wish could happen today. I wish every single cancer
patient and every single kid who is getting kicked out of Head Start and
every single person who`s losing a job at a government facility because of
cut backs or furloughs, every family losing Section 8 housing assistance, I
wish every single one of them could have gotten together and bussed by the
thousands to all parts of the country to Reagan National Airport and rolled
out on to the runway and strung out in a line that stretches across the
entire airfield so that those planes carrying members of congress who just
cast this vote couldn`t take off.

How is that for inconvenience, Senator?

Joining me from Washington, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat
from Illinois, who voted for the FAA bill today. Joining me at the table,
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, from -- Democrat from New York who voted
against the bill.

We asked congressional Republicans if we could speak with any
Republican representative who voted for the bill and we`re told not one of
them was available.

Congressman Jeffries, I`m going to begin with you and ask you. You
were in the minority of people. There are only 41 people to vote against
this bill.

Why did you vote against the bill?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Well, sequestration is a random
policy that`s bad for the economy and we need to do away with it
completely. But what occurred today is an example of choosing a limited
affluent group of Americans to rescue from sequestration, while leaving the
most vulnerable amongst us -- Head Start children, seniors who receive
Meals on Wheels, public housing residents, expectant mothers who rely on
government nutritional programs, long-term unemployed who experienced the
benefits cut.

We left them on the battlefield to suffer continuously from
sequestration but rescue affluent business travelers.

HAYES: And you did not want to break those two groups of people

JEFFRIES: Well, you know, in my view, we shouldn`t break those groups
apart. If we intervene in any way, the responsible thing to do would have
been to rescue those Americans who are amongst the most vulnerable in our

HAYES: OK. Congressman Schakowsky, let`s stipulate here at the
beginning, you and I and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, probably all share a
pretty good conception of the ideal world we would live in, right?


HAYES: That ideal world involves getting rid of the sequestration.
It involves congressional progress caucus budget, there`s all things we can
dream about while we`re thinking about this, this weekend.

But you had to cast a vote today. You cast your vote for this fix.
And I want it understand your thinking. Was it simply the pragmatic thing
of, there is one world of which we have flight delays and another world we
don`t have flight delays, so I`m going to take the world in which we don`t
have flight delays?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, there is another consideration, Chris. First of
all, I agree with everything that you said and everything that Congressman
Jeffries said. But there are also 47,000 federal workers that work for the
Federal Aviation Administration and they`re going to see a two-week cut in
pay. Federal workers have already seen their pay frozen between now and

And so, to end those furloughs, I thought at would cast a vote in
favor of those federal workers.

I also am supportive and a co-sponsor of legislation that would
completely repeal the sequester and rail as you have against the cuts that
affect so many people and are so painful, the 4 million Meals on Wheels
that aren`t going to be delivered. And you know, they also cut the
Medicare and Medicaid anti-fraud work --

HAYES: Right.

SCHAKOWSKY: -- which returns -- you know, it`s crazy.

HAYES: There is a strategic problem here.

There is a case to be made that the delays, the sheer inconvenience to
members of Congress themselves, caused by these delays was a point of
leverage and looking that strategically here -- I want to give you an Eric
Cantor memo sent out on this fix. He says, "As a `CQ Role Call" reporter
tweeted last night, make no mistake, this FAA fix is a complete utter caved
by Senate Democrats, and if signed by the White House. Consider Democrats`
opening position, they would only replace the sequester with tax increases.
But last night, Senate Democrats were adopting our targeted `cut this, not
that` approach. This victory is in large part as a result of our standing
under the banner of #Obamaflightdelays." Which always cracks me up.

Point being, they view this as a victory.

And, Congresswoman, my question to you is, has a leverage been given
up? Or has a really nasty precedent been set, while we do the FAA fix,
now, let`s find the other things that we`re going to go fix. And when
everything is said and done, the kids on Head Start are still out of luck?

SCHAKOWSKY: You know, one of the more galling things on the part of
the Republicans is that they suggested that the whole FAA thing was just a
political manipulation, and that it wasn`t real. And I think that the idea
that these are absolutely real cuts finally hit home to them. I don`t
think so, Chris, that we`ve given up leverage.

This is not the only thing that`s going to come up and I don`t think
it`s going to be the only effort that the -- or the only squawking that
Republicans are going do --

HAYES: Do about the cuts.


I think that is underscores that these are absolutely real. That
there are consequences to the sequester.

HAYES: Congressman, do you think an opportunity was missed for
leverage here? How -- if you could run the clock back, the last three or
four days, how would you like to see this play out?

JEFFRIES: I think an opportunity was missed and I think the first
strategic mistakes occurred in the Senate. The Senate majority could have
sent over a bill that dealt with the FAA issue but also perhaps dealt with
the long-term unemployment issue.

HAYES: You have attached something to it.

JEFFRIES: Dealt with the Head Start issue. Dealt with the Meals on
Wheels issue and sent the bill over to the House of Representatives and
forced the House GOP majority to vote it down.


HAYES: Kick out the kids or Head Start or kick out the unemployed.
And instead, what you got, and we should be very clear about this, I can go
through the roll call of who voted for and against the bill in the House.

On the Senate side, it was adopted through unanimous consent. No one
is on the record. It just magically appeared out of the Senate as a fait

JEFFRIES: I didn`t realize that affluent travelers was such a
tremendous lobby. I mean, this bill was adopted with record speed, when
you`ve got vulnerable Americans suffering all across the country.
Hopefully this will wake up the least among us to stand up and put the same
level pressure on Washington to act.

HAYES: Congresswoman, quickly, when do you think the next opportunity
comes to extract that leverage? What`s the next fight you see brewing on
the sequester?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, we`re going to continue to raise the issues that
you did tonight. All of the various cuts that hurt the people who need the
help the most, that need cancer research and Head Start, you know, in
Indiana they are doing a lottery to figure out which kids will be thrown
out of their Head Start program. And this is not the end of that.

HAYES: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Congresswoman Jan
Schakowsky of Illinois, it`s really a pleasure to have you both.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.

JEFFRIES: Thank you.

HAYES: President Obama made history today, doing something that took
97 years for a president to do. That`s coming up.


HAYES: History-making speech by the president and histrionic
congressional hearing. I`ll tell you the implications of both events.

Plus, the amazing story of the man who was allegedly carjacked by the
Boston bombers. It is mind-blowing.

Stay with us.


HAYES: Planned Parenthood was founded nearly a hundred years ago.
And since that day, no sitting president of the United States has ever
addressed the group. That is until today when Barack Obama spoke to the
group in Washington, D.C., you will not be surprised to hear he received a
ruckus welcome.


years have shown, it`s that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. It`s
not going anywhere today. It`s not going anywhere tomorrow. As long as
we`ve got a fight to make sure women have access to quality affordable
healthcare, and as long as we`ve got to fight to protect a woman`s right it
make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know you`ve also
got a president who is going to be right there with you fighting every step
of the way.


HAYES: The political context and president speaking to Planned
Parenthood is pretty remarkable. He is leaning into precisely the type of
political battle that Democrats have long shied away from. It was Pat
Buchanan who proposed to Richard Nixon a strategy of so-called wedge issues
railing against crime and busing, for instance, telling Nixon he could,
quote, "cut the Democratic Party and country in half. My view is that we
would have, by far, the larger half."

The demographics of the Obama coalition has fundamentally changed the
political calculations on a whole host of cultural war issues. Democrats
now just have often find themselves with, to quote Buchanan, "the larger

And not just on women`s issues. It`s immigration and gay marriage,
exactly the kind of issues Democrats were previously in a defensive crouch
on, now, they have now embraced. They are picking fights on issues they
used to avoid, both because they believe in their positions and because the
coalition they crafted means that they can be with the majority of their

This is particularly true on the birth control, which blossomed last
year, probably thanks to Rick Santorum who famously called it dangerous and
counter to how things are supposed to be and partly thanks to the
Affordable Care Act which requires insurers to cover with no co-pay.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Barack Obama went on to win young women by
34 points over Mitt Romney.

Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood today, something no other sitting
president has dared to do, is a nod to that margin, and an open
acknowledgment of how the ascendancy of the Obama coalition is changing how
the culture wars are fought in a very fundamental way.

Joining me tonight, Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Organization for Women.

It`s wonderful to have you here.

You have been in this fight for some time. And I`m curious what you
made of the president making history today, talking to Planned Parenthood
and what that means for the trajectory on where we are on women`s rights
and reproductive choice.

TERRY O`NEILL, NOW: You know, I think it was very important for the
president to go and talk to Planned Parenthood and I`m thrilled that he did
it. You know, not only is the president and our other Democrats leaning
in, as you say, into this fight over women`s access to reproductive
healthcare services, actually the Republicans are leaning in in the most,
frankly, bizarre way. Seventy-seven percent of voters want Roe versus Wade
to remain the law of the land. This includes 35 percent of voters who
consider themselves to be pro-life, Chris.

So the Republicans are -- in North Dakota, we now have a law, a bill
signed into law that would criminalize abortion at six weeks of pregnancy.
In Arkansas, it`s 12 weeks. In Mississippi, the legislature is doing all
it can to shut down abortion clinics. In Virginia, the Republicans own
main candidate for government of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli is trying to shut
down all of the abortion clinics in that state.

HAYES: So, here is what is fascinating to me about what you are
highlighting. You have -- you have a trajectory of the politics of this
issue in a national election that look at a coalition that is being
assembled in which particularly young women, particularly single women, are
a massively powerful Democratic constituency. They voted in overwhelming
margin. They come out to vote, black, white, Latino, across all races,

O`NEILL: Right.

HAYES: At the state level, what you are seeing is intensifyingly
aggressive pushes to restrict abortion, go after abortion providers in
those places that are more politically amendable to that.

And so the question is, what does that add up to politically at this
moment? I mean, what I look at when I look at the polling on Roe, when I
looked at the polling on abortion. When I looked at the polling on choice,
is a kind of lock-in stasis that`s been true for about 15 or 20 years.

And so, the question is, is this what we are confined to? This
perpetual warfare that doesn`t show progress in either direction?

O`NEILL: No. I think what is going to change is the fact we have a
major political party that is willing to take it on openly. In 2012, when
the Democratic Party decided that it was going to openly and proudly
proclaim its support for women`s abortion rights and birth control rights,
that really changed things. It`s wonderful that the president is
continuing that, because what`s going to change now is what we`ve got is
redistricting that happened in 2010, from the 2010 census. That`s going to
control the legislative bodies for a long time.

But increasingly, the voters are going to one by one by one start
picking off those legislators that are vulnerable enough that we can pick
them off, that are voting against us.

HAYES: Let me ask you this question finally here. You said that the
Democrats in 2012, and I agree, they were more open about their support for
reproductive choice than I had seen in a long time.

But it is notable to me that the real battle is fought on the terrain
of birth control, rather than abortion. And it was notable to me that when
Planned Parenthood was defended, when the Republicans came after them, they
were defended for the health services they provided to women, and they talk
about how the small amount of abortion of what they do, and it was notable
the president did not use the word abortion today in his speech.

O`NEILL: He didn`t.

HAYES: Yes. So that`s -- the question is, yes, there`s been
progress. But it seems to me the Democrats do not want to use that word.

O`NEILL: Maybe this year. But I think that`s going to change, Chris.
I really do. Look, in Massachusetts right now, you have a special election
to fill John Kerry`s seat in the Senate. There is a Democrat who is anti-
choice who is running against a Democrat who is pro-choice, who is very
proud of his record on abortion rights and he is running on his record on
abortion rights. That`s Ed Markey.


O`NEILL: I think that Ed Markey is going to win the election. I
think he`s going to win it hands down, in large part because he`s been so
open about his support for abortion rights.

Once we see that happen -- and, by the way, I think in South Carolina,
we might have a very good outcome with Elizabeth Busch, yes, Colbert-Busch.
So I think -- I think slowly what, I hope elected officials and candidates
will see, is this attack abortion is a loser option for them.

HAYES: Terry O`Neill, president of the National Organization for
Women, we`ll see. Massachusetts Democratic primary, of course, not
Virginia. Thanks so much for joining us tonight, appreciate it.

The man who was allegedly carjacked by the Boston bomber speaks out.
Why his story sent fear-mongers into high gear. That`s next.


HAYES: There have been some new developments from the Boston marathon
bombing story, some of which are terrifying and harrowing, some, not so
much. OK, today authorities moved the boat that suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
was found in last Friday, from Watertown to Boston, to the wrapped
attention of news choppers flying overhead.

There is also this truly incredible story from Danny, the Chinese
Entrepreneur and recent masters degree graduate who is allegedly carjacked
by the Tsarnaev brothers. He spoke to the "Boston Globe" on the condition
the newspaper not reveal his Chinese name. It tells a spellbinding tell
that as the piece says, sounds like something from a Quentin Tarantino,
which the bombing suspects alternate between threatening him with a gun and
talking about girls, credit card limits and whether anyone still listens to

The suspects also apparently discussed going to Manhattan. In fact
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, himself, in subsequent questioning with authorities
reportedly told investigators, he and his brother had a plan to go to New
York. But, a senior law enforcement official told NBC news that, quote,
"The idea was undeveloped."

One senior official described the plan as aspirational at most. In
fact, the car jack victim, Danny, quote, "overheard them speak in a foreign
language and Manhattan was the only intelligible word to him." But all,
that makes a less satisfying story and it is less useful in ginning up
peoples` hysteria and panic and stimulating the fear centers of the brain.
So, instead what we get, is this.


SEN. TED POE, (R) TEXAS REPRESENTATIVE: Yesterday we learned that the
perpetrators have planned to travel to Times Square in New York after the
Boston attack to unleash more mayhem and bombs. They apparently had more
pipe bombs and another pressure cooker bomb.


HAYES: That was Congressman Poe, republican of Texas in the House
Foreign Affair of subcommittee hearing today, dedicated almost exclusively
to the project of trying to get people to panic about the threat of Islamic
violence in the Chechnyan region. Here is what hearing was called,
courtesy of the subcommittee chairman, Dana Rohrabacher, republican of


Extremism in Chechnya, a threat to the U.S. Homeland, question mark.


HAYES: Question mark. You know, there is this thing we do in cable
news. Sometimes magazines do it too. You want to grab someone`s
attention, but the thing you want to say is just too irresponsible to get
away with her stand behind.

So, for example, may be I want to say in discussing Lindsey Graham,
demagoguery constitutionality process, Lindsey Graham, constitution hater.
No, instead what we would say is Lindsey Graham constitution hater? Since,
you are asking the question, you don`t have to stand by the thing you are

Here`s an example of that from last night. It`s Anderson Cooper. See
they did it there, a friend in CNN. New York, next stop for bombing
suspects? I don`t know, may be. We`re just asking. But the question
often in cable T.V. and justice often in certain subcommittee hearings get
answers like this.


ROHRABACHER: Central Asia as we are describing in the crocuses
represent a huge chunk of the planet and if that area comes under the
domination of radical Islam that makes it it`s job to attack the United
States or to attack other countries, not just the United States, but other
non-Muslim people. That will be a disaster for this -- for every person on
this planet.


HAYES: A real take away from the hearing should have been that
Chechnya is a massively complicated place, a place of tremendous suffering
and pain and violence on both the part of Russian security forces. We are
waiting a brutal war on terror that involves kidnapping people from their
homes and disappearing them. And, Jihadists were blowing up innocent
civilians left and right.

But, is also a battle that has not of yet conclusively come to our
shores. In fact, this is what the head of one of the most extremist groups
of Chechnya said after the bombings. The Caucasian Mujahideen are not
fighting against the United States of America. We are at war with Russia,
which is not only responsible for the occupation of the Caucuses, but also
for heinous crime against Muslims.

Now, this hearing was partially attended. It is not dominating news
cycle today. There is however another threat in another country that now
has our attention, chemical weapons and Syria. Even though our country`s
intelligence community quite carefully described the possible use of
chemical weapons by Syria with a qualifier, that they had made the
determination, quote, "With varying degrees of confidence." That sounds
sort of like chemical weapons, question mark.

It`s not an accident that that`s grabbing our attention in the wake of
Boston bombing. Our fear centers are primed in the wake of Boston,
understandably so. But, that`s also when we tend to make our very worst
decisions. We`ll be right back with click three.


HAYES: If we`ve learned one thing in this past decade of war, it`s to
be very, very careful when it comes to intelligence on weapons of mass
destruction. While President Obama seems to have learned that lesson, many
in the press and congress are pushing hard and fast from military
intervention in Syria. We`re going to talk about what that would actually
mean in a bit.

But, first I want to share the three awesomest things on the internet
today. Beginning with a really cool interactive feature from the "New York
Times" displaying the many covers of an American classic, "The Great
Gatsby." Yes, Scott Fitzgerald novel, is enjoying renewed interest for
meters. Thanks to an upcoming Baz Luhrmann film, which I really want to
see. The book is currently topping the Amazon best seller list.

The marketing of the book has some Gatsby theories up in arms. This
is the first edition of the book from 1925 and Ernest Hemingway trashed the
original cover art in his memoir, but probably a good thing he is not
around to see this latest edition promoting the film. Instead of the
iconic eye image reader, you get Leonardo DiCarprio.

As, the New York Times reports Barnes & Noble will sell both editions,
while the Wal-Mart will only sell the books with Leo on the cover. While
independent book sellers say he will only sell "Gatsby" with its original
cover art, dismissing the new edition has got awful. I understand the
sentiment there, but perhaps that seller needs a reminder of last year`s
best seller.

The second awesomist thing -- by the way, that cover is awesome. The
second awesomist thing on the internet today, a twitter trend that has
reached a whole new level. As salon puts it, everything and anything that
is even the slightest potential to become a mean will eventually get its
own twitter parody account even if it should. That`s an iron wall.
Case in point, Clint Eastwood`s now infamous RNC speech to an empty
chair, hashed the invisible Obama twitter handle. When Senator Tom Coburn
announced he was tired of shaving his beard, his beard launched his own
twitter account. Well, on Tuesday in the middle of a really great
discussion on terror and surveillance, I said this.


HAYES: Let me play the skeptical -- the conservative here, because
before we are all sort of sitting in a hot tub of consensus --


HAYES: That commend burst this twitter account, "Hot tub of
consensus." Just look for the avatar of me sitting in a hot tub. Over 200
followers are apparently soaking. Of course, There`s a catch, do not be
confused of the name Fox News` Summer Pool Parties, The Jacuzzi of

The third awesomist thing on the internet today, a big reveal from the
former first lady, Laura Bush to NPR`s David Greene. Just how did the
former president get hooked on painting? Mrs. Bush says there`s an app for


a past time, and he got the app on his iPad where he could draw pictures.
He communicated with me, if I was on the road, and with Barbara and Jenna
with funny drawings.

DAVID GREENE, NPR CORRESPONDENT: He was drawing you pictures to send
you while you`re out there on the road.

LAURA BUSH: Yes, like he would draw a picture of himself in bed with
Barney the cat.


HAYES: Mrs. Bush did not say, which app the former president use to
create these modern masterpieces. The Atlantic takes a scab at it. Our
guess is Brushes, the same app used by Jorge Colombo for his series of New
York covers, whatever the App of W is well on its way to becoming the Bob
Rocks of presidential artist or the guy could paint. You can find all in
the link for tonight quick in our website, We`ll be
right back.


HAYES: Today more escalating pressure for the U.S. to intervene in
Syria in the wake of yesterday`s announcement by the White House. The U.S.
police believe the Syrian government has used chemical weapons an
assessment that was based on, quote, "physiological samples."

I want it read from the White House letter so I can further quote
this. Because people have been simplifying this in a way that I think is a
bit misleading. So, here`s a quote, "Our intelligence community does
assess with varying degrees of confidence that Syrian regime has used
chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent

The chain of custody is not clear, so we cannot confirm how the
exposure occurred and under what conditions, only credible and corroborated
facts that provide us with some degree of certainty will guide our decision
making. That which sounds to me like a very hedge assessment who`s
followed up by a Senior White House officials, quote, "It`s very important
that we are able to establish this with certainty and that we are able to
present information that is air tight."

Nevertheless, this was the front page of today`s New York Times
headline: White House says Syria has used chemical arms. This kind of
reporting has intensified a campaign for intervention from both officials
abroad and U.S. politicians.


evidence. In fact the British stated that there is physical evidence that
proves it. The French also agree that Israeli intelligence people
absolutely are certain. So, it is different from an allegation without
evidence of weapons of mass destruction, as what is the case in Iraq, and
now there is physical evidence of it.


HAYES: All this pressure for intervention amount. The white house
has been deliberate and extremely careful about what they are doing. And,
the president today after meeting with Jordan`s King Abdullah was notably
measured in his response when asked about serious alleged deployment of
chemical weapons.

government to utilize chemical weapons, on its people, crosses a line that
will change my capitalist and how the United States approaches these
issues. So, this is not an on or off switch.

This is an ongoing challenge that all of us have to be concerned about
and we`re going to be working with the international community and our
partners to keep our eyes on what`s happening on the ground, to gather any
evidence of potential chemical weapon use.


HAYES: The president said there that`s not getting a lot of play and
I think it`s quite important, is that there is quote, "Not an on or off
switch." That`s because, again, the reporting out of that measured
statement from the president was that, "This crosses a line that will
change my calculus." But, that is not new for this administration. The
President Obama has declared this at least five times in just the last
several months.


PRES. OBAMA: There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing
movement on the chemical weapons in front or the use of chemical weapons.

-- The use of chemical weapons is, and would be, totally unacceptable.
And if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be
consequences and you will be held accountable.

-- The Assad regime must understand that they will be held accountable
for the use of chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorist. I have
made clear that the use of chemical weapon is again game-changer.

-- I have said publicly that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad
regime would be a game-changer from my perspective.


HAYES: As little doubt, the stakes are enormous here. Writing the
New York Times this week, Bob Corker ranking republican on the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee said, "The Obama administration has been
indecisive, neither fully in nor out, as radicals and militants are rapidly
becoming a more influential force inside Syria. Like the president, I am
reluctant to commit the United States as an active participant in a complex
and distant war and do not support the deployment of American forces to
topple Mr. Assad. But, the time for leading from behind is over."

Now, heading lead through the run up to Iraq, every skeptical cell in
my brains starts to fire like an over-caffeinated mouse as I read more and
more arguments like Corker`s. Intervention only looks easiest and most
urgent right before you actually do it. On the other hand, there are more
than 70,000 people dead and there is no question the Assad regime has been
unspeakably brutal and horrific in waging an absolutely indiscriminate war
against its own people.

And, yes, chemical weapons have a special kind of status in the
international law for a very, very good reason. So, what the heck should
we do? My next three guests, all experts in regime will help us
understand. Stay with us.

HAYES: All right, so what are the next steps for the U.S. and the
world in dealing with Syria? Joining me from Washington is Leila Hilal,
director of the Middle East Task Force in the America Foundation. She was
born in Syria. At the table, Jaimie Rubin Former State Department
Spokesman under President Clinton and Anand Gopal, writer and journalist
covering the Middle East. Last year, Anand wrote this amazing piece
called, "Welcome to free Syria" for Harpers that chronicle the massacre by
Assad`s forces in one town. Great to have you all here.

Let`s start with the significance of chemical weapons and the notion
of the red line and what significance they have. Why is it so important,
Jamie, that -- that it`s perceived as moving things from place one to place
two? And, the president himself said -- I thought in his remarks said, "It
is a little strange we are talking about chemical weapons as a red line
when thousands of people are slaughtered day in and day out with
conventional weapons."

think it`s not really just the international legal issue or even the moral
issue. I suspect what is really driving me red line in the minds of many
in the administration, is that this is when it could become a national
security issue. When the potential of loss of control of these weapons,
falling into the hand of whether it is Hezbollah or an Islamic jihadist
group becomes a potential harm to the west. Because if, you know, we had a
terrorist group in Japan that used sarin gas, the very same weapon that`s
being charged --

HAYES: They were a doom`s day cult.

RUBIN: Well, no, no, fair enough --

HAYES: I mean they were a terrorist in some sense but they were not

RUBIN: Right, but fair enough. So, having a transfer of that kind of
material moves the war from being a terrible, horrible, situation for the
people of Syria --

HAYES: To a national --

RUBIN: -- to a potential national security issue.

HAYES: Does that Leila -- does that square with the way that you
think about or how we should think about the presence of these chemical
weapons if in fact they are confirmed.

that there is a truth to what is being said and that -- I think the red
line that Obama drew in saying that the chemical weapons would be a game-
changer was always about his calculus that if it becomes a regional problem
then our sort of waiting to see what happens approach will change. But , I
don`t think that that is the morally correct approach, nor do I think it is
the right approach for regional stabilization.

Because we are seeing already a configuration of the conflict when
there has been no intervention and when we`ve been waiting to see what
happens. And, certainly, the number of people that have died in Syria, the
numbers that have left the country, we have a quarter of the population
displaced. We have a quarter of the population in need of food, aid. And,
those numbers are expected to double by the end of the year.

HAYES: So are you saying we should -- you are saying that there
should be intervention even without the presence of chemical weapons?

HILAL: I`m not necessarily advocating for intervention. But, what
I`m saying is that we should not draw the line according to what happens to
regionally. But, we should look into see what is happening inside Syria
and make a calculus, according to the moral value of standing by our
values, for freedom, for the same values that we stood for in the context
of supporting the people, who stood up against Mubarak, who stood up
against Gadhafi --

HAYES: Well, I`m glad you point that out, right, because there is a
long arch of the Arab spring. It starts with Tunisian fruit vendor,
nonviolent movements in Tunisia, largely nonviolent movements in Egypt,
nonviolent movements in Bahrain. We see a nonviolent uprising against
Gadhafi, but then turns into an armed conflict that we intervene on.

We see a nonviolent uprising in Syria, which then also becomes an arm
conflict, an arm conflict with a kind of secular national spent that now
has become increasingly split along sectarian lines.

Anand, you were there recently. What is the texture of the resistance
in Syria on the ground? And, when we talk about intervention or doing
something, can you say from your reporting there, a thing we could do that
would make things better?

ANAND GOPAL, WRITER AND JOURNALIST: Well, Chris, what struck me, in
talking to rebels on the ground in Syria, is that you know we here tend to
lump all of the rebels together in one group and Assad on the other side.
It is actually much more complicated than that.

There are Islamists of various stripes. There are seculars of various
stripes. There are civilian activists who don`t get talked to about a lot.
All of them agreed that Assad needs to go. But, none of them agree on what
comes afterwards. So, the intervention actually means going in and picking
sides among these rebel groups.

Picking one or two or some of them, promoting them throwing guns and
money at them, at the expense of all of these other groups. And, you know,
we`ve been down this road before, right? This is the story of Iraq. This
is the story of Afghanistan.

HAYES: This is a story of Afghanistan you are saying say back during
the soviet period?

GOPAL: 2001. We picked sides.

HAYES: Right.

GOPAL: We picked sides. We even threw money and guns at people and
we`re dealing with the consequences.

HAYES: So, what I`m hearing from you, I want to tease this out to
have you be a little clearer. So, no one right now is talking about
American troops, please you should be very clear about that, right? Even
the people who say they -- we should be doing something, the administration
is talking about more arms support for rebels, right? That tends to be --

GOPAL: Or no-fly zone.

HAYES: Or no-fly zone, right. A no-fly zone or taking out Assad`s
surface-to-air capability if he has them or even his air capability, right?
Do you think there is a way to do that, that could help? I mean when you
say, well, there`s, you know, we just learned this month, for instance,
that Al-Qaeda, which is one of the malicious fighting outside have had
emerged, they announced this, right? So, presumably we wouldn`t want to
help them. Would it be possible to bolster the secular forces and not have
some kind of blow back or spill over?

GOPAL: Well, Chris, the whole reason on this even exist is because we
invaded Iraq and occupied it. Because, it was started by the Islamic State
of Iraq, which wouldn`t have existed if we hadn`t gone into Iraq in the
first place. So, there were second and third --

HAYES: So, we are just dealing with the ripple effects of Iraq --
James --

RUBIN: Let me pose it this way. There are really only two paths in
Syria, right now. One path is the path we`re on. A long, bloody, ugly,
civil war reaching the Beirut Somalia level with consequences of millions
of refugees like Leila mentioned.

Imagine 2 million refugees mostly Sunni, who believe the United States
let them down, sitting in refugee camps, in Jordan and Lebanon and
throughout the region. That`s a long term risk for us. That`s path one.
The other path is we shortened the potential war by choosing, yes, there
are differences between Assad and the Secular --

HAYES: That path is -- Let`s just be clear. That path is we attempt
to shorten.

RUBIN: Fair enough. But, right now, the path were on now is a long
bloody --

HAYES: Leila, is that those two paths is that what you see?

HILAL: Well, no I see a third path, which is a political process.
And we have not tried hard enough to try to secure a political agreement.
And, I think, instead, what happened after the Geneva communication issued
and all you had with the Arab league, we had Russia, you had the United
States and the agreement that there needs to be a political transition in
the middle of 2012. We instead turned towards allowing this insurgency to
be built up. And, now we are dealing with a fragmented, very militarized
society in Syria and the military cellmates.

HAYES: Right. And, the problem is -- omits those conditions it is
precisely imposing politics on a place that has become as thoroughly and
deeply militarized as you have chronicled in your reporting. That`s not at
all an easy thing. Perhaps no easier than trying to put up a no-fly zone.
Jamie Rubin, Formal State Department Spokesperson, writer and Journalist,
Anand Gopal, and from Washington, Leila Hilal in the New America
Foundation. Thank you all. That is All In for this evening. "Rachel
Maddow Show" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


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