ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 5, 2013
Guests: Mark Mazzetti, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Spencer Ackerman, Allen Barra,
Amanda Cohen, Curtis Stone, Homara Cantu, Bruce Frederick>
EZRA KLEIN, GUEST HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Ezra Klein,
sitting in for the great Chris Hayes.
Tonight on ALL IN:
The right wing`s ongoing war on the Affordable Care Act is getting
hard core, now with one group urging citizens to burn -- burn their
Obamacare draft cards. Of course, there is no such thing as an Obamacare
draft card. You`ve got to print your own out and pretend and burn that.
Plus, does the thought of the test tube hamburger sound appealing to
you? What if I told you the science behind it might change the world and
help save the planet at the same time? A full discussion of the future of
food is coming up.
But we begin tonight with breaking news in the Middle East, North
Africa and Southeast Asia, where 19 U.S. embassies and consulates are
closed tonight, due to continued fears of an imminent terror attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We face an ongoing threat
from al Qaeda and its affiliates. There are individuals and organizations
out there that are focused on doing the United States and the American
people harm as well as doing harm to our people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: The embassy and consulate closings span across 21 countries
where initially announced on Friday, along with a worldwide travel alert to
U.S. citizens abroad and attributed broadly to al Qaeda.
Today, White House spokesperson Jay Carney did his best to hold
specifics, but he did confirm the threat is coming from the al Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula. And the U.S. took the extraordinary step to close the
embassies after it intercepted communications between two top al Qaeda
leaders -- Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda`s global leader, and Nasser al-
Wuhayshi, al Qaeda`s leader in the Arabian Peninsula -- in which the two
men talked about wanting to launch a major attack in the region to coincide
with this past weekend`s important Islamic holiday.
NBC News is reporting that according to multiple intelligence sources,
the key intercepted electronic communication was one in which the two men
agreed, they, quote, "wanted to do something big" on the 27th night of
Ramadan, a Muslim holiday known as the "night of destiny", which was this
past Sunday. The communications, however, did not give a specific target
or method of attack.
Joining me now is Mark Mazzetti, national security correspondent for
"The New York Times" and author of the book "The Way of the Night: The CIA,
a Secret Army and a War at the Ends of the Earth."
Mark, how afraid should we be tonight? Put it bluntly.
MARK MAZZETTI, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I don`t know. Sunday came
and went and nothing happened. And so, it`s hard to know. As yesterday,
the State Department extended the closings through of 19 consulates and
embassies through the end of this week. It`s very difficult to know.
I mean, it seems like there is specificity around dates. But
obviously very little specificity around location, and that`s caused this
broad swath of closures in the Middle East in North Africa. There were
lawmakers who said it could be in Europe, it could be in the United States.
I mean, it`s very difficult to know exactly, you know, how scared
everyone should be or necessarily how much people should change their
KLEIN: Well, that is exactly what I wanted to ask you about. You
have Peter King and he comes out and says it could be in Europe and it
could be in the U.S. and probably going to be in the Middle East.
And it`s hard when you hear something like that sitting at home to
know is that simply a lawmaker? Is that a politician just kind of blowing
up the threat. Or is there actually evidence we`re looking at a threat
particularly to the United States. And I`m curious, you know, we`ve seen
these dramatic embassy closures across the world.
Is there a hardening of domestic security that would indicate that
kind of perceived threat level here at home?
MAZZETTI: Well, there have been some reports of tightening security
at American airports. Clearly, there`s been a hardening of security
overseas to some of the embassies that are -- seemed to be at greatest
risk. I think Congressman King`s point in a way was sort of illuminated
that they really just don`t know. They`re pretty certain that this would
be an attack cared out by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
But this is a group that has carried out attacks in Yemen, carried
attacks in Saudi Arabia, they tried to blow up a transatlantic jet that was
descending into Detroit.
So, you know, it`s very difficult to figure out exactly where to
defend. And so, therefore, you have this very -- to some degree vague
warning out there saying that people should be vigilant and at the same
time, you know, don`t change your behavior significantly.
KLEIN: You were talking about the sort of Yemen connection. You
know, I think it`s a bit confusing when you hear the attacks are attributed
to al Qaeda, but actually coming from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
You have Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking with Nasser al-Wuhayshi. What can you
tell us about the relationship between these two men?
MAZZETTI: Well, I think it`s interesting that this communication took
place beaten them. You know, we hear a lot about how al Qaeda in the
Arabian peninsula is the sort of -- the affiliate that -- the only
affiliate that can do anything anymore and al Qaeda in Pakistan
specifically with al-Zawahiri, are to some degree marginalized, and
Zawahiri is spending so much time in hiding he can`t help run a global
This shows that the two are in communication and that Zawahiri does
seem to maybe have some influence over them. Wuhayshi owes a lot of his
stature first of all bin Laden, but also Zawahiri. Wuhayshi was an aide to
bin Laden and in many ways ascended the ranks because of bin Laden.
So he does have that sort of deference to Zawahiri. But, you know,
exactly how these groups relate to each other, it`s still difficult to
know. I mean, it`s our understanding that to some degree, the group in
Yemen is still, you know, directing most of the attack -- its own attacks.
It`s not necessarily relying on Zawahiri to give all sorts of planning
KLEIN: Mark Mazzetti from "The New York Times" -- thank you very much
for joining us tonight.
MAZZETTI: Sure. Thanks for having me on.
KLEIN: And joining me now is Spencer Ackerman, U.S. national security
editor for "The Guardian" newspaper. And my friend and my colleague, Rajiv
Chandrasekaran, a senior correspondent and associate editor at "The
Washington Post", and also, the author of the forthcoming book, "Little
America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan."
Thank you both for joining me tonight.
RAJIV CHANDRASEKARAN, WASHINGTON POST: Good to be here with you.
KLEIN: Rajiv, I want to start with you. What do we know about the
actual projection capability of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is
to say, before this week, before tonight, what did we think their capacity
to actually mount an attack? How far did that extend? Does it actually
extend here? Or is it more local capacity?
CHANDRASEKARAN: Well, certainly the bulk of their attacks have taken
place in the Arabian Peninsula, in Saudi Arabia. But they certainly do
possess the ability to strike beyond that, to other countries in the
Persian Gulf and as Mark was noting to you a little earlier, they certainly
have tried, Ezra, to strike even further, obviously trying to bring down
that Christmas Day 2009 jetliner headed into Detroit.
And so, they certainly have much broader ambitions than simply the
Arabian Peninsula, but it is that area and North Africa where they are
sought to at least believed to have the greatest network, the greatest
ability to carry this out. You look at that map of the countries in which
the diplomatic posts are closed through this week. That`s their turf. Or
at least that`s the area where they are believed to be the most active and
have the greatest networks.
KLEIN: Spencer, this is -- so this is coming out of Yemen. I think
in so far as folks in the U.S. have heard of Yemen lately is because we`re
essentially pounding the country with drone strikes sort of day in and day
out. Over the weekend, Chris Hayes actually tweeted a letter that a man in
Yemen wrote, an open letter to the United States.
And I wanted to read a piece of to you here. The man wrote, "My name
is Faisal bin Ali Jabar. I`m a Yemeni engineer from Hadhramout, employed
by Yemen`s equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency. A year ago
this August, a drone strike in my ancestral village killed my brother-in-
law Salim bin Ali Jabar (ph) and my 21-year-old nephew Walid (ph).
The strike left a stark lesson in its wake, not just in my village,
but across Hadhramout and wider Yemen. The lesson I`m afraid is that
neither the current U.S. or Yemeni administrations bother to distinguish
friend from foe."
And he goes on to say that each one of these strikes which ends up
killing, having a fair amount of collateral damage killing civilians,
killing innocents has created many, many enemies for the United States.
What is the sort of support base at this point like for al Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula? And what affect is our sort of drone warfare having on
SPENCER ACKERMAN, THE GUARDIAN: It`s a great question. And it`d be
difficult to answer without being on the ground in Yemen.
A couple of months ago, I was witness to a really amazing hearing in
the Senate where a 22-year-old Yemeni man testified for the first time that
Congress heard from someone from one of these countries that the U.S. has
been bombing with missiles fired from drones in which he said that the
drone strikes have completely reshaped the psychology of everyday Yemenis,
to the point where parents try to get their kids to behave by saying if
they don`t go to bed at the right hour, the drones are going to come from
It was truly an amazing thing to behold and it would stand to reason,
that if that kind of psychological impact on people is so great, it would
potentially -- it runs the risk for overwhelming whatever backlash we know
typically occurs when al Qaeda takes over in a certain place and alienates
their either former followers or everyday people there.
KLEIN: And, Rajiv, is there -- are we seeing effects from the drone
war in Yemen, at least? I mean, are we seeing a degradation in al Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula`s capabilities? Or is that not as clear?
CHANDRASEKARAN: No, U.S. intelligence officials say that there have
been significant in roads made in trying to take apart the senior levels of
AQAP, certainly not the same degree of success that the U.S. has claimed to
have against a core al Qaeda in the Frontier regions of Pakistan.
But certain officials are getting picked off there. But others
remain, you know, at large -- their leader, their top bomb maker, the guy
most responsible for the new generations of underwear bombs. They`re still
And we should note that the war against the al Qaeda and Arabian
Peninsula is not just a drone war. U.S. Special Operations Forces based
out of both Djibouti as well bases or at least kind of forward operating
positions in the Arabian Peninsula have been working with Yemeni special
forces with Saudi special forces among others to conduct attacks against
some of those targets.
So, it`s a combination of drone warfare, as well as more conventional
or at least special operations boots on the ground type activities.
KLEIN: Spencer Ackerman from "The Guardian" and Rajiv Chandrasekaran
from "The Washington Post" -- my thanks to both of you.
CHANDRASEKARAN: Good to talk to you.
ACKERMAN: Thank you.
KLEIN: When we return, in the never-ending effort to kill Obamacare,
Republicans have taken themselves hostage. I bring you that in a moment.
KLEIN: Conservatives want young people to believe that refusing to
sign up for insurance under Obamacare is just like when antiwar activists
burned their draft cards during the Vietnam War. Only, you know, minus the
draft card and being sent to war thing. How the anti-Obamacare campaign
has devolved into a lesson in failed metaphors and self-destructive
behavior is next.
Later, what if we lived in a world where real meat could be
manufactured from cells harvested from a living cow. It turns out we do
live in that world. The remarkable story of the test tube burger is coming
KLEIN: You, sir, you good, hardworking, decent American, are you
tired of these government bureaucrats saying you should have health
insurance if you get sick? Are you offended by the idea of getting help if
you can`t afford health insurance? Do you want to take a stand?
It`s time to burn your Obamacare draft card.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve decided that we`re going to torch our own
cards and we`re going to take the fight against Obamacare into the streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: That is a pitch FreedomWorks is making to Americans and it has
just tiny little problem -- there is no such thing. No such thing as an
Obamacare draft card. There`s not even an Obama care card. There`s no
card, no paper at all. There is nothing to burn.
So, FreedomWorks has had to make their own draft card. You print it
out on the Web site and then you burn it yourself.
So take a stand, good American, by burning your FreedomWorks provided
Obamacare draft card that doesn`t draft you to do anything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burning the card is a symbol, of course, because
there`s no card yet. Actually, FreedomWorks is going to design the
Obamacare card ourselves, put that online, we`re going to share it with
people in the hopes they will burn it, tear it up, mark on it, send it to
the IRS or to their congressman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: It`s personal responsibility. You make your own card to burn.
The bigger argument FreedomWorks is making here is that people should
refuse to be part of Obamacare. Don`t buy health insurance if you don`t
have it. Don`t take free government health insurance if it is offered to
you. Just say no.
And if you say no and you get sick or get hit by a bus or you light
yourself on fire while burning your self-printed Obamacare draft card --
well, that -- that is on you.
This is weird thing that`s happened to the campaign against Obamacare.
It began as most campaigns do as a campaign for self-interest. Obamacare
conservatives said it`ll raise your taxes, take away your doctor, and
possibly put you in front of a death panel.
The fight to keep it from passing was a fight to keep bad things from
happening to you. But it`s become something weirder, a campaign of self-
sacrifice. The current crop of Republican strategies asked conservative
congressmen to hurt their constituents and their political prospects,
governors to hurt their states and conservative activists to hurt
It is a kamikaze mission to stop Obamacare, a campaign against your
Take Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio`s effort to shut down the federal
government unless the Obama administration agrees to defund its signature
piece of legislation, which, I will remind you, it will not ever do. If
they manage to gather enough support to make good on the shut threat, there
is only a painful federal government shut down, the public would rightly,
correctly, blamed entirely on the Republican Party.
They would have hurt their constituents and their chances of retaking
the Senate majority in 2014 and Obamacare, by the way, even if they got
their way would still be implemented.
And you don`t have to take it from me. My "Washington Post" colleague
Charles Krauthammer is about as anti-Obamacare as they come. He wrote, "If
I thought this would work, I would support it. But I don`t fancy suicide.
It has a tendency to be fatal."
In the states, Republican governors are saying no to billions of
dollars in Medicaid money. And sometimes when they say yes and even some
of the most conservative Republican governors like Rick Scott in Florida
have realized what an obscenely good deal the money is and said yes. The
Republican state legislatures say no anyway.
That cuts the state off from very, very badly needed funds. It cuts
their poorest citizens off from free health insurance they could otherwise
get. Moreover, it means their safety net hospitals lose a huge amount of
money they were relying on to survive. It forces devastating cuts to care
for everyone, even the insured.
The result is a poor state, worse off residents and a health system
under terrible, terrible financial stress. But at least they`ve taken a
stand against Obamacare?
Then, there`s the campaign to persuade conservatives and everyone else
to doom Obamacare by refusing to accept free or subsidized health insurance
and instead pay the fine and go without coverage. The campaign`s probably
not going to be a huge hit among the broader public but it might convince
hardcore conservative activists who will go without health coverage they
could have. Some of them will get sick or hurt, then what? Then what
happens to them?
Over the past couple of years, Republicans have responded to minority
status by adopting more extreme political tactics. Chief among them is
hostage-taking, threatening to shut down the government or breach the debt
ceiling if they don`t get their way.
But now, Republicans have done something truly new. They have taken
themselves hostage. They`re threatening to hurt themselves and their
states and their voters and their most committed activists, if Democrats
don`t give them their way on Obamacare. It`s evidence of their
extraordinary dedication of the cause to be sure, but also of their
increasingly extreme view of how American politics works.
Coming up -- did allegedly taking performance-enhancing drugs help A-
Rod be a better baseball player? Or is that a myth? What proof do we
have? That is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX RODRIGUEZ, NEW YORK YANKEES: I`m fighting for my life. I have
to defend myself. If I don`t defend myself, no one else will. We --
there`s a process, I`m happy the process in due time. Hopefully, you know,
whatever happens, happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: When word came down earlier today from Major League Baseball
that Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez and a dozen other players are getting
suspended for their alleged drug infractions related to an anti-aging
clinic in Miami, I thought about one of my favorite web comics, and
imagined trying to explain the whole steroid scandal to a little dot I
assume is an alien.
You see the human says, we humans are sacks of chemicals which stay
alive by finding other chemicals and putting them inside us. We hold
contests to see which humans are the fastest and the strongest, but some
humans eat chemicals to make them too fast and too strong and they win the
contest. That does sound bad, says the alien. It`s awful, says the
Is it really all that awl? Or is this actually more about taboo to go
beyond what`s been called conduct detrimental to the good of the game?
Major League Baseball said after it learned that players were linked
to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, the league, quote, "vigorously
pursued evidence to link those individuals to violations of our joint drug
program. Baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity,
fairness and a level playing field."
Alex Rodriguez`s 211-game suspension will carry through the end of the
2014 season will go into effect Thursday. But because A-Rod is appealing
his punishment or in other words because he`s challenging the evidence and
not going down without a fight, he`s playing third base and batting cleanup
for the Yankees tonight in their game against the White Sox. Twelve other
players will immediately begin serving their 50-game suspensions, including
all-star Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers, Everth Cabrera of the San Diego
Padres, and Johnny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers.
And, look, I get it, cheating is unethical. It shouldn`t be done.
But are these even all that performance-enhancing, these drugs? Not
everybody thinks so.
Joining me now is Allen Barra, sports columnist for theAtlantic.com
and Salon.com, also the author of the book "Mickey and Willie: Mantle and
Mays, The Parallel Lives of Baseball`s Golden Age."
Thank you for being here tonight.
ALLEN BARRA, SPORTS COLUMNIST: Nice to be here.
KLEIN: You have this really thought provoking point, and one of the
points you make is that for all the talk of steroids and performance-
enhancing drugs, it`s actually not an easy case to make that they actually
help these players get a really large, unfair advantage.
BARRA: I would love to see the evidence. There`s only one player
that has been positively say it helped, and that`s Barry Bonds who became a
greater player after the age of 35 and for the rest of his career. But
Barry Bonds was a lab rat for the most advanced lab in the country, Balco.
These other guys, who knows what they`re taking? Do they even know what
Now, you`ve got Rodriguez now accused of taking HGH, human growth
hormone. Now, I hope somebody from "The New York Post" picks this up.
That is not a steroid. Repeat, not a steroid. And there is no evidence at
all that HGH has anything to do with enhancing athletic performance,
especially in baseball.
KLEIN: And on some level, I mean, I guess that would be one of the
arguments for taking this seriously. So if these guys are going and
becoming guinea pigs and lab rats for completely untested concoctions in
order to -- that they hope will make them play better but we don`t know the
long-term effects of. I guess one argument, this isn`t really about what
kind of edge they got. It`s about trying to deter this behavior in future
athletes to protect them.
BARRA: In a sense, yes, I guess you could argue that the real danger
is that these guys could be hurting themselves. Who knows, you know, a
decade from now, whether there`ll be some effects we don`t know about.
Yes, that`s true, but it would be -- I think the first time that Major
League owners had that kind of compassion for their employees, they`ve been
giving them cortisone shots and sending them back out to the field for
years in all sports.
KLEIN: And when Rodriguez was taking these drugs, this was years ago,
now, the period of time we`re talking about.
KLEIN: And before they were being tested for. They were banned.
BARRA: Back in 2003.
BARRA: Back in 2003, it was not illegal or rather misdemeanor. And
it wasn`t against the basic agreement between the players and the owners.
So, whatever he did back in 2003 doesn`t count in this.
KLEIN: OK, but the newer infraction --
KLEIN: -- my understanding is that they are -- that he did them but
they found out he`s not failed the tests they`ve given him.
BARRA: Hasn`t failed a test.
KLEIN: -- just came up through a leaked report.
BARRA: Right, and we don`t know the evidence they have. We don`t
know exactly what drugs the other players are accused of. And we don`t
really know specifically what evidence there is that Rodriguez took
anything at all.
I guess we`ll find out down the stretch. But God knows that appeal to
go to the players association, November, December I heard just before I
came in here. I mean, that`s long before the arbitrator comes up with a
KLEIN: Now, walk me through the evidence here, because you -- I think
a couple of years back in a "Wall Street Journal" piece, you did this
interesting analysis of Rodriguez`s home run record.
KLEIN: And what you said here was that the sort of the relevant
metrics to use is runs on the road.
KLEIN: Because when you`re dealing with one stadium, it can affect
it. So, from `98 to 2000, he had 74 home runs on the road. From 2001 to
2003, after being traded to the Rangers, he had 70 on the road.
BARRA: He had 70 in all other American League parks, that`s really
your gauge. What you do in the other parks. He had 86 in Texas. It looks
like a lot, but it turns out that Texas was such a great hitters` park,
that everybody had an increase like that.
I mean, if you go with each ball player that`s accused of using the
stuff that either did use it or accused of using it and what performance
was enhanced by it, you can find out for just about everything like that.
But no one does.
They look at Roger Clemens and they say, well, when he was 4, you
know, he won 15 games. Warren Spahn 40 years ago won 23 games at the age
of 42. What was he on?
KLEIN: Yes. And, see, you know, this class of sort of baseball
greats going back, you know, about 10, 15 years now.
KLEIN: Almost every one of the sort of leaders of which is now under
some kind of scandal report in the hall of fame. I mean at some point, it
seems that there needs to be some sort of blanket decision on how to deal
with it morally. I don`t mean actually in terms of the infraction.
KLEIN: But, you know, what happens when they come to the hall of
fame, because --
BARRA: Well, my guess is that the next generation is simply not going
to care as much. What are you going to do? Not go to the games? Not root
for your favorite players because of this? Cheating has always been part
of the game.
And, frankly, the owners haven`t cared that much about it. Back in
2005, Ann Selig wrote a famous letter to a congressional probe that said,
"You folks have no jurisdiction here." Well, they told them very quickly,
who had the power and who had the jurisdiction. They threatened to take
away baseball`s antitrust exemption. That`s why we`re here now.
KLEIN: Allen --
BARRA: People are making a big show for that.
KLEIN: Allen thank you for being here very much. I know we brought
you out on a tough night. So, can we help you make it up here?
BARRA: I want to say happy birthday to my wife.
KLEIN: It is very nice. Thank you for being here. And, we`ll be
right back with #Click#3.
KLEIN: Imagine being one of the first two people in the world to
taste test a hamburger that cost more than $300,000 and took five full
years to prepare. That happened today in London and one of the esteemed
taste testers first thoughts were, quote, "It`s close to meat." We`ll talk
about what the newly unveiled test tube burger is and what it might mean
for the future of food next.
But, first, I want to share the three awesomest things on the internet
today. Beginning with lifestyles of the rich and the talks is yet another
identifiable trait to distinguish the rich from the -- the not rich.
According to business site, "Quartz," the 1 percent are walking toxic waste
dumps. I mean all of us humans are, but the rich are unique in their
And, the news comes from a recent study entitled, "Associations
between socioeconomic status and environmental toxicant concentrations in
adults in U.S.A." Or in other words, rich people have higher levels of
mercury, arsenic, cesium, and thallium. Thanks to the increased frequency
of wealthy Americans consuming shellfish and primarily fresh sushi, which
tends to contain elevated levels of all sorts of chemicals. Also doesn`t
help that the super wealthy are much more likely have post contact with
precious metals with all these swimming in pools of money and bathing in
tubs full of treasure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Treasure bath! I`m going to have a
treasure! Treasure bath!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: Nothing like a good treasure bath. As the song says, "More
money, more problems including mercury poisoning." The second awesomest
thing on the internet today. Today, high finances introduced to the word
slam pieces. Hollywood continues to glamorize the world of "Hedge Fund
Management." But, this classic cover from business week shows that the
perception of Hedge Fund success does not often match the reality.
Hedge Fund on average do not beat the market. They underperform it.
A possible cautionary tale on why was on display today at jezebel.com where
an e-mailed posted to a fraternity lister, who gave us a peek into the mind
of the effective "Hedge Fund manager. Some choice quotes.
Luckily, due to this tough job market, my dad has agreed to let me
access my trust fund early, mid seven figures to start a relatively small
hedge fund. With my financial expertise, which by the way, internships
help from my powerful father and connections and a skilled team, I have no
doubt this fund will quickly rise to prominence. And, we will all get
filthy rich and inevitably bag hot slam pieces. No doubt this classy bro
will set up a financial empire with a cast of Jersey Shore.
And, the third awesomest thing kind of on the internet today, a stark
reminder of our place in the universe. NASA released this youtube video of
an 8-year-old time ups video of a NASA spacecraft passing earth and
receding into the distance. It`s an awe-inspiring and profound depiction
of the grand infinity of space.
It`s also bit disorienting, and I couldn`t help but think a
representation of forces much larger than ourselves. When, I heard this
afternoon "The Washington Post," where I have worked since 2009 and which I
love has been sold to Amazon Entrepreneur Jeff Bezos.
Guys, I was only gone for a day. And, reaction to the news and to the
glorious majesty of the cosmos, I can only say, "Whoa." You can find all
the links for tonight`s "Click#3" on our website, allinwithchris.com, and
we will be right back.
KLEIN: Could have used a bit of salt and fat -- could`ve used some
fat. That was the consensus earlier from two foodies given the task of
tasting a $330,000 burger. The world`s first entirely lab grown patty.
It happened today in London. A synthetic hamburger that took five
years to develop and three months to produce was cooked and served in front
of a moderator and a studio audience. The burger is the work of Dutch
scientist Mark Post and a team of researchers based in the Netherlands.
Post hopes that lab made meat can eventually help fight climate change
and feed the planet. Although, he admits it could take up to two decades
to get lab meat into supermarkets. The project was bankrolled by the
Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who shares similar concerns about
sustainability and animal welfare. So, how did Post get meat to grow in a
Petri dish? Through cattle stem cells organically raised, of course.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK POST, DUTCH SCIENTIST: We take a few cells from a cow, muscle
specific stem cells that can only become muscle. There`s very little that
we have to do to make these cells do the right thing. They divide by
themselves, and if we provide those anchor points, the future tendons, they
will self-organize into muscle. So, a few cells that we take from this cow
can turn into ten tons of meat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: What happens when they become self-aware? Dr. Post makes it
sound easy but took nearly 20,000 strands of muscle fiber to make one 5-
ounce patty. Red beet juice and saffron were added to give the burger a
more meat-like appearance.
So, I was wondering what it looked like before. The burger was
prepared by a professional chef, who used a generous amount of butter and
amazingly the patty held its form while being cooked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. POST: Fantastic color. It looks incredibly appetizing and it`s
beginning to release a nice, inviting aroma.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: Then it was time to dig in. Austrian food scientist Hanni
Rutzler and Chicago based food writer, Josh Schonwald volunteered for the
job. The pair concentrated on the meat itself foregoing the bun, the
lettuce, and the sliced tomatoes that were offered to them. Reviews were
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNI RUTZLER, AUSTRIAN FOOD SCIENTIST: There`s quite some intense
taste. It`s close to meat. It`s not that juicy.
JOSH SCHONWALD, CHICAGO BASED FOOD WRITER: The absence is I feel like
the fat. You know like it`s a leanness to it. But the bite, you know,
feels like, you know, conventional hamburger. Maybe you could think of it
on a continuum somewhere between a Boca Burge and McDonald`s burger.
DR. POST: I think it`s a very good start. And, again, this was
mostly to prove that we can do this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: Joining me now is Chef Amanda Cohen owner of a Dirt Candy
Restaurant here in New York City and Chef Curtis Stone host of Bravo TV`s
"Top Chef Masters" and the Bravo series around the world in 80 plates. So,
probably not this plate yet. And, Chef Homaro Cantu, owner and operator of
the Cantu Designs Firm and Moto Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois.
Thank you all for being here. And, Amanda, I wanted to begin with
you. And, I`m actually going to ask all three of you with the same
question here. Would you serve this in your restaurant?
CHEF AMANDA COHEN, OWNER OF DIRT CANDY RESTAURANT: I would not serve
this in my restaurant. But, we`re in all-vegetable restaurant, so it
wouldn`t really have any place. We are trying to sell great vegetables.
So, the idea of having this weird mock meat product really wouldn`t fit in.
And, I`m not sure even sort of going past that, that this is ready to be
served in any restaurant yet.
KLEIN: So, I take that amendment. So, assuming it gets ready.
Assuming we have some technological advances. Curtis, how about you?
CHEF CURTIS STONE, BRAVO T.V. HOST OF "TOP CHEF MASTERS" SHOW: I
think it`s a real shame that we put so much energy and resource into -- you
know, science trying to develop food that is not natural. You know, here
in the states, we waste 40 percent of what comes out of the ground.
And, you know, if we put some more energy into turning our waste
around and not throwing great food into the garbage and -- the food
industry`s become such a beast that I really think we were really misguided
KLEIN: And, Homaro, you run -- I am looking to you here. You run a
molecular restaurant. I have seen a lecture you gave in which you made a
burger out of, if I remember correctly, beets corn and barley. And, it
look kind of alike this burger. Would you serve the technologically and
more advanced cousin, more delicious fatty, salty cousin of this burger in
HOMARA CANTU, OWNER AND OPERATOR OF "CANTU DESIGNS FIRM AND MOTO
RESTAURANT: Well, no, that`s like asking if we would use a processor from
the 1950s in a phone today. And, we did make a burger out of what cows
eat, so just sort of bypassing the cow altogether. I think it has billions
of dollars and a long way to go before it becomes successful to the
KLEIN: So, Amanda, one of the interesting things you bring up when
you say you are a restaurant that focuses on vegetables, is where actually
does test tube grown meat fit on that kind of vegetable meat continuum,
right? It`s not quite an animal.
I mean it`s grown off an animal but doesn`t have the kind of suffering
associated with it. It doesn`t have the feeding process. There is
something in it that is almost -- it`s not a vegetable exactly, but it`s in
kind of new category.
CHEF COHEN: It is, it`s in a whole different category and for my
restaurant or for people who come, eating meat isn`t always an ethical
thing. Sometimes, it`s a health thing. Sometimes it`s a political thing.
Sometimes it`s just, you know, that is their diet.
So, it`s almost like this is a whole different diet. It`s not about
being a vegetarian and not eating like a cow. It`s more about, you know, I
guess a different way of looking at food. It`s a whole different kind of
It`s nothing we`ve ever seen before. So, it wouldn`t be on the
vegetarian continuum and whatsoever. And, it`s still -- I think it would
still be considered eating an animal. It is from an animal no matter how
you look at it. It`s still a byproduct.
But, Curtis, there is a -- I think there is an enormous kind of ick
factor when we are being so deeply introduced to the production process
behind this particular burger. But, I mean, I think and you know if you
really got people engaged in the production process behind Boca burgers,
which are mentioned earlier, which are kind of soy or vegetarian, highly,
highly processed burger substitute.
If you looked at what`s behind the lab of the food, folks buying in
the supermarket every day. It`s kind of weirds me out. It is a high level
of technology. So, is this just fear of something new? I mean in 20
years, will this just be fine? It will be like anything else you make in
the factory and sell on the supermarket shelves?
STONE: Look, I`m a big advocate for eating what`s natural and putting
stuff into your body that you actually know where it comes from. And, when
you look at what science has done for food, of course there have been
advances and you know if it wasn`t for scientists then we would not have
agriculture and we wouldn`t have a farm fish. It would be the palladium of
what the ocean has.
So, there`s definitely a place for science in food. But, you know, we
also live in a world with diabetes is off the charts and we have all of
these -- you know, health and diet associated problems in society and it`s
because we`re eating shelf stable processed foods with a lot of sugar and a
lot of salt and you know stuff, that is just out of balance.
KLEIN: But, Homara when I look at the -- when I look at the sort of
numbers in terms of how often people eat these foods in terms of the price
point a lot of them are at. I always wonder if there`s not a tension in
the kind of argument Curtis makes. I think you hear a lot in the food
community, a real preference for going back to things we can recognizes.
Michael Palm likes to put foods our grandmothers would recognize.
And, the sort of way Americans eat and I often wonder if the answer to
a lot of the problems Curtis identified like diabetes and related health
issues and some of the cost issues too with getting healthy food won`t have
to be solved also technologically by sort of advanced that moved processed
food and shelf stable food in a healthier direction.
CANTU: Well, I think when you account for population explosion. The
reduced amount of Air Ball Land and resources that we are going to have in
the future that`s where the scientists are coming from.
And, so in 20, 30 years, you know, the price of beef is going to be
out of reach for most people. So, what if you could imagine a piece of
Colby beef that is actually healthy for you that doesn`t have any detriment
to your digestive system or to your weight gain. Things that are actually
good for your body.
I think that you know competition is good. That`s what gave us
smartphones. And, at the end of the day, if this product works, it will
work. The consumer will decide and we will decide what is best for us as a
KLEIN: Homara had brought up making a burger that bypass a cow
entirely, consisted of what the cow fed on. And, one criticism I have
heard is that, we are spending an enormous amount of money to solve a
problem with us and exist. It`s not like people don`t have an alternative
if they would like to not eat as much meat to eating meat.
They can eat all kinds of vegetable products, grains, soya, a variety
of others. So, I mean -- Is that kind of the bottom line here, where the
people want to eat meat is going to eat meat and then you have got this
sort of a group who is going to actually just go for the things that are
really not meat and identify that weight the moment you see them?
CHEF COHEN: I don`t think we are ever going to get people to stop
eating meat. All right? So, they are going to want to eat it. I think
what we have to do is sort of keep doing what we have been doing for the
last 10, 15 years, which is that we`ve been moving away from mass meat
You see people who are really choosing their meet more carefully and
their food more carefully. Is it organic? Is it, you know, local? And, I
think the more that we as sort of a population as a world can move towards
that, the less we will actually have to go towards this technology and
maybe save our money and spend it on, you know, other things, better
vegetables, better meat production versus what`s probably going to turn
into a billion dollar industry to find this like magic, you know, fake
burger, which is never going to taste as good as the real thing.
KLEIN: Speaking of the real thing, we will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. POST: But, I think most people just don`t realize that the
current meat production is at its maximum and it`s not going to supply
sufficient meat for the growing demand in the coming 40 years. So, we need
to come up with an alternative. There`s no question. And, this can be an
ethical and environmentally friendly way to produce meat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KLEIN: That was doc scientist Mark Post earlier, advocating for new
technology to help feed the world. We`re talking about the world`s first
lab grown hamburger, what does it mean for the future of food? And, could
it actually help save the planet? Still with me is Amanda Cohen, chef and
owner of Dirt Candy in New York, Curtis Stone, chef and host of "Top Chef
Masters." Homara Cantu, chef and owner of Moto Restaurant in Chicago.
And, joining us now is Bruce Frederick senior advocacy director at
farm sanctuary and animal protection organization. And, Bruce, I want to
go to you, because you used to work at Peta. You work with farm sanctuary
A lot of folks would like -- and I know -- I believe you are vegan
actually. A lot of folks would like people to stop eating food entirely.
But, Peta, which I think is more realistic than critics give it credit for,
they had for years a million dollar prize if anybody could create a full
sort of chicken substitute, a lab grown chicken meat by 2012. So, in that
community, the community worried about animal suffering, this has been a
goal for some time.
BRUCE FREDERICK, SENIOR ADVOCACY DIRECTION AT FRAM SANCTUARY AND
ANIMAL PROTECTION ORGANIZATION: Yes, I know. That is absolutely right.
When people learn about how chicken and pigs and other farming they`re
treated on these modern farms, it is so far from natural. It`s almost
So, they will cram 50,000 chickens into the sheds. They are in there
with their excrement. They are pumped full of drugs. They grow seven
times as quickly as they did just 60 years ago, so that their hearts
collapse or their lungs collapse or their legs cripple.
The level of abuse is absolutely beyond the pay on. It is completely
unnatural. When, you start talking about something like test tube meat,
it`s completely natural. It is just growing a food in a test tube and it
also takes away all of the animal cruelty. It is significantly more
efficient than growing crops to feed those crops to animals to funnel the
food through animals.
And, it is significantly cleaner. They can manipulate -- they can
change the genetic composition of the meat, so that it is not -- you know
doesn`t lead to the same levels of diabetes and heart disease and cancer
and other things that the --
KLEIN: But, let me ask you --
FREDERICK: -- current industry is responsible for.
KLEIN: Let me ask you about that efficiency. So, I think this is it.
We talk and I think it`s intuitive to talk about the animal cruelty
question. They are getting away some sort of large factory farming of
these animals. But, one of the things in this, I think that has arisen
quite a bit in recent years in sort of this discussion is the recognition
that meat production and agriculture around it is one of the very largest
contributors to global warming that it`s larger, in fact, according to the
United Nations than the entire transportation sector.
And, as India and China and Indonesia and the Philippines get richer
and these billions of people begin wanting to eat meat-heavier diets, which
are associated with being wealthier in these countries, that you`re going
to have in addition to whatever you think about animal cruelty, a sort of
green house gas strain that dwarfs, I think, what people are prepared for
and even what they are expecting. Do you see these sorts of technological
advances potentially a way to help answer that question?
FREDERICK: Well, yes, that`s absolutely the case. It takes about ten
calories in the forms of grains or lygoons or alfalfa fed to a farm animal
to get one calorie back out in the form of the flesh of that animal. And,
that is why it is rightly note, the United Nations when they crunched the
numbers, they said that eating meat causes 40 percent more global warming
than all trains, planes, cars, automobiles, all forms of transportation
So, Al Gore, when the global warming survival handbook came out, he
said the best thing any individual can do to decrease their contribution to
global warming, the best thing they can do is to leave meat off their
plate. One of the really exciting things about test tube meat is that it
is actually even more efficient than vegan foods. So, for people who care
about their environmental footprint, for people who care about animals, you
know, this is a real excellent development.
KLEIN: And, Curtis, quickly before we go. If these cost pressures
are as intense as they are and we`re dealing with a kind of choice between
this kind of test tube meat and, you know, having this kind of greenhouse
gas, isn`t the test tube meat a better alternative?
CHEF STONE: Look, I think -- you bring up an interesting point. When
you talk about the price of meat, I think it`s a good thing the price goes
up, because it`s something that we should respect. We should respect the
life cycle of an animal.
I don`t have the problem with taking the life of an animal if it means
that ends in dinner for someone. But, it should be respected. Now, if the
price of meat goes up, then of course the consumption of it comes down, and
that`s also a good thing when you look at the fact, you know, what we`re
facing as a nation and with our dietary problems.
KLEIN: Chef Curtis Stone, Amanda Cohen, Homara Cantun, And Bruce
Frederick from the Farm Sanctuary, thank you all for being here tonight.
CHEF COHEN: Thank you, Ezra.
CANTUN: Thank you, Ezra.
CHEF STONE: Thanks so much.
FREDERICK: Thank you.
KLEIN: That is "All In" for this evening. The "Rachel Maddow" show
starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST OF "RACHEL MADDOW" SHOW: Good evening,
Ezra. Thank you, my friend. Great job tonight.
KLEIN: Thank you. Thanks!
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ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES