ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
December 20, 2013
Guests: Howard Dean, Josh Barro, Janice Mathis, Narayan Lakshman, Matthew Breen, Maya Wiley, Jordan Carlos
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening from New York. Happy Friday.
I`m Chris Hayes.
Today in his last news conference of the year, President Obama
basically offered his annual report.
Here`s what you missed: the president touted the fact that with
revised numbers just released, third quarter economic growth was the
highest it`s been in nearly two years, 4.1 percent annual rate, July
President praised the bipartisan budget agreement that was passed, but
chastised Congress for not passing an extension of emergency unemployment
insurance before it left town and said he would push for an extension as
soon as Congress returned.
President then opened up the news conference to questions and the
White House press corps seemed intent on trying to put him on the couch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Has this been the worst year of your presidency? Do you
understand that those -- the public has changed in some way their view of
you over this year?
REPORTER: And so my question is, do you have any personal regrets?
REPORTER: But when you look back and at the decisions you have made
and what you did and what you didn`t do -- for you personally, what do you
think has been your biggest mistake?
REPORTER: On a more personal note, what is your New Year`s
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My New Year`s
resolution is to be nicer to the White House Press Corps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Which was a nicer response than my New Year`s resolution is
not to answer stupid questions.
On substance, the president took a swipe at congressional critics,
those who are trying to make a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran more
difficult to achieve.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And I`ve heard some logic that says, well, Mr. President,
we`re supportive of the negotiations, but we think it`s really useful to
have this club hanging over Iran`s head. Well, first of all, we still have
the existing sanctions already in place. I don`t think the Iranians have
any doubt that Congress would be more than happy to pass more sanctions
legislation. We can do that in a day, on a dime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president offered no definitive answers to questions about
the NSA, after a just released report by a panel he commissioned, came up
with 46 recommendations to curb domestic surveillance.
The president said he would announce his decision on those
recommendations in January and he generally defended the program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I think it`s important to note that in all the reviews of this
program that have been done, in fact, there have not been actual instances
where it`s been alleged that the NSA in some ways acted inappropriately in
the use of this data. Given the public debate that`s taken place and the
disclosures that have taken place over the last several months, that is
this is only going to work if the American people have confidence and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president defended the latest rule change on the rollout
for the Affordable Care Act, that people with canceled policies are now
eligible to be exempted from the mandate. That means they can buy cheaper,
so-called "catastrophic policies" or by no policy at all, without being
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And we just wanted to make sure that the hardship provision
that was already existing in the law would also potentially apply to
somebody who had problems during this transition period.
This is essentially an additional net in case folks might have slipped
through the cracks. That was the original intent of the grandfather clause
that was in the law. Obviously, the problem was it didn`t catch enough
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Josh Barro, politics editor for "Business
Insider", and former governor of Vermont, the former chairman of the DNC,
Dr. Howard Dean, now a consultant of lobbying firm McKenna Long & Aldridge.
All right. Governor Dean, are you surprised by the decision that was
made by HHS last night basically after the news cycle had closed, to
essentially exempt those folks, very small percentage of population that
had these canceled plans, to exempt them from the mandate?
HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Well, first thing, it`s a
law firm, McKenna Long & Aldridge, not lobbying firm.
DEAN: No, we do do some government stuff.
So, am I surprised? No. Look, this is, we essentially -- this bill
essentially was written as a contract between the government and the
insurance agency -- insurance business. Both liked it that way. That`s
how it was written in the Senate Finance Committee. There are going to be
What happened as a result of this bill is that the insurance industry
married the government, and for better or worse, and there are going to be
a lot of bumps along the way and this is one of them.
And I think the president`s doing the right thing because you`ve got
to take care of the people that fell through the cracks. And all the
people are not entirely the fault of insurance companies. Some of that is
oversight and legislature and some of that is the Web site not working
right for a long time.
But it`s the president`s job to make sure as many people get health
insurance as possible and that`s what he`s doing here.
HAYES: There`s a weird thing, Josh, that`s happened, which is that on
two successive adjustments the White House has made, you end up in a
situation where the right has been pillaring the president. Oh, people`s
plans are being canceled. The president says, OK, you know what, we`ve
heard you, we`re going to allow those -- we`ll extend the grandfather
period, we`re going to allow people to go back to those old plans. We`re
going to allow companies to keep offering them. And then, they say, well,
you`re imposing the mandate. OK, OK, we heard you.
And then, the response by conservatives be like, well, they`re just
yanking everybody around. They`re just doing whatever they please, as
opposed to saying they`re navigating this in some kind of way this is
responsive to people`s criticism.
JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: Well, you know, to some extent, those
criticisms are correct, and here`s where that is. So, for example, the
first thing where they said they`re going to extend the grandfathering on
these plans, people came back and asked the White House, what`s the legal
justification for that. And they said basically, they`re using their
discretion and not going to enforce the law in that way.
But, let`s say, for example, if you have a grandfather plan that
doesn`t cover maternity, and the law supposed to require that it covers
maternity care. Then you get in a year, and you get pregnant and you sue
your insurer and say you were supposed to cover maternity by law. The
insurer can`t very well go into the court and argue, well, the president
said it was OK, not what`s in the law.
DEAN: That`s exactly what they -- what they can argue and they will
if such a thing should happen.
BARRO: They`ll argue it, but I think the insurance company does not
have confidence that that argument will carry in court. And that`s part of
the broader problem with the sort of muddling through. I agree that
muddling through is necessary.
DEAN: I agree. I don`t agree. I think the problem with the
insurance company, they`re afraid it`s going to screw up their actuarial
data and they might lose money. That`s part of the deal.
If you get into this -- look, this is a huge boom to the insurance
company, why they spent all this money pushing it. And it`s a long-term
thing and not as short term thing, and they have to recognize that.
I know it`s hard to do business in an unsteady arena and that`s what
we`ve got now. We`re having a major change in the health insurance
industry. It`s not going to be done overnight. The insurance company is
in it whether they like it or not. And so far, they`ve mostly liked it.
HAYES: I also don`t, well, here`s my point. I want to understand.
There`s two cases to be made, right? You`re saying either there`s a
political and policy case, right? So, the question is, on the merits, it`s
good policy and then there`s the politics of it and there`s a level at
which politically, it looks like you`re being responsive.
At the same time, it also seems to cut out the legs from under the
people that were making the argument that you were just making before you
decided to allow these exemptions.
BARRO: No, absolutely, I think that`s true. And I think we`ve seen
it all over in the law. We`ve seen also like put the contraception
mandate, where a key part of the argument, that Hobby Lobby made about why
they shouldn`t have to cover contraceptives is, look, the law creates all
these other exceptions for other people who do not have to give out
insurance plans that cover contraceptives, so why can`t we get an
And the reasons that the law was built, sort of all this pieces put
together, trying to achieve universal health care without provisions that
actually individually apply to anybody was that how you can do it
politically. You marry not just the insurers but the health care
providers, and you cobble together something that isn`t actually quite the
universal health coverage, but will be coverage for a lot more people than
it was going today.
HAYES: And that`s the key thing, right? Is that the complexity of
the law, it`s complexity is a product of the complexity of the politics
that gave birth to it?
DEAN: That`s the problem. I mean, I can`t resist saying it even
though I`ve been defending this, because I think it`s a lot better than
doing nothing. You know, I signed up for Medicare a month ago. It took me
DEAN: If there had been an option, none of this, none of this would
have been, none of this uproar because the public option would have been
used heavily. Of course, that`s the last thing the insurance companies
wanted, insurance companies wanted and they managed to kill it in the last
HAYES: The other background context in this, aside from these waivers
and exceptions, is the fact the pace, here`s a chart of the pace of
estimated weekly Affordable Care Act sign-ups. They are -- I mean, they
are rocketing. That is looking, that`s the kind of thing that you want to
BARRO: Yes, absolutely. That`s a chart we put together for a story I
did. But you`ll see it says including leak on there, that`s because HHS
has not actually been very forthcoming about what these numbers are. We
think that`s what the numbers were.
BARRO: Since we put this story out, we`ve gotten more numbers from
the White House to make clear that is what the trend has looked like. And
it keeps zooming upward like that. The White House actually might get to
the 7 million sign-ups number they said they want for this year, which
would be a very good trend.
It would have been nice if the Web site was working better so that
this would have been shifted back a little earlier and the story has about
this would have been a little bit later. But I think the people can
breathe a sigh of relief compared to where we were a month ago, where we
were afraid that really the participation would end up being very --
HAYES: Yes, is that the way you`re feeling, Governor?
DEAN: Yes. I do. Look, what they did, this is essentially Governor
Romney`s plan in Massachusetts. It took them five years to get to where
they are, which is having about 98.5 percent of all their people insured.
This will work. It`s our universal health care system, which the
Congress voted to make, to put in the private sector. Ordinary, normal
Republicans would be thrilled with this, but these Republicans are just
obsessed with taking down Obama and they don`t care what the merits are,
which makes me laugh about the various sides of the argument they`re in.
Nobody gives the damn about what the Republicans say about this,
except for the 35 percent that are dyed in the wool Republicans because
they made themselves irrelevant. They haven`t tried to make it better.
They`ve just caused trouble.
Obama`s in this on his own, with some help of congressional people. I
think he`s going to get there. I really do.
HAYES: Well, I think that turnaround. I mean, it has to be stressed
over and over, where this looked a week or two weeks after the launch of
the Web site to now, the actual fix of the Web site that happened was an
incredible turn around. I mean, this thing was screwed up over the course
of several years.
DEAN: That`s true.
HAYES: And was essentially fixed in eight weeks.
DEAN: Which is amazing considering how screwed up it was.
HAYES: Exactly, considering how screwed up it was.
BARRO: Yes. Or at least it`s toward. I mean, I do still worry about
these back end problems. So-called 834 forms that are going to insurers
that either in some cases have incorrect information or more worrying cases
are missing. I think we`re going to learn more things over the next few
months of exactly how many people have various problems with this.
These things aren`t going to matter very much two or three years out.
But I think the administration did make a high stakes bet here where they
said they delayed a lot of regulations until after the 2012 elections.
They had the exchanges open just three months before a lot of people were
going to lose their plans under the old system.
So the rollout was sort of dependent on these things being able to
work on a tight schedule they couldn`t actually work on.
BARRO: So that created problems for this year. But, hopefully, it
shouldn`t create problems.
HAYES: I was -- I have to say, my own personal from following this
closely, day in/day out, coming into this building everyday, looking at it,
my feeling about this right now is really, really encouraged by what we are
seeing with those numbers.
Josh Barro from "Business Insider", and former governor of Vermont,
Dr. Howard Dean -- thank you both.
DEAN: Thanks very much, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, this guy is a current congressman and he is running
for Senate in Georgia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JACK KINGSTON (R), GEORGIA: Why don`t you have the kids pay a
dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing
as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s Republican Congressman Jack Kingston and he might be
the least conservative of the candidates in this race. But not all hope is
lost. I`ll tell you why, ahead.
HAYES: Some great news out of Utah. Just a few hours ago, a federal
judge struck down that state`s ban on same-sex marriage. That`s right, in
Utah. Red state. These are the people already standing in line, waiting
to get married at the Salt Lake County clerk`s office.
These pictures tweeted out by Alex Cabrero (ph), reporter for KSL News
in Salt Lake City. It is an incredible scene, and we`ll be talking more
about this later in the show.
I felt like the occasion called for a question. Which will be the
next red state to hand out marriage licenses to same-sex couples? Tweet
your answers @allinwithchris, post to Facebook.com/allinwithchris. I`ll
share a couple at the end of the show. So, stay tuned.
HAYES: Last night, we played you a clip of Georgia Republican
Representative Jack Kingston offering his distaste for free lunch programs.
Kingston said poor kids should pay at least a small amount for their lunch
or maybe sweep the floor to have cafeteria if they want food. He went on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KINGSTON: Yes, I understand that would be an administrative problem
and I understand that it would probably lose your money. But think of what
we would gain as a society in getting people -- getting the myth out of
their head that there`s such thing as a free lunch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Kingston turned to CNN this morning to do some damage control.
And his message was simple -- I wasn`t talking about poor kids. I was
talking about every kid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KINGSTON: I never did say poor kids. Absolutely, this is not
targeted to any one group. All kids can benefit from it. It would be
good. We do not want to pick on any kid in any socioeconomic class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, of course. Of course we don`t want to pick any kid.
That sounds reasonable.
It`s just one little thing. He was definitely talking about poor
kids. The entire conversation was in the context of the federal free lunch
program, which Kingston had complained was very expensive right before he
made the comments that got him in trouble.
It serves families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty
line. Those are the kids who want be sweeping the cafeteria floors no
matter what spin he`s feeding CNN now.
And Jack Kingston is just one of the three current House Republicans
running for the Georgia Senate seat that`s being vacated by Saxby
Chambliss. And it`s quite a group.
That guy in the middle, Representative Phil Gingrey, he`s the guy who
complained that he`s stuck in Congress making $174,000 a year. He also
said last year that Todd Aiken was partly right in suggesting a woman can
shut down her body when she is raped so she doesn`t get pregnant.
And there`s Representative Paul Broun who said so many amazing things,
it`s really hard to just pick just one.
But, OK, let`s go with this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL BROUN (R), GEORGIA: All the stuff I was taught about
Evolution and embryology, Big Bang Theory, all that is just lies straight
from the pit of hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That guy is on the House Science Committee, by the way. So,
if you`re a liberal, all this might confirm your preconceptions about the
state of Georgia. Deep red, nothing but far right wingers, a lost cause
But, look closer, because it turns out Georgia isn`t nearly as red as
you think. This is a state Mitt Romney won by just eight points last year,
a state where polls suggest that two Democrats Senate candidate Michelle
Nunn and gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter have real chances to win
statewide office next year.
In a state where there`s a real populous movement brewing, on January
13th, Georgia liberals plan to hold their first Moral Monday event to
protest Georgia Governor Nathan Deal`s refusal to accept the federal
Medicaid expansion, among other issues. The event is modeled on a Moral
Monday protest held this year in North Carolina, in which thousands came
out every week to register their opposition to their state`s lurch to the
So, instead of despairing over the antics of Georgia`s Republican
Senate candidate, think about this, as political scientist (INAUDIBLE) puts
it, a blue Georgia might happen much sooner than you think.
Joining me now is Janice Mathis, vice president of Rainbow Push
Coalition. She is based in Atlanta. She`s one of the people helping to
organize a new Moral Monday push in Georgia.
And, Ms. Mathis, what is the plan here? What do you hope to achieve
by bringing people to the capital and pressuring the governor?
JANICE MATHIS, RAINBOW PUSH: We hope to have the governor understand
that not everyone is to the far extreme right like the comments that you
hear from some of the congressional representatives.
You know, what this really boils down to is what`s fair? You know,
everybody deserves and needs to be able to see a doctor. It`s estimated
that some 600,000 Georgians would benefit from Medicaid expansion and some
70,000 jobs would be created. Jobs we desperately need.
Instead of forcing children to work for their lunch, let`s put their
parents to work.
HAYES: There is a big demographic change that`s happening in the
state of Georgia. It`s not that dissimilar from Texas, which is also
trending. In 2000, Georgia was 63 percent white. In 2010, it was 56
How is that changing the statewide politics of the state?
MATHIS: Well, in some sense, it has made the politics more polarized
because you have people who fear the change that is coming and so, they`re
holding on and coming up with very draconian measures like refusing to
extend Medicaid in a way of holding on to power. And you see Democratic
moves like voter suppression in order to keep people from voting. If we
don`t have the right numbers to win, then we`ll shave a few points to keep
people from voting.
HAYES: How much have you learned from the North Carolina model?
Obviously, North Carolina has launched far to the right. There has been
the Moral Monday protest. It has had a political effect in so far that
it`s driven down the approval rating of Republicans there.
What lessons are you taking from what they`ve done in North Carolina?
MATHIS: Well, we`ve been very careful to make sure that the Moral
Monday movement in Georgia is multiracial, multiethnic, multi-issue. We`re
focusing first on Medicaid because that is a broad-based issue around which
a lot of people can find consensus and agree and we think that`s very
HAYES: Are we going to see Georgia move into the blue column in the
MATHIS: If you pay attention to the demographers, the change is
almost inevitable. But more important than just red or blue, you know,
Moral Monday really gets authority from really the right thing to do.
Don`t we want good schools for all children? I can remember before we
had free lunch. I went to school. I can remember going to the class and
going to the cafeteria and leaving half the class behind because they
couldn`t afford 20 cents a day for lunch, and we`d wrap up our extra food
and bring it back so our classmates could eat.
We don`t want to go back to that. That`s immoral in a country with as
much as we have.
HAYES: You know, you alluded to this before. One the phenomena we
see playing across states in the South particularly is that despite the
fact that those states would in raw numerical terms be huge beneficiaries
on Medicaid expansion, despite the fact that they are beneficiaries in that
sense of things like the food stamp program, they are electing members of
Congress, they are electing members of the state legislature who then vote
against those things -- how do you account for the disconnect between the
needs of people in the states in the South and what their representatives
MATHIS: Some of it that we have in this country a great inspirational
aspiration. We think we can all become wealthy and we can all be middle
class and that`s great. We should have that upwardly mobile ambitious.
But on the other hand, people want to distance themselves -- there`s a
sort of ugly undercurrent of, if you`re poor in this country, it must be
because you did something wrong, that there must be something wrong with
There`s nothing something wrong with minimum wage. There`s nothing
wrong with people having stagnant wages over the last two decades. There`s
nothing wrong with not having health care. There`s something wrong with
And that is the philosophy that I think is driving people to vote
against their own economic interest, frankly.
HAYES: You know, it`s one thing to say you`re going to bring a lot of
people out to a capital. It`s one thing to say you`re going to have
protests. It`s another entirely to get them to show up.
I mean, one of the remarkable things about the Moral Monday movement
in North Carolina was Monday after Monday, they were there with bigger and
bigger crowds, huge multiracial coalition of folks.
Can you have that kind of mobilization in your state?
MATHIS: We believe that we can. We believe that people in Georgia
and not just -- I don`t want to correct you -- but not just liberals, not
just Democrats. But people in general, people who view our public policy
as moving in an immoral direction, we believe will come out to express
HAYES: Janice Mathis from the Rainbow Push Coalition -- thank you
Coming up, day two in the "Duck Dynasty" quack down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
PHIL ROBERTSON, DUCK DYNASTY: People ask me to come and speak
I`m getting my sermon ready for duck commander day. I`m going to say
a few words.
So, I would take my duck calls and my bible and I would give them
instruction on ducks and biblical matters.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Turns out, Phil Robertson`s interview with "G.Q." wasn`t the
first time he`s made his views on gay people known. We have tape of one of
his sermons. We will play it for you, ahead.
HAYES: Today, a billion people woke up to images like this flashed
across their TV screens. And the front pages of their newspapers.
The protesters you`re watching right now, more than 1 billion people
who live in India, represent the biggest story going right now. The epic
diplomatic stand off that has erupted between the United States and India,
it all centers on one woman. Devyani Khobragade, a 39-year-old Indian
deputy consul general living in New York.
Now, last week, after a five-month investigation, Khobragade was
arrested. Prosecutors charged that she stated on a visa application she
would pay her domestic worker the legally required wage of $9.75 an hour.
That`s the prevailing wage. It`s required by law she`d pay her that.
But she then created a second document where she removed the legal
requirement worker protections and stated she would pay her much less, just
over $3 an hour. Khobragade says that she was arrested outside her
children`s school and strip searched. In a statement that absolutely
caught fire throughout the Indian media, she said quote, "I broke down many
times as the indignities were repeated handcuffing, stripping and cavity
searches, swabbing and a hold off with common criminals and drug addicts,
despite my incessant assertions of immunity."
The reaction to her arrest and purported treatment in India has
largely been outrage. Protesters flooded the streets, the Indian
government, who believes she should have received diplomatic immunity,
demanded an apology for the United States, summoned the U.S. ambassador to
India to New Delhi, even going so far to remove barricades from in front of
the U.S. embassy.
Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his, quote, "regret", at how
the incident played out, but the U.S. attorney, Preet Bharara, who ordered
the arrest, is not backing down. In a statement, he disputed Khobragade`s
central claims about her treatment, saying she was not as has been
incorrectly reported, arrested in front of her children and was accorded
courtesies well beyond what other defendants are accorded. He also said,
"One wonders why there is so much outrage about the allege treatment of the
Indian national accused of perpetrating these acts, but precious little
outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian victim and her spouse."
Joining me now is Narayan Lakshman, U.S. correspondent for "The
Narayan, why exactly has this become such an absolutely intense story
in the Indian media?
NARAYAN LAKSHMAN, U.S. CORRESPONDENT, THE HINDU: Well, Chris, I think
there are a couple of reasons. Firstly, looking at the Indian side of
things, it was her treatment during her detention, and even the fact of her
arrest, which has most contributed to the sense of outrage.
And like you correctly mentioned, the strip search, the cavity search,
the DNA swab, these are not things that you hear happening to a senior,
almost top level diplomat every day. And on top of that, there have been a
lot of questions about why there couldn`t have been alternative approaches.
So for example, couldn`t she have been given the option to surrender to the
court or to the police? Or even if she had to be arrested to make a point
about the charges she faced, could she perhaps have not been held in that
cell along with the general female prisoner population. Could she have
gone on straight to court and been given the option to post bail.
HAYES: It seems like there is a deeper emotional content here, right,
like this is essentially an indignity that has been visited upon
essentially a representative of the Indian state, and it`s tapping into
some people`s feelings about the United States as bully.
LAKSHMAN: That`s true. You usually hear about anti-American
sentiment in other countries, say in the context of drone strikes in
Pakistan, but you saw -- you put up the images of protests that happened.
There certainly is that sort of sentiment happening, maybe not on this
scale, in India. So I think there`s a lack of maybe full appreciation of
the way the justice and legal system work here regarding, you know, if you
have committed a crime, and in this case, the allegation is visa fraud.
You will go to jail. But having said that, going back to why even that is
being challenged is under the Vienna convention on consular relations of
1963, privileges are usually accorded to diplomats of this high level.
HAYES: So there`s a vote of contention about this idea of diplomatic
immunity. I find it fascinating, because I remember when I was first told
about the concept of diplomatic community as a kid, it sounded like
something from a comic book. It`s like, wait a second, you can just walk
around the streets of New York shooting people in the face and they can`t
do anything because you have diplomatic immunity? And there is an argument
right now about what level of protection extends her. The U.S. is saying
that basically, she is only accorded at her level, as a consular official,
only accorded immunity in her official capacity, if she`s doing things in
her official role, that does not extend to the alleged visa fraud in this
instance, is that right?
LAKSHMAN: That is absolutely correct. If you look closely at the
convention wording, that is what it sort of reflects, although it does say
that for a grave crime -- and that depends upon how you define grave -- it
is possible to prosecute for actions that are personal in nature and not
relating to official duties.
Now, the question though really beyond that. Here you`re talking
about privileges. You`re not talking about duties under the convention,
and it is in the realm of privileges that India has had a rather strong
reaction in terms of withdrawing everything from liquor licenses to the
protective barricades under the U.S. embassy to demanding the salary
figures for staff in U.S. embassies in India.
HAYES: I heard that. I want to highlight that. There is a demand
that the U.S. staff members of the embassy in India disclose how much they
are paying their domestic workers in India, which I thought was an
There`s also a genuine full-fledged diplomatic crisis that`s broken
out, and from the American side, what`s interesting here, right, is that
the U.S. attorney, the Department of Justice, particularly the U.S.
attorney, is independent in many respects from the secretary of state.
It`s not as if President Obama or John Kerry can call up a U.S. attorney
and say, stop pressing these charges. It should not be the case. That way
lies ruin and corruption, if you have the executive essentially putting
their thumb on the scale. So, John Kerry finds himself in a really, really
awkward position. He would rather have this go away, but he can`t very
well go tell the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York to
drop the charges.
LAKSHMAN: Exactly. And that is why it is such a big problem, and you
know, he has made an expression of regret, although it is not the full
fledged apology that Indians or the Indian government maybe is hoping for,
but I think there isn`t a full understanding maybe that at least in the
Indian public`s mind, and that`s why you`re seeing these protests, there
are these nuances about how the U.S. government works.
But having said that, Chris, there are some complicating factors as
well to the immunity questions, such as the case of Raymond Davis, who in
2011, in Lahore, killed several people and was incarcerated. And President
Obama was on the record saying a principle of consular immunity had to be
HAYES: Let`s be very clear. This is someone, an American in
Pakistan, who shot and killed two people, if I am not mistaken, in broad
daylight on the streets of Lahore. I believe on a motorcycle.
HAYES: And the United States government had the official position
that he was protected by diplomatic immunity.
LAKSHMAN: Right, whereas the Pakistani side I think claimed that he
was not a diplomatic staffer and he did not have diplomatic immunity, and
there were lots of reports that he was in fact working with the CIA.
HAYES: He is not, we should note, in a Lahore prison, which is part
LAKSHMAN: A few months later, he was being paid what is called blood
money and he was released.
HAYES: Narayan Lakshman from the Hindu, thanks so much for your time
LAKSHMAN: Thank you, my pleasure.
HAYES: There are some very important late-breaking developments we
feel we must bring you on one of the biggest news stories of the week that
involve this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You must be Phil.
PHIL ROBERTSON: I`m what`s left of him.
My idea of happiness is killing things, bum bow bow boom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Details ahead.
HAYES: Are you losing track of your December culture wars? Well, we
here at "ALL IN" are here to help. We put a team of reporters on it, and
after lengthy quantitative analysis, we`ve come up with this handy chart.
On a culture war intensity scale of one to ten, with nerf sword fighting at
one and all-out nuclear holocaust at ten, we got the black Santa
contretemps coming in at a solid 5; pajama boy sitting at a relatively
peaceful two; and the story we`re going to bring you in a moment, the "Duck
Dynasty" wars, topping the charts. Field reports from some of your
favorite "ALL IN" culture war correspondents, next.
HAYES: A huge surprise victory today in the fast evolving marriage
equality front. We will get to the details of that very important
substantive victory in a moment, but it`s a win that comes on day two of
"Duck Dynasty" culture war, which is now threatening to go nuclear. The
Robertson family issued a statement hinting they might walk away from their
A&E show if the network stands by its suspension of patriarch Phil
Robertson, who is suspended for his now famous anti-gay remarks to a GQ
reporter. The family framed the issue as a matter of their own religious
faith. Quote, "while some of Phil`s unfiltered comments to the reporter
were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. As a
family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at
the helm." And it`s not like there`s any way the network executives at A&E
could possibly have anticipated something like this. I mean, after all,
here`s Phil Robertson delivering a sermon at a church in Pennsylvania in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: The first thing you see tonight that (inaudible) is gross
sexual immorality. They will dishonor their bodies with one another,
degrade each other. Women with women. Men with men. They committed
indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due
penalty for their perversions. They are heartless. They are faithless.
They are senseless. They are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: He seems nice. Of course, it`s tough to see what part of the
Bible Phil Robertson was preaching from when he said this about pre-Civil
Rights African-Americans in the South. Quote, "I never with my own eyes
saw the mistreatment of any black person. They were singing and happy. I
never heard one of them, one black person, say I tell you what, these
doggone white people. Not a word. Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare. You say
were they happy? They were godly. They were happy. No one," and this is
my favorite, "no one was singing the blues."
And yet according to an Illinois congressional candidate, Republican
Ian Bayne, "Duck Dynasty`s" Phil Robertson is a lot like Rosa Parks.
Quote, "Parks, famous for refusing to give up her seat on a bus for a white
person, provided inspiration for a movement of equality of black people and
white people. What Parks did was courageous. What Mr. Robertson did was
So the award for worst misuse of syllogistic logic ever goes to that
guy. But the piece de resistance of the December culture war of culture
wars comes courtesy of Congressman Steve Stockman, who is challenging
fellow Republican John Cornyn for his Senate seat in 2014. And here it is,
it`s a masterpiece. A tweet from Stockman`s communications director.
"Whose side are you on?" Senator Cornyn, depicted here as pajama boy, the
onesie-wearing, cocoa sipping pansy, or Stockman, the bearded camo wearing
hater of all things gay. And of course, now we get to the real news. All
of this is happening on the day a federal judge in Utah declared that
state`s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. That`s right, a federal
judge declared today that a state ban on marriage equality violated the
14th Amendment of the Constitution. And by the end of the day, this gay
couple was getting married and tweeting it for all to see. Me and my new
husband. My polygamist Mormon great grandparents would be so proud.
Which is evidence of just how fast the marriage equality movement is
evolving in this country even as the culture war that surrounds it rages
Rejoining me now for discussion, Josh Barro, politics editor for
"Business Insider." Also Jordan Carlos, stand-up comedian, played a
recurring character on the "Colbert Report," now featured in "Guy Code,
Girl Code and Guy Court" on TV. Imagine I got that right? And Maya Wiley,
president and founder of the Center for Social Inclusion." And Matthew
Breen, editor in chief of "The Advocate," and Matthew, I believe, a Utah
native. Is that correct?
MATTHEW BREEN, EDITOR IN CHIEF, THE ADVOCATE: Yes. I grew up there.
HAYES: So, this is big.
HAYES: It`s astonishing.
HAYES: This is a very big deal.
BREEN: On the way over, I got to talk to Peggy Thompson (ph), who was
the lead attorney on the case. What she came away with is if it can happen
here, it can happen anywhere. But she was elated, of course. It was
really surprising to me that the judge cited Antonin Scalia, his dissent in
the DOMA case in his judgment, and also that as soon as the judgment came
down, there was no stay. So, marriage could happen--
HAYES: That`s the craziest thing. Looks like the Utah attorney
general is going to file for an emergency stay.
HAYES: If I am not mistaken.
BREEN: And the plaintiffs have to respond to that by the morning, but
in the meantime, anybody who is married, and there is no waiting period for
BREEN: Yes, go get married right now.
HAYES: Do not cross go. Do not collect the $200. Go down. This is
from the ruling. "Current law denies its gay and lesbian citizens their
fundamental right to marry, and in so doing, demeans the dignity of these
same-sex couples for no rational reason." It fails rational basis test,
which is a big deal in terms of the court`s legal logic. Accordingly, the
court finds these laws are unconstitutional.
The reason that I think these two things, sort of happening, one,
obviously, this silly stupid cultural war story, that is also like
impossible not to talk about and think about. The two are obviously
connected. This is the America in which this is happening that is the
context for the fact that people cannot help but just jump in the trenches
on this culture war. Right?
MAYA WILEY, CENTER FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION: Oh, absolutely. You know,
it`s, how do we have a public conversation about who gets to love whom?
And how we interpret it. And some of that conversation happens in the
courts, and much of it happens happens outside, but the two always get
connected. I just want to point out, one of the things that bothers me
about the whole "Duck Dynasty" conversation -- there are actually black,
gay and lesbian people.
HAYES: That`s true, Venn diagrams 101.
HAYES: And LGBT Christians as well.
HAYES: That gets to the point. We all run into, what happens in
these things, I saw it happen with the Dixie Chicks, it happens when you
get these culture war flare-ups. Which are, again, they`re irresistible
because there`s some part of us that is like pulling our tribal
affiliations, and also, you`re angry because people say offensive things.
Josh, you basically like doubled down on culture war today. You`re
like, there`s two Americas and one is better than the other. Is what you
said. There`s one America where comparing homosexuality to bestiality is
considered acceptable, another where it is rude and offensive. There are
two Americas, one of which is better than the other, and it`s instructive
who`s sticking up for the worse America.
JOSH BARRO, POLITICAL EDITOR, BUSINESS INSIDER: There were so many
things in Phil Robertson`s remarks that were offensive. He also said that
like, the reason Pearl Harbor happened was that Shintos don`t believe in
Jesus, so if you`re a gay, black Shinto --
BARRO: I think there`s something very specific. You say like the
culture war rages on, but the culture war is very different from how it was
10 years ago on gay issues.
HAYES: Yes, hold that thought, because this is about to me, it`s all
about rear guard (ph), it`s actually about late phase culture war on this
issue particularly, the juxtaposition of the two. Want to talk about that
right after we take this break.
HAYES: Earlier in the show, we asked you which red state would be
next to issue marriage licenses. You posted a ton of answers for our
Facebook and Twitter pages, like Sharon from Facebook says if Judge Terence
C. Kern (ph) of the Northern District of Oklahoma would rule on our lawsuit
filed nine years ago, Oklahoma could be next." The case is Bishop v.
Oklahoma, United States of America. Marcus on Facebook says Texas is
debating the constitutionality of the ban on same-sex marriage. They don`t
recognize same-sex marriage, what is the state`s role in same-sex divorce.
That would be a big state to overturn their ban. Thanks. Stay tuned.
HAYES: We`re back. I am here with Josh Barro, Jordan Carlos, Maya
Wiley and Matthew Breen. Josh, you were just saying how this was different
than ten years ago.
BARRO: Ten years ago, you had forces against gay marriage and gay
rights really thinking they could win political victories and winning them
in states. Now, they`re really resigned to the fact that they`ve lost
this, the culture has fallen away from them, and they`re basically begging
to be allowed to express these views and continue to have cable shows.
HAYES: Which is precisely, Jordan, what puts A&E in such a tight spot
on this, because in some ways, right, and I said this last night, they knew
what they were getting, and I don`t quite understand what message is being
sent. Is the message you shouldn`t have these views? Well, they have
these views. You gave these people a reality show. Is the message you
shouldn`t tell these views to a reporter?
JORDAN CARLOS, COMEDIAN: They had to do something, right?
HAYES: From a business perspective, yes.
CARLOS: They had to do something. But A&E, they made their hay stuff
little bed and now, they got to sleep in it, and you know, I was lost in
all this and I`m kind of upset about it. Robertson said that he among the
other people going to hell were male prostitutes, and why are we not upset
about that? Female prostitutes, he didn`t mention.
CARLOS: They`re right in. So, we now have male prostitutes, Shinto.
HAYES: That quote is really -- I mean, (inaudible) had a perfect
response to that today, which is about lynching in Louisiana, yeah, you`re
not going to meet people who said doggone white people, because there was a
campaign of state sanctioned terrorism being directed against them at every
single moment, and they were afraid for their lives and their children`s
lives. So yes, they probably wouldn`t have taken the risk of saying
something like that to you in a state (ph) that was bringing this kind of
violence. But I want to get back to A&E`s decision here, Matthew. What do
you want to see them do?
BREEN: Well, one of the things that`s interesting about this is that
A&E`s audience is not just -- excuse me, it`s audience, but it`s sponsors.
If its sponsors don`t like what`s happened to the show, if they thought
they had bought into an all-American, folksy, homespun idea, and it turns
out to be this very racist, homophobic, anti-American sort of sentiment--
HAYES: The sentiment`s not in the show. Right?
BREEN: They`re still buying the persona. And whatever, GQ is buying
the persona, too when they do an interview like that.
HAYES: I disagree with that. If you interview someone, I`m not quite
sure I buy that. I mean, GQ interviewed someone. It`s like when you
interview -- I had people on my show, I had Paul Wolfowitz on my show. I`m
serious, I am not buying the Paul --
WILEY: Don`t you think though it`s a little amazing there`s not a
right-wing outrage that anyone would be upset about A&E trying to protect
its free margin?
HAYES: And there`s also all this crazy invocation of the First
Amendment, which is like completely ignorant of the nature of the First
CARLOS: Yes, you`re free to say whatever you want, but people are
also free to respond.
HAYES: And the market is free to do what it will.
WILEY: But wouldn`t it be brilliant if what A&E actually did was have
him on and have a discussion group about these issues?
HAYES: Are you out of your mind? You are not going to be --
(inaudible) hiring Maya Wiley to be a television executive, do not do that.
WILEY: But that`s the conversation we need to have.
BARRO: I think most of these people -- you have Bobby Jindal saying
this was a First Amendment issue, Bobby Jindal who was a Rhodes scholar and
graduate of your alma mater, Brown University.
BARRO: Most of the conservative politicians who have been speaking up
for free speech, they understand what they`re talking about. They
understand there`s no legal right to be on A&E. They are making the case
that these should be acceptable things to say.
HAYES: Here`s the other thing. The other thing is -- what`s
fascinating to me is that as we evolve so quickly, we`re not in 2004. You
can`t win things -- you can`t win those ballot initiatives that Karl Rove
planted (ph) in states in 2004. You`ve got a federal judge declaring the
marriage in ban in Utah unconstitutional. On this very day. It still is
the case that Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and everyone in that
crowded Republican field who is thinking 2016 thinks that the thing to do
here is to rally around "Duck Dynasty," right?
BREEN: Well, that may, they may have similar -- talk about Venn
diagrams, they may have similar audiences, these folks. And "Duck
CARLOS: Is this like a Chick-fil-a situation?
HAYES: It becomes polarized in precisely the same way. Right? Where
it fits into people`s sense of grievance, their sense that we are
increasingly a minority amongst a fallen nation that is being persecuted
for our godly beliefs. And I weirdly think, getting back to what you were
saying, I find these views abhorrent, but I don`t see -- this is the show
that people like to watch, like, and these people have these views.
HAYES: And I think if you were saying this on the show, it would be a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being aggrieved sells, and it sells for
politicians, just like it does for everybody else.
HAYES: There`s nothing better. Someone tweeted this. There`s no
better identity to craft yourself in America than the kind of aggrieved,
besieged, working class millionaire. These people are extremely wealthy.
They run this multimedia empire. They have had five New York Times best-
sellers. They have the highest rated show on A&E, and they had this huge
successful business before they got the show. And it`s like, oh, these
poor humble folks with their beards. Like, these people have massive
amounts of influence in America. Josh Barro, comedian Jordan Carlos, Maya
Wiley from the Center for Social Inclusion, Matthew Breen from "The
Advocate," thank you, all. That is all for this evening. "The Rachel
Maddow Show" starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
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ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES