ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
January 17, 2014
Guests: Valerie Huttle, Anthony Romero, A.O. Scott, Aisha Harris, David Edelstein
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
We have a big show tonight, including news about West Virginia and the
company responsible for the spill you will only see on this program.
But, miles north in New Jersey today, we now know who got the subpoenas.
Today, confirmation of 20 people and organizations who have officially been
served. Many of the names we`ve talked about on the show before, Regina
Egea, Christie`s incoming chief of staff, Bridget "Time for some traffic
problems in Fort Lee" Kelly, David Samson, chairman of Port Authority,
close adviser to the governor, and then there`s Christie himself.
Last night, I asked the man who is sending the subpoenas, Assemblyman John
Wisniewski, what about the governor?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Why didn`t you subpoena the governor?
STATE REP. JOHN WISNIEWSKI (D), NEW JERSEY: Well, I think it`s premature.
HAYES: You are not ruling that out, though?
WISNIEWSKI: We`re not ruling anything out and we`re not ruling anything
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Little did I know at time that he had, in a way, already subpoenaed
Chris Christie. The big bombshell today is that the office of the governor
has been served, and according to the subpoena, all documents are due on
February 3rd, so mark your calendars.
But the subpoenas are only half of today`s news, because documents tell you
one thing, there is no institute for an informant. And today, someone
stepped up and nominated himself for that role.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People call them rats because a rat will do anything to
survive. Isn`t that right, Mr. Hill?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection sustained.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I don`t know nothing about being a rat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Hill, you know everything about being a rat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, your honor.
HAYES (voice-over): Everybody knows that to make a good case, you`ve got
to get someone to rat. If we`re going to find out the full truth of what
happened in Fort Lee, somebody`s got to talk.
Well, today, David Wildstein raised his hand and said, me, I want to talk.
If, that is, he`s granted immunity. And if there`s a single person who
knows where the proverbial bodies are buried, it`s Wildstein.
DAVID WILDSTEIN, FORMER PORT AUTHORITY OFFICIAL: On the advice of my
counsel, I respectfully assert my right to remain silent under the United
States and New Jersey Constitutions.
HAYES: Wildstein is a legendary jersey political operative, who for years
ran an anonymous political blog, called "PolitickerNJ", where he wrote
under the pseudonym, Wally Edge.
So, how did a political blogger make it into a job at the Port Authority?
According to a former staffer, they were told to "find a place for
Wildstein at the executive level," and, oh, that the order was coming from
Then, like magic, a position was created specifically for Wildstein. He
was introduced to people as a good friend of the governor. One report from
2012 called Wildstein the governor`s eyes and ears inside the Port
Authority. Christie`s spokesperson said that same year that Wildstein was
there because he is well-suited to the task of playing a role in reforming
the Port Authority in accordance with the governor`s goals.
That all sounds a little different than this.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We didn`t travel the same circles in
high school. You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don`t
know what David was doing during that period of time.
HAYES: So, Chris Christie hardly knows Wildstein, but somehow he ends up
with a well-paying job at the Port Authority with no job description, and
it was the very same agency Christie was accused of turning into a
patronage mill in February 2012.
So, what exactly is the Port Authority? It is a massive, joint state
agency created in 1921, with nearly 7,000 employees, that runs a network of
airports, bridges, tunnel, and real estate, including the land where the
World Trade Center once stood.
And every time a truck passes over the George Washington Bridge, the Port
Authority charges a hefty toll, over 100 bucks for the really big trucks.
In 2012, the authority had a budget of $7 billion. Some of the employees
of the authority have salaries to match the budget. David Wildstein was
making $150,000 a year. His boss, Bill Baroni, was making almost $300,000.
That`s nearly double what Chris Christie earns as governor.
One former New York lawmaker described the agency structure as Soviet-style
So, it`s no wonder Chris Christie vowed to reform the agency.
CHRISTIE: It`s clear the authority needs greater, on the ground oversight,
to make sure that toll payer`s interests are being protected.
HAYES: And then in the summer of 2012, Christie vetoed a bill to increase
transparency. Earlier that year, he told "The Bergen Record" that he made
no apologies about trying to put some people in place who are going to
understand what the view of this administration is.
In August, the view from at least one person in the Christie administration
was that it was time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.
Now that David Wildstein is offering to talk, I would guess that people in
the governor`s office are getting nervous.
HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC`s resident New Jersey expert, Steve Kornacki,
the host of "UP," which airs weekends at 8:00 a.m.
You go back a while with David Wildstein, as you`ve disclosed and we`ve
talked about, and you`ve been saying throughout this that your
understanding of how he was acting is that he was ready to make a deal.
Today`s lawyer just came out and said, I`m ready to make a deal.
STEVE KORNACKI, "UP" HOST: Yes. Well, I have to say. The thing that`s
been reported so commonly, and I get why people make this connection, is
that David Wildstein and Chris Christie are roughly the same age, they come
from the same town, they attended the same high school at roughly the same
time. They`re not quite the same class year.
So Republicans and their political backgrounds have been saying, oh, it`s
this longtime friend of Chris Christie, they go way back together, and
therefore, the assumptions been that David Wildstein is acting to protect
HAYES: That he`s going to be loyal because they`re bodies.
KORNACKI: I`m telling you, it has never -- that was never my experience in
working -- now, I didn`t know him as David Wildstein, I knew him as Wally
Edge. Knowing him as Wally Edge, it was never my experience.
When I found out he was David Wildstein and I found out he had a connection
to Christie, looking back, it was never one of those moments like, aha.
Oh, yes, we were great on Chris Christie.
KORNACKI: The key, inside of everything, but with the Web site that I
worked for in New Jersey, that David Wildstein owned, he sold it after I
left, he sold it in 2007, and he sold it to probably Chris Christie`s
biggest mortal enemy in all of politics, the son of Chris Christie`s mortal
enemy, a guy named Jerry Kushner (ph). Charles Kushner was prosecuted by
Chris Christie. That`s one of the most powerful people who Chris Christie
infuriated as U.S. attorney. That`s who David Wildstein sold his media
MADDOW: So the point here is that, if you`re thinking, you know, Bridget
Kelly is sort of sending flags at "The New York Times" the other day being
like, I`m still here, boss, I`m a loyal soldier, and you`re expecting
loyalty, David Wildstein has sent no such signals and there`s no reason to
expect that he would be loyal.
KORNACKI: And he said the exact opposite signals now, twice. And again, I
don`t -- and the other thing, the giveaway is, when all of this started
last week, when you had the subpoenas from David Wildstein went public and
implicated one of the people and there was Bill Stepien, the night before
all that hit in the press, Christie`s announced Stepien is his choice to be
the new chairman of the state Republican Party. If there`s any backchannel
HAYES: He doesn`t do that.
KORNACKI: Right. So, that shows you there`s (INAUDIBLE) relationship.
HAYES: All right. I want to bring in New Jersey assemblywoman, Valerie
Vainieri Huttle, a Democrat who represents the area around Fort Lee.
My big question to you is, the Port Authority. There was a great quip, I
think it was Matt Yglesias who writes for "Slate", during this whole thing
said, the entire Port Authority is an abuse of power.
HAYES: This entire entity! What is this entity? Why is it so powerful?
STATE REP. VALERIE HUTTLE (D), NEW JERSEY: When Christie`s first became
governor, he had a pledge to the people to really clean up all of the
independent authorities. And so when we had those massive toll hikes
increase, we wanted accountability and transparency, see where the money
So, we had the Port Authority Transparency and Accountability Act. I
worked with New York state assembly members and senators in a bipartisan
way, I worked with the other side of the aisle and we passed both Houses
and he vetoed it.
So what was he protecting? Was he protecting the patronage mill of the
Port Authority? He certainly wasn`t protecting the commuters, because when
they had those public meetings, ting there were about eleven in one day,
three days later, there was a toll increase. So, whether that was going
through the motions of having those public meetings --
HAYES: So, you guys tried to bring transparency to the --
HUTTLE: And accountability.
HAYES: At the same time, he`s stuffing people in there, he`s finding jobs
for people. He`s giving an ally -- I mean, I have to say, $300,000 a year
for the job that Bill Baroni has, I`m sure that`s a hard, he works very
hard, but that`s a lot of money. I mean, there`s no one on the state
payroll I imagine --
HUTTLE: Look at the budget, $7 billion. That`s bigger than 26 states.
Look at the overtime they had, $90 million in overtime.
And during those toll hikes, they said, the money was going to help some of
the construction down at the World Trade Center. It never happened. Where
did the money go? And that`s what we want.
So, now, I am reintroducing the same bill. And when there are -- when
there are toll hikes, they will be required to have legislative oversight
and public meetings with real public participation.
HAYES: And there`s kind of two kind of themes here. We`ve been talking
about the sandy money and have been tracking the Sandy money on the show
and reporting it. That`s a whole bunch of money. It`s, you know, $25
billion has been appropriated, about $800 million to $900 million has been
spent. There`s another billion in the bank.
And there`s an attempt to get transparency on that vetoed. Treasures bill
passed, vetoed. Transparency bill on Port Authority, vetoed.
And it seems to me there`s a little bit of a theme here. You`ve got these
two big pots of money that are places where you can wield some power, as a
KORNACKI: That`s the story of the Port Authority. You put the salary up
on the screen, I can`t tell you how many times covering New Jersey policy,
you talk to a legislator or something and say, this was the dream job.
KORNACKI: The ambitious ones who say, I want to go to Congress and Senate
and see myself as a future president, there are the dream jobs for the
lifer New Jersey politician is deputy executive director of the Port
Authority, because you get in that salary, they`re also paying for your
housing in New York City. You get to live in New York for free.
HAYES: I`ve made it out of Jersey, I make $300,000 a year.
KORNACKI: I remember looking at it saying, who`s staff do I need to get
on? I want that job some day, you know?
HAYES: And has the Port Authority traditionally been, I mean, I guess the
question is that article that was ran back in February `12 saying, people
are concerned that Christie is using this as a patronage mill. Has that
been the tradition in Jersey politics, or was Christie sort of pushing this
HUTTLE: I`m probably sure it has been a tradition, but it`s the type of
governor we have today, the governor. He wants to clean up the authority,
so he has not done anything to, again, protecting that culture still.
And I think that`s why the culture is there, and that`s why this
investigation is so important. Let`s see where this goes.
HAYES: You know, the irony here, of course, is that you have some Chris
Christie, who made his name in New Jersey politics as the U.S. attorney.
And he made his name as an attorney, as prosecuting a lot of public
officials, getting tons of convictions and tons of pleas, right, Steve?
I mean, this was -- this was the thing. There was Jersey politics. It was
a corrupt boss system. There was all this penny, petty stuff happening at
municipal levels, and this mayor and that mayor led out in handcuffs in
front of the cameras, your man fighting for you, Chris Christie. And now,
here he finds himself as governor with a lot of questions that put him on
the other side of that kind of equation.
KORNACKI: No, absolutely. But, of course, his rise to governor was built
on sort of the contradiction you`re talking about because he has received
support. He`s received quiet support and loud support in other ways from
powerful Democrats in the state.
One of whom is his group of Democrats in South Jersey. Their boss is
George Norcross. He declined to prosecute George Norcross. And George
Norcross is one of his top political allies.
HAYES: So speaking of Christie, we`ve been talking about the Sandy money
and we`ve been talking about this one story that`s come out of Hoboken.
And the Hoboken mayor stepped forward the other day, and she basically
said, you know, my town was just destroyed by Sandy. I asked for $100
million in Sandy Money. I got $300,000. OK?
There`s the chart right there. I asked for $100 million, got $300,000.
My understanding is, you`ve got some news, tomorrow`s program on this
story. What`s going on?
KORNACKI: Yes, this is the big tease. But I think this is an important
story and I hope people will get up at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning to watch
this because we`ve gotten some documents that point -- the story that`s
been out there is, oh, she declined to endorse Chris Christie and therefore
did not get Sandy money.
We`ve got documents that point to a very different story. It`s a story
she`s agreed to come on the show and she`s going to talk about tomorrow.
It involves some of the names that have been out there. We`ve been talking
about for the last two weeks. It involves some new names.
And I think it`s a very --
HAYES: Wait a second, the mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, we have not tried
to book her on show, she`s going to come on your show tomorrow and she`s
going to say, here`s the real reason -- I know why I didn`t get this money
and here`s what it is.
KORNACKI: Yes. And we`ve got some interesting documents that you`re going
to want to see that will -
HAYES: Steve Kornacki, you`re going to want to get up tomorrow morning at
8:00 a.m. I will absolutely be in front of the television watching that
here on MSNBC. And, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, thank you both.
HUTTLE: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Earlier this week, we reported on the Elk River
chemical spill that poisoned the water for more than 300,000 West Virginia
residents, and we reported on the many questions surrounding the company
responsible, Freedom Industries.
Tonight, there is breaking news on this story you will not see anywhere but
here. So stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In fact, during the course
of our review, I`ve often reminded myself, I would not be where I am today,
were it not for the courage of dissidents, like Dr. King, who were spied
upon by their own government. And as president, a president who looks at
intelligence every morning, I also can`t help but be reminded that America
must be vigilant in the face of threats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president spoke at the Department of Justice today, striking a
signature Barack Obama note. As in his most famous and effective speech
about race in the wake of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright controversy, Barack
Obama once again placed himself as a figure who has lived on both sides of
a huge controversial divide in American life. And a figure who uniquely
understands how each views the other from across that ideological divide.
But today, instead of the perspective of a biracial man raised by a white
mother and white grandparents in Hawaii, it was someone who went from
community organizer to constitutional law professor, to senator civil
libertarian and critic of the Bush administration, to now the man who
oversees the most powerful massive intelligence operation in the history of
And today, in very classic Obama fashion, he urged all parties in this
growing spirited public debate about the proper role and strength of
surveillance, to find a middle path.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The basic values of most Americans when it comes to questions of
surveillance and privacy converge a lot more than the crude
characterizations that have emerged over the last several months. Those
who are troubled by our existing programs are not interested in repeating
the tragedy of 9/11. And those who defend these programs are not
dismissive of civil liberties.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president also made the point that many civil libertarians
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty
cannot depend on good intentions of those in power. It depends on the law,
to constrain those in power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And yet, the vast majority of concrete proposals today from the
president are executive branch directives, subject to complete reversal by
a future president, with less good intentions.
Twelve years into the explosion of a secret government spying apparatus,
can anything short of radical action, actually bring it to heel? That`s
And joining me now is Anthony Romero, executive director of the American
Civil Liberties Union, a fellow Bronx native.
High points and low points, for you, of the speech.
ANTHONY ROMERO, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: Well, waited a long --
first, good to see you, Chris.
We waited a long time for this speech. I mean, this is a series of issues
and debates that we`ve been pushing at from the beginning of the aftermath
of 9/11, from the Patriot Act, October 2001.
So, we give the president credit to finally address some of the key issues
we`ve been raising all throughout this debate.
So, the high points, the good things. The need for the greater
transparency in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Terrific.
You know, we should have published opinions of the Foreign Intelligence
HAYES: This is the secret court that was began in the 1970s as a reform,
right, as a way to say, OK, here`s how we`re going to strike the balance,
right? We want some kind of process, but not everything to be public, so
we make secret court.
ROMERO: And they have judicial opinions that are written up, but never
ROMERO: So, we`re going to have greater transparency of those legal
opinions, terrific, truly.
Second, the idea that we`re going to have now a panel of advocates to
provide an opposing point of view in this court -- also welcomed.
HAYES: And this was one of the recommendations of the president`s own
review panel. It`s, a recommendation of a lot of civil libertarians, which
is that these proceedings that are happening in these secret courts, in the
FISC court, right? You go and I say, judge, I`ve got this guy, he`s a
scary dude, I need a warrant, and the judge says, sounds good to me. And
there`s no one arguing on the other side.
ROMERO: Exactly. And what`s ironic here is that you have Judge Bates,
from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the chief judge,
appointed by Justice Roberts, who wrote the president a letter this week
saying, no, no, no, we don`t need anyone providing the opposing point of
view. We could do a good enough job as a judge, only hearing from the
Come on. This is the adversarial legal system. One plaintiff, one
defendant, a judge --
HAYES: What about the people who say, and I saw Hayden make the vote,
that`s the way it works, a New York City cops wants a warrant, he doesn`t
need a lawyer on the other side. He goes to the judge and gets a warrant.
ROMERO: But it`s much different here because of the magnitude of the
ROMERO: And even with the grand jury, you have much more system of checks
and balances in place.
HAYES: So let`s turn to the big metadata.
ROMERO: Those are the good things, now the bad things. The metadata, I`ve
read the speech nine, ten times. I`ve watched it, I read it. I know the
president says at one point in the speech, which is welcomed, that we`re
going to get out of the business of collecting this data on Americans.
But then later on in the speech, he kind of walks it back. And I`m not so
convinced that he really wants to stop the massive warehousing, collection,
and retention of American`s bulk data.
HAYES: Here`s how I`ve sort of been tracking this debate, and James
Clapper I think said this to our colleague, Andrea Mitchell, basically, the
idea is we collect everything. We just need to have it all. And then we
put it there, OK? It`s in the library.
And then the Constitution requires us to go to a court to get a warrant to
take the book off the shelf, right?
HAYES: And I think the question to me seems to be, are we OK,
constitutionally, as a society, with bulk collection being the norm?
ROMERO: That`s exactly right. The question is --
HAYES: And the speech does not resolve that.
ROMERO: The speech doesn`t -- he dodges it. And the question for us is
the fact that collecting the data is wrong. It`s unconstitutional.
The Fourth Amendment is really clear -- unreasonable searches and seizures.
So, OK, so you have judicial review, which the president says he`s going to
put in place to search the data bank, great. How about the seizure itself?
HAYES: OK, but here`s the thing, right? A seizure of a piece of paper in
1789 is a very different thing than a seizure now. Because that piece of
paper cannot be copied. And if you have it, I don`t, right?
Seizure, in a digital sense, when everything is copied or stored up, I`m
not deprived of it. And if you`ve got to look at it, you`ve got to look at
ROMERO: It`s so much more pernicious because the government can seize that
data and then use it however it wishes over time.
And the second thing, even with judicial review in place, we don`t fully
understand the methods by which the government is going to access that
data, the algorithms that develop. The ways in which they back into
probable cause or suspicion, after they`ve run a whole bunch of searches.
HAYES: But here`s the thing -- you do this for a living. You`re a
professional civil libertarian, OK?
Someone who is not a professional civil libertarian thinks, I don`t know,
they got all this stuff. My drop box backup account has all my
information. Facebook has all this information.
What is the case about -- here`s my question. If it`s not -- is the
argument that it will inevitably be abused?
HAYES: Is that the argument?
ROMERO: That`s one of the arguments. And the fact is that the government,
knowing that the government is collecting that data, will people be less
likely to communicate as freely and openly as they wish? Yes. Look, if
the American public --
HAYES: That`s an interesting thought. It actually has an impact on how
people conduct themselves as citizens.
ROMERO: Exactly. I mean, if I were someone who were a little bit
paranoid, which I`m not, really, but if I were someone who was a little bit
paranoid and I wanted to call the ACLU and tell them, I think the
government is doing something wrong.
And I was aware you have this metadata collection program whereby the
government was able to track my phone calls, to and from individuals, from
me to the ACLU, I`d be less likely to make that phone call. And democracy
begins to die a little bit more each day when people are less likely to
take an action, because they worry about what the government is or is not
And the fact is that this speech doesn`t allay any of the concerns. It
doesn`t tell us, what are you going to do? It first says, I want to stop
the bulk data collection. And later on, he walks us through problems.
HAYES: And I think, ultimately, and here`s where I think you and I
definitely agree on this, is that you need -- there`s got to be statutory
reform. I mean, we need new laws, the laws as they currently are, and no
presidential directives are going to sign.
ROMERO: That are going to be enough.
HAYES: Anthony Romero from the American Civil Liberties Union, thanks so
ROMERO: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: OK. There`s at least some water that`s safe to drink in West
Virginia, according to a "Think Progress" reporter, thanks to friends of
coal, who would also like you to know that drugs and mining don`t mix,
which is good advice.
But coming up, we have some exclusive breaking news to report on this
story. You are not going to believe. You definitely want to stick around
HAYES: As we reported earlier this week, it has not been easy to figure
out what`s been going on at Freedom Industries. That`s the company behind
the chemical leak that resulted in 300,000 West Virginians having to go
days without access to their water supply. The company even refused to
answer our questions about the name of its president.
We did know a little bit. We knew Freedom Industries came into existence
in its current form just on December 31st, after a merger with three other
companies. We know that on January 9th, state officials discovered that
there were 7,500 gallons of a coal-cleaning agents leaking from one of
their tanks, an agent that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other health
problems, and it was leaking into the Elk River. That Elk River feeds into
an intake tank for water distribution, and that resulted in more than 300
people being sent to hospitals with symptoms potentially due to the spill.
All right. Now, we know something new. Today, Freedom Industries filed
for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in a move that appears designed to help protect
it from creditors and more than two dozen lawsuits that residents and
business owners have already filed. In fact, if today`s court filings are
to be believed, it`s a staggeringly brazen attempt to do just that.
When a company files for Chapter 11, it has to find another company,
a financer, to lend it the money to restructure. In exchange for lending
money to a company in such dire straits and bankruptcy, that entity, the
one doing the lending, it gets first dibs at the company`s assets if that
company goes totally under.
Well, today, as Twitter user nycsouthpaw first pointed out, a
company called Mountaineer Funding LLC stepped up to provide Freedom
Industries with its bankruptcy funding. Mountaineer Funding is not a very
well-known company for the simple reason that it hasn`t existed before
That`s right, Mountaineer Funding, LLC, incorporated today. And the
first person listed as its officer, one of only two officers, is a man by
the name of J. Clifford Forest. And if the name Cliff Forest rings a bell,
it might be because Cliff Forest is the man identified in today`s
"Washington post" as the current owner of you guessed it Freedom
So here`s what it looks like is being set up to happen. Freedom
Industries, with its massive legal liability for taking out a sixth of West
Virginia`s water supply, is quietly killed, filing for bankruptcy. Its
assets are taken over by a company that gave it bankruptcy financing. That
company is called Mountaineer Financing, and it`s owned by a man whose name
bears a striking resemblance to Freedom Industries current owner.
Mountaineer emerges from the ashes with the same assets, but without
all that nasty legal baggage and here`s the best part. On this page of its
bankruptcy filing, the two parties, Freedom Industries and Mountaineer
financing assert, the terms and conditions of the debtor in possession,
which is the technical term here, were negotiated by the parties in good
faith and at arm`s length. It`s at arm`s length.
So either there is two different Cliff Forests, who through a cosmic
coincidence, ended up working on the same bankruptcy deal, or there`s one,
and he`s a man with mighty long arms. To recap, here is the history of the
current iteration of Freedom Industries, born December 31st, destroyed the
water supply about a week later, and filed for bankruptcy to escape
creditors eight days after that.
It`s like a shooting star that leaves a trail of lawsuits and toxic
chemicals in its wake. Well, the story of what`s happening in West
Virginia is about more than just one company. It is about industry
takeover an entire state. Start with the water supply itself. Back in
2009, "New York Times" pointed to West Virginia to illustrate how
industries successfully lobbied to undermine clean water laws.
Children in Charleston had scabs and damaged teeth due to tap water
reportedly tainted by waste from nearby coal companies. Later that year,
the state started approving partnerships that handed over responsibility
for much of the water supply in the state, to a private company called West
Virginia American Water, which owns the water treatment facility and
distribution network that was tainted in the spill.
As detailed Thursday in "The Huffington Post," West Virginia
American Water has often been deployed to supply water in communities where
the local supply has been corrupted by coal companies, but the costs of the
project often falling largely to the public, not the coal companies that
run the water supply.
Meanwhile, the site of last week`s spill of a chemical used to wash
coal, operated largely outside government oversight, with almost no state
and local monitoring, the product of an environment in which the coal
industry is king.
If you have any doubts about that, consider the fact that West
Virginia governor earl ray Tomlin has been insisting that this was a
chemical company incident, nothing to do with coal.
And here`s the exchange I had right after the spill with West
Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: I know those who want to blame it on the coal
industry, if it wasn`t for the coal industry, you wouldn`t have it. That`s
not a fair assessment, whatsoever.
HAYES: Why is that not?
MANCHIN: You wouldn`t have the country you have today if it wasn`t for the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Bob Kincaid, a radio broadcaster on the Head On
Radio Network in West Virginia, co-founder of the Appalachian Community
Health Emergency Campaign. Bob, any reaction to the bankruptcy filings we
got, we saw today from Freedom Industries?
BOB KINCAID, THE HEAD ON RADIO NETWORK: Good evening, Chris. My first
thought is, don`t give up hope, they`ll probably reincorporate day after
tomorrow as liberty industries or maybe eight rand industries. That seems
to be the road we`re going down.
HAYES: Yes, it`s sort of amazing that you have the corporate industry of
the company was already so complicated, the last time we had you on a few
days ago, now it looks like it`s going through another iteration to, you
know, shed its liability. What about the water supply? What are people in
West Virginia, in that part of West Virginia, being told? I`m hearing
conflicting reports and what is the experience they`re having of whether
the water is safe or not?
KINCAID: Chris, there`s no single answer to that. I`m seeing photographs
on Facebook of people with chemical burns on their legs, chemical burns on
their hands. This after they`ve been told that the water was safe. Nobody
knows anything here. Everybody`s trying to run away from this issue,
whether it`s Joe Manchin trying to blame the CDC, Representative Shelly
Moore Capito saying she finds this all amusing, Tomlin saying, don`t blame
the coal industry, or West Virginia American water saying, well, they`re
doing their Sergeant Schultz, they know nothing.
HAYES: Well, here`s the question I can`t figure out, who is determine
whether the water is safe and what`s the criteria they`re using? That
seems like a simple question no one`s willing to answer.
KINCAID: It would seem simple, Chris, but the fact of the matter is, there
are more and more reports coming out that say that there is no real answer.
There`s a report that says that the report upon which all of these
determinations have been based was not on crude MCHM, but rather on pure
There`s a report from the Navy saying that the levels of safe
exposure to MCHM are drastically lower than the one part per million
standards that`s been put out. The fact of the matter is, Chris, there is
an ongoing, involuntary experiment on a human population of about 300,000
people. And it`s utterly unconscionable at this point in time.
HAYES: I want to play some tape from a local news report we`ve been
getting reports out of West Virginia, of people being told, OK, go use the
water and then stuff like this happens. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had all the windows open and the smell was just so
intense, and that was only after 10 minutes. And I was just worried about
our kids and I`m worried about other children, I`m worried about other
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can smell it on the dishes, when we`re bringing
them out, especially anything that was plastic. I`m a little concerned
that it leached into it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You`re also being -- people are also being told that pregnant women
shouldn`t drink the water or use the water, but other people can. Who gets
held responsible, ultimately, here? This seems to me like you`ve got a
situation in which industries so owns the mechanisms of every part of the
West Virginia state apparatus that would apply at accountability that no
one can actually just give the basic scientific truth or lack out for the
KINCAID: Chris, that`s an open question that`s been open for in excess of
100 years here in West Virginia. This state has been a model for the
liquidation of the commons, for the good of business interests. Whether
it`s a hundred years ago, people getting their land stolen from them under
a broad, foreign deed, or people losing their water supplies via deals with
West Virginia American water.
Everything has been done in this state for the corporate good. We
are a model of so much we`ve been a model for a hundred years, of so much
of what is being played out in other parts of the country today.
HAYES: Bob Kincaid from The Head On Radio Network, thank for your time.
KINCAID: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: I have seen two of the nine movies nominated for the best picture
Oscar, which I believe qualifies me to lead a discussion about which film
is going to win this year. Our first annual "All In: The Movies" is coming
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: You know, you don`t back away from
something just because some other state and a court in another state took
some action or that there may be an action taken here. If the legislation
isn`t passed, then there would be no court action. If there`s court
action, there`ll be court action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is how Pennsylvania`s Republican Governor Tom Corbett, my dark
horse candidate, for worst governor in the country, fielded legal questions
about the voter I.D. law he was about to sign back in 2012. You remember
Pennsylvania`s voter I.D. law, right? Passed and signed into law by
republicans, just in time for the 2012 presidential election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voter`s I.D., which is going to allow Governor Romney
to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Of course, the law was blocked before the election, and Governor
Romney did not win the state of Pennsylvania. And today, just as Tom
Corbett predicted, there was, indeed, court action, and Tom Corbett lost.
A Pennsylvania Commonwealth judge today found state`s voter I.D. law to
violate the Pennsylvania Constitution, writing the law constitutes a
substantial threat to hundreds of thousands of qualified voters who is
don`t have the required photo I.D.
And another victory end to this week, although not quite as crisp
and clear as what happened today in Pennsylvania. A flurry of reports from
Capitol Hill, showing the momentum for a New Iran sanctions bill has
stalled. A sanctions bill that could derail the best shot we`ve had at
ending Iran`s nuclear program peacefully.
Greg Sergeant reporting that an anonymous Democrat who favored the
sanctions bill told him, quote, "At the moment, there`s no rush to put the
bill on the floor. I`m not aware of any deadline that anyone`s had."
President Obama met with Senate Democrats Wednesday to push them not to
vote for sanctions while he`s trying to negotiate a deal in direct talks
Wednesday night, on this show, we put together a handy graphic so
you`d know if your senator was among the 16 Democrats who were supporting
the bill? Today, Steve Bennett reports that a Senate staffer told him that
public pressure has also increased, with more voters contacting the Hill
with phone calls and e-mails voicing opposition to the bill.
We would like to think our passionate and dedicated ALL IN viewers
helped to make that happen. So pour yourself a cold one this week, you`ve
earned it. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: A glance at this year`s critically acclaimed trend shows an
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2013 has been a banner year with regards to the
number of films that feature African-American themes.
ANNOUNCER: At least half a dozen major movies chronicled the black
experience in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The 2013 was a pretty amazing year for African-American films in
this country. Some critics were even calling it a renaissance. Last year
gave us films like "The Butler," "Fruitvale Station," "42," "12 Years of
Slave" and "Mandela, On Walk To Freedom" and "The Best Man`s Holiday,"
which isn`t necessarily an awards contender, but just kill to the Box
Office, pulling in $30 million on its opening weekend.
Of course, the category itself of black films shows how much of
Hollywood`s default remains whiteness. And as Mark Herras from Grantman
points out, the 2013 may have been in some ways the year of the black
movie, but in the academy, it turned out to be the year of a black movie,
with "12 Years a Slave" scoring nine nominations.
Critics have long blasted the academy for the fact its nominees are
overwhelmingly white and when African-American actors are nominated, their
roles tend to fall into a predictable set of stereotypes. Or put it this
way, this Oscar might have a better relationship with African-Americans
than this Oscar.
Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win an academy
award, a best supporting actress award in 1939 for "Mammy," the house
servant in "Gone with the Wind." The first African-American to win best
actress didn`t come until 2001 when Halle Berry took homey award for her
roles sex star, alcoholic, single mother in "Monster`s Ball."
Denzel Washington has been nominated six times, a record for pa
black man, and has twice walked away with a win, as a defiant ex-slave in
U.S. Army soldier in "Glory" and for a murderous, angry, lying cop in
"Training Day." A lot of people are looking at this year`s nominees and
are wondering if we`re seeing the same old, same old.
Joining me now is A.O. Scott, a film critic for "New York Times,"
Aisha Harris, cultural blogger for Slate and David Edelstein, a film critic
for "New York" magazine and CBS Sunday Morning.
Aisha, you wrote about your frustration with the nominees coming
out, particularly the absence of a few movies. What were you hoping to see
that were not there?
AISHA HARRIS, SLATE: My biggest disappointment was with "Fruitvale
Station" not getting any nominations at all. For a while, there was a
belief that it would at least come away with acting nods or sympathetic
like that, but it didn`t. And it just felt like this is a movie of now, it
speaks to the here and now, and I was hoping it would kind of pull away
with a "Beast of the Southern Wild" type underdog story.
HAYES: So "Fruitvale Station" tells the story of Oscar Grant who was
killed by a BART police officer that was captured on cell phone. The
police officer said he was reaching for his taser. Oscar Grant was shot on
the ground. Michael B. Jordan plays the role of Oscar Grand and is
incredible. It`s also written and directed by this rookie, this incredible
story, by a guy named Ryan Cougar, who we`ve had on the show. Were you
surprised that it was not that he got no nominations?
A.O. SCOTT, "NEW YORK TIMES" FILM CRITIC: I mean, not surprised. It`s
disappointed, as Aisha was, an Indy movie like that can sometimes get an
acting nomination and people also talk about Octavia Spencer, who plays the
mother of Oscar Grant, very strong performance or screen play. But, I`m
not too surprised. I mean, it was an independent movie that came out in
the summer, and then there was just this kind of wave of movies in the last
three months of the year. And I think that there`s a short memory.
HAYES: There`s a timing problem, which is something you mentioned in your
piece, particularly for "Fruitvale," which did not come out in this people
have a sort of latency bias. I remember putting it together, like, best
moments of the year shows. You look at the list, and everything is
November and December.
DAVID EDELSTEIN, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE FILM CRITIC: Let`s be fair, though.
Michael Jordan gave, you know, a major performance, a stunning performance,
but this category is crazy weird this year with great performances. Forest
Whitaker didn`t get nominated, Robert Redford didn`t get nominated, Joaquin
HAYES: Robert Redford didn`t get nominated for a role in which he`s the
only person in the film, which is the most like, Oscar, ever.
EDELSTEIN: I would have given it to Michael Jordan and I think he should
have been on that list. I think Forest Whitaker should have been on that
HAYES: Do you think the way I`ve read so much about how professionalized
the campaigns for nomination and wins have been, you know, political
consulting groups. When we come back, I want to talk about that and how
that might affect whose getting nominated and who`s not, right after the
HAYES: We`re back. I`m here with A.O. Scott, Aisha Harris and David
Edelstein. Aisha, you also write about "The Butler," which you describe as
Oscar-baby in many ways. Were you surprised it didn`t get any best picture
HARRIS: I wasn`t surprised it didn`t get any best picture nods, just
because you could feel the steam, like with "Fruitvale Station," it just
deflated. But I thought it would at least get like hair or makeup or
costume, at least. It`s because they looked period.
EDELSTEIN: Aisha, the putty on the male white presidents was really
HAYES: Right. Disqualified it.
EDELSTEIN: But why didn`t Oprah get a nomination?
HAYES: I think a lot of people, after the movie came out, a lot of people
were expecting an Oprah nomination. A lot of people loved her performance
in that and feel like.
SCOTT: I thought her performance was extraordinary and I also thought
Forest Whitaker`s was. I put it on my ten best lists. I agree that it`s
not the tightest, most coherent story. It`s not -- but it`s a glorious
message. It combines all of these elements that shouldn`t work together.
This naturalism`s about working class black life in Washington,
D.C., this sort of forest gum story, about the main character`s son who
happens to be at every single event where a civil rights thing happens and
this over the top, cartoonish, "Saturday Night Live" sketch portrayal of
HAYES: So I want to ask you guys who you think is going to win. But
before we get to that, I want to just dump out a little Friday hatred on
one of the two films, I saw "12 Years A Slave," which I like everyone else
thought was incredible and stunning and an amazing achievement and
beautifully raw. You didn`t like it?
You`re looking all right, the other movie I saw was "Gravity," which
I just hated. I just hated. And I hated because I walked out of that
movie, literally, my fingers were bleeding because I was biting them so
hard, and I found the film claustrophobic and also felt it was an exercise
in audience sadism where he has these people in space and he can do
whatever he wants to them.
So he does a lot of terrible things and you`re on the edge of your
seat, and as a cinematic technical achievement, it was an absolute marvel,
I don`t know how he did it, but none of the drama is earned. It`s just the
director, like a cat with a ball of yarn, sitting there and knocking it
until you can`t breathe and then the movie is over. It drove me nuts.
There was no catharsis.
EDELSTEIN: You have to see it in IMAX 3D in the front row and you`re being
bombarded so much that you don`t have time to think about these questions.
But in terms of the director throwing things at the characters and
torturing them, I hate to say it, but that`s sort of what happens in "12
Years A Slave," too, although a lot more skillfully and a lot more
HAYES: But in "12 Years A Slave," that actually happened. That`s what
history and fate and the structure of American you know, white domination,
supremacy, and evil in the south actually did, right?
EDELSTEIN: "Gravity" happened, we just don`t know isn`t. They hid it from
HAYES: I think "12 Years A Slave," there feels like there`s so much
momentum, "12 Years A Slave," is that your feeling, like it`s going to.
HARRIS: I feel like it could be any of those movies, that you never know,
but my feeling is that "12 Years A Slave" is going to pull it out.
SCOTT: It would be, if the director, Steve McQueen, I believe is his name,
if he were to win, it would be the first black best director winner ever.
EDELSTEIN: You know, that`ll do it. Because don`t forget, a lot of these
awards are given to good movies, but they`re also given to movies that the
academy members think will make them and their profession look good. So
that`s and I think, you can`t really do much better than "12 Years A Slave"
on that front.
HAYES: You think it will win too?
EDELSTEIN: I do.
SCOTT: I think so. I think there`s a chance that "American Hustle" might
I think that`s its main competition. They split at the Golden Globes,
where they have two categories of best picture. But I think "12 Years"
certainly has the edge.
EDELSTEIN: But everyone should see "Her."
HAYES: Yes, people really love it. I have not seen "Her."
SCOTT: That would be your vote?
EDELSTEIN: That and "American Hustle."
HAYES: If you were voting at the academy, you would be voting "Her."
EDELSTEIN: It doesn`t have a snowballs chance in hell, but I love it.
HAYES: Why do you love it so much?
EDELSTEIN: Why do I love it, because it`s this beautiful sci-fi satire
that turns into this Wiggly transcendental romance, it`s so packed with
feeling. It makes you long for the time when machines and people will
fully merge. All the boundaries will be erased.
HAYES: That is amazing. This is the data Google announced they were
initiating their Google Contact.
EDELSTEIN: Exactly. That is in my mind.
HAYES: A.O. Scott from "The New York Times," Aisha Harris from Slate and
David Edelstein from "New York" magazine, thank you all. That is ALL IN
for this evening, "THE RACHEL MEADOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening,
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ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES