Chris Hayes, Editor-at-Large of The Nation, hosts “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday on MSNBC.
Previously, Hayes hosted the weekend program “Up w/ Chris Hayes,” which premiered in 2011. Prior to joining MSNBC as an anchor, Chris had previously served as a frequent substitute host for “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” Chris became a MSNBC contributor in 2010 and has been with The Nation since 2007.
He is a former Fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. From 2008-2010, he was a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation. From 2005 to 2006, Chris was a Schumann Center Writing Fellow at In These Times.
Since 2002, Hayes has written on a wide variety of political and social issues, from union organizing and economic democracy, to the intersection of politics and technology. His essays, articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, The Nation, The American Prospect, The New Republic, The Washington Monthly, the Guardian, and The Chicago Reader.
His first book, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, which is about the crisis of authority in American life, was published in June 2012. Chris grew up in the Bronx, graduated from Brown University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.
I had a dinner obligation last night, so I missed the debate. About 20 minutes in, my phone blew up. One friend texted me: "I want to shoot myself in the face" Then my normally calm dad called and left a voicemail ranting about what he was seeing. "We're talking about Bill Ayers?"
Everyone should be clear about what's happening here. First, Clinton's only slim chance of victory is to attempt to destroy Obama in the eyes of the superdelegates, and if she has to cast herself as Richard Nixon, shamelessly stoking the reactionary tropes of a besieged silent majority to do it, she will. Second, this is precisely what the Republicans are going to try to turn this campaign into: a showcase of right-wing populism, a carnival of smears and trivinalia. The less said of the war, climate change, the economy and healthcare the better. They can't win on any of those issues. They can only win if they can convince the press to obsess over some op-ed in a church bulletin.
The more time spent on all of this, the less time to cover the actual events of the world. That's the basic terrain for this election: will the press pay attention to the vacuous idiocies of gaffes and guilt by association? Or will they pay attention to the world, a world in which things like this are happening while they nobly defend the class interests of households in the top 5% of income?
Since this week marks my first time filing taxes while living here in DC, today seems an especially appropriate moment to shout out to the good work of groups like DC Vote. Over the past year, thanks to such advocates' efforts, attempts to gain House voting rights for DC residents have neared ever closer to victory. Last April for the first time in a generation, the House passed a DC voting-rights bill, though Senate Republicans--backed by the White House--blocked the proposal by a narrow three-vote margin in September.
As the license plates around here read, "Taxation without representation." It's too bad President Bush doesn't appreciate the reference (perhaps not coincidentally, given that 85% of DC voters backed Al Gore). After taking office in 2001, Bush promptly had the Clinton-installed license plates on all presidential limousines replaced with ones that read more simply, "Washington DC."
Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) sat alone at an otherwise empty dais during today's Senate hearing on Immokalee tomato pickers, asking questions he already knew the answers to.
For months, Sanders has campaigned alongside workers to expose exploitation in Florida's tomato fields, where migrant laborers toil for a meager 45 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they harvest and haul--a wage rate that, adjusted for inflation, has decreased by 75% over the past 30 years. Yet today even Sanders, once again hearing the extent of abuses in the fields, seemed hard-pressed to keep an expression of incredulity off his face. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers' Lucas Benitez testified about seven-day workweeks, debt bondage, and armed crew bosses that beat workers who attempt to leave. Eric Schlosser--who's written extensively about farm-labor sweatshops but describes conditions as such that nevertheless "defy words"--spoke of a culture of exploitation that allowed Abel Cuello, a man convicted in 1999 for enslaving at least 30 migrants in Florida and South Carolina, to readily find work again upon leaving prison with Ag-Mart Produce, one of Florida's largest tomato growers.
After listening to the witnesses, Sanders continued to duly interrogate them. But what questions could he really ask? The issue the hearing highlighted--tomato pickers' wages--could hardly be more unambiguous.
Shortly after we unveiled our new blog here at the Washington bureau, I got a panicked call from Jeremy Ben-Ami, who was in the midst of organizing a new, pro-Israel, pro-peace organization. The group had gone through a long branding process and come up with the name...J Street! Being strong believers in free culture we told him we thought Washington was big enough for two J streets.
Today J Street (the other one) got its official launch. J Street will consist of a 501(c)4 that will lobby congress and a PAC that will raise money and support candidates who share the organization's viewpoint: that the only way to ensure a secure future for Israel is by reaching a negotiated, political solution with the Palestinians.
In my six months in Washington, I've come to view most issue battles here as essentially games of fusbol. Opposing forces wildly flap and spin their little figurines to try to keep the ball in the opponent's part of the field, hoping for an error or a bit of luck to aid them in scoring a goal and getting a piece of legislation through. Like fusbol, it's not even a necessarily highly skilled enterprise; it relies chiefly on energy and persistence. The worst policy and legislative outcomes -- farm subsidies, the Cuba embargo, copyright extensions -- are produced when only one side is working the handles.
This week, the House votes on a tax-filing simplification act, a bill to increase student access to federal loans (USSA evaluation here), whether to allow up to 24 developing countries to qualify for new debt relief under the Jubilee Act, and a beaches bill that was postponed from last week. The beach legislation enjoys wide support, but a series of GOP-proposed amendments--including possible attempts to expand offshore natural gas leasing and insert the text of the Senate-passed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation--is expected to provoke debate. The House also votes on the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act, which would deny certain government contracts to firms with seriously delinquent tax debts.
On the Senate side, members will consider technical corrections to the 2005 surface transportation law, and may additionally take up an act to ban discrimination based on genetic information and an omnibus veterans' benefits measure.
Meanwhile, Congress holds appropriations hearings, as well as hearings on the impact of the credit market on student loans, abuses of tomato workers, nuclear terrorism, shortfalls in ground force readiness, how to prevent a nuclear Iran, detecting contract fraud and federal contracts awarded to AEY, Inc. With the latest extension of the farm bill expiring this Friday, both chambers' conferees will continue negotiations on the bill, which have sputtered for months over how to finance a $10-billion spending increase and $2.5 billion in Senate-added tax breaks under current pay-go rules.
Rahm Emmanuel on those lazy Iraqis:
"We've put about $45 billion into Iraq's reconstruction . . . and they have not spent their own resources...They have got to have some skin in the game."
In the wake of Petraeus hearing, I'm quickly despairing that the Democrats' newest line on Iraq is: blame the wogs. I mean, really.
In the Senate...On Thursday, members passed the Foreclosure Prevention Act by an 84-12 vote, though the bill -- as Sen. Dodd gently put it -- "does not quite live up to the title." The bill faces considerable criticism (its funding goes principally toward $25.5 billion in business tax relief) and is expected to undergo substantial House revisions. The Senate also voted to back extension of wilderness protection and heritage areas, and additionally end the Abramoff-backed "guest worker" program in the Northern Mariana Islands.
In the House...Following the White House's decision to send the Colombia free-trade agreement to Congress (triggering a 90-day timeline for consideration), members countered Bush's move with a vote to eliminate the timetable altogether. In light of White House resistance to extending greater food stamp, unemployment and housing assistance, Pelosi declared the House was "pleased" to consider the agreement, but couldn't without first addressing the "economic insecurity of America's working families." The House also voted to expand traumatic brain injury research and recognize the National Landscape Conservation System.
In high-profile hearings, flanked by the presidential candidates' accompanying press phalanx, Petraeus declared progress in Iraq "fragile and reversible" and recommended against consideration of any new troop withdrawals before fall. On Thursday, Bush responded by declaring Petraeus will have "all the time" he needs to evaluate further decreases. In a volte-face from last year, Gates testified there was no possibility that the number of Iraq-based troops could drop to 100,000 by the start of 2009. Meanwhile, Dems pressed Crocker and Petraeus for a clearer definition of success in Iraq and highlighted the war's economic and military strains, while Admiral Mullen described the distressed state of Afghanistan and argued troop commitments in Iraq continue to hamstring efforts in the region.
The ACLU animates an amusing (and by amusing I mean eerily disquieting) vision of what a national ID database could mean, here.
Fortunately however, this month in the state-federal game of chicken over the REAL ID Act, the feds swerved first. While the bill required states to comply or file for an extension by this month, to date, at least six states have simply refused to adhere to the law--and when the deadline passed a week and a half ago, many didn't bother applying for extensions, either.
A chagrined DHS went ahead and issued them anyway. The new deadline is now 2010. By then, a new presidency and Congress will hopefully make the whole mangled plan--passed in 2005 as a rider on a defense bill--moot.
Here's the Times excellent Michael Cooper on McCain's reversal on federal intervention in the mortgage crisis:
Senator John McCain, who drew criticism last month after he warned against broad government intervention to solve the deepening mortgage crisis, pivoted Thursday and called for the federal government to aid some homeowners in danger of losing their homes, by helping them to refinance and get federally guaranteed 30-year mortgages.
"Pivoted" is perfectly accurate, but I think there's another term that comes to mind.