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.
This week, the House is scheduled to take up HR 895, which would establish an independent Office of Congressional Ethics. (No guarantee, however, on whether it will actually go to a vote, as the same proposal has been pulled for the past two weeks running.) Also on the table are possible considerations of FISA and the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2008, which would ban the CIA from waterboarding detainees. President Bush vetoed the latter measure this weekend, citing fear that it would prevent the White House from deterring terrorist attacks: "This is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe," he said. (For the current issue of the Washington Monthly, which interrogates the moral failings of torture, as well as its track record of producing false confessions, see here.)
Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary will vote on nominations and mark up a bill to set new parameters around the state secrets privilege. Senate committees will mark up two mortgage bills, legislation on hurricanes Katrina and Rita recovery, and a bill reauthorizing Bush's global AIDS plan. The Senate will host hearings on appropriations, waste and fraud in Iraq, armed forces readiness, national infrastructure improvement and voter disenfranchisement. The House hosts hearings on net neutrality, Bush's signing statement on the 2008 Defense Authorization bill, the U.S. response to Iraqi refugees, homeland security and the Congressional perspective on war powers.
Both the House and Senate will also begin debating their respective budget resolutions this week. The debates will center largely on whether to let Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire--expect the proceedings, as well, to serve as a Republican platform for assault on issues like Sens. Obama and Clinton's proposed healthcare spending.
Today, the WSJ reports that NSA--once confined to foreign surveillance--has built a domestic surveillance program that can sift through individuals' phone records, email subject lines and destinations, financial transactions, Internet searches and sites visited. All without judicial warrants.
It's like the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness program (eliminated in 2003 over concerns it was too intrusive), except with even less privacy protection.
With the House continuing its tussle over ethics reform this week, now seems like an apt moment to pause and highlight the simultaneous, ongoing Senate refusal to evolve on issues of campaign finance disclosure.
While House and presidential candidates are required to file their disclosures electronically (enabling anyone to readily search them online within 24 hours through databases like Opensecrets.org), the Senate ploddingly continues to insist on filing in paper form. Accordingly, to see Senate disclosures before they're entered in the FEC electronic database (a process that can take weeks or months), anyone feeling inquisitive must make a special pilgrimage to leaf through a candidate's paper trail--some that run as long as 3,400 pages.
It's tough to defend the absurd system (which requires the government to pay $250,000 for a contractor in Fredericksburg, Virginia to laboriously re-type candidate reports); not surprisingly, few Senate members vocally defend the practice. Nevertheless, while Sens. Feingold (D-Wis.) and Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced electronic filing legislation last spring, their bill was stymied by secret Republican holds (a rather ignoble parliamentary move, banned last fall, that permitted any member object to legislation while remaining anonymous--for details, see Slate's run-down on the practice here).
In the Houseâ€¦.Over a decade after its initial introduction, the Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equality Act--which requires more generous coverage for the 113 million Americans suffering from mental illness and addiction--won passage in a 268-148 vote. Though the vote is a substantial victory for Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), who suffers from bipolar disorder and was the bill's chief sponsor, resolving differences with the less stringent Senate-passed legislation, backed by business and insurance groups (as well as Kennedy's father), remains still another battle. (President Bush opposes the House-passed bill.) Meanwhile, the House skirmish over an independent ethics office continued, as amendments to Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.)'s proposal failed to placate Democratic or Republican concerns about the agency, and Speaker Pelosi again pulled a scheduled floor vote to decide its creation.
In the Senateâ€¦After four days' emotional debate (in which the mother of two boys poisoned by toys containing lead testified), members joined the House in an overwhelming vote to overhaul the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Senate bill increases the commission's funding, bans lead from children's toys, allows manufacturers to be sued for up to $20 million and creates a public consumer database for logging faulty products. The White House objects to the creation of such a database, but with this week's 78-21 vote, overhaul legislation has passed both chambers by veto-proof margins.
In another development this week--and a possible signal that the impasse over confirmations is lifting--the Senate confirmed Mark Filip as deputy attorney general. The decision to award a $40-billion Air Force contract to the European parent of Airbus (and not Boeing, which has held similar contracts for the past 50 years) touched off controversy, with House lawmakers threatening to quash the contract unless the Pentagon explained its rationale. As the House GOP continued to heckle Democrats for their pro-pork proclivities, Speaker Pelosi declared she wouldn't stand for the assault--which Democrats call hypocritical--any longer. Since the Democrats took the Congressional reins, they've imposed a one-year earmark ban, reduced earmarks by 43 percent and created new earmark disclosure rules. "My patience is running out on earmarks,'' she told reporters waspishly. "We'll have them or we won't have them. We won't spend a lot of time talking about them.''
Here in the United States, overseas tax evasion enjoys a bizarre degree of acceptance, with some tax avoidance purveyors even going so far as to try and patent some of their fancier schemes. But today's Boston Globe report, which details how Kellogg Brown & Root--the nation's top Iraq War contractor (financed with $16 billion in public funds)--has neatly sidestepped some $500 million in Medicare and Social Security taxes through use of shell companies in the Cayman Islands, should hopefully raise some eyebrows.
In the meantime, for more on KBR's pernicious backstory (involving bribe-taking, charging $45 per can of soda and receiving prostitutes as presents), check out last month's investigation from the Chicago Tribune. You can also read about the Levin-Coleman-Obama bill to curb overseas tax evasion here.
Yesterday, seemingly unperturbed by the recent failure of immigration-as-a-wedge efforts at the ballot box, Senate Republicans introduced their most jerkily reactive set of immigration bills yet. One would dock 10% of highway funding from states that provide driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Another would end language assistance at federal agencies and the voting booth for people with limited proficiency in English. Still another would block federal funding to cities that bar police from asking about peoples' immigration status (a proposal not only fraught with public-safety issues, but one that would also dry up anti-terror funds for cities most at risk--New York, Los Angeles, et cetera).
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is leading the crusade, with a bill that would impose a maximum two-year prison sentence on someone caught illegally crossing the border for the second time. (That would, after all, only cost the federal government some $44,500 per detainee.)
Last year, commenting on his decision (along with 36 other Republicans) to scuttle Senate immigration reform, Sessions declared that "[he] was not going to support a piece of legislation that will not work." It's unclear how bullying states and cities that recognize immigration is a serious, human issue--and treat it as such--increases his credibility (or that of his party) on that account.
As the Democrats prepare to fold on FISA, this week's comments from Assistant AG for National Security Kenneth Wainstein suggest that what the White House is really after isn't interception of foreign-to-foreign phone calls, but your email. From the Washington Post:
Wainstein highlighted a different problem with the current FISA law than other administration officials have emphasized. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, for example, has repeatedly said FISA should be changed so no warrant is needed to tap a communication that took place entirely outside the United States but happened to pass through the United States....
[But] Wainstein said FISA's current strictures did not cover strictly foreign wire and radio communications, even if acquired in the United States. The real concern, he said, is primarily e-mail, because "essentially you don't know where the recipient is going to be" and so you would not know in advance whether the communication is entirely outside the United States.