Nation editor-at-large and host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes.
Several passengers who perished on flight MH17 were HIV researchers en route to a conference in Melbourne, where they believed their discussions could end the AIDS epidemic. “There was a real sense of profound optimism going into this conference,” The Nation’s executive editor Richard Kim told Chris Hayes on All In Friday. One researcher in particular who was aboard the flight, Joep Lange, believed that the medical community possessed the necessary knowledge required to end AIDS—they only lacked the resources. “That struggle, to get the political will and human resources—that was Dr. Lange’s entire life. He was not just a brilliant researcher and scientist. He was an activist,” said Kim.
—Hannah Harris Green
Why is so much of the funding for anti-marijuana activist organizations coming from pharmaceutical companies? Joining Chris Hayes on All In last night, Lee Fang explained the tangled links between big pharma companies who make opioid prescription drugs and anti-legalization activist groups that he uncovered while reporting his article, “The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal.”
According to Fang, the anti-drug activists who focus on pot have their priorities misplaced, as prescription painkiller abuse is an “epidemic” that is sweeping the country. “The CDC says it kills over 16,000 people a year,” Fang told Hayes.
—Hannah Harris Green
On Wednesday morning, House minority leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican representatives successfully blocked Elizabeth Warren’s student loan bill—a piece of legislation that would have allowed the millions of Americans saddled with student loan debts to refinance them at a lower interest rate. McConnell referred to the bill as a “tax increase bill styled as a student loan bill,” and encouraged Republicans to filibuster to stop it. fifty-eight senators, three of them Republicans, voted for the bill, while only thirty-eight voted against it, but it was still not enough to overcome the filibuster.
An outraged Elizabeth Warren told Chris Hayes last night that the choice should have been simple. “Do you stand with the billionaires, protecting every single tax break that they get? Every loophole, every subsidy? Or do you stand with the students? The people who went out there, played by the rules and tried to get an education and are trying to start their lives,” she demanded.
Now, McConnell better watch his seat: Warren says she’ll be going to Kentucky to campaign for Alison Lundergan Grimes, McConnell’s Democratic opponent in this fall’s election, who Warren said has been in favor of the student loan bill and would be likely to bring about the positive change that McConnell is trying to resist.
—Hannah Harris Green
In a memorable 2009 speech on the House floor, Florida Representative Alan Grayson claimed that the Republican plan for healthcare involved two simple steps: don’t get sick and, if you do, die quickly. According to Nation editor-at-large Chris Hayes, those controversial comments are proving scarily accurate. While dozens of Republican governors have blocked the expansion of Medicaid in their states, Hayes draws on the example of Massachusetts—which expanded access to health insurance, lowering the state’s mortality rate by 3 percent—as proof that “insuring the previously uninsured saves lives.” Under the Affordable Care Act, the national rate of uninsured has dropped to the lowest point since Gallup began recording the figure. As Hayes said, “Blocking the implementation of Obamacare will cost lives.”
“Are you the unluckiest reporter in America today?” WNYC’s Brian Lehrer asked Nation Editor-at-Large Chris Hayes on Monday morning. Hayes laughed. The day before, the third episode of Years of Living Dangerously had aired on Showtime, in which Republican Congressman Michael Grimm admitted, in an interview with Hayes, the existence of man-made climate change. The following morning, Hayes woke up to news that Grimm had been taken into federal custody for alleged fraudulent business practices. “Well, we got a Republican convert on climate change,” Hayes joked, “too bad he got indicted the next day.” Fraud or not, Grimm’s change of heart is a positive step for Republicans, who continue to diminish the severity of the climate crisis. “If we continue doing what we’re all collectively doing on this planet,” Hayes told Lehrer, “we will get to a point where Fargo is like Phoenix.” Which is to say, climate change doesn’t care whether conservatives believe it exists, it’s going to destroy the planet if we don’t act.
Read Next: Chris Hayes on why we need a fossil fuel abolition movement
To prevent the catastrophic scenario of a planet heated by more than 2 degrees Celsius, 80 percent of the world’s current fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground. What’s standing in the way of making sure that happens? It’s not climate change denialism—it’s money. Those reserves are valued at an estimated $20 trillion, a number that seems impossible for fossil fuel companies to walk away from. “What does it take to make concentrated powerful interests relinquish their wealth on this scale?” was the question tackled on yesterday’s episode of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, as well as in his new Nation companion piece. The only time business owners have let go of a revenue source on that scale was when the United States ended slavery. It’s a tough mission, but as guest and Gasland director Josh Fox reminds us, “What is money worth when there is no civilization?”
New York Mets second baseman David Murphy was harshly criticized in the sports media this week. His crime? Murphy missed two games for the birth of his first child. The issue was humorously addresed on All in With Chris Hayes by guest host Joy Reid, joined via telephone by Hayes, who was himself on paternity leave. The irony of the situation was not lost on him. "There's actually a nice, tight analogy here between cable news and baseball," he said. "They play 162 games, OK? He's going to miss three games, which is, by the way, in the collective bargaining agreement that the union negotiated." Hayes had no sympathy for the "neanderthalish" views of sportscasters like Boomer Esiason and Mike Francesa. "Take some time with your frickin’ kid and take some time with the partner in your life who brought the kid into the world" he said. "That actually is part of being a man."
Fancy a side of irony with your corporate hypocrisy? Last night on MSNBC, Nation Editor-at-Large Chris Hayes profiled ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a vocal proponent of hydraulic fracking, who is suing to prevent the construction of a water tower near his eighty-three-acre, $5 million horse ranch in Bartonville, Texas. The purpose of the tower? Storing water for fracking. Tillerson and his super-wealthy neighbors are concerned, the lawsuit states, that the fracking tower might “devalue their properties and adversely impact the rural lifestyle they sought to enjoy.” As Hayes put it, “Rex Tillerson is leading the fracking revolution, just not in his backyard.”
While we hold up Roosevelt, Washington and Lincoln as exemplars of American democracy, there have been some duds in the presidential lineup. Nation Editor at Large Chris Hayes celebrated President’s Day with a rundown of the presidents “whose maleficence, incompetence, cluelessness, racism, violence, and ethnic cleansing made the country and the world worse.” Joining him were Columbia professor Dorian Warren, author Jim Moore, and Nation Washington DC Correspondent John Nichols, who selected Andrew Johnson as the country's worst president thanks to his blatantly racist leadership in the post-Civil War years. Nichols noted that Johnson, who took office after Lincoln’s assassination, blocked the 1866 Civil Rights Act, fought against the Fourteenth Amendment and vetoed allowing states to enter the union for fear they might tip the balance in favor of civil rights.
The takeaway concept of Occupy Wall Street—the 1 percent versus the 99—continues to shape our perception of modern American society. Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel appeared on MSNBC’s All in With Chris Hayes, alongside radio host Sam Seder, to talk about the rising populist backlash against income inequality and the dissociation of 1 percenters from this vital conversation. As vanden Heuvel pointed out, “Until we have public financing, we are not going to be able to unravel the rigged system. The rules are built for the wealthiest."