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Christopher Hayes | The Nation

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Christopher Hayes

Christopher Hayes

Nation editor-at-large and host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes.

Chris Hayes Comes Out Against Military Action in Syria

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With the president now seeking congressional approval for punitive attacks on Assad, lawmakers can no longer posture—they must now cast a vote.

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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes addresses where he stands on airstrikes in Syria, explaining why he thinks military action would be destructive and ineffectual, and outlining a range of “concrete things we can do that don't involve missiles.”

—Jake Scobey-Thal  

Take Action: Demand Your Reps Vote No on Military Intervention in Syria

Is Detroit’s Bankruptcy Filing Unconstitutional?

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Bond holders are at odds with municipal workers over who will bear the brunt of Detroit’s bankruptcy. Yesterday, unions and two public pension funds that represent City workers and retirees submitted formal objections to Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, arguing that emergency manager Kevin Orr is miscalculating how much the City’s pension obligations are underfunded.

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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is joined by Lee Saunders, president of the AFSCME union, and Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, to respond to the right-wing caricature of Detroit’s demise and debate whether the City’s effort to defund pension plans is unconsitutional.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Bankruptcy court is not a democracy.

The Real Politics of Power


Solar panels are seen at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 1, 2008. (Reuters/Steve Marcus)

Editor’s note: The following is in response to Wen Stephenson’s post, “Dear Chris: Good Job. Now Let’s Get Real.

I don’t really disagree with your point, Wen, which is that we didn’t emphasize the full scope and depth of the problem and scope and depth of the solution. We let people off too easy, we painted too encouraging and rosy a picture. But that was a choice, and one I still stand behind. There are different aspects of the climate story one can choose to emphasize and different tones to strike, partly depending on the audience or the specific set of facts involved or, as in this case, one’s own judgment about how to best penetrate the reflexive shell of indifference and hopelessness that even the most conscientious people have erected between themselves and the problem.

Some think that doubling down on the severity of the crisis—its world-historical size and importance—will break through, but I know that I find myself retreating even further from that kind of storytelling. It is very, very easy to look at the facts as they stand now and conclude that we are screwed. And, perversely, the right has begun to very ably use this in their own rhetoric. Albert Hirschman once divided reactionary arguments into three categories: perversity, futility and jeopardy. We are now seeing the right pivot from arguments that emphasized perversity and jeopardy to sheer futility. I hear it all time: “OK, even if we act, isn’t it too late? Won’t China and India just keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere?” Etc.

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So I strongly believe that it is extremely important to convince people that the problem is, in fact, solvable. Our record of environmental regulation of pollution, in fact, shows that very often the eventual cost is far, far less than was originally estimated. Human ingenuity is an incredible thing! So if you picked up a certain upbeat undercurrent in the show, you weren’t wrong. I happen to think the problem, as big and terrifying as it is, really is solvable and really will be solved. And I think it’s doubly important to let people know that so as to engender the level of investment and action we need to make sure that hopeful future is ours.

Read Wen Stephenson’s original post to Chris Hayes, “Dear Chris: Good Job. Now Let’s Get Real.

The Real Story Behind 'Orange is the New Black'

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The US criminal justice system disproportionately incarcerates individuals from disadvantaged communities, particularly people of color. For privileged Americans, this system is often an afterthought—prison is for other people. Netflix’s new hit show Orange is the New Black aims to address what happens when these two worlds collide. The show, which is based on a true story, chronicles the travails of Piper Chapman, an upper-class white women, as she spends a year in federal prison.

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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is joined by Piper Kerman, the author of the memoir on which the show is based, to discuss the unequal application of criminal justice, as well as Kerman’s year in prison and the women with whom she spent it.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Salamishah Tillet on how the show seeks to challenge the racial stereotypes of women of color.

Justice Department Goes After Texas’s Discriminatory Voting Laws

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After the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, conservative legislatures from North Carolina to Texas rejoiced by enacting a range of discriminatory measures. But was it too early to celebrate? This morning, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would be using Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act—a section that remains intact after the Supreme Court’s decision—to ask a federal court in Texas to subject the state to a pre-clearance regime whenever the state tries to change voting laws and practices.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is joined by Congressman Marc Veasey (D-Texas) and Julie Fernandes, senior policy analyst with Open Society Institute, to try to figure out what the federal government can do to combat Texas’ new voter suppression laws.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Ari Berman on the country’s worst voting law yet.

Savoring Small Victories in the Fight to Rein in Wall Street

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After Harry Reid’s threat to amend Senate rules broke the longstanding Republican filibuster, Richard Cordray was finally confirmed Tuesday as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB, which was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, regulates consumer financial products so that they work for ordinary Americans.

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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was joined by the visionary of the bureau, Senator Elizabeth Warren, to celebrate Cordray’s confirmation and discuss what’s next in the fight to reign in Wall Street.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Why were the banks fighting against CFPB? Because it works.

Abortion Opponents' Underhanded Tactics

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On Sunday, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a state budget that includes some of the most restrictive anti-abortion measures in the country. One day later—and just a week after the now famous Wendy Davis filibuster—the Texas state legislature kicked off their second special session, in which Republican lawmakers aim to pass their own legislation that would make Texas one of the hardest places in the country for women to get an abortion.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is joined by Texas State Senator Leticia van de Putte and Ohio-based columnist Connie Schultz to discuss the draconian tactics these legislatures have employed to bypass public debate and offer some friendly PR advice for the men that sign anti-abortion bills.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

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When it comes to abortion, Katrina vanden Heuvel is sick of being patronized.

In Defense of Rachel Jeantel

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George Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin. As the last person to speak with Martin before his death, Rachel Jeantel took the stand this week as a key witness for the prosecution.

After a cross-examination in which the defense attempted to impugn Jeantel’s credibility, much of the court commentary devolved into crass and racialized barbs attacking her intelligence. But as Nation blogger Mychel Denzel Smith wrote yesterday, amid this tactical denigration, “Rachel stood and defended herself and Trayvon (and frankly, many other black youth) against the condescension, against silencing, and against the character attacks.”

Quoting Denzel Smith, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes defends Jeantel and takes her haters to task for their “willful” misunderstanding of a young, black woman’s vernacular.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Can Obama Reverse Climate Change—or Is it Too Late?

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In a speech that Al Gore described as “the best on climate by any president ever,” President Obama forcefully called for action to address man-made global warming. Refusing to wait for skeptics or be sidelined by industry special interests, the president outlined a series of executive actions aimed at curbing climate change. And it is about time. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes talks to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse about what has stunted the climate debate and why Republicans can’t accept that the EPA actually exists.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Can Boehner Save Immigration Reform?

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While the immigration bill is getting bipartisan support in the Senate, the House is a different story. Yesterday, Representative Steve King led a six-hour press conference outside the Capitol steps to raise concerns about the pathway to citizenship. While right-wing intransigence is nothing new, these calls for obstruction from the Tea Party caucus are in conflict with more mainstream Rebulicans’ support for the bill. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes evaluates Speaker John Boehner’s options: kill the bill to appease his base; or bring it to the floor for the good of the party—and, more than likely, say goodbye to his speakership.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

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