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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 09/28/15

Guests: Jess McIntosh, David Cay Johnston, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, JohnMcWhorter, Tom Steyer

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is my wheelhouse. That`s what I do well. HAYES: Donald Trump`s plan to make America`s tax system great again. TRUMP: Thank you. That`s amazing. That`s -- some of the press was actually clapping. I never saw that. I don`t think I`ve ever seen that. HAYES: David Cay Johnston is here with a Trump reality check. Then, as Republican titans keep on falling, new reporting that Jeb Bush could be next. Plus, Elizabeth Warren raising eyebrows with a rousing Black Lives Matter speech. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: None of us can ignore what is happening in our country. HAYES: And big interplanetary news: NASA announces liquid water on Mars, and kayaktivists rejoice as Shell announces it will stop drilling for oil in the Arctic. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gandhi used to say, first, they ignore you, then they make fun of you, then they fight you, then you win. HAYES: ALL IN starts right now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. New evidence today the Republican Party`s center cannot hold. And some of the same forces that knocked Rick Perry and Scott Walker out of the presidential race abruptly and prematurely and compelled John Boehner to resign his speakership are now coming for Jeb Bush, the establishment`s favorite candidate. According to a new report in "The Washington Post," some of Bush`s top donors are starting to panic, warning that he has to improve his poll numbers over the next month or face serious defections among his wealthy supporters. One Republican fund-raiser told "The Post", "What I hear everywhere when you say Jeb`s name is, if you want to lose the general election nominate Jeb." It`s the same type of anonymously sourced story that foreshadowed Perry and Walker`s withdrawals from the campaign, and it comes after a couple lackluster debate performances and a long series of alarming stumbles on the stump, including his recent response to a question about outreach to African-Americans which echoed the tone deafness of Mitt Romney. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn`t one of division and get in line and we`ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting, that says you can achieve earned success. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: A new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll has Bush in fifth place among Republican primary voters nationwide, not only behind the three insurgent candidates who`ve never held elected office but behind his own political protege, Marco Rubio. And that`s a 15-point drop since mid-June when he was leading the pack, a full 2/3 of his support out the window. In an interview over the weekend, Bush tried to put a positive spin on the state of his campaign. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: It is a marathon. And we just started advertising. I`m confident we get good response. We`ve got a great ground game in these early states. I`m confident I can win New Hampshire for sure. These polls really don`t matter. They don`t -- they don`t filter out the people that aren`t going to vote. It`s just -- I know it`s an obsession because it kind of frames the debate for people for that week. But I`m in it for the long haul. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Bush`s decline coincides with one of the most shocking developments in the history of the GOP establishment, House Speaker John Boehner`s unprecedented decision to retire from the most powerful elected office held by a Republican, ostensibly to deprive his caucus`s right flank of the leverage to force a government shutdown over defunding Planned Parenthood. In an interview yesterday, Boehner said there will be no shutdown, and he had some harsh words for the people advocating that strategy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN DICKERSON, FACE THE NATION: Are they unrealistic about what can be done in government? That`s the dysfunction -- REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Absolutely they`re unrealistic. But you know, the Bible says beware of false prophets. And there are people out there, you know, spreading the noise about how much can get done. We`ve got groups here in town, members of the House and Senate here in town, who whip people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know, they know are never going to happen. DICKERSON: Is Ted Cruz a false prophet? BOEHNER: Listen, you can pick a lot of names out. I`ll let you choose them. DICKERSON: You don`t debate that assertion? BOEHNER: I`ll refer you to my remark at a fund-raiser I made in August in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: We present without comment a report on that remark Boehner was referring to. While they may not get Planned Parenthood defunded, however, those same conservatives greeted Boehner`s resignation as a major victory. And though, Kevin McCarthy, another establishment Republican, who announced today he will be seeking the speakership is widely expected to be elected to that position, members of the House Freedom Caucus, Boehner`s main antagonists, signaled they may put up a fight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MICK MULVANEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think it`s fair to say Kevin has the inside track for the position being our leader and so forth. I think an important question is, will things change? Will they change for the better? Or will we simply replace Mr. Boehner with somebody else who will do the same things? (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst and former RNC chair Michael Steele, and Jess McIntosh, spokesperson for Emily`s List. Michael, let me start with you. Thesis, the Republican Party, institutionally, as an organization, as an actual body with a kind of institutional center of gravity and power over its members to kind of set the debate and pull the lever, is as weak as it has been in a very long time. MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: True. It`s basically rudderless right now. There`s no leadership off the Hill. There`s no leadership among the presidential candidates. And one does not expect the political arm to be the lead, because you`ve got folks in place to do the policy and to do the big picture dynamic that the country needs and then quite frankly is looking for. So, you do have this internal struggle which is now bubbling up even more to the surface. John Boehner unhinged, as we`ve seen him in the last 24 to 36 hours, since his announcement, is also reflecting what a lot of us have known for quite some time, the frustration within the party with how to deal with the very dynamics and pressures that are there. And they don`t have a grapple on it right now. And Kevin McCarthy`s going to step into that. Now, the difference with McCarthy from Boehner is that he has an ongoing relationship with a lot of these folks. He supported them. He`s helped them in the past, raised money for them and helped get a lot elected in 2010. The challenge he`s going to have is, you know, balancing that with the establishment, which is going to want to go forward with the agenda as it is. And these guys who are like, OK, come December, we`re going to have the shutdown argument again. So, that`s going to be an interesting challenge to watch, and it`s going to be difficult. HAYES: Yes, congratulations, Kevin McCarthy. You are running to be the drummer of "Spinal Tap" is basically my thought when I saw the announcement today. Jess, you know, if you were to say let`s take a blind anonymous vote of the 1,000 top donors in the Republican Party, you know, I think they`d probably support John Boehner. They certainly would support his decision to not have a shutdown fight over defunding Planned Parenthood. I think they probably would say Jeb Bush is the most likely nominee, which is why that article, if I were Jeb Bush and his campaign in the "Washington Post" would panic me. Not because necessarily it`s time to panic, it`s early, they have lots of money, but the fact that people are talking to the press, that article read unnervingly like articles I read about Perry and Walker before their very shockingly early exits. JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S LIST: Yes, it`s terrifying. I would be absolutely terrified if I were Jeb Bush or his team. He was supposed to be the front-runner, or then when Trump made his surge that no one was anticipating, Jeb was at least supposed to be the not Trump guy. He was supposed to be the one that we were eventually going to wind up with. I think that the Republican Party is really going through a major existential crisis right now where anybody who seems willing to work within the levers of government is a non-starter. John Boehner is a non-starter. Jeb Bush has almost no support in the polls. The difference between the party establishment and the party base looks a lot like two totally distinct parties, which is why anybody who appears to be an outsider, whether it`s Donald Trump or Ben Carson or anybody but Boehner is the better -- I think it`s why Rubio is above Jeb in the polls. I think it`s only because people don`t know who Marco Rubio is yet. He just seems like a new face and all they want is something other than the Republican brand. HAYES: And what`s -- you know, Jess, you hit on something, and Michael, I`d love to hear your response to, which is in some ways the divisions don`t seem particularly ideological. They seem largely tonal and tactical, which is what makes the severity of them all the more remarkable. I mean, you know, picking a fight over a government shutdown that you cannot win, it doesn`t matter who is the most anti-abortion person. The tactic is still doomed, which is what these people are saying. It`s not really an ideological fight. It is ultimately a fight about the basic reality of math and votes, isn`t it? STEELE: No, it`s not. It`s about principle. It is about -- it is about an ideal and a set of ideas that you fundamentally believe in and that you`re prepared to go to the mat for. Yes, we know charging up that hill, we`re going to get slaughtered, we`re going to get caught between the cross-fires -- we get that. But the principle is charging up the hill to make the stand on the idea that what we believe has value, it has value not just politically to us but to the country as a whole. And I think that`s a lot of the frustration that conservatives have. Look, you`re talking about a group of people who over the last 35 years, who have essentially been lied to at every turn just to get the next vote, and they`ve decided, starting largely in 2006 but even certainly in 2010 and onward, that they`re not taking it anymore, that if you`re going to be a principled conservative, then you need to prove to us that you`re principally with us regardless. HAYES: And, Jess, I would imagine as a strong supporter of abortion rights yourself and a spokesperson for Emily`s List, you would welcome a shutdown fight over Planned Parenthood insofar as it would certainly be ideologically clarifying. MCINTOSH: Yes, I mean, it is in a certain sense always great when the other side is really, really clear about how much they dislike women`s rights. That makes it an easier case to say, actually, Democrats are the ones that are interested in moving the country forward, these guys are willing to shut down the government to make sure you can`t do what you have the right to do with your own body. But I have -- I mean, it`s impossible to take any sort of joy in that. It is really disappointing that this many people who are elected to lead, who actually make laws -- we always talk about GOP back benchers and these House lawmakers like they don`t warrant names or it`s not a real problem that they`re as extreme as they are. These men make laws. They make laws that affect women in their states. And the fact that they are willing to do this for -- to women is just sad all around. STEELE: But I would say real quick, Chris, the argument is not just about women`s rights. I want to say for the record, you know, as a Republican and a conservative I`m not against women`s rights in that regard. But there is the other side of the equation is, who`s going to argue on behalf of the fetus? Who`s going to argue on behalf of the unborn child? And that`s another principle that`s been injected into this debate that the country wants to have. HAYES: Well, I think what I find so remarkable is the polling on this has showed incredibly little movement. I actually do think it`s a clarifying fight to have. We`re not going to get it because John Boehner is basically falling on his sword. Thank you, Michael Steele and Jess McIntosh. MCINTOSH: Thanks. STEELE: All right. Donald Trump has framed himself as an outsider candidate bucking GOP orthodoxy, but his diatribes against the donor class and his calls for the rich to pay their fair share, he`s been teasing his upcoming tax plan as the centerpiece of a larger strategy to make the middle class great again. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I`ll be putting a tax plan in next week that will be very long on policy and will be a great plan with a major reduction in taxes for the middle class. You watch. Our middle class built this country. We have to help our middle- income people. We have to do it. I think it`s going to be a plan that`s going to make people happy. Other than maybe the hedge fund guys, who make hundreds of millions of dollars and pay very little tax. I mean, those guys will not exactly love me. Some of my friends, some of my enemies, I think they`re all going to be my enemies. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: All right. So, today, Trump finally released that supposedly revolutionary tax plan. And let`s just say it landed with more of a whimper than a bang. While the plan does close the interest loophole for hedge funders, on the whole it is a major massive net tax cut for the wealthy, slashing the rate for the top income bracket from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, cutting the maximum rates on capital gains and dividends, and getting rid of the estate tax altogether. According to the Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank, Trump`s plan bears a strong resemblance to the one proposed by none other than Jeb Bush, with a much bigger tax cut for those at the top. It goes to show for all the institutional chaos in the Republican Party, which we were just discussing, there is still one principle, one central principle that holds it all together, and that is always and forever cutting taxes for the rich. For all his bluster, that`s one thing Donald Trump seems to understand very well. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: No, I`m not a populist. No, I`m not. I`m a man of great common sense. I`m a man that`s built a tremendous company. I`ve done a good job. But I wouldn`t say populist at all. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: I`m joined now by David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, author and columnist who specializes in economic and specifically tax issues. And, David, I`ve got to say, I was rooting for a Donald Trump "soak the rich" tax scheme because I think there is actual polling to indicate there`s an appetite for that in the Republican primary, among Republican primary voters. DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING REPORTER: Yes. HAYES: And I thought -- well, this guy can do it, he`s independent of the donor class. And instead, we got what looks essentially like something you`d stick your hand in a hat and you pull out a Republican tax plan it looks like this. JOHNSTON: Well, this is George Bush on steroids but without the intellectual heft of his tax cuts. (LAUGHTER) JOHNSTON: And it is -- I mean, it`s a laughable plan that doesn`t address any of the basic real issues at all. The only good provision I could see in this is he would not allow he says corporations to defer their taxes, which we`ve talked about in previous shows. It turns taxes into a profit center for multinationals that can defer. But the amount of money that we would raise would fall through the floor. Of course, that`s kind of Donald`s style, you know, get your hands on the business, in this case the White House, and then when you don`t have enough revenue to pay the bills -- well, you know, you go to bankruptcy court, you just don`t pay people. That`s Donald`s style. So, in that sense, it`s consistent with his long business practices that I`ve written about for more than 27 years. HAYES: Well, and it also strikes me, I mean, let`s talk about -- I want to talk about Jeb Bush`s plans because the similarities are striking, but also I love the detail of the estate tax being zeroed out. I mean, there is no issue to me that`s sort of more clearly reveals the kind of class nature of a certain form of American politics, the estate tax which is paid by an infinitesimally small percentage of taxpayers. This is a guy who inherited his fortune, who stood in a room today with his heirs, who will inherit their fortune from him, calling for the abolition of the estate tax and then being asked are you a populist? JOHNSTON: Well, and remember that most of the money subject to the estate tax now that so few people are covered by it is untaxed gains. This is money that you put into an investment, you haven`t sold it, so it hasn`t been recognized by the tax system. So, what Donald is really proposing is a massive increase in the amount of untaxed wealth accretion that would be passed down to people who have no merit whatsoever. In fact, they are the winners of what Donald once referred to as the lucky sperm club. HAYES: And Jeb Bush, another -- arguably winner of that same club, you know, inherited this tremendous political name, and this dynastic line from which he comes, I mean, his plan -- you know, again, he and Trump are doing something somewhat similar. They`re understanding that there`s at least a political appetite for a faint toward "soaking the rich" and each of them kind of trumping up the tiny parts of their tax plan that might possibly raise some rates on some select group of high income payers, but also doing the same thing, which is a massive, massive George W. Bush-sized cut for those at the top. JOHNSTON: That`s right. And Donald says that his plan really is a soak the rich plan because he`s going to take away deductions. The tax rate cut he proposes from 39.6 percent down to 25 would vastly overwhelm the deductions that he would eliminate, which he doesn`t specify and he says he`s going to keep the home mortgage interest deduction, which by the way primarily benefits people up the income ladder, not down. HAYES: Yes. All right. David Cay Johnston, always a pleasure. Thanks for breaking that down. Still to come, a strategy emerges from the Fiorina campaign you that can`t be proven wrong if you just refuse to accept the facts. I`ll explain ahead. Plus, while politicians are sidestepping questions in the Black Lives Matter movement, Elizabeth Warren delivers a stirring speech in support. And later, we`ve shown you these images of kayaktivists trying to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic. And if you weren`t taking them seriously, you were wrong. The story of their victory and more, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Carly Fiorina held a campaign event in San Antonio yesterday, and she -- well, she really brought down the house. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Class of both -- (INAUDIBLE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Watch it, ladies. It`s going to fall. You stay right here. Don`t move. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep speaking the truth, Carly! (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The scary moment. Thankfully no, one was hurt. And Fiorina was soon able to resume her speech. When we come back, we`ll look at something else that has been collapsing around Fiorina, her credibility. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Carly Fiorina has risen in the polls in the wake of her breakout performance in the second Republican debate. She now stands at 11 percent support according to the new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" survey, putting her in a tie for third place with Marco Rubio. But with success comes scrutiny. And the story in the wake of that second debate hasn`t been Fiorina`s rise in the polls so much as her obstinate denial of reality in the face of countervailing evidence. In the debate, Fiorina offered a vivid description of a scene she suggested appeared in the undercover videos that have prompted GOP calls to defund entirely Planned Parenthood. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FIORINA: I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That description of the video went out to more than 20 million viewers. What she describes is not in the video. It is not there. OK? Fiorina steadfastly refuses to admit this simple truth despite the best efforts of journalists, including our own Chuck Todd. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS/NBC NEWS: There is no evidence that the scene you described exists. Are you willing now to concede that you exaggerated that scene? FIORINA: No. Not at all. That scene absolutely does exist. TODD: The footage you described at best is a re-enactment. The videos even -- the people who made the videos admit it`s stock footage. Yet you went right along and said it`s Planned Parenthood. FIORINA: Chuck. Chuck. Chuck. Do you think this is not happening? (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: And it`s not just the Planned Parenthood videos. Fiorina`s claims that she is qualified to run the country rest primarily on her tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005, which is widely seen at best as unsuccessful and at worst as an utter disaster. Yet instead of substantively engaging her critics, Fiorina and her campaign have responded to them with personal attacks. Fiorina has cited misleading statistics, insisting she was a, quote, "terrific CEO" and compared herself to Steve Jobs. Joining me now, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who was one of Fiorina`s harshest critics, has been on the receiving end of those personal attacks. He`s also senior associate dean of leadership studies and Lester Crown professor of practice management at the Yale School of Management and a highly regarded expert on the quality of CEOs. Professor Sonnenfeld, I want to play you a clip of Ms. Fiorina defending her tenure at HP, get your response to it. Take a listen. JEFFREY SONNENFELD, YALE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: Sure. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FIORINA: Yes, I led HP through a very difficult time. The NASDAQ dropped 80 percent. Some of our strongest competitors went out of business altogether, taking every job with them. We saved 80,000 jobs. We went on to grow to 150,000 jobs. We quadrupled the growth rate of the company, quadrupled the cash flow of the company, tripled the rate of innovation of the company, and went from lagging behind to leading in every single product and every single market. I will run on that record all day long. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That is the Fiorina elevator pitch. What do you think of it? SONNENFELD: Chris, I`m sorry we only have two hours for this show for me to spend with you tonight. Seriously, I feel like the proverbial mosquito in the nudist colony. I hardly know where to strike first. There`s so much wrong with this. But the thing that comes through clearest is this almost, if we weren`t on TV, I`d say almost psychopathic denial of reality. As you saw, even the creators of that hoax Planned Parenthood critique, that even they say that this is not the footage that she says it is. She -- if we still had Steve Schmidt, if we had him on the show, we had Michael Steele on, they would talk to us about how they tried to bury her voice when she was national finance chairman for McCain. She was jousting with him, what his positions are on contraceptives, trying to contradict him in real time. It was very bizarre. Or saying that he is not equipped to be the CEO of a corporation but he could be the commander in chief while she`s helping to run his campaign and then denying she said it when it was on tapes everywhere. This is like she stomps her feet and demands that black is white, hot is cold, and rich is poor, and wins are losses. It`s classic frightening combination of the worst of corporate spin and the worst of public relations propaganda. Her first response is to deny. The second is to deflect to something else. And then if you persist, then you get what`s really miserable, is to discredit. I mean, she attacked me personally. And she has a huge Web site of all these false, completely false defamatory statements about me and my prior career, my political relationships and all this other nonsense. Done the same thing about Steve Rattner as he had a piece in the "New York Times" yesterday -- HAYES: Let me ask you this. Let`s sort of focus on this tenure, right? So, she`s got a company. She inherits it in 1999, which is -- we all know the bubble`s expanding, the dotcom bubble bursts. A lot of money in equities flows out of the tech sector. SONNENFELD: All that`s irrelevant already is what nobody, except some of the financial press but not a single political reporter understanding, first of all, she bought this company after the -- well after the dotcom crash hit. That was late `99, 2000. She bought this company in the spring of 2002, when we were coming out of the dotcom crash. And by the fall -- HAYES: You`re referring to the Compaq acquisition. SONNENFELD: The Compaq acquisition, which was buying the carcass of dying old companies. It was a big mistake. So buying Compaq. She did double the revenue. And that`s about as relevant as saying you quintupled the number of pencils in the drawer. The value by adding A plus B together, it was worth half A later. If you had a dollar value before she bought company, it was worth 50 cents by the time they fired her. The only increase in stock price was a 7 percent jump the day they fired her. In fact, the minute they fired her, the stock jumped 10 percent. It closed up 7 percent. But basically, she lost $60 billion of shareholder wealth. She won`t acknowledge that. Employment? There`s 30,000 jobs less. She had jobs from company A, jobs from company B, putting them together doesn`t create more jobs if you have massive layoffs on top of that. And the only jobs she created were offshore. She was not creating any American jobs. And patents -- she had all these decrepit old patents that came from Compaq and digital equipment that were decayed and dusty and never used. Anything she bought has been shuttered or divested. This is a complete fraud. And this is amazing that people don`t care about the facts. And by the way, do you have to be a business success to be a great CEO? No. Commander-in-chief. She tells us to evaluate her on the basis of only this job since she`s had no other job. If she was so great and vindicated by time, how come nobody`s given her a CEO job since? And by the way also, with failure great heroes, great leaders come back from failure. But you have to acknowledge it. She likes to cite Steve Jobs or she can cite Henry Ford or Walt Disney, many great leaders failed. But their resilience came from exoneration or contrition. She just stomps her feet and demands redemption. You have to earn redemption. HAYES: All right. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, thank you very much. Up next, NASA`s huge discovery. There is liquid water on mars. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Tonight, huge game-changing news from the red planet. NASA scientists have announced that water flows on the surface of present-day Mars. You heard me correctly, they can now state with confidence the dark streaks that appear in the summer months down the sides of many cliffs and craters on Mars are in fact caused by salty water. The revelation radically changes the view of Mars as a dry dusty and lifeless planet, raises the possibility of Martian life both past and present. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN GRUNSFELD, NASA: Today`s announcement of a really fascinating result about current water on Mars is one of the reasons why I feel it`s even more imperative that we send astrobiologists and planetary scientists to Mars to explore the question of is there current life on Mars. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Scientists have long known that water once flowed on the surface of Mars billions of years ago in rivers and lakes, but today`s revelation is the first indication that some of that water still remains on the surface. Researchers are still unsure about where the water`s coming from. They do know that flowing water on the surface of mars could be useful to future travelers, making human space travel to the red planet that much more likely. A really exciting possibility. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ELIZABETH WARREN, SENATOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: In the same way that the tools of oppression were woven together, a package of civil rights laws came together to protect black people from violence, to ensure access to the ballot box, and to build economic opportunity. Or to say it another way, black lives matter, black citizens matter, and black families matter. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: She may not be running for president, but Senator Elizabeth Warren gave the speech that many Black Lives Matter activists have been hoping to hear from the current bunch of declared presidential candidates while speaking on racial inequality yesterday at the Edward M. Kennedy institute in Boston. Senator Warren gave what the Washington Post called quote, "perhaps the most full-throated endorsement to date by a federal lawmaker for the ongoing protest movement." A movement that continues to push the discussion of racial injustice and criminal justice reform in a really demonstrable way. In July Barack Obama became the first sitting president in history to visit a federal penitentiary. When he sat down with inmates at the El Reno prison outside Oklahoma City. The visit was an opportunity to focus attention on the president`s own call for criminal justice reform. Vice used the opportunity to shoot a documentary for HBO that premiered last night. They explained that most of the federal prison population are non-violent offenders. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARRACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can`t raise kids in an environment where this is all they know and they`re surrounded by it, and then think that somehow they are going to be immune from the influences that they`re seeing every day. Part of the concern that I`ve had is that as a society we seem to be okay with certain communities just being locked in this cycle, where kids are being raised around drug crime, they naturally gravitate toward drug crime, they then get involved in the criminal justice system, and it just churns and everybody thinks that`s normal. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: And, as momentum continues to build for a society that is less punitive and intrusive in terms of criminal justice law and enforcement, there are still those who realize that no one`s really lost an election to date for being too tough on crime. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS CHRISTIE, GOVENOR OF NEW JERSEY: It`s the liberal policies in this city that have led to the lawlessness that`s been encouraged by the President of the United States. And, I`m telling you, people in this country are getting more and more fed up. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That brings us to a bit of useful data released today about last year`s violent crime numbers. According to the Department of Justice, violent crime in America in 2014 is down .2% from the year before. And when considering five and ten- year trends, estimated violent crime in 2014 was down almost 7% from 2010 and more than 16% down from 2005. Joining me now John McWhorter, professor at Columbia University, who has a piece today in The Daily Beast called, Black Lives Matter is Living in the Past, and he writes quote, "the way our smart people are covering Black Lives Matter, and some of the assumptions of the group itself, are bubble gum on our shoes. A movement cannot make a real difference in 2015 by pretending it`s still 1965." John, great to have you here. JOHN MCWHORTER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Good to be here, Chris. HAYES: What do you mean by that? And I`m not one of those smart people obviously that you`re calling out. MCWHORTER: Of course not. I think Black Lives Matter is great. I have cheer-led for them in some of my pieces. I think this is a really historic time. I think they`re fierce, to use the current parlance. But I worry that a lot of America is looking on and they`re seeing that these people are calling attention, as they should, I don`t care that they were loud with Bernie Sanders, I don`t think we should say All Lives Matter. But, the problem is everybody knows that a young black man in many neighborhoods is more in danger of being killed by another young black man than by that white cop. And many people are asking, why are we making so much noise only about the white cop rather than those guys? HAYES: So here`s my response to that in two ways. One is that I do think there is such tremendous grassroots work being done in local communities around precisely that issue that has been going on for years, and there`s the interrupters in Chicago, there are the 300 men march that happened in Baltimore, on the west side of Baltimore. And those tend to be not particularly covered by the national press. And it also just strikes me that it`s a little bit of a straw man to say that that`s not something that people are talking about fighting with, organizing around in the black community. MCWHORTER: No, it`s not that it`s never talked about. And, when people have pointed out that in any black community with problems there`s Stop the Violence marches, that is absolutely correct. I`ve even written that too. But we can`t pretend that those protests have created a national white-hot anger and determination. There`s a difference in the degree. And I`d like to see the degree be equal between, say, three intelligent, fierce people trying to stop cops from killing black people, and a movement within the black community joined by police forces to also stop the people who are doing most of the killing of young black men. HAYES: But there`s two things to though. One is there`s a distinction, there`s a real distinction between violence conducted from citizens against citizens and violence done with the blessing of the state`s authority, right? I mean, we have higher expectations. We have a set of different expectations for what a police officer does than what someone in the neighborhood, a citizen who is acting criminally does, don`t we? I mean, there is a reason that that speaks to some core sense of injustice. MCWHORTER: Chris, with all due respect, and you know that I have it, I disagree with that. HAYES: You disagree. MCWHORTER: This idea that we say the state has a special responsibility, here`s where maybe my linguistics leads into my -- whatever politics you might call them. We say state, and that`s high language, and it sounds like political science and so we think of it as a smackdown to talking about black on black violence. But really, no. I don`t see the difference. I understand that we have higher expectations, but not to the point that I would see, say, a mother in Philadelphia who`s lost two kids and say, well, because the guy three blocks down did it and it wasn`t the state I think that what happened to you is less important and we`re going to protest the state. HAYES: No, but there`s something applicable about how we think of it from a policy perspective and a political perspective, right? I mean, a crime that no one -- in the case of someone who is -- who suffers through a horrible murder of someone in their family from a criminal, right? Or someone that just is not a member -- a police officer, right? There`s no one going around saying, well, that`s just how it goes, or that`s okay. Everyone understands, right, that something awful has happened. MCWHORTER: Certainly. HAYES: And that`s not the case in some of the sort of encounters with police violence, which is part of I think this sort of sense of injustice, right? MCWHORTER: I understand that. But still, we have to think we can fight what`s going on with the state, but then if we`re people standing outside of it we also should fight what`s going on in the communities. HAYES: So what does that mean, right? Where does that cash out? I mean, that to me is the question. Because we have in some ways -- we`ve seen a long-term decline in violent crime, right? We`ve seen it in neighborhoods that are -- where this kind of crime is incredibly egregious and endemic, and in other neighborhoods where it`s less so. But there`s a real question about what would organizing around that look like? MCWHORTER: I am thinking that what a lot of police forces say is that we have a hard time getting these bad apples because nobody in the community will cooperate with us, which makes sense when many of the people in the community are thinking these are the people who also kill our sons and our cousins. If we could put a rein on that, then maybe the idea would be now if we can establish some sort of trust, now that the practices that we`ve seen and that crested in the teens are no longer remotely as common, can we partner in city after city and start going after the minority of men who are doing this and build this into a national movement? And this is where things get a little bit inchoate. But social media, a general feeling, New York Times does a piece on this, telegenic stars. Next thing you know we see something cultural, just as people have stopped smoking, just as people have stopped leaving dog remains on the street. I think that that could happen. John McWhorter, always a pleasure. MCWHORTER: Thank you, Chris. HAYES: Coming up, Shell abandons its multibillion-dollar effort to drill in the Arctic in part because of these kayaktivists. I`ll explain ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: An absolutely huge week if you`re a person who likes living on earth and cares about what happens to it. Pope Francis, you may have heard, visited the U.S. last week, urged immediate action on climate change in a number of speeches, including powerful remarks he gave to a joint meeting of congress. Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential front-runner, came out against the keystone XL pipeline. And China, the biggest polluter on the planet, announced it will adapt a cap and trade program to limit carbon emissions. Today, another stunning headline. Shell announces it will stop its massively controversial bid to drill in the Alaskan Arctic, years-long endeavor costing 7 billion dollars --- that`s billion with a b. Shell says it ended exploration for the foreseeable future, citing not only those high costs, but also admitting it just didn`t find enough oil. The company also noting the unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska. Shell`s decision to end its Arctic exploration speaks not only to the shifting economics of fossil fuels in the era of climate change, but also to the power of grassroots activism. Controversy has followed the company`s quest to drill in the arctic ever since the Obama administration approved the project. That quest has been met with months of dramatic protests, from activists boarding one of Shell`s drill rigs to a flotilla of kayaktivists blocking that drill rig to protesters rappelling off a bridge in an effort to stop an icebreaker ship. As The Guardian notes, the company privately began to admit it had been surprised by the popular opposition it faced. Today climate activists took a victory lap and environmental Bill Mckibbin tweeting a photo of one of the kayak protests noting "Shell thought about another summer of this and they blinked and that`s remarkable." And if activism did factor into Shell`s decision to call it quits in the Arctic, that is a huge win for a small and dedicated group of people who don`t often get this kind of result. Next, I`ll talk with one of the most influential climate activists in the country. My conversation with Tom Steyer is ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: The super PAC NextGen Climate has spent a lot of money, tens of millions of dollars inserting the issue of climate change into the last few election cycles. They used a pickup truck full of fake oil barrels to taunt Scott Brown during his bid for senate in New Hampshire. They built an ark to mock Governor Rick Scott`s climate change policies in Florida that has earned him enemies on the right. But California billionaire, former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer remains undeterred. I got the opportunity to sit down with him last week to discuss his activism and the evolution of climate change politics. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM STEYER, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF NEXTGEN CLIMATE: I don`t think it`s unusual for a generation of Americans to be faced with one overwhelming issue. That was true of my parents` generation. It was true of my grandparents` generation. And I strongly believe that the issue that will prove whether or not our generation succeeds or fails is going to be how we react to climate. And I see that as an issue which is actually a human issue. It is exactly right in line with the way that Pope Francis articulates it in terms of its impact on people, our ability to take care of each other and take care of the planet -- HAYES: But when do you come -- I mean, when did you come to that realization? There`s -- people are fired by different things, whether it`s politically or ideologically. And people that have resources find themselves drawn to this or that non-profit or charities for all sorts of different reasons. What was it? What was the moment? Was it reading something? Was it just an accumulation of messages where you thought this is it, this is -- STEYER: Well, I think somewhere around 2002, 2004 I really started -- I`d been an investor. I started a business. I`d run it for 25 years. I love investing. We`d done, I thought a good job. I worked with people who I respected and loved, and it`s a process that I enjoy. And really somewhere around 2002, 2004 when I was working for John Kerry for president but, you know, just in my spare time, I started to think more broadly and to see that there was a huge part of life that I felt I was missing. And as I started to think beyond the financial world, I started to see that there was one issue that I thought would define our success. And it became something where I got more involved and I tried to fund research that technology could solve it. And I went down a path of different ways of trying to handle it and just got more and more drawn -- and more and more convinced that there wasn`t enough emphasis being put on it, that people hadn`t realized the urgency of it, and in fact that was an opportunity for a whole bunch of people including myself to make a contribution to American society. And I felt like I`m married, I`ve got four kids, this is a great opportunity for me to do something -- who`s been so lucky, who lives -- I live in California. I have such a nice life. I`ve been given so much by my family and by the society I was born into, that this is a chance for me to sort of square the ledger and do something that I could be really proud of and say to my kids and to the people that I live with, look, I`m trying to make it better for everybody. And I`ve had it very lucky, and now I feel good about trying to help everybody else. HAYES: So you have -- you`ve been active in a variety of ways and one of the ways you`ve been active is in politics. STEYERS: Yes. HAYES: How`s it going? I mean, are the Tom Steyers of the world winning? Are they losing? Is it a tie? I really -- I`m asking. STEYERS: I`ll give you the good news. We look at it in a couple ways, but the question you`re asking me is how are we doing with the American people. And, I think the American people have made a huge move. I quit my job to do this full-time. So, I decided to do this with all my effort and time at the end of 2012. So I`ve been doing this for almost three years. And over that time the American people have made a huge move. If you look at any kind of poll about how they feel about this, about 2/3 of Americans at least, depending on how you ask the question, believe with us the climate is changing, that human beings are causing it, and that we need to address it as a society. So there`s been a huge move. At this point we`ve asked people running for office to at least be able to explain how our society can be 50% clean energy by 2030. And if you can`t meet that standard, you`re not really serious about addressing this problem. And if you look at the polling on that, over half of Republicans agree with us on that. HAYES: But the problem -- okay, so I would agree with you as someone who sort of covers this, right? I do think that public opinion`s moved. I think you see denialism waning in some ways. I mean, it`s -- politically it`s almost embarrassing. What you see they`ve pivoted from the science is a hoax or some bizarre international conspiracy to yeah, but can we really do anything and China. But that`s a move. STEYERS: A huge move. If you look at it, the people who are on the other side of this have moved from it`s not true, to I don`t know whether it`s true, to it`s true but there`s nothing we can do about it, it`s too expensive and it`s a global problem and we`re one country. That`s what we heard in the republican debate. HAYES: But that is still excuses for non-action and a political system that doesn`t seem particularly well equipped to deal with the problem at the same time that the problem is getting bad and worse every day. STEYERS: But here`s really good news too. Part of the good news is that the American people have moved, and listening to Pope Francis is something that I think is going to be critical in terms of every American taking this seriously, when someone with his seriousness and absolute goodness talks about it. I think it`s very hard not to think about this really hard. But I think the other thing that`s true that people don`t seem to understand is the technology`s moved. We`ve seen the price of renewable energy come down 80%, and it`s not going to stop. Look, the thing we know about technology is every year American engineers and scientists and business people reduce the costs of producing things. Think about the cell phone, how big it was, how expensive it was, how small it`s gotten, how cheap it`s gotten. Think about TVs, how big TVs used to be and how expensive they used to be and how the cost comes down on all these things. So the fact of the matter is we`re at a technological place where we`re talking all the time about solutions. They`re here. They`re possible. There is absolutely no reason to think we can`t do this. But I think the right way to think about this, as an American is, this is our chance. Everybody`s chance as a generation, as a country, to decide to tackle this to solve it, to put together the American know-how, American research, American business. Solve it and be proud of ourselves and lead the world. That`s what we do. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: My thanks to Tom Steyer. Tomorrow night I`ll be down in Miami where none other than former Vice President Al Gore will join me live on set. That is all in for this evening the Rachel Maddow Show with Steve Kornacki in for Rachel starts now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END