Msnbc Live at 6 p.m. ET, Friday, February 18th, 2011
Read the transcript from the Friday 6 p.m. hour
Guest Host: Chris Hayes
Guests: Ed Schultz, Richard Engel, Naomi Klein, Eero Wasserman, Steven Stockhausen, Ann Friedman, Ted Strickland
CHRIS HAYES, GUEST HOST: Good evening and welcome to the show. I‘m Chris Hayes from “The Nation” magazine. We are waiting at this moment to hear from Wisconsin‘s Republican governor Scott Walker who we‘ve been told will speak any minutes about the labor crisis that has overtaken that state. We will bring that to you live when it happens.
The uprising continues today in Madison, Wisconsin where 30,000 school kids and their teachers, public employees, neighbors, spouses, parents and supports of all stripes are fighting back against an anti-labor power grab.
Newly-elected governor Scott Walker and his Republican cohort are trying to jam through a budget that would take away collective bargaining rights for the state‘s public workers. But 14 Democratic state senators have pulled the emergency brake. They fled the state, denying the Republican majority the quorum it needs to pass Governor Walker‘s budget repair proposal.
The state senators are somewhere in Illinois tonight specifically an undisclosed hotel in the Chicago area, but don‘t worry, they are tweeting and interviewing and, let it be known, they are willing to fight. The leader of the Wisconsin state Democrats Matt Miller said, quote, “This is a watershed moment unlike any that we have experienced in our political lifetimes. The people have shown that the government has gone too far.”
Miller‘s counterpart in the state assembly, Democratic leader Peter Barca gave a fiery speech last night to the citizen who had come to the protests at the capitol shouting, “This is wrong! Desperately wrong and we will not stand for it!” And pledging to, quote, “fight ‘til the bitter end.” Meanwhile, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker wants everyone to go back to business as usual.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN: The state senators who are hiding out down in Illinois should show up for work, have their say, have their vote, add their amendments, but in the end, we‘ve got a $3.6 billion budget deficit we‘ve got to balance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The governor has sent the state police to hunt down the Democratic law makers and had earlier intimated he would use the National Guard against the unions that stood in his way.
This fight isn‘t really about budget cuts. It‘s not about public employees being asked to contribute more to their health care and their pensions, because the state has the power and the GOP has the votes to simply mandate cuts and givebacks from the workers they‘re going after. That‘s not enough for Walker and their allies.
What they want to do is strike a death blow to public sector unions by stripping nearly all collective bargaining rights. Grim irony since Wisconsin is the birthplace of the union. Eighteen sixty-five, the first modern trade union was formed in Milwaukee. Nineteen eleven, Wisconsin passed the first workers‘ compensation law and, during the Great Depression, the state‘s progressive governor got unemployment benefits passed.
None other than President Obama called Governor Walker out on his anti-union efforts in an interview with a local Milwaukee station.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT: Some Of what I‘ve heard coming out of Wisconsin where you‘re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally seems more like an assault on unions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For once, it seems national Democrats have embraced, rather than abandoned their grassroots base. Organizing for America, President Obama‘s former campaign juggernaut, that‘s now part of Democratic national committee, has gone all-in with the protesters in Wisconsin. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi offered her support this afternoon in no uncertain terms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: In Wisconsin right now, we are watching an extraordinary show of democracy in action. Wisconsin‘s workers, teachers and public servants must have a seat at the table to fight for good wages and a safe work place. I stand in solidarity with the Wisconsin workers fighting for their rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The protesters have the support of the DNC, the Democratic leader of the House, the president of the United States, as well as a good chunk of the victorious Green Bay Packers.
One last point about Governor Walker that‘s just starting to get traction in the national media. Wisconsin has a projected $137 million short fall. It‘s a consequence of Wisconsin Republicans passing $117 million in tax breaks. The governor pushed through tax cuts that created or helped create a fiscal hole. He‘s now using it as a pretext to go after the unions.
Joining me now live from Madison, Wisconsin, is the man who‘s been all over this story, Ed Schultz, host of “The Ed Show.” Thanks, Ed. Thanks a lot.
ED SCHULTZ, HOST, “THE ED SHOW”: Good to be with you, Chris. There is a development here late this afternoon. This legislation would affect about 175,000 workers in the state of Wisconsin. One of the largest groups, 23,000 headed up by Marty Beil, who is the head of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, has reached out to the governor‘s office and said that OK, we‘ll give you the money, we‘ll take the reductions, we‘ll take the cuts, but we are going to draw the line when it comes to collective bargaining.
And I can only speculate here tonight that we may be seeing the governor coming out in a few minutes and responding to the proposal that Marty Beil has put on the table. The governor‘s office response earlier was that they would consider this.
Now whether this is going to be enough to bring the 14 senators back from Illinois remains to be seen. So this is very fluid at this hour, but this is basically the first movement by organized labor to the governor‘s office in trying to end this crisis here in Madison, Wisconsin, and throughout the state.
Now, the question also remains, what about the other employees across the state? If these 23,000 people agree to this, what will the rest of the employees do? So a lot of unanswered questions, but there is some movement here at this late afternoon hour here in Madison, Wisconsin.
The crowd has been very vocal all day. It hasn‘t backed off at all.
It‘s almost as if they‘re going into the weekend and they are re-energized. This all started a week ago today when this proposal came out and it has just built day after day after day.
And so, how this is going to end, no one knows. But the first olive branch from the union is out on the table, and maybe we‘ll hear the governor respond to that in just a moment.
HAYES: Does that seem to be the exit strategy here? I mean, you know, obviously they are loggerheads. One would imagine these Democratic senators cannot stay, you know, over state lines indefinitely. Although there‘s precedent in the Texas redistricting case of them staying across state lines for quite a long amount of time. But is that—what do you think this sort of olive branch, as you called it, indicates?
OK, it looks like the governor is about to talk to us. Governor Scott Walker from Wisconsin.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN: Not going on in the state capitol. First off, I want to begin, certainly acknowledging the thousands of people who are outside protesting. Many of whom are from the state of Wisconsin. Many more lately have been coming in from other parts across the country.
Certainly, now it‘s their right to be heard, but I particularly want to thank the 300,000-plus state and local workers from across Wisconsin who, unlike those here today, didn‘t skip out on work, showed up for their jobs, did their jobs the way that they have done in the past and I believe will do the future. And that is the good, professional public servants and we appreciate the work that they continue to do.
Certainly again, as I mentioned, the folks outside have every right to be heard, but there‘s five and a half million people in this state and certainly the taxpayers of this state have every right to be heard.
We‘re not going to allow for one minute the protesters to feel like they can drown out the voices of those millions of taxpayers all across the state of Wisconsin.
What we‘re asking for today and what we continue to be pushing for in this capital is bold when it comes to politics. It‘s a bold political move, but anytime you challenge the status quo, it‘s going to be bold. But it is a very modest request of our government workers all across the state.
When I was traveling around the state, it‘s something worth repeating because we‘ve been hearing it time and time again from people contacted us. When I was out at manufacturing plants talking to blue collar workers across the state earlier this week, it reinforced to me that in many of those cases they‘re paying anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of their health care costs.
Most of them don‘t have pensions and those that have 401(k)s, many of them have seen that the contributions from their employer has been suspended in the last year or two, I should say as the economy has made it difficult in order to preserve jobs.
That is in contrast to the very modest request we‘re asking for which is a 5.8 percent contribution to the pension system, and a 12.6 percent contribution from state workers for their health care premium. That‘s half the national average.
To the workers I‘ve talk to around the state and continue to hear from even today, they think that‘s a deal they‘d love to have. I know when I talk to others in my family, they point out my brother, who‘s in many ways a typical middle class family. He and his wife both work. They have two kids. And for them, they‘re paying $700, almost $800 a month for their health care and for the money they set aside in their 401(k).
What we‘re asking for is a reasonable piece of balancing this budget. Wisconsin has a 3.6 billion—billion with a B—billion dollar deficit that we face going into the next biennium. We‘re broke. Like nearly every state across the country, we don‘t have any more money. We‘ve been broke for years.
And in fact, two years ago, they kind of delayed the pain by taking $2.2 billion of stimulus money and instead of using that for one-time costs like infrastructure, the previous governor and legislature used that to plug in a $2.2 billion hole in terms of Medicaid and school aid deficit. That‘s part of the reason why we‘re here today.
They failed to make the tough decisions two years ago. We‘re making the tough decisions now, not only to balance our budget and help our local governments balance their budgets, but to make sure two, four, six, eight years down the road our kids and our kids‘ kids aren‘t having to deal with these same crises.
So we‘re here today because we were elected to make tough decisions. I was elected—I interviewed for this job over the last two years and told the voters what I would do to get Wisconsin working again. To show that Wisconsin was open for business.
We made bold changes in the first month in terms of turning the business climate around to make it easier for private sector employers to put more people to work by easing the burden on taxes, litigation, regulation and the cost of health care.
Now the next great quest for us to get Wisconsin working again is to balance our budget and to do it in a way that is prudent for the future, not only for the state, but ultimately so that local governments can have those same tools.
And that‘s really what‘s at the heart of what we‘re talking about today. I‘ve heard—and I want to clarify some (INAUDIBLE) I‘ve now heard after several days in, that some union leaders at the state level, the same unions who tried to cram through a series of employee contracts in December, who—after the election, before I was sworn in, who had no interest in talking to us then about negotiating, but wanted to get that pushed through while they still had the previous majorities in place.
Unfortunately for the taxpayers of this state, they failed to do so. Now suddenly are talking about being interested in negotiating. Again, we don‘t have any money. We can‘t make a good faith effort to negotiate when we don‘t have any money.
But more important than the fact that at the state level in the past decade, the average amount of time for a contract negotiation has taken 15 months. The reality here beyond that is for our local governments. And I used to be a local county executive. For our local governments, I know this well firsthand. We can‘t expect for our 72 counties, for our 424 school districts and for more than 1,000 municipal governments across the state of Wisconsin that somehow magically, because a few people are suggesting they might be willing to come to the table now, that we can ensure that every district and every jurisdiction is able to achieve these savings just because a few people are now at the 11th hour claiming they want to negotiate.
The bottom line is to ensure what‘s going to happen in a week, when we introduce our budget, and there are going to be reductions of significant size when it comes to aid to local government from the state, just like nearly every other state across the country. But unlike New York and California, for example, they cut billions of dollars in their proposals from their schools, from their university system and ultimately from their local governments without getting them any tools to balance it off.
In this bill, we‘re giving them the tools to ensure that they don‘t have to incur massive layoffs and they don‘t have to cut core programs at the state and school district level.
That‘s what this is all about. To protect our schools, to protect our local governments. And we need to give them the tools that they have been asking for, not just for years but for decades, in this capital. And once and for all, when this measure passes, that‘s exactly what they‘re going to get.
Now, one other thing that‘s interesting and it seems as more national and political figures come into this capital, the facts seem to be stringing further and further away from the truth because we‘ve heard some pretty big doozies today.
The reality is that we do have a financial crisis in this state. We do even in this current year. The reality is because of the way the previous governor and legislature budgeted, we have a shortfall when it comes to Medicaid. We have a gap when it comes to the correction system. We have a gap when it comes to the public defender.
In addition, we owe nearly $60 million to the State of Minnesota because of a failed payment from the previous governor for tax (INAUDIBLE).
We have bill collectors waiting for us to collect bills and it‘s time we step up and take care of the bills that we owe and the fact that the bills will be forthcoming more so in the future.
We‘re going to do what it takes to get this budget on track and equally, if not of greater importance, we‘re going to make sure we‘re set up come July 1 when the next biennial budget begins that we have the tools not the only to balance the state budget but to ensure that all of our local governments have the tools they need to balance their budgets with these very modest proposals to allow all of us, myself included, my cabinet, the legislature, to help make more in terms of pension and premium -- health care premium contributions. So that‘s kind of where we‘re at. I know there‘s a bunch of questions. We‘ll take a few before you go on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m curious why removing the ability to have collective bargaining over benefits closes the budget gap. They keep saying this is about collective bargaining. How do you respond to that?
WALKER: The bottom line is and, again, as a local government official, I can tell you, if you‘re going to see major cuts in aid to local governments, which is exactly what‘s going to come and what I‘ve said is going to come for some time and what nearly every other governor across the country is doing.
The only way I can assure to the public in this state that those cuts aren‘t going to lead to massive layoffs of teachers, city, county, local government workers, major cuts in core services at the local level is if those local governments have the authority to set their pension and benefit levels the way we‘re outlining in this bill. If you have collective bargaining agreements in place, there‘s no guarantee that any of those savings will be materialized.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you remove future collective bargaining altogether, you give the government the absolutely upper hand over that, don‘t you?
WALKER: You ultimately allow local and state government to determine what the pension and health care benefits are in the future. Absolutely. That‘s what local governments have been asking for for years. They don‘t have that right now. I didn‘t have that when I was the county executive. That‘s why time and time again, I would come back to the unions in Milwaukee County and ask for simple changes in terms of pension or health care contributions.
I even asked for a while for a 35-hour work week. Their response to me was, we don‘t want it. You can go do something else. Go lay off 400 or 500 employees, we don‘t care.
The reality is, I think the people of the state care, both because it will affect services negatively and because, in this environment, in this economy, I don‘t think many of us, other than a few of the union leaders, want anybody—anybody to be laid off.
HAYES: Governor Scott Walker, defiant, pugilistic, does not look like he is interested in accepting the olive branch that Ed Schultz described for us. Ed, what did you make of that speech?
SCHULTZ: Well, I was told late this afternoon by one union official through our producers was that this offer, this olive branch by the unions basically was to prove that this governor is very staunch in his position and they‘re not going to be able to smoke him out.
This is where he‘s going to stand. And you‘ll find the Democrats here in Wisconsin countering all night long the numbers that he just threw out.
So we‘re going to be at a standstill in this crisis in Wisconsin. It‘s an ideological philosophy on how the state should be run. If you were to interview any one of those 14 state senators that are now in Illinois, they wouldn‘t say anything that governor just said is anywhere near the truth when it comes to the finances.
He has given away tax breaks within the first 30 days of him being the governor, yet he turns around and says, well, we‘ve got to break up the unions. This story is a long way from being over, I think. And that governor has got his feet definitely (INAUDIBLE) in concrete.
HAYES: You know, and one thing—one thing I think that bears sort of repeating here is that there‘s two—there‘s two issues on the table. One is that what the next contract for these public workers is going to look like in terms of pay cuts, benefit cuts, et cetera.
He talked about wanting them to, you know, contribute more to their health care, for instance, up to 12 percent. But that is completely distinct from permanently revoking the collective bargaining rights for state employees. Right? I mean, those are two separate issues. And he seems to intent on blurring the line between these two.
SCHULTZ: Not only does he want workers to take a reduction and contribute more to their pension and also to their health care costs, which is going to be in the neighborhood of 15 percent to 20 percent, who knows where it‘s going to end up. The fact of the matter is he‘s trying to end collective bargaining in this state, which has nothing to do, as you say, when it comes to dealing with budgetary issues.
The Koch Brothers are behind this governor. This is part of a national master plan. This is ground zero to take down organized labor. And I‘ve got a couple of firefighters with me here tonight. Sir, your name?
EERO WASSERMAN, FIREFIGHTER, NORTH SHIRE, WISCONSIN: Eero Wasserman with the Local 1440 Fire Department.
SCHULTZ: Are you part of the cuts and reductions that the governor is talking about?
WASSERMAN: Not at the moment, but I wouldn‘t be surprised if we were. And why we‘re here is to show solidarity for our union brothers and sisters and to fight the cuts against the collective bargaining which would affect everybody throughout the state, and that is not right.
SCHULTZ: All Right. Your name, sir?
STEVEN STOCKHAUSEN, FIREFIGHTER, WEST BEND, WISCONSIN: Steven Stockhausen.
SCHULTZ: Where are you from, Steven?
STOCKHAUSEN: West Bend, Wisconsin.
SCHULTZ: You, too, are a firefighter.
STOCKHAUSEN: Yes, sir.
SCHULTZ: OK. The governor just said there‘s no movement here. He still wants these reductions and he also wants collective bargaining off the table. What‘s your reaction to that?
STOCKHAUSEN: I really believe that we need the collective bargaining to continue our solidarity between the unions to protect the rights of our workers.
SCHULTZ: Does it change anything that the Wisconsin state employees union headed up by Marty Beil put out a proposal to the governor today saying that OK, we‘ll take the cuts and we‘ll take the reductions but the collective bargaining has to stay in place. And the governor just rejected that. How do you feel about that?
STOCKHAUSEN: I‘m hurt. Because if it‘s all about the monetary and about the money that they want, we‘ll give that up. We‘ll give that up. But if it‘s about our rights to voice our opinion of our working conditions and voice our opinions of collective bargaining, that‘s not right.
SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, great to have you here tonight. Thanks so much.
So Chris Hayes, that is the story here to the moment. The protests continue on. Reverend Jesse Jackson has arrived today. He was swarmed by the crowd here. This is going to very, very fever pitch throughout the weekend.
HAYES: So, Ed, just give us—before we let you go here, just give us a little sense of how this does play out. I mean, it looks like we‘ve got a classic standoff here. If anyone thought the governor was going to come to the microphone to say essentially say, OK, you know, come on back, we‘re going to strike a deal here. That‘s clearly not in the cards. I mean, I think that the unions were hoping that he would expose himself as a maximalist today, he‘s done that.
So then what‘s the next step here?
SCHULTZ: Well, I think now the ball is pretty much in the court of those 14 Democrats that are sitting down in Illinois. We‘ll get some reaction later on tonight here on MSNBC from those 14 senators now that they‘ve heard the governor basically say we‘re not budging.
The governor‘s office, we‘re not budging. He is basically going to stake his claim that this is the way it‘s going to have to be, or there‘s going to be massive cuts. So, I see this not resolving for some time. I was told by one source today that these senators are willing to stay down there as long as they have to.
HAYES: And then the other question is, if the senators are willing to stay down there as long as they have to, I mean, we‘re seeing, you know, people in power, when faced with protesters outside their door, like to play for time and hoping that people get tired and go home.
From your perch there amidst the scene, what do you think? How long can this be sustained in terms of getting these people to come to the capital and increase the pressure on Walker? Or are people going to sort of say, well, we tried this, it didn‘t work and go home.
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, Chris, these Americans who are out here fighting for their middle class wages and benefits now realize that they are the eye of the storm in this country. And that the eyes of the country and the ears and the minds of workers across America are paying attention to what‘s going on here.
But this same kind of scenario is unfolding in Ohio. There has also been some very aggressive anti-union legislation in other states. So the longer they stay here, the bigger story it is.
HAYES: Ed, thanks so much. We‘re going to let you go. Everyone should tune in tonight 10:00 Ed will be broadcasting live. Ed Schultz, thanks so much.
We‘re going to go to break. We‘ll be back covering more from Wisconsin right after this message.
Kill the bill! Kill the bill! Kill the bill!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we want?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do we want it?
HAYES: Those are some of the images from earlier today in Madison, Wisconsin where thousands have taken to the State Capitol to protest a new bill being offered by Republican governor Scott Walker which would radically redefine the collective bargaining rights of the public workers in that state.
We‘ve been covering it quite a bit here at MSNBC. We have Ed Schultz live there covering it. And as you‘re watching this unfold, you may be thinking to yourself, why does Wisconsin matter? You probably know in your gut that it matters, you can feel it viscerally.
Obviously, we‘ve devoted a lot of time to it here. But I want to take a moment to lay out why I think the stakes here are so high. Why this is the biggest domestic political story in quite some time.
I think there are three main reasons. The first is the future of unions and the future of America‘s middle class. One day in the very near future, it‘s possible we will wake up to discover that American unions no longer exist. This isn‘t some idle dystopic (ph) vision, it could be right around the corner. Private sector unions have been battered by decades of union busting and has sustained assaults, leaving public sector unions as the most robust part of the labor movement.
That‘s the reason the right wing is loading up for bear against the public unions from Wisconsin to Ohio to New Jersey. They represent the last true bull work of the American labor movement. They are standing with their heels hanging over a precipice, and in Wisconsin, governor Walker is attempting to give a swift, final shove.
If that happens, it will be repeated from state to state and that awful day without unions will be upon us. And when that happens, we will have lost one of the great forces of justice, equality and dignity this nation has ever known. One of the great civilizing institutions in human history, gone. Lost like Atlantis. A drowned distant memory.
Now, the second reason this fight matters is the future of public education. One of the bizarre quirks of Governor Walker‘s proposal is that it exempts public safety employees like police and firefighters, two of whom you just heard from, who have retained their collective bargaining rights.
From a budgetary perspective, this makes no sense. If collective bargaining is driving costs, then it‘s certainly doing so as much for police as for administrative workers. The reasons are political. Public safety workers have generally supported Walker, so this is a little bit of quid pro quo.
You take away cops and firefighters, who are you left with? Teachers mostly. The (INAUDIBLE) had been out for teachers unions for a while. And some of that enmity is self-inflicted by bad work rules and bureaucratic paralysis, but that‘s not what‘s driving the massive and well-funded campaign we‘ve seen across the country to destroy teachers unions. What‘s driving it is the ultimate aim of permanently scrapping the model of public education that has sustained this country for years.
Teachers unions are the stewards of preserving public education, which is the core element of our civic life, of the collective Democratic enterprise that is these United States.
Conservatives have wanted to abolish public education in its current form for a while and getting rid of the teachers unions is a necessary first step. Scott Walker, not surprisingly, has been at the center of this fight. Before he was governor, he was the executive of Milwaukee County. Milwaukee served as the petri dish for the nation‘s first mass scale private school voucher experiment.
Walker campaigned on expanding vouchers and is already under pressure from conservative groups to make good on that promise.
Finally, this matters because what‘s happening in Wisconsin reminds us the politics can be bigger and more creative and more boisterous from the quiet routine of voting every two or four years.
I think we‘ve all felt for some time now, I think, that things in this country aren‘t right and they aren‘t headed in the right direction. But the political institutions we have don‘t seem to be able to fix what‘s wrong or even give a voice to a vision of a truly different future.
The people of Madison, Wisconsin, have decided to mobilize, outside of the confines of those institutions to make their voices heard. Through the time honored and noble tradition of peaceful, mass dissent.
The greatest moments of progressive transformations in this country from women‘s suffrage to the birth of collective bargaining to civil rights have depended on the very same vision. It‘s a reminder and it‘s an inspiration.
With me now is journalist and author Naomi Klein whose books include “No Logo” and “The Shock Doctrine. The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”
Naomi, thanks so much for joining. I really appreciate it.
NAOMI KLEIN, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: Glad to be with you, Chris.
HAYES: So, you wrote this excellent, excellent book that a lot of people have read. But many some of—not all of our viewers have “The Shock Doctrine,” and it‘s funny, because I‘ve seen a few people recently talking about how what‘s happening in Wisconsin, they were skeptical of the thesis before, but what‘s happening in Wisconsin is making them a little more receptive to it. So, I want you to describe what the thesis of “The Shock Doctrine” is and how it applies in what we‘re seeing play out in Wisconsin.
KLEIN: Yes. The thesis of the book is that right-wing policy playbook is tremendously unpopular in a lot of places, particularly when it involves rolling back benefits that people have fought for. You know, everyone likes a tax break, but people are going to protect hard won public services, public benefits, labor rights. And so what I argue in “The Shock Doctrine” is that if you look at the 30-year history of the triumph of these policies around the world, what you see is that you‘re great leaps forward happened during times of extreme crisis. And that‘s because in a time of crisis, you have politicians able to do exactly what Scott Walker is doing right now in Wisconsin, which is say, the roof is falling in, we have a state of emergency here, we don‘t have time for democracy or public consent or deliberation or collective bargaining.
So, it becomes an opportunity to ram through these unpopular policies, many of which he did not campaign on. He campaigned on the popular stuff, the tax cuts. But he didn‘t say how he was going to pay for it. And so, lo and behold you have a budget crisis, you exaggerate the extent of the crisis and we say we don‘t have any alternative but to push through these very unpopular measures. Part of that really means constricting the democratic space. And that‘s why I think it‘s so significant that they‘re going after collective bargaining. Because it isn‘t just that particular rollbacks that they‘re offering for. They‘re trying to reduce the ability of participation of the workers in their own futures. It‘s a constricting of democracy.
So, it is pretty much a classic example of “The Shock Doctrine.” I have to say, I don‘t take any joy in being right about this, but, you know, I end the book by saying that the way you resist these tactics is by understanding that they‘re happening while they‘re happening. Because the reason why these tactics work is because when you do have an economic crisis or another kind of crisis like a natural disaster or even a war, people are terrified and they tend to put a lot of trust in their leaders. We saw this after 9/11.
What‘s happening in Wisconsin, is an excellent example of what I describe as shock resistance, because people are naming this while its happening. They‘re saying, you‘re manufacturing a crisis so that you can exploit it, and the other thing that they‘re doing is they‘re talking about all the other ways that you could fill that budget short fall, besides this very narrow vision that we‘re seeing. This is a challenge to one of the original shock doctors, Margaret Thatcher, whose, you know, her famous phrase is that there is no alternative. What we‘re seeing is, people are very loudly talking about the alternatives that are available.
HAYES: In just the last 60 seconds, we have here, I wonder if there are connections you see between this, there‘s been a lot made of the connection between, you know, the people on the streets of Cairo and I think maybe that connection is not as robust as people seem to think it is. But there are other places we have seen that kind of shock resistance that can serve as a model.
KLEIN: Yes, I think maybe better than comparing this to Cairo would be to comparing it to the incredible pushback we‘ve seen in the UK, in Britain to another anti-democratic attempt to push through very unpopular austerity measures by a coalition government that was not elected to do this. Does not have a majority mandate to do it. And what you see in Britain is a very clear attempt to not only say, OK, we don‘t want our education cut, we don‘t want our health care cut, which is happening, but more importantly, you have groups like U.K. uncut, which is now spreading to the U.S. The group is called, the U.S. uncut has cropped up and they‘re planning actions on February 26. And what they‘re doing is going after the corporations that are not paying their taxes. Going after the tax dodgers directly at their store fronts. Companies like Vodafone, top shot. Today, there were big protests against Barclays bank. And showing that if these corporations paid their taxes, then you wouldn‘t have to be gutting public services. And so, I think that in terms of resisting the shock doctrine, you have to have your own story to resist the panic story being sold to you, and that‘s really key.
HAYES: Thank you very much. Naomi Klein, she‘s the author of “The Shock Doctrine,” which you should read, she‘s a colleague of mine at “The Nation” magazine. Naomi, thanks so much for joining me. I really appreciate it.
KLEIN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Wisconsin, just ground zero for the union movement. Public worker protests are spreading across the nation. Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland was at one in Columbus. He‘s here to tell us about it.
HAYES: The fight worth seeing in Wisconsin right now could be about to spread far and wide. Rallies are already popping up in other states and there are rumblings of many more to come. Thousands in Ohio rallied on Thursday in protest on a measure that would—this will sound familiar—strip public employees of collective bargaining rights. The GOP-backed measure would hit teacher, firefighter, police and other unions. One of the surprise protesters last night was former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a union friendly democrat who said he wanted to lend support to the cause. I‘m going to talk to the governor in just a moment.
In New York, schools are bracing for a cut in state funding. One of the thousands teachers and parents staged a rally last night in protest of that have proposal. Teacher and labor unions are planning another bigger rally in March. Bills that would weaken teacher unions have also trigged protests in Tennessee and Indiana this week. The AP reports that labor groups are planning on spending $30 million in dozens of states to fight anti-union legislation.
With me now as promised is former Governor Ted Strickland, Democrat from Ohio. Governor Strickland, thanks so much.
FMR. GOV. TED STRICKLAND (D), OHIO: Chris, thanks for having me.
HAYES: So, maybe you can first get up us the speed on what exactly is on the table in Ohio? We‘ve had a lot of attention paid to Wisconsin. From what I‘ve been able to gather, it‘s not that different of a proposal in Ohio. What exactly is the governor, the Republicans governor there trying to get through?
STRICKLAND: Very similar, except here in Ohio, he‘s also including police officers and state highway patrol personnel. It‘s very similar to what‘s happening, but quite frankly, Chris, I agree with you. This is something that is happening in states across the country. It‘s a coordinated attack on the working middle class and that‘s why we‘ve got to stand against it.
HAYES: Is that why you decided to join the protest yesterday? I think it‘s been interesting to see one of the things that‘s happening in Wisconsin which I think is noble, is that you have a real kind of grassroots protest happening and elected officials and big name Democrats joining in solidarity. Those are the words Nancy Pelosi used today. Why did you decide to go out to the protest and join it yesterday?
STRICKLAND: Well, I wanted them to know whose side I was on. And I walked into our capitol building and saw those thousands of people, I was inspired. Because these are individuals who teach our children, care for our sick, patrol our streets. We‘re talking about firefighters and police officers and nurses and teachers. These are not the enemies of our state. These are the servants of our people. And they are being disrespected by our governor and by some in our legislature. And we need to draw a line in the sand and say we‘re not going to put up with it. These are good people, hardworking people and they‘re being made scapegoats. And this is a political power grab, Chris. That‘s what it is. They‘re trying to cloak it in terms of in terms of the budget crisis. What they‘re suggesting is an attempt dismember the ability of our workers to come together, joined together, to stand up for themselves. And that‘s why have got to resist these efforts.
HAYES: I want to play devil‘s advocate for you in a moment. Because you actually, unlike most of us served as a governor of the state, had to balance the budget. And, when you listen to governor like Chris Christie and Walker and Kasich, what they‘re saying is look, you know, I got this budget deficit, we‘re in a hole and I‘ve got to do this. And, you know, my hands are tied here. You‘ve sat where they‘re sitting, and you know how hard it can be how to balance budgets. What doesn‘t scan about that argument to you?
STRICKLAND: Well, when I was balancing a budget, I called these leaders together, I explained the situation and they cooperated with me. They took 20 unpaid furlough days, unpaid furlough days. They had salary freezes. They were cooperative. What Governor Kasich is doing is showing utter disrespect for these folks. I mean, he called a police officer an idiot publicly, an idiot for giving him a ticket. I mean, think of that. He has said I got a bus, you can get on the bus with me, but if you don‘t get on the bus with me, I‘m going to take this bus and I‘m going to run over you. That‘s no way to talk to people who serve our children.
You know, care for our sick. What we need is the coming together to solve these problems. And, you know, these folks are willing to do that. They‘ll sit down and talk, they‘ll work with this governor. But what they won‘t do is to let this governor take away their rights to collectively bargain for their benefits, for their working conditions. This is a political power grab. It‘s happening in Ohio, it‘s happening in Wisconsin. And if we don‘t stop it, it will happen across this country. And Chris, as you said, if it were to happen, the middle class will be threatened and the middle class will be diminished. And we cannot let that happen.
HAYES: Former Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, I really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much.
STRICKLAND: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Ahead, the battle over the federal budget took an incredible turn today. One democratic congresswoman told a dramatic emotional story that spoke directly to the republican war on women. That‘s up next.
HAYES: The wave of revolution across the Middle East is precipitating more state violence. Tear gas, gunfire and grenades are being used on peaceful protesters. As Obama is quote, “deeply concerned.” Richard Engel reports from Bahrain ahead. Stay with us.
HAYES: You know, we‘re so used to politicians who stick to the script, and the same old predictable talking point. Sometimes they sound more like robots than actual people. But every once in a while, something breaks through. One of those moments was last night in the House of Representatives. It was hour one zillion of the Republicans forcing for a debate on abortion. Predictably, a republican rose to and invoke phony sting video of Planned Parenthood, and graphic details of procedures to argue the U.S. government should defund the help organization entirely. Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier rose to respond and then this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: I had really planned to speak about something else, but the gentleman from New Jersey has just put my stomach in knots because I‘m one of those women he spoke about just now. I had a procedure at 17 weeks. That procedure that you just talk about was a procedure that I endured. I lost a baby, but for you to stand on this floor and to suggest, as you have, that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It‘s a remarkable and brave thing to do. And today, predictably, 230 House Republicans and 10 Democrats voted to cut off all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Here‘s the thing. The Republicans and the right have already won the policy battle over public funding of abortion. Federal funding of abortion has been illegal since the Hyde amendment was first passed all the way back in 1976. So, the defunding they voted through today doesn‘t make one iota of impact on abortions. No, what it would do is deny millions of women routine check-ups and examinations. Defund gynecological exams, cervical cancer test, UTI treatment and the full—of women‘s health services that Planned Parenthood provides.
Joining me now is Ann Friedman, contributing editor and columnist for The American Prospect, she also blogs at the great Feministing.com. Anne, how are you?
ANN FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT: I‘m livid.
HAYES: Yes. Well, let‘s talk about why you‘re livid, because I‘m livid too, I mean, one of the things I think in terms of the context here is that theirs is this clearly coordinated attack across a variety of sort of venues and platforms against Planned Parenthood. What is going on here?
FRIEDMAN: I mean, maybe we need to talk more about how many women see Planned Parenthood for core services. I mean, this is personal. I and every woman I know, just about every woman I know has been to Planned Parenthood for pap smears, for contraception, for like, breast exams. I mean, things that are noncontroversial. And the fact that, you know, we just saw that speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, you know, every person who voted for this amendment knows a woman who has been to Planned Parenthood and accessed totally noncontroversial health services.
HAYES: So, then, what do you make of this strategy? I mean, you know, Rachel Maddow and I have talked about how you had this, the Tea Party infused, Republican Party rising to victory on deficit debt, jobs, et cetera, and just going full out culture war anti-abortion rights all the way here. Do you think this is over the line? Is this going to provoke a backlash?
FRIEDMAN: I hope so. We should start referring to this as the anti-pap smear and anti-contraception act. I mean, this is, you know, really this is how concern people should be about it. And, you know, in part of me wants to say that this is a result of Democrats saying, you know, no big deal, like we‘ll let you have this ban on federal funding of abortion. That‘s, you know, we‘re not going to argue about that. And the Stupak/Pitts amendment to the health care bill, you know, like we‘re not going to fight too hard on that one. I mean, you know, this is abortion, it‘s a touchy subject. And I think what we‘ve learned with legislation like this is when you give an inch on abortion, they take a mile on contraception and core, core health services.
HAYES: Right. So that the grand bargain that‘s track right through the Hyde amendment is that the truce never lasts is the point.
FRIEDMAN: Right. No, absolutely not. And, you know, and this is radical and it‘s personal. I mean, every woman in America should be feel personally attacked by the House of Representatives right now.
HAYES: Last question here, you know, it appears people said well, you know, calm down. This is the house and the votes are not there in the Senate. So this is just symbolic. Should we be as livid as you say we should? Or should you say, look, this is posturing and, you know, everything is going to be fine when it gets to the Senate?
FRIEDMAN: I mean, I don‘t think this is symbolic, I‘m sorry. You know, like I said earlier, sort of like every action down the road just tends to snowball when it comes to women‘s health, and I‘m—I will not be surprised if I‘m back here in five months or five years or whatever period of time telling you like, oh, wow. I can‘t believe that they passed this through the Senate.
HAYES: Ann Friedman of Feministing.com and “The Prospect” magazine.
Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
FRIEDMAN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, a new brutal crackdown today on peaceful protests in the Middle East. A report from NBC‘s Richard Engel, next.
HAYES: Cairo celebrated a week without Hosni Mubarak today. Hundreds of thousands took to Tahrir Square to mark the one-week anniversary. The wave of revolution across the Middle East is getting more violent. In Libya, thousands of protesters challenging leader Muammar Gadhafi took to the streets for a fourth day of demonstrations. At least 24 feel have been killed in clashes with the government. In Yemen, at least four people were killed today when security forces attacked peaceful protesters in the Yemeni capital. Police swung batons and government supporters threw rocks.
A hand grenade was thrown into a crowd of protesters. And in Bahrain, government soldiers open fire on thousands of protesters. Protesters described it as chaotic, a bloody scene with pure gas clouds and bullets coming from that directions. President Obama expressed concern over the violence against peaceful protesters today. The president saying people have certain universal rights, including the right to peaceful assembly.
Joining me from Manama, Bahrain is NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel. Richard, thanks so much.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: It‘s a pleasure.
HAYES: So, what have you been seeing today, we‘ve been getting reports about some really intense clashes and government violence against protesters in Bahrain, what have you seen?
ENGEL: What happens was, this morning, there were several funerals. And these were funerals for people who are killed in a previous crackdown on very early in the morning, Thursday, local time here. The protesters gathered. They were angry, and spontaneously, several people decided—several hundred people decided that they were going to march to the center of Manama and they were going to go to Pearl Square. The army and the police and the government here have all told the protesters that they are not allowed to go to the square, that it is a forbidden zone. And there were tanks and police and other armored vehicles stationed in that area. The protesters with a great deal of defiance decided they were going to go there anyway. As they arrived fairly close to the square, that‘s when the police and troops according to witnesses began to open fire. And they were using definitely rubber bullets, tear gas and according to witnesses and western travelers, and western journalists who were part of these clashes, they were at the scene at the time, also live ammunition.
HAYES: It seems like the approach that the ruling Khalifa family has taken in Bahrain is even more severe than what we saw in Egypt with Mubarak. Is that having an effect on the popularity of the uprising? Is it squelching it instigating it to grow?
ENGEL: We‘ve spoken tonight to demonstrators and they say they will organize more protests. It‘s not exactly clear when. There‘s been to talk up tomorrow. The people said that the protests will be held on Tuesday. But they all say that there will be more demonstrations. This was clearly an attempt by the government, by the royal family to nip this process in the bud. They all—both sides have Egypt in mind. The protesters see if they can amass in large number, they can demand change. And the Egypt model is actually very simple. All you have to do is go to a single place, sit there and don‘t leave no matter what. The government also saw that lesson and has been trying to prevent any people from gathering in the center of the city. Very different—Manama is very different from Cairo.
Not that many people here. The layout is more like Los Angeles. Lots of highways, not a densely populated center like Cairo. In Cairo, there are neighborhoods with millions of people in them and it‘s relatively easy to call people and they can just walk to the center of the city. This spread out, people live in villages. And there are many highways that lead into the center. And so the government has tried and so far is successfully keeping people from gathering. And but to do that, it‘s been using lethal force.
HAYES: NBC‘s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel in Bahrain, thank you so much. And thank you for watching. I‘m Chris Hayes of “The Nation” magazine. You can read more of my work at TheNation.com. Stay tuned to MSNBC for continuing coverage of the political battle in Wisconsin over the future of the union movement. “HARDBAL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.
<Byline: Chris Hayes, Ed Schultz, Richard Engel>
<Guest: Naomi Klein, Eero Wasserman, Steven Stockhausen, Ann Friedman, Ted
<High: Governor Walker says, “Protestors won‘t drown out Wisconsin
taxpayers. We‘re broke and we don‘t have any more money.” Governor Walker
calls budget proposals “very modest.” He also says, “We‘re making the
tough decisions now.”>
<Spec: Protests; Government; Politics>
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