The Ed Show for Friday, February 18th, 2011
Read the transcript to the Friday show
Guests: Lena Taylor, Kathleen Vinehout, John Nichols, Jesse Jackson, Katie
Belanger, Scott Anderson
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW from Madison, Wisconsin.
Here we are, because they are here—workers, Wisconsinites, Americans under assault, protesting peacefully in the greatest of American traditions.
This crowd and this story has me fired up tonight.
SCHULTZ: I just want to clarify one thing. Spring has not sprung in Wisconsin.
One week after Governor Scott Walker announced his plan to gut the middle class of Wisconsin, we saw the biggest protest to date in the capital city of Madison—a crowd of nearly 40,000 people jammed the capitol grounds—
SCHULTZ: -- as the national media spotlight has shifted to here in the Badger State. The protesters were more vocal and passionate than ever today.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We both took a vacation day. So, we‘re burning our own personal time and our own personal money to come here and support Wisconsin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, it‘s that important to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have me chip in for health care—I don‘t care. What we need is we need the right to be able to defend ourselves and our school.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A dramatic moment late this afternoon inside the state capitol, state assembly Democrats marched through the building slapping high fives with protesters and delivering a letter to Governor Scott Walker demanding a meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have rights. We have rights in this country and they will be abided by.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is outrageous, absolutely outrageous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to know why there are 35,000 people here, look at yourself in the mirror. And how about a little respect at least for your colleagues?
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
SCHULTZ: National Democrats are stepping up their support for these great Americans.
Last night, during this show, Nancy Pelosi sent me this tweet to show solidarity with the protesters. Today, she stepped up in front of the cameras and told the rest of the world this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I stand in solidarity with the Wisconsin workers fighting for their rights, especially all the students and young people leading the charge again for fairness and for opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The state assembly started debate on Walker‘s bill today but adjourned without a final vote on it. They‘ll be back on Tuesday.
SCHULTZ: That bill will go nowhere unless the Wisconsin 14 end their holdout and cross the state line back into the great state of Wisconsin.
Governor Walker pulled a heavy-handed political stunt when he sent state troopers over to the home of Senate Democratic Minority Leader Mark Miller.
SCHULTZ: FOX News sent a camera over to cover the stunt but everyone knew Miller wasn‘t home.
Miller appeared on this program last night from an undisclosed location in Illinois. After all of this political theater, the largest employee union in the state proved they were serious about ending the standoff.
Wisconsin State Employees Union executive director, Marty Biel, offered to concede the money issues to protect their right to collectively bargain and organize. Biel said, quote, “We are prepared to implement the financial concessions. We will not be denied the right to join a union.”
SCHULTZ: Governor Walker barely looked at the offer before he flat out rejected it. He put it this way during a late afternoon press conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN: We can‘t expect for our 72 counties, for our 424 school districts, or for more than a thousand 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Bottom line here is that the unions have smoked this governor out. His rejection undoubtedly proved this isn‘t about the money. Walker‘s only target, his only target, is destroying organized labor as we know it.
The governor has spent the last week running his mouth over on FOX News lying about Wisconsin‘s fiscal crisis. Now, he just walked away from getting all the money he has wanted and all the money he has asked for from these working Americans. Karl Rove was right. This is all about killing the unions so Republicans will have a clear path in 2012.
Walker doesn‘t care about the money or these people standing with me here tonight. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: The folks outside have every right to be heard, but there‘s 5.5 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 they can drown out the voices of those millions of taxpayers all across the state of Wisconsin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Walker is either lying or he is plain ignorant of the facts. A new poll shows 51.9 percent of Wisconsin residents disapprove of Walker‘s plan. Only 43 percent support it.
Folks, this story isn‘t going away any time soon. Walker will never make a deal with these people who are standing behind me. These great middle class Americans are never going to give up the fight.
SCHULTZ: Now, it all comes down to the Wisconsin 14. The only thing standing in the way of Governor Walker fundamentally changing the lives of these great Americans are 14 brave, patriotic public servants.
SCHULTZ: And you can tell by this crowd standing out here in sub-freezing temperatures tonight—now I know why the Packers won the Super Bowl. You can handle this weather.
SCHULTZ: And they‘re loving it. You know, are you loving it?
SCHULTZ: I mean, you know why they‘re loving it, America? America, they are loving it because they are—they know that they are on the correct side of the issue. They know that this is about fairness. They know this is about what America is all about—the right to collective bargaining.
And this was proven today, when one of the largest unions in Wisconsin with 23,000 members stepped up to the governor today and said: you know what? OK. You take the money. We‘ll pay more. That‘s what they said. We‘ll pay more. But you got to take collective bargaining off the table.
Within hours—within hours, what did the governor do? He not only called a press conference but he came out and dissed these people is what he did.
SCHULTZ: This isn‘t about negotiation at all. This is about a clear-cut victory for the right wing—they want a clear-cut victory for the right wing to take down collective bargaining in the great state of Wisconsin, and I‘m putting my money on these people. They‘re not going to back down.
SCHULTZ: All right, folks at home. Get your cell phones out. Now, get your cell phones out right here.
I want to know what you think. Governor Walker rejected the union‘s
offer of financial concessions. Tonight‘s text question: Has Governor
Walker revealed that his only interest is union busting? Text “A” for yes
text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
You see, folks, when you‘re out here protesting and you‘re freezing, you got to have a positive attitude and you got to have a sense of humor about it—because it has been a long week for these Americans. It has been a long week. It‘s been a grueling week.
Many of these Wisconsinites have been in that capitol day after day, night after night showing this country, showing other citizens around America that they‘re not going to let labor down anywhere in America. They‘re not going to let wage earners down anywhere in America.
SCHULTZ: And there may not be—there may not be an election tomorrow. There may not be an election next week or several months away, but this is how you win. They are showing America how you win.
Joining me now from an undisclosed location is Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor and Kathleen Vinehout.
SCHULTZ: And other Democratic state senators standing in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin.
Lena Taylor, I want your response to what you heard the governor say today.
STATE SENATOR LENA TAYLOR (D), WISCONSIN: You know, Ed, you said it best. It was really a lie because when the governor was campaigning and he won the election, he immediately said that he wanted to be able to negotiate the contracts and came and said allow him the opportunity to negotiate the contracts. He has never brought them to the table.
And the fact that the unions and the workers of Wisconsin have said that they‘re willing to give up benefits, give up health care and pension costs that they presently have and to pay more—I think it‘s utterly ridiculous that he‘s suggesting that this is a last-minute offer, that they‘ve offered him. They‘ve said that from the beginning, really. And, more importantly, they‘re saying it now.
He should bring them to the table and I think it‘s a disgrace that he is not willing to listen to what is—soon will be a quarter of a million people that have come to the capitol to say that they disagree.
SCHULTZ: Senator Vinehout—
SCHULTZ: -- what will it take to bring the Wisconsin 14 back? The assembly has adjourned until Tuesday and where the Senate stands right now I‘m not quite sure—but what will it take to bring the Wisconsin 14 back?
STATE SENATOR KATHLEEN VINEHOUT (D), WISCONSIN: Well, what it‘s going to take is for people to get a chance to understand what‘s in that bill and what it‘s going to do. You know, you said that this is destroying labor and collective bargaining, but it‘s one step further. It‘s destroying the middle class.
And there are pieces of that bill that haven‘t been talked about much that make it even worse. There are sweeping changes to Badger care, health care for one in five people in this state. There‘s a chipping away of the civil service system that was in place, put in place by Bob La Follette back in 1905.
Rachel talked about how—what we led here in Wisconsin, but this is chipping away at our very middle class, at what our people have as a life in Wisconsin, a life we treasure, a life we value, a life that is based on a tremendous, progressive tradition.
SCHULTZ: Kathleen, you were speaking with tremendous resolve. What has it been like for the 14 of you to be together and watching the coverage and seeing these brave patriots out here at the capitol, these Americans fighting for what is right and just? What has been the conversation amongst the 14 of you?
VINEHOUT: I just don‘t have words to describe it. It is—my hat is off to every one of you. It is absolutely amazing what you have done. And I just cannot thank you—I cannot thank you enough. You guys are the heroes. You are making this story. You are making it happen.
TAYLOR: I want to add to that, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Lena Taylor—go right ahead.
TAYLOR: I want to add to that and say it is inspiring to us to see the Wisconsin workers, the Wisconsin residents, and people around this nation who are coming and standing and saying, no, we will not let you take our rights. You can make us pay more in health care. You can make us pay more in pension. That‘s fine.
But you will not take our rights. You will not take Wisconsin legacy where we led the nation in making sure that we had humane working conditions for our workers in America. This is exciting.
So, our conversation has really been about how can we make sure that the voice of Wisconsinites is heard by our governor and by the Republican legislators.
SCHULTZ: Lena Taylor, Kathleen Vinehout—thank you for your time tonight and you are brave Americans standing up to power here in Wisconsin.
TAYLOR: Power to the people, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Power to the people. Thank you so much.
Let‘s go now to John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation.”
John, how does this get resolved? This has been a big day, a lot of events. The House is adjourned. The governor responded to an offer on the table by the unions. Clearly, this isn‘t about the money now.
Where do we go from here?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, we go right to where we‘ve been this whole time, Ed, the streets.
This is the fact of the matter. Governor Walker is clearly cornered at this point. I can—I can tell you as somebody who has covered him for a long time.
This man doesn‘t want to be where he‘s at. He would love to have a way out. That‘s one of the reasons why the Tea Party is coming to town tomorrow. They‘re going to rally here.
NICHOLS: They are going to do that. They are going to do that for a reason and that is because they‘re trying to shore the governor up. They‘re trying to scare him from backing down.
The fact of the matter is these people are winning. On Thursday—these people are winning. On Thursday, they connected with the State Senate in such a powerful way that 14 senators had made the ultimate sacrifice for a Wisconsinite. They went for a weekend in Illinois.
NICHOLS: And today—today they connected with the assembly sufficiently that the assembly adjourned action. These are victories each day and there is simply no question.
The power here right now is in the street, not in the capitol. If these people stay out here, they keep bringing these kinds of numbers to the street, I think that you‘re going to get to a point where the governor has to back down.
SCHULTZ: Has this national coverage—this national coverage that has passed itself upon this rally, this protest, has this changed the dichotomy of it, knowing as far as the resolve is concerned that it‘s almost as if now, they can‘t back down?
NICHOLS: Well, that is the great challenge. Look, Walker is cornered. He is in a very, very tough position.
You‘re seeing the polls. You have a poll up that showed 51/43 split.
There is one poll showed two-to-one.
SCHULTZ: It did. But he said that he was not going to allow a few thousand protesters make decisions for 3 million Wisconsinites. What about that?
NICHOLS: Here‘s the challenge, Ed. We both know this, we are in a spin battle here. And the Walker folks are going to try and spin it that the kind of people, the Wisconsinites—you look at these people—who will come out on a cold night and stand for four or five hours in the cold that these somehow are—they‘re the bad players.
Now what we‘ve got to do, seriously, what we need to do now is to get these people, get their voices heard, make sure the best of America sees them—and because this is no longer a Wisconsin fight, this is a national fight. And the more --
NICHOLS: -- the more Americans that see this fight and see Wisconsinites and signal that that they are on the side of the Wisconsinites the more likely they are to win.
SCHULTZ: John Nichols of “The Nation”—you‘ve done great work this week. This guy has been servant of the people, has he not? He has been absolutely outstanding.
SCHULTZ: Keep it up, buddy.
Coming up: The Tea Party is coming to Madison, Wisconsin. And we‘ve got more myth-busting about the phony budget crisis here in Wisconsin.
Stay with us. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: This is THE ED SHOW in Madison, Wisconsin—and this is the face of working Americans. That‘s why Jesse Jackson came here tonight. He will join us next.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. We are live in Madison, Wisconsin, on a very cool Friday night.
Governor Scott Walker wants you to believe that the only way he can solve his made-up budget crisis is by taking away union rights. He says if he raises taxes on the wealthy, jobs will die and businesses will leave Wisconsin. That, my friends, is an old, outright lie.
And here‘s the proof. The previous governor, Democrat Jim Doyle, was handed a $3.2 billion deficit when he took office. But he passed a budget that left the state poised for a surplus this year. In 2007, Doyle increased taxes on cigarettes, hospitals, oil companies, and real estate. In 2009, Doyle passed a 1 percent tax hike on people making more than $300,000 a year. That‘s less than 1 percent of the state‘s population.
According to Republicans like Scott Walker, those tax increases should have destroyed jobs and sent employers fleeing from the state. But take a look at this chart of Wisconsin‘s unemployment rate from 2006 to 2011. Unemployment actually dropped a year after the tax increases of 2007.
SCHULTZ: Then the nation‘s economy collapsed in 2008. You can se that big spike right here on the graph.
But in 2009, Doyle raised taxes on the top 1 percent and look at that.
Unemployment in Wisconsin drops again and continues to drop today.
Instead of continuing down the path, Scott Walker already pushed three tax cuts through. These cuts will add about $117 million to the deficit over the next two years.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now, here in Madison, is the president of the Rainbow Push Coalition, Reverend Jesse Jackson.
SCHULTZ: Reverend, it‘s great to have you with us tonight.
REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: You know, the beauty of this is this nonviolent, disciplined protest has grown viral. There is a sense of the Egypt spirit here. One talks about it constantly.
The reason we know it‘s not about—it‘s a phony issue about the taxes is that $137 million surplus, they gave $117 million to businesses, $117 million, just a couple weeks ago. And they owe $25 million a year to a bad bond deal involving JP Chase.
And so, this is not about money. This is about union-busting. It‘s about pressuring the union.
SCHULTZ: What do you say to those Democrats that are in Illinois, the 14 senators that left the state that are watching the coverage? What‘s their play?
JACKSON: It is a nonviolent, disciplined action in coalition with the people. And it‘s successful because it is that combination—when people act, great things come. And leadership (INAUDIBLE) are molding opinion in the arrangement between them and the people.
SCHULTZ: Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, now a FOX News employee and also expected to be a presidential hopeful for the Republicans, he says that President Obama is making this about class warfare. What do you say to that?
JACKSON: It‘s inaccurate. (INAUDIBLE) which we bailed out the banks, not linked to lending and reinvestment, we have an insurance proposition which was good for the people, but without the public option, uninsured have gone up and fees have gone up. Continued to give the rich a big tax cut in December and the job cut in February is not working. So, people, those in the lower class who were the middle class, are fighting back and they ought to. It‘s the right fight.
SCHULTZ: Reverend, tomorrow—tomorrow Tea Party activists, Tea Party supporters are going to be here and this, of course, was spearheaded by the headquarters in the state of Virginia. There will be a lot of outside influence.
What do you want these people in Wisconsin as they‘re about to be confronted by outside agitators? What is your call for tomorrow?
JACKSON: Well, be nonviolent and disciplined and be absent.
JACKSON: I mean, don‘t get in a shouting match and become a distraction. This is about teacher security. This is about workers‘ rights. And the beautiful part here is where police, teachers and firemen come together—workers will no longer be the scapegoats for the economic crisis. Workers will be at the table. They say, cut us in but don‘t cut us out. That is appropriate.
SCHULTZ: You were very active with Dr. Martin Luther King. You went through the struggles of the ‘60s. You have seen a lot of improvement in America in your lifetime.
Is this a defining moment for labor? Is this a defining moment for this country when we talk about the haves and the have-nots?
JACKSON: It ought to be because we have—one of the surplus culture and the threatening on the suffering culture that‘s taking place now. And so, I hope the struggle goes viral. I mean, right now, student loans are bigger than credit card debt. Students are fighting back as they are in London. Workers whose job security is threatened are fighting back as in Egypt.
I think the idea of workers fighting back in a massive, nonviolent disciplined way, let‘s share the burden. Do not bail out the very wealthy and lock out working people and use teachers as scapegoats in the broader economic scheme.
SCHULTZ: Reverend, great to have you with us. Thank you so much.
Reverend Jesse Jackson here on THE ED SHOW in Madison, Wisconsin.
The right wing is on the attack. Rush Limbaugh called the protesters free loaders.
SCHULTZ: We‘ve got something to say about that in “The Takedown,” next.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW in Madison, Wisconsin. It‘s time for the Takedown. Bottom feeders? Free loaders? Those were words used today to describe our teachers, our nurses, and all of these hard working people standing right here with me tonight.
Ironic, considering those words came from a guy making 50 million dollars a year. Yet Rush Limbaugh said today, “we are either on the side of the Wisconsin protesters or we are on the side of our country.”
He played a few sound bites from some of his fellow Americans here in Madison and he mocked them. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We have a montage here, protesters whining about what they want.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘ve been teaching for over 25 years and I deserve respect for what I do. And I don‘t deserve to have my rights taken away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walker wants to take away my rights and everybody else‘s rights.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We‘re making history. We‘re making change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is like the ‘60s all over again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we‘ve lost the sense of democracy. I feel like what people in Egypt are fighting for right now, that is exactly what I feel like I‘m fighting for right now.
LIMBAUGH: What an absolute idiot. It‘s a crying shame that this—this—this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance is teaching students, comparing this to Egypt. Most of us are more mature than to run around whining—I want this. I want my dignity. I want my respect. And I want my this. And I want my health care.
Well, go earn it. It‘s not about what you want. In your case, it‘s about what can be afforded. Trying to make themselves out to be oppressed. Not in Egypt. Bunch of people who feel entitled to be free loaders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So, Americans, we are at a crossroads in America. We now have come to the conclusion from the conservative right, admitted by the Drugster himself, that if you want health care, if you want a pension, if you want some guarantees, education and protection in the work place, that you‘re a free loader.
Did you know that? Did you know that you‘re a free loader? Did you know that all of these Americans are free loaders? Did you know that?
I‘ll tell you what bothers me about the conservative right. They told us on 9/11, we will never forget. They told us on 9/11 that we‘ll be together, that we‘re Americans. They wrapped themselves in the flag. And Limbaugh was right in the middle of all of them saying, we‘ll never forget.
You remember those hats? New York Fire Department? Do you remember those brothers and sisters? Now, didn‘t they go into the Towers to try to save fellow Americans?
Well, you know what? Limbaugh thinks those people today are free loaders. Yeah. Yeah.
Now, maybe it‘s understandable that a guy who tried to go to college but dropped out wouldn‘t respect teachers. But I will say this tonight to America: if you want to follow the Limbaughs and the Becks of the world, and you want to turn your back on firefighters, you want to turn your back on police officers, you want to turn your back on nurses, you want to turn your back on brothers and sisters who have stood in solidarity to fight for the middle class in America, is that—is that wrapping yourself in the flag?
No, wait a minute. No, no, no. The conservative right in this country, they say you‘re nothing but a bunch of free loaders. That‘s what they say.
Hey, Rush, why don‘t you wrap your fat ass in the flag on Monday?
Let‘s do the Takedown tonight. What‘s your name sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Craig.
SCHULTZ: Are you a free loader?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t think so.
SCHULTZ: What‘s your response to that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he can kiss my—
SCHULTZ: OK. What‘s your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jenny Galluxin (ph).
SCHULTZ: Are you offended by that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. I go to work. I work an average of 48 hours a week.
SCHULTZ: What do you say to the conservatives in America who say that you‘re a free loader and that you‘re out here begging?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We‘re not begging. We‘re not begging. We just want our rights.
SCHULTZ: What‘s your name, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m Scott. And I can tell you that my father was a firefighter. My son is a firefighter. And I am a firefighter. We‘re here. And we appreciate everybody out here, everybody.
SCHULTZ: What‘s your name, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Conway (ph).
SCHULTZ: Joe, good to see you again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
SCHULTZ: Your response to the way Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, all of them, the way they have portrayed this crowd throughout the week?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly like you said. They wrapped themselves in the flag on 9/11. They forgot us about 9/12. We are the people that do the job every day, the teachers, the school workers, the firefighters, the cops. We‘re it. We‘re not free loaders.
SCHULTZ: Thanks, Joe. Your name, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Malin Mitchell (ph).
SCHULTZ: What do you say to the protesters? What do you say to the Limbaughs of the world that say on 600 radio stations, millions of listeners, you‘re a free loader.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re Americans. And you look around you—we‘re with the teachers. We‘re with the police officers. We‘re with the firefighters. And we‘re going to be here until the job gets done. And I guarantee you, firefighters will be here every day that you folks are here.
We‘re with you.
SCHULTZ: Now, listen. Limbaugh made the comment to his audience that we‘re either with the protesters or with America. How do you respond to that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are America.
SCHULTZ: Are you America?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m American. We are America. Actually—actually, Ed, this is the heart of America, Wisconsin. And I personally would like to invite Rush down. And I will even pay for his plane ticket with my hard earned union money so he can come and see what‘s going on here.
SCHULTZ: Outstanding. There is one other person that we don‘t want
to let off the hook. There is a guy over on Fox News. And he—hey, he‘s
got a big audience. To his credit, professionally, Bill O‘Reilly has done
you know, he has a big audience. No doubt about it.
But, Bill—bill, you‘ve always said that you‘re looking out for these people. Bill, bring your show on out here and show these Americans. Show them that you care.
Come on, Bill. You don‘t have to be afraid, Bill. I walked through the crowd last night. You don‘t have to worry about security. These are Americans. They love America. You don‘t have to worry. Come on out.
Come on, Bill. Come out and prove that you‘re looking out for these folks.
You won‘t do it, will you? I didn‘t think so. This is THE ED SHOW on MSNBC, live from Madison. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, live from Madison, Wisconsin. Support from around the nation is pouring in to the workers here in Madison. People for the American Way released this statement today:
“Governor Walker‘s attempt to demonize public employees and bust their unions is a shameless attempt to silence an opposing voice and ignore the damage done by his own coddling of the corporations and the wealthy. We stand proudly with the Wisconsinites who are fighting to have their voices heard.”
And the right here in Wisconsin—the right wing here in Wisconsin, it‘s not just about unions. Everyone, from gay rights groups to churches, are also standing in solidarity with their union brothers and sisters.
And joining us tonight are Katie Belanger, she is the director of Safe Schools and Action Network here in Madison, as well as the executive director of Fair Wisconsin, both gay rights organizations. And Scott Anderson is with us tonight, executive director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches.
Great to have both of you with us tonight. Katie, how do you see this unfolding as we go forward?
KATIE BELANGER, FAIR WISCONSIN: Well, I think that this is certainly about workers‘ rights. But the larger issue is about people‘s rights and the rights of citizens. And we‘re an organization that is about standing up for not just the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, but about the people of Wisconsin.
And we knew labor stood with us. Time and time again, every time we‘ve had a challenge, they‘ve been right there with us. And this was our opportunity to stand with them.
SCHULTZ: Scott, so many times we‘ve heard the commentary from those who are supporting these protesters and these issues that this is a moral issue.
SCOTT ANDERSON, WISCONSIN COUNCIL OF CHURCH: It is. Absolutely. I think it is not a partisan issue. It‘s not an ideological issue. For people of faith, it is a matter of dignity and worth of every human life. And that includes the ability to organize and to unionize, and to bargain collectively for decent wages and working conditions.
And for those of us in the Christian community, that‘s a basic Christian teaching. So you‘re seeing religious leaders in Wisconsin standing up and supporting the rights of public employees to unionize and to collectively bargain.
SCHULTZ: What would Jesus cut? I mean, I‘ve seen those signs out here. You know, what would Jesus do?
ANDERSON: I think Jesus stands on the side of those who are powerless, who don‘t have the wherewithal to speak for themselves, who are down and out. And stands on the side of the weak and the vulnerable, those who can‘t come to the capital and organize. That‘s who Jesus would be standing with tonight.
SCHULTZ: Katie, your organization, your Americans suffer discrimination. Can you relate to what these workers are going through? Is it an issue of discrimination, economic discrimination?
BELANGER: Absolutely. The public employees are the foundation of our communities all across Wisconsin. And anyone who says that they shouldn‘t have a voice in their work place, and a voice in what goes on in their government is absolutely discriminating against people.
SCHULTZ: Katie, great to have you with us tonight.
BELANGER: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Scott, always a pleasure. Thank you for standing up.
As more and more groups are coming together, supporting the Americans out here, this is a national issue no doubt. Folks, this fight cuts across lines of gender and race and age and faith and sexual orientation. This is an American cause. When we come back, churches and gay rights groups stand together. Stay with us. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW in Madison, Wisconsin. Let‘s let the people speak. Now, don‘t tell me you‘re a Chicago Bears fan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no.
SCHULTZ: OK. But you are a nurse. I understand that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am a nurse.
SCHULTZ: What does this mean to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we‘re just fighting for our rights, hoping to keep our bargaining privileges.
SCHULTZ: What happens if this bill goes through? What does it mean to you financially? What‘s it mean?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we won‘t be able to bargain the way we can and we won‘t have the same health insurance, the same pay grade, the same everything. When we‘re getting promoted in the future, you don‘t know how it will go.
SCHULTZ: Do you think the governor understands that this will hurt nursing care? Or is that a bridge too far? Will it hurt nursing care? Will it hurt good quality people coming into the profession? What are your thoughts on that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It will. If you don‘t have a good working environment, you don‘t want to work there. So I think if nurses are happy, they take better care of their patients, and the patients have better outcomes.
SCHULTZ: OK. What‘s your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Devon.
SCHULTZ: Why are you here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be a voice for my teachers.
SCHULTZ: Does your—what does your teacher mean to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot. They do things for us when they‘re not even paid to do them.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you here. What is your name, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steve Holiday (ph).
SCHULTZ: What do you do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a forester with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
SCHULTZ: What does it mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I protect our forests. We support the second largest industry in the state, the forest industry. And I‘m concerned about the way that the—the widening gap between the rich and the poor in the country. And the Citizens United decision was very, very bad for this country and now we got this union busting. It‘s scary.
SCHULTZ: OK. What is your name, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Karl Sarbacher (ph).
SCHULTZ: What do you do, Karl?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I work for the City of Madison Streets Division.
SCHULTZ: The Streets Division? So you‘re one of these famous snow plow guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
They love us and hate us.
SCHULTZ: What do you mean they love you and hate you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They love that they get around, but they hate shoveling the end of their driveways.
SCHULTZ: How important is it for you to keep things the way they are right now in Wisconsin, to protect what you have?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is very important. We‘ve already—our union has gave up a lot to try to help the state already along the way. And they‘re trying to take more from us.
SCHULTZ: OK. Sir, what is your name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hot Toddy.
SCHULTZ: Hot Toddy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You bet.
SCHULTZ: What do you got in that hot toddy? It‘s pretty cold out here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is nothing. This is nothing.
SCHULTZ: What do you make of the situation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sucks. It‘s going to cost lives in the long run I believe, by nurses and hospital workers not being able to do what they want. And we lost a lot of union brothers and sisters down in the Janesville area for the auto workers. And there are families working down there that are state employees helping support those families.
So I predict somebody is going to end up committing suicide because of all this stuff. And it‘s wrong. And Walker doesn‘t care.
SCHULTZ: It‘s very stressful?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You better believe it is for those people. For us, it‘s very stressful. But they‘re getting the double whammy down in the southern part of our state.
SCHULTZ: You guys are great. Thanks for being here tonight. When we come back, final thoughts from Madison, Wisconsin on THE ED SHOW.
SCHULTZ: Back on THE ED SHOW in Madison, Wisconsin. I just want to say, the last few days that we have been here in Madison, Wisconsin, I have been so privileged as a broadcaster to meet so many wonderful Americans who, number one, love this country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
SCHULTZ: They love this country. I can tell you what Wisconsinites are about. They‘re about their faith.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
SCHULTZ: They‘re about their family.
SCHULTZ: They‘re about this country.
SCHULTZ: And they‘re about what‘s just in America.
SCHULTZ: This community, this state realizes now the responsibility that they have on their shoulders, because not only the country, but the world is watching how America is going to handle how it treats its people.
Do we—are we as a country going to settle for 50 million people without health care?
SCHULTZ: Are we as a country going to settle for only the rich end up with a college education?
SCHULTZ: Are we as a country going to push aside—push aside the nurses? Push aside the workers that have done so much for America?
God bless Madison, Wisconsin, and the state of Wisconsin. We will win this fight. That‘s THE ED SHOW from Madison. We‘ll see you next week.
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