updated 3/25/2011 2:53:10 PM ET 2011-03-25T18:53:10

Guests: Mike Papantonio, Lawrence Korb, Andy Kroll, Rev. Al Sharpton, Laura

Flanders

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.

This is what‘s on the table tonight:

Here we go.  A radical bill in the House of Representatives—get this—to deny food stamps to families of folks who go on strike.  Are they picking on poor folks?  Reverend Al Sharpton to join us on that tonight.

John Bolton complains that President Obama is too smart, too sophisticated, to believe in victory in Libya.  That‘s in “The Takedown.”

Michele Bachmann for president—how does that sound?  Word is she‘s going to form a presidential exploratory committee.  I can‘t wait until all the fun starts.

But, this is the story that should have all Americans fired up tonight.  It does me.  Conservatives are whining about liberal support for President Obama‘s decision to stop Gadhafi from butchering his own people.

Bill O‘Reilly took a shot at this network for the way we covered the president‘s handling of the Libyan conflict.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

           

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS:  There is a split among liberal Americans over Libya and other issues.  Some on the far left believe President Obama is not doing a good job but the main stream liberal media in general remains supportive of the man they helped elect in 2008.  Imagine if you will, President Bush ordering the Libyan bombing even with U.N. approval—do you think the left would have supported that?  But last night, here‘s what went down.

SCHULTZ:  I think the president of the United States, Barack Obama, deserves the benefit of the doubt and our support.

MADDOW:  He very clearly did not want there to be another American military action in the Arab world.  He is very open about his reluctance.  He wants everybody to know how reluctant he was.

O‘REILLY:  Everybody knows how reluctant.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SCHULTZ:  I love it when they run our tape especially when it explodes

as a member of what—ha.

           

As a member of what O‘Reilly now calls the mainstream left media, you know, I have no problem with supporting the president when he stops a terrorist from killing his own people.  I thought that folks over were all about going after terrorists.

And I‘m proud to support a president who keeps his word.  Earlier this week president Obama said the U.S. would hand over control of the Libyan military operation in days, not weeks.  Well, this is day six and today, NATO agreed to relieve the United States of responsibility for enforcing the no-fly zone.

O‘Reilly and the other chair leaders at FOX, they helped sell the Iraq war based on a lie that‘s lasted for the last eight years.  FOX News helped convince the American public Saddam was connected to 9/11.  And FOX, of course, gave a big platform to Condi, Shooter, and Rummy any time they wanted to talk about how things were going.

Not a single member, not a single member of the Obama administration has been pushing the war in Libya on this show.  We put on multiple anti-war Democrats, including one who said he thinks it‘s an impeachable offense.

So, let‘s go back to the first thing O‘Reilly said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  As we‘ve been reporting, there is a split among liberal Americans over Libya and other issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  There‘s a split among liberals.  Really?  There‘s a split among liberals on many issues.  That‘s because liberal—the liberals‘ base, their decisions on facts and logic.

Conservatives like O‘Reilly fell in lock-step behind Bush when he took this country to war.

And, by the way, there is a major split between conservatives on Libya.  This is what former FOX contributor Newt Gingrich said on March 7th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS:  What will you do about Libya?

NEWT GINGRICH ®, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER:  Exercise a no fly zone this evening.  We don‘t need to have the United Nations.  All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we are intervening.  This is a moment to get rid of him.  Do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Newt completely disagrees with one of the leading Republican 2012 presidential hopefuls.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH:  I would not have intervened.  I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Gadhafi.  I think there are a lot of allies in the region that we could have worked with.  I would not have used American and European forces.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Son of a gun.  Newt was for the no-fly zone before he was against it?  Another FOX News talent took a much harder line on the president‘s Libya policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN ®, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR:  A lot of confusion.  I would like to see, of course, as long as we‘re in it, we better be in it to win it.  And if there‘s doubt we get out.  Win it means Gadhafi goes and America gets to get on out of there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK.  We got that.  You know, it is confusing because five minutes later, the quitter from Alaska said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  It‘s not America‘s role to be out and about nation-building and telling other countries how to live.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You can‘t flip flop like that if you want to be the president of the United States.

If you don‘t believe me, just take it from Newt Gingrich.  Back in 2004, he told Neil Cavuto on FOX, “You can‘t flip-flop and be commander-in-chief.”  And Newt told us his old buddy slant head, “I think maybe the pretzel should become the symbol of the Kerry campaign because he kind of twists himself into a pretzel trying to fit every group he shows up in front of.”

Well, President Obama is trying, Newt.  He‘s trying really hard, isn‘t he, but he isn‘t going to get there.  He‘s tying Newt, Sarah, and FOX News into pretzels.  He is handling the situation in Libya with the power and respect it deserves.

This isn‘t “shoot from the hip first” cowboy foreign policy, is it?  It drives O‘Reilly nuts when people like me give the president the credit he deserves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  Those people at MSNBC cheer leaded Barack Obama into office.  They are hardcore left wingers over there.  Yet, yet, you know if Bush had ordered a bombing what they would be doing.  But they‘re not doing it with President Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Really.  O‘Reilly is pushing the line MSNBC is the place for politics and FOX is the home for patriotism?

He‘s dead wrong.  Almost every liberal stood with our president when we got hit on 9/11.  Liberals wanted Bin Laden just as bad as conservatives did.  Republicans aren‘t the only ones with skin in the game.

You see?  Democrats fought and died in the desert of Iraq and in the mountains of Afghanistan.  There were Democrats who bled to death in the jungles of Vietnam and stormed the beach at Normandy.

No party, no network, no talent has the corner on the market on patriotism.

And for Bill O‘Reilly to accuse MSNBC talent of being hypocrites is beyond the pale.

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think.  Tonight‘s text question: whose Libya policy is worse?  Text “A” for Newt, text “B” for Gingrich, to 622639, or go to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.

Joining me now is Mike Papantonio, host of the nationally-syndicated “Ring of Fire” radio show.

Mike, great to have you with us tonight.

Does O‘Reilly have a leg to stand on when he is accusing MSNBC of cheerleading President Obama?

MIKE PAPANTONIO, HOST, RING OF FIRE:  I think you called it right. 

Here‘s what—Obama has to confront Libya under this huge disadvantage. 

The disadvantage is what he inherited from Bush/Cheney.

The American public right now is skeptical because of the Bush/Cheney years.  They‘ve grown weary of cheap, ridiculous, macho bravado that they saw on the run-up to Iraq.

Now, they realize they‘ve been lied to.  They‘ve been hustled by the highest office in the country.  And they‘re not used to that and they‘re weary of that.

And Obama is handling it exactly like what you‘re saying.  He is doing what a good statesman should be.

Look, the American public remembers that Bush and Cheney phonied up facts to get us involved in Iraq.  They remember that they sent their fathers and sisters and brothers into a war that was based on hubris, it was based on lies, it was based on phonied up facts by our own president.

So, Obama has got to change that view that Americans may have and the

rest of the world may have about how we engage in conflict.  More than

ever, he has to be—he has to show American leadership.  He has to show -

he has to show Americans—he has to show the rest of the world that, yes, Bush and Cheney were an aberration in American politics when it comes to these kinds of conflicts.  And, yes, Rumsfeld was a spooky little war cowboy who‘s not typical of the American mentality.  And, yes, the last administration did create a fear frenzy that was based on lies but he‘s not going to do that.

           

Obama is trying to show us honest, restrained leadership.  And I suppose he has to do that while you have Gingrich and Palin and McCain one day saying we should go to war, the next day, they don‘t know whether we should go to war.

SCHULTZ:  And—

PAPANTONIO:  One day saying he‘s showing leadership and the next day not.

SCHULTZ:  And the president deserves credit.  He has been very consistent throughout this entire ordeal with the no-fly zone.  Everything he has said has been spot on.

Bottom line is: we don‘t have troops on the ground.  And according to the president, there‘s not going to be troops on the ground and I think this has really got the conservatives all twisted up in a Newt pretzel so to speak because he‘s playing it just right.

So, I ask the question: do you think that the Democrats have gained some credibility on national security?

PAPANTONIO:  Absolutely.  Absolutely they have.  The American public wanted to see exactly what they saw from Obama.

hey did not want a repeat of the Bush/Cheney lie.  They did not want to repeat a phonied up war propaganda that led us into war.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  There‘s been no sell job.

PAPANTONIO:  Exactly.

SCHULTZ:  I mean, this has just been, OK.  This is a job we‘re going to do.  We don‘t have to go out there and scare the hell out of the American people.  This is how we‘re going to do it.  We got allies doing it.

And I think the president has handled it perfectly and it was not weeks.  It was days.  Today, day six.  And, of course, it‘s being turned over to NATO—just the way he called it.

I think it‘s tearing him up.  I really do.

Mike, great to have—

PAPANTONIO:  Well, it‘s a problem—

SCHULTZ:  Yes, go ahead.

PAPANTONIO:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

PAPANTONIO:  Well, I just want to say it is a problem for them because they don‘t have a war policy that doesn‘t involve phonied up facts and the Democrats do, Obama does.

SCHULTZ:  No doubt.  Thanks, Mike.

Mike Papantonio with us tonight.

PAPANTONIO:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Joining us is Lawrence Korb, the senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and the former assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Korb, good to have you with us tonight.

LAWRENCE KORB, FMR. ASST. SEC. OF DEFENSE:  Nice to be with you.

SCHULTZ:  How has the president handled this?  And has there been fair critique in your opinion throughout this process?

KORB:  No.  There hasn‘t been fair critique.  He‘s handled it just right.

He waited until the Arab League said you have to come in—because having gone into Iraq under false pretenses, we had angered the Arab and Muslim world.  He waited for the U.N. to give legitimacy to the operation, again something we did not do in Iraq.

And recognizing the fact that we‘re involved in two wars and the country is broke, he decided he wouldn‘t do it by himself.  He got the allies to come in with him, the first planes in there were French planes.  He hasn‘t overstated the threat.  You don‘t hear them call him Gadhafi comparing Gadhafi to Hitler and talking about the smoking gun could become a mushroom cloud and all the things that happened before we went into war in Iraq.

And, finally, you know, people forget NATO offered to go into Afghanistan right after September 11th and Rumsfeld and Bush said, no, we don‘t need you.  Well, turned out we really did need them but we didn‘t go to them for three or four years too late and that‘s why the situation there is so bad.

SCHULTZ:  A very profound point that needs to be pointed out and put in historical perspective.

This president is doing foreign policy the way the rest of the world will respect.  It‘s not heavy-handed.  It‘s a team effort.  And I think it‘s the moral high ground, no doubt about it.  No shoot from the hip mentality.

But what role at this point, Mr. Korb, will the United States military have with NATO in control of the no fly zone?

KORB:  Well, I think don‘t forget, United States is in NATO, the supreme allied commander there is an American.  But I think what will happen is if you go back and you look, for example, in Kosovo which was very similar to what we‘re doing now, the United States had about 75 percent of the airstrikes.

In the early days we‘ve had somewhere around 70 percent.  I think you‘ll see that fall to below 50 percent which will cut down the pressures on our budget and again put an international face.  It‘s not just the European powers but you‘re going to have forces from Qatar, you‘re going to have forces from the UAE, which, again, is so important because then it will—you know, it will undermine Gadhafi‘s narrative.  You know, this is a second, you know, “Crusade” and other things like that.

SCHULTZ:  And what does it mean that the president says the stated policy of the United States is that Gadhafi should go, but yet we‘re stopping short of the heavy hand to making sure that happens.  How do you read that?

KORB:  Well, that‘s the stated eventual goal but the goal of the military operation is different.  The U.N. resolution sent us there to protect civilians.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

KORB:  So, this is what you do.  You protect civilians and you make it impossible for Gadhafi to control the whole country but you‘ve got other tools.  You‘ve got an embargo.  You‘ve got a blockade.  We‘re drying up his financial assets.  Time is not on his side.

You know, in Kosovo, after 79 days, Milosevic withdrew from Kosovo and he was gone short time thereafter, but we did not go in and try to overthrow him.

SCHULTZ:  Mr. Korb, good to have you on tonight.  Appreciate your insight.  Thanks so much.

Remember to answer tonight‘s question at the bottom of the screen.  We want to know what you think.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ (voice-over):  Strike first, starve later.  House Republicans want to take food stamps away from the children of anyone who goes on strike.  The Reverend Al Sharpton weighs in.

Tonight‘s “Takedown.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.:  The president‘s too smart and too sophisticated and too nuanced to believe in victory.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  So, who‘s not smart enough for Bolton?  Of course.

Maybe he‘d prefer “President Bachmann”?  Reports are she‘s taking the first step.  Does she really stand a chance?  We‘ll break it down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And we want you to check out our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  There, you‘re going to find links to my radio Web site WeGotEd.com, Twitter, and Facebook.  Join up.  Love to have you.

Next: the corporate interest behind one of the most extreme anti-labor laws in history.

Stay with us.  You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.

You know the old saying “follow the money”?  Well, a truly extreme Michigan law that crushes labor rights was really tailor-made for the corporate fat cats who banked it and backed the entire thing.

Now, the clear link is exposed by a reporter for “Mother Jones” who will join us in a moment.  It just so happens I was in Michigan today, in Detroit, talking to the United Auto Workers.  What a fired up bunch of Americans.

They know they‘re dealing with a governor who is a hardcore anti-union and anti-worker.  That‘s right.

Remember the law signed by Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder?  It gives emergency financial managers the power to dissolve local union contracts and even local governments, as well as having the power to privatize city services.  I mean, these aren‘t elected officials, OK?

So, what we know now is that four key provisions from that law come straight from the arch conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy.  Follow this money here.

In donating money to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy is, here comes the list, the Koch Foundation nearly $70,000.  The Devos Foundation tied to Amway, $80,000 there.  The Prince Foundation whose vice president is Blackwater founder Eric Prince.  Did I say Blackwater?  Oh, yes, $195,000.

And from the Walton Family Foundation, $100,000.  Wal-Mart, of course, has been aggressively, relentlessly anti-union and spent $7 million lobbying against the Employee Free Choice Act.  So, I think we get the picture now.

Many of these same groups that fund the Mackinac Center also backed Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and his extreme anti-labor actions.

Let‘s bring in the staff reporter for “Mother Jones” magazine who wrote this and it‘s a good piece Andy Kroll.

Andy, good to have you with us tonight.  When you started investigating this and you saw this money chain and saw all these familiar names—what was your response?

ANDY KROLL, MOTHER JONES MAGAZINE:  My response was sort of an aha moment.  I mean, I spent time in Madison just as you had, Ed, and followed the money there and had seen where it led back to the Koch brothers, and then digging into the roots of this Michigan bill which is more extreme than Governor Scott Walker‘s bill in Wisconsin—it sort of clicked into place to me that these aren‘t—these aren‘t separate events, that there are similar funders in all of the—behind all of these bills.

SCHULTZ:  It‘s pretty clear that instead of attacking on the federal level, they‘re going at states and they seem to be bankrolling these local advocacy groups.  What is the Mackinac Center for Public Policy?

KROLL:  You know, it‘s a conservative, free market-loving think tank that‘s based in mid Michigan.  It gets funding as you said, the Koch—one of the Koch brothers, the Prince Foundation, Walton Family Foundation—all the usual conservative sources.  It‘s aligned or affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, the arch conservative think tank in Washington.

You know, and it‘s—you know, a unifying theme for this thing is privatization.  I mean, they want to privatize everything from public schools to municipalities to state universities to Amtrak.  And so, this is their theme and what we‘ve seen with Governor Snyder‘s bill is that theme applied to, you know, legislation that can have a huge effect in Michigan.

SCHULTZ:  So, Mackinac has been pushing anti-labor legislation for a long time, but now has as the scope broadens, it seems to me that the money out there that wants to really go after labor is really recognizing and now supporting these local advocacy public policy groups and letting them do the dirty work on the local level.  I mean—is that the way it‘s breaking down?

KROLL:  Well, yes.  The conservative interests that you mentioned, and they‘ve been funding the Mackinac Center for quite a while, just as they fund, you know, organizations in Wisconsin that are conservative and free market and anti-union.  And through these think tanks, you know, you can sort of give these ideas, these anti-union ideas a veneer of professionalism or intellectualism.  And so, when it‘s coming from a think tank, it‘s not the same as, you know, David Koch controls Koch or the Devos Foundation saying, hey, we don‘t like unions.

And so, you see this in many states.  And I think that, you know, funneling money through these organizations is a reason we‘re having these anti-union bills everywhere from, you know, Alaska to Tennessee with Michigan and Wisconsin in between.

SCHULTZ:  So, the activity obviously is legal.  But it shows just how governors are pretty much in the pockets of these corporate interests.

KROLL:  Yes.  Well, that‘s absolutely true.  The governors are getting money from these conservative interests, you know, and these big funders have realized that maybe the national level is not the place to put their money to best use.  They think they can do it at the state level.  At the state level, you know, you knock off the unions in Wisconsin and maybe you flipped Wisconsin from a blue state to a red state in a national election.

And so, they‘re trying to knock off the main pillar of support for Democrats state by state.  And that‘s what we‘re seeing in Michigan and Wisconsin.

SCHULTZ:  And, of course, the web corporate backers behind this Michigan law also very much behind Scott Walker in Wisconsin, no doubt about it.  Nice little fraternity they got going on.

Andy Kroll, good to have you with us tonight.  Great reporting.

Neocon John Bolton might run for president.  That ought to scare you. 

He also thinks the current president is too smart, too sophisticated. 

Well, it doesn‘t take a genius to connect the dots.

“The Takedown” is next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW—time for “The Takedown.”

As we told you earlier on the program, Republicans are still slamming President Obama on his Libya strategy.  But last night, former U.S.  ambassador John Bolton gave us one of the strangest criticisms yet.  Here he is talking to Sean Hannity about the enforcement of the no-fly zone over Libya.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS:  If we‘re going to use military force, it seems to me, and stated goal repeatedly is that we‘ve got to remove Gadhafi, isn‘t the one thing that‘s missing from this equation, is victory?  Seems to me that, and I think Brit Hume made a similar point—failure seems to be an option in this case.

BOLTON:  Well, you know, the president‘s too smart and too sophisticated and too nuanced to believe in victory.  He believes in something else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Really.  Too smart, too sophisticated, and too nuanced.

Don‘t forget, John Bolton has shown interest in the Republican presidential nomination.  It looks like we found his first bumper sticker: no smarts, no sophistication, no nuance, Bolton 2012.  I‘d put it on my car.

Bolton loves bombing first and asking questions later.  As recently as last month, he was calling for the United States to bomb Iran just as the Mubarak regime was toppling in Egypt.

You know, you remember that thing that was going on in Egypt?  The uprising, the one that happened with no foreign military intervention?  Bolton says President Obama doesn‘t believe in victory.  In fact, he thinks the president‘s strategy will have stuck in Libya for a long time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOLTON:  I‘m very worried that unless the display of military power we‘ve‘1 seen so far pushes Gadhafi out of the country that we could be in for a long, long slog here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Well, if you‘re wondering how long a slog, we‘re in for NATO‘s takeover of the no-fly zone might give you a hint, OK?

I wonder if Bolton could tell me about any president who launched a U.S. military campaign in the Mideast with no apparent end-game and I wonder if Bolton thought President Obama didn‘t believe in victory when he finally announced the withdrawal of combat troops in Iraq last year.

You see?  Bolton is terrified that Obama‘s foreign policy success would be the end of the reckless, “go it alone” Bush doctrine that neocons like Bolton go to sleep dreaming about every night.

I said the president deserves the benefit of the doubt on his military operation because of his focused, realistic approach.  And that‘s exactly what drives the John Boltons of the world crazy, especially Mr. Bolton.  As long as Barack Obama is president, the neocon policy of fear based invasion is just a dark memory from a president who never had to worry about being called too smart, too sophisticated, too nuanced.  That‘s “The Takedown.”

What if Congresswoman Michele Bachmann were to run for president?  Oh, baby that is made for cable.  And what if it was going to really happen soon?  Get ready.

Plus, Republicans want Americans working class to know if you dare to go on strike, no food stamps for your kids.  You got that?  Your kids!

Al Sharpton is standing by on this disgusting assault.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight.

Now, last night, this came to our attention, from “Think Progress.”  Right as we were about to go on the air, we got it in, but I really think it deserves a heck of a lot more attention.

So, we want to tell you about in depth, in more detail tonight, is Republicans going after kids, literally taking food out of their mouths.  I don‘t know how else to describe this.  And why?  Because they want to punish the parents—if any of them ever dare to go on strike at their jobs.

Now, it‘s a provision in a new House Republican bill H.R.-1135.

Here‘s how it works: Thanks to Reagan, any worker who went on strike was already ineligible to get food stamps to make up for their lost income.  That was 1981.

But Reagan‘s way—well, it isn‘t enough for today‘s GOP.  So these Republican congressional members are upping the ante by including anyone in the families of striking workers.  H.R.-1135 introduced on March 16th says no member of a family unit, and that includes kids, shall participate in the food stamp program at any time that any able-bodied work eligible adult member of such household is on strike.

Think it‘s threatening?

Forty-four million Americans depend on food stamps -- 44 million Americans depend on food stamps.  That‘s up 13 percent from last year -- 47 percent in working households.  More than twice what it was 20 years ago.

You know, it‘s that income disparity thing we talk about?  Eighty percent in families with kids.

One in five children in this country eat properly, thanks to food stamps.  It‘s part of the farm bill.  Proper nutrition is more important in early childhood than at any other time when kids are still developing.  Poor nutrition for kids is tied to, guess what?  Lower I.Q. and not as good performance in the classroom, worse physical development and deficiencies in education and in the work place.

Now, as we talked about Tuesday, this is exactly why Martin Luther King went to Memphis back in 1968.  Workers there, they were on strike, specifically because their wages were low.  They were—needed welfare—they need welfare.  They were on food stamps.

They were on food stamps.  They went on strike.  Striking is what got them off federal assistance.

Let‘s bring in Reverend Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network.

Reverend, great to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time.

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK:  Good to be with you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Once again, we‘ve got an attack on the working folk of America.  But this is threatening.  What‘s your opinion of it?

SHARPTON:  Well, this is beyond even an attack on working class people, which in and of itself is despicable.  This is now to attack children of working class people that may use their right to strike.  I mean, to say you‘re going to penalize children—I mean, literally as you accurately said, take food off their table because one of their parents—one of their parents may exercise their right to strike for whatever the reason may be is something that in a civilized society would be unthinkable if it was not being proposed in the United States Congress.

I mean, what does the nutrition—what does taking care of a child

that could be facing starvation—based on the income of the family or not

what does that have to do with the participation or nonparticipation of one of their family members in a union who may be taking an effort like a strike?  I think that this shows that there is a complete recklessness morally from a lot of these right wingers.

           

SCHULTZ:  Going on strike, always, is the last resort of any issue of collective bargaining.  It‘s the last phase.  But it also now tips the scales in favor of those who have the real power and it‘s not the workers.

I view this as nothing but threatening because there‘s going to be a family sitting at home saying—you know, honey, tomorrow you got to vote whether you‘re going to go on strike or not.  Is this really what you want to do?  Well, if we do this, we‘re going to lose the food stamps, and then what we‘re going to do?  We can‘t make our bills the way it is right now.

I mean, is this cruel, Reverend?

SHARPTON:  It‘s cruel.  It‘s intimidating.

You‘re absolutely right.  It would force people to make some choices that certainly they should not have to make if voting on a strike falls their lot, and based on the fact that they are looking at their children across the table.  And for us to call ourselves a civilized society, let alone a democratic one, to make people make those kinds of choices under duress is certainly beyond the pale.  I don‘t see how any member of Congress and any member of elected body could entertain this.

What you‘re really saying and I think you‘re right to point it out, is those men that were striking with Martin Luther King when he was killed in ‘68 in Memphis, their children could not have got food stamps—those children.  Now, these are the same right wingers that tried to use the King legacy last year when you and I were trying to clarify it in Washington on August 28th.  Ask about the fact Dr. King was there supporting the strike and you would have said the kids of those people don‘t have the right to food stamps even though they may need it.

SCHULTZ:  Reverend, does this take the Republican Party to a new low?

SHARPTON:  This not only—I thought they had gone as low as they could.  Now, they‘ve dug a hole in the ground and gone beyond the ground of being low because now, you put children into the equation, and their right to exist and eat and to deal with a nutritional balanced diet even though they may be in a family that has no income.  We‘re going to throw them in to play politics with our quest—the right wing‘s quest—to break unions and to break collective bargaining.  There is nothing sacred, including children.

I think this is absolutely despicable.

SCHULTZ:  Reverend, you know we talk a lot about the middle class on this program.  We focus on kitchen table issues, what American families are really going through.

But I view this as the beginning of the end for food stamps.  I mean, this is really what they want to do.  They don‘t want to, in my opinion, give any kind of assistance whatsoever.  The farm bill is going to be coming up.  They‘re going to be attacking that.  It‘s all interconnected—nutrition, food stamps, and the school lunch program.

But when you look at the number of kids that are on food stamps now, as opposed to five years ago or 10 years ago—

SHARPTON:  Right.

SCHULTZ:  -- we‘re going in the wrong direction.

Is this the Republican way to fix that, just eliminate it?

SHARPTON:  Well, I think it is, because what it does, clearly, is politicize food stamps.  Food stamps were brought into being because of dealing with the need, dealing with working class people being able to feed their families, dealing with hunger, and the possibility of hunger.

This politicizes it.  Once you politicize it, it becomes a political football that anybody can throw across some political court rather than dealing with the humane reason that it came into being in the first place and, yes, I think that if you go on that track, they will bring it all the way to the elimination of food stamps once they politicize it.  We cannot allow that to happen.  We have to stop it now.

SCHULTZ:  Reverend Al Sharpton—always a pleasure.  Great to have you with us tonight, Al.

SHARPTON:  Thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Thank you.

Governor Scott Walker bragged about the thousands of supportive e-mails he received for busting Wisconsin unions?  Well, it looks like those e-mails were just kind of made-up as the state‘s budget crisis was made up?  I mean, this guy—he‘s a magician.  That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s not too late to let us know what you think.  Now, pay attention to this one.  Newt Gingrich seems to have conflicting opinions about Libya.  So tonight‘s question: whose Libya policy is worse?  Text “A” for Newt, text “B” for Gingrich to 622639.  Or go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  Results coming up.

But next, Governor Scott Walker lied to the country about Wisconsin‘s finances.  So, it‘s no surprise he lied about what‘s in his e-mail box—goes out and tells the media he‘s got all this support.  Not the case.  That story is next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

Now, this is a story that I would love every American to pay attention to tonight.  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has repeatedly claimed his e-mail inbox—I mean, I‘ll tell you it‘s just overflowing with positive support of his union-busting budget bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN:  Eight thousand e-mails we got today, the majority are telling us to stay firm, to stay strong, to stand with the taxpayers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Really?

After those misleading statements, the governor was ordered to release the e-mails and pay $7,000 for legal fees in a settlement with the Wisconsin “Associated Press” and a local newspaper.  Doggone it, that Freedom of Information Act will get you every time.

According to the investigation of Walker‘s e-mails, it turns out the day Walker made that claim, that sound bite you just saw, he just received a surge of supporting e-mails, more than one-third of those supportive e-mails came from where?  Outside Wisconsin.

Furthermore, the “Associated Press” reported, quote, “For several preceding days, the e-mails of support Walker received had been vastly outnumbered by those opposed to his plan.  On February 11th, the day Walker formally outlined his budget repair bill and his proposal to dramatically curb union rights, the e-mails sent to his office ran more than five-to-one against the plan.”

But Walker went on TV this week and made it seem like the e-mails were positive the entire time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER:  Again, today, the “Associated Press” went through the more than 150,000 e-mails that we have and found the majority of them, as I said, are people who support our reforms, who support our reasonable measures.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Did he say majority?

Now, look.  I‘m a pilot and I got 2,000 hours but my ears do work sometimes.  He said majority.  I thought I just read the e-mails sent to his office ran more than five-to-one against his plan.

So, who is telling the truth?  Is it the “Associated Press”?  Or is it the governor of Wisconsin?

If you‘re scoring at home you can make that decision.

Now, one e-mail he did receive was from someone claiming to be deputy prosecutor from Indiana.  It was signed Carlos Lam and it read in part, “I think that the situation in Wisconsin presents a good opportunity for what‘s called a ‘false flag‘ operation.  If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions‘ cause to physically attack you or even use a firearm against you, you could discredit the public unions.”

Carlos Lam actually is a deputy prosecutor in Indiana who has a history of posting anti-union comments online.  He confirmed that e-mail came from his address but he denies that he sent it.

Well, in related news, Wisconsin Democrats say that they have more than half the signatures they need to hold recall elections for Republican state senators.  They predict they will be able to take back control of the state Senate by the end of the summer.

But I have a challenge, and I‘m not talking to the Wisconsin 14 tonight.  I‘m talking to all those Republicans who think integrity in public service kind of go hand in hand.  It would seem to me that the Republican senators in Wisconsin would really call the governor out or call out the “Associated Press.”

Somebody‘s lying about those e-mails.  Don‘t you think?  Anybody‘s curiosity piqued on this at all?  Or are you willing to stand behind the governor of Wisconsin who I think is a complete fraud?

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann raised a record $13.2 million for her race in 2010.  But, now, she may be running for president.  I‘ll tell you what?  I cannot wait for this!

We‘re right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

And, finally, tonight—now, just bear with me here.  Close your eyes.  Just close your eyes.  Just play along here.

Close your eyes for just a minute and listen.  And let‘s just join together in a little exercise here.

It‘s the future—the first Tuesday in November, 2012.  Polls around the country are closing.  And now they‘re closed.

And then the announcer comes on and says something like this: “The polls around the country are now closed and MSNBC projects that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann will be the 45th president of the United States.”  You can open your eyes now.  Whew!

I don‘t know about beating President Obama, but I know she can beat the Republican field.  That‘s the scary thing.

And if her comments today are any indication, she‘s going to run.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  I‘m in for 2012 in that I want to be a part of the conversation in making sure that President Obama only serves one term not two.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  CNN reports Bachmann plans to file papers to form an exploratory committee possibly before June.  An exploratory committee—you know what that means?  That means a candidate can raise money for a presidential campaign and nobody‘s better.  It‘s something Bachmann really is an expert at—as she told FOX News this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN (via telephone):  I have been able to raise more money than any member of the House of Representatives in the history of the United States Congress.  I‘ve been able to demonstrate broad national support and I think, looking up to the 2012 election, money won‘t be the only issue.  I think we will be able to raise all the money if I should decide to go forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Whew!  Raise all the money she needs?  Bachmann raised a record $13.2 million for her race in 2010.  How?  Well, let‘s just say she‘s connected.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS:  How can I help you raise money?

BACHMANN:  Well, people could go to MicheleBachmann.com.

BECK:  We should have a fundraiser for you, Michele.

BACHMANN:  I will take it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Bachmann is the original Tea Party darling in Congress.  Remember, she actually called for the media to be investigated as un-American activities in Congress were taking place.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN:  What I would say is the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look.  I wish they would.  I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America or anti-America?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Unfortunately, for her, that investigation never materialized.  But on issues like cap-and-trade and health care, Bachmann is a Koch brothers‘ dream candidate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

BACHMANN:  Carbon monoxide is portrayed as harmful.

I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back.

We now have an imperial presidency.

That takes us to gangster government.

A gangster government.

Really, now, in Washington, I‘m a foreign correspondent on enemy lines.

There‘s only one thing they want, and that‘s government takeover of health care.  This is it for freedom.  This is socialization of America.  The American people realize this is it.  Just like that brand new Michael Jackson movie that came out “This Is It.”  This is it for freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SCHULTZ:  Wow.  I missed that one.

And she now wants to take it to the White House?  Bachmann sat by and watched President Bush run up national debt.  Now, that a Democrat is in the White House, she says our national debt is the new slavery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN:  It‘s an underlying issue in the struggle of our time is a slavery of a different kind.  It is a slavery that is a bondage to debt and a bondage to declined.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And, of course, Bachmann likes to just make stuff up.  She‘s good at that too like last week when she said the first shots of the revolutionary war were fired in New Hampshire.  I didn‘t know that.

Or two years ago when she tried to slam the president with a lie about swine flu.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN:  I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter, and I‘m not blaming this on President Obama.  I just think it‘s an interesting coincidence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Of course, the first swine flu outbreak happened under President Gerald Ford.  But who‘s keeping score?  A Republican.  That‘s what Gerald Ford was.

So, if Bachmann hands you campaign literature that says swine flu is a Democratic problem, don‘t believe her.  Then again she can always just recycle the campaign ad after she called the McCarthy hearing—called for the McCarthy hearings in Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN:  I may not always get my words right.  I‘m Michele Bachmann and I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, yes.  Joining me now is Laura Flanders, host of GRITtv and Free Speech TV, also the author of the book “At the Tea Party.”

Laura, thank you for joining us tonight.  You take it away after seeing all those wonderful sound bites.

LAURA FLANDERS, HOST, GRITTV:  You I can see are just getting warmed

up for this.  And I can see why.  I mean, imagine.  Democrats are all over

the country thrilled at the prospect of Bachmann exploring, because it‘s a

whole lot more fun than having—I don‘t know, the Romneys and Pawlentys -

-

           

SCHULTZ:  What about the money?  She can raise the money.

FLANDERS:  She can raise the money but I think—and she does have support.  And you just laid it out very well.  The question I think though on a serious point is just what is her base looking for?  I mean, as debates over economic justice are breaking out all over the country and her state, St. Paul saw 1500 public employees rallying this week talking about this being a tax crisis and not a budget crisis—talking about, you know, cheap labor policies that are destroying unions and the middle class.

SCHULTZ:  Can she get the nomination?

FLANDERS:  Who the heck knows?  The point is the debate over what it is to be a populist is about to get very real, because it‘s hard to be a populist when your agenda is the billionaires and when there are some real populists out there I think the Koch brother funded sort have a hard time getting traction.

SCHULTZ:  She‘s a dream to the Koch brothers.

FLANDERS:  She is a dream to you I think, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Well, she is going to be good for cable, that‘s for sure.  But, you know, I think she can win the nomination.  I do think she can—I know she can win Iowa.

FLANDERS:  Well, one of the things that I think we‘re seeing though in her base is that the views are getting much more extreme of the Tea Party as the economic discussions happening.  In fact, what you‘re seeing out of the base of support for wild and wacky anti-abortion laws, the kind of union kid-crushing legislation that you talked about.

SCHULTZ:  Sure.

FLANDERS:  I just don‘t think that‘s going to win the nomination—certainly not going to win the election.

SCHULTZ:  Laura Flanders, thanks for your time.  I appreciate it.

And an update of a deputy prosecutor in Indiana we talked about in the last segment, Carlos Lam, who was prosecutor in Indiana, who sent an email saying they should run conduct a fake assassination on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  Carlos Lam admitted this afternoon that he was the author of that e-mail and he has resigned from his job.

Newt Gingrich contradicts himself on Libya.  So, tonight, I asked in our survey whose Libya is worse?  Fifty-eight percent of you said Newt, 42 percent of you said Gingrich.

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  Thanks for joining us tonight.

“THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts now.  We‘ll see you back here on Monday night.

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