Skip navigation

Msnbc Live at 6 p.m. ET, Friday, April 15th, 2011

Read the transcript from the Friday 6 p.m. hour

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Guests: Jim Moran, Jonathan Alter, Steve Kornacki, Alex Wagner, Matt

Taibbi, Ana Kasparian

CENK UYGUR, HOST:  Good evening.  I‘m Cenk Uygur.  We‘ve got a huge show for you tonight.  You do not want to miss the Matt Taibbi in the second half of this show.  It is amazing what he has found out.

But first, we start with the Republican Party voting to end Medicare today.  Really, they did. 

They would replace it with vouchers.  There would be no more guaranteed benefits. 

Congratulations, you‘re on your own with the Republican plan.  But lucky, it won‘t become law, because President Obama put his foot down on that and said it won‘t happen on his watch. 

This GOP all got on board the crazy, possibly politically suicidal train driven by Congressman Paul Ryan.  Democrats tried to help a brother out by warning the Republicans. 


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER:  I want to say to my Republican colleagues, do you realize that your leadership is asking you to cast a vote today to abolish Medicare as we know it? 



UYGUR:  You can‘t say they didn‘t warn you.  I don‘t know why Republicans believe killing Medicare is a winning issue when more than three-quarters of Americans think it shouldn‘t be touched under any circumstance. 

But, hey, it‘s your political funeral.  Have at it. 

Two hundred and thirty-five Republicans voted to privatize Medicare and lower tax rates for the wealthy and for corporations.  I don‘t get it.  Didn‘t they already have the rich vote locked up? 

OK.  All right.  Have at it. 

A hundred and nineteen Republicans voted to cut Medicaid and raise the retirement age for Social Security.  That was in an even more radical right-wing proposal that they also voted on today. 

So that‘s the agenda of the GOP.  And that‘s what President Obama will use against them as he begins to kick off his re-election campaign. 

He made a splash last night with a fundraiser that reportedly earned him a quick $2 million.  Not bad for nice work.  But what made real news were some fiery comments about Republicans that were made off-mike, but were accidentally recorded back at the White House. 


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And I said to them—I said, “Let me tell you something.  I spent a year and a half getting health care passed.  The notion that I‘m going to let you guys undo that in a six-month spending bill, I said, “You want to repeal health care?  Go at it.  We‘ll have that debate.”

You‘re not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget.  Do you think we‘re stupid?


UYGUR:  Damn.  All right.  The president is getting serious.  He then unloaded on Congressman Ryan. 


OBAMA:  So, and when Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure that we‘re, you know—I mean, he‘s just being America‘s accountant and trying to, you know, be responsible.  See, this is the same guy who voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill but wasn‘t paid for. 


UYGUR:  Man, I wonder if Paul Ryan is going to cry about that too.  Remember last time?  He‘s like, hey, he was unfair to me.  Why did he do that to me? 

So I‘m looking forward to his response here. 

Now, that was at an event for donors.  But I hope we get to hear more of that in public from the president.  He‘ll have an opportunity next week when he hits the road to sell his plan for the budget and his vision for America. 

And when you look at those comments, I‘m telling you, now we‘re having fun.  It‘s refreshing to see Democrats fight back.  And as the president would say, go at it. 

Joining me now is Congressman Jim Moran, Democrat from Virginia, and member of the Progressive Caucus, who also serves on the Appropriations Committee. 

All right.  Congressman Moran, this Medicare vote appears to be disastrous for the Republicans.  What is the Democratic plan for beating them over the head with it? 

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA:  I think just telling the truth.  You know, the truth will set you free, Cenk. 

The idea that you would give the average millionaire a $200,000 tax cut and then pay for it by charging 33 seniors $6,000 more a year for Medicare is just beyond imagination.  I mean, if the Democrats wanted talking points for a campaign, they just wrote them for us. 

You know, we‘ve been trying to be as reasonable as possible.  Nobody is trying to be Robin Hood here.  But on the other hand, the Republican Ryan bunch is like a sheriff of Nottingham budget.  They‘re giving to the poor—they‘re giving to the rich and taking from the poor. 

UYGUR:  You know what? 

MORAN:  Yes?

UYGUR:  We could use a little Robin Hood.  OK.  But we‘re not getting that. 

But now, look, here‘s what I don‘t understand.  If you look at the polls, 76 percent of Americans say that they do not want Medicare cuts at all.  They describe them as unacceptable. 

So what‘s the Republican rationale here?  Do they think we‘re going to get so much money from the rich and from corporations, and we‘re going to run all these ads against the Democrats, so it doesn‘t really matter how much we defy the will of the people?  I mean, what‘s their battle plan here? 

MORAN:  Well, I can‘t speak for them.  Obviously, I can‘t even think like them.  I can‘t get in their head.  I don‘t know what motivates them. 

You know, granted, we‘re all capitalists, but this country, at least since the 1930s, it‘s tried to have a kind of a form of caring capitalism because strict capitalism just doesn‘t work.  You concentrate too much wealth in the hands of too few.  And the many don‘t have enough just to keep the economy going. 

But this is like something out of a Dickens novel, what the Ryan budget does.  And it‘s unsustainable.  It‘s not good for our economy.  And we‘re already at a point of no return. 

When one percent of Americans own close to half of the nation‘s wealth, and they‘re making about a quarter of the nation‘s income, and the bottom 90 percent are sucking wind—in fact, the medium wage has gone down—you know there‘s something wrong.  But what‘s wrong is not that we‘re taxing the wealthy too much, it‘s that we‘re not investing enough in the middle class and those struggling to get into the middle class. 

UYGUR:  You know, Congressman, we‘re now at the lowest tax rate as a percentage of GDP since 1931.  So when they keep saying we don‘t have a revenue problem, that is just flat-out wrong.  We do have a revenue problem. 

But when it comes to Medicare and protecting that, it seems like it‘s a huge issue for the Democrats, obviously.  The president says he‘s drawing the line, he won‘t let them do a voucher.  But, on the other hand, he has said that he is willing to cut Medicare to some degree. 

Is that also a bad idea?  Why go in the Republican direction at all in this case? 

MORAN:  Well, what he‘s talking about is the so-called Medicare Advantage plan that the Republicans brought in when they were in charge of the—in the majority in the Congress.  It gives incentives to insurance companies.

It‘s sort of a way of privatizing Medicare.  But the problem is they‘ve been taking about 20 percent of the money for administrative costs and profit.  And I think that‘s what he‘s talking about. 

UYGUR:  Congressman, let me interrupt here, because that‘s really important.  Medicare Advantage, yes, you‘re right.  It‘s a total waste of 20 percent. 

Is that all the president is talking about, just getting rid of Medicare Advantage?  Because if it is, I could live with that in a second. 

MORAN:  Well, the Health Care Reform Act, it really will reduce the cost of Medicare because it reduces the cost of health care across the board.  What we want to do is to reduce the number of specialists that keep having to—they put you through an x-ray every time they see you.  They need to do another MRI.  They need to do their own specialist tests. 

We want to have more general practitioners.  We want to look at the entire patient and carry those medical records from physician to physician. 

And we want to be more careful about the gatekeepers—you know, people that are responsible for the whole person.  And we want to give incentives to hospitals to do the right job the first time around and disincentives for hospitals that keep bringing people back for the same illness. 

UYGUR:  Right.

MORAN:  And those things will start kicking in, in 2014.  That saves Medicare money and it makes us healthier.  So it‘s the right way to go about it.  Certainly not the Ryan way. 

UYGUR:  Right.  No, that does make sense.  I‘m actually encouraged by that. 

Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, thank you for your time today.  I really appreciate it.

MORAN:  Any time, Cenk.  Thank you.

UYGUR:  All right.

Now let‘s bring in MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter, and author of the national best-selling book “The Promise,” about Obama‘s first year in office.



UYGUR:  -- let‘s go back to the Republicans.  It‘s great to see you here, by the way. 

ALTER:  Great to see you. 

UYGUR:  So what‘s the strategy here?  Is it just to collect more donor money?  Is it to move the political spectrum?  Because this doesn‘t seem like smart strategy at all. 

ALTER:  It really doesn‘t.  I mean, I think they‘re in the grip of an ideology. 

What David Stockman told me last week was, “a religious obsession.”  They believe in the religion of tax cuts, even when the country is facing bankruptcy.  So they want to take those top rates all the way down to 25 percent. 

That‘s part of the Ryan plan that hasn‘t gotten very much attention.  They essentially want to—and I say this—you know, Cenk, you and I have argued about—because I‘m a little bit more of a moderate Democrat.  But I say this in all seriousness—they want to repeal the New Deal and the Great Society. 

That‘s what this vote does.  It takes us back to the 1920s. 

So the question for Democrats is whether they have the chops to get

the Congress back, take this to the country, and explain this is a radical

and I believe they should use that word, “radical,” over and over and over again—this is a radical Republican attempt to repeal much of the 20th century social contract that we established in this country. 

UYGUR:  Jonathan, I actually loved how Congressman Moran framed it just a minute ago when he said it‘s the sheriff of Nottingham bill.  And it really is.  And it seems like a disastrous strategy for the Republicans. 


ALTER:  Well, bot necessarily, because the Democrats have to execute. 

And if they can‘t—

UYGUR:  Right.

ALTER:  If they can‘t, they should find another line of work. 

UYGUR:  No, that‘s exactly it.

ALTER:  But they have not been very good—and you and I have talked about this in the past—Democrats have not been very good at the basic blocking and tackling of politics.  And here they‘ve been given a huge gift. 

I didn‘t expect the Ryan plan to be nearly this bad, nearly this advantageous for Democrats.  But I‘m not fully confident that the Democratic Party is going to be able to grab this, find the right sound bites, slogans, frames to drive this home.  Sheriff of Nottingham doesn‘t quite work, and a little too literary to translate all the way to the bulk of the American people. 

Repeating the word “radical” 10,000 times, that might begin to get the message home.  And that they‘re killing—


UYGUR:  No, I hear you on that.  I hear you on that.

But, look, we saw encouraging signs today from Congress where Democrats fought back.  Nancy Pelosi had some good, strong words.  You see some other congressmen with good, strong words.  But you know what it hinges on, the place you cover, the White House. 

If the White House comes out swinging—I mean, you saw it behind the scenes today with President Obama.   If he does that in public, it seems like they can steam-roll him.  But if the president comes out and starts going towards the Republican direction, isn‘t that going to undercut that strategy? 

ALTER:  Well, first of all, there‘s a long time between now and the election.  And to come out swinging every day to satisfy those of us who like to see the president land a punch would not be good tactics.  So they need to think about how to handle this.

A lot of it is just driving a message.  It‘s not necessarily landing punches.  It‘s getting a certain argument across so that everybody in the United States, whether—it has to be repeated ad nauseam—knows that the Republican Party now stands for killing Medicare. 

That is not an exaggeration, a distortion.  They will try to say, oh, no, no, no, our voucher program doesn‘t kill Medicare.  It does. 

“The Wall Street Journal” said it “ends Medicare.”  So after many years where Democrats kind of cried wolf about Republicans wanting to, you know, throw granny into the snow, this time that‘s what they have just voted to do. 

UYGUR:  Right.

ALTER:  And so it‘s important, I think, for Democrats who may have cried wolf too much on this.  They don‘t want to be against all reform of Medicare.  I don‘t agree with you on this. 

There are certain things about entitlement programs that need to be changed.  And it‘s not realistic to say that these programs should be preserved in amber just the way they were when they were enacted.  But that‘s not what the Ryan plan does. 

UYGUR:  Well, that‘s not what I‘m saying though, Jonathan.  No, no, no.


UYGUR:  Now, look, if you want to talk about Medicare Advantage, no problem.  I love what they did with that in health care reform. 

ALTER:  Right.  But, see, we can also talk about, say, for people who are not engaged in manual labor, if they want to raise their retirement age on Social Security a little bit to save hundreds of billions of dollars --  

UYGUR:  No.  No way. 

ALTER:  Reasonable People can disagree on that, Cenk.  But the point here is about—

UYGUR:  No, but they‘re giving away their whole advantage, Jonathan.  Why would you go to cut Social Security when you just said the Republicans handed them a huge gift?


ALTER:  Because you‘re talking about a smart, slippery slope here. 

UYGUR:  We can talk about that.  But no way would I raise Social Security retirement age.  I think that would be crazy if the Democrats did that. 

ALTER:  You might have to do it. 

UYGUR:  No. 

ALTER:  I don‘t think it‘s a smart thing to do before the election, but as an intellectual point, there are going to have to be changes. 

But it‘s important, Cenk, to understand the distinction between reasonable changes which reasonable people can disagree about, and killing Medicare, which is what this does.  And by the way, if they win the next election, they will also privatize Social Security the way this bill privatizes Medicare. 

So, that‘s where I and a lot of other people get off the bus.  But it‘s not necessary to preserve everything except Medicare Advantage. 

There are things—and the president has said this—there are things that are going to have to be reformed in Medicare.  That doesn‘t mean, though, that you‘re with the Republicans, who want to kill it.  So, the important thing tactically here and politically, is that people understand the distinction between reform and killing these programs, which is what the Republicans have just voted to do. 

UYGUR:  All right.  We‘ve got to leave it right there.

Jonathan Alter, thank you so much for joining us. 

ALTER:  Thanks, Cenk.

UYGUR:  All right. 

Now, next, President Obama spoke out on the birthers.  But what did he say about Donald Trump and the others?  I‘m loving this one—president‘s attack. 

And Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi uncovers the Federal Reserve and what they‘re doing with your money.  And I promise, this is one of the most outrageous things you‘ll hear.  You won‘t believe who they‘re giving it to. 


UYGUR:  The president has finally taken on the birthers, but he‘s being perfectly pleasant about it.  In fact, he gives them helpful advice on how to win general elections.  And apparently, it isn‘t by being crazy.


OBAMA:  Over the last two-and-a-half years, there has been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short term for Republicans, but creates I think a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election, where most people feel pretty confident the president is born where he says he was, in Hawaii.  He doesn‘t have horns. 


UYGUR:  All right.  Not every political attack has to be fierce.  I enjoy it when he mocks them a little bit. 

Well, of course he‘s right.  Basing your presidential campaign on the idea that we didn‘t really land on the moon, or that the president was born on Venus, is not really brilliant politics that‘s likely to win over a majority of the population.

But, of course, that hasn‘t stopped the new birther king, Donald Trump, who‘s now shooting up in the polls among right-wing extremists.

So, to play the part right, he is getting nastier and nastier. 


DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR:  Look, he has been a horrible president.  I always said the worst president was Jimmy Carter.  Guess what?  Jimmy Carter goes to second place. 

Barack Obama has been the worst president ever.  In the history of this country, Barack Obama is number one. 


UYGUR:  He‘s like a heel in wrestling.  Do you guys know that?  It‘s like the bad guys that are comically bad like Rowdy Roddy Piper.  That‘s what Trump has turned into. 

And how seriously can you take a guy who, when asked by “TIME” magazine how many people there were in the House of Representatives responded, “I don‘t want to answer your questions because this isn‘t a history class.  You can get some stiff that knows every one of those answers, but is incapable of governing.” 

Oh.  That‘s sad, man. 

You‘re pretending to run for president and you‘ve got to do better than that.  You don‘t know how many people there are in the House of the Representatives?  The next thing you‘re going to do is you‘re going to tell me that you see Russia for your penthouse. 

Donald, if you still haven‘t figured it out, it‘s 435. 

But you know the saddest part of all?  Trump is now clearly the Republican frontrunner.

A new Public Policy poll, which, correct (ph), is a phone (ph) poll, but it does show that Trump leads the Republican field.  He is coming in second and first in some other polls as well. 

But look here.  He‘s taking 26 percent of the vote.  Huckabee is taking 17.  Romney is at 15.  Tim Pawlenty, with the very, very sad four percent.

So, while Trump is getting all the attention and sucking up all the oxygen on the Republican side, what are those so-called serious candidates like Romney doing?  Well, he was meeting with supports at a local H&R Block.  Very, very exciting.

Romney, come on, man.  You‘ve got to pick it up. 

So, it‘s no wonder, of course, that Tim Pawlenty was hoping to inject a little bit of that Trump charm into his campaign during a Tea Party rally today.


TIM PAWLENTY ®, FMR. MINNESOTA GOVERNOR:  I know there has been a lot of talk about Donald Trump and the race in 2012.  And I think he is exciting and successful and we‘ll all have our ideas.  But I think there is at least one thing that we should all adopt as an idea or theme in his wording that we should send as a message to President Obama in 2012 and it‘s this—“You‘re fired.”


UYGUR:  This guy‘s got to lay off the jokes.  Don‘t do it, Pawlenty. 

You look like Bush every time.  And then he‘s got to say, “You‘re fired.” 

OK.  Bring it down.  Bring it down. 

All right.  Joining me now is Steve Kornacki from  Also with me is Alex Wagner, reporter for “The Huffington Post” and MSNBC analyst.

All right.  Steve, let me start with you.

I mean, the president‘s right, right?  I mean, going in this direction is obviously not going to help them in the general election.  But how do they get beyond this problem that they have that they‘ve got to win the primaries first? 

STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM:  Yes.  No, I agree.  If they were to nominate somebody who is sort of spouting birther rhetoric or anything, any kind of conspiracy theory like that, it would take an election, even if they otherwise would be able to win it, and they would lose it.

I think there is, you know, a guy like Mitt Romney you look at.  This is not the season for Mitt Romney.  This is the season for sort of the crazies and the party to really rear their heads, to really make noise, and to make early runs in the polls. 

I think what a guy like Mitt Romney is counting on is that he can sit back right now, he can let Trump, he can let Bachmann, he can let Gingrich steal the show.  Let maybe one of them win one of these early primaries or caucuses or next year.  And then, when that happens, when the reality of, wow, this party might actually nominate Michele Bachmann, this party might actually nominate Rick Santorum, or whatever, and the implications of that, when that sets in, the party then rallies around them.

The Republicans did this once before.  I know it‘s a few years ago, but Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary in 1996, and the party absolutely panicked, so much that they already around 73-year-old “dole as heck” Bob Dole and made him their nominee. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Alex, first of all, it‘s lovely to have you here. 

You‘re first time on the show, and we enjoy it.

ALEX WAGNER, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  Thanks for having me, Cenk.

UYGUR:  All right.  So now what I‘m going to do is I‘m going to play a clip of Rush Limbaugh for you, and I want to talk about how he is partly driving the party to the extreme. 

Let‘s watch first.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  That bunch of people, those savages that make up the Obama base, are fit to be tied.  He had to get them back, and the one way to do it is to go out and savage us. 

That‘s what they love.  That‘s what they get off on.  That is their orgasm, because these people can‘t find willing mates. 



UYGUR:  First of all, I love that, because this is the guy who went down to the Dominican Republic with a gallon of Viagra on sexual tourism, and he‘s talking about how liberals can‘t find dates. 

But more importantly, this is ugly language.  Is Rush destroying the Republican Party by constantly pushing them further and further to the right and uglier and uglier politics? 

WAGNER:  I don‘t ever want to hear the word “orgasm” come out of Rush Limbaugh‘s mouth again, I think. 

But to your point, Cenk, yes.  I mean, I think, you know, this all has an effect.

I mean, Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, what they effectively do is change the magnetic polls here.  And regardless of how feasible his candidacy actually is, when Donald Trump starts engaging in this rhetoric, and Rush Limbaugh starts engaging in this rhetoric, it gives fuel to the fire. 

And I think if you look at what happened in Arizona today, the state legislature passed a bill that is going to require long-form birth certificates.  If you don‘t have a long-form birth certificate and you want to run for president, you can show subsequent documentation, including circumcision certificate. 

I mean, the (INAUDIBLE) of the American political debate is hurt. 

This is detrimental rhetoric.

UYGUR:  Steve, I mean, how do they get beyond this?  Because if they go on the Rush Limbaugh program and they tell him he‘s wrong, or even they just say he‘s wrong anywhere, Rush will go crazy and he‘ll turn the base against him.

On the other hand, here they are in circumcision land.  And you know, this talk about savages, how racially-coated is that?  So how do they get past this trap?  I don‘t see a way for them.

KORNACKI:  Yes.  Again, I mean, if you look back even four years ago right now, if you looked at John McCain, you would say there is no way this guy can win the Republican nomination in 2008.  He‘s on the wrong side of immigration, he‘s on the wrong side of the Republican base on so many really hot-button emotional issues.  And he‘s on the wrong side of Rush Limbaugh.

And the truth is, when you look at McCain‘s campaign in 2008, I know there were some really flukish circumstances.  But Rush Limbaugh, right to the end, was telling his listeners, don‘t let this happen.  Don‘t let John McCain win the nomination. 

But there were still enough, I‘d say, bottom-line-oriented people left in the Republican Party that, when push came to shove in the primaries, they looked at him and they said, all right, this is the guy we‘ve got to go with.  Again, it‘s not a glamorous way to win a nomination, but that‘s what a guy like Mitt Romney is counting on, that at the end of the day, this party, the party that learned last year by nominating Sharron Angle and Christine O‘Donnell and maybe costing itself the Senate with Tea Party candidates, at the end of the day there has to be a fair amount of pragmatism in picking candidates, that that will prevail once again. 

UYGUR:  All right.

Alex, last question for you.  I mean, is Donald Trump your sideshow Don, as some have called him in the press?  And is he closer to Rush Limbaugh and just an entertainer trying to get ratings for his television show, et cetera?  Or is he a legitimate candidate? 

I mean, look at these polls where he‘s leading.  Is it possible in any way, shape or form that this guy could win? 

WAGNER:  I mean, look, I think this is a ratings game for Donald Trump.  But I do think there is something to be said about the 2012 field overall that he is leading by nine points in that PPP poll. 

And to Steve‘s point, think there are sort of more moderate professional voices on the right.  You even saw Eric Cantor this week saying, look, we‘ve got to get back to weighty issues. 

The GOP wants to focus on the economy.  Look at what they did in the House today.  I mean, they are dead serious about cutting this deficit.  They are dead serious about economic reform.  They are dead serious about entitlement reforms.

And so they are going to be making much more of a concerted effort in the following weeks and months to get the Carny sideshow of social conservatism that is Donald Trump off the main stage.

UYGUR:  All right.  It‘s going to be fascinating to see how it develops. 

Steve Kornacki from, and MSNBC analyst Alex Wagner. 

Thank you for joining us.  We appreciate it, guys.

WAGNER:  Thanks, Cenk.


UYGUR:  Now, up next, the Republicans‘ evolving position on raising the debt ceiling.  In other words, their comical flip-flops.  Don‘t they know that we have these things on tape?  You don‘t want to miss the con job of the day. 

And my “Young Turks” co-host, Ana Kasparian, joins me tonight with some of the day‘s best stories.  She is right here.  Look at this.  Fun for everybody. 

All right.  We‘ll be back. 


UYGUR:  In the con job of the day, we have got the republican flip-flops over the debt.  The republican leadership‘s evolving position of the debt ceiling can give you whiplash. 

Remember, we don‘t raise it.  The government will re-force into default.  Nonetheless, Boehner and McConnell under rest, say that they won‘t vote to raise it unless they get more spending cuts. 


JOHN BOEHNER ®, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  We have got take meaningful steps towards solving our long term debt problem if in fact, we‘re going to find the votes increase of debt ceiling.  

SEN, MITCH MCCONNELL ®, MINORITY LEADER:  There is bipartisan opposition in the Senate to raising the debt ceiling unless we do something significant about the debt.  


UYGUR:  Now, that was now but Boehner and McConnell were not so concerned about the debt limit when we had a republican sitting in their oval office.  As Travis Waldron of Think Progress points out, “The current GOP leadership voted to raise the debt ceiling every single time during the Bush years.”  In 2002, Boehner and McConnell voted for $450 billion increase in the debt limit.  The next year, they approved a $900 billion increase, a vote that came the same week that President Bush approved tax cuts that cost $350 billion. 

So, they didn‘t mind borrowing from China when it was to pay the rich, of course.  In 2004, they voted to raise the limit by another $800 billion.  In ‘06, it was $781 billion.  In ‘07, it was another $850 billion.  All told, under Bush, Boehner and McConnell voted five times to increase the debt ceiling by a total of $4 trillion.  They raised it five times for a total of $4 trillion.  That‘s a lot of money.  And now they‘re concerned about raising the debt ceiling?  Obviously they had no qualms whatsoever about increasing it when there was a republican in the White House.  But the leaders are not the only ones in the Republican Party to make a complete and comical reversal on the debt limit issue.  Here‘s Indiana Congressman Mike Pence earlier this week.  


REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA:  I will not support an increase in the debt ceiling without real and meaningful changes in spending, and the short term in the long term. 


UYGUR:  But here‘s Pence on the absolute necessity of raising the debt ceiling back in 2002.


PENCE:  I came here believing as so many people I represent believe that if you owe debts, pay debts.  


UYGUR:  I love the flip-flops.  And right now, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley thinks the debt ceiling is a great bargaining chip.  


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY ®, IOWA:  We have got tremendous leverage on not increasing the debt to get a lot of other things done that we want done. 


UYGUR:  But in 2006, he said lawmakers shouldn‘t try to score political points about the debt limit.  


GRASSLEY:  And so, I would hope that we would not have an extended debate and a lot of breast beating about the issue of increasing the national debt.  Now there will be a lot of debate about it.  A lot of political points trying to be made.  But the point is, we have got to keep the business of government going.  That‘s why this ought to pass unanimously. 


UYGUR:  Unanimously, back when there was a republican president, right?  But now, all of a sudden, oh we can‘t do it.  Raising the debt ceiling was an absolute necessity.  It turns out that you couldn‘t play politics during the Bush years.  But now that we have a democratic president, the debt ceiling presents perfect opportunity to play politics.  Just when you thought these guys couldn‘t get any more hypocritical, they out do themselves every day.  I‘m very impressed.  And their outrageous hypocrisy on the debt ceiling, is our con job of the day.  OK.  I like the music. 

Now, ahead, an explosive investigation reveals how our government is helping the richest people in the world, people like by the way, Moammar Gadhafi, by gambling with your money.  It is one of the most outrageous stories you‘ll hear.  Rolling Stone about to tell you, and it‘s a story you need to hear, next. 


UYGUR:  We‘re about to tell you why the most important stories about our government deal elaborate here.  It‘s a story of how our government has a shadow budget that is totally unaccountable to the people is set up to help the richest people in the world, and place with trillions of dollars of our money.  But that sounds unbelievable, but it actually is totally true. 

Now speaking of unbelievable, it has already given $220 million in bail-out money to the completely unqualified wives of Wall Street bankers.  And if they lose the money, well, you have to eat their losses.  But if they make a profit, they get to keep all of it.  And if you think that‘s bad, Moammar Gadhafi even gets to play the game on our dime.  So, what is this, shadow system?  Well, it‘s called the Federal Reserve.  And what they are doing with your money is absolutely outrageous. 

And we have the man who broke the story with us now to tell us more about it.  Matt Taibbi is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, he‘s latest article is called, “The Real Housewives of Wall Street.”  Matt, great to have you here. 


UYGUR:  All right.  Matt, first, let‘s start with this different form of a bailout that people might not be familiar with.  What is the Fed doing in this version of a bail-out?

TAIBBI:  Well, originally, the bail-out were used to target and rescue a specific institutions like Bear Stearns and Fanny and Freddie and AIG, and then from there, you know, there was the broader bailout effort in the fall of 2008.  The TARP that was really about rescuing insolvent banks.  And cleaning up genuinely toxic, mortgage back securities and getting those out of the system.  But once Wall Street saw that public money coming their way, they basically started saying to the Fed and to the government, hey, we would sure like a government guarantee you to invest in student loans and credit cards and aircraft loans and commercial mortgages and pretty much anything else you can think of, and that‘s when this whole other galaxy of bailout programs started to come down the pipe. 

And they all have names that people never heard of like the Talf and Taf and the Ppep (ph).  And essentially, all of these programs and there, you know, cumulatively about, you know, many trillions of dollars they extended government guarantees and gave away more or less free money to Hedge Funds and other Wall Street characters to invest in all these different varieties or securities and they got to keep the winnings and then we had to eat the losses.  

UYGUR:  Matt, the thing that outrages me is that, like before in the past, they had to go the treasury and get money from the United States Congress, right?  They had to be approved and eventually there were consequences for those votes, right?  Now there seems like an end run around the treasury and around Congress.  Can the Fed just do that?  Can they just print trillions of dollars and give it to ever they like.   

TAIBBI:  Well, that‘s a complicated question.  The Feds, you know, doesn‘t have an infinite balance sheet.  It does have, you know, a cap on how much money it can spend, although, in a couple of instances in the last couple of years, it has had a couple of programs called quantitative easing where they‘ve literally printed new money.  And just started spending it but that‘s not what really what happen here.  But you‘re right, it is an end run around Congress, most people think of the bailouts as TARP which was an $800 billion program that used treasury money, in other words, taxpayer money and that was very tightly controlled.  And when they gave out that money, it came with very stringent controls, in other words, you had to reduce the amount of compensation you gave to your executives if you took this money.  But these other Fed programs are completely unaccountable.  Until very recently were shrouded in complete mystery and were completely unaccountable to any elected officials.  

UYGUR:  So, if they‘re unaccountable, of course, you eventually get abuse, and it seems like the tail of these Wall Street wives as an excellent example of that.  Tell us about their story. 

TAIBBI:  Well, the back-story of this is, you know, all of these transactions were secret up until very recently when there was a bipartisan coalition of people in Congress that included Ron Paul and Alan Grayson and Bernie Sanders.  And they attempted to open up the Feds‘ books.  And while they didn‘t succeed in getting the entire history, the Feds‘ book open, they did get this two year period from the end of ‘07 to ‘09 when they got to look at all of this bail-out transactions.  And among this 2100 bail-out transactions where a number of crazy names and just for the sake of trying to serve a story to my editors and to try to attract leaders to this issue, you know, we picked out the craziest name in the West and that was Christy Mack and Susan Karches.  And Christy Mack is the wife of John Mack who at the time was the CEO of Morgan Stanley.  And as far as we call tell, there are only qualifications for getting a $220 million loan from the Fed in order to buy student loans and commercial mortgages was that they were married to Wall Street executives. 

UYGUR:  So, they don‘t have any previous experience but it doesn‘t matter because they can‘t lose.  Tell us about these non-recourse loans.  Because that‘s another part of this outrage.  That, you know, what?  If they lose, we have to put up the money.  I can‘t believe that.  How does that work?

TAIBBI:  Well, the way this work says that basically the Fed says, here is a whole bunch of money.  Go out and, you know, go with God and buy a little bunch of securities.  And whatever it is you can find, you know, mortgages, student loans, credit cards loans, whatever it is.  You go by the securities, you give them to us.  If they go up in value, you take them back.  If they go down in value, we keep it and we eat the losses.  That‘s basically the way a non recourse loan works.  Now, they had to pay a small premium of less than 10 percent on the value of its securities, and so they did have a little bit of skin in the game.  They stood to lose a little bit.  But basically, if the stuff went up in value, they kept everything and if it went down in value, the losses were basically almost all ours. 

UYGUR:  All right.  And finally, Matt, how is Gadhafi involved in all of this?

TAIBBI:  You know, aside from all the Hedge Fund, millionaires and billionaires that are on this list, there are a number of really crazy names, there‘s the Bank of Bavaria.  The Development Bank of South Korea, Volkswagen, Toyota, Mitsubishi, but there‘s also a company called the Arab Banking Corporation of Bahrain which is a 63 percent owned entity of the Central Bank of Libya, which somehow we got a $35 billion line of credit from the Federal Reserve through emergency lending programs and nobody can figure out yet exactly what the rationale behind that was, but it‘s definitely on this list of transactions. 

UYGUR:  To stop giving away our money then.  It‘s crazy.  All right.  Matt, incredible reporting.  Thank you so much for joining us.  We really appreciate it. 

TAIBBI:  Thank you.

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, when we come back.  Senator Kyl throws his press secretary under the bus.  That‘s awesome.  Conservatives want to change the word gay, fascinating.  And Congressman Kucinich, there is something stranger than ever before.  Can you imagine? 

Ana Kasparian, my Young Turks co-host is going to try to make sense of it all.  She is here with those amazing stories.  We will be right back.   


UYGUR:  Why do Republicans want to change the word gay these days?  That‘s a crazy story.  And Kucinich, speaking of crazy, it does something unbelievable again.  All right.  We‘re going to talk about that in just one second.              


UYGUR:  Now, it‘s time for some political stories we‘re going to have fun with.  Let me bring in my Young Turks co-host Ana Kasparian.  Ana, great to be with you here.  I know we have got fun.  What‘s up first? 

ANA KASPARIAN, CO-HOST, THE YOUNG TURKS:  Oh, we do.  Let‘s start off with Arizona Senator Jon Kyl.  So now he is back pedaling after he made this false statement about how Planned Parenthood does 90 percent of the abortions, right?  So, he thinks that that is all they do.  He made that statement and Stephen Colbert actually made fun of him.  So, now, he‘s being relentlessly mocked.  We have videos of Stephen Colbert making fun of him.  Let‘s watch. 


STEPHEN COLBERT, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  I decided to celebrate Jon Kyl‘s groundbreaking excuse-planation last night.


COLBERT:  By tweeting round the clock non-facts about him.  Such as, for the past 10 year, Jon Kyl has been two children in a very convincing Jon Kyl suit.


COLBERT:  Well, nation.  You picked this up and run with it.  Using my hash tag to Tweet your own non-facts as an uprece-tweeted rate of 46 per minute.  Which, incidentally, is the rate at which Jon Kyl catapults puppies into the sea. 


KASPARIAN:  No, I love that.  Because first of all, Planned Parenthood only does three percent of what they do are abortions, right?  And Stephen Colbert is holding him accountable.  And John Kyl‘s reaction to this is hilarious.  He‘s completely backpedaling.  He threw his press secretary under the bus.  And said, no, no, no.  That‘s not what this is about.  It was supposed to be taken seriously.  It wasn‘t supposed to be taken as a fact. 

UYGUR:  Right.  Now, so, he says, look, I said the bad statement about.  I misspoke. 


UYGUR:  But it was my press secretary who said, it wasn‘t intended as a factual statement. 


UYGUR:  It‘s that guy‘s fault.  So, now, what‘s the press secretary do?  Of course he dutifully, threw himself under the bus.  It was like, yes, it‘s only my fault, I shouldn‘t have said that.  I love politicians who just went into a panic. 


UYGUR:  Find a bus somewhere and throw somebody underneath.  

KASPARIAN:  I know.  It‘s unbelievable.  All right.  The next story has to do with Dennis Kucinich.  Now, Dennis Kucinich is a man of many talents, OK?  He is an outspoken progressive, he can spot UFOs but his recent talent was showcased on the daily show.  Let‘s watch. 


REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO:  God bless America.  Whenever I feel afraid.  I held my rhetoric. 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN:  Wow, how do you keep winning elections?

KUCINICH:  Well, you‘re going to have to ask Dennis. 


UYGUR:  No, no.  Dennis, don‘t do it.  Don‘t do it.  Look, Kucinich sometimes is, you know, great.  Just like yesterday, he‘s holding Walker accountable and—and then, when the UFOs, he is not even a good ventriloquist.  That was terrible.  

KASPARIAN:  That‘s not bad.  I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed it. 

UYGUR:  That‘s not a ventriloquist.  That‘s mumbling.  

KASPARIAN:  Dennis Kucinich is having fun.  OK?  And I like that, OK?  He‘s having fun.  He‘s showcasing his talents.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It was a little shaky.  I‘ll give you that.  

UYGUR:  But come on.  I mean, the only thing that would be more comical is if he came out as a mime.  And he‘s like, as a congressman.  All right.  Look, you are right.  He is having fun.  But it‘s risky.  It‘s a risky way to go. 

KASPARIAN:  All right.  And our final story, Cenk, has to do with the conservatives feeling as if they are losing the battle against the gays.  OK.  So, they want to reclaim the word gay.  They think that, you know, the homosexual community has taken it.  They want to reclaim it.  So, right now, we have a video of the chairman of the young conservatives in California, he‘s speaking at Liberty University.  See what he wants us to do. 


RYAN SORBA, CALIFORNIA YOUNG AMERICANS FOR FREEDOM:  Stop using the word gay.  Because if we continue to give them this term that is grounded in an identity, we‘re giving, we‘re conceding the premise that it is an identity, and the rest of the debate is we‘re on their ground, we—on their terms.  What we need to do is state that look, this is either same sex attraction or maybe they‘re engaging in same-sex intercourse or sodomy, whatever word you are comfortable using and that‘s it. 


UYGUR:  All right.  Here‘s a couple of things I like about this. 

First of all, they now believe the word gays to positive.


UYGUR:  OK.  I mean, I guess some sort of mission accomplish.  I mean, back in the days in Jr. High School, it wasn‘t considered a positive word.  If somebody called you gay, you weren‘t like high five.  All right.  But I guess it‘s like, oh gays, way to positive.  And second thing is, who‘s going to say, oh I know a couple of guys, well, they‘re engage in same-sex intercourse. 

KASPARIAN:  Right.  Yes.  Or if you want to talk about the gay community, you have to call them the unnatural vice community which is another thing that he suggested. 


UYGUR:  OK.  And look, the reason they use sex in a lot of those is because they want to stigmatize gays.  And they think that, you know, it will, oh sex, oh guys, oh my God.  And that‘s—but I don‘t think it‘s going to catch on.  To me I‘m encourage by this because one it‘s comical, and two, it seems like they‘re desperate and have lost the battle.  

KASPARIAN:  No, they are desperate, they have lost the battle and they look pathetic. 

UYGUR:  There is something we can totally agree on.  All right.  Thank you for joining us, Ana. 

KASPARIAN:  Thank you, Cenk.

UYGUR:  We appreciate it.  Funk for everybody.  All right.  We‘re going to come right back.                                


UYGUR:  Tonight in rig game.  We have a prime example of how oil and gas companies can continue to receive at least $4 billion a year in tax breaks.  As Think Progress pointed out, last week, republican Congressman Bill Posey match people who were outrage by oil subsidies.  And said corporations don‘t pay taxes, they collect them.  Not sure what that means, but see if we can figure out what he‘s talking about.  Let‘s watch.

REP. BILL POSEY ®, FLORIDA:  Those evil oil companies.  The answer to all of our problems is to tax them more as if the members of this body and public are stupid enough to think that at the end of the year, those big oil companies are just going to write a check for an extra zillion dollars.  Corporations don‘t pay taxes.  Corporations collect taxes.  They collect taxes from consumers who ultimately pay the tax. 


UYGUR:  So, under that logic, we should never tax corporations, because they‘ll just pass the cost on to you.  That makes those sense and couple of different ways, first of all, the tax on their profits.  After, they already got on charging you.  They need to—if they don‘t have profits that they can‘t pay taxes anyway.  It‘s on the profits. 

All right.  Anyway, Bill Posey, if he had his way, no company would ever pay any tax on to that logic.  And of course, that‘s exactly the republican plan.  They got to protect those oil companies and those corporations under any and all circumstances.  Now, remember, the government doesn‘t run on fairy dust and Butterflies.  So, if corporations don‘t pay their taxes, guess who has to pay more?  That‘s right.  You, you got to pay more to make up for it.  Now, would you rather pay more taxes or have the top five loyal and gas companies, who made about a trillion dollars in the last decade, pay their fare share.  Now, I know the answer to that question, because I read the latest NBC News Wall Street Journal poll. 

It says, 74 percent of Americans support eliminating tax credits for oil and gas companies.  So, I guess 74 percent of Americans are stupid enough to think oil companies should pay their taxes according to Congressman Posey.  By the way, if we took away the $4 billion in tax breaks that are given to these corporations, we could provide food stamps for over two million Americans this year.  Two millions and families get to eat where oil companies get a little richer.  What‘s your answer?  My answer is obvious, but apparently, Congress has not agreed.  Because it‘s been 2,076 days since the last oil subsidy bill was sign into law by George W. Bush.  And they are still going at it strong and we‘re going to keep on this story until they are limited.  Wish us luck.  Now, thanks for watching and you can follow me online at the, or on YouTube at The Young Turks, of course, TYT Nation on Facebook, and The Young Turks on Twitter.  “HARDBALL” starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.                                                                            


<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2011 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

Transcription Copyright 2011 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is

granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not

reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or

internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall

user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may

infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or

interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of


Sponsored links

Resource guide