updated 4/26/2011 5:03:31 PM ET 2011-04-26T21:03:31

Guests: Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tyson Slocum, Laura Flanders, Andy Kroll,

Stephanie Miller

           

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

Well, Republicans are waging a campaign of deceit to kill Medicare—so unlike them.  If you don‘t believe me, just keep it right here.  I‘ll tell you how they‘re doing it.

This is THE ED SHOW.  Let‘s get to work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

           

REP. PAT MEEHAN ®, PENNSYLVANIA:  You asked if I voted to abolish Medicare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, you did vote to abolish Medicare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ (voice-over):  The vocal majority continues to fight Republicans all over the nation.  We‘ll show you the tape.

As you get pinched at the pump—word today that big oil is expecting record profits this year.  Good thing the Republican pals voted to extend their taxpayer funded subsidies.

Tonight‘s “Takedown”: A new low for Scott Walker.  He‘s taking credit for jobs he didn‘t create.  A new low for red headed Americans?  My special commentary.

And tonight, Stephanie Miller attempts the impossible.  She‘ll try and make me care about the royal wedding.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s good to have you with us tonight.

This is the story that has me fired up first.  How about this? 

Campaign of deceit—so unlike the Republicans.

Once again they are trying to run and hide from the vote that they took on the Ryan budget last week.  But last Thursday, the key question here, folks, I asked former RNC chair, Michael Steele, this question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Do you think the Republicans can win on what they voted on in the House and the Ryan budget?

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN:  I do.  I think—I think Republicans will have a very good case to take to the American people and ultimately, as you and I know, they will decide where they want this thing to come out.

SCHULTZ:  OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Oh, yes they will decide.  Mr. Steele, good sport coming on the program, but he is completely wrong.

House Republicans are claiming a conference call for tomorrow to start the old damage control on the Ryan budget.  A Republican source with knowledge of the call told “The National Journal” the call is intended to help swing district members who have been getting the crap kicked out of them.

Now, the source is telling us this that this is what they‘re going to be talking about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

FEMALE CONSTITUENT:  You did not run on any—you said nothing in the campaign about I‘m going to change Medicare.  Now, you voted for a plan that will destroy Medicare.

REP. LOU BARLETTA ®, PENNSYLVANIA:  Well, I won‘t destroy Medicare. 

Medicare would be destroyed by itself.

FEMALE CONSTITUENT:  I have a great way for you to pay for it.

FEMALE CONSTITUENT:  If you vote today abolish Medicare, how will you explain that to people who are in their 50s, who are out of work, that they will have not the Medicare that I have?

MEEHAN:  You asked me if I vote today abolish Medicare, but I did not vote to—

FEMALE CONSTITUENT:  But you did vote to abolish Medicare.

MEEHAN:  No, ma‘am.  I did not vote to abolish Medicare.

FEMALE CONSTITUENT:  That‘s what this vote is.

MALE CONSTITUENT:  Show me how the Ryan budget that you just vote ford brings down the deficit.

REP. SEAN DUFFY ®, WISCONSIN:  I don‘t have the chart.

MALE CONSTITUENT:  You don‘t have the chart here?

DUFFY:  Well, do you want me to send to your e-mail?  Give me your email address.

MALE CONSTITUENT:  I know what chart you used, it came from the Heritage Foundation.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SCHULTZ:  Is this the crowd they voted for last November?  Callers to my radio show tell me that Paul Ryan is going to get the same kind of treatment and questions at four separate listening sessions in Wisconsin tomorrow around the state.

Now, Ryan and other members of his caucus—basically what they need is a different strategy to convince 80 percent.  I love this number.  I told I was going to show it to you a lot.  Egypt percent of Americans who want Republicans to keep their mitts off Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the big three.

Republicans don‘t care if they win on the issue.  See?  Right now, the strategy is just to muddy the waters.  Republican Party officials told “The Washington Post,” Republicans don‘t want to be talking about Medicare everyday for the next year and a half.  Well, guess what?  But if they keep the conversation on boarder issues of spending and taxes, they can win.

The official went on to say the Republicans, quote, “can fight the Medicare issue to a tie by muddying the waters.”

In other words, Republicans are openly admitting they are going to flat out lie about Medicare.  They just took the vote.

House Democrats, they ought to be and are finally jumping all over Republicans for lying about this issue.  The DCCC put out this commercial today.  I‘m happy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DAN BENISHEK ®, MICHIGAN:  Social Security and Medicare are a promise we have made to our seniors.  And I will keep that promise.

REP. SCOTT TIPTON ®, COLORADO:  I‘ll never put our seniors‘ future at risk.  No cuts.  No privatization.  And no scaring our seniors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Turning Medicare into a voucher program, privatizing social security.  The agenda that he hopes to put into power.

MEEHAN:  That‘s the agenda I‘m not voting for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, let‘s not forget the Republicans lied about Medicare before the election and now, their constituents basically are making them look foolish at their own town hall meetings.  Watch how a great Wisconsin voter made freshman Congressman Sean Duffy squirm.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MALE CONSTITUENT:  The Ryan budget proposes to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

DUFFY:  No, it doesn‘t.  No, it doesn‘t.

MALE CONSTITUENT:  Yes, it does.

DUFFY:  No, it doesn‘t.  There‘s no voucher.

MALE CONSTITUENT:  That‘s what my understanding is.  The Congressional Budget Office thinks that‘s the case because they calculated the extra cost to seniors if it goes into a voucher program and it‘s going to be trillions of dollars for those young men like this fellow up here in front who will have to pay more.

DUFFY:  First of all, it‘s a premium support.  It‘s not a voucher.  The bottom line is, if we do nothing, if we do nothing, you can all say listen I may come and tell you this is all fine and dandy, it‘s all going to work and you know you can get it and I know, any young people here?  You all can get this program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You can get it, Congressman.  You can get it.  You can get it, but the voters can‘t get it.  Premium support?  No, Congressman.  That‘s what you have.

See?  The constituents don‘t have premium support.  That‘s what they‘re calling it now.  Premium support.

Now, come on, folks.  You mean to tell me that the Ryan budget has in it that it is going to be a $6,000 cut on average to seniors across this country and they‘re out there on the campaign trail trying to sell this 80 percent crowd that there is something premium about that?  That‘s how dumb the Republicans are right now.  That‘s how dis-focused they are right now.

Can we go back to that picture of those folks in that crowd?  The guys that are sitting out there talking to this congressman—I mean, I just thought this is a typical Wisconsin crowd.

Look at this.  There is not a lot of diversity there.  These are rural Americans who pay attention to what‘s going on in the news and they‘re being told by this congressman that their cut is premium coverage and the Republicans think that they can jargon their way around this?  These good old boys in the heartland, they‘re not going to be buying that stuff.  That‘s kind of comical, isn‘t it?

Well, let‘s get back to the budget because Congressman Pat Meehan, Republican from Pennsylvania, gets questioned on his vote and what does he do?  He calls it a blueprint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEEHAN:  You made a comment that I vote today abolish Medicare and that‘s factually wrong.

FEMALE CONSTITUENT:  How is that wrong?

MEEHAN:  Wait a second, ma‘am.  Let me answer the question.

FEMALE CONSTITUENT:  I will.

MEEHAN:  Thank you.  I voted for the Ryan plan.  Let‘s be clear right from the outset.  If you talk about what was in the proposal.  Now this is a blueprint.  What Paul Ryan has put out is a blueprint, a sense of what we would like to do, a direction that we‘d like to go in looking at a variety of issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s just a blueprint.  That‘s all it is.  It‘s a blueprint.

We got a blueprint of this house we want to build.  Here it is.

No, no, no.  You decided what kind of house you want to build, Congressman, and you have voted on it.

So, here‘s the best play for the Democrats right now.  Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, put this baby on the table in the Senate and let‘s have a vote.  Let‘s go to the Republicans in the Senate and ask them if they‘re onboard with this radical budget.

That‘s what the president called it.  He said it was radical.  We asked the Republican National Committee and House Republican conference committee members to come on this show and defend why 235 members of the House voted for Paul Ryan‘s plan even though it was just a blueprint and, of course, they declined.  Hopefully, they‘ll change their mind after their conference call tomorrow because they‘re reeling.

They didn‘t expect to get this earful in the heartland.  They didn‘t think that those folks followed the news, but they do.

Get your cell phones out, I want to know what you think.  Tonight‘s question: Will Republican lies about Medicare work?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639, you can always go to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  We‘ll bring you the results later in the show.

Joining me now, my favorite senator, independent, from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

I‘ve never said you were my favorite senator before, or when I was doing the 6:00.  But you are—and I want to announce that tonight.  You are my favorite senate because you stand up to what is wrong with this country and you always have a solution on what we need to do to make things better for the middle class and I respect that, Senator.  Great to have you with us.

Now, I want to know—should Harry Reid bring this to a vote to get all of these Republican senators on record in the Senate?  What do you think?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT:  Absolutely.  This is the most right wing extremist piece of legislation I have ever seen in my life.  It is a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class and working families to the very wealthiest people in this country.

Ed, what we have to understand, this is not about deficit reduction.  These guys want to give $1 trillion of tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country when they convert Medicare into a voucher program and make savage cuts in Medicaid and they also want to move toward the privatization of Social Security.

So, what you‘re talking about now is the Robin Hood proposal in reverse.  We‘re taking from the poor and working families and give to the very wealthy.  If the Republicans like this idea, let‘s have that vote on the Senate floor and let them vote for it.

SCHULTZ:  I agree.  I mean, this is really some great theater to see these Republican senators out there after what the House members got out on the road the last few days.  Make them come back and pony up to it or distance themselves from it.

Here‘s the other thing—what does muddy the waters mean in your opinion?  What do you think their strategy is right now?

SANDERS:  Well, to deflect attention from what they are doing in going on the counter attack.  That‘s really what it means.  What is most interesting, Ed, is every poll that I have seen suggests that the Republicans now are doing exactly the opposite of what the American people want.

SCHULTZ:  Sure.

SANDERS:  Poll after poll says you know what?  When the rich are getting richer and the middle class is disappearing ask the wealthy to pay a little more in taxes so we can move to deficit reduction in a fair way.  What do the Republicans say?  No way.  More tax breaks for the very rich.

You just indicated there are polls that say, hey, don‘t cut Medicare. 

Don‘t cut Medicaid.  That‘s exactly what the Republicans are doing.

We now have the opportunity believe, if we‘re tough, if we‘re strong, if we‘re focused, of putting these guys on the defensive and making everybody in America understand what their agenda is.

SCHULTZ:  Now, Senator Coburn yesterday on record saying that he would go along with the tax increase if it was revenue neutral or the net effect of the taxes.  Look, you‘re either going to raise revenue on rich people or you‘re not.  Do you think the Republicans will ever do that in what they are calling a budget crisis?

SANDERS:  Well, this is a lot of hocus pocus.  What they are saying is, well, we‘re willing to do away with some of these loop holes and we just announced a couple weeks ago a list of 10 major corporations who made billions and billions in profits, why they paid nothing in taxes were actually got a rebate from the IRS.

So, what the Republicans are saying is, we‘re willing to take a look at some of those outrageous loop holes, maybe the tax havens in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.  But, on the other hand what we want to do is lower the corporate tax rates.  So, it‘s revenue neutral.

I think we want to do away with these loop holes, raise revenue, use it for deficit reduction, instead of slashing Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security.

SCHULTZ:  Senator, great to have you with us tonight.  I‘m sure it‘s going to change your career now that I said you‘re my favorite senator.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  You are.

SANDERS:  Thank you very much.

SCHULTZ:  You know, look, you‘re a guy that has been consistent.  You are a senator who has always put the people first and put the concerns of the middle class first.  And if we had more Bernie Sanders in the Senate, we wouldn‘t have these little gangs of six out there that I have no clue what the heck they‘re trying to do, because I think the three Democrats that are on the gang of six, they‘re just buying into the Republican talking points and they are caving.

The big three should be off the table, nonnegotiable.  Let‘s go down the road for a couple years of taxing the rich then come back and visit again and see where our treasury is.  That‘s what I think.

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

Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen.  I want to know what you think.  The latest Republican strategy to get President Obama out of office is 100 percent approved by the people who spent $60 million last year to get these Republicans elected.

And the right wing network of think tanks all across the country whose mission is to stomp out labor.  We‘re going down that road tonight.

Stay with us.  We‘re right back.

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SCHULTZ:  And we appreciate you checking 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.  Republicans want you to blame President Obama for the high gas prices.  And they‘re almost hoping you don‘t know how much they rely on money from big oil just to keep their jobs.

We‘re right back.

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

Now, a few weeks ago when we started—well, actually over a month ago, when we started talking about Wall Street speculators, I got some e-mail from people saying,  “I‘m really glad you‘re doing this story because this is what it‘s all about.”  It is.  This is it.

Speculators are helping drive up the price you pay for gasoline at the pump.  But they‘re not the ones facing any consequences.  In fact, this is who—this is, you know, basically who I blamed for the high gas prices when we started doing this story and how they should limit oil speculation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Gosh, I didn‘t like it when it was four bucks a gallon.  That really slowed the economy down.  Don‘t you think that‘s what those rich boys on Wall Street want?  Because who is going to get the blame?  President Obama will pay the price for that in 2012.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  And wouldn‘t you know it.  Republicans want to make President Obama pay the price right now.  Politico reported that the GOP leadership in Congress plans on hammering the president over gas prices, blaming his energy policy for high costs.  House Speaker John Boehner added fuel to the fire today, posting an article on Twitter about consumer anxiety over gasoline prices?

High gas prices may hurt the president but they also help the very people who pay for Republicans to stay in power.

This is how much money oil and gas companies gave to members of Congress in the 2010 election cycle.  Republicans got three times as much money from big energy than Democrats got.  Maybe that explains why the Republicans voted unanimously.  That would be everybody last month to continue taxpayers‘ subsidies for big oil.  That‘s right.

Republicans voted to make sure that $53 billion in taxpayer funds keep going to oil companies that have reported record profits again for the latest quarter.

Joining me now is Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizens Energy Program, and Laura Flanders, host of “GRITtv,” on free speech TV, and the editor of the book “At The Tea Party.”

Tyson, good to have you with us tonight.  We‘ll start with you.

While these prices go up, gas companies are going to be reporting record profits this quarter.  Why are taxpayers still subsidizing these companies?  What‘s happening?

TYSON SLOCUM, PUBLIC CITIZENS ENERGY PROGRAM:  Yes, that‘s an insane policy.  In its first budget back in February, 2009, Obama slated about $4 billion a year in tax breaks that are currently going to oil companies for repeal and it hasn‘t been acted on.  These tax breaks have been there, some of them for a long time when oil prices were low and some of them are fairly recent during the Bush administration there were a number of new ones.

In addition to the tax breaks, and Obama has only identified about half of the existing tax breaks that go to big oil but we also have royalty relief.  One-third of the oil produced in the United States comes from land owned by the American people and increasingly, a lot of oil companies aren‘t paying a dime to taxpayers for the privilege of extracting valuable oil from our land.  That‘s another huge subsidy.

So, we‘re looking at $8 billion to $10 billion a year in subsidies.  Big oil doesn‘t need it, but the folks that do are working families out there that really are struggling with high gas prices.  And we‘ve got to start providing more money to invest in the kinds of technologies that are going to power our future, renewable energy.

SCHULTZ:  Well, you‘re not going to be doing that by this weekend.  You‘re not going to be doing that before Memorial weekend.  I mean, the American middle class is getting hit right now.  The Obama administration can do something about it with the CFTC and putting in position limits.  And the fact of the matter is, right now, politically, we are seeing the Republicans going out and they‘re going to beat the living tar out of the president politically on the campaign trail—blaming him and it‘s always a campaign trail.  I mean it started weeks ago.  They‘re going to be blaming him.

What should the White House do?  What is the strategy here, Laura?

LAURA FLANDERS, GRITTV:  Well, I think he said it well last week, talking about having an investigation into illegal speculation.  But as you‘ve pointed out and public citizen have pointed out, it‘s not the illegal speculation that is the problem.  You got a situation where—I mean, the American relationship with these big oil companies is like the marriage from hell.  We keep getting beaten up environmentally, politically.  You talk about campaign control.

And, well, let‘s talk about paying at the pump -- $4 gas is just a beginning.  We keep getting beaten up and shelling out.  We shell out for the gas.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

FLANDERS:  We shell out for the troops.  We shell out for taxes and subsidies and I think the president has got to start speaking bigger, start speaking in moral terms about this.

SCHULTZ:  You know, the last time, Laura, we had $4 a gallon gas, hey, we‘re going to have electric cars and they‘re going to be building electric cars and this is going to solve everything.  Where is the electric car story right now?

FLANDERS:  Well, it‘s not just that.  But last time we had $4 gas, we were told if you drill more, the price will go down.  It doesn‘t happen.  It‘s not true.

SCHULTZ:  Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said yesterday—said this about investigating high prices.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You want the Justice Department.  Is that what you‘re saying?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT:  The Justice Department should take the lead, seize this moment, and send the message—a very strong deterrent message that this country will not tolerate the kind of illegal speculation and trading and hedge fund activity that may be driving prices up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Tyson, what about that?  I don‘t think there‘s anything illegal here.  It‘s just not being regulated.

SLOCUM:  Right.  I mean, there definitely have been instances in energy markets where there has been illegal fraud and manipulation, think Enron or Emeron (ph) or even BP back in 2007 when they paid a $303 million fine.

But the real issue here is the legalized form of excessive speculation.  We—yes, yes, I mean, we deregulated these markets back in 2000 and what we need to do is reregulate it.  The Dodd Frank financial reform bill does that, but the agency that is supposed to be implementing this, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has been under a lot of pressure from Wall Street lobbying and they‘ve punted on enforcing these rules.

The president ought to come out and firmly say, we need to enact firm position limits that limit the ability of a single firm like a Goldman Sachs to control the market.

FLANDERS:  We need to do that and I think he also needs to do more.  I mean, the Progressive Caucus has a proposal—

SCHULTZ:  What would be more?

FLANDERS:  Bernie Sanders, your favorite senator, had a proposal last year, end subsidies to the oil companies.  He was blocked by not just Republicans but also Democrats.

The president could take a second look at that Progressive Caucus proposal.  It proposes not only ending subsidies, corporate welfare, why are we cutting kids‘ programs for milk and juice and letting these oil companies who are making trillion dollar profits over the last 10 years run free with more of our money.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  What is the good the Frank Dodd if they‘re not going to do anything about it?

FLANDERS:  Well, that‘s the thing.  You also have to do the implementation.  But, again, we can do more.  We can tax these companies, let alone end their tax breaks.

And I think we also could do more about them paying for the damage on the Gulf Coast.  I mean, they broke it.  We need to talk about breaking them.

SCHULTZ:  BP is doing the suing in this case.  I mean, they‘re going after the oil rig owner on that as if they are some kind of victim here.

All right.  I want to know, in your opinion, Laura, what is $4.50, $5 a gallon gas going to do to our economy?

FLANDERS:  Well, it‘s evidence that our economy is absolutely in dire straits and that the biggest companies are going to be picking over the caucus.  We cannot survive with that kind of level of prices and we can‘t just lower taxes.  We got the lowest taxes in the world.

SCHULTZ:  Where are the Democrats?  Where are the Democrats on this?  Why isn‘t the gang of six screaming about this?  How come we can‘t get a gang of six on gas prices to these jokers to wake up?

Tyson, where is the Congress on this on the left?

SLOCUM:  It‘s frustrating because when you‘ve got a very profitable industry like the oil industry that is getting so many billions of dollars every year in tax breaks and royalty relief, it simply makes no sense to continue to give them a pass.  Everyone else is being asked to sacrifice.

           

This isn‘t about punishing oil companies.  It‘s saying, look, you don‘t need these billions of dollars in tax breaks but the American people do.  We need to start funneling that money into sustainable energy investments and helping working families get through this tough economic period.

SCHULTZ:  Laura Flanders, Tyson Slocum, great to have you with us. 

Thanks so much for joining us.

Only 6 percent?  Only 6 percent of Americans really care about the royal wedding?  Hmm, well, we‘ll tell you why it‘s OK to be in the other 94 percent.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has lied so much since he took office we‘re starting to lose track of just how many.  But we‘ll put the list together tonight.  The latest is an absolute dandy.  That puts him in “The Takedown” tonight.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And time for “The Takedown” tonight on THE ED SHOW.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has gotten so much bad press over the last three months you can understand why he would take time to get a positive photo-op.  Check this out.  This is Governor Walker of Wisconsin awarding a transportation grant to a trailer park manufacturing plant in the state of Wisconsin.  And Walker is bragging about the 125 new jobs created by the project.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN:  Part of our partnership to help make sure that when companies Kirk (ph) Manufacturing, in this case, going to add 125 new jobs.  We partnered with the local community to help them get there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Now, hold the phone.  There‘s only one problem here.  The grant was awarded to the manufacturing plant by Walker‘s predecessor, the guy that used to be governor, like Democrat Jim Doyle.  This happened last December.

Doyle‘s office announced the project in a statement that read at the time, “This project will create 125 jobs and represents $12.8 million in investment.”  The manufacturer confirmed that the 125 jobs are the ones created last year, not new ones created by Governor Walker.

So, let‘s add another false claim to Scott Walker‘s scoreboard of lies.  Here we go.  We heard that the state of Wisconsin is broke.  His budget bill was about fixing a financial crisis.

Almost all union protesters were from outside the state.  His bill would leave collective bargaining fully intact.  He wants to avoid layoffs even though his own budget eliminated more than 21,000 jobs.

He received overwhelming e-mail support.  Cut me some slack.  “The A.P.” proved that one to be wrong.

And now, the latest lie: he created 125 new jobs and actually had the cojones to go on camera and talk about it.  I mean, dude, you‘re lying.

Looks like Walker is so desperate for a good story he‘ll even lie about 125 jobs?  I mean isn‘t that pathetic folks?  You would feel sorry for him—if he wasn‘t Scott Walker.

That‘s “The Takedown.”

You know, it‘s just not easy being red.  Coming up my commentary on quarterbacks with carrot tops breaking into the NFL.  They‘re bad mouthing this dude because he‘s got red hair?  Come on.

And the vast right wing network behind laws to destroy wage earners and the middle class.  Just what is going on?  That‘s next on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

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SCHULTZ:  Good to have you back with us tonight.

A vast right wing network is pumping money into states to defeat the wage earners of America and the middle class, just undermining the middle class.  That is the plan.  That is the reality and it is happening right now.

Consume this.  Remember this?  It‘s my favorite chart right here.  As union membership decreases over the last 30 years, middle class income has gone downhill right with it.  An assault on unions is an assault on the middle class.  You can‘t get away from that graph.  It tells the story.

Well, there‘s a network of right wing think tanks dedicated to get the anti-worker policies codified right into law.  It‘s called the State Policy Network.  That‘s right.  State Policy Network.

Let‘s look at the map of the United States.  Beautiful country.  God bless America.

Let me tell you something—how many states would you think have these think tanks with State Policy Network?  Well, it‘s in red.  There it is.  They have infrastructure to go after middle class, union jobs, middle class wages in every single state.  They are funding these organizations all 50 states.

And you want to know how many states have anti-worker legislation that has recently passed?  Or is being pushed by Republicans in those states right now?  Here it is.  They‘re in yellow.

Now, if they had more Republican governors and a little bit more money, they, of course, would be doing it in every state when it comes to legislation.

But I want you to take a close look at this—Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Florida.  Do you think they‘re important for 2012?  What they‘re doing is laying the groundwork to take away the teeth of the middle class workers in this country when it comes to them having a voice, when it comes to them having the infrastructure, to go after collective bargaining and they have done that in these states.

Heck, in Michigan, they‘re overtaking city councils that can‘t run their budget and that‘s all about power.  In Ohio, Senate bill 5.  In Indiana, Mitch Daniels, he is a wolf in sheep‘s clothing and we all know about that dude down there in Florida, Mr. Scott.  He‘s never seen a worker he liked.

So, this is—this is the concentration of what‘s happening.  The reporting on the State Policy Network comes from Andy Kroll of “Mother Jones” magazine.

Andy, great to have you with us tonight.

The State Policy Network a pretty clear mission, isn‘t it.  And just what they want to do.  Just how are they doing it?

ANDY KROLL, MOTHER JONES:  They have a network, a web of think tanks that are devoted to free market principles that were inspired by none other than Ronald Reagan himself, spread throughout the country.  And their goal is to pass legislation that fits that conservative right wing free market ideology.  As you and I both know unions have no place in that kind of mindset.

And so, these think tanks have not just this year but for decades laid a ground work, have pushed legislators, have tried as hard as they can to knee-cap unions and knee-cap collective bargaining rights for organized labor which, as you said, is one way to knock out the middle class.

SCHULTZ:  Well, how many of thieves laws that we‘re seeing being proposed are actually coming from these think tanks directing elected officials, directing officials to go ahead and write the legislation this way and then coming back and filtering money into the campaigns?  What about that?

KROLL:  Well, the think tanks don‘t give campaign contributions.  That‘s they‘re 501c3 nonprofits, but what my reporting turned up was—you know, other kinds of pressure.  It comes in policy briefings.  Some think tanks can lobby lawmakers.  So, it‘s not quite contributions but it‘s similar.

But what we‘ve seen over time is they just—you know, they keep hammering away at state legislators, many of whom are part-time.  They don‘t quite know exactly what they need to be doing in the statehouses around the country, and these think tanks are putting information in front of them and pushing them hard to undercut organized labor.  If you undercut organized labor, you‘re undercutting the Democratic Party and the middle class.

SCHULTZ:  But this also—this also goes not only wage earners, but this goes for education.  This goes for health care as well.  Doesn‘t it?

KROLL:  Absolutely it does.  You charter schools are a huge platform for the think tanks.  You know, health care, stripping away entitlement programs, getting rid of state-run programs, making it all vouchers and privatized.  This is at the heart of these think tanks as modeled.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  And how much headway are they actually making?  You know, look, Wisconsin has changed the way we look at the news when it comes to wage earners in this country.  I mean, I think that we have seen a sea change on how we view things.

I mean, all politics is local.  It‘s—there is not an election this year but this is when they really do the dirty work after the election.  I mean, this is just a textbook classic example of how they operate.

But are they making headway?  Are they making a difference?  Is it getting harder for wage earners?

KROLL:  Absolutely.  With the wave of Republican lawmakers swept into office, last fall, the setting was there for these think tanks to go after the new Republicans to sway them, to influence them, to lobby them to pass these kinds of bills.  That‘s why we‘re seeing dozens of collective bargaining bills out there today.

SCHULTZ:  And so, I bet there are viewers out there tonight wondering do the liberals have anything like this cooking?  I mean, there is MoveOn.org, there‘s PCCC, there‘s Democracy f or America, Organizing for America, and all this stuff—but they are not on this level, are they?

KROLL:  Not at all.  This is straight from the same conservative ideologues that founded the Heritage Foundation.  This is coming straight from Reagan.  The left doesn‘t have an answer to this, but as we‘re seeing, might be wise to.

SCHULTZ:  Andy Kroll, “Mother Jones,” great to have you with us tonight.  I appreciate your time.  Good reporting.

Coming up: discrimination on the basis of hair color.  That has my back up and hair I might add.  My commentary on the best red-headed quarterback since Sonny Jurgensen.  That is next.  I can‘t let it go.  To me this is bigger than the wedding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  It‘s not too late to let us know what you think.  Tonight‘s question: will Republican lies about Medicare work?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  Our new blog Ed.MSNBC.com has got all kinds of material.  Results coming up on that.

The NFL draft—now, look, I know that there are millions of Americans who was going to be watching this coming up this week.  According to one coach, redheaded quarterbacks need not apply.

Well, I‘m going to have something to say about that next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Good to have you back with us tonight.  I requested one hour to do the segment tonight but they only gave me a few minutes.  It‘s so near and dear to my heart.

Red scare, that‘s what‘s going on out there.  Now, look, you guys out there, you got the NFL draft coming up.  You‘re not thinking about, you know, whether they‘re going to play or not.  You‘re just assuming, well, they‘re going to get that stuff worked out.  The draft is like a religion, you know?  I mean, these guys get in the clubs and they pick players and all this stuff and who is the best, the lineman, who‘s the best defensive player, who‘s the best linebacker, who is going in what round?

Well, the red scare that‘s out there right now is this rap on red-headed quarterbacks.  I‘m going to show this guy.  This guy is Andy Dalton.  He played at TCU.  He‘s great.  He‘s greater than great.

Well, he‘s got red hair.  He‘s got numbers to back it up.  You know that this guy at TCU was a quarterback?  He broke Sammy Baugh‘s record for winning as a starting quarterback.  His record is 42-7 as a starter, a four-year starter, threw for over 10,000 yards, threw 71 touchdown passes, ran for 1,600 yards.  He rushed for 22 touchdowns in his career.

I mean, the guy—he‘s a clean gene.  He runs a Bible study.  He‘s getting married.  I mean, the fans love him.

And in this week‘s “Sports Illustrated” magazine, Peter King reported at least one team is thinking not just about Dalton‘s brains but about what‘s on the top of him as there has been a red-headed—they asked the question has there ever been a red-headed quarterback in the NFL who‘s really done well?  A coach asked a reporter that last week.  It sounds idiotic but it‘s—is there any way that could be a factor we wondered?  That‘s what Peter King wrote.  Ha.

If this kid dyed his hair black or blue, they‘d think he would be cool.  But you see , he‘s got red hair.  They‘ve been picking on red heads their whole life.  I know.

There‘s another quarterback.  Now, my situation back in 1977?  See I got my hair cut the night before the draft and I lost all my strength and that‘s why I didn‘t get picked.  Yes.  Right!

Here‘s the bottom line.  Dalton should be picked by the Vikings because of his red hair.  I got some notes on red heads by the way.

Did you know that red heads are short tempered?  But Dalton isn‘t.  Did you know that we have a big heart?  He does.  He‘s a generous guy, real generous.  They love him at TCU.

Did you know we‘re strong willed often to a fault?  Nothing wrong with winning, baby.  Nothing wrong with winning.  And this kid is a winner.

And Vikings, you got to take Andy Dalton.  If he‘s around and you guys don‘t take him, I‘m done with the Vikings forever.  This is what my focus is.  This is bigger than the wedding this weekend.  It‘s the NFL draft.

And I‘m sticking up for this red-headed quarterback because he‘s great.  He is fantastic.

What else can I tell you?  Oh, by the way did you know that the country that has more red heads than any other country is 13 percent of the population in Scotland?  That‘s right.

Did you know that if you have red hair in Denmark, it‘s an honor?  And did you know that I signed as a free agent with the Raiders and I drank more beer than anybody else in training camp.  I thought it was a great time.

The royal wedding only 6 percent really care.  So, why should I? 

Stephanie Miller is going to try to convince me next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Everybody else is covering this.  I might as well.  Thursday is a really big night.  I‘m not talking first round of the NFL draft.

THE ED SHOW will be preempted for coverage of the royal wedding.  Actually, we are going to be preempted for the ramp up to the coverage of the royal wedding.  I do have to emcee the L.A. urban banquet Thursday night which I‘m looking forward to.

There they are, Prince William and Kate Middleton.  The prince might be king some day, the king of England.  In America, who cares?  Six percent of Americans.  According to a “New York Times” poll, only 6 percent are closely following news about the royal wedding.  Ninety-four percent are following it somewhat, or not at all.

But boy, oh, boy, the headlines in this country—it‘s stuff like this: “Royal guest list drama”; “Dress like Kate without breaking the bank”; “Royal wedding wine revealed.”

So, the press is absolutely going bonkers over this.  But there‘s only 6 percent who really care about it.  Now, the same survey shows the that 30 percent of the people are watching.  So, I guess that cares—that matters, obviously.

But 94 percent don‘t have much interest in it.  So, who‘s right? 

Who‘s wrong?

Let‘s bring in radio talk show host, Stephanie Miller.  Her comedy tour will be in Syracuse New York, on May 14th.  It will be a blockbuster as always.

Stephanie, now, look, I think they‘re a beautiful couple.  I think William and Kate are going to have a wonderful life.  But the royal wedding -- why should I care?

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  OK, Ed, listen to me because I care, very, very much about you.  This is about sex, all right?  Listen to me, if you guys ever want to have sex with women again, you will care about the royal wedding, all right?

Listen, we women have been faking orgasm, faking caring about football for years and years.  You need to fake caring about the royal wedding, all right?

Listen, I know that you don‘t need the fine product advertised here on MSNBC, Cialis, the, you know, erectile dysfunction thing, and I know a lot of men may need it to get through talk about the royal wedding.

But, listen to me, Ed, if you ever want to be in the twin bathtubs with your beautiful wife Wendy again, you will pretend to care about the royal wedding.

SCHULTZ:  Well, I have to admit that Wendy is following this.  I think she‘s in the 6 percent.  I don‘t know—

MILLER:  Yes, it‘s a chick thing.

SCHULTZ:  Is it?

MILLER:  It‘s a chick thing, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Well, I think they‘re a beautiful couple.  And I

I do realize that every time Kate wears a jacket or has a purse or a pair of shoes, you know, I mean it just sells out like crazy all over the world.  I mean—she is just absolutely a marketing magnet.

           

MILLER:  Listen, we are hopeless, delusional romantics even though the whole Diana and Charles thing didn‘t work out, we can always get revved up again.  We can always hope again, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  All right.

MILLER:  And we need us to believe with you, OK?

SCHULTZ:  All right.

MILLER:  Believe with us.  Please, Ed.  Please.

SCHULTZ:  I wish the wedding well and the coverage well.  But I have to admit I‘m  not going to be watching it.

All right -- 1,900 people invited to the wedding.  But there is this drama list, conversation that‘s going on out there about who didn‘t get—who didn‘t get invited.  How do I get wrapped up in the drama about who was invited and who wasn‘t?

MILLER:  Again, Ed, just, just fake it.  That same look that Wendy gets when she is pretending to really love football and the draft and, the whole thing you just talked about.

SCHULTZ:  How about fishing, does that fit in there?  Does fishing fit in there?

MILLER:  Yes, the same look that Wendy gets about fishing.  Just like pretend you are so fascinating about this.  Trust me, Ed.  You know I‘m your friend.

SCHULTZ:  Now what about Prince William, I mean, he is going bald, have you noticed that?

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  I mean, is that going to affect the wedding?

MILLER:  Not Trump bald, Ed, not, swirled around bald.

SCHULTZ:  Well, that‘s true.  He‘s not faking it.  He‘s not—he‘s not blow drying it four feet and wrapping it around his head.  I‘ll give the guy credit for that.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHULTZ:  Now, and the other thing is, will there be an open bar at this wedding?  People want to know?

MILLER:  Well, listen, I would need that.  I mean, honestly.  You know, I don‘t know how many anyone believes in romance anymore.  So, I would need a lot of booze, seriously.  I mean, Mrs. Trump has to have a lot of booze to look at that comb over, you know what I am saying?

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Now, getting back to the brothers here.  My wife, of course, loves red hair.  She says that Harry should really get more attention because he‘s got red hair.  She claims he is the good-looking one.  What about that?  How do you, what do you think?

MILLER:  Well, you know, no offense, Ed, but, you know, Mr. Schultz is paying all right bills.  So, of course, you know, Mr. Schultz is going to say that—though you are a good looking redhead, I agree with her.

SCHULTZ:  Is he ever going to be king?  This guy is going, gosh, I‘m really down on the totem pole.  I‘m never going to be king.

All right.  Now, what about Elton John?  Elton John, I mean, he just gets automatically invited to every wedding, doesn‘t he?

MILLER:  Yes.  I don‘t know what that is.  I don‘t know how he got invited to Rush Limbaugh‘s wedding and this wedding.  You know?  Apparently he has no standards of any kind.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  And one final question about the wedding, how long will it last?  And, what if she says no?  You know, that‘s happened before.  You know, there have been some guys left at the altar, you know.  She changes her mind.  Any chance of that happening?

And for ratings would she do that.  She doesn‘t seem to be that kind of gal to do that.  She looks like she is pretty serious about this.

MILLER:  Ed, let me tell you once again.  That‘s not going to happen.  And number two, it‘s going to last about as long as the NFL draft, seems like it is going to last for women, you know what I am saying?  As long as it seems like it will last for Wendy watching you, watch the NFL draft, that‘s how long this will seem to you?

SCHULTZ:  All right.

MILLER:  It‘s all like girl time and boy time.

SCHULTZ:  Stephanie Miller, always a pleasure.  You are doing great on your comedy tour—I know you are.  And keep her going.  May 14th in Syracuse.

Tonight, our survey asked, will Republican lies about Medicare work? 

Twenty-two percent of you said yes, 78 percent of you said no.

There‘s been a lot in the news lately about air traffic controllers.  On my radio show tomorrow, I‘ll have the head of the air traffic controllers, we‘ll try to get him on the show.  Paul Rinaldi will join me exclusively to discuss the issue.

To find the station or live stream, you can live stream the show.  You can go to WeGotEd.com.

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.

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

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