The Ed Show for Monday, June 20, 2011
Read the transcript to the Monday show
Guests: Joe Madison, Edward Dubose, Van Jones, Marjorie Cohn, David Cay Johnston
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
Neal Boortz went on his radio show today to clarify comments from last week. What he clarified was exactly those thugs are in Atlanta—you know the ones he thinks should be littering in streets of Atlanta? And then he said I took his words out of context?
Well, tonight, we‘ll make sure that you hear all of his vile words.
This is THE ED SHOW. Let‘s get to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN JONES, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I issue a personal challenge to my beloved brother Glenn Beck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Glenn Beck said he wants liberals to debate him. Prominent progressive voice Van Jones issued a challenge but Beck is running for the hills. Van Jones joins us tonight to reissue his challenge.
The largest class action lawsuit in U.S. history is not going forward. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Walmart, preventing over 1.6 million female workers from filing discrimination charges together.
In “Psycho Talk” tonight --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: There is substantial evidence that some of he‘s fires are caused by people who have crossed our border illegally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: McCain staff scrambles to explain his comments. He‘s in the zone tonight.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you was tonight, folks.
Right wing radio host Neal Boortz is doubling down on his racist call to violence against urban thugs in Atlanta. Boortz claims that I took him out of context when I played a clip from his nationally syndicated radio show last Tuesday.
Now, in the clip, Boortz encouraged his listeners to litter the landscape of Atlanta with dead thugs. Today, Boortz went in spin control mode by saying that he was talking about self-defense.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
NEAL BOORTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The puddin‘ storm really started with Ed Shultz‘s TV show. And on his TV show, he edited my comments to take out any references to self defense.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
BOORTZ: OK? So, Ed Schultz, his intention was to make it look like I was saying get a gun and go out there and shoot urban thugs.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: No, Neal, I had no intention whatsoever. And I didn‘t do the editing.
But just to be clear, let‘s go back and take a look at THE ED SHOW from last Wednesday when we started this story.
SCHULTZ: Boortz bases his national show and local show in Atlanta, Georgia. It‘s America‘s eighth biggest radio market. He refers to himself as the “mouth of the South” and “mighty whitey.” Neal lived up to the “mighty whitey” nickname on his radio show Tuesday morning. We‘ll play it for you again. He went on a tirade over the level of carjackings and graffiti in Atlanta when he said this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BOORTZ: We got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I‘ll tell you what it‘s going to take. You people, you are—you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun.
And you do, in fact, need to carry that gun, and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So, you see there for the record that I set up the sound clip by talking about carjackings and graffiti. But Neal is upset that we didn‘t play the rest of his tirade.
So, to be fair, here‘s the rest of the rant.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BOORTZ: You do, in fact, need to carry that gun, and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city.
And let their—let their mommas—let their mommas say he was a good boy. He just fell in with the good crowd. And then lock her ass up.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So, that‘s the entire clip. The rest of the clip really doesn‘t change anything, does it? In fact, you can easily make the case that it made it worse.
Boortz—this guy cannot hide behind the claim of self-defense conversation. He is obviously telling his audience to take the law into their own hands and kill urban thugs in Atlanta.
Now, this guy is a libertarian. So, maybe he wants to eliminate the police department and institute frontier justice in the streets of a major American city.
Today, Boortz left no doubt about what he thinks an urban thug looks like.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BOORTZ: FBI crime statistics, take the time to crunch them yourself. The fact that blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, eight times more likely to use a knife in the commission of a crime.
Or how about this? The single best indicator of violent crime in an area, a neighborhood, a section of town, is the percentage of the people who live in that area of town are black or Hispanic.
If you‘re white and you mention that, you‘re a racist. If you‘re black and you mention that, you‘re a coconut or an Uncle Tom—coconut, brown on the outside, white on the inside.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Nobody‘s editing any tape here.
Neal can crunch all the numbers he wants, calling black people urban thugs is racist. And I highly doubt the FBI wants average Americans to pack heat and kill anyone attempting to a carjacking.
All of this is spin garbage. No question about it. The real issues, folks, isn‘t it, the issue—a radio host openly calling for the murder of black Americans?
The public airwaves belong to all of us. And broadcasters, don‘t they have a responsibility not to abuse the airwaves? This is not—this is not a freedom of speech issue. And there is no excuse for any broadcaster to lay claim that race is connected to crime.
Boortz is off his old Southern grandpa rocker on this one and completely out of touch with the 21st century. To accuse anyone of doctoring tape to cover his rear-end after inflammatory and racist comments speaks volumes about what conservatives get away with on talk radio in this country.
Cox Media Group owns the station Boortz is on in Atlanta. They put out this lame statement in the wake of all of this, “Cox Media Group regrets that some listeners were offended by Neal Boortz‘ recent on-air comments about crime in Atlanta. As a radio personality, he is paid to offer his opinion on various topics. As a media company, we encourage a healthy exchange of ideas and welcome listeners to offer their feedback.”
For Cox Media to protect Boortz with a statement about healthy discussion is another issue in itself. Cox Media, I think, is skirting the issue. And to not recognize what advocating violence is really underscores how it‘s all about the money and not about the responsibility.
You heard the whole tape tonight. You be the judge.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Tonight‘s question: are you surprised Neal Boortz is yet to face consequences for his comments? Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. And you can always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. And I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining us tonight, Edward Dubose. He is the president of the Georgia state conference in the NAACP. And Sirius XM radio talk show host Joe Madison.
Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight.
Mr. Dubose, do you believe that what Neal Boortz said was racist?
EDWARD O. DUBOSE, PRES., GEORGIA NAACP: Yes, I do. And, you know, thanks first of all, Ed, for having me on the show. And thanks again for playing the entire tape because my view, I listened to the tape and it just makes it worse.
So, I‘m surprised, shocked, Neal Boortz has always been inflammatory but I think this is over the edge.
SCHULTZ: Well, what is the NCAAP going to do if anything about this? Does he just get away with this? It‘s just right wing talk radio in America and we have to accept it or are there consequences?
DUBOSE: The NAACP in Georgia, we‘ve already placed a call to Cox Media Group, to be fair. We missed their call.
But we plan to confront this head on. You know, the question is does Cox Media Group want a person like me aboard advocating violence in urban communities? And so, we want to confront Cox Media Group and find out how they are going to embrace this statement.
We regret his statement was taken out of context is not good enough.
SCHULTZ: Joe Madison, what is your take on this when it comes to the response of the Cox Media Group putting in their statement the comment about healthy discussions?
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Well, absolutely key word is healthy. There‘s nothing healthy about vigilantism.
Let‘s look at this. Ed, the two of us should not be the only ones out raising sand about this. For example, he said in the statement, Atlanta‘s become a garbage heat. The Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta should be outraged. Atlanta, the home of a major cable network, they should be outraged. Coca-Cola should be outraged.
He is a lawyer. Here‘s a man who has sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, I would imagine the Constitution of Georgia, unless it‘s changed, it does not endorse vigilantism.
And we also know, as a libertarian, he‘s supposed to be in favor of free speech. But look what he says about mommas, that if they even suggest that their boys are innocent before there‘s a trial, their asses ought to be locked up. So much for free speech for mothers who can defend their children and always do, no matter who they are or what they do. Even mobsters‘ mothers defend their children.
So, the reality is that we have to ask the people of Atlanta, businesses, lawyers, Chamber of Commerce, they ought to do what the NAACP is doing and also sponsors—do you really want to be associated with this kind of individual who is calling for vigilantism?
Ed, if I said something like that on the air of any radio company, I would not last five minutes. I‘d be called in to a program director‘s office or programmer‘s office and told to pack my bags.
SCHULTZ: So, you think that Neal Boortz is getting away with something that maybe a black broadcaster would not get away with if the roles were reversed here?
MADISON: Neal Boortz is getting away with something a black or white broadcaster who is responsible wouldn‘t be able to get away with.
SCHULTZ: Well, Mr. Dubose, what is your take and response on what Mr. Boortz saying that he was talking about self-defense, but then he throws in the momma comment, and then he throws in the bit about Atlanta? I mean, do you accept his comment that he was just talking about self-defense and if anybody gets carjacked, that they ought to use a weapon to defend themselves? What about that?
DUBOSE: No, no, that‘s—Ed, that‘s a bunch of bologna. I mean, he was talking about anything but self-defense. It was very clear what he was talking about—laying bodies, straying bodies through Atlanta.
You know, there‘s nothing self-defense about what Neal Boortz said. And every person in Atlanta of good conscience should be doing what we‘re doing on this show and calling this for what it really is.
My concern is that somebody out there listening to Neal Boortz who may not be completely together may take his statement literally and go out there and do something that could really hurt someone in that community.
So, to say that the business leaders or even the mayor of Atlanta, I hope, you know, I know him—
DUBOSE: -- well. You know, I hope that he would at least make a statement. This is his city, after all.
SCHULTZ: Joe, we know—Joe, yes, I see your point there, Mr.
Joe, we know that radio companies are conservative and they‘re dominated by white broadcasters. Is this just the way it is in America?
MADISON: It‘s the way it is and has been for a long time. I worked for a radio station in Philadelphia for less than 90 days, WWDB. I never will forget.
It was actually a midnight to 5:30. Ed, I was pulled in to the general manager and owner‘s office with the program director and told that I could not talk about black people as long as I was on the air. And that had to be about 20 years ago.
But they did—the best thing they did was to fire me because it allowed me to get with companies who had a conscious, who understood.
You know, the sad thing about this is that Atlanta is an international city. So what Neal Boortz is saying, don‘t come to Atlanta unless you‘re well-armed and be ready to shoot thugs in the middle of the street.
SCHULTZ: Well, speaking of that, he says that this city harbors an urban culture of violence.
Mr. Dubose, what is that? What is an urban culture of violence?
And then he goes on to quote that black people are responsible for more murders than white people and use the number seven times more. What about that?
DUBOSE: So, when you take his statement in context. First, he talk about getting your guns and get armed and laying bodies across Atlanta. And then he comes back and talk about the statistics of black—on black crime.
And so, when you put the two together the question is, who is Neal Boortz advocating for people to go it and get guns to shoot?
SCHULTZ: Gentlemen—go ahead, Joe.
MADISON: Let me ad something else. Race is not an indicator of criminal activity. Race does not predispose someone of criminal activity. If that was the case—
SCHULTZ: Well, according to Boortz, it does.
MADISON: Well, that‘s what I say—Boortz—he knows better. He‘s
look, this is race baiting. If that‘s the case --
MADISON: -- then white men are cannibals because you would look at Jeffrey Dahmer, right? If that‘s the case, then you look at a child molester, then we could look at every white person and say, look, they‘re predisposed because they‘re white. We know—and sociologists, scientists, criminal justice experts, lawyers, they all know it‘s more related to economics, it is not about race. That is a throwback to --
SCHULTZ: And duly noted, Mr. Boortz did not apologize nor backtrack at all. He double downed on his comments today.
SCHULTZ: And I guess we can just illustrate this is what they get away with on right wing talk radio in America.
MADISON: And we shouldn‘t be the only ones outraged. Everyone should be.
SCHULTZ: Well, I agree with that. But it‘s amazing what they get away with.
DUBOSE: I totally agree. Totally agree.
SCHULTZ: Ed Dubose, president of the NAACP, Georgia state conference, and Joe Madison, radio talk show host—good to have you, gentlemen, with us tonight.
Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen. I want to know what you think.
Up next: Glenn Beck cost him his job. Now, Van Jones is challenging the Beckster to a debate. Wait until you hear how Beck responded.
And more ethics problems for Justice Clarence Thomas. How does this guy continue to keep his job?
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. We‘ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: Republicans love a good joke as long as it‘s not about them. Reggie Brown, a comedian who doubles as President Obama was the entertainment at the Republican Leadership Conference over the weekend. The righties loved it when he made racially charged jokes about the president of the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REGGIE BROWN, COMEDIAN: My father was a black man from Kenya. And my mother was a white woman from Kansas. So, yes, my mother loved a black man, and, no, she was not a Kardashian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The crowd wasn‘t so friendly when Reggie took a shot at Michele Bachmann. Watch how they cut his mike and give him the hook.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Well, we got Michele Bachmann.
BROWN: Now, what can I say about Michele Bachmann that she hasn‘t already said about herself? The other day, she called me a one-term president. One syllable president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Here‘s some advice, righties. If you want a comedian who can tell racist jokes about the president and say, not say anything bad about Republicans, I think there‘s a talk show host in Atlanta that just might fit the bill.
We‘ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: Two years ago, Glenn Beck‘s manufactured crusade against environmental advocate Van Jones cost the White House adviser his job the Obama administration. Now with beck about to lose his job at FOX News, Van Jones has challenged him to a debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: But I issue a personal challenge to my beloved brother Glenn Beck. I will debate you any time, anywhere, at any point. I‘ll give you an hour, you give me five minutes, and I will stand up for our values.
But you would have to stop talking about us and start talking to us, you got one week left before your show goes off. My phone is ringing. Call me. Call me, Glenn Beck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Speaking of phones, Glenn Beck once put a phone on his TV stage and begged the White House to call him up and debate him.
But in responding to Van Jones‘ challenge, Beck ran for cover and chose to engage in more character assassination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: I love you, as well. And I would hope that you would put your communist revolutionary tactics aside, because it only leads to death. And when you see the error of your ways, my brother, we‘ll have a hard laugh. You probably will have to spend some time in jail if things would go awry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Van Jones joins me tonight from Washington.
Good evening, Van. Good to have you was.
JONES: Good to see you, brother.
SCHULTZ: It sounds like Beck is doubling down on his attempt to portray you as a communist, as a radical. What‘s your response to this, this evening?
JONES: Well, you know, I have tried to be a turn the other cheek kind of guy about this type of stuff, but I only got four cheeks and I‘m running out. I mean, the guy has been relentless for two years. It‘s like having a stalker.
And, you know, he knows these are lies. He says the same thing over and over again.
So, I was willing to put up with it. You know why I finally decided that enough was enough? We started working with people all across the country who were trying to defend and rebuild the American Dream. And he attacked the American Dream on his show.
He said the American Dream was something that was some horrible conspiracy he couldn‘t support. At that point I said, listen, you cannot belittle American values. You cannot belittle the American dream. People are fighting hard every day just to be able to put food on the table.
And I said, “Enough is enough.” And so I said, “Listen, quit smearing me and lying and making up stuff. Let‘s debate the actual issues.”
And so, far he‘s running away from it.
SCHULTZ: Will there be legal action here on your debate if there is no debate? I mean, you say he‘s smearing you? What‘s that mean?
JONES: Well, I mean, what it means is you know what you can do in this country with edited video and taking statements out of context. Just like Shirley Sherrod told the story, how she used to be concerned about white folks, not comfortable with white folks, and then she found her way to racial healing.
But they took it out of context and ran her out.
They did the same thing to me. I talked about how I used to be on the left side of Pluto when I was a kid running around the Bay Area and I have sense found my way to free market solutions to help fight poverty.
But he has taken it out of context. He‘s done it for two years. And I think we need to actually debate the real issue.
Here‘s the real issue. We have a country now where some people, no matter how hard they work, cannot succeed. No matter how much they play by the rules, they can‘t succeed. Other people, no matter how lazy they are and no matter how many times they break the rules, they can‘t fail. They‘re too big to fail.
That is what‘s wrong with America. And we need to come to the table and come back with real solutions to get accountability from Wall Street and opportunity to Main Street. That‘s the real fight in America. Not these silly smear campaigns.
SCHULTZ: Two years ago, he really attacked you. Was that really the reason why you had to leave the Obama administration? And why did you wait two years to punch back at him and challenge him like this?
JONES: Yes. Well, you know, when I was in the White House I thought that, you know, it would be better for me to not be a distraction. I didn‘t want the president of the United States, this is the first time we had a president who was stepping up to the plate trying to get doctors to babies. We‘re talking about health care, a life or death issue.
And rather than talking about America‘s future, he wants to talk about colorful, silly things I did in my past. I thought—hey, let me get out of the way. Let this president take on this issue.
If you would tell me two years later, the guy would still be going on and on like a stalker, you know, maybe I would have made a different decision. Reality is, at this point, we need to be focused on the real issues.
And the other thing that I want to point out is, we have now a new campaign. It‘s called the American Dream Movement. I‘m blessed to be working with groups like MoveOn.org, the Center for Community Change, and others who want to get serious. Not the silly stuff, want to get serious about how we can get jobs back for Americans.
And I think that‘s what scared him when he saw a new movement arising.
And so, he goes back doing the same silly stuff.
It‘s time for us to take seriously how all Americans can come together to make sure that the American Dream does not get killed by the worst of Wall Street and by entertainers who want to distract the country.
SCHULTZ: I mean, I‘m surprised that Beck hasn‘t jumped on your offer to debate him. I mea, he‘s a big showman. What a great way to go out. Maybe he‘s saving you for Internet TV down the road or something. But—
JONES: Well, you stay on the air so everybody can get to you, Ed, and I‘d love to come back on your show and talk more about the American Dream Movement. I‘m not surprised that somebody who is mainly an entertainer focusing on distraction is afraid to have a substantive debate. Let‘s talk about my real ideas, not made-up stuff and phony stuff.
SCHULTZ: Van Jones, from the Center for American Progress—thanks for joining us tonight on this subject. Thank you.
It‘s a sad day for the American worker as the Supreme Court sides with Walmart. I‘ve got the details.
And Senator John McCain is using the devastating Arizona wildfires to fearmonger about illegal immigrants. That‘s coming up in “Psycho Talk.”
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Thanks for staying with us tonight here on THE ED SHOW. It was the largest job discrimination case in American history, brought against the largest private employer in the country. And today the Supreme Court shot it down. In a huge legal blow to the American worker, the court ruled in favor of the employer, Walmart.
A class action lawsuit brought on by over a million women argued that the policies and culture at Walmart are discriminatory. The lawsuit alleged that female workers at Walmart were paid and promoted less than their male counterparts.
The Supreme Court unanimously decided the case was too large and that the women mixed too many different kinds of legal claims together, which violates class action rules. But in a ruling of five to four, along ideological lines, the court also said that the workers did not prove that Walmart had a general policy of discrimination.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that workers provided, quote, “no convincing proof of a company wide discriminatory pay in promotion policy.”
So what does that mean? This ruling is a victory for the major corporations in this country. It sets a new precedent in cases dealing with workers‘ rights. And it makes it tougher to bring on a big class action lawsuit against big employers.
A sad day all around, in my opinion.
More ethical problems face Justice Clarence Thomas. Is it legal?
I‘ll give you the latest details.
Americans are working harder than ever before. But people are making the same average income that they did 30 years ago? Guess who‘s getting all the money. That‘s next.
SCHULTZ: Ethical issues. Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. This is a story that I think needs more attention. Similar ethical problems have forced other justices to resign in the past. Yet Clarence Thomas remains on the bench of our nation‘s highest court.
Just months after Thomas attended a political fund-raiser sponsored by the Koch Brothers, the “New York Times” reports on the relationship between Justice Thomas and a major right wing benefactor named, Harlon Crow. Mr. Crow, a Texas real estate tycoon, gave Thomas‘ wife, Virginia, a half a million dollars to start a Tea Party group, Liberal Central.
The group‘s goal is to attack liberal causes like health care reform. Mr. Crow has also given gifts to Justice Thomas. He has financed a library project dedicated to the judge. And he‘s paid millions to restore a seafood cannery that Justice Thomas‘ mother worked at.
Pretty good friend, wouldn‘t you say?
The two men have also spent time together at events with prominent Republicans. Two years ago, in a voting rights case, the Supreme Court ruled against a right wing organization that has ties to Harlon Crow. The decision was eight to one.
Now, I will make you name the eight justices that ruled against Mr.
Crow‘s organization. But take a guess as to who ruled in favor of it.
Joining me now is Marjorie Cohn. She‘s a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the author of “Cowboy Republic, Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law.” Welcome. Great to have you was tonight.
MARJORIE COHN, AUTHOR, “COWBOY REPUBLIC”: My pleasure, Ed.
SCHULTZ: What do you make of this? Is Thomas too politically connected? Are there too many favors here?
COHN: Absolutely, ed. Judges have a duty to refrain from any kind of behavior that has even the appearance of impropriety. And you remember the Citizens United case? One of the worst cases in the history of the Supreme Court, which gave corporations the right to put unlimited amounts of money into campaigns, into election campaigns, which is totally going to change our electoral system.
And Citizens United gave—spent 100,000 dollars in TV ads to attack senators who voted against Clarence Thomas‘ confirmation. And then Clarence Thomas was the fifth vote that decided in favor of Citizens United.
SCHULTZ: Does this relationship with Mr. Crow pose a problem under the code of ethics?
COHN: The—federal judges are bound by a code of ethics. Now, the Supreme Court is not bound by that code, although Justices Breyer and Kennedy have said that they fall follow it. And 100 law professors have signed a letter trying to get Congress to require that the Supreme Court also come under this federal code.
But right now, each Supreme Court justice can decide whether to recuse himself or herself, to say I‘m not going to decide this case because I may have conflict of interest.
SCHULTZ: Why hasn‘t he done that? Why hasn‘t he recused himself from Supreme Court cases where he has all these kinds of ties?
COHN: Because he‘s sovereign. Nobody is higher than he is. None of his colleagues can tell him he has to recuse himself? Remember, Scalia, who went—I think it was duck hunting with Cheney and then voted in favor of Cheney in the lawsuit against Cheney? Scalia and Thomas were both attending these sessions by the Koch Brothers. And they are above any law.
They can decide whether to recuse themselves or not. The only remedy is impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors. And, unfortunately, that‘s not going to happen.
SCHULTZ: Is this the most activist judge you‘ve ever seen? Put it in perspective for us.
COHN: You know, I don‘t believe in this term activist judges.
SCHULTZ: He‘s politically active. He is connected to big money. His wife is connected to big money. You‘re saying tonight that there‘s a code of ethics that could have been violated. But he‘s beyond rebroach. Nobody can touch him.
So the question begs, I mean, the public needs to know, in your opinion, is he the most politically active justice that we‘ve seen in some time?
COHN: I think he‘s one of the most unethical justices. Activism is in the eyes of the beholder. The Constitution is a very short document. And so any judge that interprets it is acting actively.
SCHULTZ: I don‘t mean to interrupt you. But do you think a judge in a lower court would be out of a job on this?
COHN: Absolutely, in one hot second, yes. But he is on the Supreme Court and no one can touch him. Only impeachment.
SCHULTZ: Why isn‘t anyone in the Senate Judiciary Committee making this an issue?
COHN: I don‘t know why they‘re not making it an issue. Now keep in mind that impeachment has to happen in the House of Representatives. It‘s not going to happen in a Republican led House of Representatives. That‘s not going to happen.
But I think that the more shows like yours and people write articles, the more things that come out, the more the embarrass and humiliate him—remember that Justice Abe Fortis was nominated by Johnson to be chief justice. And he was taking a lot of gifts from rich benefactors improperly. And he was forced to resign, basically, in disgrace for things that were much less than what Clarence Thomas is doing.
SCHULTZ: I was going to ask you, do you think that Clarence Thomas‘ activities parallel that gentlemen?
COHN: Yes, in fact, I think they‘re even worse. The things with Crow, the things with the Koch brothers, those are bad. But when I learned that he actually voted the way he did in the Citizens United case, after the Citizens United had put all of this money, 100,000 dollars, into his campaign—and this was, you know, 30 years ago -- 20 years ago—I can‘t remember, 1991, I guess it was. I‘m not very good at math.
All those years ago, 100,000 dollars is worth a lot more today. To me, you know, one plus one equals two. Highly improper. At the very minimum, the a persons of impropriety. I think people should be all over him. He makes the highest law of the land. His decisions affect our lives.
And certainly the Citizens United decision, which is a horrific decision, is going to affect us for years and years to come.
SCHULTZ: It certainly goes beyond balls and strikes in this broadcaster‘s opinion.
COHN: It certainly does.
SCHULTZ: Thank you for joining us tonight. >
COHN: My pleasure, Ed.
SCHULTZ: John McCain is playing politics with wildfires in his home state of Arizona. There‘s a special place for that kind of insensitivity, Psycho Talk. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in Psycho Talk tonight, Senator John McCain is using the devastating Arizona wildfires to fear monger about illegal immigration. Here‘s what he said over the weekend in response to a question about how to prevent wildfire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: We are concerned about particularly areas down on the border, where there is substantial evidence that some of these fires were caused by people who have crossed our border illegally. The answer to that part of the problem is get a secure border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: First thing out of his mouth was to blame illegal immigrants. The problem is, the U.S. Forest Service said there was no evidence that illegal immigrants started the fires. Civil rights groups immediately condemned the senator‘s remarks and Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva blasted him for taking intolerance to a new low.
But McCain doubled down, as he normally does, citing the following quotes from forest officials. He said, “cause of fires include ricocheting bullets, camp fires, welding equip, and possibly ignition by smugglers or illegal immigrants.”
Another official said fires can be caused by “careless campers, hikers, by ricocheting bullets, trailer chains that drag on the ground and send up sparks or driving on a flat tire, and the rim lights sparks as it hits the road, and some can be caused by illegal border crossers.”
That was McCain‘s substantial evidence. Those officials mention seven other causes of wildfires before getting to illegal immigrants. But McCain made it sound like illegal immigrants was the number one culprit.
And he didn‘t stop there. Today, McCain tried to turn the blame on his critics this statement. “While Arizonans continue to face the enormous challenges related to these wildfires, it‘s unfortunate that some are inserting their political agenda into this tragedy.”
Mr. McCain, it appears to me you are the one using the wildfires for political gain. In fact, blaming illegal immigrants for starting wildfires without hard evidence to prove it is reckless Psycho Talk.
Worker productivity is up 80 percent since 1979. But workers‘ salaries still the same. And yet the average chief executive makes 240 percent more than he did 30 years ago. How did this come about? We‘ll tell you.
SCHULTZ: Finally tonight, let‘s crunch the numbers. Take a look at this one, 140,000. Remember that number. That‘s how many people are in the richest .1 percent of American earners in this country, according to today‘s “Washington Post.”
Their share of the nation‘s wealth has grown from 2.5 percent in 1975 to more than 10 percent in 2008, when this data was last gathered. That‘s the last time they took a look at where is all the money going.
But if you‘re not super rich, you haven‘t seen any real changes for more than 30 years. Let‘s talk worker productivity. You know what‘s up? Worker productivity, look at that, is up more than 80 percent over the last 30 years. We‘re all working a hell of a lot harder, but that doesn‘t translate to making more money.
Look at this line. Oh, let‘s look at that line right there, huh.
Average wages have been stagnant for the past 30 years.
Now let‘s take a look at the average income of these guys at the top, the top one percent of earners. See that? Any income disparity taking place in America? Anybody concerned or talking about the middle class? Middle class is now struggling to keep pace with the poverty line.
The super rich have gotten even richer. And everyone else is, I guess you could say, just fallen behind or being American.
Everybody works harder, but only those at the top, right here on the red line, are getting all the fruits of the victory of the American worker. And who are these people at the top? Are they all executives?
Well, the “Washington Post” shows us that 41 percent executives with non-financial firms. Only 18 percent are with financial companies, like huge hedge funds, and only three percent are celebrities, athletes and other media figures.
So that‘s the breakdown of where all the money is going. Joining me tonight is Pulitzer prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston. He‘s a columnist for Tax.com.
I remember you reported on executive pay for the “New York Times” about six years ago, Mr. Johnston. Has anything changed or gotten worse in that period of time. What do you think?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, TAX.COM: Well, the economy has not improved at all, but these guys at the top have arranged for themselves a very lucrative future, because when the stock market was way down the last two years, they were all loading up on stock options at artificially low, temporarily low prices.
So the numbers you‘re seeing now at the top, they will be much bigger once the economy gets healthier.
SCHULTZ: Does this illustrate, I think, in my opinion, two things, corporate and the attack on labor? The graph that I just showed, what do you think?
JOHNSTON: Well, there‘s four things to do that bring this into effect. The first thing is you destroy the unions. When more than a third of American production workers belong to unions, 80 percent of workers benefited through higher pay.
Then you get rules enacted that make it impossible for shareholders to be able to have any influence over the pay. You create a back scratching club, a sort of union of executives and directors to see that each takes care of the other‘s pay.
Then you put in place lower tax rates, so that these guys keep much more of this money. And finally, and perhaps most importantly in all of this, you get the public invested in mutual funds which never challenge what the executives are getting paid.
Now they‘re insulated. Your pay is pushed down. This will continue until we get real reforms.
SCHULTZ: I was watching the Republican debate last week when they were talking about getting rid of the capital gains tax. This is one of the things that these Republicans candidates are talking right now. A lot of these executives are paid through capital gains. So this, again, is a classic example of how the Republicans want to give more breaks to the top one percent. And, of course, the stock options are also in there. Your take on that?
JOHNSTON: Well, the pay executives get is supposed to be treated as compensation and taxed at the higher rates that workers pay. But, in fact, there are a whole myriad of devices that allow executives to earn today and pay their taxes five, ten, 20 years from now. And to pay at the capital gains rate by claiming its capital income, because the rules are so weak.
So there‘s no question here, Ed, what‘s been going on is a narrow class of people who make campaign contributions, who determine very much who we get to vote for, have put in place a system where there‘s a union for CEOs and there‘s no union for ordinary Americans.
SCHULTZ: How much did the Bush tax cuts, in your opinion, play into this income disparity that‘s taken place? You know, it was, you know, eight years with the Bush tax cuts, two sets of tax cuts that took place in ‘01 and ‘03. But this goes back some 30 years. This attack on labor has been going on before Reagan.
But what did the Bush tax cuts do to accelerate it?
JOHNSTON: Well, what the Bush tax cuts did was allow people at the top to keep more of the money which they‘re reinvesting. They‘re not spending this money. They‘re investing it. So if your tax rate is 15 percent, instead of 50 percent, that means you have a third, 35 percent of your income, more to invest. It‘s a snowball that grows bigger and bigger as time goes by.
Plus all of these new rules that have been put in the tax code to complicate it, to make it less likely you will be audited and provide you with more ways to put money away that isn‘t tax today, causing the government to borrow money, causing you and I to get fewer government services because more and more money we‘re paying is going to interest on the national debt, instead of raising enough taxes to pay the government‘s bills.
SCHULTZ: And if we can see that survey or that graph one more time, fellows, the people at the top, the red liners, they‘re out there putting the political pressure on legislators to take away what the blue liners down at the bottom have. And that‘s collective bargaining. I mean, those are wages at the very bottom of the last 30 years for workers. The green line, the productivity.
I mean, the fact is that our workers in this country are better educated. They‘re producing more. They‘re working longer and harder. And they‘re getting paid less.
The people on the red line, they still don‘t have enough. It‘s not a question of how much they want. It‘s a question of how much they want to legislatively take. It‘s really sad.
JOHNSTON: Ed, don‘t forget that the guys at the top are supposed to be paid in alignment with the shareholders.
SCHULTZ: That‘s right. David Cay Johnston, great to have you with us again tonight. Thank you.
I asked in our survey tonight, are you surprised Neal Boortz is yet to face consequences for his comments about thugs in Atlanta? Thirty eight percent of you said yes; 62 percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. “The Last Word” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts now. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2011 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2011 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
PASTE THE TRANSCRIPT HERE