THE ED SHOW with ED SCHULTZ
January 9, 2013
Guests: Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Carolyn Cain, Cecile Richards, Robert Greenwald, Karen Finney
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED
SHOW from New York.
Conservatives compare President Obama to Hitler over the gun issue?
This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president and
I are determined to take action. This is not an exercise in photo
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Joe Biden says the president is serious about
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You cannot tell me that a kid
sitting in the basement for hours playing "Call of Duty" and killing people
over and over and over again does not desensitize that child to the real
life effects of violence.
SCHULTZ: And Republicans blame videogames.
The time for excuses is over.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel of "The Nation" on what it takes to keep the
debate from going in circles.
Armed in the classroom. We`re talking to a teacher tonight about why
she wants to carry a weapon in school.
And the war on women is back. Cecile Richards combats the fresh
attack on Planned Parenthood.
Drone strikes. They are killing terrorists, but the innocent numbers
of civilians are growing. So, are we creating more enemies than we
Reince Priebus is touting the GOP success of 2012. Was he there?
And this is still the face of our intelligence committee?
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: It appear there`s has been deep
penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim
SCHULTZ: When will enough be enough?
HAYES: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for watching.
The wheels are in motion for serious solutions to gun violence and the
problem in this country. Vice President Joe Biden continues his due
diligence. He was joined today by Attorney General Eric Holder and
representatives of 12 gun safety groups. They also spoke with survivors of
gun massacres like Virginia Tech and Aurora, Colorado.
Their mission is to find a path forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: And as the president said, if our actions result in only
saving one life, they`re worth taking. But I`m convinced we can -- we can
affect the well-being of millions of Americans and take thousands of people
out of harm`s way. We are not going to get caught up in the notion unless
we can do everything we`re going to do nothing. It`s critically important
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The vice president is being very clear. Common sense gun
laws will not be ignored. Tomorrow, Vice President Biden will meet with
gun advocacy groups, including the National Rifle Association. No doubt
they will ask the vice president about something he said earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: The president is going to act. There are executive orders,
executive action that can be taken. We haven`t decided what that is yet.
But we`re compiling it all with help of the attorney general and all the
rest of the cabinet members, as well as legislative action we believe is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The vice president said there is no decision yet on any type
of action when it comes to the executive action, but the idea of the White
House acting like that on its own has the right wing, of course, freaking
The Drudge Report -- well, here`s some journalism for you. They put
it up this way there you see it. President Obama is like Hitler and
Far right wing members of Congress are already getting ready for a
fight. Congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina said in a statement, "We
live in a republic, not a dictatorship."
Guests on FOX News were in hysterics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARS LARSON, LARSLARSON.COM: If he does executives, he is becoming
more like Hugo Chavez all the time. It will be your papers, please, like
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Of course, it shouldn`t be surprising to see all the right
wing hair on fire. Before President Obama was reelected, the gun lobby
told conservatives what to expect in a second term.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA: All that first term lip service to gun owners is
just part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true
intentions to destroy the Second Amendment during his second term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: According to the National Rifle Association, any attempt to
achieve common sense gun legislation is a conspiracy to take away all guns.
Unfortunately, should I say fortunately, the common sense side of the
debate is not backing around this time around.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is on the move. He has a history of
gun rights advocacy. But a close adviser to the senator said this about
Harry Reid, "He is in a different place than he was in 2010."
Reid is in a position to make a true difference when it comes to
passing new gun laws in this country.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants his state to make an impact.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: And in one word, it`s just enough.
It has been enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Cuomo`s seven-point man to address gun violence is the most
comprehensive yet. It could serve as a blueprint for the rest of the
country. Cuomo wants New York to have the toughest assault weapons ban in
the nation. He wants to close the loophole in private sales at gun shows
and on the Internet.
Cuomo was calling for a ban on high capacity magazines and tougher
penalties for illegal gun use. He wants restrictions on gun ownership by
the mentally ill, as well as ban on Internet sales of ammunition and a
state check of all ammunition purchases.
Cuomo understands you cannot solve a problem unless you address the
root cause. Now, across the river, another governor has a much different
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You agree there should be some new legislation
CHRISTIE: Well, I think that there has to be a complete package,
Mika, of all that is being dealt with at once. Deal with the weapons that
you think you need to deal with. But if you don`t deal with mental health
issues, you don`t deal with substance abuse issues, and you don`t deal with
violence in the video games in the media, if you don`t deal with all of it,
you`re not going to eliminate the problem, or even reduce the problem, in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Chris Christie was rightly praised for his leadership in the
aftermath of hurricane sandy. No doubt about it, he stood up to his party
for their actions and how they didn`t do what they were supposed to do
early on to get relief from Congress.
But now is the time for real leadership, passing the buck on to the
entertainment industry, Governor, is nothing but a cop-out. It`s a great
way to divert attention from a politically delicate situation and difficult
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: I don`t let games like "Call of Duty" in my house for PS3
and Xbox. That`s a decision Mary Pat and I have made.
You cannot tell me that a kid sitting in the basement for hours
playing "Call of Duty" and killing people over and over and over again does
not desensitize that child to the real life effects of violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I don`t disagree with Governor Christy. Parenting, it`s a
responsibility. Parents have to parent.
But there is no legislation to keep a kid from playing videogames in
this country. Christie wants to, you know, if he wants to be in the big
leagues when it comes to politics, this is the issue. He should look to
his counterpart across the river in New York as an example.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Forget the extremists. It`s simple. No one hunts with an
assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.
And too many innocent people have died already. End the madness now.
Pass, safe, reasonable gun control in the state of New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Some governors just can`t say it.
This is a leadership moment for all people in elected office in this
country. We are at a crossroads. Which way do we turn? It`s no time to
change the conversation and start picking on the first amendment and say,
well, it`s the entertainment industry.
The entertainment industry has been around for a long, long time.
Governor Christie, it`s the guns.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.
Tonight`s question: will the NRA and Republicans block responsible gun
legislation? Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. You can always go
to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring results later on, on the show.
Joining me tonight is Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor, part-owner and
publisher of "The Nation" magazine.
A lot of unpack here because the conversation is elevating on all
levels. With the hysteria coming from the right wing, is it going to make
it tougher to get more reasonable gun legislation in this country?
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION: Yes, but I think you`re right, Ed.
I think we`re at a crossroads. It`s a singular moment for to end gun
violence. Just think -- there is a poll out today showing the NRA at its
lowest opinion point in years, largely because of Wayne LaPierre`s speech
written by satirist Jonathan Swift.
Gabby Giffords and her husband have founded a PAC called Americans for
Responsible Solutions. It will be a lift to count whatever they call --
think of Gabby Giffords. She calls the NRA an ideological fringe whose big
money and lobbying influence has cowed too many in Washington. But we see
the example of Governor Cuomo.
And if I could just add about Governor Christie, for too long, Ed,
after mass shootings in this country, people have blamed it on mental
health. I think Vice President Biden is being very wise in trying to craft
an anti-gun violence program, which will include mental health, which will
take on the popular culture.
But other countries have violent popular culture. Other countries
have mental health problems. They don`t have our gun homicide rates.
SCHULTZ: The very mental health that the Republicans didn`t want to
support and never have wanted to support.
VANDEN HEUVEL: They cut the funding.
SCHULTZ: OK. And, of course, they always use the entertainment
But I want to go become to the Web site of Drudge. Comparing the
president of the United States to Hitler and Stalin -- I mean, how low will
they go? And you know what kind of people that whips up into a frenzy.
VANDEN HEUVEL: But think of it, Ed. I mean, first of all, the NRA
doesn`t represent the 100 million responsible gun owners in this country.
The NRA is the extremist in the room.
When you start doing Hitler and Stalin, I think responsible common
sense Americans turn off. This is too extreme. This will appeal to the
extremists in this country, but we want to speak to those who understand
the need for common-sense legislation.
The president and Vice President Biden are trying to put together a
common sense package that police chiefs in this country, that mayors, that
others who have to deal day to day with these illegal guns want to see. If
the president and vice president have a Congress that will not move on
this, and it may well not, executive action is not out of order. It is not
out of order.
SCHULTZ: I mean, I really praise the vice president for saying that
today, because that tells the antis over there, look, we`re serious about
this. We`re going to do something about it. What kind of executive action
could he take? How far could the president go on this?
And, of course, he`s got the mayor`s organization behind him. He
would get a lot of support around the country.
VANDEN HEUVEL: He would.
SCHULTZ: What would be a good thing?
VANDEN HEUVEL: Well, at the outer limit, I would say there is the ban
on the assault weapons. There is the ban on the high capacity magazine
SCHULTZ: He could do that?
VANDEN HEUVEL: -- which pump 30 to 60 bullets into a kid in one
You could also have data check. You could have mental health checks.
You could have prosecution for illegal gun trafficking.
But I would recommend to your viewers to go to the Web site of the
Mayors Against Illegal Guns. They put forward a very responsible plan in
2009 after they saw the obstruction in terms of some common sense gun
This is supported, Ed, by millions of people in this country. And to
call it something as Drudge does is to buy into the extremism that they
want to pilfer and spread.
SCHULTZ: But there are a lot of lawmakers that simply will not move
on their position. And we have seen some of them come out recently. And,
of course, the National Rifle Association gives them somewhat protection
when it comes to funding and also a public image. But this organization,
the NRA, has taken a hit in the public eye. Only 42 percent favorable
rating compared to 45 percent.
VANDEN HEUVEL: That`s right.
SCHULTZ: So where are the lawmakers? Why can`t the lawmakers take a
look at this and say, you know what, we`re going to do something this time.
We`re going to side with the president.
VANDEN HEUVEL: I think you`re seeing some movement. Harry Reid is an
interesting example. Harry Reid after aurora, the shootings in Colorado,
didn`t want to open a debate on responsible gun legislation. He is now
Senator Manchin of West Virginia, Senator Warner of Virginia.
SCHULTZ: Would the assault weapons ban pass? The 1994 assault
weapons ban passed.
I asked that to Barbara Boxer here last night, senator from
California. She doesn`t know. I mean, that`s a big statement.
VANDEN HEUVEL: We know what some of the solutions are. Listen,
you`ve got to begin somewhere, as the vice president said. We`re not going
to end gun violence in this country. But until we begin, there is going to
be -- I don`t know, Ed, but if it does, and it shows the lack of courage on
the part of our political class.
However, you do see in Governor Cuomo and the possibilities around
this country of governors of various states taking measures in their own
hands. And I do think the president, because after the Gabby Giffords
shooting, the Department of Justice put together a package of executive
actions. There will be action. Speed is of the essence.
SCHULTZ: Katrina Vanden Heuvel, thanks for joining us tonight. Thank
you so much.
Remember to answer tonight` questions there at the bottom of the
screen. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @EdShow and on Facebook.
We want to know what you think.
Coming up, teachers and guns. We`ll talk to an educator who wants to
protect her students with a concealed weapon in school. Find out if she is
worried about what parents might think.
Stay with us. We`re right back.
SCHULTZ: The Newtown school shooting has sparked a nationwide debate
over whether teachers should carry concealed weapons in schools. A new
poll shows most Americans think arming teachers is the wrong answer. Only
27 percent want teachers to carry firearms, 64 percent oppose it.
But it`s easy to understand why parents would not want a gun in their
child`s classroom. In 2010, guns killed seven children and young adults
every single day in America. That`s an average of seven people between the
ages of 1 and 24 getting shot and killed every day in America.
Guns killed more kids than cancer, heart disease, flu, or infection in
2010. But gun advocates claim they`re teaching safety. They say a gun can
buy a teacher some valuable time in an emergency.
The biggest teachers unions totally disagree. The ATF and the NEA
say, "Guns have no place in our schools, period."
Those unions represent 4.5 million teachers.
We`ve heard from the unions, and we`ve seen the opinion polls. The
question is: what do teachers really think? I`ll talk to one teacher who
wants to protect her students by carrying a gun in the classroom. Stay
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for stay with us
There is no doubt the Newtown shooting started an emotional debate
over guns and school security in our country. It`s fair to say the murder
of 20 first graders and seven adults struck fear into the hearts of parents
across this country. Some of the parents, including President Obama,
called for tougher gun restrictions.
The NRA proposed a different solution, arm teachers, more security at
schools. Gun clubs claim hundreds of teachers are applying for free
weapons training, 200 people showed up for this class outside Salt Lake
City, Utah. Not all of the people who took the course are teachers, but
One of them is with us tonight. I`m joined this evening by Carolyn
Cain, a grade school teacher in Utah County, Utah, who teaches special
education in kindergarten to the sixth grade.
Carolyn, great to have you with us tonight.
The Newtown shooting, did it have a profound effect on you to bring
you to this conclusion?
CAROLYN CAIN, GRADE SCHOOL TEACHER: Well, absolutely. Getting a
concealed/carry permit is something I thought about for quite a while. But
when I was watching the news and listening to the teacher stories, I
couldn`t help but put myself in their shoes and wonder what would I do?
You know, and just start to think about, what would I do in that situation?
And I wanted options.
SCHULTZ: Why do you want to carry a gun in the classroom? Why do you
want to be armed?
Can you hear me? Or did the audio drop out?
Carolyn -- the audio is gone. We`re having an audio problem here, and
we hope to correct it.
Carolyn Cain, a grade school teacher in Utah County, Utah, with us
from Utah tonight.
She has stepped forward and said that she wants to carry a firearm in
the classroom after what unfolded in the Newtown school shooting in
Connecticut just under 30 days ago. And we will try to come back to that
interview later on in the program. Or do we stay with it?
We will be back with more on THE ED SHOW right after this.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. We have sorted out our audio
I`m rejoined by Carolyn Cain, a grade school teacher in Utah County,
Utah, who teaches special education children in kindergarten to sixth
grade. She explained to us just a minute ago what impact the Newtown
shooting had on her.
As we go back to you, Carolyn, I`d like to know, why do you want to
carry a gun in the classroom?
CAIN: Well I think -- it`s not so much I want to carry a gun. I want
to have options, for that situation.
I think the world is changing. It`s not safe. And we see these kinds
of situations happen over and over. And I -- when I first heard, I
thought, wow, I wish I could have a gun because I didn`t know I could.
And after I heard about the training and the course, and I learned
that I could. And I thought you know what? This is something that I want
to learn about, and I want to be able to do if I have to.
SCHULTZ: And the state of Utah will allow you to get a conceal and
carry and carry a gun into the school. How are you going to carry it? How
are you going to store it?
SCHULTZ: And are you worried that it might be accessible to some
CAIN: Well, those are still questions. I mean, like I said, I just
found out. I`m a researcher. I`m not going to run, grab the first holster
and gun I see and go to class. I want to feel comfortable that I`m not
putting my students at more danger by carrying a gun myself.
But the more I`m learning, I think there are some safe options. And
like I`ve said, you know --
SCHULTZ: What do you think parents think? What kind of parental
reaction are you going to get?
CAIN: Well, I`m -- I`m a parent myself. And just putting myself in
parent`s shoes and listening to the news report, boy, I wish those teachers
had a gun.
SCHULTZ: But what about the other parents? They may not see it the
way you see it? Do you think they`ll feel comfortable knowing that the
teacher has a firearm in the classroom?
CAIN: I think that the parents that know me know that I love their
children and I wouldn`t put them at risk in any way.
SCHULTZ: So you don`t think a firearm in the classroom would put
anyone at risk, that it would be a much safer environment?
CAIN: I -- I absolutely -- I wouldn`t consider carrying one if I
didn`t feel like I could do it safely.
SCHULTZ: But what if you had a parent who objected to it? What
position would that put you in?
CAIN: Well, in the state of Utah, a parent doesn`t have to know about
it. Teachers can carry a firearm and nobody ever -- they`ve been doing it
for 12 years. I`ve found out more and more about teachers that do. And
SCHULTZ: The teachers have had guns in schools for 12 years in Utah?
CAIN: Yes, yes. It`s been legal to do that for 12 years.
SCHULTZ: And parents haven`t known about it?
CAIN: Right. You don`t have to tell if you`re a concealed weapon
SCHULTZ: Do you think parents have a right to know? For instance, if
my child was in your classroom, do you think that I would have a right to
know that there is a firearm in that classroom?
CAIN: Well, if -- if somebody -- I personally would feel okay with
any of the teachers, teachers I know, any teacher they`re I`ve ever met.
They have the --
SCHULTZ: But I`m talking about the parents.
CAIN: Right, right.
SCHULTZ: I want to focus. The parents are dropping their little kids
off to a school, and they don`t know that there is a firearm in the
classroom. Do you think they have a right to know?
CAIN: Not necessarily. Not necessarily.
CAIN: Well, because I think that firearms -- what we do know is that
the bad guys come in to schools. What we don`t know -- I mean, we`re
making lots of guesses about what could happen if. And those things
Like I said, we`ve been able to carry them for 12 years here in Utah,
and I haven`t -- I have not heard them, and they would be on the news if
those things happened. So I think causing more -- it`s the same reason I
would prefer not to have big armed militia next to the door for the kids to
SCHULTZ: But it`s a parental right issue here as well. I can`t
believe that every parent, you know, in Utah or any state would say, yes, I
think it`s OK to have a firearm in the classroom and me not know about it.
CAIN: OK, well, then you could say this. If -- if they watch the
news, if they are interested in the law, they know that it`s possible that
a teacher might be carrying a firearm.
CAIN: And so they would know that it`s possible that could be
happening at their school. And then that`s a choice that they make.
SCHULTZ: Don`t you worry about that you`re going to be outgunned with
someone with an assault weapon? What is to stop you from bringing in an
assault weapon in?
CAIN: You know what? Me bringing it in for protection?
CAIN: Well, it`s a --
SCHULTZ: Go ahead.
CAIN: It`s a concealed permit. So I have to conceal it. I`m not
going to be able to conceal an assault weapon.
SCHULTZ: Do you think it would be a good thing if there was an
assault weapons ban and criminals couldn`t get them?
CAIN: No. Well, because an assault weapons ban doesn`t mean the
criminals couldn`t get them.
SCHULTZ: OK. The polls show that only 27 percent of the people think
that teachers should be armed. That`s a rather low number. Do you get a
sense from your community that that number doesn`t mean anything, that
people are going to go along with this?
CAIN: In my community, yes. And that is one of the reasons I don`t
think it should be a federal issue. That`s why I think it should be up to
local governments and state governments to decide.
SCHULTZ: OK. And what about carrying a gun, what kind of message
does that send to your students?
CAIN: Well, it won`t send any message because they won`t know about
it. Like I said, I don`t want -- I don`t want -- in my classroom, I think
it is of the most importance that my students feel safe when they`re in
there, because that`s the only way they`re going to learn. They can`t
learn when they`re preoccupied with other things. I would rather them not
see big guns when they`re walking into school.
SCHULTZ: Do you think your fifth and sixth graders will feel safer if
they know you have a firearm? They could make that judgment?
CAIN: You know what? I wouldn`t give them the choice. I wouldn`t
feel -- and in my community, I think they feel fairly safe anyway.
SCHULTZ: OK. Carolyn Cain, I appreciate you joining us on THE ED
SHOW tonight. Thank you for your opinions and your insight on this.
What did the GOP learn from the latest election? It turns out not
much. House Republicans are trying to defund Planned Parenthood again.
We`ll talk with the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, about
that and much more.
And later, the Obama administration shows no signs of dropping its
drone program. Is it good policy? I`ll talk with Robert Greenwald. Stay
tuned. You`re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Last year, we saw the GOP wage
an all-out war on women`s health care in this country. And it looks like
the Republican party has no intention of letting up. Congresswoman Marsha
Blackburn of Tennessee says that she wanted to start the new year off
right, by proposing to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Blackburn reintroduced legislation originally championed by former
Congressman Mike Pence.
His bill went nowhere, but that wasn`t stopping Blackburn. The
measure would prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from
allocating funds for family planning assistance. Blackburn explained her
mission to Mike Huckabee earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: It is the right type of fight
to have on so many different levels. We know that Planned Parenthood is
basically big abortion business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Really? Of course, if you are a person who likes to deal in
facts, you know that only three percent of Planned Parenthood`s services
are abortion services. And no -- I say no federal money is used. As for
the other 97 percent, those services include cancer screenings, STD
screenings, contraceptive services. And one in five women will visit
Planned Parenthood at least once in her lifetime.
Blackburn`s bill will go nowhere. Even if the House of
Representatives votes on it and it passes, the Senate won`t take it up.
The president is not going to sign it. Yet just one day after Blackburn
introduced her dead-end legislation, another Republican congresswoman from
Tennessee, Diane Black, introduced the exact same bill.
Blackburn is welcoming the move, telling "the Huffington Post," "the
fact that there are multiple members interested in this issue proves that
Planned Parenthood is not going to be let off the hook. So once again, we
are seeing the Republican party waste time and taxpayer dollars by doing
everything within its power to play to the extreme base of the party.
The GOP has no regard for the facts, no regard for public opinion, and
no regard for the millions of women who rely on Planned Parenthood for
Let`s turn to Cecile Richards. She is the president of Planned
Parenthood Action Fund. Great to have you with us tonight.
CECILE RICHARDS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND: Good to see you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Did you expect this early?
RICHARDS: Well, I was somewhat shocked that this would be again
somehow at the top of the agenda by the Republican leadership in the House,
particularly after an election in which -- where Mitt Romney was -- part of
his agenda was to overturn Roe and was to get rid of Planned Parenthood.
And we saw the biggest gender gap ever in a presidential election.
I think what is important to me is that if you look at Republican rank
and file voters, they desperately want the party to focus on economic
issues, jobs, the things that are really on the minds of the American
people, and not go after Planned Parenthood.
SCHULTZ: Planned Parenthood has done some outreach. People don`t
view abortion as a black and white issue. Many see shades of gray
depending on the circumstances. Why has the thinking on this issue
RICHARDS: Well, I think really what we`re seeing -- and it`s
interesting, of course, because the 40th anniversary of Roe is coming up --
is that it`s been very consistent in America, that the American people
believe that abortion should be safe and should it be legal. They also
support the preventive work that we do every day. We`re the largest family
planning provider in the country.
And they want women to have access to health care and birth control
that helps them prevent unintended pregnancy in the first place.
SCHULTZ: But they present the case, and in interviews such as that
you just saw or listened to -- you know, they distort the facts about the
number of abortion services that are actually provided. This is just all
part of their operation to do this. How do you combat that?
RICHARDS: Well, I think the most important thing -- look, the
American people believe this. This is why Planned Parenthood, frankly, has
greater support now than we ever have. That is because the American people
understand that by providing women access to education, health care
services, screenings and birth control, you actually prevent disease and
you prevent unintended pregnancy.
The irony of what these congresswomen have proposed is that actually
it would end access to birth control services for women across the country
at Planned Parenthood and other facilities. That`s exactly going in the
wrong direction. And that`s not where the American people are.
SCHULTZ: Is it picking on the poor?
RICHARDS: Oh, I mean, that`s the irony, of course, is the women --
many women who come to Planned Parenthood, it`s the only health care
provider that they will see. It`s the only doctor visit they will have.
It`s where they not only get their birth control, but they get their cancer
screening, they get their well women visit. And we hear from women all
across the country deeply concerned from all parties.
SCHULTZ: Does this help Planned Parenthood that they made this move
ideologically so early before the next election cycle? I mean, it just --
to remind people that they`re out there, they`re not backing off, but that
certainly may help your organization?
RICHARDS: Well, it`s unfortunate, though. We would like to spend 100
percent of our time providing health care. Unfortunately, when folks like
this who want to make women`s health care a political issue, it means we
have to spend more of our time just trying to protect women`s access to
basic health care in America.
SCHULTZ: What do you say to lawmakers that do that? I mean, when you
see them face-to-face, don`t facts matter?
RICHARDS: Well, you know, certainly to a number of lawmakers they do.
I think that one of the things that has been of concern is moderate
Republicans who feel like they literally cannot stand up for their
constituents because of who is in leadership now in the Republican party.
You know, historically, Planned Parenthood was started by Republicans
across the country who believed that women should have access to family
planning. A number of Republicans I meet with are really dismayed that the
leadership of the party has gone in such an extreme direction.
SCHULTZ: Sure. Cecile Richards, thank you.
RICHARDS: Good to be here tonight. Thanks a lot. >
SCHULTZ: Still to come, drone strike fatalities are already climbing
in the new year. Filmmaker Robert Greenwald is here on the consequences of
our supremacy in the air. Is it good policy, and is it killing civilians?
And Michele Bachmann is still on our Intelligence Committee. MSNBC
political analyst Karen Finney on the harsh reality ahead. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: One of the things we got to do is put a legal architecture in
place, and we need congressional help to do that, to make sure that not
only am I reined in, but any president is reined in terms of some of the
decisions we`re making.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That was president Obama back in October, addressing
concerns over the nation`s drone strike program, part of the larger war on
terrorism. Despite the kind of campaign rhetoric, the Obama administration
has taken few steps to rein in the program intended to target terrorists.
The president has insisted that drones have been used only to prevent an
operational plot against the United States.
Yet as the "Guardian" reports, America`s use of drones has soared
during Obama`s time in office, with the White House authorizing attacks in
at least four countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. It`s
estimated that the CIA and the United States military have undertaken more
than 300 drone strikes and killed about 2,500 people.
It`s clear we have yet to understand the full impact of the country`s
drone war. One former Obama security adviser calls the use of drone
counter-productive -- use of drones counter-productive, that is. And
retired General Stanley McChrystal who championed use of drones in
Afghanistan is now advising caution. He says "what scares me about the
drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world. The resentment
created by American use of unmanned strikes is much greater than the
average American anticipates and appreciates. They are hated on a visceral
level, even by people who have never seen one or seen the effects of one."
Yet earlier this week, the president nominated a man widely viewed as
the administration`s drone warrior to head the CIA. Obama counter
terrorism adviser John Brennan has made the legal case for targeted
killings. Some are now expressing concern over Brennan in charge of the
And Scott Horton of "Harper`s Magazine" reports "and the drones are
just the beginning of it. The CIA has its toe there, but we`re going to
see the CIA probably take a very prominent role in robotic warfare."
I`m joined tonight by Robert Greenwald, producer, director, and
founder of Brave New Films. He is also the director of an upcoming
documentary film "Drones Exposed," and just completed a trip to the country
Mr. Greenwald, good to have you with us tonight. Will there be an
issue at Brennan`s confirmation hearings? What is the likelihood of the
Senate forcing a debate on drone strikes? There has been very little
conversation about it.
ROBERT GREENWALD, BRAVE NEW FILMS: Yes. It`s actually been very sad,
Ed, to see how there has almost been a bipartisan silence on this issue.
We`re hopeful that as we educate people, as people hear more about the
drones, as they learn more about them, they will call their senators and
they`ll say it`s essential to ask Brennan the questions about this program.
The notion that its secrecy is completely ridiculous. And now is the
time to know when are we targeting people, how are we targeting, how are
the decisions being made. Remember, Pakistan is a country that we`re not
at war at. We`re sending drones in. And we`re assassinating people who
have no say in the matter, no jury, no lawyers, no protection.
SCHULTZ: You were recently in Pakistan. Are we killing civilians?
GREENWALD: Yes, there is no question about it, Ed. I mean, I talk to
people. There was a father who held up a picture of his mother, 65-year-
old woman, who was in the fields, who was killed by drones. They there
have been over 178 children killed by drones. Just think about the number
of parents and relatives of those children who are now going to seek
revenge for the rest of their lives because of what has been done.
SCHULTZ: There is no doubt that this program has been effective in
killing terrorists. But, of course, if we are killing civilians -- and you
were on the ground in Pakistan and you report that to us tonight, and you
confirm it -- what`s the future of the program? I mean, are we creating
GREENWALD: Well, yes, definitely. And that`s the concern that many
people have articulated. There have been a series of studies pointing that
out. And remember, this program was started to go after so-called high
value terrorists targets. That is less than two percent of all the people
that we are assassinating with the drones.
That needs to be a debate. Are we creating more people who are now
going to go after us? I had an interview with Imran Khan who is running
for president of Pakistan. He said yeah, there are 100 people, maybe 150
in the tribal areas who are doing terrible things. But the United States
has now created a million people who hate them because the drones are
killing their family members, their tribal members.
There was a 16-year-old boy, Ed, who came to Islamabad. He
participated in a public event. Two days later, a CIA drone killed him.
Well, if he was so bad, why was he at a public event, and why didn`t they
send somebody to pick him up, put him in jail, and try him?
SCHULTZ: This sounds so unlike the moral high ground that President
Obama talked about. And he, of course, in that interview that we just
played a moment ago, brought up the legal aspects of this. What we`re
doing, in your opinion, is it legal?
GREENWALD: No, it is not. And there is a series of questions about
the legality. For the film, we`re interviewing many legal scholars, and
there is a variety of opinions about, you know, the specific ways that
we`re breaking humanitarian law and international law. And even the basic
assumption was, as I said, high value targets who represent an imminent
threat to the United States.
I defy you to look at the people that we`re assassinating and say they
are providing an imminent threat.
SCHULTZ: There is no question, in my opinion, that the drone program
is a huge asset because it keeps our soldiers out of harm`s way. It is the
future of warfare. But if we know -- if we know that we are taking out
civilians, and if we don`t think that that`s not going to come back and
bite us in the future and take away our moral high ground, we`ve got our
heads stuck in the sand. There is no question about it.
This program, Mr. President, has to be reviewed thoroughly. And
lawmakers need to wake up to this. Because we lost 3,000 Americans on 9/11
should not give us license to go around the country -- around the world and
have drone attacks killing innocent civilians that have nothing to do with
threatening this country or terrorism in itself. And whereas the cloud of
war can`t be perfect and it`s hard to be accurate, we still have to
maintain the moral high ground.
And Congress needs to take a real close look at this. Robert
Greenwald, thanks for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
Still to come, John Boehner reappoints Michele Bachmann to the House
Intelligence Committee. I`ll ask Karen Finney what it means for our
national security. Can she be trusted? We`re right back.
SCHULTZ: And in the Big Finish tonight, Republicans are outraged over
Chuck Hagel`s nomination for defense secretary. Meanwhile, they have no
problem with known conspiracy theorist Michele Bachmann, congresswoman from
Minnesota, retaining her seat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Remember, it was Bachmann who led the witch-hunt against Hillary Clinton`s
aide Huma Abedin last year. In a wild conspiracy theory, Bachmann claimed
Abedin she had ties to a Muslim extremist group. Bachmann`s fear mongering
campaign against Muslims included absurd statements like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: It appears that there has been
deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim
Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood has been found to be an unindicted co-
conspirator on terrorism cases. And yet it appears that there are
individuals associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who have positions, very
sensitive positions in our Department of Justice, our Department of
Homeland Security, potentially even in the National Intelligence Agency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Bachmann`s Muslim witch-hunt drew a wide range of criticism
from both parties. Her former presidential campaign chief Ed Rollins
slammed the baseless attacks, saying "as a member of Congress, with a seat
on the House Intelligence Committee, Miss Bachmann, you know better. Shame
on you, Michele."
Now John Boehner`s decision to reappoint Bachmann to the House
Intelligence Committee has Democrats furious. The liberal group People for
the American Way released a statement today saying "members of the House
Intelligence Committee are entrusted with classified information that
affects the safety and security of all Americans. That information should
not be in the hands of anyone with such a disregard for honesty,
misunderstanding of national security, and lack of respect for his or her
fellow public servants."
The group currently has a petition to remove Bachmann from the intel
committee. So far it has over 80,000 signatures. And if you want to sign
that petition, visit PFA.org.
For more, let`s turn to Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst and
former communications director for the DNC. Karen, good to have you with
us tonight. I find it interesting that Republicans are just absolutely
outraged over Chuck Hagel.
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
SCHULTZ: -- questioning his qualifications and positions, but they
have no problem with Michele Bachmann on the intel committee after the
stunt she pulled. Make any sense of it?
FINNEY: Here`s the thing, Ed, it wasn`t just a stunt, because
remember that what she did with Huma at that time actually endanger her
safety to the point that Huma had to have police protection. And remember,
at that time, she had a new baby. So Michele Bachmann has already shown a
willingness to abuse information in a very reckless way and endanger the
life of an American citizen and her child.
I think we should be very clear about what this woman is all about.
Now with regard to Boehner, I think what it shows is how weak he
really is after that vote last week, because he clearly is feeling that
he`s got to do these kinds of things to appease those sort of right wing
crazies in his caucus. There is no other reason for someone like this to
be returned to the Intelligence Committee.
SCHULTZ: I mean, that was quite an indictment that Michele Bachmann
made of Hillary Clinton`s aide.
SCHULTZ: So how can she be trusted by any members of Congress to
withhold information which could be very sensitive to our security? Why
would they put Michele Bachmann in a position like that after what she did?
FINNEY: Well, she can`t be trusted, and she has already proven that
she can`t be trusted. That`s what the situation with Huma proved. Again,
with regard to Speaker Boehner, it shows that he is weak and feels that he
has to appease the right wing.
But also, you know what, Ed? This is an embarrassment to the United
States of America. Because remember that in other countries, when they see
a person like a Michele Bachmann, who is a part of the American government,
they don`t necessarily always make the distinction between the Congress and
the administration and all that, they see someone who is an instrument of
the American government on a witch-hunt against Muslims.
Now how do you think that impacts the way people think and feel about
this country in other parts of the world, if that`s the kind of person that
is out there representing us on something called the Intelligence
SCHULTZ: Well, I just don`t know how anybody could come to the
conclusion that the country is a lot safer with Michele Bachmann having
access to intel information.
FINNEY: That`s right.
SCHULTZ: And will there be enough public support that could change
this, that could remove her from the Intel Committee?
FINNEY: You know, probably not, because, again, I think Boehner is so
weakened, I don`t think that he would have the courage to do something like
that, because I think he can`t risk angering the far right wing. And there
should be, Ed. Because as you point out, again, this is a woman who has
already proven she can`t be trusted with sensitive information, that she
has no problem using it for her own political purposes, and she has no
problem just talking off the cuff and saying all kinds of crazy things.
SCHULTZ: Karen Finney, always a pleasure to have you on THE ED SHOW.
Thanks so much for joining us tonight. And that is THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed
Schultz. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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