The Ed Show for Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
THE ED SHOW
March 12, 2014
Guests: Michael Hiltzik, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Evan Vokes, John
Garamendi, Mark Dimondstein
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Americans and welcome to the Ed Show
live from New York.
Let`s get to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the first real test for Obamacare at the polls
appears to spell trouble.
ALEX SINK, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, (D-FL): They were not the results that
any of us wanted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trouble for Democrats in 2014.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH) HOUSE SPEAKER: We had a big win last night in
REP. DAVID JOLLY, (R) FLORIDA: Folks, I got very good news tonight. No
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Words that I have waited months to speak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t push me, Bob. Now is not the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people wanted to make this a referendum over the
Affordable Care Act.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David, you have made the law and all its problems, a
centerpiece of your campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman David Jolly. Come on down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The price is wrong.
JOLLY: A Republican has held the seat for 43 years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Continuing with provision, a Republican will fail the
BOEHNER: It`s about Obamacare.
JOLLY: A Republican has held the seat for 43 years.
BOEHNER: Listen, I`ve stood here after losing some special elections.
I`ve tried to put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight folks. Thanks for watching.
It`s one of those nights. I need two shows. We got so much going on.
It`s about getting it in an hour.
The media is reporting of Tuesday`s special election results down in
Florida, is totally wrong and it`s almost comical.
I mean, tonight, we`re going to set the record straight on what`s happening
Last night, a Republican, the guy`s name is David Jolly. He narrowly
defeated a Democrat named Alex Sink in a special election along the Gulf
Coast in a long time predominantly Republican district.
So what? Jolly won by two points. Like all Republicans, of course, he ran
on a platform of just slamming Obamacare. It`s all about Obamacare. You
know what I say? You damn ride at this in 2014.
Obamacare, let`s face it. If you are a Republican in John Boehner`s House,
repealing Obamacare is just the reality of daily life.
Now, when Jolly ran these ads in Florida say that he would replace
Obamacare and he did it with some celebrity help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOLLY: Let`s replace Obamacare. It`s a mess of broken promises.
BOB BARKER: Now that price isn`t right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: David Jolly, a Conservative in the tradition of Bill
JOLLY: I`m David Jolly and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: No. That price is very wrong, I`d say. Like every Republican,
Jolly has no plan. He has no plan of actually replacing Obamacare. Now,
this of course has House Speaker John Boehner just licking his chops. He`s
all excited today.
Today, Boehner came out and he spiked the football.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: We had a big win last night in Florida, and I would attribute the
win to the fact that our candidate was focused on the issues that were most
important to the people in Florida-13 -- and that`s economy and jobs.
The American people are really still are asking where are the jobs. And I
would argue to the president`s policies are making the economy worse. Top
of those policies that are making the economy worse, Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So they`ve held the district for 43 years, but it`s a big win.
It`s a big win. Well, we were able to hang on, you know. We`re so bad.
We`re still hanging on to those long time districts. I mean, there will be
another Obamacare repeal vote. You can count on it so Boehner can get
Jolly on the record.
Now this morning, the talking head shows, well, they agreed with Boehner.
In the aftermath of this election, the media has gone I think off the
rails. Just because this guy ran on repealing Obamacare and could I say
replacing it, people are calling this election a referendum on the
Affordable Care Act?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before this election, he said, "Look, this is going
to be about turn-out." He wasn`t expecting a landslide by any means, but
it certainly sends a message, it`s not a referendum.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Underneath, everything lies Obamacare and the problems
with Obamacare, I think, and this notion of a referendum election. You`re
seeing it in the discussion, your polling data that out there.
JOLLY: We do know that the voters here rejected a view of government that
has been espoused by our president and by Democrats in Congress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should you care about this? Well, this thing is
really 50/50. Republicans and Democrats. And this is the first time we`re
getting a chance to see the after effects, the after election effects of
Obamacare. If it was going well, the Democrats could be soaring towards
the mid-term election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Their logic is comical. Give me a break. Talk about a knee-jerk
reaction. These guys, they need to do some research.
Now, think about what they just said. We are now five and a half months
into Obamacare. Remember day one with the website? Remember day one of
Obamacare five and a half months ago? So you`re telling me that we`ve made
no progress from day one to right now in the middle of March. But we`re
seven months away from the midterm and this is a tea leave (ph) we`ve got
to pay attention to -- a Republican district that`s been held by a
Republican for 43 years?
This is going to turn it all over? Give me a break folks. That`s not even
logic. Now, look, this district has elected Republicans for the past 31
straight years. That`s right. This district has been under Republican
control since 1983. There have been only one Democratic Congressman in the
district`s entire history. Now, the media`s referendum theory is terribly
ridiculous. It`s not based in fact or reality and they are flat out wrong.
As Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times points out, Obamacare basically, if you
look at the numbers, it`s on the roll. It`s on a roll. And I know that
might be hard for some people to believe in on the hills of an election
that you really wanted. You have to look at the numbers. This is what`s
happening. Let`s go through the numbers. 4.2 million Americans are now
enrolled in Obamacare. 940,000 people signed up in February alone.
One estimate shows Obamacare has provided healthcare for 13 million
Americans. This number includes young adults under the age of 26 who were
still staying on their parent`s policy. There is no doubt Obamacare is
gaining momentum. The law is working and we have more numbers to prove it.
The percentage of uninsured in America is falling sharply. The latest
research from Gallup shows that it`s now at 15.9 percent. By the way,
that`s the lowest rate since 2008. Can I buy some of that? Yeah, you can.
Here are some more big news. Health insurance cost in medical care cost
fell sharply in the month of January. Insurance cost fell roughly 4
percent. Now, medical care cost fell 1 percent. What`s that number?
Obamacare basically is putting money in the pockets of Americans all over
the country. The number crunchers at Goldman Sachs -- and we know how
liberal they are over the Goldman Sachs on Wall Street. The Goldman Sachs
number crunchers and those in the Department of Commerce claim that
Medicaid expansion benefits amounted to $19.2 billion in January.
Isn`t that rather hard to argue with this? Isn`t this a trend of where we
were and where we`re going? Numbers are going down. Obamacare is helping
the economy. Of course you won`t do it that way if you`re a Republican.
There`s good news on Obamacare, proves this guy right here, he just can`t
wait to find a narrative to back up all the votes that he is taking in the
House. He needs something to talk about because the numbers aren`t on his
Just remember one thing folks, everyday that goes by and every story that
unfolds around Obamacare puts the Republicans and this guy on the wrong
side of history. And the numbers show it. These numbers aren`t going to
go backwards. Outside spending in this election down in Florida was like
this. Outside political spending $5 million by Jolly, all negative ads on
Why do you think they did that? Because Boehner needs something to back up
these votes. He needs a test. He needs to be able to say something out
there in front of the people that "Oh yeah, we`re right". Outside spending
$3.75 million. Which side would you rather have on outside money on that?
Here`s the bottom line again for the Democrats and I don`t think it was a
perfect campaign. She is a very qualified Democrat. No question about it.
She`d make a great Congressional member. But she ran on fixing Obamacare.
Democrats let this be a lesson. You don`t have to fix anything. The
numbers are on your side. You`re saving lives. You`re saving money. John
Boehner wants to hold another vote in the House that`s going to take money
away from Americans. Is that hard to say? No, but you got to have some
intestinal fortitude to say it.
So any Democrat that runs ads and goes out there and plays into the
negative narrative that "Well, I`m going to go to Washington and fix
Obamacare." That`s the first thing you can say in your ad Democrats? No.
We`re on the right side of history. We`re saving money. We`re putting
money in people`s pockets. We`re saving lives. We are headed in the right
direction. Where it started five and a half months ago and where it`s
going to be in seven months is no measurement of whether the Affordable
Care Act is working or not. And anybody who buys in to that, well, where I
come from they say that dog don`t hunt.
Get your cellphones out. I want to know what you think tonight`s question.
Do Republicans have the media hoodwinked on Obamacare? Text A for Yes,
text B for No to 67622. You can always go to our blog at ed.msnbc.com.
We`ll bring you the results later on in this show.
In my heart, I know that the Progressive movement is going to win out in
November. Seven months, that`s almost like an eternity in politics. And
we already know that the House isn`t going to do anything between now and
then. Boehner has said so much.
So we`re living in the age of obstruction. Say that Democrats. Do you
think that`s really what the American people want?
For more, let me bring in Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times who followed up
and wrote this piece on Obamacare.
Michael, good to have you with us tonight.
MICHAEL HILTZIK, LOS ANGELES TIMES: It`s my pleasure to be here.
SCHULTZ: You bet. In your opinion, are we going too far by saying that
Obamacare is on the roll?
HILTZIK: No, I don`t think so. I think that the numbers are telling us
that this program is doing exactly what it was intended to do. You got a
slow start and we are still seeing that in the numbers, but they are all
moving in the right direction. And I would make one other point, Ed, if
you don`t mind. I think you really put your finger on it that, you know,
you may know, I wrote a book about the history of the new deal.
And one of the things that I learned in writing that book is that Franklin
Roosevelt never ever let his opposition. He never let the Republicans
define his programs for him. He was always at the front of the parade. He
always made sure that the American public knew what was its stake in every
election, and I think, that`s one place where the Democrats are really
falling short. And they really have to pick up their game.
SCHULTZ: I think that the Democrats are playing into a negative narrative
which is easy to accept and easy to communicate on the part of the
Republicans, running around saying that they`re going to fix Obamacare. We
have come so far in this country since 2009 when it comes to healthcare and
I don`t know why they`re having a hard time saying it. I think that this
outcome in Florida actually is going to help the Democrats on how to turn
this thing around in the House.
How significant are the healthcare cost going down from your research?
HILTZIK: Well, look, the fact that Goldman Sachs, as you pointed out, has
come up with these numbers showing that the trend line in healthcare cost
is reversing. That is major stuff. I mean, that trend line has been going
up for decades now. There`s no question that the Affordable Care Act has
had a major affect on it. And it`s going to continue to have an effect
year after year. So I think that`s very important.
That`s one of the points that the Democrats have to keep making. That they
are bending the cost curve, that they`re bring cost down, and they are
making healthcare and health insurance much more affordable for millions
and millions of Americans. You used the figure, up to 13 million Americans
have signed up to the exchanges or have joined their parent`s healthcare or
have signed up through Medicaid. This is a major change in the profile of
the uninsured American.
SCHULTZ: Well, I predicted 5 million people are going to sign up by the
end of this month. We`re closing on it on that number. You want to take a
step at it. Where do you -- in fact, where are we going to be the end of
HILTZIK: Well, I think that.
SCHULTZ: . where do you think we`re going to be at the midterms?
HILTZIK: I think we`re going to be ahead of 5 million. We may not quite
make it to 6 million which is the parent target, but it`s going to be a lot
more than that it is today. I think at that point, that`s going to be the
numbers for 2014. But the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office says we`re
going to move into the following years. We`re going to see 25 million
people a year .
HILTZIK: . signing up for health insurance, getting access for health
insurance in a way they never had it before year after year.
SCHULTZ: Michael Hiltzik, LA Times, great to have you with us tonight.
Thanks so much.
Let me bring in Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida who is
also the Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Congresswoman, good
to have you on. What do you take from last night`s .
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D) FLORIDA: Great to be with you.
SCHULTZ: Do last night`s the results give you any sense in your bones of
what it`s going to be like in November?
D. SCHULTZ: No, I mean, I think if you look -- but obviously, we would
have preferred to have the outcome be different.
D. SCHULTZ: You know, winning is way better than loosing. But, if you
look back at the special election cycles that we`ve been through, 2006
Democrats lost every special -- every competitive special election in that
year and we ultimately took the House back in 2010. We won every special
election that was competitive that year and we lost 63 feats. So, you
know, Greg Walden, the head of the NRCC last night, basically said that,
you know, these elections are not predictive. And if you look at this race
very closely, you can see that, I mean, it`s sort of - see, we haven`t held
in almost 60 years.
SCHULTZ: Yeah, I know.
D. SCHULTZ: And our candidate is really, I mean, she lost -- but she lost
by less than 3500 votes. It`s the closest we`ve ever come in this race and
you`ve got a special election electorate in the midterm that excuse (ph)
far more conservative than it will .
SCHULTZ: So .
D. SCHULTZ: . in the general elections. So we`re really optimistic about
this feats going into no (inaudible).
SCHULTZ: So this is not a referendum on Obamacare. What the median aired
about there is?
D. SCHULTZ: Oh, no.
D. SCHULTZ: On the contrary, actually.
D. SCHULTZ: On the contrary, actually, Ed. In fact, the voters in
Florida-13, very specifically, I think, said that they don`t want to
repeal, especially independents, if you look at the polling in the exit
polling, independents were actually opposed to Jolly`s message of repealing
Obamacare and supported Alex Sink`s message of -- if there are problems as
they arise, we should fix them.
SCHULTZ: Well, is that a good narrative? I mean, Alex Sink ran on fixing
Obamacare. Do you think that`s a good platform and a good place for the
Democrats to be because it walks into the narrative that there really is
something wrong with this bill, there`s a heck of a lot more good than any
kind of bad. Why say you`re going to go Washington and fix it?
D. SCHULTZ: Well, I think what he said is -- as many of our candidates
have said, I`ve said it too, we should do with Obamacare. Anytime you have
a major change and something like the healthcare system. As problems
arise, we should work together to fix that. We shouldn`t be voting like we
are this week for the 51st time, Ed, on Friday. We will vote for the 51st
time to repeal or try to .
SCHULTZ: But .
D. SCHULTZ: . completely undermine the Affordable Care Act.
SCHULTZ: But congresswoman, respectfully, they`re voting 50 so many times
to take down Obamacare and your folks are on the road saying, "Well, I`m
going to go to Washington and fix it." I mean, to the people, I think,
that that plays right into the narrative of negativity.
D. SCHULTZ: Well, we`re also talking about how as the LA Times article
that the reporter that you just said on wrote that we have the lowest rate
of uninsured in the country that we`ve ever had, that you have 13 million
Americans who now have health insurance and that didn`t have it before .
SCHULTZ: Yes. Who`s against that?
D. SCHULTZ: . that the African-Americans and people of lower income have
insurance for the first time. Young adults can stay on the parents
insurance. We`re running on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act on
what we`ve accomplished ..
D. SCHULTZ: . and we`re contrasting that with Republicans who says, "You
know what? We`re going to take all that away from you." And that`s their
platform. And I think that`s why it`s not a winning message for them.
SCHULTZ: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, great to have you with us
tonight. Thanks so much.
D. SCHULTZ: Thanks Ed. Great to be with you.
SCHULTZ: Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @EdShow and on Facebook.
We always want t know what you think.
Coming up, the big 10.10, a new push for a minimum wage hike. Congressman
John Garamendi joins me.
And later, allegations of TransCanada`s dangerous construction practices as
the company presses for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. I`ll have an
exclusive interview with TransCanada whistleblower Evan Vokes. Stay with
us. We are right back for the Ed Show.
SCHULTZ: Time now for the trender. Social media action is always out
there and thanks so much. You can follow us on Facebook.com/edshow, tweet
us on Twitter.com/edshow and ed.msnbc.com. Catch me on the radio Monday
through Friday, SiriusXM, Channel 127, noon to 3:00 PM. My radio podcast
on my radio website at wegoted.com. Thanks for getting that.
The Ed Show social media nation has decided. We`re reporting. Here are
today`s top trenders voted on by you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy Birthday.
SCHULTZ: The number three trender, happy birthday internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where computer network called internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The internet turns 25 years old today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The internet is not something that you just jump
something on. It`s not a big truck. It`s a series of two.
SCHULTZ: The series of two`s turns 25.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was created in 1989 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
TIM BERNERS-LEE: I took the initiative in creating the internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For years, they`ve been saying these things would
change the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the net.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 46 percent said, "Internet would be the most difficult
technology to go without ."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this thing is here to stay.
SCHULTZ: The number two trender, "Fair fight."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Mitchell McKee learned that there was not match
for his dad`s cancer, he practiced and prayed.
MITCHELL MCKEE: For every match I said, "God, help me win this match, so I
can go win this state title for my dad."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little more than a minute end.
MCKEE: I pinned him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitchell locked Malik to the match.
SCHULTZ: A Minnesota team takes the high road after losing the state
MALIK STEWART: I know his dad was pretty proud, so I went over there and I
shook his hand, embraced him a little bit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The back story here is that Malik`s own father died
of a heart attack when he was younger.
STEWART: I know what he was going to through. I thought it was the right
thing to do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A moment of sportsmanship and I said, "No, no, this
is a moment to humanity."
SCHULTZ: And today`s top trender, mind the GAP.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Corporate profits are
doing well. But for a lot of folks out there, they haven`t seen a raise.
It`s time for 10.10. I want to congratulate the GAP for doing the right
SCHULTZ: Democrats shop another minimum wage increase in Congress.
OBAMA: A clear majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re talking about moving people out of poverty.
OBAMA: Republicans who do serve in Congress don`t want to vote on the
minimum wage at all.
BOEHNER: Raising the minimum wage destroys jobs.
OBAMA: It`s time to give America a raise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining me tonight, Congressman John Garamendi of California.
Congressman, good to have you on with us.
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, (D) CALIFORNIA: Thank you Ed, good to be with you.
SCHULTZ: You bet. Seven and 10 Americans support raising the minimum
wage. And let me be very clear, this would be over three years. It`s
$10.10 an hour at the end of that three-year period. We`re talking about,
if it goes to 10.10, based on a 40-hour work week, we`re talking $21,008
for an annual income.
Congressman, we`re talking about helping the poor, are we not?
GARAMENDI: Yeah, absolutely. You want to get people up welfare, give him
a raise. You want to get the food stamps down, raise the minimum wage. If
you want to provide women with an opportunity to succeed and it`s the
minimum wage. All of these things are absolutely critical, Ed, and we
ought to do it.
California, by the way, has already done it. Two years ought to be 10.10,
the rest of the nation are to be following.
SCHULTZ: And what has your state experience from raising that minimum
GARAMENDI: Economic growth. And we`re going to experience when it gets to
10.10. We`ll see a reduction in food stamps, we`ll see a reduction in
welfare, we`ll see more people with more money to spend, and more economic
SCHULTZ: Congressman, House Democrats have filed and we`ve been talking
about this for several weeks, a discharge petition that was done today, are
you going to be able to get any support from Republicans which is needed if
you`re going to get that magic number?
GARAMENDI: I think we will. You just said seven of 10 Americans want the
minimum wage to be up. Well, those are Republican districts as well as
Democratic districts, I think we will. We`re going to be near our maximum
about a 190 Democrats in the next couple of days. That will put a lot of
pressure on Republicans. And let`s remember that the republicans have in
the recent years actually voted across the aisle to pass some major
legislation like the Violence on Women Act.
SCHULTZ: Yeah. Well, Republicans are going to have to go against the
leader and that`s John Boehner.
SCHULTZ: He does not want to do this.
SCHULTZ: There is no pattern of any Republicans standing up to Boehner,
and saying, "You know, we`re not going to do this." I mean, we`re going to
help the Democrats out and go with the discharge petition. You actually
think that there will be -- I think, what do you need, 19 or 20 Republicans
to get this done?
GARAMENDI: Well, something like that. But you`ve going to beat this drum
across the nation. People have to know that it`s possible that we`re
getting close to the number. And we`ve also seen Boehner fold on his
previous places not to bring certain bills to the floor. I mentioned the
violence against women act. That`s one of about a half a dozen examples
over the last two years where the American public has spoken .
GARAMENDI: . and his caucuses have to move. Now, we did it with the
majority of Democrats in just a handful of Republicans on some very, very
important laws. But, it can be done. We need to make America aware that
America needs a way -- a raise and it`s possible, and that this minimum
increase to 10.10 .
GARAMENDI: . over three years isn`t going to hurt this economy. It`s
actually going to significantly help and reduce federal welfare payments.
SCHULTZ: And hopefully, it will put upward pressure on other wages to help
people on the middle class.
SCHULTZ: I want to change subjects. I want to go to the drought that
you`re experiencing in the ..
SCHULTZ: . State of California. Climate change, of course, is a big issue
in your district, in your state. Where do you stand on the Keystone XL
GARAMENDI: Well, that`s one part of a very, very large puzzle. I`m not
sure if it`s ever going to build. That`s in the hands of the president.
But, we do know that it is not a solution to energy independence. It is
not a solution to climate change. We have to take other steps. We have to
move aggressively to reduce carbon fuels. And that happens to be a carbon
fuel issue. So, we need all of the other things that we have to do. We
got to get wind, and solar, and frankly, nuclear. All of these things have
to come on line. We have to move away from petroleum and most importantly,
oil -- coal.
SCHULTZ: So, you would advice the president to say no to the pipeline?
GARAMENDI: I think that`s probably the right decision to make. It`s going
to be a tough when you got Canada banging on our door demanding access to
the ports. They`re talking about, "Well, if you don`t let us go there,
then we`ll go off to the Pacific Northwest" which would be even a more
serious environmental issue for that part of the world.
GARAMENDI: But what we`ve got to do is to move away from petroleum
products. We`ve got to move away from coal. We can. We will. Our
natural gas is an interim piece. It`s very important. Natural gas, yes.
SCHULTZ: Congressman John Garamendi of California, great to have you on.
Thanks John I appreciate it.
GARAMENDI: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, millions of Americans have voiced their opinion on the
Keystone XL Pipeline. We`ll hear from a TransCanada whistleblower who says
the project is more dangerous than we think. Plus, an American institution
under attack again. President Obama green lights new cuts to the United
States Postal Service, what? That`s in his budget?
I`m taking your questions next, Ask Ed Live. We`re right back in the Ed
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show.
The 11th hour, it is approaching for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.
TransCanada is making an aggressive push for approval. Now, the Calgary-
based company submitted a 35 page filling with the State Department. The
company claims, Keystone XL is the safest and the most environmentally
sound way to transport Canadian oil to the Gulf coast refineries.
TransCanada`s arguments we`re released Tuesday and filed with hundreds of
thousands of other comments during the government-public comment period
which of course ended on Friday.
The Canadian National Energy Board has been looking into TransCanada`s
safety record after a former employee raised concerns back in late 2012.
Evan Vokes was the third whistleblower on TransCanada. He alleged the
company was using substandard welding practices and not properly inspecting
their pipelines. Vokes was a pipeline materials engineer. It was his job
to make sure the company complied with court orders.
At a hearing on the Keystone XL Pipeline back in April, Vokes spoke
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVAN VOKES, TRANSCANADA WHISTLEBLOWER: TransCanada operated a culture of
intimidation and coercion to meet its construction objectives when weld
acceptance impacted construction schedule.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The Toronto Star reports the Canadian National Energy Board found
TransCanada non-compliant in four areas. The report does say, TransCanada
has taken action to correct these issues. We reached out for TransCanada
for a statement about Evan Vokes` allegations, here`s what they said.
"Mr. Vokes has said many things, and when he raised concerns we took them
seriously. Most of the items were already identified through normal review
processes and steps were taken to address them especially the ones of
immediate concern. We also put action plans in place to improve processes
for the future."
TransCanada has had to adhere to an accepted code of Pipeline construction
set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Straying from the
adopted code is not only illegal. It can compromise the integrity of a
pipeline which could end in catastrophe.
Evan Vokes, TransCanada former employee and engineer joins us tonight here
on the Ed Show.
Mr. Vokes I appreciate your time. What motivated you to come forward in
the manner that you did?
VOKES: What motivated me to come forward in manner, I did, I had gone
through the hierarchy of TransCanada, I`ve worked with a manager who tried
to intimidate and coerce all the time. And as I went and worked up my way
up through the engineering department and finally the recent invitation
from Russ Girling when he said he was disappointed with the Keystone and
buys in pipeline. So I went and sent him an e-mail that detailed what the
Regardless of what TransCanada`s position is, the fact to the matter is
that there`s ample of opportunity to make these changes because these
changes directly affected my job.
SCHULTZ: And why do you think the company didn`t make those changes?
VOKES: It was obviously the schedules and cost for put -- as far more
important things to accomplish with the project than the actually quality.
There was no real quality assurance department. There was no mandate for
projects to follow that. They can say what they want. My documentation
shows that they didn`t.
SCHULTZ: They had no quality assurance guidelines within the company?
VOKES: Well, they could make the argument that there were some basic rules
there, but we would do things like we would send out and see that we would
have NCRs that would go unanswered, yet the pipeline were still in service.
We had severe material problems. This is all happening. My department was
very (inaudible) in the construction of pipelines. We handled materials,
welding, coding, all the essential things that are problem for a pipeline
were actually handled in my department. And the thing that I was pushing
for years and years and years was inspection. So to have TransCanada say
that there was no problem is completely false.
SCHULTZ: So they say that the safest and most environmentally safe way to
transport Canadian oil to the Gulf coast and into the fineries in the
refineries. Do you agree with that? Is this the safest way to move oil?
VOKES: By far, pipelining is the safest way to move oil. There is no
doubt in my mind that it is the safest way to move oil. But, you know,
like when you have a company that has managed to blow up two brand new
pipelines in the last couple of years, I think there`s a severe problem
with the management of the company.
SCHULTZ: And do you think the -- how would you classify their work, I mean
if were to say that they`re doing the pipeline on the cheap, this is their
MO and all they care about is the bottom line and getting through the
VOKES: It comes down to the individual project manager and we`ve had some
project managers that they delivered some of the best pipelines in the
world (inaudible) and we`ve had some of their projects that have delivered
the worst pipelines I`ve ever seen.
SCHULTZ: So what are your main concerns about the Keystone XL Pipeline?
VOKES: I`m not in a position where I have the knowledge to make a judgment
if it`s good or bad for the environment or anything like that. What I do
know is that, with the regulatory or recycle we have on both -- on
(inaudible) production and with the pipeline. Basically there is no
essential control of the process. And, for instance, to tell it blow a
huge hole in Fort McMurray and with clove (ph) and 250 tons of TNT to a
couple acres of land and nobody says a word.
TransCanada can blow up a pipeline in United States and them to can only
say, "Oh, it`s avoidable." and yet we have a mandatory quality insurance
program and they hit the pipe four times. It`s like nobody is watching, or
if they`re watching they don`t say anything. When I worked there, you
know, like if you found something, you`re encouraged not to say something.
SCHULTZ: I was in Nebraska and spoke with folks who are affected by this.
They describe TransCanada as heavy-handed. Would you go along with that?
VOKES: I would go beyond heavy-handed. Certainly even compliant with
current legislation, TransCanada or as the information request and they
can`t be bothered to complete those in accordance with the law either, so.
SCHULTZ: Well Keystone 1 had 14 leaks in its first year. Is it percentage
wise, can we expect leaks on the Keystone XL?
VOKES: Some constructions techs -- use on the original Keystone Pipeline.
FEIMS had issued caution no to use those techniques. The solution was
actually that NOVA gas trunk lines and regardless of the fact we even
invented the technology and the methodology. We went ahead and went and
used what FEIMS didn`t advice us to do. So if -- it`s only a matter of
SCHULTZ: They do pipelines on the cheap, fair enough?
VOKES: On average, yes I would say that they do pipelines on the cheap,
not always but on average.
SCHULTZ: OK. On average. And describe the intimidation that you had to
put up with.
VOKES: I think, when we went and had the -- an industry expert that went
and solve an argument for us about whether or not we could see the welds on
buys in pipeline and he went and agreed that we couldn`t see the roots of
the welds. And he wrote a memo that said nobody from TransCanada Pipeline
should be signing off in that pipeline. And I write an e-mail to the
(inaudible) telling him that we should tell the -- tell FIMSA (ph). I
really think that`s fairly important.
We had a little meeting after that, and let`s just say that I didn`t come
out on the top of that meeting. And so then you find little notes in the
records about how that you`re unwilling to accept other people`s point of
view. And really it`s just compliance with the regulations and codes that
we were supposed to be doing. It wasn`t my opinion. It`s what we were
supposed to do.
SCHULTZ: Do you think .
VOKES: If we cant listen to the industry experts.
SCHULTZ: Yeah, -- and finally Mr. Vokes, do you think that the American
people can trust TransCanada?
VOKES: You know, this is very personal because, you know, I live next to
pipelines and I have relatives that live next to pipelines and I understand
completely that, that they haven`t behaved very well. And I believe that
the pipelines are important for Alberta but I really don`t think that the
duty of care for people at land is being taken away them has been achieved.
SCHULTZ: OK. Even Vokes, I appreciate your time tonight here on the Ed
Show. Thank you so much Former Engineer for TransCanada Even Vokes.
Coming up, Darrell Issa attack on the United States postal service gains a
new ally. What the latest budget cuts really mean.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. We`re not pretending tonight.
The once booming steel industry in Lorain, Ohio has some serious challenges
thanks to bad trade deals. The South Korean Trade Agreement isn`t just a
bad deal for workers. Less regulation and on manufacturing could have
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We take a lot of care with this equipment. This is
very important. If you have a deep back (ph) in a fight you put it into a
serve and it can fail on a well. That will jeopardize people`s lives, the
environment and also he health of that business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: We`ll have more from our series "Fighting Chance: American Steel"
all next week right here on the Ed show.
SCHULTZ: Welcome to the Ed Show. This is the story for the folks who take
a shower after work.
President Obama`s 2015 budget shows his refusal to stand up for the United
States Postal Service. This is a head shaker.
For years, this American institution has faced for Republican attacks on
resources in the threat of privatization. The 2006 Postal Accountability
and Enhancement Act forced the agency to pre-pay 75 years worth of future
healthcare cost for retirees over the course of 10 years.
No other business is held to that standard. This is draining resources in
a big way. Republicans like Darrell Issa work to ravage the United States
Postal Service profit and hack away services all in favor of privatization.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The majority of American`s see six day as not
REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R) CALIFORNIA: I`m concerned about the post office.
It`s going to lose $10 billion. A lot Washingtonian and big thanks for
saying "Well OK we`re just do a bailout we`re just, you know, fudge the
figures". And we can`t really keep doing that.
Before 1963 there were no unions so, there were no union contract with
postal workers. So going back to the constitution you`d be able to right-
size the post office at federal workers in days not in decades.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Issa isn`t talking about right-sizing he`s talking about
completely destroying the postal service.
Patrick Donahoe, the Postmaster General he doesn`t want to fight back.
He`s the wrong guy for the job right now. Donahoe supports the plan to end
Saturday delivery. The plan to slash services unfortunately has one more
ally that would be President Obama if you read his budget.
Not only has the White House endorsed ending letter delivery on Saturday.
The Obama Administration`s 2015 budget goes a step further. The budget
ends package delivery in addition to letter Saturday deliver.
Now, limiting the postal service further is not a solution. It`s a step to
destroy the postal service and open the door for privatization which
doesn`t do small businesses in this country a bit of good.
Joining me now, the President of the American Postal Workers Union Mark
Dimondstein. Great to have you with us, Mark. I appreciate your time
I want you to comment on President Obama`s budget. What do you read? How
do you read that?
MARK DIMONDSTEIN, PRES. AMERICA POSTAL WORKERS UNION: Well, Ed, the -- let
me first thank you for having me on the show to talk about something so
near and dear to the people of this country, the U.S. Postal Service.
But I want to put in a context. The postal service should not even be part
of the budget. The postal service runs on zero tax dollars. It`s funded
by the revenue of the users and therefore it has no business being in the
budget of the White House at all.
Given what the White House had said, we would expect and hope for much more
from any of our public service. Any of the politicians from either party
SCHULTZ: So what .
DIMONDSTEIN: . you are right -- you are right. The White House budget
talks about slowing down mail delivery, diminishing mail delivery and we
should be talking about the exact opposite. How to enhance, how to build,
how to serve the people of this country better and that`s what we should
expect from the White House.
SCHULTZ: Well, Darrell Issa says that the majority of Americans support
the suspension of six-day delivery that has not going to have much of an
impact. What`s your response to that?
DIMONDSTEIN: That isn`t true. The poll that said many Americans support
the elimination of six-day service were asked a question, "Would you do
that in order to still have and in order to save your postal service?" And
an answer to that question many people in the country said, "Of course,
DIMONDSTEIN: But that was a false question. And in fact now, the postal
service in some areas have shown that they can go to seven-day mail service
which is a much better way, you`re going on a five-day, you open a door to
five-day, it becomes four-day, three-day. And part of the White House
budget also calls for slowing down of the mail and does not fix the pre-
funding mandate that you`ve talked about in your open.
SCHULTZ: I just don`t .
DIMONDSTEIN: So .
SCHULTZ: I don`t see how President Obama doesn`t get that or the Democrats
don`t get that. Some of them do, OK. But to put it into a budget to
reduce services, no Americans are out there calling for the reduction of
services and no tax dollars are going to this as you`ve said. So what
would the end of Saturday delivery do to the postal service?
DIMONDSTEIN: Well, it`s -- it would kill a lot of service for the people
of this country. Many people do expect mail on Saturday, many businesses
do expect mail on Saturday, many people expect their medicines on Saturday
but also is a job killer.
So if the White House wants to talk about living wage jobs, if the White
House wants to talk about narrowing the gap on income inequality, there`s
no better way to do that than to defend good living wage jobs and the post
office has had a history of providing good living wage jobs.
So both the service to the American people would suffer. Once we go to
five-day delivery, the spigots open, maybe it`s a four-day, as I said maybe
it`s three-day. So this needs to be stopped, all four postal unions are
for enhancing postal service defending six-day mail service, defending good
service standards so people get their mail on time during the day, not at
night. The next day, first class mail rather than two and three and four
days later and the post office has the capability if they were to do the
right thing to do that.
I want to raise one other thing. There`s a lot of good debate now around
providing financial services to 68 million adults .
DIMONDSTEIN: . who were unbanked in this country.
DIMONDSTEIN: And that the White House could get behind and the politicians
could get behind and say, "This is a great way that the people of this
country can be better served by the trusted .
DIMONDSTEIN: . United States postal service.
SCHULTZ: And that would be Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders who are
pushing for that.
Mark Dimonstein, great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your
time. We will stay on the story and try to change the thinking of the
White House on this one.
That`s the Ed Show. I`m Ed Schultz.
Politics Nation with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now. Good evening,
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