THE ED SHOW
August 8, 2014
Guest: Joe Sestak, Michael O`Hanlon, Lawrence Wilkerson, Ruth Conniff,
Mahlon Mitchell, Raymond Burse
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Americans and welcome to the ED Show.
Live from Detroit Lakes Minnesota. Is this Iraq three? Let`s get to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Today
America is coming to help.
JOHN KERRY, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: For anyone who needed a wake
up call, this is it.
OBAMA: I directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Top priority of the United States is the security of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: U.S. military aircraft are in action in the skies over
OBAMA: Authorized targeted air strikes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. drop 500 pound bombs on ISIS enemy forces.
KERRY: Air strikes against this terrorist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ISIL`s campaign of terror against the innocent show all
the warning signs of genocide.
OBAMA: To prevent a potential act of genocide.
KERRY: The world needs to join us in condemnation of ISIL`s action.
OBAMA: The United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight folks. Thanks for watching. We
start with breaking news this evening. President Obama has authorized
targeted military air strikes in Iraq. They unfolded today. The United
States Military has conducted several air strikes against ISIL Targets in
Early this morning two F-18s drop 500 pound laser bombs -- guided bombs on
ISIL military artillery installations near Erbil, Iraq. Shortly after
10:00 A.M. this morning Eastern Time, a drone struck a terrorist mortar
position. At 11:20 A.M. Eastern, four F-18s bombed an ISIS convoy of seven
vehicles. The aircraft made two passes, dropped a total of eight laser-
guided bombs. All the targets were neutralized. Where does this end?
What does it mean?
The air strikes targeted radical Islamic forces that are trying to takeover
the Kurdish City of Erbil. The United States has diplomatic and military
personal eating the Kurds within that city. This is the first in what is
expected to be a series of American air strikes if ISIS forces continue
their assault on the city. President Obama made clear when American lives
are at risk, he will act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist
forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our
consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The President has also authorized humanitarian airdrops for a
potentially catastrophic situations 75 miles west of Mosul, Iraq. A
roughly 40,000 ethnic minorities are currently trapped atop the Sinjar
Mountain by Isis forces. Now the refugees are without food and water and
dying of dehydration. If they head down the mountain they will face a
murderous trail by ISIS forces. The President has authorized targeted air
strikes if necessary to save the lives of people trapped on the mountain.
President Obama said the United States cannot turn a blind eye to genocide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: When we face a situation like we do on that mountain with innocent
people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a
mandate to help, in this case a request from the Iraqi government. And
when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I
believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye. We can act,
carefully and responsibly to prevent a potential act of genocide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: These two operations put the United States Military right back in
the conflict in Iraq. It`s a situation war-weary Americans are not really
sure about it this hour. But the President made clear the United States
will not be dragged into another war in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome
our troop`s home, and that`s what we`ve done. As Commander-in-Chief, I
will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in
Iraq. And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these
terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That is something we all hope President Obama holds the line on.
Personally I think that these air strikes are going to lead to no good. In
24 hours we have gone from they are going to be limited air strikes to
there is no end date to these air strikes. What does it mean? None of us
Let me bring in former Navy Admiral and former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe
Sestak. Joe, good to have you back with us tonight. You were in military
intelligence, 30 years in the navy. Your assessment of what you know to
this point. How far and how long will this go? Is that something that can
FMR. REP. JOE SESTAK, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: Well I think what the President
had to do is to set certain benchmarks for a mission. And he`s had to
weigh the cost and the benefits at each step of those benchmarks. One of
them is humanitarian airlift, you mentioned it Ed. And, you know, we can
do that. That`s pretty easy. We can do it safely and drop lots of
The second one is using our artillery from the air, our aircraft in order
to stop the advance of ISIL. I think that the President is correct and
here`s why. This is the richest terrorist organization of any of them.
And we can`t permit them to have substantial territory in Iraq that`s a
safe haven that with their money they can eventually influence bad things
in Western Europe and in America.
No ground troops but the Kurds and the Iraqi government forces with aid
from us can do the grunt ground work. Our job -- and I think the President
maybe even should of acted earlier before 200,000 refugees went in
Kurdistan is to just to stop in the open the advance of ISIL.
SESTAK: We can do this safely with minimum risk. And I think for our
interest we would.
SCHULTZ: Well Joe if these terrorist are well-fueled, well-armed, well-
trained, wealthy, they have the wear with all. They`re better than any
other terrorist group out there. How are American citizens to believe that
limited air strikes is going to hold a bunch like this back that their just
going to turn and quit and get off the mission?
SESTAK: Well this is different than Afghanistan, where we had to go in
with our ground forces and to hunt out Al-Qaeda and chase them into
Pakistan. There is actually a very good Kurdish force there that has been
begging us for additional arms that ISIL has. There`s actually pretty darn
good Iraqi Forces, I said on your show two months anything that ISIL was
going to be at the end of the line once they came up against the best Iraqi
Forces. They can`t get Baghdad but what they`ve done is they`ve pivoted
have gone against the outpost of Kurdistan. So, and this is different.
This isn`t about ground troops.
There`s two entities there that can handle that if they`re given sufficient
support but Ed, this is important part. The President should have
benchmarks, and if those benchmarks aren`t being met that is the advance
keeps going on, then he`s got to go to his contingency plan which is
containment all around Iraq. That`s not what they did in Iraq before but
this President has set the limit, no ground troops. And so we can do with
artillery from the air or have a good chance of achieving a stoppage of
SCHULTZ: Can we contain extremist? Extremist always come back. Extremist
are driven from the heart and the soul, they`re willing to die for it.
This is Jihad on their part. So, I don`t know. You would have to wipe
them all out if you really want to erase the problem, would you? And at
this point is this is just American operation?
SESTAK: Well I would like just to forget about them and think they`ll
disappear but we don`t have a choice.
SESTAK: We went into Iraq.
SESTAK: And as General Powell said, if you break it you own it. And
what`s happened here in Syria as well as Iraq, splinter groups has sprung
up and we`re having to bear with the cost of a very unwise decision going
in Iraq. Now, we can do this by a different means today because the
technology of our military has transformed over the last decade. It
doesn`t mean we`re going to be successful of eradicating them.
But with the intelligence and Ed, this includes the NSA, we can gain the
intelligence to do surgical strikes and then to eventually close down the
money that flows to them. I think when Saudi Arabia and other countries
like that, and Kuwait that initially funded ISIS begins to understand the
dangers against them, then we can cooperate and close them down by even
other means. This is a fight. I don`t think the global world terror has
SCHULTZ: OK. So this is -- got a lot of dynamics to it, no doubt. I want
to go back Admiral Sestak to your previous comment about the Kurds. How
good is the Kurds when it comes to their military resource, their operation
and how would you pair them up against ISIS. Who`s the better army? Who`s
more fit? Who`s more driven?
SESTAK: Well the Kurds were the best forces in the early 90`s because if
you remember General Zinni from Stent (ph) went over there and we airlifted
600 pallets a day. As Saddam Hussein, after the first Gulf War is trying
eradicate the Kurds. They are very good. Ask turkey, they have to deal
amongst the Kurds being insurgents against them at times. But over time...
SCHULTZ: But Admiral that was 20 years ago.
SESTAK: That`s correct. Over time...
SCHULTZ That was -- yeah, OK.
SESTAK: Over time their training has -- well, I`d say (inaudible), but
with the right quick forces there some potential that we can bring them in
Turkey and other places, give them an advice, I think they could be rapidly
brought up to speed. They`re tough. And ask General Zinni.
SESTAK: So, I think the other force has been on the roll but now I think
we can -- with them doing it, stop them.
SCHULTZ: So, it would be pure speculation for us to say this but I think
it`s within the conversation, in the realm of possibility here that arming
the Kurds is an option to make sure that we don`t end up with boots on the
ground, that we could keep air strikes and our involvement in a limited
level and still deal with ISIS. Do you agree with that?
SESTAK: Without a question, and they have been asking us for two months
for us to do this. And frankly I think because of the dynamics of giving
arms to the Kurds and Prime Minister Maliki doesn`t want that because he`s
a Shia. But we`ve let the dynamics of the governance of Iraq overcome just
a pure frank national defense of certain areas that are in our interest to
make sure that ISIS doesn`t move against. So let`s go ahead and give them
the arms. I know its going to upset a little bit of Turkey and Maliki.
But we don`t have choice because we don`t want to wide...
SESTAK: ... swats of territory owned by ISIS.
SCHULTZ: OK, and...
SESTAK: It could be a safe haven, Ed, eventually.
SCHULTZ: OK, Admiral Joe Sestak, obviously we`ll have you back, really
SESTAK: Great to be on.
SCHULTZ: We appreciate your time here tonight. Thanks so much.
Let me bring in senior fellow and Director of Research in the Brooking
Institute Michael O`Hanlon. Michael good to have you on with us. Your
assessment of our involvement at this point, we have gone from limited air
strikes to no end date. What does that mean?
MICHAEL O`HANLON, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, BROOKING: First of all
congratulations on the great conversation with Admiral Sestak. And I
thought that was very informative. And I thought that he really brought
out a couple of the points that some of the military dynamics in regards to
the Kurdish fight with ISIL are on fact favorable to us, but to back your
point out, it doesn`t mean they`re going to end today or tomorrow. And
this could be an extended operation. But I think that part of it will be
limited in the sense that the Kurds are a cohesive ground force.
Yes, as you two said they may need some more weaponry. But I think our
role there can be limited to the air and trying to make sure this ISIL
conveys which are exposed and visible and targetable while their moving
across these open roads can be hit by America air power pretty well. So
that`s the more finite, doable part of the job where I think your concern
is appropriate and most sort of salient is in regard to what could come
next, as we try to think about helping the Iraqis take back the core of the
north and west of the country from ISIL down the road. And that`s sort of,
you know, a longer term proposition. That`s the harder question.
SCHULTZ: I guess Michael, my point is what`s plan B and plan C to be
prepared if this first effort to thwart ISIS and going after and creating a
horrible humanitarian situation and a murderous path for these people.
What`s our next step? And I`m sure the President has thought about that.
But I don`t how you can do that without number one, putting ground troops
involved or making sure that the people on the ground are going to be able
to fight back against ISIS, and clearly in that geographic part of Iraq it
would be the Kurds. So, we`re in this. I mean would you agree we`re in
O`HANLON: That`s right, and it may bother me a little less than it bothers
you because I heard your opening, and I heard how you were adamantly
against getting reengaged and that`s a very valid viewpoint to voice. My
number one concern is making sure this ISIL group doesn`t strike at the
United States. And I think we`re going to have to think...
O`HANLON: ... of it, as a long-term struggle to minimize their power. So,
if it takes a plan B or a plan C I`m willing to contemplate what that could
SCHULTZ: OK and with what would have happened had President Obama not
taken action in the last 24 hours?
O`HANLON: I think he made smart moves because I was worried about the tens
of thousands on the mountain. They may not be out danger yet, as I think
again you rightly argued in your opening. And even if we`ve gotten them
food for a day or two or three doesn`t mean its going to be the end of the
problem. What if the ISIL group starts charging that mountain? What if
they start trying to shoot at our airplanes when we do subsequent airdrops?
So that one`s not over yet.
I think the Kurdistan (ph) really does play to our strengths military.
It`s a favorable balance of power where we can provide limited amounts of
precise air power. And I would be very surprised if that one doesn`t work
out pretty well for us within Kurdistan itself. But that`s not going to
necessarily help us take back cities like Mosul, Fallujah, Ramadi, the way
I should put it, not going to necessarily answer how the Iraqi Army can
take back Mosul, Fallujah, Ramadi and so forth.
SCHULTZ: What -- Michael, what should our expectations of Maliki be at
O`HANLON: I think the expectation is we got to figure out a way to
persuade him to step down. I personally am willing to see us do a bit more
in Iraq. But I think it should be under this Prime Minister because I
don`t think he can be successful. I think he`s already polarized and
divided the country so much that there simply is not realistic way that he
can get that Iraqi Army to go on the fight, on the offensive, back into the
Sunni areas of the country, the cities that I just mentioned, the places
where ISIL is in control.
It`s going to require a new government of national unity that he cannot
lead. I think the Obama administration is handling it correctly by trying
to make this argument quietly. Because if we do it publicly, it`s probably
going to backfire, but I think that`s that right approach.
SCHULTZ: Michael O`Hanlon, I appreciate your time tonight from the
Brookings Institute, thanks for joining us for the discussion, we`ll come
back to you, thank you so much, appreciate it.
Coming up, how we got here, a history of the United State`s involvement in
Iraq. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson for the conversation next here on the Ed
And later, the rapid response panel weights in on Scott Walker`s continuing
fight against union in the State of Wisconsin, he`s going round two now
going after firefighters and policeman, we`ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back the Ed Show, thanks for watching tonight, America
has been in and out of Iraq for the last 23 years. The last four
presidents have all used military action. Tonight, we take a look a back
at how this all started.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Awaits the morning of the invasion of the Iraq, we`re
making no mistake about it. They came by land, and by sea, and by air.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no place that sort of major attraction in
MARGARET THATCHER, UNITED KINGDOM FORMER PRIME MINISTER: We need a
collective and effective will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask for you support in the decision I`ve made to
stand up for what`s right and condemn what`s wrong all in the cause of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is of course of peace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ordered the Iraqi army to blow up the oil fields of
Kuwait, scenes of apocalyptic devastation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sirens are still going, let`s listen. (Inaudible)
as you can to (inaudible) shelter now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike (ph), Mike (ph) (inaudible) information
(inaudible) find out. We just lost Saudi Arabia, that`s not an encouraging
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Allied Air Forces began an attack on military
targets in Iraq and Kuwait. These attacks continue as I speak, ground
forces are not engaged.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dessert storm continues to rage across Kuwait and
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a 70,000 American army task force now driving
deep into Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Allies liberation of Kuwait City begun just after
dawn when a convoy of U.S. marines moved in to secure the American embassy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are cashes of weapons that have been simply left
standing, and heavy ammunition and riffles, there are all sort of things.
They`re simply been left while they disappear, in fact tanks have been left
sitting in the middle of the street while they run away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a classic, absolutely classic military breaching
of a very, very tough minefield.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saudi Arabian soldiers were at prayer, thanking their
god that this Jihad, this war between good and evil had so far been short,
mercifully bloodless and the good guys have finally won.
GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: The greatest danger facing America
and the world is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical,
and biological weapons.
Coalition forces have begun striking selective targets of military
importance and undermine Saddam Hussein`s ability to wage war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just about an hour and half after the President`s
deadline, the first reports came in of explosion in Baghdad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Iraqi capital city has been the target of two
surgical strikes against buildings and bunkers where the Iraqi leadership
including Saddam Hussein lives and works.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Payday, the start of this big campaign called shock and
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They could -- get the brass to bend but not to break
BUSH: My fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When American forces finally caught up with Saddam
Hussein today, he was hiding in a crawl space, a spider hole, the military
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the rest of the group now needs to get out too
under intense fire.
BUSH: Did you know we`re on the offense against insurgence and terrorists?
General Petraeus with us, who served incredibly well in Iraq, he`s job was
to help U.S. forces and coalition forces, train the Iraqi so they can take
it back to the enemy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The marines were killed by a roadside bomb in the town
OBAMA: There`s no military solution to this, we got to be political
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This weekend, the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq
OBAMA: Today American troops have transferred control of all Iraqi cities
and towns to Iraq`s government.
Would now been to nearly a decade or war. American combat mission in Iraq
has ended. Operation Iraqi freedom is over.
We begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In one of the most unpredictable parts of the world.
OBAMA: Even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out there in the dark, along the beach, true (ph)
positive that this still a war zone.
OBAMA: American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The political and military implication of all these are
OBAMA: Today America is coming to help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining us tonight is Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of
Staff and Secretary of State Colin Powell, and professor of the collage of
William and Mary in Virginia in Williamsburg.
Colonel good to have with us tonight. Your boss Colin Powell said at that
time, you told the president you break it you own it, are we at that point
tonight. As they say, a map up of what maybe we shouldn`t have done, your
RET. COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, U.S. ARMY: Well, I think we`ve been at that
point, Ed since the statue came down in Baghdad in 2003. In for a penny,
in for a pound, the latest penny is couple of F-18 strike fighters and
perhaps some drone strikes later. One wonders what the pound is going to
SCHULTZ: And do you agree with the President`s course of action at this
point? Is this something that we just had to do at this moment?
WILKERSON: I think we have neglected the political situation in Iraq to
the sense that, yes, you`re right, the political situation being
essentially that it isn`t so much the Islamic state and that`s their new
name, intelligence sources tell me, giving you some idea of their overall
objective. They no longer want to be identified with the Levant, Syria or
Iraq but as Islamic state. I think in Iraq there`re effectiveness is
because they`ve got the Sunnis on their side. They`ve got the Sunnis on
their side, the very same Sunnis that they betrayed as you recall, awakened
because of Maliki`s ineptitude (ph) from Baghdad.
So the real power in Iraq right now is not so much the Islamic state as it
is the Sunnis who were backing them and the Saudis are funding them. As
long as Maliki is the political leader, this isn`t going to change in my
view. So the first thing we should`ve done sometime ago is work hard to
get Maliki out of there and get someone in there who can be a little more
tolerant of his Sunnis brothers.
SCHULTZ: Colonel, have we learned something from this from our previous
involvement in Iraq that maybe democracy just isn`t going to work and maybe
we went a bridge too far and believing that Maliki could actually bring
some kind of inclusion and formal government to Iraq that we would never
have to go down this road again. What did we learn?
WILKERSON: I think you`re right that that was an aspiration too far. But
I will say that we could have picked a better ruler. We could have picked
someone who would be more -- not a Jeffersonian Democrat as you suggested
that isn`t going to happen, but we could have picked someone who is going
to be more tolerant of the different political entities that exist in Iraq.
Principally, the Sunnis and the Shia but you`ve got lot of others either
from Turkmen to Zoroastians.
So, we need someone in there who understands that if he wants to maintain
the sovereignty and integrity of Iraq he wants to keep the Kurdish regional
government autonomous but within Iraq. It was to keep all of Iraq
together. He`s got to use all of Iraq. He`s got to appeal to all of Iraq
and therefore he`s got to give everybody a little bite of the political
apple. This is not Maliki.
WILKERSON: .but that`s not to say.
WILKERSON: .there isn`t someone there that would believe that and will try
to accomplish that.
SCHULTZ: It would be a hard sell to get Americans to believe that there
might be someone out there that could be different to bring all these
factions together at this point. And I`m not sure if this country has the
appetite for the resource. I know exactly what you`re saying but.
WILKERSON: I agree with you.
SCHULTZ: .we`re at of point now. Yeah. You know, we`re at a point right
now where, we really don`t know what the right move is and the move at this
hour is that we went in to save 40,000 people from being massacred but what
is round two going to be.
SCHULTZ: . and how we`re going to deal with ISIS. Do you have any
thoughts on that?
WILKERSON: You summed it up, in for a penny, in for a pound. What`s the
pound going to be? Is it going to be eventually ground forces? I don`t
see how air power is going to make the Peshmerga the Kurdish forces or the
largely Shia, Iraqi military suddenly grow a heart and a soul and a
patriotism. I just don`t see it. So, what`s going to happen if we don`t
substantially intervene and what`s going to happen if we do substantially
intervene? All we`re going to do is stabilize the situation momentarily
and wait for it to fall apart again unless we`re prepared to stay there
forever. So we put ourselves.
SCHULTZ: Which isn`t...
WILKERSON: Yeah, we put ourselves in a really dicey situation.
SCHULTZ: Yeah. And we`re seeing that unfolding right now and having to
deal with that -- I guess you could say, round three within 20 years is
upon us at this hour. It`s going to be -- it`s a pretty ominous situation,
there`s no doubt. And then colonel, I want your reaction and maybe I`m
looking too closely at this, but in the last 24 hours we`ve gone from the
terminology of limited air strikes to know end date. What does that mean?
WILKERSON: And we`ve also join genocide out there. I really wish John
Kerry would learn to be a little more circumspect on the use of his
language. Let me suggest something to you. The most stable country in
South-west Asia right now is Iran. Yes. Iran. The most stable country in
South-west Asia. Our approach among (ph) with Iran or at least better
relations with Iran is absolutely necessary for a solution on Afghanistan,
for a solution in Syria; for a solution in Iraq, for a solution in the
One of the things we should be doing right now and I hope we are doing
behind the scenes is we should be doing this nuclear negotiations to open a
wider tapestry (ph) with Iran and to build the kind of relationship we had
when indeed, Iran was our hegemon in the gulf from 1953 to 1979.
SCHULTZ: Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson I appreciate your time tonight on the
ED Show. Thanks for the conversation. Thanks so much.
WILKERSON: Thank you Ed.
SCHULTZ: Still ahead, the fight for labor rights continues in Wisconsin,
it`s round two there. Rapid Response panel weighs in. And the curvy couch
club wants to have their hate and eat it too. Pretenders is ahead, stick
Next, I`ve got your questions, Ask Ed at live, coming up on the ED Show on
MSNBC. We`ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. I appreciate the questions in our
Ask Ed Live Segment. We got time for one on this Friday and it come from
Caroline. She wants to know, "If Saddam Hussein were alive, would ISIS be
the threat they are today?"
Well, (inaudible) money more in quarterback. You could be 100 percent
right, but based on the way Saddam Hussein squashed every opposition that
he face as dictator, I don`t think ISIS would have ever had an opportunity
to get off the ground. The whole dynamic of the country changed after our
invasion in this effort to give democracy and freedom on the march. We
injected ourselves into their -- our philosophy and to try to make it work,
it didn`t work. The factions are still there and extremist are now coming
to be a huge problem
So, no, I think that Saddam Hussein would -- they would have not evolved
that what it is today. Stick around, Rapid Response Panel is next.
HAMPTON PEARSON, HOST: I`m Hampton Pearson with your CNBC Market Wrap.
Stocks rally on report of a pullback by Russian troops from the Ukrainian
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It was tough July for McDonald`s the world largest restaurant chain said,
global sales fell 2.5 percent. U.S. sales strike 3.2 percent. And workers
were more productive in the second quarter, productivity rose at 2.4
through 5 percent annual rate, a big improvement over Q1 when it actually
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. Last week in a five to two
decision, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court upheld Governor Scott Walker`s
anti-union law known as Act 10. The lead opinion read like this.
Collective bargaining remains a creation of legislative grace and not
Act 10 effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers. I
say most, because Walker and the Republican law makers exempted police and
firefighters from the law saying that they couldn`t risks strikes by public
Now folks, back then I told you, it was a matter of time until Walker and
his crones would want to expand these restrictions of collective
Today, Apsmi (ph) in Wisconsin sent out a tweet reminding Wisconsin voters
of what Walker said just last summer when he was asked about the potential
to expand the law to police and firefighters.
I think now for those areas having seen that the world didn`t come to an
end for all of your municipal employees and county employees, there might
be a greater opening going forward because they`d say, hey things worked
Well, it sounds a lot like I got a way with it the first time so what do
you say we go to round two. The next day Walker claimed that he has simply
made an observation in response to question saying that, there isn`t a
specific proposal I`m pushing. Walker`s spokesperson clarified "If the
issue were to arise in the legislature the governor would take a look at it
as he does with many other issues."
Yes, right. Folks, let me tell you something. This is why every single
election and every single vote matters. If you live in the great state of
Wisconsin you need to pay attention before it is too late, because if you
give Republican an answer going to be taking to mile, and the men and women
who risk their lives to protect and serve could end up being the ones who
pay the price next when it comes to protections to the workplace and
Joining me tonight in Rapid Response Panel, Mahlon Mitchell who was a State
President of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin and president of
the Firefighters Local 311 in Madison, and also with Ruth Conniff, Editor-
in-Chief of the Progressive Magazine.
Ruth first, what is your interpretation of what the Republicans are
collectively saying now and the way they`re handling this when it pops up?
RUTH CONNIFF, THE PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE: Well, I think Walker would be
incredibly stupid to undercut the people who he handed the political favor
to, basically for endorsing him. Because the Milwaukee police supported
Walker when he ran for election, he exempted them from this attack Unions.
And to recent that now, I think would be an active desperation on his part,
but it maybe that he`s starting to feel desperate.
You know, the polls now show Wisconsin governor`s race in the dead heat.
And so, we have an incumbent governor who`s in a position of trying shore
up his base and, you know, flex his muscles for the right-wingers who
really form that thousands of his base. That`s not a good position for him
to be in at this stage in the election as an incumbent. So, I think it
doesn`t put Walker in the great position and that`s where he is.
I think it doesn`t come as a surprise to people that he always intended the
disempower unions across the state. The Supreme Court decision was really
the final blow after a long bitter set of legal fights over that. And
unions are really in a position now trying to regroup and think about a new
model of really understanding how to get people`s political and economic
power organized to fight for working people, the majority of people in this
state because they can.
CONNIFF: .appeal to the state`s officials. These right-wingers that
Walker appointed to look out for their interests.
SCHULTZ: Mahlon Mitchell, how concerned are the firefighters about this,
that you maybe the next target when it comes to collective bargaining?
MAHLON MITCHELL, PRESIDENT, PFFW: Well Ed, in 2011 we knew this was a real
possibility, but in 2011 when we came out on the front lines with our
brothers and sisters in labor, we did it because it was the right thing to
do. What do firefighters do in emergency? We respond. So that`s
essential to what we were doing but, this is bigger that just about labor
unions in our state or just about workers` rights.
This is really about the attack on the middle-class. And what our governor
has done is create a villain. And they all add this -- our political
fathers have create a villain, and they keep attacking that villain and
attacking that villain. And this is what Governor Walker has done.
I mean, look at what`s happened in our state over these last two years.
Take out Act 10. He refused to take the federal medicate expansion, $489
million from the federal government gone. Seventy-seven thousands in
Wisconsin has no longer have health coverage. It`s got to cost a tax fair
a $119 million. It`s a $3.6 billion from K to 12 education in his first
budget, and then put $1.2 million back, this last budget and calls that
Now it`s a billion dollars the first and put million dollars back and calls
that progress. He promised 250,000 jobs, but we`re nowhere near that mark.
So right now Ed, we are in spot where we got the Wisconsin -- the people
from Wisconsin recognize what`s going on. Right now, we are ten out of...
MITCHELL: We`re the last...
MITCHELL: ... we`re number 10, when it comes to job growth. So, I`ll
going to say like Drake said it, "We started from the bottom, now we`re
here". So, I hope the people realized in Wisconsin that what happens at
the polls is important.
SCHULTZ: Well, it doesn`t, the Supreme Court upholding Act 10, really make
anybody in a Union a real political target. And do you trust the
Republicans, Mahlon that they`re not going to be coming after you, that
they`re going to respect the fact that they don`t want any problems with
the police and the firefighters and they want support?
MITCHELL: Oh right now, we`re not quite sure. We`re -- our legislative
session is over until January, we got a heated election with the Mary Burke
and Governor Walker. So we`re going to keep our eyes on the price and do
what we have to do right now to change the entire state of Wisconsin. Not
just for labor unions, obviously that`s a concern for us and my members.
But we`re going to make sure our voices are loud and clear, and just
because we`re exempt as firefighters and police officers that we`re still
on this fight. We`ve been on the front-line from the get go we`ll continue
to be on the front-line until the job is done.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Ruth, isn`t` this the perfect story to get Republican
legislators on the record on where they stand on this?
CONNIFF: I think it -- yes, I think it`s a good idea to track them down
and ask them a couple of questions. You know, what I see here is really
the backfiring of Walker`s divide and conquer strategy. He did in fact.
CONNIFF: .divide and conquered the state. But people are tired of being
divided and they`re feeling conquered and things aren`t going well, and
that`s why they`re really started to look away from Walker.
SCHULTZ: They`re looking away from Walker because I think, number one the
jobs, but if this is also were trust issues and it Ruth? I mean, do you
trust -- can the firefighters and the police officers who in that area
that`s supported him comeback and trust him knowing that, "Oh, yes, he`s
really going to protect our bargaining rights." I mean, isn`t that a leap
of faith on this guy?
CONNIFF: Yes, I mean I think there is a trust issue, I think it always
looks like, straight up political favoritism. It was unequal treatment of
different sets of folks because of they backed in the election, that was
very clear. You know, but he never said to people, "I want to make things
better for you." He said to people, "I think.
CONNIFF: .these unionized public employees have it too good and I`m going
to make things worse for them." And it was successful in stirring a
bitterness for a while but that bitterness ultimately, I think, can come
back and haunt you (ph).
MITCHELL: And Ed if you don`t mind I want to be clear that, when you say
the firefighters -- I`m sorry -- the firefighters endorsed Governor Walker,
my unit of.
SCHULTZ: Now all of them.
MITCHELL: .federal firefighter in Wisconsin which we have 3200
firefighters, we did not endorsed Scott Walker the first or second or done
SCHULTZ: Yeah. There was one group in Milwaukee that did, that`s what I
was referring to. Mahlon Mitchell, Ruth Conniff, great to have you with us
tonight. Appreciate your time.
Coming up, paying it forward, the man who asked for a $90,000 pay cut to
give Kentucky State University minimal wage workers a raise. Dr. Raymond
Burse joins me, stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in Pretenders tonight, vindictive vacation, Fox & Friends.
President Obama is cutting his vacation short to get back to work. Our
friends on the Curby Couch are calling, "shenanigans".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: Let the speculation begin, because the
President of the United States has how announced that he`s going to be
cutting his vacation his vacation off by about a week.
STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS HOST: Yeah, there`s going to be some vacation
ANNA KOOIMAN, FOX NEWS HOST: Let the speculation begin.
KILMEADE: I think he`s going to push that action though, if you`re going
to do something major, why do it before Labor Day?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: OK, no confusion here. Fox & Friends hate it when the President
comes back from going vacation almost as much as they hated him going on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: JFK didn`t go golfing during the Cuban missile crisis, the
DOOCY: For the average person watching right now, they`re thinking, "You
know, we`ve been hurting all summer" and the president said like a month
ago, "Yes, I`ve got a big speech, but you got to wait until after my mart
(ph) has been yearned vacation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama and his family head to Martha`s
Vineyard today for a 10-day vacation. This is the second year in a row,
the Obamas have vacation in Martha`s Vineyard and it`s been four years
since I`ve been there, so how weird is that?.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is strange.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, what`s the next subject on?
DOOCY: Fifty-five percent of Americans are not booking a summer vacation
this year. Don`t tell President Obama that, even with no death deal, he is
still planning a swanky vacation on Martha`s Vineyard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You can`t have it both ways on the curvy couch if Fox & Friends
believe hypocrisy is fair and balanced, they can keep on pretending.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the ED Show. This is the story for the folks who
take a shower after work. Earlier this week, we brought you the story of a
man from Kentucky who stepped up in a big way to address income inequality
in his own backyard. Dr. Raymond Burse was hired as interim president of
Kentucky State University. He was set to be paid almost $350,000 a year,
then Burse asked for a $90,000 pay cut, that money is going to be use to
improve the hourly pay of university employees currently making minimum
As a result of Burse`s sacrifice, at least 24 employees from Kentucky State
University will go on from making $7.25 an hour to $10.25 an hour effective
immediately. Burse also pledged to take further salary cuts anytime new
minimum wage employees are hired on his watch. Folks if you want to know
what real leadership is all about, look no further than my next guest here
on the ED Show.
Joining me tonight, Dr. Raymond Burse, interim president, Kentucky State
University. Dr. Burse, good to have you with us tonight. We talked a lot
about income inequality on this program and the injustices that play out in
our economy. And I was wondering if anybody was ever going to do this and
low and behold, it`s a gentleman from higher education in Kentucky,
yourself. What inspired you to make this choice and to do this? Good to
have you with us tonight.
DR. RAYMOND BURSE, INTERIM PRESIDENT, KSU: Well, I`m glad to be with you
this evening Ed. You know, for me it was a question about having some
impact on employees at Kentucky State in terms -- my coming into the
institution. You know, for a few weeks prior to, actually taken over
leadership I thought about what is I wanted to do, and this is one of the
things I was looking at and considering. And when the opportunity
presented itself I presented it to the board, asking for provision in my
contract to do it and I did it because I thought it was the right things to
do for those employees, the right things to do for the institution and I`m
glad I did it.
SCHULTZ: There`s not many people in America that would offer up $90,000 a
year of their salary. Have you ever made 350 grand a year, would this have
bee new territory for you?
BURSE: Well, I would say, it would not have been new territory for me.
How about that?
SCHULTZ: OK, well, good for you. You`re an unselfish man after the fruits
of life. What has been the community response? What`s it been like?
BURSE: It`s been overwhelming. On the campus, actually they -- the boy
took a vote. At the end of the board meeting there was a standing ovation
in the board room and somebody marks (ph) today, I had never seen a
standing ovation in the KSU board room in the years that I`ve been there.
Walking across campus that day, going back to my office, one of the
employees impacted by this walked to me, shock my hands, said thank you
with tears in her eyes. That was a very moving moment for me because I
wasn`t expecting that but, you know, since this story has coming out we`ve
gotten calls, e-mail, text, you name it from people almost around the
world. It`s been an amazingly unbelievable what has taken place.
SCHULTZ: Have you heard from people around the country that have suggested
maybe they`re going to do the same thing? I say that this is a big
movement of leadership. What kind of responds? Are other people stepping
up? Maybe they`re going to do the same thing?
BURSE: You know, I haven`t heard anyone say that they are willing to do
that. What I have heard from people is a number of people who have send me
e-mails or text saying that they`re going to make a contribution to the KSU
alumni fund. I`ve had at least four parents who have written and say that
they want their son and daughter to go to Kentucky State. It`s been those
kinds of reaction that I`ve been receiving.
SCHULTZ: It had to be, as you mentioned a rewarding moment when that
employee came up to you with tears in her eyes. Before that, did you know
any of these employees that you would be affecting for the better?
BURSE: Well, some of them I`ve known over the years. I was president of
Kentucky State from 1982 to 1989 so in terms of returning, there were a
number of employees on the campus who I knew from my previous tenure there.
You know, as it relates to the 24 employees impacted by this, as I sit here
today other than the one lady who walked up to talk to me, I do not know
any of the individual, will be impacted by this and that`s not important to
What`s more important is that we have been able to raise their standard of
living by the contribution that I`m making to them and that to me says it
SCHULTZ: And I would assume that you support a federal mandate to raise
the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour?
BURSE: You know, I think there`s something that`s has got to be done and
it should be done soon.
SCHULTZ: Dr. Raymond Burse, congratulations on your leadership, all the
best to you at Kentucky State University and thanks for changing the lives
of some people on your watch. You`re a leader.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight.
BURSE: Thanks for having me Ed.
SCHULTZ: Thanks so much. You bet. That`s the ED Show. I`m Ed Schultz.
Politics Nation with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.
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