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'The Ed Show' for Thursday, November 12, 2009

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: David Corn, Clint Van Zandt, Bill Press, Virg Bernero, A.B. Stoddard, John Feehery, Robert Greenwald

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST:  Thirteen counts of premeditated murder.  That‘s what the military is charging the suspected Fort Hood shooter with, Major Hasan.  I don‘t think it‘s enough.  I think he should be charged with terrorism.  I think it was a terrorist attack.

Now, I know some liberals and progressives out there are just going to cringe at that thought, but in some cases, my friends, there are absolutes.  This is about motives.  The United States Military was attacked.  They represent this country as a whole.  I believe this was an attack on our country.  I think we‘ve just got to look at some simple facts here.

Hasan was openly questioning the mission.  As a Muslim, he didn‘t want to fight Muslims abroad.  He expected and exchanged e-mails with a number of radical clerics, OK?  His presentation in medical school led many to question if he was a terrorist sympathizer.  He warned of adverse effects?  What‘s that?  He - he also opened fire on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood.  Now, I don‘t think that‘s any different than the 19 hijackers who changed this country on September 11, 2001.  As an American, I feel like this was terrorism. 

No political party has a lock on the market when it comes to the definition of terrorism, and I just like to say tonight to Dick Cheney who‘s used terrorism to politicize and divide this country probably more than any political figure in the history of this country.  The red flags on Major Hasan went up on your watch, Mr. Cheney in 2007.  Maybe you should have spent more time actually working on our national security instead of giving us lip service of what you‘re doing.  The vetting process failed.  A lot of people had a hand in letting this suspect slip through the cracks.

Now, we have to figure out what happened here obviously.  Investigation‘s going on, but we can‘t just sit back and do it without asking the honest, tough questions and calling it what it is.  In my opinion, this was not the act of one bad apple.  It was an act of terrorism.

I want to know what you think about this tonight, folks.  Is this going too far?  I don‘t think it is.  I want to know what you think.  Do you view the killings at Fort Hood as terrorism?  Text A for yes, B for no to 622639.  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show tonight.

For more, let me bring in our guest, David Corn, Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones, and also Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst.

Mr. Corn, where do you stand on this?  Was this an act of terrorism in Fort Hood a week ago tonight?

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF FOR MOTHER JONES: Ed, I disagree with you slightly.  I think in some ways it‘s immaterial, that it doesn‘t matter.  We are not fighting a war on terrorism.  We‘re fighting a war, engaging in conflict with a certain group of people - al Qaeda, the Taliban, other radical jihadists who plan to do harm to our country and to our fellow soldiers.

SCHULTZ:  Well, that‘s what this guy was. 

CORN:  But wait a sec - but to me, he was psychotic - there were indications that he was psychotic as well.  He might have been acting totally on his lonesome and to me - to talk about terrorism in an operative fashion, that means actually you‘re talking about an organized entity.

SCHULTZ:  Now, David (INAUDIBLE).  David, David, David.

CORN:  Go ahead, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Do you think the 19 hijackers had their heads screwed on right?  Do you think they have some issues between the ears?  I mean, come on. 

CORN:  I think they were a part of a large infrastructure, that they have a mission of doing us harm.

Now, was - was the Fort Hood shooter in the same position?  I don‘t know.  But, at the end of the day, I don‘t think it matters much.  If he was working with people, then we have a bigger problem.

SCHULTZ:  All right. 

CORN:  . even bigger than the one we have.

SCHULTZ:  So he communicated with.

CORN:  But as a lone person, it doesn‘t matter what motivated him.

SCHULTZ:  He communicated with a radical cleric.  Now, we‘ve had this big discussion about the Patriot Act, listening in on conversations, getting into people‘s privacy, but now, all of a sudden, you‘re taking the position, well, it really doesn‘t matter.  It‘s not the same thing.  It‘s very much the same thing.

I mean, if he‘s communicating with someone who purports the idea that the United States of America should be hit, Americans should be killed, and then he goes out and does it, what the hell is that?  That‘s terrorism.

CORN:  Well, what I‘m saying is, you know, you can call it whatever you like.  If he‘s communicating with someone, it depends whether that mean - did that motivate him?  Did he act in that person‘s behest or would he have done it without that communication to begin with?  But, you know, all of that stuff, to me, doesn‘t matter.  Calling this an act of terror doesn‘t change anything.

We want the - we want - we want our men and women, our military bases to be safe from people who are psychotic, from people who are driven by religious fanaticism or people driven by a political agenda.  It doesn‘t matter why.

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Clint Van Zandt, it just seems to me that all of a sudden us Americans, we‘re timid.  We‘re afraid to call it what it is.  I think it‘s terrorism.  I‘m sure other people see it differently. 

What‘s the definition?  Are we going to have this academic discussion in this country about what a terrorist attack is? 


·         I don‘t think we should.  As you say, the 9/11 hijackers, they were terrorists.  Timothy McVeigh was a domestic - domestic terrorist.  The DC Snipers were terrorists.

When you are attacking a large group of people who - who have done you no wrong whatsoever and when you‘re trying to instill terror into a body of people, that‘s a terrorist.  Ed, the challenge here was that - it wasn‘t a case of connecting the dots, it was a lot of people have the dots, Ed, and they kept the dots in their pocket.  They didn‘t put them out on the table. 

SCHULTZ:  And why did that happen?

VAN ZANDT:  I think that the vast majority of people who took a look

at this guy didn‘t want to call it for what it is.  They didn‘t want to

say, here‘s a doctor with some psychological problems.  Here‘s a doctor who

is espousing that Americans could or should die.  Here‘s a guy who says he

doesn‘t support America in the war and instead -

Ed, instead of all the doctors and all the fellow medical students and the FBI and the Army CID, instead of everybody coming together and saying, let‘s put our dots on the table, let‘s see what we have, and then let‘s send an FBI and a CIA or a CID agent out to interview this guy, everybody passed the buck because they didn‘t want to call him what he was - a radicalized, Islamic fundamentalist and they were afraid to say it.

SCHULTZ:  And you wouldn‘t say that, Mr. Corn?  You don‘t believe that he was a radical Islamic terrorist?

CORN:  I - well, listen, I‘m saying it doesn‘t matter what we want to call him.  You can call him whatever you like.  You know, we‘re still - you know, you earlier said let‘s see what the investigation brings to bear.  I want an investigation - I want an investigation, even more importantly, into what Cliff was just talking about - the failure to connect the dots. 

We see this in a lot of institutions, whether it‘s the Catholic priesthood or whether it‘s the military, people are loathe to jump on their own and they sent him to Fort Hood without telling the people down there—the people here in the East Coast that the guy was a problem.  This is very much like the case of the Virginia tech student who (INAUDIBLE).

SCHULTZ:  Well, let me ask you this.

CORN:  . and killed people because, again, there are a lot of indications from people who‘d worked with him that he was a disturbed individual, yet no one really wanted to bring to bear what that meant.

SCHULTZ:  Well, look, if this guy had not been in the military, would he have been treated differently?  That‘s one thing that I‘d like to have answered.  I - I think that that military uniform gave him some cover in a sense and I also think there might have been some political correctness in all of this.

But I want to bring up the point about timothy McVeigh.  Does - did he fit the definition of a terrorist, in your opinion? 

CORN:  Well, we know that his mission in life was to attack the US government.  Now, we know he was working with other people too, and so we know a lot about what went into his thought processes that did that.  At the end of the day, still he - he blew up the building in Oklahoma City, the same amount of people died, and he was treated as a mass murderer and given the ultimate justice, you know, whether you agree or disagree with - with the sentencing he received.

SCHULTZ:  Well, I think he was a terrorist.

CORN:  But, you know, calling - you know, I don‘t see what calling it

·         I don‘t -

The whole issue, fighting over whether this is terrorism or not, I think takes our eye off the ball.  When you‘re talking (ph).

SCHULTZ:  Well, I don‘t quite understand the difference between what this guy did at Fort Hood and what the 19 hijackers did on September 11th.  It comes from the same - it - it comes from the same root of thought, it comes from the same motivation.

CORN:  If it‘s a lone guy acting by himself, the implications of that are far different than 19 people working with a worldwide, global organization that has the means to do - pull up the (INAUDIBLE).

SCHULTZ:  I disagree on that.  Sorry.

CORN:  These are completely different cases. 

SCHULTZ:  Clint Vans Zandt, there - there have been terrorist attack, suicide bombers - suicide bombers, they act as one person, not as group of 10.  They go into a crowd, they blow up - they kill a hundred people.  That‘s the exact same thing. 

CORN:  Ed, suicide bombers are put out by other organizations.

SCHULTZ:  All right, Clint, your thoughts on this.  Clint, what do you

·         what do you - I mean.

VAN ZANDT:  Well, I - you know, what we have to learn in this, Ed, too, is who either worked with him or who inspired him to commit these acts?  I think that, you know, if we find there is inspiration from this cleric who‘s hiding out in Yemen from Bin Laden or anywhere else - or anyone else that would further our definition.  But what he will be tried as is a mass murder - 13 individual counts of murder.

He will be tried and he‘ll be court-martialed as a mass murder and a killer of 13 separate people.

SCHULTZ:  How do we protect (INAUDIBLE) again, Clint?VAN ZANDT:  Say again, Ed?

SCHULTZ:  How - how do we protect, you know, against this from happening again?  I mean.

VAN ZANDT:  Well, yes, there‘s - there‘s a lot of things, Ed.  Number one, this guy bought one of his killing guns on August 1st.  There was no way that gun registration - now, what - what‘s he doing buying a pistol like that when he‘s about to deploy?  If he needs guns, the army will give him all the guns he needs when he gets to Afghanistan, so he didn‘t need a gun.

So there was no way to connect gun registration with the fears of his colleagues saying this guy has got psychological challenges, with the e-mails flying back and forth between him and Yemen.  Somebody should have tied all that together and, Ed, we didn‘t learn - since 9/11, we still have firewalls between our agencies that don‘t allow them to share critical information and then allowed a guy like this to stay out there under the shroud of his religion.

SCHULTZ:  And that‘s what I find amazing.

VAN ZANDT:  I don‘t think - I don‘t think.

SCHULTZ:  That‘s what I find amazing is that we have had this big rearrangement, the Department of Homeland Security was the biggest of government in the history of this country and it was put together like, this the different chains of commands and the oversight to protect us from something like this.

And, David Corn, moving forward, what should we do?  I mean, how many more departments, how many more Patriot Acts, how many more safeguards can we have?  It still comes down to due diligence.

CORN:  That‘s exactly right.  You hit that - you hit the nail on the head there.  I don‘t think it‘s a question - I would - I would disagree with Clint that there are walls that prevented the dots to be connected here, to use all the cliches.  I think the problem was that people were sweeping the problem under the rug in their own individual components.

If the guy who did the analytical work on his e-mailing with the - with the radical imam in - in Yemen.

SCHULTZ:  Well, that‘s enough for me.

CORN:  . and known that - that his colleagues thought he was psychotic, he might have reached a different conclusion.  I don‘t think he was prevented from knowing that.  I think his colleagues are trying to protect him, but they it - they did him and the rest of men a disservice.

VAN ZANDT:  That was part of it - that was part of it.  That - that was part of it, but the other part is that on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the individual components of that do not have the authority to take intelligence back to their agencies if they‘re not allowed to by the agency that provided it.

In essence, if the FBI, if the CIA, somebody else provided the information about these e-mails flying back and forth, CID could not necessarily take all that information back and share it with the medical community.

SCHULTZ:  Gentlemen, good discussion.

VAN ZANDT:  . who (INAUDIBLE) we‘re dealing with.

SCHULTZ:  We got to run.  Cliff Van Zandt, appreciate your time.  David Corn, the same.  Thank so much for joining us on this tonight.  It‘s a discussion that has to be had in this country.

Coming up, when it comes to Congress, a new poll shows that most of you - well, you want to throw out the bums.  That‘s right.  First bum I can think of is that guy right there, Joe Lieberman.  We get rid of him.  Pat Leahy has the same idea.

Plus, the president‘s a day late and maybe a dollar short when it comes to job creation.  You wouldn‘t want to miss my take on the upcoming jobs summit, and America‘s mayor will respond to that. 

Plus, we‘ve got Sarah Palin news.  She‘s “Going Rogue” with Oprah Winfrey.  And the governor of Texas is back at it again.  He‘s in “Psycho Talk.” 

We‘re right back.  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  Coming up on THE ED SHOW, this is one I can‘t believe, a shocking investigative report reveals that the United States Military is funneling - get it - hundreds of millions of dollars to Afghan insurgents, including the Taliban.

We‘re talking about it in the main event.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. 

This is the kind of leadership I want to see.  Liberals and the senator fed up with these what I call “Defiant Democrats”.  They want to be held hostage by the Joe Liebermans and the Ben Nelsons of the world who keep talking about filibuster. 

Here‘s what Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont had to say, and I commend him for it, quote, “I don‘t think anybody should be filibustering - nobody should be filibustering health care.  Either vote it up or vote it down.”  We‘ve heard that before. 

Senator Leahy deserves a lot of credit for standing up to that.  He wanted to punish Lieberman a year ago after he campaigned for John McCain and Leahy of course and 12 other very intelligent Democrats voted to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship.  That hasn‘t happened yet, and I think that‘s what we got to do.  That‘s what I believe.  You know, enough with the lunches, all right?  And - and it‘s time to start playing some hardball in the Democratic caucus.   

Joining me now - and I wanted to talk to him about this all day long - Bill Press, nationally syndicated talk show host.  Bill, you know, I - I‘m starting to think maybe the Democrats were out of power for so long they don‘t know how to move fast on stuff, they don‘t know how to move strong on anything.

BILL PRESS, RADIO SHOW HOST:  Boy, you‘re right, Ed. 

Look, you know, what I call Joe Lieberman?  Traitor Joe.  And I‘m not talking about the store where you guy the good wine and cheese.  I mean “Traitor Joe.”  And you‘re right, Ed.  Look, they gave him a shot, they gave him another chance and what did he do?  He turned around and stabbed them in the back. 

It seems to me, Ed, this is not real difficult, right?  There are only two rules that you want of a Democrat.  Rule number one, you don‘t endorse the opposition party running for president, the opposition candidate, and number two, you can vote against it if you want, but you don‘t block other Democrats.  You don‘t block everybody from a chance of voting on the number one priority for the Democratic Party.

SCHULTZ:  See, I think if the Democrats were to strip him of his chairmanship, it would energize the base.  It show that they‘ve got some teeth.  In his own state of Connecticut, most people in Connecticut think he‘s a GOP more than anything else. 

PRESS:  If course.

SCHULTZ:  Fifty-one percent think he‘s closer to the GOP, 25 percent think he‘s closer to the Democratic Party.  What party are they talking about?  Also, the party enthusiasm - look at this - 58 percent Republican voters are energized and very enthused, only 42 percent of Democratic voters are ready to get after it. 

You used to run the Democratic Party in California.  How do you turn that number around?

PRESS:  Well, you know what?  First of all, I think he got to produce, Ed.  You got to - Don‘t stick with Lieberman.  I think (CROSSTALK). 

SCHULTZ:  Well getting rid of Lieberman would be producing would it (ph)?

PRESS:  Exactly.  I‘ve got to say, the first thing you do is keep Lieberman out of the party, and I have to make this point, we don‘t lose anything.  Everybody says, well, we need him for other votes.  He doesn‘t contribute anything right now, so in my math, zero from zero is zero, right?

SCHULTZ:  All right.  If Bill Clinton goes up and has lunch with the caucus and sells them on the watered down package, at least that‘s what I think, he should have been talking to Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson one on one.  Maybe he‘s doing it.  I doubt it.  But he goes in there and says we‘ve got to get a health care bill done. 

This was the response from Democratic Senator Ben Nelson in Nebraska. 

Here it is.


SEN. BEN NELSON (D), NEBRASKA:  What I heard him says is you don‘t have to let a desire for perfection get in the way of the good, and that - and that - that makes a great deal of sense, but I - I would add the - the caveat that we have to be sure that it‘s not a bad bill, and faced with the decision about whether or not to move a bill that‘s bad, I wouldn‘t vote to move it, for sure.

I‘ll tell you what I can support, I can support a government-run, robust public option that will undermine the - the insurance that 200 million Americans enjoy through the private market.


SCHULTZ:  OK.  If he doesn‘t change his position on that, Bill Press, this is over.  You know? 

PRESS:  Well, Ed, it‘s not over if Harry Reid‘s willing to go reconciliation, and I think he‘s going to have to go reconciliation and he‘s got to do it soon.  Look.

SCHULTZ:  But how do you deal with the Ben Nelsons of the world?  I mean, that sound bite was very telling.  I mean, even after he listens to Clinton and get the, you know, the bended knee presentation of, look, we got to get along.  We got to get this thing done.  It‘s important for the country, important for the economy.  He comes up just minutes later on his way back to his office saying it‘s not going to work.  How do you deal with that? 

PRESS:  I tell you - well, first of all, do we agree?  Let‘s get rid of Joe Lieberman.  And the next thing they‘ve got to do, Ed, I believe is - and President Obama has got to do this.  He‘s got to get - bring these people down to the White House and play some hardball with them and say, look, you want that federal courthouse in your district?  You want some help for re-election?  This is what I want and you‘ve got to deliver. 

You know what I say, more LDJ, Ed, and less Gandhi out of Obama and maybe some of these Democrats will get the message. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you think of Clinton‘s visit to the caucus? 

PRESS:  Well, one part of the message was right, which was you got to deliver a bill.  You just can‘t walk away from this.  But the idea that any bill is better than no bill is a bad message. 

SCHULTZ:  Bill Press, always a pleasure.  Great to have you with us tonight. 

PRESS:  (INAUDIBLE) great man.  All right.  Thanks.

SCHULTZ:  And one final - one final thing, you talked to progressives, you know, on your radio show every day.  Are they frustrated?

PRESS:  Oh, totally. 

SCHULTZ:  The base is shaking, is it not?  I think it is.

PRESS:  Yes. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, Bill. 

PRESS:  It‘s shaking, Ed, because the Democrats are not delivering.

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  Great to have you on, buddy.  Thank you.

PRESS:  Thank you, man.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, Texas- sized wing-nut Rick Perry is accusing the president of being hell bent on turning the United States of America into a socialist country. 

Well, I‘m hell bent on straightening him out on “Psycho Talk.”  That‘s next.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, here we go.  Texas Governor Rick Perry.  He‘s back.  Remember?  He‘s the guy who wants Texas to secede from the Union. 

Well, he‘s up for re-election next year and facing a primary challenge from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  Perry is trying his darndest to rally the wing-nut base in Texas, the Party base down there.  He played right into their hands yesterday saying that the Obama White House is out going to mess with Texas.


GOV. RICK PERRY ®, TEXAS:  This is an administration that I see punishing misstep (ph).  I say it‘s time for us to stand up.  I say it‘s time to make Tea Parties twice as big as what they were.

This is an administration hell-bent on taking America towards a socialist country.  And (INAUDIBLE) not be afraid to say that.


SCHULTZ:  I tell you, I don‘t know how these guys are still using their tired old argument that they were just - as country headed towards socialism.  Hey, if we were, everybody in this country would have health care.  But we can‘t even get a decent public option in the health bill.  Secondly, the president is not punishing Texas.  In fact, he‘s trying to help Texas out with $555 million in stimulus funds, but of course Perry rejected it. 

It seems like the governor, he‘s the one pushing his own state with all that “Psycho Talk.”

Coming up, Sarah Palin is “Going Rogue” and spilling her guts to Oprah.  She says, well, her family is not really into all the drama.  Really?  That‘s coming up with the “Play Book.”

Plus, Lou Dobbs just packed his bags and left CNN behind.  Uncle Lou, you and I haven‘t always seen eye to eye on things so I‘ve got to have some comment on this tonight.

Also, the president‘s decision to create jobs.  That‘s coming up. 

Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Good evening, everybody.  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. 

We‘re finally seeing some focus from President Obama on the job situation.  He addressed the unemployment problem head-on this morning.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The economic growth that we‘ve seen has not yet led to the job growth that we desperately need.  But we have an obligation to consider every additional responsible step that we can to encourage and accelerate job creation in this country.  And that‘s why in December we‘ll be holding a forum at the White House on jobs and economic growth. 


SCHULTZ:  All right.  It‘s about time.  I think the president‘s probably run it about six months late on this economic forum, but we‘ve got to take it and it‘s the right thing to do.  I know he‘s got a lot of stuff on his plate.  But American don‘t see this president right now working on creating jobs, and if they don‘t create jobs, the rest of it doesn‘t matter. 

And so far I don‘t think he has done enough, quite frankly.  He needs to be more specific on where this job creation is going to take place and communicate that to the American people and especially his base.  There‘s got to be a real focus on this, and it just hasn‘t happened. 

In fact, I‘m not convinced.  I‘m not convinced that the Obama economic team knows how to create jobs.  They know economics in the classroom and I‘m not sure if they can translate that knowledge into putting people back to work.  And I hope this summit next month and the White House proves me wrong. 

Let me bring what I call America‘s mayor, the mayor of Lansing, Michigan, Virg Bernero. 

Virg, good to have you with us tonight.  You and I have talked a lot. 


SCHULTZ:  You bet.  You and I have talked about job creation in the past.  Hypothetical, I want—you‘re the president of the United States.  What would you do right now for a job creation?  I know the summit thing is all fantastic and it‘s going to be a great photo op and focus everybody on jobs.  But when it comes down to the brass tax of it, the bricks and mortar of all the whole thing, what would be the plan if you were in charge? 

BERNERO:  Well, as you know, I‘ve said from day one when the stimulus came out that the best stimulus is a stimulating job.  And Americans—the American people know this and they know that the bulk of their jobs have been shipped overseas.  That the multi-national corporations have made the decision that we‘re not going to make anything anymore. 

The greatest, most productive country in the world, the United States of American, we could make anything.  Our people are the most productive in the world.  We‘ve got to bring that back.  We‘ve got to put the P back in GDP. 

I would do three things.  Number one, we need an Apollo-style commitment to manufacturing.  This is what we do.  This is what made America great.  We make things.  We have the best, most productive people in the world.  We can make anything and everything we need. 

We need a commitment to restore manufacturing to maintain our manufacturing prowess in this country.  Even the green jobs, the great promise of the green jobs, all those jobs can go overseas, too, if we don‘t turn it around now.  Even some of the bucks—the stimulus dollars, I understand, have gone to companies with—ultimately where the turbines, the wind turbines are coming from China. 

How is that going to stimulate jobs?  We need fair trade.  Number two.  Absolutely essential that we level the playing field.  We need to reform the WTO so that we level the playing field. 

Look, what we have is unilateral economic disarmament.  That‘s what we have under the WTO.  We‘re never going to be able to succeed no matter how many good ideas or how many productive facilities we have.  We‘ve got to have fair trade, we need labor protection and environmental protections worldwide.  Otherwise, it‘s a race to the bottom. 

And the third thing is, build American, buy American.  What sense does it have—is it to have a stimulus like the Cash for Clunkers when you‘re stimulating people to buy cars where it stimulates somebody else‘s economy? 

SCHULTZ:  All right. 

BERNERO:  We need to link our efforts. 

SCHULTZ:  Virg, I want to talk about number two there.  The president is going to Asia.  He‘s going where we have shipped a lot of American jobs.  What‘s the mission, in your opinion, on this trip other than to introduce himself and say we want to be a good business partner? 

I mean we have got some bad trade agreements that have outsourced a lot of jobs in this country as well.  What should the president do and how does he turn that around? 

BERNERO:  Well, look, we can‘t just cow down.  We can‘t just bow down.  We‘ve got bad trade agreement, badly enforced, and the president talked about this when he campaign, that we need to reform some of those trade agreements.  We‘ve got to make it clear.  If you‘re going to put tariffs on our goods, we‘re putting tariffs on your goods, you know? 

It‘s—we‘ve got to have (INAUDIBLE).  We‘ve got to have a level playing field.  And the other thing is, you know, it is tough when you‘re dealing with a communist country like China where the people don‘t have the rights, they don‘t have freedom of association, they don‘t have freedom of press, and so they‘re able to keep their people down, they‘re able pollute the environment in ways that we would never do here. 

And so companied had flocked there. 


BERNERO:  And frankly, the morality of it, it‘s really sick. 


BERNERO:  I mean it‘s immoral.  What our multi-national companies have done to go and pollute and get away with things that they would never pull here in this country.  So we need to talk about leveling the playing field.  We need to talk about being responsible.  And again, you know, what‘s good for the goose is good for the gander.  We should not. 

SCHULTZ:  Virg, what. 

BERNERO:  . simply allow all these products. 

SCHULTZ:  Virg, what would you do with the housing market right now? 

I know the housing market is still not stable for a lot of Americans.  What

·         have we done enough there?  What would you do if you were in charge? 

BERNERO:  I just printed up another e-mail.  I meant to bring it here.  I printed it up and forgot it.  Another e-mail from a person about to be evicted because of this adjustable rate that the company got them into.  These mortgage companies, these mortgage folks got away with murder and a lot of these companies got bailed out.  And they‘re still screwing the homeowners.

So we need a moratorium.  There‘s no question about it.  The greatest

·         you talk about a stimulus.  Look, I applaud the president for going after the credit card companies and the Congress for going after it.  It looks like we‘re going to finally get some reasonable restrictions, some consumer protection, finally, out of this Congress with this new president and he‘s to be credited. 

The Congress for years did nothing.  You know, it‘s been run by Wall Street.  But we need a two-year moratorium at least on foreclosures.  I would say, Ed, you know, homes under $200,000.  Let‘s have a moratorium.  Let‘s sort this out.  Let‘s give some people some breathing space in this tough economy. 

Lord knows you gave the breathing space to Wall Street.  You helped out the big banks. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  No doubt. 

BERNERO:  How about helping up the little guy? 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m all about it. 

BERNERO:  On Main Street.  You know. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m all about it.  The mayor of Lansing, Michigan, Virg Bernero, with us tonight.  Way to tell it like it is, my friend.  We‘ve got to have you back.  Thanks so much. 

BERNERO:  Thanks, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  You bet. 

BERNERO:  Appreciate your efforts.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  For more, let me bring in my panel tonight.  A.B.  Stoddard, associate editor of “The Hill,” and also John Feehery, Republican strategist. 

I want to talk jobs with both of you.  And John, the president is going to hold a summit.  I know the photo-op is good.  What can be accomplished?  What must be accomplished?  How do we get this thing going? 

JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  You know, when Bill Clinton was president, the first thing he did is he had a summit just like this before he even became president.  The fact that the president is doing this now is just so late in the program. 

It‘s actually very good that he‘s actually focused on job, finally.  But you know, I think for political sake in 2010, Democrats need jobs right now.  And this is really a bad start for the Obama administration. 

I thin the idea is—and we talk about this before, Ed.  How you focus on the small business segment.  How do you get the regulations?  How do you get the litigation?  How do you get the taxation lighter on the small businesses so they can go back and start creating jobs? 

I think your previous guest is absolutely right.  We need to focus on manufacturing.  We can‘t get manufacturing going again.  The fact of the matter is the dollar has slid down in value.  And that helps manufacturers but we need a strategy.  And I don‘t know if anyone in this administration knows how to create a private sector job. 

SCHULTZ:  What about that, A.B.?  Does the Obama economic team have the wherewithal to bring the plan to America‘s economy to create jobs?  I mean this is going to be really a vital thing if the Democrats are going to hold a majority next year. 

A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL:  This is true, Ed.  I think if they had a plan, we‘d already know about it.  They‘ve known for a long time that as their measure to improve the economy took effects and they say that we are seeing the effects of those.  We‘re seeing green shoots and the beginning of a recovery that jobs would always be a lagging indicator. 

The truth of the matter is, the federal government can‘t create jobs and after the stimulus program which—had mixed reviews and the administration does not want to try to push for another one, there‘s not much they can do beyond this at this point except to try spur hiring for small business with tax credits. 


STODDARD:  That‘ll be more—spending for them.  I‘m sure they‘re going to try to do that, that is one move we can expect.  The summit is a public relations effort to try to show Americans that they‘re really on the case but we all know what‘s going to happen. 


STODDARD:  . with jobs and unemployment and those numbers before the 2010 elections.  This could be really the problem of our next president. 

SCHULTZ:  John Feehery, it would seem to me that the Republicans would want our signature something before the midterm and contribute something in this job creation and come up with some kind of an idea. 

Wouldn‘t it work to their political advantage if they were able to signature something of a job comeback and not give Obama all the credit if these numbers turn around?  I mean isn‘t it good for the Republicans to be a part of some kind of a recovery instead of coming back in the midterms and say, see, they didn‘t get it done, try us? 

FEEHERY:  I think Republicans have offered several plans.  One idea that Mike Pence came up with let‘s build 50 or 100 new nuclear plants.  The would create thousands and thousands of jobs and the (INAUDIBLE) would get jobs.  Labor union workers would get new jobs.  It would help the environment by lowering emissions. 

It‘s a great idea.  Those are the type of things that Republicans have come up with.  And I do think the Republicans have come up with all kinds of job creative plans.  John Boehner wrote the president earlier this year, so did Eric Cantor with this list of ideas on jobs.  And frankly, they couldn‘t get the president‘s. 

SCHULTZ:  Their label right now, John, is they‘re nothing but a bunch of obstructionists.  I mean—and nobody believes the Republicans are doing anything. 

FEEHERY:  Well, Ed, I‘ll tell you what, they‘re the minority. 


FEEHERY:  So all they could do is give letters.  They can‘t do a whole lot.  They don‘t have any power that‘s really broke their ideas. 


FEEHERY:  . other than through letters. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes.  A.B., wouldn‘t this be a good idea for the Obama administration to accentuate, hey, we‘ll take all ideas, if you‘ve got them, let‘s go, let‘s get after it? 

STODDARD:  You know, that‘s true.  The Obama administration buckled to the Democratic Congress and did not end up including all of the tax relief that Republicans are pushing for in the stimulus package.  Now would be the time to come back. 

You and I can probably imagine the scenario where House Republicans definitely—and probably Senate Republicans—trying a way to quiver with those tax cuts aside but they‘re not the right ones and try to find a way to vote against them. 

SCHULTZ:  that they were pushing for. 

STODDARD:  But I do think John is right.  The Republicans have a potent message here.  As long as unemployment is 10.2 and rising before 2010 elections, and we know that number probably will, they have a potent message, which is Democrats are growing government, we just want to grow jobs.  They don‘t seem able to do it. 


STODDARD:  And I just think it‘s going to take effect. 

SCHULTZ:  Yes, nothing seems to be working right now.  I don‘t mean to be negative on this but something has got to break out.  I mean the health care thing has got to get done.  There‘s going to have to be something done on the job front. 

STODDARD:  Which is. 

SCHULTZ:  I think a lot of Americans are frustrated and losing confidence right now.  And that‘s not good.  You know the market is good.  OK?  If you‘re in the market, if you‘re in that territory, Wall Street is doing just fine, but something has got to break loose here in the next three or four months, or I think the Democrats are really going to be in some real political hot water. 

We‘ve got to run here.  We‘ll come back.  A.B. Stoddard and John Feehery with us tonight.  Stay with us.

Coming up, after freaking the country out, affecting air traffic control, 911 and countless law enforcement officials, remember this family?  The Heene family.  Now I think they should have the book thrown at them.  Well, instead, they‘re getting off easy.  That‘s in my “Playbook.”  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  Still not too late to let us know what you think tonight.  Get your phone out.  Tonight‘s text survey is—do you view the killings at Fort Hood as terrorism?  Text A for yes, B for no to 2622639.  Results coming up on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  And in my “Playbook” tonight, America‘s favorite quitter, Sarah Palin is back on TV trying to sell her book.  She‘s kicking off her tour on the “Oprah Show.”  Oprah Winfrey interviewed her.  They taped it yesterday and it‘s going to be airing next week. 

Here‘s a quick preview of the interview.  Oprah, she‘s asking Sarah Palin about the—those disastrous interview, especially the one with Katie Couric. 


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST:  Do you think that was a seminal defining moment for you, that interview? 

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR:  I did not, and—and neither did the campaign.  In fact, that is why segment two, and three, and four, and maybe five were scheduled.  The campaign said, “Right on.  Good.  You‘re showing your independence.  This is what America needs to see.  And it was a good interview.” 

And, of course, I‘m thinking, “If you thought that was a good interview, I don‘t know what a bad interview was,” because I knew it wasn‘t a good interview. 


SCHULTZ:  So the campaign thought that was a good interview.  OK.  Let‘s bring back our panel on this one tonight.  A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of “The Hill,” and John Feehery, Republican strategist. 

And both of you know that this is my favorite subject. 


SCHULTZ:  I mean, is she politically relevant?  Let‘s talk about that first.  Could she have an impact, A.B.?  What do you think?. 

STODDARD:  Absolutely.  Look, I thought she was charming and in the two clips that I‘ve seen from the two Oprah interview.  She was going on gangbusters, battleground state tour with a big old bus and she‘s doing all of these interviews.  Her book is going to burst through the top of the best-seller list and she‘s going to make a bucket of money and raise her profile again.  I think she‘ll probably improve her image with a lot of people.  Not those independents. 


SCHULTZ:  Does she know what she‘s talking about? 

STODDARD:  Get everyone energized.  It doesn‘t matter, Ed.  Look, she‘s either. 


STODDARD:  She‘s either restoring her image and becoming a big, you know, speech maker who‘s going to earn a big fat check every time she gets on the road.  Or she really is trying to run for 2012, in which case she either succeeds or she flops and becomes a king maker and ends up getting social conservatives energized behind her campaign and in the end she gives her blessing to Mike Huckabee or somebody else. 

I think this is just a no-lose proposition for her and I think it‘s good. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, John Feehery, I would—I‘d stop short of calling her an airhead, OK?  But I don‘t think she‘s up on the subjects, so to speak.  We found that out on interviews.  And I think she‘s probably come a long way since the campaign and she‘s a lot more politically savvy. 

But do you think that she could be an asset to Republicans or independents who are running and trying to get elected for the first time?  If you‘re running somebody‘s campaign, do you bring in Sarah Palin and does she know what she‘s talking about? 

FEEHERY:  I would not underestimate the power of Sarah Palin and I think she‘s got enormous support by a certain segment of the Republican base.  They love her and no matter what you say against her, they love her even more. 

The fact is, she‘s very attractive on the stump.  Some people will say, yes, come and campaign for me.  Others in different states will say, please stay away.  But she obviously can have an impact.  I mean the fact that her book “Sight Unseen” has sold so many copies, I think it‘s number one or number two on the best sellers list. 

SCHULTZ:  Well. 

FEEHERY:  And it speaks to her grassroots power.  And you can say what you want about her, Ed, and you know, a lot of people don‘t like her, but a lot of people love her and she‘s going to have some support with the Republican base. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Let‘s talk about—this is Oprah Winfrey talking to her about Thanksgiving on a personal note.  Here it is. 


WINFREY:  One final question about Levi.  Will he be invited to Thanksgiving dinner? 


PALIN:  You know, that‘s a great question and you know, it‘s lovely to think that he would ever even consider such a thing because, of course, you want—he is a part of the family and you want to bring him in the fold and kind of under your wing.  And he needs that too, Oprah. 

I think he needs to know that is he loved and has the most beautiful child.  And this can all work out for good.  It really can.  We don‘t have to keep going down this road of controversy and drama all the time.  We‘re not really into the drama.  We don‘t really like that.  We‘re more productive.  We have other things to concentrate on and do—including... 

WINFREY:  Does that mean yes, he is coming or no, he‘s not. 


SCHULTZ:  A.B., they‘re not into drama.  Do you believe that one? 

STODDARD:  No.  The next time that Levi Johnston says something bad about her, she‘s going to issue another blistering—they‘re going to go at it in public like they always do.  But I thought that she deflected the question and was again charming in this interview. 

And look, Ed, to your point, I don‘t think she cares if she knows what she‘s talking about.  And I think the people who love her don‘t care either.  I don‘t mean to say that she‘s going to be president of the United States, I think she‘s out to get rich and raise her profile and become a big star and stay a big star and I think that‘s going to happen. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, I have to tell you, John Feehery, the level of curiosity from viewers and listeners in the radio its pretty amazing about Sarah Palin. 

FEEHERY:  Well, you know, Ed, she fits very nicely into the celebrity culture that we all live in.  The fact that she has lived kind of a soap opera life only makes her more popular with people who find her—who love her passionately.  And the people who hate her passionately. 

So she knows how to play this game.  She‘s a very effective politician.  And I wouldn‘t underestimate her.  That‘s the one thing I would say. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, John Feehery, A.B. Stoddard, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

FEEHERY:  Thank you. 

STODDARD:  Thanks, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Couple last pages of my “Playbook” tonight, it turns out the crazy parents of that balloon boy are going to get off easy.  The Heenes duped everyone into believing their kid was flying across Colorado in a homemade flying saucer.  I didn‘t like that story. 

They wasted millions of taxpayer dollars trying to rescue them.  They were charged with felonies that could have cost them as much as $500,000 and landed them up in prison for up to six years. 

But their lawyers announced today that they‘ve cut a deal with a prosecutor.  They‘re going to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for probation.  No jail time at all?  Maybe 90 days?  I think that prosecutor in this case is very weak.  These guys wasted our time, they wasted our tax dollars, and I think they‘re pretty much getting away with it. 

And finally on the “Playbook” tonight, Lou Dobbs out at CNN, announcing last night that that was going to be his last show.  Well, for whatever reason, Dobbs is leaving CNN after 30 years.  Thirty years.  Say what you want, Dobbs was a survivor for a long time in a business where you‘re only as good as your last show. 

People over time change and sometimes the job description just doesn‘t fit anymore.  Maybe that was the case with Lou Dobbs.  But hanging in there for 30 years, Lou, we‘ve had our differences but I‘ve got to tell you, that‘s pretty doggone good. 

Coming up, the U.S. government is married to the mob of Afghanistan?  That‘s right.  You won‘t believe how much money we‘re giving to the Taliban.  That‘s next in the main event.  Stay with us. 


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  The American taxpayers, that would be you and me, we are funding terrorism, believe it or not.  An explosive new report in the nation.  Details on how U.S. tax dollars are going to pay off Taliban killers to keep them from bombing and shooting at U.S. convoys. 

Basically the Pentagon pays the contractors to provide security.  The contractors buy security by greasing the hands of the Taliban thugs.  The Taliban, kind of like the mafia.  They run everything in Afghanistan.  The actual Afghan government has virtually no power.  And the fact is weighing heavily on President Obama. 

Can he really send tens of thousands of more U.S. troops to fight under these conditions?  And what seems to be a very failed state? 

For more on this, let‘s go to Robert Greenwald tonight.  He‘s director and filmmaker of “Rethink Afghanistan.”  This story just makes me sick.  I mean this reporting by the nation is absolutely outstanding. 

Robert, did you sense any of this when you were in Afghanistan? 

ROBERT GREENWALD, RETHINKAFGHANISTAN.COM:  Well, I did, Ed, and first of all, I think we all owe the nation and Katrina an incredible debt of gratitude.  We saw what happened in Iraq when the press was not on guard and not doing the investigative work. 

The nation have been doing this since day one.  They had Tom Haden‘s great piece, they had Ann Jones‘ piece on women, and now this.  But when I was in Afghanistan, when I was in Kabul, people talked openly about the graft, the corruption, and the fact that it was a combination of both warlords and the Taliban. 

I drove around the neighborhood and it was filled with mansions.  Right next to these mansions are people starving and in these mansions were the homes of these corrupt contractors.  So it‘s not only the Taliban, it‘s the privatization of the military that‘s such a horrific problem here. 

SCHULTZ:  Your estimation, if we were to exit tomorrow, start the drawdown, and not put any more troops in there and start getting out, what would that do? 

GREENWALD:  Well, it—look, the evidence that we know or the research from the Carnegie Report is that the single biggest reason for the strength of the Taliban is private—is the fact that we are sending foreign troops over there, right?  So if you take foreign troops away, you actually weaken the Taliban. 

Now they‘ve done all kinds of horrible things but there‘s a strong argument to be made. 


GREENWALD:  . that if we weren‘t strengthening them with our money and with our presence, they would fall apart.  But reality is, we really don‘t know.  But what we do know, Ed, we cannot be sending over young men and women who are to be giving their lives for a despicable corrupt government. 

SCHULTZ:  Do they want us there?  Do the people of Afghanistan want us there?  I know there‘s a lot of different tribes.  It‘s very parochial and broken up in many respects.  But do you think—in general terms, do you think that they want us over there? 

GREENWALD:  No.  It was loud and clear when I was there, the people I talked to—now there are certain tribes in certain areas that do.  But the majority of the country, I believe, is opposed to the foreign troops.  It‘s an occupation, it‘s an invasion. 

I mean think about it.  Who wants foreign troops coming into their homes? 

SCHULTZ:  It would seem to me. 

GREENWALD:  Knocking down their doors? 

SCHULTZ:  It would seem to that this story—I mean it‘s extortion money, is what it is.  Or is this how you fight in today‘s world now?  You just cash whip everybody you can so they don‘t hurt you? 

GREENWALD:  But then—how are we fighting?  What are we doing over there?  We‘re paying private contractors who shouldn‘t be there to begin with to get our troops supplies and support.  That‘s not fighting the war if you believe and support the war.  It‘s financing the opposition. 

SCHULTZ:  Financing the opposition is what it‘s doing and do you think that this potentially is the straw that broke the camel‘s back for the American people?  When this story gets out and it gets enough publicity and we realized exactly what‘s going on, it would seem to me that somebody in the Pentagon is going to have to explain this or deny it. 

GREENWALD:  Well, I hope so, Ed.  And we‘ve seen—you know, we‘ve seen courageous people come forward.  Matthew Hoh has—has resigned and talked. 


GREENWALD:  The ambassador in Kabul has leaked the cables.  So we‘re seeing a pattern as the president is considering these decision of an increasing tidal wave of real strong evidence.  That means how can you go to war when there is no government there to support? 

SCHULTZ:  Robert Greenwald, Rethinkafghanistan, one of the great productions that you‘ve done.  Appreciate your work and your time here tonight.  Thank you so much. 

GREENWALD:  Thanks, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  Earlier I asked, do you think—do you view the killings at Fort Hood as terrorism?  Fifty-eight percent of the viewers tonight said yes, 42 percent said no. 

We‘ve got a town hall meeting coming up, Sunday night, in Seattle.  It‘s Seattle town hall.  You can go to my Web site,  Get tickets for the events.  We‘d love to see you there.  And “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS” starts next right here on the place for politics, MSNBC.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night. 



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