Guests: Tom Barrett, Bernie Sanders, Steven Clemons, Jane Hamsher, Robert
Borosage, Stephanie Bloomingdale, Shushannah Walshe
CENK UYGUR, HOST: Welcome to the show. I‘m Cenk Uygur of “The Young Turks,” and we start tonight with a battle in Wisconsin.
Now, let me tell you why this is so important.
Look, this isn‘t just about the workers in Wisconsin anymore. It‘s not just about that state anymore. It‘s not about just spending cuts in Wisconsin. It‘s not about the public unions.
It‘s about all of us now. It‘s about the average guy. It‘s about the working class. And it‘s about the fight and the war on the middle class that the Republicans want to start.
Because you think they‘re going to just stop at public unions? Now, look all over the place. They‘re not. We‘re going to show you that in a second. They‘re going to the private unions next.
Look, they‘re coming after you, and I have a bold proposal tonight—that we fight back. And I think Wisconsin is the perfect place to do it.
Now, let me show you what‘s happening right now so you see the urgency of the problem.
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is turning up the pressure on 14 Democratic state senators who of course remain out of the state. Now, how is he doing that? He‘s threatening to start firing all—not all, but a lot of the state employees starting next week if the lawmakers don‘t return to Wisconsin and allow a vote on the bill.
Now, what does that have to do with anything? Remember the unions? They already agreed to the pay cuts. So this doesn‘t have anything to do with the budget.
He‘s going after the workers. Why? Because it‘s gratuitous political punishment. If you don‘t do as I tell you, I‘m going to start firing people.
What happened? I thought these guys are supposed to create jobs. Now they‘re destroying jobs.
Is that what you voted for in Wisconsin? Is that what you voted for throughout the country?
Well, thank God at least so far the Democrats in Wisconsin aren‘t going to give into his threats. They‘re saying, you know what? We‘re going to stay out of town and we‘re not going to have it.
But guess what? While that‘s going on, the crackdown on unions have spread all over. They‘re way beyond Wisconsin now.
Governor John Kasich in Ohio is supporting a bill very similar to the one in Wisconsin that would restrict public employees‘ collective bargaining rights. Here they come.
Indiana‘s governor, Mitch Daniels, took away public worker collective bargaining rights on his first day in office back in ‘05. Now the Republicans in his state want a crackdown on private workers‘ rights.
You see, that‘s what this fight is all about. It‘s not just about public unions. They‘re coming after all the unions, because the unions give the average worker a chance against the big corporations, and the Republicans hate that. They don‘t want that.
This is their war against the middle class. If you take out the unions, well, then you have got no way to bargain. How are you, the average Joe, or Bob or Sue or Sally, going to stand up to the corporations? You‘re not going to be able to, and they love it. That way they get to cut, cut, cut.
They cut your pensions, they cut your pay. And then what happens?
You have got nobody to back you up. That‘s what this fight is about.
That‘s why Wisconsin is so important.
Now, thank God the protests are spreading as well. Today, in Ohio, thousands of protesters showed up in Columbus, somewhere inside the building, then they got locked in. There‘s drama everywhere.
In Indiana 4,000 protesters packed into the state house. And Democratic legislators are following the example of their Wisconsin counterparts and they‘re heading out of town in order to prevent a vote on that legislation.
Now, back in Wisconsin, Governor Walker, he has made it clear that a compromise, of course—are you ready for this? -- is not an option. He‘s even rejected a deal by a moderate Republican state senator.
Because why? There‘s always no compromise from the Republicans. Whether it‘s on the state level or it‘s on the federal level, never any compromise.
Look, he‘s getting his cue from party leadership. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MAJORITY LEADER: I am not going to compromise on my principles, nor am I going to compromise the will of the American people.
LESLEY STAHL, “60 MINUTES”: And you‘re saying, I want common ground, but I‘m not going to compromise. I don‘t understand that. I really don‘t.
BOEHNER: When you say the word “compromise,” a lot of Americans look up and go, oh, they‘re going to sell me out. And so finding common ground I think makes more sense.
STAHL: You‘re afraid of the word.
BOEHNER: I reject the word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: They even reject the word “compromise.” They always say no to compromise, and then Democrats turn around and brag about how they always compromise.
I have this crazy new idea. How about two can play at that game? How about we don‘t compromise either? How about in Wisconsin, those legislators that are holding out say,, hey, you know what? The unions had already agreed to the pay cuts. Guess what? We‘re not budging, and we‘re going to go back and say we don‘t agree to the pay cuts.
Now, you want to negotiate? Oh, you think you‘ve got all the cards, and all you ever do is take, take, take. And all the Democrats ever do is give, give, give.
Well, how about we stand our ground and say not anymore? Wisconsin is the perfect place to do it. If you don‘t stop them there, they‘re going to go all over.
I just showed you Ohio. And then you think Chris Christie is going to stop in New Jersey? They‘re in Indiana, they‘re doing it everywhere. You think Rick Scott is not going to do it in Florida?
Now is the time.
And you know what? Governor Walker is already in trouble. Look at a poll commissioned by the AFL-CIO. Now, I know of course they‘re on the side of labor, but this is backed by other polls as well.
The governor‘s approval rating is a 41 percent, with 51 percent disapproving. It‘s not working.
The people in Wisconsin don‘t want this. Fifty-two percent disapprove of Walker‘s agenda in general. You‘ve got them on the ropes. Don‘t let them off.
And 74 percent think the state workers should get to keep collective bargaining rights if they agree to pay more for health care and retirement, which I told you they already have. You have got 74 percent of the people on your side.
If you don‘t fight now, when are you going to fight?
As I told you in the beginning, it isn‘t just about Wisconsin. They want to attack the middle class. They want to blame you for the deficits.
Did you cause the deficits, Bob or Sue, or whoever you are out there?
Did you cause the deficit? You didn‘t cause it.
You know who caused it? The big banks. They crushed our economy.
They caused 10 percent unemployment, eight million people laid off.
You know what else that did? It reduced the revenue base, whether it was the federal budget or the state budget. They just don‘t have as much revenue coming in because not enough people are working. They‘re out of a job.
Now, who caused that? Was it you? No, it was the banks.
Now they‘re back to making record bonuses. And they want you to pay for their mistakes. That‘s what this fight is about.
Don‘t let them do it. We have to fight in Wisconsin.
Now, if you weren‘t sold already, one more reason to fight. Look, here are the top 10 donors in the 2011 election. Seven of them are right-ring organizations. The other three are unions.
Now, if we let the GOP knock out those three, it‘s game over.
Checkmate. Corporate America wins.
They got their politicians, they bought them like Walker. We told you all about that last night, $43,000 from the Koch brothers. The Koch brothers are now shipping people into the state and they‘re camping out over there and pretending it‘s a grassroots movement.
You know what? We‘ve got a grassroots movement. We‘ve got real people. And people have already stood up in Wisconsin. They didn‘t wait for leaders. They didn‘t wait for Obama. They didn‘t wait for the national Democrats.
I say we go to Wisconsin. People from around the country, man, you have got to support the people who are actually protesting on your behalf, because I told you, this isn‘t just about that state. It‘s about how they‘re going to attack every average American.
They‘re going to keep blaming you. They‘re going to attack your Social Security next. They‘ve already attacked so many of your pension. You lost it in the first round of the economic collapse, and you‘re going to lose in the second round, too.
Now, if they knock out your last night of defense, unfortunately we‘re going to get to a point where they‘re going to finish the American middle class. Don‘t let them do it. Wisconsin‘s the perfect place to fight.
Now, joining me is Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. He lost to Governor Walker in the 2010 gubernatorial election and says Walker has created an ideological war in Wisconsin.
Mayor Barrett, tell me about that. What do you mean an ideological war?
MAYOR TOM BARRETT (D), MILWAUKEE: Well, Cenk, I want our Wisconsin back. This is not the way we operate here in the state of Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, when we have got problems, we sit down at a table just like any family and work out the problems by bringing the family together. What Governor Walker has done here is he‘s pitted firefighters against nurses, he‘s pitted police officers against sanitation workers. That‘s not the way you solve a problem. You bring people together.
And people here understand what the issue is. People in the state of Wisconsin, I understand it, the governor understands it, the unions understand it, working people understand it. They understand that public workers have to pay more for their pensions and health care, but they also know that this does not require an attack on the fundamental right to organize.
And make no mistake about it, that‘s what this is. This is part of a national effort to wage a war on the right to negotiate, to organize, to bargain. That‘s not what our Wisconsin is all about.
UYGUR: Mayor Barrett, you ran against Walker. Now, he keeps saying that he promised all this in the campaign. But did he say he was going to go after collective bargaining rights during the campaign you ran against him?
BARRETT: Well, I don‘t want to run the 2010 election all over again. I will tell you this—he talked about higher payments for health care retirement. He clearly talked about that. I believe he has a mandate for that.
But it‘s only in the last couple of weeks where, really, out of thin air has come this ideological attack on the fundamental right to organize. That was not part of the campaign in 2010, and it has only emerged as an issue literally in the past several weeks.
So this came out of thin air. It‘s not something that I believe the people in the state of Wisconsin support.
I think people understand again that public workers should pay more for their pensions and health care, but they do not believe that this requires an attack on the fundamental right to organize. That‘s where he has clearly overstepped.
UYGUR: Yes. Look, he keeps asking for more and more. I mean, if it was up to me, I‘d say, hey, you know what? If you keep asking for more I‘m going to—look, we already gave you everything. We gave you their pay cut. But how about we‘re going to take it back then? If you don‘t agree, then we don‘t agree.
I mean, why do we keep giving and these guys keeping taking? You‘re there, Mayor Barrett. You‘re on the ground. How are you going to win? How are you going to fight back and have this conclusion come out on your side?
BARRETT: Well, it‘s pretty clear what needs to be done. Right now what needs to be done before Friday—because we‘ve got a fiscal deadline by Friday—is the governor and his Republican supporters simply have to say, look, let‘s act on that legislation that does require public employees to pay more. That‘s pretty straightforward and people agree to that.
Let‘s put this ideological war to the side. And he‘s got the votes.
If he wants to bring this back at another time, he‘ll bring this back. But it doesn‘t have to be done in the context of what we‘re doing this week.
That‘s why this is really all about what he‘s trying to do on a national scale with other Republican governors, which is to go after the fundamental right for people to organize. And again, people do not agree with that. People believe that individuals in Wisconsin have the right to organize.
UYGUR: You know, look, if he wants an ideological war, I think you should give it to him. You‘re on the winning side here. We just showed you the poll numbers. There‘s no question.
Look, the reason I‘m worked up is this isn‘t just about Wisconsin. Let me show you an attack on union people by Glenn Beck. All right? Glenn Beck went of course on the attack on this, and I want your reaction to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: The union protests in Wisconsin, they continue.
And let me tell you, they‘re classy. They are.
Here it is. The dope-smoking hippies are back. I love this.
Scott Walker, also doing what he was elected to do. He campaigned on “I‘m going to get rid of this union thing.” Instead, he has to deal with Democratic politicians running away like little girls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Look, he‘s calling the workers hippies and drug users. They‘re all saying it now, these conservative loathsome people, and I‘m being kind here by just calling them loathsome.
BARRETT: Well, I‘ll tell you—Cenk, I‘ll tell you what I‘ve seen here today.
UYGUR: Go ahead Mayor Barrett.
BARRETT: I‘ve seen a lot of women here today, mothers, people with young children. I‘ve seen law enforcement officials. I‘ve seen a lot of people here today. I haven‘t seen many hippies, I‘ll tell you that. I‘ve seen a lot of working people.
UYGUR: Look, you‘ve got to strike back, man. We can‘t let them characterize people this way. And Wisconsin is the right place to do it.
Mayor Tom Barrett, today we thank you for your time and we appreciate you joining us.
BARRETT: Thanks, Cenk. We appreciate it. Thank you very much.
UYGUR: All right.
Now joining me is Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a guy familiar with fighting back. Of course he led a huge filibuster talking about the same issues I‘ve been talking about here.
Senator Sanders, how do we do this on a national scale? Because to me it seems like this is it. If you lose in Wisconsin, you‘re going to lose in Ohio, you‘re going to lose in Indiana, and the dominos are going to fall. And then the Democrats are going to wake up and go, oh, my God, how did we lose our whole support?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, Cenk, you‘re absolutely right. What we have to understand is this is not just Wisconsin. This is part of the concerted attack on the middle class and working families of this country, by the very wealthiest people in America, the Koch brothers and many others.
And you‘re also right in suggesting that if you look at the end game, what are you talking about? You‘re talking about the end of Social Security, privatization of Social Security, massive cuts or the privatization of Medicare, major cuts in Medicaid. You‘re talking about over a period of time the end of unemployment compensation, the end of the minimum wage or lowering the minimum wage.
What these guys want is to return us to the 1920s when working people had virtually no rights to organize or to earn a decent living. Bottom line today is the top one percent earn more income than the bottom 50 percent. The top one percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.
That gap between the very rich and everything else is growing wider. And what the wealthiest people in the country are doing are using their resources to make the attack against the middle class even stronger. They want the destruction of the middle class and almost all wealth in this country to go to the people on top.
UYGUR: You know, I see you making that argument all the time, Senator Sanders, but I‘m looking for the president, I‘m looking for the national Democrats. I can‘t see them.
I mean, do they get what this fight is about? I mean, it looks like they‘re playing checkers and the Republicans are playing chess. We‘re walking into a checkmate here and I don‘t hear anything from them. But you‘re in the caucus. Do they understand the weight of this issue?
SANDERS: Well, the answer to the question is some of them do and some of them don‘t. And the reason that I was so upset about this recent tax agreement that the president negotiated with the Republicans giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest people is it‘s part of this whole process by which you give tax breaks to the rich and then you‘re going to cut back on programs desperately needed by working families and the middle class.
The other point that I would make is that there are a lot of folks out there who say, well, you know what? It doesn‘t impact me, I‘m not a union guy, I‘m not a teacher, I‘m not a civil servant. It doesn‘t matter to me. But let me tell you how it does matter to you.
Wages are going down in this country. They‘re going down for everybody. And when you destroy unions, there will be no standard at all. There‘ll be nobody left to negotiate decent jobs for the middle class.
So your wages will go down as well, because right now if there are union workers earning a decent wage, private employers have to compete to some degree. So everybody should stand with the workers, stand for decent wages, decent job benefits, and also the ability to negotiate contracts.
UYGUR: All right. Senator Bernie Sanders, right on the money as usual.
Thank you so much for your time tonight.
SANDERS: Good to be with you, Cenk.
UYGUR: Yes. And look, the rest of the Democrats, wakie-wakie. OK? Snap out of it. It‘s a war on the middle class. When are you going to stand up?
All right. Now more details later in the program from the insider book on Sarah Palin. Of course it confirms so much of what we thought about her, sending letters to the editor for herself secretly. What a clown. We‘ll have more amazing details on that when we come back.
UYGUR: Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is desperately clinging to power today. Just a short time ago, the U.N. Security Council condemned the use of violence and called for those responsible to be held to account. I hope that certainly happens.
Earlier today, in Tripoli, Gadhafi made a crazy and at times terrifying speech where he threatened war against his own people. Gadhafi warned, “I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired. When I do, everything will burn.”
Now, of course that‘s not true. He has ordered many, many bullets already, but apparently it‘s going to get much worse.
He says he also promised to dispatch police to “cleanse Libya house by house of citizens who are not loyal,” and he vowed to fight to the death, saying, “I will fight under the last drop of blood. I will die as a martyr.”
Now, Gadhafi gave this speech in front of his bombed-out, bullet-riddled residence, which looked really weird. It looked like he was in Cheney‘s underground bunker. But it turns out that that was, of course, damage done by a U.S. air strike in the 1980s, and he‘s left it unrepaired as a symbol of Libyan resistance, and also marked by that massive statue of a fist crushing a plane that you see there.
Yes, good luck with that. I don‘t think that‘s how it‘s going to work out for you.
Curiously, of course, Gadhafi blamed America for fueling the current protests. Now, I find that completely strange, because I‘m wondering, where are we on Libya?
So far, we‘ve not said closely to nothing in public, certainly about Gadhafi. And I‘m wondering why. Gadhafi is an even worse dictator than Mubarak. He‘s certainly less of an ally, and has killed so many people already. What are we waiting for?
Or are we doing something significant behind the scenes? I hope so.
Let‘s try to find out.
To help me answer that question, Steven Clemons, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, joins me now.
Steve, please reassure me that we‘re doing something behind the scenes here, because we haven‘t said word one about Gadhafi and whether he has to step down.
STEVEN CLEMONS, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: I think I‘ve been very impressed how the president has been operating behind the scenes in this case. There are two things going on, Cenk.
One is I think there‘s a concern that this is a very different case in Egypt where we had ties to the military, we had some sense of control. But in this case, this lunatic is killing his own people and unleashing unbelievable violence against his own population.
We have about 35 American diplomats in Libya that we‘ve been unable to get out of the country thus far, and their families, and I think it would be an irresponsible move for the president to say more than the criticisms they have already said. He, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton have already put their marker on the ground, but in terms of really ratcheting things up, we could end up with a hostage situation or something very, very bad if we don‘t get out people out of that country, which hopefully will happen tomorrow or the next day. And then I think you‘ll see a change in posture.
UYGUR: That‘s what I‘m trying to understand, because, I mean, I‘m at a loss here. And I guess what you‘re saying is Gadhafi is basically holding our guys hostage there and not letting them go.
CLEMONS: We‘re not there yet.
UYGUR: Otherwise, I mean, it‘s Gadhafi. I mean, if we can‘t come out against Gadhafi, who can we come out against?
CLEMONS: I think if you look at the statements of Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, today the action was in the U.N. Security Council and coordinating an international response. When you heard in the secretary-general‘s speech, Ban Ki-moon‘s speech, the words “responsibility to protect” were mentioned. I think you‘re seeing discussions behind the scenes about a no-fly zone.
I mean, there is no option now for a government in Libya with Gadhafi heading it. And I think right now what everyone realizes, this is a very, very severe situation. It‘s very violent. And there‘s—and we‘ve got to coordinate.
This is not something you can have a knee-jerk reaction to. You‘ve got to coordinate with the rest of the community.
UYGUR: Right. I get that.
So, Steve, what do we do next? Right? So, assuming we get our own folks out—and let‘s hope to God that we do—do we get involved? How do we get involved.
Do we—when you say no-fly zone, does that mean that if the Libyan jets are going to fly around their own people we shoot them out of the sky? What does it mean?
CLEMONS: I think that‘s what it begins to look like. That if you see the scale of violence begin, that Gadhafi and his people have been threatening, and which some of the defecting diplomats have said is under way, if it‘s true, it‘s very, very scary. Then I think you would see some form of commitment.
Again, the clock is ticking. And that‘s the problem here. But you would see a rush by some to begin to—we have drones, we have various kinds of missile capacity. And off shore, I think you may see forces move in, not necessarily invading Libya, but, you know, knocking things out of the sky.
So, yes, I think you could see international—I won‘t say American, but at least international military capacity deployed against the Libyan government if it continues to attack their own people.
UYGUR: All right. Steve, how about those defections? I as also shocked by that, because normally what a dictator does is it cultivates a ruling class where he gives them jobs, contracts, et cetera. But look, the diplomats, some of the colonels, are flipping on him so quick.
What has he done inside of the country for them to immediately abandon him?
CLEMONS: The networks that hold Libya together and the various general balance in which he‘s tried to keep a country running has largely been in doling out favors and whatnot, and responsibilities along tribal lines. And this wanton violence has just basically broken all that fabric up, and what you see is everyone feeling that they‘re losing in this.
And they see that what‘s happened in such an obvious scale publicly, when Libya has been on a track to try and become more—let‘s call it international-friendly—they had given up their nuclear weapons program, they had begun to come back into respectability, even with this lunatic running the government. But I think that the Libyan establishment wanted to be more connected with international affairs and get past the point of being a global embarrassment.
And I know that sounds odd for people who haven‘t thought about Libya, but there‘s some very distinguished diplomats and thinkers and military officials who aren‘t necessarily as ridiculous as Moammar Gadhafi.
UYGUR: Right. All right. Steve Clemons, thank you for your time and expertise tonight. We really appreciate it.
CLEMONS: Thank you.
UYGUR: And by the way, I would just like to make one more note to the audience.
Look, social media, Al-Jazeera, without those pictures, these revolutions don‘t pick up speed as they have. OK? And it‘s ironic, because so many people in this country were like, oh, Al-Jazeera, they‘re working for the other guys.
No. It turns out they‘re helping democracy more than anybody else.
I didn‘t necessarily see it coming, but that‘s how it‘s unfolding here. And people are getting encouraged when they see other people stand up to a dictator like Gadhafi, who has ruled on fear. Now, people aren‘t as afraid anymore, and that‘s what‘s causing him all that trouble.
All right. Now, next, let me tell you what we‘ve got on the program.
Now, it should have been a no-go from the start. An outrageous plan in Mississippi to officially honor a Ku Klux Klan leader—Jesus—now the state‘s governor might finally be catching on that, hey, you know what? It might be a bad idea.
But why? What made him change his mind? We‘ll have that explanation.
UYGUR: Conservative lawmakers in Arizona are out it again. Now they‘re taking the fight over abortion to a whole new and even more personal level. The Arizona house has now passed a measure that would make it illegal for doctor to perform an abortion if they know the mother‘s reason for the procedure has to do with race or sex of the piece (ph). How would they know that? They wouldn‘t, this is just to make of course, abortion harder. The bill passed 41 to 18 with just two Republicans opposed, of course. It‘s now in the Senate for consideration. The lawmakers who introduced the bill says, it‘s needed to protect against, quote, bigotry and prejudice. I‘m sure that‘s what he‘s concerned about. Opponents say, the measures of course unnecessary. They question how it would be implemented and say that in places obstacles in the path of minorities and abortion providers.
Of course, now the most absurd part of the bill is this. Get this, even though the parents are the same race as the baby, the abortion would be illegal if someone judges that the parents opted for the operation based on race. Think about that for a second. For example, two Chinese parents walk in and they need to get a procedure, and they find out that their kids are Chinese. Whoa, how did that Chinese kid get in there? That‘s never going to happen. That‘s going to happen zero percent of the time. They‘re just using it as an excuse for someone else to come and go, oh, yes, yes, I think they did it based on race, so it‘s illegal. Look. It‘s—our Supreme Court has ruled on this already. But they keep going back to it and back to it. They don‘t care about jobs, they don‘t care about things like that, they care about abortion, and making it illegal by any means necessary.
Now, on the Mississippi, it took nearly a week, but Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has finally realized that it turns out it‘s a monumentally bad idea to honor Ku Klux Klan leaders. You don‘t say. The Mississippi Sons of Confederate Veterans wanted to state the issued license plates honoring confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest who just happened to go on to lead the KKK. By the way, Forrest also ordered the execution of a largely black union regimen that had already surrendered. Swell guy that guy was. Now, last week, Barbour came under fire for refusing to take a position on the plan or on the man. He said, quote, “I don‘t go around denouncing people.”
Well, Barbour appears to have come to his senses. He now tells the Associated Press that the bill would not become law, because, quote, “I wouldn‘t sign it.” That isn‘t the first time that Barbour has tripped over an issue involving race, and we‘re being kind by saying, tripped over it. Last December, Barbour gave credit to the White Citizens Council for keeping the KKK out of his hometown when he was a boy. He later issued a statement calling the White Citizens Council indefensible. Oh, now, you just figured that. So, why all these flip-flops? Look, he already knew he wasn‘t going to get the black vote.
He‘s thinking of running for president in the republican primaries. Thinking about their black votes, what black vote is there, right? In the republican primary. So, look, this was an obvious attempt to play to what he viewed as his racist white pigs. My guess is that he did some polling and he found out, oh my God, my voters aren‘t nearly as racist as I thought they were, right? And when they found that out, all of a sudden, it‘s like, oh, I‘m losing white votes, back pedal, back pedal, back pedal, and that is why he got what he‘s got. Now, all of the sudden, he comes on and says, you know, what, that guy who is leading the KKK, maybe not such a good guy to support him. But thank you for joining us in the year 2011. We appreciate it.
Now, this story is my quibble over the exact road, as social media like Twitter and Facebook are playing in the Mideast uprising as you can tell, I don‘t quibble over that. I think they had a huge role. But some in Egypt are not waiting for the history books either. An Egyptian newspaper is reporting that one proud father Jamal Ibrahim has named his newborn daughter Facebook. That‘s her name. According to the press account, quote, “the girl‘s family, friends and neighbors in the Ibrahimya region gathered around the newborn to express their continuing support for the revolution that started on Facebook.”
Now, remember that it was a young Egyptian Google executive who used his Facebook page to draw hundreds of thousands of followers for the regional protests in Egypt, helping to get the whole revolution started and going. Now, look, if I was going in that direction, I probably would have named the kid Google. It might fit a little bit better in Egypt. Hey, Google, I don‘t know. I‘m from the Middle East, it sounds a little better. OK. Look, I‘ll take it, as long as he didn‘t name her MySpace. That would have been a disaster.
All right. Now, next, we‘ve got a standoff in Wisconsin, and believe me, now is not the time to back down. So, here‘s the critical question. How can the protesters win this fight? My all-star panels of organizers weigh in next. They have the answers on how we fight back in Wisconsin and all across the country.
UYGUR: Now, I‘ve been telling you tonight, the progressives cannot, should not, and must not compromise in Wisconsin. Because this is a battle that has impact on the whole country. We‘ve got to fight, fight, fight, and we‘ve got to win. So, now, let‘s talk about how are we going to win? I want to bring in some tough progressive fighters to talk about how to get the job done in Wisconsin.
Joining me now, Jane Hamsher, the founder of Firedoglake, Robert Borosage, co-founder of the Campaign for America‘s Future, Stephanie Bloomingdale from the secretary treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. Stephanie, I want to start with you because you‘re on the ground of Wisconsin. How are you guys planning the fight, how are you bringing people in, how are you organizing? What are you doing on the ground?
STEPHANIE BLOOMINGDALE, SECRETARY TREASURER, WISCONSIN AFL-CIO: Well, listen, this has been a massive show of support from people all across America, not only union people but also working people, religious leaders and civil rights leaders are all coming together to say, Governor Scott Walker, you have no right to take away worker rights from people of Wisconsin. Scott Walker, you have just gone too far.
UYGUR: All right. Bob, I want to go to you, how do we fight this on a national scale?
ROBERT BOROSAGE, CO-FOUNDER, CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA‘S FUTURE: Well, it‘s important that workers stood up in Wisconsin. But now, it‘s important that others stand up with them. We need students, we need people who care about democracy and the distortion of money in our politics. We need people who are people of faith, all to join in this battle. This is a battle for whether we have a strong middle class, whether we have an operating democracy, and it‘s time for other groups to pick up this banner.
UYGUR: Jane, do the Democrats on a national scale get it? Do they understand that this is a fight for the middle class, not just the local fight in Wisconsin over public unions or spending cuts?
JANE HAMSHER, FOUNDER, FIREDOGLAKE: Well, I think it‘s more important than.
UYGUR: That‘s to Jane. Go ahead, Jane.
HAMSHER: I think it‘s more important whether the people get it or not. And clearly they are getting it. And it‘s really important right now that the people in Wisconsin, the union, press the advantage that they have. As you noted, Cenk, the opposition to Walker is growing, his poll numbers are dropping. The support for the demonstrators and for public workers is really strong in Wisconsin and across the country, according to the most recent polling. So, we really need to take advantage of this. Because this isn‘t just a Wisconsin phenomenon. As Bob said, they‘re institutional players, ALEC, the American Legislative Economic Election Council are a group that draft model legislation and are pushing it in states all across the country. Constantly, funded by corporate money, Indiana, Ohio, they‘re just, you know, this is the tip of the iceberg in Wisconsin, and all these governors, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, they‘re working toward Wisconsin. And if you don‘t make Walker pay a price, we‘ll have the same thing over and over again.
UYGUR: So, Jane, let me stay with you. All right. How do we organize people and fight back on that? How do you win? How do you bring in people outside of Wisconsin to fight this money machine that they‘ve got coming in to Wisconsin from other side?
BLOOMINGDALE: Well, one thing that‘s happened is that the Democrats to have refused to take part in this, they‘ve had fund raising efforts for them online, and I believe over $300,000 has been raised, which is a lot if you‘re a state legislator, so that‘s a good thing. But there are recall—you know, you can have the ability to recall someone. Now, Walker isn‘t illegible until 2012 I believe. He has to have been in office for a year, but you can start promoting that right now. Already we‘ve seen, I think Mitch Daniels in Indiana as you‘ve said, has said maybe we don‘t want to push this bill through. And I believe even Rick Scott in Florida has said, he would not opposed public sector in place, ability to collect the bargain, in the same way that they‘re doing in Wisconsin. So, it‘s already making people nervous. And that is what has to stay, that has to keep up.
UYGUR: I want to let everybody know how important that point is, right? Because look, Mitch Daniels, who took away bargaining for public unions early on, and he has a republican legislators who are pushing for it, saying, hey, let‘s go after the private unions now, all of a sudden Mitch Daniels is backing away from it, because he‘s got a little scared. Even Rick Scott in Florida got a little scared. That‘s why we have to press the advantage. So, Stephanie, let me go back to you on the ground. How will you going to, as the local AFL-CIO pull in other people here to help you with that fight?
BLOOMINGDALE: Well, America, we need all of you to help us with our fight. Because this is a fight to re-claim the values of the middle class. This is the movement of our time. And we need people all across America, working people, to stand up and say, this is the time we need to restore economic justice. And we know that the only—that the union movement is the only thing that stands between unbridled corporate greed and a true economic democracy. And we—what I would like to say is, America, stand with us, stand with us who are fighting for justice and economic justice in our society.
UYGUR: Stephanie, would you like it if other people started to come in and say, hey, you know what? These guys in Wisconsin are fighters, let me go and join them, let me make the protest stronger and louder.
BLOOMINGDALE: Well, listen, hundreds and thousands of people from
across are coming to Wisconsin, coming to Madison to support us. But what
I am asking you, America, is to support us in your hometown, in every city,
and every town, people should be rallying in support of us here in
Wisconsin. Because our fight is your fight. And our fight is a fight to
re-claim the middle class.
BOROSAGE: That‘s really a key point, Cenk.
UYGUR: Yes, Bob, go ahead, I want to get back to you because, look, I want to know again, how do we conclude this with a victory for the middle class and not for the ruling class?
BOROSAGE: What Stephanie said is really important. It‘s important that the story of Wisconsin be told and told correctly around the country, that people understand the nature of the stakes, the kind of attack, that this starts to become the dividing line between the rational, like the barely rational like Mitch Daniels and the wingnuts like Governor Walker, and that Republicans and their right learn they‘ll going to pay a price if they go down this line. And so, it‘s important not just to people go to Wisconsin, but that they take the story of Wisconsin and tell it to their own communities, to their own groups over their own networks on the Web, this is a time for Twitter, Facebook and all those other forms of communication to buzz with the story of Wisconsin.
UYGUR: All right. Jane Hamsher, Robert Borosage and Stephanie Bloomingdale, thank you all for joining us, and start the conversation on how we actually fight back and win on this. Because this is so critical that we stand up for the middle class right now when everything is on the line in Wisconsin. Thank you, guys.
All right. Now, ahead, Sarah Palin is unmasked once and for all. A top former aide is revealing her secrets, and the reality is even uglier than you might have imagined.
Plus, conservatives on the warpath to destroy Social Security. And now, finally, Democrats are firing back with a pretty powerful weapon. We‘ll tell you what that is.
UYGUR: It turns out, of all people Levi Johnston is vindicated tonight. Sarah Palin‘s secrets are being spilled, and we‘ve got “Daily Beast” Shushannah Walshe, she knows more about Palin as just about anyone. And she‘s going to talk about those secrets when we come back.
UYGUR: There have been a lot of people who have been thrown under the bus, and sacrificed with the author of Sarah Barracuda. Remember that‘s her nickname. No one more than Levi Johnston but tonight, he has been vindicated. Thanks to a newly link manuscript by former Palin right hand man Frank Bailey, he‘s a former true believer who saw the light about his old bus, has Governor Palin e-mailed Bailey, quote, “I hate this damn job,” referring of course to her governor‘s job. At the same time Palin was desperate to get on FOX News. Bailey says, he subsequently realized that Palin‘s damn job and her desire to be on FOX were actually connected. Bailey says, quote, “It had nothing to do with Alaska, it had plenty to do with publicity.”
Now, Levi Johnston said the very same thing in a “Vanity Fair” profile in September of 2009. I was little skeptical about some of his claims, but they seem to match what Bailey was saying, here‘s how he described Palin after in 2008 campaign, she started talking about how nice it would be to quit and write a book and do a show and make, quote, “triple the money.” It was to her, quote, “not as hard.” She would blatantly say, quote, “I want to just take this money and quit being governor.” And it appears that‘s exactly what she did. And by the way, she‘s weighing more than triple her salary. Now, Levi Johnston, surprisingly you have been vindicated, at least when it comes to your former almost mother-in-law‘s motives. Now, let‘s find out more about Frank Bailey and what he said in this new book and the surprising revelations about Sarah Palin.
Joining me now is Shushannah Walshe, she‘s senior political reporter for “The Daily Beast.” She‘s also the co-author of book, “Sarah From Alaska.” All right. Shushannah, great to have you here.
SHUSHANNAH WALSHE, REPORTER “THE DAILY BEAST”: Thanks for having me.
UYGUR: We find out a lot of interesting things here. One, I want to start with this little thing, remember during the Katie Couric interview, she says, she couldn‘t name any of the papers. Why did according to Bailey, why did she do that? She doesn‘t read papers or she does? What was her reason?
WALSHE: Well, Bailey says that she did really just focus on the local papers. But obviously, as we know, Palin, he felt that Katie Couric was undermining her and thought that she was only from Alaska. She really had some harsh words for Katie Couric and saying that her ratings were low before her interview with Palin. And what I think is the most interesting out of this 500 page manuscript is her obsession with little attacks on her family. I mean, obviously, she doesn‘t think they‘re little, but instead of governing the state, she goes on and monitors comments to the Anchorage Daily news political blog and goes after those bloggers that are commenting. And it‘s really an obsession to follow these attacks on her and her family.
UYGUR: Shushannah, did she wind up accidentally or on purpose, I don‘t know, but in effect wind up elevating those minor attacks by like, you know, people that weren‘t that important, that were not that relevant because of her obsession?
WALSHE: Exactly. You got it. And that‘s something that Palin followers like myself who have been reporting on her always thought, but Bailey points it out, that by lifting up these bloggers and these rumors, it‘s making sure everybody knows about them instead of just a few people.
UYGUR: Right. And then, let‘s talk about her other obsession. You mentioned writing into the papers and stuff. So, she would what, secretly write in letters to the editor? Who was she pretending to be? With just anonymous or it wasn‘t.
WALSHE: That‘s what Bailey is alleging, that she would draft Op-ed in defense of her, but put them in other people‘s names.
UYGUR: Oh, that‘s awesome. Oh, Sarah Palin is awesome. That‘s actually her writing the letter to the editor. Now, how about on Facebook? Apparently she‘s got some—what‘s she doing on Facebook?
WALSHE: So, Wonkette today says that you do in response to this manuscript, they say that they have found a secret second Palin account, under name Lou Sarah, Sarah Palin‘s—and where she‘s commenting on her own posts with things like amen and commenting on Bristol‘s dancing—promoting her dancing skills and saying that she did a great job. I mean, it‘s quite hilarious.
UYGUR: Oh come on! Really, Lou Sarah?
WALSHE: That‘s what they‘re saying.
UYGUR: She couldn‘t come up with something else? She couldn‘t pretend to be like Jim Deblowski (ph) or something?
WALSHE: Probably, they just found that out now, so I guess it was pretty could.
UYGUR: OK. And then she‘s coming in to say, you beat you Sarah and it‘s her. Anyway, crazy. How about other republican leaders like Gingrich? They seem to have flipped flopped on, what do we learn there?
WALSHE: A couple of interesting moments with potential 2012 rivals. One, she, the primary said that she backed Mike Huckabee, not John McCain who catapulted her to stardom, and with Newt Gingrich, at the beginning of the book, he had said some great things about her potentially being John McCain‘s running mate, so he‘s a good guy in the beginning of the book, but then at the end, there‘s a really scathing e-mails going after Gingrich when Palin doesn‘t respond to a fundraiser—GOP fund-raiser. They want her to speak, she didn‘t respond, then they get Gingrich going, she really had harsh words for him.
UYGUR: Yes, and one seem, I seem to get from the reporting, Rich white guy, she call him, that‘s interesting. One final thing here real quick. It looks like she‘s really like vindictive. Like, whenever anybody comes, she comes 10 times harder. Maybe, I don‘t know, maybe in politics, that‘s what you have to do. But is that the theme we‘re getting here?
WALSHE: The theme really is a lot of score settling on Bailey‘s part, but he feels like he was just another person that was thrown under the bus. You really see how loyal and really sycophantic Bailey was, how much love the Palin, and how is really thrown under the bus during the Troopergate investigation. And, you know, he can‘t took a lot of the blame, that‘s how we even know of Bailey publicly before that, because he took a lot of the blame.
UYGUR: That‘s really interesting. All right. Shushannah Walshe, thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.
WALSHE: Thank you.
UYGUR: All right. Now, up next, the republican war on Social Security. It‘s spreading, but you know what? I‘m going to be the cop that stops it. That‘s fun, right? And that‘s next.
UYGUR: Conservatives won‘t stop fear mongering about Social Security. They do it over and over again. Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, they all want to make changes. You know what that means, they want to cut it. And now rocker Ted Nugent is weighing in. Great. The so-called hard-rocking motor city madman is slamming Social Security, saying, Americans have been used, strong along and ripped off. He even called it a Ponzi scheme. He wrote in “The Michigan View,” quote, “As usual, it is the exact opposite of what we had been told. This classic Ponzi scheme, it‘s antisocial and insecure, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created Social Security 75 years ago. Americans got suckered into believing Social Security was a healthy, wealthy and wise program. Social Security is bloated, broke, and busted. FDR‘s new deal turned out to be a rip-off deal.”
Now, it is nearly impossible for him to be more wrong. Social Security is neither bloated, nor broke, nor blaster. In fact, it has a $2.5 trillion surplus, it is been one of the shining examples of what government can do right for the last 75 years. It worked all of that time. Did you know that some of the elderly used to starve in the streets before Social Security? That‘s literal. That Republicans have been trying to carried down for the last 75 years, because it proves them wrong. Sometimes when we all join together to provide a little Social Security, we‘re all better off for it, not worse off. But now, we‘re finally starting to see some Democrats tackling lies being spread by people like Ted Nugent, about Social Security. Here‘s Senator Chuck Schumer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Social Security, however, does not contribute one penny to the deficit and won‘t until 2037 by including it in this specific negotiations. It makes it harder to deal with what is the immediate and dangerous problem, which is our immediate deficit over this year and the next several years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: And look, here‘s democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Social Security is not a driver of these deficits and debt. And we are not going to balance the budget on the backs of Social Security beneficiaries. It is solvent, a 100 percent until the year 2037.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: Look, I love it. Actual Democrats fighting for Social Security. What we wanted all along. And guess what? If we fight, we can win. That‘s the show, everybody. “HARDBALL” is up right now.
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