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The Ed Show for Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Alan Grayson, Laura Flanders, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Lena Taylor,

David Cay Johnston


ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW, tonight from New York.

What‘s on the table tonight?


First off is a question that I have for all of you freedom-loving conservatives out there who were so hung up on freedoms on the march.  Where are you tonight?  The likes of Sarah Palin and John Bolton are out there criticizing President Obama‘s Libya speech.  That‘s our lead with commentary tonight.

Government shutdown.  Will House Speaker John Boehner pay a big political price if this all comes to fruition?  I think he will.

Major developments in the Republican war on the middle class.  At the Ohio state house today, chance of kill the bill.  Plus, breaking news in Wisconsin.

That‘s all coming up—and the inside, going inside the mind of a FOX News executive.  Pretty scary stuff.  But we‘ll put that in “The Takedown” tonight.

This is the story that I have to lead with tonight, folks, because this one—I just can‘t let go.  I know the speech was last night but there‘s just so much that needs to be said tonight.  Republicans are attacking the commander in chief during a time of war.  President Obama framed the message.  He framed the mission in Libya under no uncertain terms in his speech last night.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Moammar Gadhafi—he has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world, including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.


SCHULTZ:  Wow!  Can we consume that for just a moment?  That‘s pretty heavy statement.

Now, in the news business, it‘s—the copy is embargoed, OK?  But, of course, we got the copy before the president spoke last night, about a half hour before he went out and spoke to the American people and the world.

And I‘m reading this copy and I came across that statement right there and I thought to myself, you know what?  If Bush said that, I mean, we‘d have been hell-bent for election to support these Libyan people.  We need to consume what the president said.

Gadhafi murdered and terrorized innocent opponents, including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.  Conservatives, have you forgotten that?  Imagine what reaction we would have seen from the right wing in this country if President Bush said the same thing.

So, I think let‘s take another look at that sound bite again because I think this is the key sound bite.  Here it is.


OBAMA:  Moammar Gadhafi—




OBAMA:  -- he has denied his people freedom—




OBAMA:  -- exploited their wealth—




OBAMA:  -- murdered opponents at home and abroad—


SCHULTZ:  All over the place.


OBAMA:  -- and terrorized innocent people around the world, including Americans—


SCHULTZ:  Americans.


OBAMA:  -- who were killed by Libyan agents.


SCHULTZ:  Killed by Libyan agents.  Killed by Libyan agents.

FOX, how come you guys aren‘t leading with that?  You mean to tell me that this guy is a nice guy?  There should be no debate.  We ought to be kicking his ass, right?

If Bush said those words, conservatives would have been cheering the president and they‘d have been wrapping themselves in the flag.  But, you see, those days are over.  We got a Democrat in the White House and he‘s calling the shots right now and he‘s fighting terror just like he said he was going to do when he was on the campaign trail and they just don‘t like that.

A Democrat is the commander-in-chief during a time of war, so Republicans—what they‘ve done is they put down the flags and they‘ve gone on the attack.

Sarah Palin, unloaded on the president over on FOX.  Here it is.


SARAH PALIN ®, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR:  Disappointing speech because we didn‘t get the answers we want to know what is the end game.  U.S.  interests are: Gadhafi‘s got to go, killing him or capturing, he‘s got to go because he‘s going to seek revenge on the United States of America.  That will be his M.O. from here on out and he will sponsor terrorism unless he‘s gone.


SCHULTZ:   Wait a minute now, he‘s been sponsoring terrorism.  Whose side are you on?  Are you with the terrorists, Sarah, or are you with the president of the United States?

Did you hear that?  After nine days in Libya, Sarah Palin wants an end game.  Now, I know that Palin isn‘t real big history buff, so let‘s go to the archives.

Here‘s what President Bush said about time tables four years after the start of the war in Iraq.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT:  I believe artificial timetables of withdrawal would be a mistake.  I will strongly reject an artificial timetable withdrawal and/or Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job.


SCHULTZ:  Son of a gun.  If President Obama had used that kind of language last night, what do you think the Palins and the Boltons and the folks over at FOX have been saying today?  It would have been nonstop, warmongering.

Let‘s not forget this guy, shooter put it like this.


RICHARD CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, the Democrats‘ attempt to micro-manage our commanders is an unwise and perilous endeavor.  It is impossible to argue that an unconditional timetable for retreat can serve the security interests of the United States or our friends in the region.


SCHULTZ:  Retreat, micro-manage—oh, we‘re back to live action here?

Palin is a complete fraud.  She‘s just throwing stuff out there hoping something will stick.  Listen to this bullet point.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS:  Why this military action for this humanitarian purpose when other people are dying in other parts of the world?

PALIN:  Yes.  That‘s a good question and that‘s the $600 million a day question that is being asked now because that‘s the—the cost incurred by Americans as we support the no-fly zone.


SCHULTZ:  Oh, this is a great chance for me to wrap in health care. 

People are dying all over the world.  Yes, I know about that.

But let‘s get back to Libya.  First, she flunked history.  Now, she‘s flunked in math.  Palin says we‘re spending $600 million a day?  She‘s a little off on that, folks.

Today, the Pentagon released the numbers.  The U.S. has spent $550 million for the entire 10-day operation.  Palin is quickly becoming a nonfactor.

Another—here we go.  Another one.  Another 2012 Republican joke said this garbage on the same FOX show.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.:  The speech was a dog‘s breakfast as far as I was concerned.  It wasn‘t much that was new and what was new was trivial.

I thought it was pathetic.


SCHULTZ:  Pathetic.  OK.  Would that be undermining the troops?  Would that be trying to micro-manage the commander-in-chief?  I don‘t know.  You make the call.

Did you hear that?  Did you ever hear a Democrat call Bush‘s speech dog breakfast?  The Republicans are completely off the rails on this issue.  Oh, but they‘re not done.  Here comes Rudy.

Rudy took his dog and pony show over to CNN last night.


RUDY GIULIANI ®, FORMER NYC MAYOR:  The president‘s speech tonight has made things even murkier than they were before.  I mean, the whole purpose of this was to clarify our mission.  Our mission is just internally contradictory.


SCHULTZ:  Really?

The Republican leadership down in Washington also took their verbal shots at the president.  The man who has vowed to make the president a one termer hit the president before the speech.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the president “failed to explain the next steps for the United States in Libya.  If the American people are uncertain as to our military objectives in Libya, it‘s with good cause.”  Oh, that Monday morning quarterbacking is something else, isn‘t it?

Here comes the tan man.  He put out this statement.  “Nine days into the military intervention, Americans still have no answer to the fundamental question: what does success in Libya look like?”

Hold it right there.  After 10 years in Afghanistan?  After how many years in Iraq, eight years and $1 trillion, they want to know what the hell the end game looks like?  Isn‘t that somewhat insulting to the intelligence of the American people?

I‘m getting to the point thinking that you can‘t insult Republicans anymore.  They‘re never going to get it.

The only success that Boehner really cares about is the year 2012.

It‘s one thing for the Republicans to lie about the president on domestic issues, but their actions during this 10-day campaign in Libya are all over the top big time.  It‘s almost like the Republicans—you see, maybe they want to win the White House more than they want to win in Libya.

I know that sounds a little bit harsh and now, maybe I shouldn‘t even have said that.  But I got it from a convicted Republican, a convicted felon named Tom DeLay.  When he was majority leader back in 2004, DeLay said, “The Democrats want to win the White House more than they want to win the war on terror.  And our enemies know it.”

The lead attack dog of course was Darth Vader himself.  And I will never forget Dick Cheney, what he said about John Kerry and the Democrats during the 2004 election.

Here comes the fear.


CHENEY:  We make the wrong choice and the danger is that we‘ll get hit again, that we‘ll be hit in a way that‘ll be devastating from the standpoint of the United States and then we‘ll fall back into the pre-9/11 mindset.


SCHULTZ:  Ooh, we don‘t want to fall back into the pre-9/11 mindset. 

We want to make sure we get this job done in Libya, don‘t we?

Well, son of a gun.  The shoe is on the other foot right now.

And I have to ask the question tonight: where is the patriotism from all of these war hawks?  Where is the patriotism of the Republican Party?  Where is their moral high ground?  Because that‘s what they lectured us on for years.

Isn‘t there a double standard being played out here?  Being played out by Republicans on the way President Obama has handled Libya?  Don‘t you find it somewhat disgusting?  I do.  Because you see, liberals love America just as much as conservatives do.  America has had eight years of politicization of the war on terror and we‘re still debating whether we‘re any safer because of that invasion.

Bush never did smoke out bin Laden and for that matter neither has Obama.  We‘re still in Afghanistan.  We‘re still in Iraq.  We‘re still spending a ton of money.  North Korea still has nukes, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

But, what about being a patriot?  Whatever happened to that feeling, that conversation that we had in this country about freedom on the march?

The situation in Libya is this.  There are human beings who have a chance to get away from a tyrant for the first time in 40 years.  Now, whether they were motivated by other things happening in other regions or other countries we don‘t know that.  We‘ll find that out later on.

But we do know this—that they are fighting.  We do know that the no-fly zone and the intervention by this coalition has given them another day to fight, and that‘s really all they wanted, and apparently, they‘d rather fight than go back to Gadhafi because he is murdering people.  How do I know?

Well, this story, this sound bite comes from Richard Engel‘s package earlier tonight.  This is a Libyan—well, let‘s call them what they are.  They‘re freedom fighters.  They‘re not rebels.  Rebels, rebellious?

I thought—why are they rebellious, because Obama is the president and he‘s a Democrat?  Why aren‘t we calling these people Libyan freedom fighters?  They‘re fighting for their freedom and they‘re going through hell.  Just listen to this gentleman on the ground in Libya.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It is the abuse in Misrata.  They have taken women out of their homes.  They have assassinated people on sight.  They have put snipers on top of buildings.  They are stopping.  I mean, Mr. Obama yesterday mentioned Misrata by name.


SCHULTZ:  Assassinating people on sight, reports of rape and abuse. 

And they keep fighting.

They must love freedom.  They must cherish the hope that maybe some day they‘ll have a chance to be free and not oppressed.

Shouldn‘t we freedom fighters—if you‘re a Republican out there, you‘re a conservative who supported Bush and Cheney and went down that road, shouldn‘t you just be saying, President Obama, go, go, go, do this, this is a chance for freedom to take hold in another country?  Shouldn‘t we be having tremendous admiration for the Libyan freedom fighters?

They will now be referred to on this show as freedom fighters because that‘s what they are.  Instead of dying, they‘re fighting for their freedom.

Now, let‘s give the conservatives one more chance to pony up to the bar and buy around.

We are quickly approaching the next step in this conflict.  Do we arm them?  Do we arm the freedom fighters?

Do we spend money on arms?  Do we have a drop zone and really arm them with the best stuff and give them a chance to fight this tyrant?  Do we do that?

NBC News nightly anchor Brian Williams asked President Obama tonight about arming the freedom fighters.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR:  Are you ruling out U.S. military hardware assistance?

OBAMA:  I‘m not ruling it out, but I‘m also not ruling it in.  We‘re still making an assessment partly about what Gadhafi‘s forces are going to be doing.

Keep in mind, we‘ve been at this now for nine days.  And the degree to which we‘ve degraded Gadhafi‘s forces in those nine days has been significant.  Operations to protect civilians continue to take out Gadhafi‘s forces, his tanks, his artillery on the ground and that will continue for sometime.

And so, one of the questions that we want to answer is: do we start getting to a stage where Gadhafi‘s forces are sufficiently degraded where it may not be necessary to arm opposition groups?  But we‘re not taking anything off the table at this point.


SCHULTZ:  Nothing is off the table.

So, the question now for the doubters who are out and about—why don‘t you support the president, why don‘t you support the freedom fighters and call the White House all you conservatives and say, get them the arms, let them fight for their freedom, help them out?  No boots on the ground.  Just give them the hardware to get the job done.

It would seem to me that if every single Republican who‘s running for president were to stand up and say that, they would be favorably viewed by the people who supported all the other operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I mean, freedom in Afghanistan is the same thing as freedom in Libya and freedom in America, isn‘t it?

Come on.  You conservatives, suck it up.  Tell them to arm the freedom fighters.

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think.  Tonight‘s question: are Republicans only patriotic when one of their own is in the White House?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  And you can also go to our new blog at  We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.


SCHULTZ (voice-over):  Law and disorder.  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker‘s anti-union law blocked for the second time by a judge.  The latest on the war on workers with Lena Taylor.

Tonight‘s “Takedown”: FOX fiction and their executives who make it up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I have to admit that I went on TV on FOX News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation.


SCHULTZ:  Wait until you hear the rest of the tape.

And, will Caterpillar crawl away from Illinois?  The CEO hints they may bolt for a state with a better tax rate.  He claims that moving 23,000 workers to another state is going to make their lives better.



SCHULTZ:  And be sure to check out our new blog at  I‘ll have a commentary up there about how we should arm the freedom fighters.  And, of course, you‘re going to find links to my radio Web site at  Sign up for Twitter and Facebook.  We‘d love to have you onboard.

Next, former Congressman Alan Grayson and Laura Flanders talk about the question we asked you.  Are Republicans only patriotic when one of their own is in the White House?

Stay with us.  We got a lot to say.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching.

Now, we‘ve been talking about the lack of patriotism among prominent Republicans.  Now that it‘s a Democratic president in the White House and, of course, taking military action abroad, they‘re so lukewarm, aren‘t they?  Even though the foreign leader in question, Moammar Gadhafi, is responsible as the president said for killing Americans.

What—I want to be crystal clear.  I‘m not speaking French tonight.  This is English.  Moammar Gadhafi—according to the president of the United States—has—his agents have killed Americans.  Why doesn‘t that get the Republican blood boiling?

Joining me now are: former Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida and also, Laura Flanders, host of GRITtv” on Free Speech TV.

Thanks to both of you for joining us tonight.

I want to start with Newt Gingrich.  This is the former speaker.  This is a man who has tremendous media savvy.

This is a guy who wants to be president, yet no one can figure out what his policy is.  It‘s over here.  It‘s over there.  It‘s almost a dart board mentality.

Congressman Grayson, what does that tell you about how confused these chicken hawks are about what President Obama is doing for freedom fighters in Libya?

FORMER REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA:  The Republican position is very simple.  If Obama is for it, then they‘re against it.  If Obama is against it, then they‘re for it.

As much as I said two years ago, if President Obama has a BLT sandwich they will try to ban bacon.  That‘s just the way they are.

In the case of Newt Gingrich, I no more take his advice on foreign affairs than I would take his advice on marital affairs.

SCHULTZ:  Laura Flanders, your take on the GOP field.  They are so lukewarm to help the president out.

LAURA FLANDERS, GRITTV:  Well, they sure are.  I mean, I‘m in the camp of those who thinks it is patriotic to criticize the president—but these people?  These are the ones who said once troops are on the ground it is sacrilege to criticize.  Now, it seems to be some kind of sacrosanct right that they must engage in.

And, then, you know, Grayson is right.  There‘s no wrong war in these people‘s eyes unless it‘s Obama‘s war.  The frustrating thing is, this is where you need a third party.  You will need people who will raise questions of this intervention.  But not these questions and not with this level of hypocrisy.

SCHULTZ:  But, Laura, what about the patriotism?  What about, you know, the president making a decision, the freedom fighters need help, we‘ve helped people like this in the past—but all of a sudden the Republicans are finding all kinds of problems with President Obama after nine days?

FLANDERS:  Yes.  I mean, you‘re right.  And when they‘re finding the problems and the problems that they are finding, the hypocrisy is rank.

I mean, the very top, while they‘re complaining about unilateralism, lack of consultation coming from their side—I mean, this is a group who we said are they going to be digging themselves some kind of precedent hole by expanding executive power under the Bush administration such that when the presidency is in the hands of the other party, they‘ll be in a tough spot?

Well, you know, they have no qualms.  It was fine for Bush.  It‘s not fine for Obama.  I think you and I, we still have a right to critique and it‘s patriotic to critique.  But this is hypocrisy.  Rank hypocrisy as simple as that.

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Grayson, when you take a look at what was said, the sound bite we played twice—if those words had come out of George W.  Bush, where would the Republican Party be?  What kind of sell job would we be getting right now?

GRAYSON:  Well, you know, they pretend to be patriots but in fact they complain about things as Lindsey Graham pointed out, that they only complain about when a Democrat is in charge.  We spent the total amount in Libya in the past 10 days the same roughly as what we spend in Afghanistan and Iraq every single day, for eight years in Iraq and 10 years in Afghanistan.

Lindsey Graham got it right.  Where were all of these accountants during the war in Iraq?  Where were they when asking about what the mission when the mission was to find weapons of mass destruction that weren‘t there?

FLANDERS:  Where are they now?


GRAYSON:  Where were these people in Iraq and Afghanistan?

There‘s only two people who showed any honor among the Republicans concerning the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan among all the members of the House—they‘re Dr. Ron Paul and Walter Jones from North Carolina.

FLANDERS:  I mean, where are they now?

GRAYSON:  The other 200 members are all accomplices.

FLANDERS:  We‘re cutting—we‘re cutting budgets all across the country.  We‘re talking about what we can‘t afford and how we have to withdraw public services and jobs for public workers and yet, there is, you know, a blank slate—a blank check for military expenditures everywhere but this one.

I mean, we need to be talking—if you want to raise questions, let‘s raise questions about militarization in the region that we‘re talking about.  A $67 billion largest ever military aid package to Saudi Arabia was signed today.  That we should be talking about.

SCHULTZ:  But with the kind of money we have spent on military operations on freedom, this is a drop in the bucket.  And I find it absolutely amazing that the conservatives of this country aren‘t supporting this the way they did President Bush.  It is all about defeating President Obama.  That‘s what this is about.

FLANDERS:  This is where we need third parties.  I want to talk about exactly who is it that we‘re supporting?  Is it freedom fighters as you‘re saying?  And where is that money going?

And what else could we be doing?  That $67 billion to Saudi Arabia is




SCHULTZ:  We‘re saving lives.  I mean, this mission is saving lives.  I mean, that sound bite that we played earlier or that freedom fighter says it all.  The moral high ground would be to give them arms to let them fight against an oppressive person in Moammar Gadhafi.

FLANDERS:  I want to know more.  I mean, this is the beginning.  I want to know about—

SCHULTZ:  What else do you need to know?

FLANDERS:  -- who was supporting.  I mean, some of the rebels we‘re supporting here, some of the rebels are former Gadhafi leaders.

SCHULTZ:  They‘re not rebels.  They are freedom fighters.

FLANDERS:  Some of them are people who lived in this country for 30 years.

SCHULTZ:  They have been oppressed for 40 years, and they are freedom fighters.  They want to be free just like you and me.  We want to be free.

FLANDERS:  Let‘s find out more and if we want to encourage democracy in the region, let‘s send in the tools of democracy and not be hoodwinked into thinking military solutions are the only ones we can consider.

SCHULTZ:  Finally, Congressman, what did you think of the president‘s speech last night?

GRAYSON:  I think the president as usual makes a lot of sense and he really puts his opponents to shame.  He is the epitome of common sense.

But I will say this—if you listen to what the freedom fighters have been asking for, they‘re asking for recognition.  They‘re asking for arms.  They‘re asking for intelligence.  They didn‘t ask for a no-fly zone.  We should give them the things they say they need.

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Alan Grayson and Laura Flanders, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much.

FLANDERS:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  And you may have heard about the FOX executive who admits he didn‘t believe what he was telling FOX viewers about President Obama before the election.  But it turns out he‘s even lying about his lie.  That‘s “The Takedown” tonight.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  And in the Takedown tonight, the exclusive story—explosive story, and exclusive, I might add, from Media Matters.  A Fox News executive caught on tape admitting he repeatedly reported on air something he secretly considered far fetched.  But there is more than one Takedown to find in this dishonesty of the Fox vice president, Bill Sammon. 

Here is the story.  On October 12th, less than a month before the election, Barack Obama met Joe the Plumber.  Remember that highlight tape?  Two days later, here‘s how Salmon reported it. 


BILL SAMMON, FOX NEWS VICE PRESIDENT:  Barack Obama said to the plumber, you know, we need to spread the wealth around. 


SAMMON:  That is red meat when you‘re talking to conservatives and you start talking about spread the wealth around.  That is tantamount to socialism. 

That is basically tantamount to socialism. 


SCHULTZ:  Well, first of all, Obama didn‘t say “we need to spread the wealth around.”  He said that “when you spread the wealth around, everyone benefits.”

Why?  Because if you paid for middle class tax cuts by raising taxes on income above 250,000 dollars, then the middle class would spend more and everyone benefits.  Capitalism, not socialism. 

And now we know from a tape obtained by Media Matters that even Bill Salmon didn‘t believe the lie he was feeding Fox viewers. 


SAMMON:  Speaking of mischief, last year, candidate Barack Obama stood on a sidewalk in Toledo, Ohio, and first let it slip to Joe the Plumber that he wanted to, quote, spread the wealth around. 

At that time, I have to admit that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far fetched. 


SCHULTZ:  Well, Sammon tells Howard Kurtz he raised the issue of socialism because, quote, “it was a main point of discussion on all the channels in all the media.”

But that‘s not what Sammon said at the time.  At the time, he took credit for it. 


SAMMON:  I talked about this for several days right after it happened.  And the McCain campaign has now picked up this socialism word on their own and they‘re running with it. 


SCHULTZ:  Two days later, less than two weeks before the election, Sammon sent an internal e-mail headlined, “Obama‘s References to Socialism.”  Sure enough, Media Matters found at least 35 times between that memo and the election when Fox talked about Obama‘s socialism or communism or Marxism. 

Like trained poodles, even prime time stars started jumping through Sammon‘s hoop the same day that e-mail went out. 


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  He repeatedly showed that that‘s what he wants—socialism. 

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Obama once again endorsed income redistribution as economic justice.  For the record, those are socialistic terms.  There is no question about it. 

So my question to the Obama campaign is this: are we not supposed to report that stuff? 


SCHULTZ:  Well, only if you‘re naive enough to believe the far fetched lies your bosses tell you, Bill.  And that‘s the Takedown. 

Tax free incentives, soaring profits, you know, that‘s just not good enough for the CEO of Caterpillar.  He‘s threatening to take his company elsewhere. 

Republican Leader Eric Canter draws a line in the sand.  He is willing to shut down the federal government and then blame Democrats for it? 


SCHULTZ:  Thanks for watching tonight THE ED SHOW here on MSNBC.  Without a deal to fund it, by next Friday the United States government is going to shut down.  And today Republicans drew a line in the sand and said they‘re willing to let it happen. 

Just don‘t blame them if it does.  And keep in mind, next Friday is April 8th, a week before tax day, which means if Republicans shut down the government, it won‘t just be Social Security checks that aren‘t going out.  It would be tax returns as well. 

That line today was drawn by House Republican Leader Eric Canter.  Canter said that he will no longer agree to any stop-gap measures to keep funding at current levels unless Democrats agree to tens of billions of dollars in more cuts.  Republicans will let the government come to a halt and then try to blame Democrats for it. 

Well, right because—you know, it‘ll just be one big coincidence if the government shuts down four months after the Tea Party takes power.  Look, I don‘t think the public is going to be fooled on this a bit.  Even Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said today “I don‘t think the government shutdown is politically in the Republican party‘s interests.”

Well, House Speaker John Boehner didn‘t quite draw Canter‘s line, but he did repeat the ridiculous claim that he wants to cut spending because it will lead to a better environment and create jobs in America.  Mr. Boehner, you just never seem to explain any of that. 

Even though Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer was overheard telling other Democrats to call Boehner‘s cuts extreme, which they are, Democrats remain stuck fighting the Republican battle over how much to cut.  Well, instead of reminding Americans that Republicans just cut taxes for the rich, again, and that way is the way they want to create jobs and grow out of this recession. 

Look, the bottom line is this: this isn‘t going to be easy.  It‘s going to hurt a lot of people.  With us tonight is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois.  Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 


SCHULTZ:  What happened?  Who gets the blame if the government shuts down? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  It‘s clearly going to be the Republicans that should get the blame.  Look, if they want to cut the budget, there are plenty of ways to do it.  They could start with the four billion dollars that we give every year to the oil and gas companies, even as we‘re paying through the nose at the pump every day. 

Or the offshore tax evaders who don‘t have to pay taxes when they take their corporate headquarters overseas or out source American jobs with tax incentives.  So there are ways to cut the budget, but not through cutting programs for Meals on Wheels for frail seniors or immunization programs for children or nutrition programs or college grants so that middle class families can have their kids go to college. 

Or how about the tsunami warning systems that they want to cut?  Or even the IRS, so that they can‘t collect all the taxes that need to be collected.  Their proposals are absolutely insane.  And, in fact, the economists are saying that their programs are going to cost 700,000 job losses. 

SCHULTZ:  It‘s going to cost jobs.  There‘s no doubt.  But now the question is are the Democrats ready to go to the fire wall to protect all of those cuts and keep the ball in the Republicans‘ court, and let them decide whether the government gets shut down or not?  I mean, what are you willing to do? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  Well, you know, if it becomes a compromise, are we going to let six million frail, home bound seniors lose their Meals on Wheels or three million?  I think that‘s not a choice that we can make.  I think we can offer cuts.  And if they won‘t accept the reasonable, rational cuts that all Americans agree, like oil and gas companies, then I think we have to say, then it is your fault. 

We cannot make those kinds of compromises that hurt working and middle class Americans. 

SCHULTZ:  So, congresswoman, you‘re saying tonight you would not—you would not go along with cutting tens of billions more dollars—and that is exactly what the Republicans are calling for—that you‘re willing to roll that dice and just let the political blame go where it goes?  And I guess forget the political blame.  It‘s going to hurt a lot of people. 

But you think you can politically survive this, that this would be the right move for the Democrats to stand up to these cuts? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  These people have to understand they may control the House of Representatives for now, but they don‘t control the Senate.  And they don‘t control the White House.  And that means that as responsible elected officials, they need to negotiate.  They need to be willing to—

SCHULTZ:  Do you think the president should weigh in on this? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  Well, I think the president will be weighing in on this, because we‘re not going to be able to—he will not sign legislation, I don‘t believe, that‘s going to make those drastic cuts. 

And, you know, the wheels are really falling off the Republican leadership.  There is a—an event by the Tea Party on Thursday called the Continuing Revolution.  Isn‘t that cute? 

And it‘s—the target of the Tea Party event is the Republicans because they‘re losing patience, these Tea Partiers, saying—and so I think they are really holding John Boehner hostage and he doesn‘t know what to do. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  What about that?  Do you think maybe Boehner and Canter are waiting for the Tea Partiers to get out of town and then they‘re going to cut a deal with you? 

SCHAKOWSKY:  Well I think they certainly have to make some agreement, but it has to be a rational agreement.  We cannot keep backing up and taking more money from the middle class people and not doing anything about big oil or the big corporations taking our jobs. 

SCHULTZ:  Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, great to have you with us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

SCHAKOWSKY:  Always good to be here. 

SCHULTZ:  Tonight there are major developments in the Republican war on the middle class.  Wisconsin is heating up once again.  We‘re going there next.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Breaking news out of Madison, Wisconsin tonight, where the middle class has won another legal battle.  Well, Dane County Circuit Judge Mary Ann Sumi has ruled there should be no further implementation of a law taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights for public workers. 

John Nichols of “The Nation” tells us tonight that the judge will take legal action against any in the government who tries to implement the law.  The Walker administration says the union busting law is still absolutely in effect and they have already stopped deducting union dues in spite of the judge‘s first order. 

But remember, Scott Walker said the bill wasn‘t about union busting. 


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  The state would no longer collect union dues.  And unions would have to win an election every year to keep representing workers.  Isn‘t that union busting? 

GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN:  No, absolutely not. 


SCHULTZ:  Walker said his bill was exclusively about repairing the budget.  But the nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau today said that Walker‘s budget repair bill will actually increase Wisconsin‘s annual budget by one percent.  Walker insists the law is not about union busting.  But today Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald copped to the truth. 

Fitzgerald is trying to raise money to fight a recall effort.  “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel” got a copy of his fund raising letter.  Fitzgerald writes, “government employee unions have ruined California and Illinois, but they‘re not going to ruin Wisconsin.  That is because the Republicans faced down big labor‘s bully tactics and a Democratic walkout in the state senate to break the power of the unions like WEAC and AFSCME once and for all.” 

OK.  So they are worried about the recall.  And they should be, because that movement is picking up steam. 

Joining me tonight for her first ED SHOW interview, since she has not been in a hotel in Illinois, is State Senator Lena Taylor.  Senator, good to have you with us tonight. 

These are two rulings by a judge that this governor is absolutely defying.  Your take on that? 

LENA TAYLOR, WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR:  Well, first of all, Ed, I think it‘s really—it‘s good to see you.  It‘s good to be back with you. 

I think it‘s really sad that our attorney general has not stepped up and—as the top cop in our state, and said something to support the fact that a judge has ruled and done a restraining order.  And the fact that this administration has chosen to defy the law and a court order is really sad. 

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of Scott Fitzgerald‘s admission that this was about union busting, when all along they said it was all about the budget? 

TAYLOR:  You know, I‘ve said it all the time that this has been not a budget repair bill, because it didn‘t meet the statutory requirements.  In addition to that, I specifically said that the intent of this bill was strictly to bust unions.

And I was told that that wasn‘t true.  And they keep showing themselves to be not honest and to not have told Wisconsinites the truth.  The governor said that he campaigned on this.  He never did. 

Fitzgerald has now told truth.  But he told the truth, as they normally do, it seems, when they‘re talking to their donors, to special interests.  But when it comes to dealing with the people, they always say something different. 

So now they‘ve told the truth through that letter.

SCHULTZ:  What do you make of some results that came out about testing

in the public schools and in the private sector, showing that the private -

the public school students were way ahead of the voucher program counterparts when it came to math and English?


TAYLOR:  You know, I think what it shows is, one, the story that has been out there before suggesting that vouchers are stellar above public schools—number one, that that‘s not true.  But what we have instead is a bunch of mediocrity in our public education.  Instead of us creating divide, we need to be trying to figure out how we can provide what we need for our children. 

SCHULTZ:  It clearly shows that the voucher students are nowhere near the public students when it comes to scoring in math and also in English.  So here is the governor supporting something that‘s failing.  I find that amazing. 

Finally, quickly, what about the recall?  Are you confident that there will be senators recalled? 

TAYLOR:  Oh, there‘s no question that there will be senators recalled.  More than 60 percent in one—in Senator Hopper‘s district—I mean, Senator Panki‘s (ph) district want to see him recalled.  Senator Hopper‘s district, there has had great support there.  And I know that there‘s been efforts in Senator Darling‘s (ph) district. 

I‘m clear that we‘re going to have some recalls.  And I‘ll tell you on the education issue and the voucher program, Ed, what we have is we have a system that should not be expanded.  And we should not be taking the income limits off. 

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Senator Lena Taylor, good to have you with us.  Thanks so much.  Thanks for keeping up the fight.

His company is enjoying soaring profits.  So why does the CEO of Caterpillar want to move his company out of Illinois?  That story next.  Stay with us.


SCHULTZ:  Finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, we have got a protest of different sorts from the Midwest.  A protest of a different kind.  This one comes courtesy of a down and out on his luck kind of guy.  You know, he just can‘t get a break. 

He‘s a corporate CEO.  I want you to meet Doug Oberhelmen (ph). Now, he‘s the head of Caterpillar, construction and mining equipment manufacturer.  They had a tough year last year.  Hell, they only made 2.7 billion dollars in profits this past year. 

And has recently enjoyed tax free incentives from the state of Illinois for at least a full year.  They received millions in stimulus money from the government.  But now the CEO of Caterpillar is saying that he is considering taking his 23,000 jobs to another state.  He‘s written a letter to the Democratic governor saying he‘s worried about the business climate. 

Do you know the state recently increased the corporate tax rate by 2.2 percent?  The kicker here is that Oberhelmen won‘t say that‘s the reason he wants to move.  His spokesman said this about his employees, that the personal tax rate is going up two percent, so they are talking with other states about moving the entire company. 

So we have a company that is making the case that it will be better for its employees if they sell their homes, leave their schools, vacate the neighborhoods, you know, uproot the families, hit the road, and it‘ll just be a more complete way of life for them.  All of that to save two percent a year? 

Joining me now is David Cay Johnston.  He‘s a columnist for, Pulitzer Prize winning author, and former tax columnist for the “New York Times.”  Good evening, David.  Good to have you with us tonight.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, TAX.COM:  Good evening, Ed. 

SCHULTZ:  This is the epitome of arrogance when it comes to you better give me everything free, so I can do business in your state.  Is this going to be, I would say, habit forming for these corporations? 

JOHNSTON:  Oh, it‘s—they‘re all addicted to this notion that the tax system should pay you.  The tax system should pay for your factories.  It should provide you with a way to not have to pay taxes on your profits.  I don‘t know where these companies think they‘re going to get future workers who know their reading, writing, arithmetic if they keep doing this. 

SCHULTZ:  Explain, you know, to our audience, why are they doing this?  I mean, they had record—they had fourth quarter profits that quadrupled sales.  I mean, 2.7 billion dollars.  What about this? 

JOHNSTON:  This is a cyclical company.  They go up and down with the economy.  It‘s a well run company.  They‘ve been—their stock has been performing very well, unlike the overall market for the last ten years.  But by doing this, what happens is you‘ve now seen the governors of Nebraska and Indiana and other states have their economic development people go and say, well, what could we do for you?  What could we do that we‘re going to provide you with some aid, which really means we can take away from schools, libraries, nurses, taking care of the roads, so we can attract you to come over here to our state? 

I think it is very unlikely that they would move out of where they are over this, Ed, but it will help them get pressure to push that tax rate back down.  And that‘s part of the whole drive.  Push the tax rate down on people who can‘t get the governor on the phone or to respond to their letters. 

SCHULTZ:  And U.S. corporations are paying taxes at historical lows right now.  It‘s going to be a pattern we‘re going to see a lot of.  Does Caterpillar enjoy the same tax lap holes as other corporations? 

JOHNSTON:  Well, Caterpillar is a big international company.  And they‘ve taken advantage of it—of things in Switzerland, for example to lower their taxes.  It appears from their disclosure statement that they have over the last two years paid about an average of 30 million a year to the state of Illinois.  They got money back one year and they paid another year.

But against a 2.7 billion dollar profit, you‘re looking at one or 1.5 percent of their profit going to the state, which provides them with courts to enforce their contracts, educated workers they can put in their factories and their offices, roads to move their products and roads they build with their products. 

So basically they want the benefits of living in Illinois and living in America, but they don‘t want to share in the burdens.  They want you and I and the viewers to pick up the burdens. 

SCHULTZ:  David Cay Johnston, always a pleasure.  Great to have you with us tonight. 

JOHNSTON:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Tonight in our survey, I asked are Republicans only patriotic when one of their own is in the White House?  Ninety eight percent of you said yes; two percent of you said no.

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  For more information, we‘d like to take you to our new blog at  “Rage and Revolution in the Mideast in Crisis” with Chris Jansing starts right now.  .



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