Guests: John Nichols, Amy Holmes, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Mike Papantonio,
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from 30 Rock, Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.
We have got two big stories tonight. Just hold it a second. I was going to go to Kenosha, Wisconsin today but I couldn‘t because I am afraid I would have said something that would have gotten me in trouble. That‘s how passionate I am about this, because Paul Ryan is out there saying stuff that is not true. We‘re going to get into his budget plan tonight.
And John Boehner is flat out lying about taxing oil companies. Oh, this is a hot one.
It‘s THE ED SHOW. Let‘s get to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My hope to you is that you actually listen to what we‘re saying in this room and not listen to the high-priced lobbyists like the Heritage Foundation back in Washington. This is middle class America right here. This is middle class America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ (voice-over): The Paul Ryan listening tour rolls on. Our cameras were there. You do not want to miss a second of this.
Donald Trump is now playing the race card against President Obama. Why? I thought he said he said he got along with the blacks. What a loser!
In a huge announcement from the nation‘s biggest firefighters union—tonight, the head of the IAFF is my guest exclusively.
SCHULTZ: Great to have you with us tonight, folks. This is story number one that has me fired up tonight. It‘s all about what‘s going on in Wisconsin.
Congressman Paul Ryan, he got an earful—and he should—at town after town listening, at his listening session. In Kenosha, Wisconsin, today, the House budget chairman, he did his absolute best trying to sell this plan, but most of the crowd—well, they just didn‘t buy it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really appreciate you coming out here today to this listening session. My hope to you is that you actually listen to what we‘re saying in this room and not listen to the high priced lobbyists like the Heritage Foundation back in Washington. This is middle class America right here. This is middle class America.
Now, if I‘m understanding your plan right, you want to take a publicly administered program such as Medicare and turn it over to a private corporation.
REP. PAUL RYAN ®, WISCONSIN: Well, can I get you right there? So, about a fourth of Medicare is already administered this way. Medicare beneficiaries who have supplemental insurance, it‘s administered this way. The prescription drug benefit for all of Part D is administered this way.
So, most of Medicare is already administered this way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So, why the big change? Why the big change? Ryan was on the defensive over his path to prosperity budget all day, which the House passed, of course, back on April 15th.
And every time Ryan gets a tough question, he loves to go to this chart that he‘s peddling at all his town hall meetings. This, of course, is the chart provided by the Heritage Foundation.
Let‘s look at this chart. This is how good it was for Medicare ‘50, ‘60, ‘70, 1990, 2000. But now, we‘re into the real red neck conservative years. They want to change everything. They want to get the New Deal. This is part of the New Deal they want to erase.
So, this path to prosperity, which I think we ought to be calling, is the path to the poor house. They want to turn this down and they want to reduce the benefits and this is how it‘s going to look in 2020, ‘30, ‘40, ‘50. Ryan is peddling that his budget will make the expenses be right here and not go up here over the years.
He has no proof of that.
Here‘s what we do have proof of. They‘re going to take the benefits away from you and they‘re going to give the tax breaks to the top 2 percent. That‘s what—that‘s what this plan is all about. This plan is about denying care to people to the tune of $6,000 to $7,000 a year.
Are you ready to serve that up middle classers?
We should point out the median income in this district is just over $50,000 a year. And do you think those folks are ready to serve up $6,000 or $7,000 a year in their Medicare years?
Ryan‘s budget chart—it can‘t hide—it can‘t hide from this number. Eighty percent of Americans, they want to keep Medicare and Medicaid as is.
Have you ever been to Kenosha? Kenosha is a wonderful town. It really is. Years ago, I used to go there to do Coho salmon fishing.
These people are hearty. They love what they do. They‘re hardworking folks.
Well, that was before the plants left that were out sourced.
Now, this Kenosha town hall had some heart and some passion to it, and the people that were there were more excited about a plan one of Ryan‘s constituents laid out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not renew the Bush tax credit for the wealthy.
(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)
RYAN: So, does anybody agree with that? I‘m just kidding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eliminate all pork in all political districts immediately.
RYAN: Yes. I agree with that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tax corporations on overseas profits and bring the jobs home.
(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Place a windfall tax on oil companies and rescind the $4 billion subsidy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: We didn‘t get an answer on that. There was silence after that.
Ryan tried, in fact, to turn the conversation around to President Obama. He accused the president of using political rhetoric.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: I don‘t think the president is interested in negotiating on some of these big issues from—based on his—let me finish it, based on some of his rhetoric. I hope that that changes. I hope he does change his rhetoric, and I hope he changes his tune.
I thought that speech was excessively partisan, very much inaccurate, and inadequate to fix the problem. And so, I hope he does change.
I, for one, don‘t think it‘s a productive to get into a partisan bickering match with him on these issues. We got bigger things to do than do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Now, did you catch that? That President Obama is not willing to negotiate?
Can we go back to the board? You know why President Obama should not be negotiating? It‘s because 80 percent of the American people want it the way it is. They don‘t want any changes.
If the Republicans had 80 percent of the people on their side, do you think they would be negotiating to change?
Watch how Ryan used political rhetoric to slap down the very next Wisconsinite with the facts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You voted to defund Planned Parenthood which would
take away health care for the American woman who cannot afford to pay it on
their own. You also voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act which
according to -
RYAN: That‘s Obamacare you‘re talking about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s partisan.
RYAN: Just so people know what we‘re talking about, the president‘s health care law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, we‘re trying to be—we‘re trying to be civil. So, instead of calling it Obamacare, I‘m calling it what it actually is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Yes. You see? He was calling it the name off the bill, but it was the congressman who was calling it Obamacare after he had said let‘s knock off the political rhetoric.
The voters of Wisconsin have had enough of the Republican lies that have been out there on this, but that didn‘t stop Ryan. Listen to this garbage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: These aren‘t coupons. They‘re not vouchers. They‘re Medicare-approved insurance options, just like Medicare advantage works today, just like the plan you and I are in, just like the prescription drug benefit works. It‘s not a coupon. It‘s not a voucher.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Do you know what the bottom line here folks is?
They think you‘re stupid. They think that you don‘t know what a voucher is. They think that you don‘t know what privatization is. They think that you don‘t know enough about health care in this country to make your own decision. They think you don‘t understand a voucher.
You know what is really, I think, frightening about all of this? Is that we actually have elected officials who are out there trying to take away from the people, these people right here—the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years—to take away their benefits while they go untouched.
Let‘s talk about Ryan‘s situation for a moment. Let‘s see. He‘s been in the Congress since 1999. He‘s 41 years old.
They have this thing in the Congress, the 50/20. If you‘re 50 years old and you‘ve been in Congress for 20 years, you get a hell of a pension. And you get your health care.
And you know what? All of those folks that were at that town hall meeting, they don‘t have the ability to cut any of that for that congressman. It‘s guaranteed.
See? This used to be guaranteed. And 80 percent of the people want it guaranteed, because they paid into it for years. But now, we‘ve got these radicals and I praise the president for saying that it‘s a radical budget because that‘s exactly what it is. And if your mom is in assisted living, and if your mom and your dad are on Medicare and they‘re on a fixed budget and they got a kitchen table issue week after week, month after month, and you‘ve got a congressman up there who‘s got a guaranteed pension, who‘s got guaranteed health care, who can‘t get touched and wants to take it away from them and give it to the rich, notice how the Republicans never say anything about controlling health care costs or investing in education to make sure that we have enough.
You see? That would take us down the road of universal health care.
You know, and then he‘s purporting these other ideas out there—the arrogance just pours off this congressman. It‘s a cool arrogance. There‘s a lot of different ways to be arrogant.
Now, we were talking about red heads last night. I can show you how a red head gets arrogant. I‘m pretty good at that sometimes.
But this is a cool arrogance. This is an arrogance where he says, listen to the sound bite, that the people really don‘t understand anything. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: It‘s people who don‘t understand what we‘re doing with Medicare. What I find is a lot of demagoguery and distortion occurring.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: A lot of distortion occurring? Tell me—are the benefits going to be the same, congressman? Let‘s have a definition. The answer is no. That‘s the definitive answer.
That is not a distortion. That is a fact. You are cutting people‘s benefits. That‘s what‘s in your plan. That‘s what you want to do to the elderly in this country in years to come.
Why? Because you‘ve got this phantom budget that is going to blow up the record deficit that we‘ve already got and make it even worse because your chart from the Heritage Foundation says it‘s going to be bad?
Here‘s the other one that gets me. He says he can sleep well at night. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: I can go do something else with my life. I sleep very soundly knowing that what I‘m trying to do is help fix this country‘s problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: You know what? For years, people that had Medicare and Medicaid, they slept pretty wealth night, too. But now, they‘re under attack by you, Congressman.
And yet you can sleep well at night, because nobody‘s going to be touching your pension. Nobody is going to be touching your health care. All you have to do is take more money from the oil companies, take more money from the pharmaceuticals, take more money from the insurance companies, and it‘s going to be damn tough to get you out of Congress.
So, you‘ve got pretty much a guaranteed situation and you‘re asking the middle classers to serve it up more. For the top 2 percent who will line your pockets so you can get re-elected, I think Wisconsinites are a hell of a lot smarter than that.
I started this broadcast tonight saying that I really wanted to be in Kenosha, Wisconsin, today, but I think I would have got in trouble. I really do. I probably would have said something that was out of line. It would have been the truth and I would have made a spectacle of myself. So, I thought I‘d wait until tonight 10:00 Eastern Time to do it.
This is a lie. This is wrong for America. This is not what our servicemen and women around the country are fighting for.
This is not freedom. This is a government takeover is what it is.
It‘s forcing—it is forcing the money to go to the private sector and Wall Street so we can go through yet another shakedown.
Do you think that‘s what Americans want? I don‘t.
And you know what? When these folks go from here to go to here, they don‘t know about liberal and conservative. They don‘t know about Democrat/Republican.
You know what they know about? They know about fairness. And we are lacking fairness in this budget—because they want to reduce the tax rates for the top 2 percent another 10 percent, from 35 percent to 25 percent. They want to reduce the corporate income tax.
In fact, at Kenosha today, he even said that he wants to reduce the corporate taxes and burden on the job creators.
Tell us, Congressman Ryan, what job creators are you talking about? Do you have commitments from corporations across America that if the tax rate is cut to 25 percent, that there are going to be guaranteed hires in this country? You don‘t have that. But you want us to believe this garbage?
We‘re smarter than that.
America is awake. America is alive. And I can‘t wait until 2012 -- because you know what? This isn‘t going away. They‘ve shown their cards.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think of the story tonight. Tonight‘s question: will Paul Ryan‘s plan end Medicare as we know it? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639. And, of course, you can always go to our blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. We‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
A man who has been on this story since day one is joining us tonight, John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation.”
John, great to have you with us.
You were there. How passionate—how schooled up was this crowd today?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Ed, it was remarkable. There were instances after instances where Paul Ryan said something—and remember he filibustered at the start. He was up there for the better part of 20 minutes filling the time. He had his A.V. equipment, he had everything there.
But when the people started asking questions, he would come in with his line on some aspect of his plan or another, and these people would hit him right back and they would say, “But that‘s not what the Congressional Budget Office says,” or, “That‘s not what the analysis by this agency or that agency says.” And the fact of the matter was, they really kept this congressman on his toes. It was an amazing hour and a half.
SCHULTZ: Is he making the case? Is he standing his ground? Does he really believe this?
NICHOLS: I don‘t know if he really believes it. The fact of the matter is, he has been a Washington insider—in Washington for the better part of 20 years as a congressional aide and member of Congress and also very closely aligned with right wing think tanks. So, I‘m not sure if he‘s thinking for himself all that much.
But I can tell you this—when I talked to him after the incredible session where you saw so much grassroots democracy on display and so many well-informed people, I said, “You know, were you changed by this? Did this have an effect?”
He said, “No, no. This is Kenosha. You know, I expected to have this kind of response here. I‘ve had it before.”
I was frankly very disappointed by that because the fact of the matter was, I‘ve been in Kenosha. I‘ve seen this town in many different political situations, and I‘ve never seen it this charged up, this passionate, and this overwhelmingly concerned about an issue that being the assault on Medicare.
SCHULTZ: The speaker of the House was asked about this Ryan plan.
This was his response. Here‘s John Boehner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Paul Ryan has an idea that certainly is worthy of consideration in terms of how do we—how do we do this in a more efficient way? And, frankly, having the private sector run the program is far more efficient than having the government run it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said an idea worthy of consideration but your entire—
BOEHNER: I voted for it. I‘m for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You‘re in favor of it.
BOEHNER: It‘s our idea, all right? It‘s Paul‘s idea. Other people have other ideas. I‘m not wedded to one single idea but I think it‘s—we have a plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The bottom line here is, is that all Republicans voted for this. And the bottom line is this is just not an idea. John Boehner wants Harry Reid to get this passed over in the Senate and he wants the president to sign it.
Now, he is soft peddling this, John Nichols. How do you—are they feeling the heat on this?
NICHOLS: Well, I think they are, Ed. And this is a significant thing. While Paul Ryan may say that he was not affected by what was taking place in Kenosha, other members of Congress have to see moments like this. The fact is there‘s general agreement that 75 percent, 80 percent of the people in the room, perhaps more, were opposed to him. And by far the loudest applause line of the day was when Bill Schroeder (ph), the insurance man from Kenosha, retired insurance man—
NICHOLS: -- said the best solution was to do those—get rid of those Bush tax cuts. That was a thunderous round of applause. Nothing Paul Ryan said got anywhere near that kind of positive reaction.
SCHULTZ: John Nichols, Washington correspondent of “The Nation”—great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time and insight.
Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of the screen. We want to know what you think.
House Speaker John Boehner wants to keep tax subsidies for big oil companies, but he has a hard time admitting it. So, he basically lied at an interview. That‘s how I call it.
A new report by two senior members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is challenging everything we know about America‘s military power. Will our leaders get the message? That‘s coming up.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: John Boehner lied when he said he would think about ending taxpayer-funded subsidies to big oil. The Democrats aren‘t going to let him get away with it. That‘s next.
Stay with us. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for watching tonight.
Today, House Speaker John Boehner showed the deceit in politics and protecting big oil companies are more important to him than protecting the American people. I mean, it all started when it seemed like he was open to the idea of eliminating tax subsidies for oil companies. Here it is.
(BEIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, we saw the—I‘m sure you saw that the former CEO of Shell Oil came out and said that the companies, they don‘t need these subsidies.
BOEHNER: I don‘t think the big oil companies need to have the oil depletion allowances. But for small, independent oil and gas producers, if they didn‘t have this, there would be even less exploration in America than there is today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, would you be in favor of seeing some of these subsidies that are going to big oil at times of record profits?
BOEHNER: It‘s certainly something that we ought to be looking at.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doing away with these subsidies?
BOEHNER: We certainly ought to take a look at it. We‘re in a time when the federal government is short on revenues and we need to control spending but we need to have revenues to keep the government moving. They ought to be paying their fair share.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the president‘s proposed doing away with eight different subsidies. This would be about $4 billion a year. You think that‘s worth doing?
BOEHNER: I think we ought to take a look at it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Wow! Was that John Boehner? The speaker of the House, dude from Ohio? We got to take a look at it. Ought to take a look at it. We‘ll take a look it.
Really? He says? We are going to do that?
Well, not really. An overwhelming endorsement would you think, huh?
Here comes the back peddle from Boehner‘s dudes in his communication office. “The speaker made clear in the interview that raising taxes was a nonstarter, and he‘s told the president that. He simply wasn‘t going to take the bait and fall into the trap of defending big oil companies.”
He what? He wasn‘t going to take the bait? That‘s because in reality John Boehner defends the big oil companies.
How do I know? Because on March 1st, he voted against ending subsidies for big oil. And, you know, big oil keeps reaping in the rewards.
Let‘s look at the profit chart. Profits—here it is. Expected first quarter profits 2011, it‘s only $18.2 billion. And what the hell, it‘s only a 40 percent increase from this time last year. They‘re not doing too well, are they?
That‘s just Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco Phillips. You know, come on, just a few of them.
The rise in gas prices over the same period, 53 cents a gallon. You feeling it at the pump? Up 53 cents in three months?
Now, let‘s get back to those taxpayer subsidies for big oil if we can
$4 billion a year subsidies. That means your tax dollars going to these people to make money more than anybody else on the face of the earth. You think the oil companies really need $4 billion a year in gifts from you the taxpayer when they‘re making $18 billion in just the first three months of this year?
Didn‘t John Boehner say on the House floor, hell no? And the Americans agree. Americans across the country agree.
Seventy-four percent of Americans, you and me, think it‘s acceptable to eliminate the tax credits for oil companies -- 74 percent.
You know what? Have you noticed lately that liberals are in the 70s and 80s a lot?
But, hey, Speaker Boehner and the Republicans want big oil to keep those tax subsidies. Why? Because you just heard from that interview with Jon Karl with ABC that would slow down drilling in the Gulf.
What does that mean? You mean you‘ve got to guarantee that if we eliminate the $4 billion that they‘re going to stop drilling in America?
And when Boehner goes on TV and lies about his willingness to be flexible on the issue, he has to walk that back, way back. And it just shows just how afraid Republicans are to tell the truth that they love the support they‘re giving to big oil in the form of your tax dollars known as subsidies.
Let me tell you something—when Boehner was asked about President Obama‘s re-election chances, he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: The economy doesn‘t get better, I don‘t think he‘ll win. If people don‘t feel better about government-run health care, I don‘t think he‘ll win. And if gas prices are up $5 or $6, he certainly isn‘t going to win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Now get this.
You have the speaker of the House, the most powerful Democrat in our government, and he is almost rooting for failure for the man in the Oval Office because he doesn‘t see politically the same way as this man.
There are middle class families out there across America who are trying to navigate through their local gas station and make their budgets work, week after week. And Boehner says, well, I don‘t know. He‘s probably not going to get re-elected because of that—instead of saying, you know what? No matter who the next president is, middle class Americans can‘t afford this. And this is going to hurt our economy. This is going to lead to another jobs slowdown.
Why wouldn‘t Boehner think like that?
Boehner‘s not going to think like that because he doesn‘t have to. He‘s got the country club crowd behind him. He‘s got the oil companies behind him. He‘s got Citizens United behind him. The last thing he cares about is you, Mr. and Mrs. Middle Class.
He‘d rather giggle about—oh, I don‘t know if he‘s going to get re-elected or not. I‘ll have another beer. You know, that‘s where Boehner is.
Instead of having the anguish of being the top Republican in America who could do something to help the middle class, do you think that they have your interest at heart? Hell no, they don‘t.
But President Obama and the Democrats, to their credit, have jumped all over Boehner‘s original comments about oil subsidies. President Obama wrote a letter to congressional leaders calling on them to immediately eliminate the $4 billion in subsidies. It‘s the right call, but they‘re not going to do it. And, of course, that hasn‘t really warmed too well to Boehner‘s heart whatsoever.
So, we got some big issues in America, don‘t we? So, was Boehner lying?
Let‘s bring in co-host of the nationally syndicated show “America‘s Morning News,” Amy Holmes.
Amy, good to have you with us tonight.
AMY HOLMES, AMERICA‘S MORNING NEWS: Great to be here.
SCHULTZ: Boehner‘s aides basically admitted that—well, what he said in that interview he really didn‘t mean. He just didn‘t want to get caught between a rock and a hard spot defending big oil.
Do you accept that?
HOLMES: A politician answering off the cuff something that he may not mean upon reflection? Is that a big surprise? Clearly, Ed, you‘re on fire on this issue, but not oil or coal-powered fire.
I think what John Boehner‘s folks are saying is, look, this has to be an even playing field. You talk about the subsidies for oil. Well, the Joint Committee on Taxation finds that on average wind, solar, and ethanol gets a $12.5 billion in tax consideration.
So, when you‘re looking at the competition for energy and for consumers, I think they‘re talking about having an even playing field.
SCHULTZ: But, Amy, they‘re not making $18 billion. Hold on a second. Would you admit that the ethanol producers and the wind producers and the solar producers, they are not making $18 billion per quarter? Do you think they really need these subsidies? And did the speaker just maybe make a political mistake there? What do you think?
HOLMES: Well, I would concede they‘re probably not making the same profits because people don‘t want their products as much as they want oil. Oil is what fuels our economy. But, you know what? As a man of the left, I would think you‘d be very concerned about these subsidies for ethanol because it‘s leading to higher food prices. Higher food prices all around the country.
SCHULTZ: Amy, this is apples and oranges, OK?
HOLMES: No, we are talking about the energy market.
SCHULTZ: Let me—you can‘t filibuster me. I‘m not going to let you. I‘m going to ask you a question and turning it back on ethanol or me, I‘m not the story. I didn‘t say that. John Boehner said that to ABC News. And I need to know what you think about the Republicans actually cutting the subsidies. Your thoughts.
HOLMES: My thought is, if you cut these subsidies for oil, oil companies will pass some of that onto the consumer. Your gas prices will go up. I‘d like to see Republicans and Democrats actually tackle gas prices, instead of pointing fingers and blame that is not going to actually address this issue.
SCHULTZ: So you think we should give them these subsidies because we‘re afraid the prices are going to go up? Basically the American people are being held hostage by these oil companies?
HOLMES: I don‘t think that any of these energy companies, whether it‘s wind, solar, ethanol, or oil or coal, should be getting any subsidies. And I think actually John Boehner‘s instinct was that of a conservative that supports free markets, not government welfare.
SCHULTZ: So take it a step further. Do you think the Republican party would go on board to end all subsidies throughout the entire energy sector? Do you think they would go along with that?
HOLMES: If it was across the board, I think you‘d have a real conversation there. But again, we want to be lowering gas prices for the consumers. And if we don‘t, that‘s not just a political problem. It‘s a problem for you and me and everyone watching the show. We‘re talking about groceries. We‘re talking about filling up your car to get to work.
I would advise both parties to be looking at that and possibly say a gas tax holiday to try to bring these prices down.
SCHULTZ: No. That‘s a gimmick. I‘m talking about four billion dollars into the treasury. Either the Republicans are serious about this or Boehner is lying to the country. Amy, good to have you with us tonight. Thank you for your take.
HOLMES: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s turn to the host of nationally syndicated “Ring of Fire” radio show, Mike Papantonio. Mike, gosh, did we get an ounce of truth out of John Boehner there? What do you think?
MIKE PAPANTONIO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We know how the story is going to end. Listen, look at the history of John Boehner. This is a man who was handing out checks as a vote was being taken on the floor of Congress about whether or not to give the tobacco industry additional subsidies. He was handing out checks from the tobacco industry to other Republican congressmen to convince them that they should continue giving the tobacco industry subsidies.
So he was a bag man for the tobacco industry. He‘s a bag man for the oil industry right now. Look, we haven‘t caught him physically taking checks or handing out checks. We know what‘s going on. This isn‘t a character who focuses on lofty ideas that have to do with moral and social responsibilities.
This is a guy—interesting thing, we know how he‘s going to line up because we‘ve seen the history of John Boehner. He has been sent on more international golf junkets by big corporations than any congressman in the history of the U.S. Congress.
Now, this tells you, does he care about the consumer or does he care about big corporations? Day one—this is what‘s interesting about this story, Ed. Day one, he tells millions of Americans on national broadcast that he agrees with them.
PAPANTONIO: -- that it is obscene that we‘re giving this much money to the oil industry. Day two, when the cameras are turned off, we see him saying, you know, I think it‘s a good idea we cut Medicare. We cut Social Security. We cut education. And take all these billions of dollars and give it to the oil industry that‘s making billions of dollars.
SCHULTZ: I think you got it right, Mike.
PAPANTONIO: We know John Boehner and we know how this is going to end.
SCHULTZ: You‘re spot on. Mike Papantonio, thanks for joining us tonight. After chasing his tail for weeks on the president‘s birth certificate, now he wants to see his college transcripts as well? We‘re right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the counsels of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the wake of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That was President Eisenhower‘s farewell address in 1961. He was urging Americans to embrace a new way of thinking about their future and the country‘s place in the world. And now two top staffers in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are arguing that we need to do it.
A position paper titled “A National Strategic Narrative” was written by two active duty military officers, Captain Wayne Porter of the United States Navy and Colonel—Marine Colonel Mark Mykleby.
They argue that America can no longer control the world through military might and must lead through economic strength and the moral power of example. This paper represents a call to action by active military members for America to embrace progressive values like investing in education and infrastructure, while rejecting fear and intolerance.
Joining me to talk about this tonight is Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff at the State Department under Colin Powell. He‘s currently a visiting professor at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Good evening, Colonel Wilkerson. Great to have you with us tonight.
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT CHIEF OF STAFF: Good
to be here.
SCHULTZ: How widely accepted do you think this paper is? Does it speak for many in the military brass?
WILKERSON: Absolutely. It speaks for the brains. Ever since Goldwater/Nichols was passed in 1986, the creme de la creme, the very best of the military has gone to the joint staff. And the very best of that best has gone to the chairman‘s office.
This is Admiral Mullen, who himself is no shrinking violet from brain power. He is a very cerebral chairman, thinks about these kinds of problems. This is his strategic brain trust.
This is—your lead-in was perfect. This is very much Eisenhower. This is right back to his ‘53 speech, for example, back to his ‘60 speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, wherein he said “our national security is not tanks and ships and planes. It‘s not even the brave and courageous men in our armed forces. It is our economic might. It‘s our financial soundness. It‘s ultimately the prosperity and feeling about liberty and democracy that the American people have.”
That‘s where our real national security is embedded.
SCHULTZ: Colonel, what can you tell us about the two authors?
WILKERSON: These gentlemen are people who have thought about this hard. They‘ve been associated with the Smart Growth Initiative at the New America Foundation, where I‘m working, merely as observers. But they‘re very smart. And they put this together in an attempt to give at least that view that the Defense Department has about its own self-interest.
After all, you cannot drive tanks, sail ships, and fly airplanes if you don‘t have the gas, the fuel, the money ultimately, the economy underneath you to do it. So it‘s enlightened self-interest, if you want.
But they‘re also smart people. They‘re Americans. They‘re sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
SCHULTZ: It just jumps out I think at people who read it. We‘re doing things we should not be doing and we need to change or this country is in jeopardy. Is that a fair assessment?
WILKERSON: I think that‘s a fair assessment. And others have said, well, why are these people saying this? They‘re military. They‘re supposed to be quiet. Civilians are supposed to say these things.
Well, that ought to give you some indication of the desperation of the situation, if the military has to speak out in this more or less civilian vein. After all, they are citizens too.
SCHULTZ: To implement this kind of thinking by lawmakers, this is the challenge, is it not?
WILKERSON: It is. It is to get this bickering to stop and to concentrate on what the essence of the problem is, which is restoring the economic power of the United States. And you don‘t do that by bickering around the margins, as both parties are doing right now, I‘m sad to say.
SCHULTZ: Where do you think President Obama stands on this? Do you think he would embrace this, from what you‘ve seen of him, that he would—and if he did, or any president did, how would you start a path that would parallel what‘s written here?
WILKERSON: I think he does. I have to think he does. I have to think if there were a Republican president in there, other than George W. Bush, I must add quickly, he probably would feel the same way. The difficulty is doing it. The difficulty is shifting, for example, from roads and automobiles to high speed, long distance rail and light city rail.
The difficulty is moving people into urban and ex-urban areas, instead of going on with this sprawl which is absolutely unsustainable. The difficulty is in making the American people resilient with regard to terrorist attacks, and not dedicating so many billions and billions of dollars to a bunch of people who managed to kill 3,000 Americans, but after all, we kill double or triple that many on the highway every month.
This is a question of getting our priorities right, and then going to work on them.
SCHULTZ: It‘s coming from the military. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you for your time.
WILKERSON: Thanks for having me.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, Donald Trump‘s latest nonsense on President Obama. He wants to know how he got accepted at Harvard when all his rich friend kids couldn‘t. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And we are back talking about Donald Trump because last week
because of all of the Birther nonsense being spouted out by Donald Trump, I was forced to make an endorsement for the Republican nominee for 2012. And because of the latest statements by Trump, this time dealing with President Obama‘s college record, I just have been forced to re-examine that endorsement.
And here‘s what Trump had to say about President Obama‘s college career. “I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?”
That‘s what Trump said. So, Mr. Trump, what exactly are you trying to say here? Are you trying to say that we have a dumb president and he didn‘t earn his graduate degree from Columbia when he graduated? He didn‘t deserve that degree in 1983?
Of course the Harvard Law School? He graduated magna cum laude in 1991. In fact, wasn‘t he the president of the Harvard Law Review? You think they gave that to him? Where were you on President Bush, dude, when he was a—you know, like a C student? Or should I say C minus student?
See, don‘t misconstrue me, folks, good liberals out there. This is why I want Donald Trump to definitely get the endorsement for the Republican party, because I think he would be easy pickings.
So again, two balloons, dude. You‘re getting better. You can‘t make this stuff up, what he comes up with saying. You mean to tell me that he is questioning the academic prowess of one of the smartest presidents we‘ve ever had?
Mr. Trump, when you start getting your advice from all of the special
special Republican advisers that we‘ve seen step to the plate in the past, instead of Jerome Corsi. Dude, you can do better than that.
This is what the Republican party stands for, though: racism. I think Donald Trump is a racist. I think for him to question the president‘s birth certificate, time and time again, is media fodder for some. I think for him to go after his academic accomplishments after being absolutely outstanding as a student—and to not do it with a so to speak silver spoon in his mouth—I think we should all as Americans be very proud of the fact that we have the smart guy in the Oval Office.
A major announcement from a major political force. It could mean trouble for the Democrats. Harold Schaitberger of the national—
International Association of Firefighters is next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, you know, there wasn‘t much protest from the national Democrats when Republicans started going after unions in Wisconsin. And they didn‘t say a whole heck of a lot when the GOP did the same thing in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. And the list goes on.
Well, a few people took notice of the Democrats‘ lack of interest in middle class workers, namely the largest firefighters‘ union in the country. Nearly 300,000 strong, the IAFF. Now the union says it will quit donating to federal candidates, both Republicans and Democrats.
Why? Because members of Congress don‘t have their back. Instead, the IAFF will put resources and funding into state and local candidates. They‘re going to be focusing on referendums and recalls, which could be a problem for the national Democrats. They need their support.
The union‘s political action committee ranks tenth in contributions. It spent 15 million dollars in the 2010 midterms, including 2.4 million in direct contributions. And it‘s a pretty dependable source of campaign funds for Democratic candidates and has been for years.
Joining me now is the general president of the International Association of Firefighters, Harold Schaitberger. Mr. Schaitberger, Great to have you with us tonight.
HAROLD SCHAITBERGER, GENERAL PRESIDENT, IAFF: Thanks for having me, Ed.
SCHULTZ: What aren‘t these elected officials doing for firefighters and middle class workers in your opinion to make this change?
SCHAITBERGER: Well, first of all, we need our friends in the Democratic congress to be able to stand up and to fight with—back against those that have been literally assaulting our members and workers, middle class workers, public workers, all across this country. We need them to stand up and fight back with us.
And until they do, we are going to be redirecting all of our political resources to our state and local battles. We‘ve also been quite disappointed, quite frankly, in their efforts on Capitol Hill, that they do not seem to be willing to have the same kind of discipline, the same type of commitment.
They will not fight with the same ferocity that those that oppose our efforts, that those that oppose the middle working class, that those who want to continue to extend the Bush tax cuts—they‘re not willing to stand up and fight.
And until they‘re willing to stand up and fight for us, alongside of us, to help us to fight back against these assaults, to eviscerate us, to strip away our workers‘ rights, to strip away their political voice and the political arena, to allow them to continue to exist and to operate as a union, then we are going to turn the spigot off until we get the kind of response and the kind of support that we think we‘re entitled to.
SCHULTZ: What do you exactly want them to do? Should they have been involved in Wisconsin? Should they have gone to these states and been more active? What do you think?
SCHAITBERGER: They need to have their collective voice. They need to do what the opposition has done. The opposition has been very focused. They have been organized. It‘s been orchestrated. They‘ve had their message very clear. They‘ve had their sights on the attacks and they are willing to take no prisoners.
We need our Democratic friends in Congress to be able, as a unified force, with a unified voice, to get out and step out and fight back with us.
Let‘s take Florida as a quick example, Ed. They‘re trying to strip dues deductions away from our members. That is the very livelihood of us being able to exist for our members to have a voice. We need that Florida delegation to stand up and fight with us. And they could do so in a much more unified way.
SCHULTZ: And you‘ve told me that 44 percent of your members are Republicans, 41 percent Democrats. The rest have not declared. Is there a sea change taking place for the firefighters?
SCHAITBERGER: Well, that was certainly an accurate representation before all of these attacks that occurred in the 12 some states that are now led by Republican governors and Republican members of the state legislature. And those members re now definitely shifting their alliances and coming back home.
SCHULTZ: And you‘re shifting your money. And, of course, that is going to get some attention on Capital Hill, I‘m sure. Mr. Schaitberger, good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time. I think this move is long overdue. You got to wake up those politicians and do it through the pocketbook.
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