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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Thursday, August 11, 2011

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Chris Hayes, Rep. Jan Schakowsky

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: And thanks to you at home for staying with us
for the next hour.

Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, is running for president. Rick
Perry started off the year by saying he definitely would not run for
president. He then changed to thinking about running for president. He
then changed to not just thinking about it, but he said he would be talking
about it for the first time in public this weekend, although he wouldn`t be

And, now, today, his spokesperson confirming that Rick Perry will be
talking about it in public and he will be announcing that he`s running for
president on Saturday night.

Now, the timing here is crucial because Saturday is exactly when every
other candidate running for the Republican presidential nomination is
hoping to get their own good press about their really impressive campaign
in all of their momentum and how excited everybody is that they`re running
and what a great shot they have. Saturday is the big Ames, Iowa, straw

But instead of any good headlines about that about who wins it straw
poll or about any other candidate, everything on Saturday will be dominated
by Rick Perry`s announcement that he is, in fact, running.

Notice also that the day we heard from Rick Perry`s spokesman that
Perry will be announcing on the day of the straw poll, the day the leak
came out creating its own cascade of Rick Perry headlines is the day that
the other Republicans for president are debating in Iowa. So anybody
hoping for headlines out of the Iowa debate -- sorry, Rick Perry is taking
up that room. Anybody hoping for headlines out of the Ames straw poll on
Saturday, sorry other candidates, Rick Perry is taking up that room.

Whatever you think about Rick Perry as a Texas governor or as a
person, Rick Perry is not to be underestimated as a candidate. You don`t
get to be the governor for life in Texas the way he has been by allowing
everybody else their little moment in the spotlight, by knowing your place
among the other candidates by having good manners.

Rick Perry, we now know is in this race, he is in it. And even if he
is not in it to win it, he`s at least in it to make all of the other
candidates lose, because that is how Rick Perry plays at politics.

Not to be outdone by Rick Perry, however -- I`m apparently the only
pundit in the whole country who thinks that Sarah Palin is running for
president this year. But I`m sorry, Sarah Palin keeps acting like she is

Look what Sarah Palin did today. Do you remember the One Nation bus
tour thing she did back in May? The conceit of that bus tour was that it
was really just a family vacation.

You know, just like how your family vacation was. You know, you gave
your family vacation a name. You hired a chartered be us with a driver.
You put a $13,000 vinyl wrap on the bus with the name of your vacation with
your signature on it and with patriotic images of the American heartland.

Sarah Palin`s One Nation bus tour was a professionally produced family
vacation touring historic sites in America. The "I swear this isn`t for me
running for president, wink, wink" bus tour started back on May 29th in
Arlington, Virginia. And one of the interesting things about is that it
sort of seems to peter out about a week after it started.

But then, Sarah Palin announced on her Web site today, quote, "We are
happy to jump on the bus for another leg of our One Nation Tour." The
family vacation is starting up again. And you`ll never guess where the
Palin family is going on their vacation this week. Quote, "State fairs
hold a special place in our nation`s history and heritage, so my family is
honored to highlight one of them on one stop along the One Nation Tour

Which state fair as the Palin family going to? Is it Idaho? Is it
Illinois? No, no, no. Of course not. It`s Iowa.

Quote, "America`s historic Iowa state fair."

It`s true. Iowa state fair is historic. Just like the state fairs in
the other 49 states are historic too. But the one that Sarah Palin is
visiting this week, coincidence, the week of the Republican debate and the
Ames, Iowa, straw poll is the state fair that this week happens to be held
in Iowa.

I really don`t know why anybody thinks that Sarah Palin is not

The last big political event, the last biggest political event on Mitt
Romney`s political calendar as the Republican front-runner for the
nomination was when Romney formally announced his candidacy in New
Hampshire back on June 2nd. Remember that? Sarah Palin`s family vacation
One Nation bus tour made sure that the bus was stopping in New Hampshire
that day to big foot that Mitt Romney event as well.

The Palin bus tour barreled through tornadoes in Massachusetts to make
sure they were in New Hampshire that day in time for, what was the
patriotic historic event they said they were attending there? A clam bake.
It`s true, clam bakes are historic. I`m sure that one in particular was a
very historic patriotic, landmark clam bake.

Five minutes from Mitt Romney`s presidential announcement on that very
same day. Mitt Romney is and has been from the beginning the clear front-
runner for the Republican presidential nomination. And while it has its
advantages, it also means everybody is out to get you.

And while it seems like the Romney campaign is used to that from the
other Republican candidates and would-be candidates so far, today, they got
it from some Iowa voters as well.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we`re ultimately not just
this year but over the coming decades going to be able to balance our
budget and not spend more than we take in, we have to make sure the
promises we make in Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are promises
that we can keep. And there are various ways of doing that. One is we can
raise taxes on people. That`s not the right --



ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. Of course they are.
Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think
it goes?

CROWD: It goes in their pockets.

ROMNEY: OK. Whose pockets? People`s pockets. OK, human beings, my


MADDOW: This is one of the moments that everything goes in imaginary
freeze frame. You`re watching it in color but you see it in black and
white. This is one of those moments even if you see it live, when you know
instantly, that moment is going to live forever. I wonder if there was a
second angle on that.

This is one of the things. This is one of those things that will be
part of Mitt Romney`s political history forever. This will always be part
of what people say about Mitt Romney campaigning for president this year.

One of the things that people will say about it is that Mitt Romney
went to Iowa and said corporations are people! And the whole crowd

It`s not that it`s just an unfocused group phrase, right? A phrase
that did not survive focus grouping. It`s not that he said something that
sounded provocative, sounded off message.

The problem with hearing a candidate like Mitt Romney say corporations
are people, my friend, is not just it sounds weird, is that it really hits
a nerve. And there`s a basic reason why, right, which is that corporations
are not people. And sometimes corporations are a lot more powerful than
people, and that can be a problem when corporate interests are the opposite
of people`s interests.

This is not an obscure idea. This is not even a controversial idea.
It is absolutely in some company`s interest to do mining or drilling in the
cheapest way possible -- even if the way they do it causes pollution or it
damages, say, the water supply in the area where they are mining or

I`m sure there`s a lot of money to be made in something like child
pornography. It could be in a corporation`s rational interest to produce
and sell as much child pornography as possible.

It`s in Wall Street`s financial interest to turn people`s mortgages in
a tradable commodity that had nothing to do with whether or not if people
were capable of paying back those mortgages. For years, hundreds of
billions of dollars of corporate interest right there, rational corporate
interest. It destroyed the economy when it all came crashing down. But
the corporations, frankly, actually, even in the end, most of them did just

Corporations, sometimes, quite rationally, act in their interest in a
way that does not help people. Corporations and human beings do not always
have the same interests. Because they are different things.


ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes at --
of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to
people. Where do you think it goes?

CROWD: It goes in their pockets.

ROMNEY: OK. Whose pockets? People`s pockets. OK, human beings, my


MADDOW: Human beings, my friend. Corporate interests do redound to
some very specific human beings` pockets, right? I mean, does that happen.
Corporate executives, sometimes shareholders, titans of industry, private
equity barons -- I mean, there are these very people who do well in helping
corporations get their way despite the cost to humans.

But there`s a reason why candidates like Mitt Romney should stay away
from making that argument. He`s running for president in pointing that out
from the campaign trail as evidence by the immediate response today from
the Jon Huntsman campaign.

The immediate response from the Jon Huntsman to Mitt Romney`s
"corporations are people" moment in Iowa. Mr. Huntsman`s spokesman
responded almost instantly today, quote, "Was American Pad & Paper Company
a person/friend?"

The reference there is a company called American Pad & Paper,
sometimes called Am-Pad.

When Mitt Romney was an executive at Bain Capital, Bain Capital
acquired Am-Pad for $5 million. After shutting down a handful of plants
and laying off hundreds of employees, Mitt Romney and Bain Capital turned
that investment $5 million into a $100 million profit for them.

He did the same thing with a company called SCM. That mass firing
became a campaign issue for Mitt Romney which led to devastating campaign
ads against Mr. Romney when he lost his run for Senate against Ted Kennedy
back in 1994. Watch.


NARRATOR: Romney`s firm bought a company called SCM, fired 350
workers, told some they could reapply at a 25 percent pay cut. But many
who were pregnant or older were denied jobs and Romney made $11 million in
two years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to say to Mitt Romney -- if you
think you can make such a good senator, come out here to Marion, Indiana,
and see what your company has done to these people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have no rights anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They cut the wages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We no longer have insurance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically cut our throats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to say to the people of
Massachusetts, if you think it can`t happen to you, think again, because we
thought it wouldn`t happen here either.


MADDOW: When that is the baggage that candidate Mitt Romney brings to
his presidential run, getting rattled by hecklers and blurting out this
statement is not going to be helpful to him.


ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes -- of
course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people.
So, where do you think it goes?

CROWD: It goes in their pockets.

ROMNEY: Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People`s pockets. Human
beings, my friend.


MADDOW: Let`s just say, though, that despite the corporations are
people thing, which I think will live in Mitt Romney`s political history
forever -- I have to say, though, there`s one other maybe pedestrian, maybe
more shallow, but potentially more important short point to make about this
here -- it`s that insulting in any way. I mean this as a political
observation that Mitt Romney is bad at talking to people. Mitt Romney is
bad at unscripted events.

Mitt Romney is essentially running for president since he was the
governor of Massachusetts back in 2003. He has been running for president
effectively for years now. And the formal campaign part of it, he`s not
very good at.

He`s very good at it now. He`s good at debates. He`s gotten much
better at ads, his campaign events. They look good. He has good font,
colors, he`s got the outfits down right.

He`s been doing this for so long, that sort of formal stuff looks
good. It should look good after this long. The problem is when Mitt
Romney goes out in the wild and interacts with wild real humans. Then
stuff like this happens.


ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. Human beings my friend.


MADDOW: That was today in Iowa. But remember, this moment earlier
this year in New Hampshire?


ROMNEY: I`ll get right in the middle. See if I can get my arms
around everybody here. Come on. Much closer, much closer. Oh, my



MADDOW: That lady is like -- huh?

There was also this standout moment from his campaign when he was
meeting with a group of actually unemployed people in Florida and he tried
to charm them with this line --


ROMNEY: I`m also unemployed. And I`m networking.


MADDOW: In case you couldn`t hear the unemployed woman speaking at
the end there she says, you`ve got it, quote, "a lot better than we`ve got
it." Right.

Not to belabor the point, but this is just from today. Look at this.
This is one of the Mitt Romney meeting the people pressing the flesh photos
that went out about him on the campaign trail today. This is what it`s
like to be on the campaign trail with Mitt Romney talking to people who
aren`t expecting to be talking to Mitt Romney.

Look at the poor guy in the blue shirt. Look at his feet and his

Whether or not Mitt Romney is awkward as a human being, whether he`s
comfortable in his own skin as a person is irrelevant to his chances as a
candidate and it should be, except for the fact that retail politics,
meeting people, shaking their hands, talking to people eye-to-eye,
impressing people in person is a really big part, a surprisingly big part
of how you win a presidential nomination.

And Mitt Romney is an atrociously bad retail politician. He`s more of
a wholesaler, really. He`s not the guy -- he`s not the guy so much who
sales things as a store. He`s more like the guy who closes the store and
fires everybody and sells the store to a private equity guy.

There`s more than just Mitt Romney news in 2012 politics today. There
were a ton of 2012 presidential action today including one Republican
candidate for president who called out Ed Schultz and me off of the top of
his head when nobody had asked about us. He brought us up because he`s
campaigning for the presidency by campaigning against Ed Schultz and me.
All of that with the newly ordained MSNBC TV show host Chris Hayes -- is
coming up next.


MADDOW: Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum spoke with
reporters today in Des Moines, Iowa.


country to 1775, vote for Barack Obama. Vote for someone on this panel who
can`t beat Barack Obama, because it`s the same thing.


MADDOW: An argument never before made about the first black president
of the United States. Rick Santorum made that sort of inexplicable 18th
century point about President Obama today.

He criticized Michele Bachmann for not being anti-gay marriage enough
-- uh-huh.

Then, then he randomly went after Ed -- after Ed Schultz and also
after me.


SANTORUM: Have to remind Americans what we`re about. Not ashamed of
it. I stand in front of MSNBC every day. If you can stand in front of
MSNBC every day and Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz and all the folks up there
who is getting these tapes and saying, oh this guy is nuts. Oh, this guy
just understands what made this country great.


MADDOW: If that was an offer to do an interview on this show, I

Honestly, it`s always really flattering to be mentioned by any
presidential candidate. It`s flattering. I would admit especially since
no one asked Rick Santorum about us. He just brought us up because we were
on his mind.

But that said, Mr. Santorum, me to you, I do not know what tapes you
mean -- getting all of the tapes. I don`t know what you mean about the
tapes. But I`ve never called you nuts. Don`t project that on to me. I`ve
never called you nuts, ever, seriously. Google it.

Joining us now is the newly relocated Chris Hayes, editor at large of
"The Nation" magazine, and host of his own MSNBC weekend show starting in
September, welcome back to New York, Chris. It`s great to have you here.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: It`s wonderful to be back in my home city.

MADDOW: I am not going to ask you about Rick Santorum and campaigning
against MSNBC and what he can or cannot Google.

HAYES: I mean, there`s way to find out about Rick Santorum. I mean,
you can`t just go to the internet and type that into Google.

MADDOW: I cannot research it.

HAYES: So, there`s nothing to come back.

MADDOW: I should say, I can research it at home. But I can`t
research it at work.

Here`s the real 2012 question I want to know about you. What do you
think Texas governor Rick Perry`s chances are now that we know as of today
he`s definitely going to run?

HAYES: So, there`s this interesting space in the Republican field,
which is the space for someone who is plausibly insane and also not
terrifying to the establishment.


HAYES: Plausibly insane but not terrifying the establishment. So,
Romney has the not terrifying to the establishment locked down, right?

MADDOW: Right?

HAYES: I mean, we`ve seen in his fundraising numbers like the
Republican establishment loves him. He`s a Bain Capital guy.

Michele Bachmann has the -- I`m not plausibly insane. Plausibly

MADDOW: Right.

HAYES: She has the plausibly insane card locked up. I mean, she`s
more than plausibly insane. She really articulates a vision that is quite
outside the mainstream of American life.

MADDOW: And when you say insane, you mean super, super, super, right

HAYES: Yes. You`re right. That`s unfair hyperbole. That`s true.

What I mean is complete ideological zealotry, right?


HAYES: So, Bachmann has complete ideological zealotry. But she
scares the establishment.

Romney has the establishment, can he convince people he`s a total
ideological zealot.

And into this breach comes Rick Perry whose kind of comparative
advantage is he can plausibly argue for both. He can plausibly say I`m
really, really extreme ideologically and also, I`m really comfortable with
dudes from Bain Capital that we can raise some money around. And I think
that`s the thing that makes him formidable in this field, is that there`s
two part of the coalition, the plutocrats and the kind of grassroots that
have to find some candidate they can agree on and Rick Perry seems like a
plausible possibility for that.

MADDOW: That analysis combined with the fact that I think that Rick
Perry is a very skilled politician. I think that he`s very good at getting

I think he`s -- I mean, even if he just become --

HAYES: He`s terrible at governance.

MADDOW: Well, when`s the last time that stopped anybody from being
candidate for president?

HAYES: That`s right, that`s right.

MADDOW: I mean, the way that he has handled the tactics of getting to
the race, leaking the announcement on the day of the Republican debate in
Iowa, that he`s going to make his announcement on the day of the Ames straw
poll, thus big footing anybody else getting traction in Iowa any time
between now and the caucuses, these are the only news hooks in Iowa between
now and the caucuses, that alone shows you how tactically aggressive he is,
which is how he wins.

And I feel like that sort of the complete package -- tactical
aggressiveness, social conservative bona fides and being a money guy. I
don`t really see anybody else who competes with him on those grounds.

HAYES: Right. I mean, the biggest problem for Rick Perry is his
record in Texas. And even in a Republican primary, that`s going to come
back to haunt him, because Texas, and I know everyone -- the conservatives
like to tell us it`s the teachers` unions that are screwing up the state
budgets. Well, guess what? There`s not a huge public sector union in
Texas and they have dire, dire, dire fiscal crisis right now. They`re
billions of dollars in the hole.

So if you want to talk about responsible fiscal management, you have a
sitting governor of a state that is in really bad fiscal shape.

MADDOW: But there is a grand campaign, a mainstream media campaign
and a conservative campaign to market Perry as the jobs governor, because
Texas, while being in atrocious fiscal shape, he will say, listen, I`ve
been a jobs engine when the rest of the country has been draining jobs,
we`ve been building them in Texas.

HAYES: Right. The answer to that is that there are a lot of things
that have nothing to do with Rick Perry obviously. You know, Nebraska is
doing quite well. North Dakota is doing quite well. And that is not
because of the governors in that state. That`s because of sort of
indigenous things that have happened in the private sector on those states.

But it`s still a plausible argument. I think that the thing about
Perry is: can he stand up to the full national spotlight? I mean, there
are so -- I cannot tell you -- I`ve done reporting in Texas. I know some
people in Texas politics. There are so many people in that state that hate
him so much. And I`m not talking about liberal Democrats. I`m talking
about Republicans. I`m talking about conservatives.

He`s almost unanimously loathed in the state of Texas by the political
class across the political spectrum. The question: can he come bopping
around the country telling everyone what a great job you did as Texas
governor when trailing behind you is this chorus of people talking about
what a terrible job you`ve done in Texas.

MADDOW: Well, what a terrible job you`ve done in Texas. But I mean,
let`s just name it. The other thing that the conservatives and the
Republicans say about Rick Perry in Texas is they personally have no
confidence in him in terms of his intellectual capacity. I mean, honestly,
that`s what it is. You get un-sourced Republican and conservative quotes
out of Texas from people who hate him calling him dumb as a bag of rocks.

I mean, people -- I`m not -- that`s not my assessment. I don`t know
if he`s dumb or not. But that is what conservatives say against him.

And in that kind of an environment, you have to look at the previous
example of George W. Bush. When that was the liberal critique of George W.
Bush, but every conservative close to him said actually, you know what,
he`s focused. People think he`s dumb, he`s not dumb. He`s smart and he`s
a compassionate, capable guy. That`s what conservatives will tell you who
are close to George W. Bush. People know Rick Perry say the opposite.

And my real question is: how important is that for his national

HAYES: I -- I think there`s two questions. One is how important that
is in the primary and how important is that in the general?


HAYES: I think -- I`m not sure how important it is in the primary, to
be quite frank. I think there is such a visceral emotional desire to deal
a stunning rebuke to the tyranny that is Barack Hussein Obama among
Republican primary voters that they will vote for whoever they think can
beat him more or less.

MADDOW: Yes. But insiders against him don`t sabotage that. I think
it will hurt around the margins but I think at its core, if he can make a
plausible argument, that`s going to be what`s going to be sort of the
overriding concern. In the general election, it matters.

You know what? If you look at the polling, people have not forgotten
George W. Bush, they have not forgotten eight of the worst years in recent
memory. Things are bad now. But, you know, a lot this started under in
George W. Bush.

And people haven`t forgotten that. They remember that and they
remember electing a sort of somewhat -- you know, down home Texas governor
who almost destroyed the country.

MADDOW: Yes. Well, at this point, remember there was that one
billboard that went up saying "miss me yet"? There was a George W. Bush
picture. If Rick Perry is going get the nomination, liberals will start to
put up that billboard. And it will be George W. Bush and Rick Perry

HAYES: We remember when we had this real smart intellectual curios
Texas governor running the country.

MADDOW: That`s right. Exactly right.

Chris Hayes of MSNBC and "The Nation" magazine, good luck with the
unpacking. Congratulations on your move. Thanks for being here.

HAYES: Thanks so much.

MADDOW: All right. So, Mitt Romney likes to tell unemployed people he
meets on the campaign trail that he`s unemployed too -- which is a great
line. While he was practicing sinkers like that, Democrat Congressman Jan
Schakowsky was drafting a budget plan aimed at putting more than 2 million
real Americans into real work. Congressman Schakowsky joins us in just a
few minutes.


MADDOW: This is November 1989, the Berlin Wall coming down. A
momentous event in world history, a cathartic occasion when it happened,
but also, incidentally, the destruction of a massive work of art, minor
sacrifice, of course, for freedom and a unified Germany and the start of
the end of the USSR. But what was one of the more obvious symbols and
means of repression in the world is also maybe the largest canvass in the
world for artists.

Now more than two decades later, something else that the East German
regime used for practical purposes has surfaced as art. And it`s amazing.
Here`s a quick teaser? Look. Yes!

Even without the back story, even without explaining what we`re
looking at, you can probably tell already why this is the best new thing in
the world today. A perfectly good explanation for this coming up in just a


MADDOW: Today, an unemployment report was released by the government
which was not as terrible as it could have been. The stock market
responded by going up like a Roman candle.

In the Beltway, that short chain of events, good jobs news, good
market news, that short chain of events in the Beltway makes no sense. It
does not compute, because conservatives in Washington have succeeded in
changing the whole political conversation about the economy away from jobs
and onto cutting things instead.

The labor union SEIU was out with a six-state ad buy to turn that
conversation around.


NARRATOR: What what`s it going to take? Do we have to spell it out?
Can`t Republicans get the message? Instead, they protect tax breaks for
oil, tax breaks for millionaires, even tax breaks for companies that ship
our jobs overseas.

Republicans in Congress have shown who they stand up for, voting to
take care of the wealthy, not the middle class.

It`s time to bring jobs to America.

SEIU-COPE is responsible for the content of this advertising.


MADDOW: The labor unions want job creation. Wall Street wants job
creation, which means if Democrats decide to focus on job creation, they
will have allies both on Wall Street and in labor. And that`s the sort of
thing that even Democrats should recognize as add good political deal.

Who`s trying to get Democrats to take that deal joins us next.


MADDOW: If you`re one of the people in the world whose mood and world
view rises and falls with the fortunes of the stock market. I didn`t know
these people existed until I moved to New York. But these people do exist.

And if you are one of these people whose mood is tied to the markets,
I am terribly sorry. You must have been a mess this past week.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The Dow plunged almost 635 points today
on the first day of trading after S&P`s downgrade. It has now lost 2,000
points over the past two weeks -- 2,000 points lost in two weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Washington, welcome to the AA hole.

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: The markets finally broke the losing streak
today bouncing back 429 points.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dow closing up 429. This is the Dow`s biggest
gain this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The drops triple digits, down more than 500 points
wiping out yesterday`s rally amid new fears of European death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Market whiplash back on to the street today,
driving the Dow down by 519 points.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wild fluctuations on Wall Street with the markets
today going up more than 400 points.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Dow Industrials back 11,000. It traded at
569-point range today.


MADDOW: All right. When the closing bell ring today, the Dow
Industrial Average was up 423 points for the day. So, that means up 400
today, down 500 yesterday, up 400 the day before that, down 600 before

The Dow has changed directions every day for the last seven sessions.
For the first time in history, this week, it closed with a 400-point change
or more for four days straight. That never happened before.

In the midst of all of this chaos, today was an up day, hooray. But
this does not mean that the fundamentals, mostly in Europe, that have been
driving the market down overall have changed. Part of the reason that some
analysts say the market up so much today was because there`s some better
than expected unemployment data in the United States.

Today, it was announced that the number of people seeking new
unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in four months. That`s
not the best news in the world, but these days, that counts as good news.
And we will take it. And to have goodish jobs-related numbers, driving the
stock market up on a crazy day like today, that is a nice reminder that
jobs are not a side bar.

Jobs are not (INAUDIBLE) issue for people concerned about the social
implications of what`s going on in America`s economy. Jobs are actually
the economy. Jobs are actually the central economic issue in the United

Even if you have no human heart about these things and you only care
about the numbers, it`s jobs. The central concern about the U.S. economy
is whether or not we can solve our unemployment problem -- our huge, scary
unemployment problem.

Former economic advisor to the vice president, Jared Bernstein, posted
this chart today. In addition to making your jaw drop, it also points out
-- the big red mass there, points out that high unemployment is so high,
not necessarily because of continuing layoffs, although they`re not helping
-- unemployment is so high and staying so high because people who are
already unemployed can`t get jobs, individuals continuing unemployment.
People who are unemployed are staying unemployed.

The average amount of time people stay unemployed in America is at its
highest level since ever, since the Labor Department started counting. In
other words, the economy is stuck. People are not getting hired and fired
in the economic circle of life. People are unemployed and they are staying
that way.

That is not just a tragedy for them, and for their families, and for
their immediate communities, that is the tragedy of our entire economy
right now. There are not enough working people making and spending money
to get us anywhere near moving again.

Whether or not we can solve this problem, the unemployment problem, is
the key to our recovery which we need and which frankly the world needs.

One of the things you`ve seen recently in beltway media coverage is a
blending, of what should be two separate conversations, one conversation
about what`s going on in the market, concerns about what`s going on in the
economy. That`s one conversation. But that conversation is being blended
in to this discussion of a new supercommittee, part of the deal reached
between the president and congressional Republicans.

This supercommittee in Congress, though, is not actually supposed to
be working on making the economy better. That is not what they are working
on. They will not be working on economic growth. They will not be working
on any of the short term emergency problems we`ve got in terms of our

They`re not even working on the overall strength of the economy.
Those things are not part of their stated mission.

All they`re supposed to be working on is reducing the debt, reducing
the deficit, the spending cuts, that`s it. That`s their entire remit. And
that is neat. And the country does need to work on that -- at some point.

But in the middle of a jobs catastrophe, that`s the only thing we`re
empowering anybody to work on? We`re doing that now?

It`s like if your house is on fire and you ask the firefighters to get
out of the way because you have some rhododendron to plant. You think you
might increase the value of your house with some nice foundation plantings
in the front yard. It`s true, nice foundations plantings probably can
increase a home`s value. That`s nice. But if the house is on fire, maybe
that should wait.

In the parallel universe in which Democrats` ideas and proposals get
covered by the Beltway media, this universe does not exist, of course. So,
don`t worry. But if it did, in that parallel universe in which Democrats
other than the president got thorough from the Beltway media, you might
have already heard about Democratic Congressman John Larson`s proposal if
we were going to have a super empowered, supercommittee working on economic
issues, why not have one working on jobs -- instead of just reducing the
debt and the deficit.

Those are great. But how about working on jobs?

In a letter written to his colleagues this week, Congressman Larson
says, quote, "This would allow the congress to simultaneously consider our
near term, high unemployment and our long-term growing debt challenges
later this year. Just like the deficit committee, all options would be on
the table."

Congressman Larson would like to tack on to the debt ceiling
compromise language to create this new supercommittee focused solely on
jobs tasked with eliminating unemployment within 10 years. Completely
eliminating unemployment within 10 years is, of course, impossible. It`s
maybe impossible over any time frame.

But you know what? Aiming at it might get us closer to it. And
shouldn`t it be someone`s job to try?

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, the Illinois Democrat says she is
trying. Yesterday, she proposed a jobs bill, an actual jobs bill that she
says would put $2 million Americans to work for two years, doing things
like school construction, park improvement. There would be teachers and
police officers and firefighters and doctors and nurses -- yes, these are
things proposed by liberals. So, of course, they must be kept very, very

But they are also right on point about the actual problem we have in
the country right now. Rather than just nice the rhododendrons Republicans
have decided they want to work on now instead.

Joining us to let this secret out is Congressman Jan Schakowsky,
Democrat from the great state of Illinois and now, the first witness to the
first gardening metaphor used in an economic discussion on cable news.

Congressman Schakowsky, thanks for joining us.



SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Your proposal is about infrastructure investment, rebuilding
schools and parks, employing people to work and things like child care,
health care and in their communities. How much support do you have and do
you think you can get for this?

SCHAKOWSKY: I think I`m going to have a lot of support, certainly, in
the public -- we`ve had thousands and thousands of introductions to the
jobs bill. But it starts with a simple idea, Rachel, that if you want to
create jobs, create them. That people need to be hired, hire. You know,
if we put money in people`s pockets by having jobs, then we`re going to
stimulate the private sector to do that.

And this idea of putting 2.3 million people to work right away and
doing things that need to be done, economists say could lower the
unemployment rate about 1.3 percent, which isn`t everything. We have to do
better yet. But it`s certainly a good start.

And it`s at a reasonable price. We`re talking about $230 billion over
two years. That doesn`t count how much we would save with people getting
off their unemployment and other benefits they need when they`re
unemployed. That`s just direct costs. And some of that would go to the
private sector.

School districts want hire construction firm to fix up schools all
over the country, that can be done.

But, you know, we have to make sure we do our part to put people to
work and get things moving again.

MADDOW: Where would you get the $230 billion over two years to fund a
program like this?

SCHAKOWSKY: You know, well, that`s pretty easy. I have the companion
bill, the Fairness in Taxation Act, which taxes -- 81 percent of Americans
think with should -- millionaires and billionaires. There`s plenty of
loopholes that have been on the table for a long time that we`ve been
talking about, the oil companies, the companies that got breaks sending
jobs overseas.

But you know, we could easily pay for it. America is not broke. And
I appreciate that you`ve been talking about growth as a way out of this
economic recession we`re in because all the discussion in Washington has
been about cuts. And of course, resisting any new revenue and that
actually, if we have, for example, 5 percent unemployment, we would be
fine. There would not be any problems.

So we need to bring down that unemployment number.

MADDOW: The last week in economic and business news has been
terrifying even to people who like roller coasters. The way the market has
gone up and down, the downgrade, the controversies surrounding that. And,
frankly, the way it`s been treated both in the media and the political
press in particular.

Are there signs to you that the shocks we`ve gone through might be
enough to change what is possible in Washington?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, I certainly do hope so. I don`t know -- the six
Republicans that have been appointed to that supercommittee, all of them
signed a pledge a Norquist pledge not to raise taxes. I hope that the fact
that this new responsibility has been put on them that they will have a
different idea of how to move forward.

But it is scary. People at all economic levels are scared. I talked
in the district with ordinary people. But retiree, someone close to 80
years old today told me he lost a quarter of all of his nest egg, his
private nest egg, because of what happened.

So, it`s not just people who are big investors. But it`s ordinary
people who are worried about the stock market, and then, of course, all of
the other cuts that are on the table.

MADDOW: Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois -- thank
you for being willing to stick your neck out and make a concrete proposal
like this, so it`s at least a point of discussion for people talking about
this issue. And thanks for joining us to talk about it tonight.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Rachael.

MADDOW: All right. Right after our show tonight, it is "THE ED
SHOW." And Ed, I am told is also going to be responding tonight to that
very awkward moment on the campaign trail in Iowa today where the
presidential candidate Rick Santorum decided to say that he was essentially
running against me and against Ed for president, instead of against his
Republican colleagues.

What it`s like to be singled out by candidates on the campaign trail.
You heard my response. You`re about to get Ed`s response. They`ll be
different responses. Trust me.

Also, a program request tonight here on MSNBC. There`s a special live
"LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell at 11:00 p.m. Eastern tonight. You
want to turn for that.

Ahead right here on this show, was this guy a threat to the West`s
vital national security interests, or was he just a threat to whatever died
to put that thing on his head? His disguise is the best new thing in the
world today. That`s just ahead.


MADDOW: Today is August 11th, which means it is one month exactly to
the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, of September 11th, 2001. We`ve never had
anything happened to our country before, of course, that`s like 9/11. So,
there`s no template, there`s no expectation for how we as a country will
commemorate this anniversary.

On Thursday, September 8th, the group called Tour de Force, will begin
a four-day 285 mile bicycle ride starting at Ground Zero in New York City,
and ending at the Pentagon. It will raise money to benefit the families of
police officers killed in the line of duty.

On Saturday, September 10, Vice President Biden will attend the
dedication of the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Also that day, Saturday, the 10th, in New York City. There will be an
event in the spirit of hands across America. You might remember is a
national charity event that sort of captured the nation`s attention back in
1986. The idea of that event and up the one happening on Saturday,
September 10th is that people will link hands to form a human chain. The
event on September 10, the human chain is intended to span the length of
the entire island of Manhattan, all the way up the west side of Manhattan,
from down near Ground Zero, at the southern tip the island, all the way to
the top.

The hand-in-hand event for the 9/11 anniversary is also calling on
people to donate their time to charity in the day of service.

The Fire Department in New York will be holding its own private
ceremony in Saturday, the 10th, at St. Patrick`s Cathedral in New York
City. All the way in the other side of the country, in California, the
Fire Department of Redwood City in northern California will be hosting a
memorial stair climb in which 343 fist responders will climb 110 flights of
stairs, like they were in the World Trade Center, each one wearing a name
tag of one of the 343 firefighters who died on 9/11.

When September 11th itself, which is a Sunday, President Obama and the
first lady will plan to attend memorial events at all three sites where
Americans lost their lives that day. The World Trade Center, the Pentagon,
and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

And in New York City, the 9/11 Memorial will finally open. But that
day, on September 11th itself, it will open just for the families of the
dead. The memorial will open for the rest of the country, the rest of us,
on September 12th. If you would hike to visit the 9/11 memorial, you can
make reservations on line. The link is posted at our blog at

For most of the last year, I have been working with NBC chief foreign
correspondent Richard Engel on a documentary, not about 9/11, but the
decade since 9/11, the decade since the attacks of September 11th. It`s a
film about how America responded to those attacks and how the country has
been changed because of it.

We tried to tell stories in the documentary that you have not heard
already or that we think can bring some new light to our national
reflection on the tax and how we have lived since then. The documentary is
called "Day of Destruction: Decade of War." And it premieres on Thursday,
September 1st at 9:00 p.m. here on MSNBC.

I`ll be right back.


MADOW: OK. Best new thing in the world today, I`ve been so looking
forward to this.

All right. Under the old Soviet Union, East Germany had its own
version of the KGB. Its own state security force, they were called the
Stasi. After spying on their own citizens for 40 years, the Stasi fell,
along with the Berlin Wall, leaving behind acres of files. Acres of files
and they`re now housed in a huge archive.

Right now, an art museum in Berlin, is hosting an exhibition of
photographs from those files, including these? These are not modern
remakes. These are apparently real images right out of the files of Stasi
agents, Stasi agents trying out disguises.

Were the people of East Germany fooled by bad wigs like this, by fake
mustaches, by how much their spies look like an emo band in Brooklyn in the

Behold the Stasi made homemade cut off shorts and the leather trench
coats. These were outfits for spies -- things they thought they should
wear to blend in so no one would notice them.

Of course, part of the Stasi strategy was to recruit or force each
Germans to spy on each other. So, maybe they wanted to be obvious in order
to instill a little fear by making it clear they were watching or at least
super creepy.

When East Germany fell, the Stasi tried to shred every file they could
get their hands on. But they were stopped from shredding everything from
the people of East Germany who seized the buildings and the seized the
files in order to preserve them.

Now, the files are available to the public. We can all look and laugh
in some cases, and ponder the ways and measures of a government spying on
its own citizens. And then we can laugh some more, because look at these
guys -- the best new thing in the world today.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow night. Our
special reminder that there`s a live edition of "THE LAST WORD" with
Lawrence O`Donnell tonight at 11:00 o`clock Eastern.

But right now, it`s time for "THE ED SHOW." Have a great night.


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