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The Ed Show for Monday, November 19th, 2012

Read the transcript to the Monday show

November 19, 2012

Guests: Bill Pascrell, Robert Reich, Matt Taibbi, Mitch Ceasar; Josh Eidelson

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

America rejected Paul Ryan. Apparently John Boehner didn`t get the

This is THE ED SHOW -- let`s get to work.


REPORTER: We`ve seen talk about a possible compromise that would
leave rates the same, but cap deductions for high income earners. Is that
something that`s acceptable?


SCHULTZ (voice-over): Democrats aren`t budging. The Service
Employees International Union breaks news on my radio show.


SCHULTZ: How will you feel if the Bush tax cuts expired across the
board and we started over with the Obama tax cuts? How would that work for

MARY KAY HENRY, SEIU: I think that would be acceptable.


SCHULTZ: Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Congressman Bill
Pascrell on the latest movement in the fight for the middle class.

A judge orders mediation for Hostess and its employees. But make no
mistake: the vulture capitalists will get their cut. I`ll talk Twinkie
with "Rolling Stone`s" Matt Taibbi.

Plus, John McCain continues to spiral out of control over Benghazi.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The chickens are now coming home to

SCHULTZ: The banks revolt against Elizabeth Warren.

And workers are threatening strikes at Wal-Mart stores across America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We expect our associates to -- their schedule to
work, to show up and to do their job.

SCHULTZ: Josh Eidelson of "The Nation" magazine has the latest on the
workers versus Wal-Mart.


SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us, folks. Thanks for watching.

Democratic leaders are in this budget fight to win it for the middle
class. President Obama is wrapping up his Southeast Asia trip. In
Thailand, he was overheard requesting help from a higher power to solve the
standoff in Washington.


this budget. We`re going to need a lot of prayer for that.


SCHULTZ: The president is being highlighted about it overseas. But
in Washington, he`s deadly serious about keeping the upper hand in
negotiations. Fellow Democrats are defending the line in the sand.

Here`s House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi when she was asked if the
Democrats would accept a deal extending tax cuts for the wealthy.


REPORTER: We`ve seen talk about a possible compromise that would
leave rates the same, but cap deductions for high income earners. Is that
something that`s acceptable?


REPORTER: Not all? No way?

PELOSI: Well, no. I mean, the president made it very clear in his
campaign that there is not enough -- there are not resources. What you
just described is a formula and a blueprint for hampering our future.


SCHULTZ: That is refreshing to hear, isn`t it? You can`t get more
straightforward than that.

Democrats from both chambers are not budging. Senator Dick Durbin
wouldn`t entertain the idea of the GOP -- of a tax hike on millionaires


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: Two hundred fifty thousand dollars of
income for a family is a reasonable number. To go up to $1 million, I`m
not -- I`m not sure what we`re proving with that. There has to be revenue
on the table. And those 2 percent or 1 percent of highest wage earners in
America who are doing well should pay a little bit more.


SCHULTZ: Big labor is also on board. I spoke with Mary Kay Henry of
the Service Employees International Union on my radio show today. She says
her members will be OK with letting all tax cuts expire.


HENRY: I think that would be acceptable. I do think that Republicans
have a choice right now to bring economic peace of mind to the American
middle class by making the middle class cuts permanent.

SCHULTZ: So letting all the tax cuts expire would put us right back
to pretty much square one and President Obama and his team could come up
with a framework that may be better for the middle class.

HENRY: Right.

SCHULTZ: You`re OK with that?

HENRY: Absolutely.


SCHULTZ: So this is where we`re at. The presidents and congressional
Democrats will not do a deal without a tax hikes for the top 2 percent.
Democrats will not consider a millionaires-only tax.

Now, big labor says it`s OK if all tax cuts expire because Republicans
will lose all of their leverage.

The Republicans are up a bad creek without a paddle. Conservative
governors like Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker have emerged trying to
moderate their party`s agenda. But Jindal and Walker both had had no
answers on what they would do for the middle class.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: President Obama says, look, let`s extend the
Bush tax cuts, the lower tax rates for 98 percent of all taxpayers,
including the middle class, right now. We can -- I`ll sign it today. He
took out his pen at the news conference.

And the Republicans saying, no, no, we can`t do that until we decide
what we`re going to do with the top 2 percent of taxpayers.

How -- why wouldn`t a middle class voter look at that and say, these
guys, the GOP, are all about protecting the rich?


SCHULTZ: Crystal clear. Pretty direct question, wouldn`t you think?
Here`s Jindal`s answer.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: We`re not the party trying to
protect the rich. They can protect themselves. We`re the party that wants
growth, pro-growth policies.


SCHULTZ: No, no, no, no. It`s the answer. You know, I was at a
football game last night and I didn`t see a punt any better than what you
just saw from Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

Well, now, let`s try Scott Walker. Is he any better? Here it is.


WALLACE: When the president is holding up his pen and saying, I`ll
sign extending tax cuts, lower taxes -- which is supposedly a Republican
mantra -- for 98 percent of Americans and Republicans are saying, not so
fast, Bill Kristol was on last week and he said, you know, it wouldn`t kill
the Republicans to raise taxes on millionaires a little bit. Is he wrong?


SCHULTZ: Another tough question from FOX on taxes. Your move,
Governor Walker.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We need to get the economy going.
We need to get people back to work, and that disproportionately affects the
middle class rate now and the fact that they are talking about anything
that might make it worse in the economy I think is a bad sign about what`s
happening in Washington.


SCHULTZ: Scott Walker looks like he`s running for 2012 dodge ball
champion of the year. Folks, just let all the tax cuts go away if they
don`t want to do a deal, because then they`re going to say no to another
deal and it`s going to get politically worse for them. Republicans have no
answers because they just basically have a loser`s hand anyway you look at

Now, I`m tired of the Bush tax cuts. I would like to see the Obama
tax cuts.

House Speaker John Boehner, well, he doesn`t seem to get it. Look at
who he has put in charge of their negotiations. "The New York Times"
reports Speaker Boehner has tapped Paul Ryan to help strike a deal on tax
increases and spending cuts by the end of the year. And to bring along
fellow Republicans -- I don`t think he`s goods at that.

This is the same Paul Ryan, you know, from that losing presidential
ticket of just a few weeks ago, the same congressional leader who wants to
kill Medicare and Medicaid, the same guy who wants to keep taxes low for
the wealthiest Americans, and let`s cut the hell out of education. Voters
rejected this guy. Voters rejected Paul Ryan`s plan two weeks ago.

But Boehner put Paul Ryan in charge of the negotiations. In fact,
according to "The Times", Mr. Ryan could conceivably scuttle any deal if he
loudly opposes the solution that`s the speaker of the House and also top
Republican leaders would embrace.

What is he, the ruler of the House now?

Putting Ryan -- Paul Ryan -- out front and center in these budget
negotiations tells you everything you need to know about how far the
Republicans are going to go to doing a deal. Republicans took a beating in
this election. They haven`t heard what the American people are telling
them apparently.

This is the biggest story in the country right now. There`s no
question about it. All the side stuff is all chatter in my opinion. This
is where the country needs to be focused for the middle class.

The outcome of this budget fight will tell you, the future of
America`s middle class, and that`s what this election was about.
Democrats, I think, are off to a very good start.

Just hang your hat on what Nancy Pelosi said -- no. We`re going to
move the rates higher on the wealthiest Americans and there`s not going to
be a deal on deductions and phony accounting that`s going to get us to some
number that`s never going to exist.

Again, let me give you the straight talk. Somebody has to pay the bar
tab. The Democrats are willing to write the check, but the Republicans,
they want to get out scot-free. Ain`t going to happen.

Democrats need to hold the line here and keep telling yourself --
liberals, we won this election. And this was an exhausted topic throughout
the entire conversation between President Obama and Mitt Romney. We have
the facts and the people on our side.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think.

Tonight`s question, who is Paul Ryan -- who`s Paul Ryan going to fight
for? Text "A" for the rich, text "B" for the middle class, to 622639. You
can always go to our blog at We`ll bring you the results
later on in the show.

Let`s bring in Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey tonight.

Also with us is former labor secretary under President Clinton, Robert
Reich -- also the author of "Beyond Outrage."

Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight.

REP. BILL PASCRELL (D), NEW YORK: Hello, Ed. How are you?

SCHULTZ: Congressman, let`s start with you first. What do you expect
with Paul Ryan at the helm of these negotiations?

PASCRELL: It doesn`t send -- I`m not frightened about that situation.
In fact, one of the things that Paul does bring to the table, and I think
it`s necessary here, Ed, is urgency.

This is an urgent situation we need to address. If we kick this can
down the street, and I would contend that if you do away with all of the
Bush tax cuts and we supposedly start anew in January or February, I don`t
think that helps us down the path. I think we could strike a deal to get
218 votes. We need about 30 or 40 votes on the Republican side in the
House of Representatives.

This is a time when we`ve got to step up to the plate.

SCHULTZ: What do you got to give up to get that, though?

PASCRELL: Well, we`re going to have tax cuts, only tax cuts but we`re
also the middle tax cuts -- there needs to be cuts in the budget. And
we`ve got to start that process.

That was part of the president`s deal. It`s a balanced approach. I
think it`s the correct approach. What the numbers are we can debate, but
what the philosophy is and the specifics are, it`s critical to get a
resolution, Ed.

SCHULTZ: I don`t disagree with that, but I disagree with Paul Ryan
being an honest broker and demanding that there`s going to be some major
changes in Medicare and Medicaid. He`s going to go after the poor,

PASCRELL: Well, none of us are going to accept cuts in Medicaid
benefits. None of us are going to accept a different module for Social
Security on the Democratic side. What we need to work out is how much are
we going to cut in taxes? What are we going to allow?

I mean, the Republicans are holding the middle class hostage here. We
could have done this five months ago and that is -- as the Senate did --
and that is provide the tax cuts and let them continue for the middle

We have other taxes we`ve got to debate here. We have to talk about
the taxes in terms of what people are paying in payroll taxes.

SCHULTZ: Well, I guess I kind of thought that the hostages saw the
gates open on November 6th.

Robert Reich, what do you make of this?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: The interesting thing here, Ed,
is that the Democrats are holding tough and the Republicans seem not to
have remembered who won the election on November 6th. They -- by putting
Paul Ryan in there as the chief negotiator -- are putting somebody in who
really did say all during the election, we are going to cut Medicare, we`re
going to cut Social Security, we`re going to cut programs for the poor, and
we are going to cut taxes on the rich. Well, that was repudiated by the
electorate very, very clearly.

And right now, have a chance, a very important, historic chance to
illustrate for the public exactly whose side the Republicans are on. And
the Republicans are clearly on the side of the rich and not on the side of
the middle class.

There will be, I think, a day of reckoning and that day of reckoning
is going to be in January if we go over the so-called fiscal cliff, which
is actually more of a hill than a fiscal cliff. What that means
essentially is that all tax rates go back to the Clinton tax rates. The
Clinton tax rates were not that horrible. I was very happy to be and proud
to be a member of the Clinton administration and we had a very good

SCHULTZ: Congressman, are you OK with that? Are you OK with those

PASCRELL: Ed, let me tell you this, Ed, I don`t accept -- and I
usually agree with the professor -- I don`t accept that we should all just
wait until the new administration comes in and the new Congress is sworn.
I don`t think that puts us in a better place at all.

We could -- we could raise a lot of money and lose a lot of money at
the same time if we let all the tax cuts expire. There`s no guarantees
that the middle class tax cuts will pass when we get to January or
February. You`re going to have just a few less Democrats -- Republicans,
rather, in the House of Representatives.

I don`t agree with that. I think we should make an effort.

Let me tell you something, Ed. I think we should look at the example
of president when he was a senator, Senator Obama and Senator McCain, when
they made that decision in September, both of them, in the heat of a
presidential election in 2008 --


PASCRELL: -- to put differences aside and support us -- you know,
there`s got to be some common good here. We`re going to resolve this
problem --

SCHULTZ: I don`t disagree with that. I totally agree with you.
There`s got to be -- but I don`t trust the Republicans that they are going
to put Medicare and Medicaid off to the side.

PASCRELL: Well, we`re not. We`re not going to accept that and you
know that.

SCHULTZ: OK. Mr. Reich, you think the Democrats can hold the line on

REICH: Well, they have to hold the line. That`s what the election
was all about.

I mean, do we want to sacrifice Medicare and Medicaid? The public
said no.

Do we want to increase taxes on the wealthy and give everybody else an
extension of the Bush tax cut? The public said overwhelmingly yes.

SCHULTZ: All right.

REICH: Democrats know they got a mandate at least on that from the
public. And the Republicans seem not to have heard what the public said.

And if the public -- if the Republicans are going to do what they have
done for the past four years, which is essentially say no to everything,
not compromise at all, then we`re going to go over the so-called fiscal
cliff or hill. We`re going to go back to the Clinton tax rates. The
Democrats are going to have a chance --

SCHULTZ: All right.

REICH: -- to negotiate new taxes that do raise taxes on the wealthy
and make retroactive to January 1st.

PASCRELL: Well, you --

REICH: And then the Republicans will be the minority party in the
House beginning January 1st, 2014.

SCHULTZ: We`re going to have to leave it there. Congressman Bill
Pascrell and Robert Reich, great to have you with us tonight.

PASCRELL: Great to be here, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Appreciate your time. Thanks so much. We`ll continue the

And remember tonight`s -- answer to tonight`s question at the bottom
of the screen. Share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow and on Facebook. We
want to know what you think.

Coming up: the Twinkie is making headlines, but the workers are
getting ignored. I`ll have the real story behind the bankruptcy.

Stay with us. We`re coming right back.


SCHULTZ: A judge orders mediation instead of allowing more than
18,000 jobs to vanish if the makers of Twinkies go out of business.
Senator John McCain asked for an apology from U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

And Congressman Allen West is defeated, but he just won`t quit.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter using #EdShow.
We`re coming right back.


SCHULTZ: Thanks for staying with us.

Hostess brands went to bankruptcy court today. The CEO wants to shut
down operations and fire more than 18,000 workers. Some people the media
broke the news with a few laughs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a sad, sad day for America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A final Twinkie. Yes, you know what? I`m just
going to save mine for 12 years when it will still be good.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Share the wealth there.

WALLACE: Doug, thank you. It makes you want to go buy all of the
Twinkies in the grocery store.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we have a very quick thoughts of Twinkies in
your life?


SCHULTZ: All these rich media people, you know, it`s easy to talk
about Twinkies in the gold old days.

The real story, I don`t think it`s very funny. It`s about 18,000
workers who just found out that they are going to get fired just before the
holidays. I think they have families, don`t you?

Many have worked at Hostess for more than a decade. Their bosses
asked for 8 percent pay cut and a 17 percent cut in benefits. Some workers
would have to give back at least $2,000 a year.

This is the second time in three years Hostess has asked its employees
to cut their salaries and sacrifice benefits to keep the company going.

Now, the union is getting blamed.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: The union preferred killing
the company to accepting what they thought was a bad deal.

will buy it and they will go and manufacture in a right to work state,
where Hostess does not have to operate under 372 collective bargaining


SCHULTZ: Well, Mr. George Will, why don`t you work for their wage and
see how it feels?

This is not about a greedy union. Hostess has been going broke for a
long, long time under poor management. In fact, Hostess is facing its --
let`s count `em -- second bankruptcy.

At the same time, the CEOs of the company -- let`s see -- Gregory
Rayburn, well, he gave himself a raise. He`s reportedly making $2.25
million a year. Other top executives got pretty hefty pay raises, too.

While the company suffers, what happens to the fat cats on the top?
They get paid more.

As usual, the Republicans are blaming the workers.

Hostess declared bankruptcy in 2004 with $450 million in debt. Most
companies pay off their debt in bankruptcy. Not Hostess, it only got
deeper into debt.

In 2008, Hostess got concessions from the union and then laid off 20
percent of the workers. Hostess stopped paying into the pension fund as

Now, the company is nearly $1 billion in debt and it`s back to
threatening employees and begging for bankruptcy.

And here`s the most shocking part of it all -- today, Hostess
attorneys told the bankruptcy judge they want to fire 18,000 employees at
the same time they want to pay out $1.75 million in incentives to 19 senior
managers. That`s because they did such a hell of a job.

I guess those managers did such a fantastic job, they should get
bonuses while the company goes under. That`s how they think.

The judge was not pleased. He ordered Hostess into private mediation
with the employees. Apparently, Hostess completely skipped mediation
before announcing it would close up shop and fire the employees.

Tonight, analysts predict that Hostess will sell its Twinkie brand
name to a better company. In the end, breaking up the union just because
they think that`s really good business.

One investor wrote, "Shedding the complications of the union and old
plants makes Hostess even more attractive."

Make no mistake, this Hostess bankruptcy story is not just about
Twinkie jokes. It`s about big bucks and union busting. It`s about 18,000
workers who say they have give up some pay, work extra shifts and wish for
better management.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The CEOs are taking all the money and they`re
splitting now. They are leaving. They are gone. They want to go get
money and get out. What`s important, they get enriched.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We took an 80 percent pay cut, we took
concessions to keep the plant open so we were able to have a job and work.
But as you see, that didn`t help either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`ve watched the management ride into the
ground. They`ve watched the upper management take the concessions from the
last go around and just squander that money away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This company just wants to rip this union apart.
(INAUDIBLE) they are just not going to take it.


SCHULTZ: The Twinkie brand name will probably survive, 18,000 workers
are out of luck. At least it appears that way right now.

Joining me now "Rolling Stone" contributor Matt Taibbi.

Matt, great to have you with us tonight.


SCHULTZ: What is your take on this struggle back and forth? I mean,
where`s the moral compass here when, you know, management at the top is
expecting bonuses, yet workers are supposed to go home with nothing?

TAIBBI: Yes. I mean, this kind of follows a familiar narrative that
we`ve seen a lot in the last 15 to 20 years in America. In this case, you
know, a private equity firm comes in. They take over after a bankruptcy.
They borrow a ton of money, which, of course, becomes the company`s debt.

And so, now, you have a company that in its first bankruptcy was $450
million in debt. Now, it`s $1 billion in debt after it was taken over. So
the company that took over didn`t wipe out its debt, it doubled its debt.

But in the end, they are not blaming all that debt for the company`s
problems. They are blaming the workers and their pensions and their
benefits which remain static or gone down throughout this entire time.
It`s just -- it`s part of this overall mythology that we have to blame the
workers for wanting benefits and wanting a living wage.

SCHULTZ: Could taxpayers wind up paying Hostess` unpaid pension fund?

TAIBBI: That`s a possibility. One of the maneuvers that we have seen
a lot from these financial companies in recent years and this happened with
companies like Friendly Ice Cream and Eddie Bauer, is that you have a
bankruptcy and then what happens is that the pension gets peeled off and
gets assumed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which is a
federally-ensured insurance company. And they would assume part or all of
the pension obligation and then once that happens, once you have peeled off
the pension, then the asset becomes more attractive to new buyers and they
just take over the company and people are left without pension.

SCHULTZ: These workers on fixed wages and fixed benefits -- they`re
not in charge of sales. They`re not in charge of product development.
They`re not in charge of innovation. They are the workers that make the
product and do all the things.

Yet in so many of these cases, they end up getting the blame. It`s
all their fault.

TAIBBI: Right.

SCHULTZ: They are the reason why. This is the Bain model of
capitalism, isn`t it?

TAIBBI: Yes, absolutely. Bain did a lot of deals like this. They,
in fact, they did the same maneuver where they peeled off the pension fund
a couple times. There was a gas company, I believe, they were involved
where they did the exact maneuver.

But just one thing that everybody agrees about with Hostess and with
these products like Twinkies -- everybody likes Twinkies. There`s nothing
wrong with the product. Obviously, they are suffering because of the
health craze, but there`s still a healthy market for these products, which
means the workers are doing a good job. They are putting out a good

It`s that management has been incompetent and it`s unfortunate that
the narrative has shifted all the blame to the workers.

SCHULTZ: Matt Taibbi, thanks for joining us tonight. Appreciate it
so much.

Coming up, the latest installment in John McCain`s quest to stay
relevant. Now he`s demanding a television apology from U.N. Ambassador
Susan Rice. "The Nation`s" Katrina Vanden Heuvel will weigh in.

And later, it`s been two weeks since the election and Allen West
refuses to let democracy run its course. We`ll bring you the latest from


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to "the Ed Show." Thanks for watching.

Tonight, John McCain has been embarrassing himself on national
television and it looks like he has no intention of stopping. McCain`s
role on the senate arm services committee has given him the opportunity to
grand stand over the administration`s response to the attack on Benghazi.
He has been lobbying to establish a special Watergate-style select
committee on intelligence on the matter.

Of course, McCain undermined his own effort when he skipped the
congressional briefing on Benghazi to hold a news conference demanding
answers on the subject. To make matters worse, McCain blew up at a
reporter who dared to question him about his absence. McCain`s idea of a
Watergate-style panel suggests the Obama administration has been involved
in some kind of a cover-up. But top intelligence officials tell NBC`s
Andrea Mitchell, they kept their unclassified talking points for Susan Rice
deliberately vague to avoid in part any future legal proceedings. And some
of McCain`s own Republican colleagues say there`s no reason to create a
special committee.

So why is McCain doing this? As "the Huffington Post" pointed out, in
January, senator McCain from Arizona will lose his top ranking committee
seat due to term limits. The only ranking Republican spot available to him
next session will be on the Indian affairs committee. The creation of a
special committee would give McCain the opportunity to stay relevant and
create more problems for the president of the United States who defeated
him in 2008. To prove just how disconnected from reality this man is,
McCain is now demanding U.N. ambassador Susan Rice go on television and
apologize for the way she characterized the Benghazi attacks.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Maybe she could start out by publicly
coming back on this show and say, I was wrong. I gave the wrong
information on your show some several weeks ago. That might be a


SCHULTZ: Let`s bring in editor and publisher of "the Nation"
magazine, Katrina Vanden Heuvel.

I mean, I just found that comment after the intelligence committee
meetings on Friday, that comment on Sunday by John McCain outrageous. Why
is he attacking Susan Rice like that?

think there are a number of reasons. I think he`s trying to stay relevant
as you said. I think this is a political hit job against the president.
That`s who they are aiming at, he and Lindsey Graham.

I think they are doing the caring the water of FOX and the FOX fuelled
hysteria about the attacks in Benghazi. But this reminds me of the
Republican flight from reality, the post truth politics Mitt Romney engaged
in. Remember, he would travel around the country saying President Obama
did an apology tour traveling the world.

This guy, senator McCain, keeps talking about the danger o of
America`s light footprint. So, if you want to deal with substance in this
and not just these unverifiable calls McCain has made about weakness and
light footprint, I think we need to look squarely at U.S. foreign policy in
the region. And what John McCain and Lindsey Graham are doing is a great
de-service to America because they are distracting us from confronting the
extraordinary new challenges we face in North Africa and the Middle East
with his staff, with his partisan witch hunt. And that flight from reality
is at the heart of the current GOP.

SCHULTZ: You know, when President Obama took office in 2009, the
Republicans were up against a president who was popular coming off a
historical election. Nobody went after him except Dick Cheney.

HEUVEL: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: Dick Cheney for the first four months, he was saying we`re
not on a war footing. That he doesn`t understand security. That we are
less say. And it seems like John McCain is now taking on this role, find
anything you possibly can and just throw it at the president.

HEUVEL: Throw it at the wall. Throw it at the president. You know,
the Republicans have -- they don`t have a lot of maneuvering room to be
honest, Ed. Because the president though he ended the war in Iraq and is
winding down the war in Afghanistan, the president has, for a lot of
progressives, been -- you know, has backed away from national policy and
his counterterrorism policies are one that McCain should like in many ways.

If you want a select committee to investigate our national security,
do it on a number of frameworks, but not Susan Rice and what she said on
"Meet the PRESS." Because if you look at her testimony, I mean her
interview, Ed, it was very cautious. And she was given talking points by
the CIA. And if anyone understands intelligence briefings and how
intelligence works, it used to be John McCain until he decided this was
going to become a political witch hunt for him. Don`t get where he`s
heading except that a Republican party wants to go after the president on
this front.

SCHULTZ: Early days of the Iraq war, it was McCain who used to
complain about intelligence reports saying he would to him and listen to
him, but then pick up "the Washington Post" and see everything they had
talked about in the intelligence briefing the day before. I mean, he used
to complain about this. So he can`t have it both ways.

HEUVEL: Yes. But the irony is also the hypocrisy here. Because
think of the rank hypocrisy that you have Lindsey Graham and John McCain
who are aren`t supporters of Condi Rice. And her misuse of intelligence
which when she talked about Saddam Hussein in his nuclear program, that
campaign of misinformation constructed by Dick Cheney followed on by Condi
Rice, led us, light us into a war. This, we can`t afford again. So, these
Republicans talking about the danger of a light footprint, no apology tour,
have no sense of a real security policy that this country needs.

SCHULTZ: Same playbook, different year is where we`re at. Katrina
Vanden Heuvel, great to have you here with us tonight.

HEUVEL: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Thanks so much. Katrina Vanden Heuvel of "the Nation."

There is a lot more coming up in the next half hour of "the Ed Show."
Stay with us. We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: Democrats in Congress are up in arms over Florida governor
Rick Scott`s plan to save his pal, Alan West. We`ll go to Florida next.

Then big banks are trying to block Elizabeth Warren from doing her
job. Those details ahead.

And workers are planning black Friday strikes at Wal-Mart stores
across America. The big box retailer is now punching back. The nation`s
Josh Eidelson here with the story.



SCHULTZ: Welcome back to "the Ed Show."

Florida congressman Alan West, Democratic opponent Patrick Murphy,
he`s declared victory twice and already attended the freshman orientation
meetings on Capitol Hill. Nevertheless, two weeks after the election,
former congressman West still refuses to concede after pinning his hopes to
St. Lucie County.

Now governor Rick Scott is taking heat for what Democrats are calling
improper interference in West`s attempt to overturn the election results.
Florida secretary of state, Ken Detzner, a Scott appointee ordered a team
of auditors from the state election division to oversee this county and the
canvassers. It`s a move that had Florida`s top Democrats sounding the

DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted out and also put out a
statement saying this, "after disenfranchising Florida voters by cutting
down early voting days and creating extraordinary long lines at polls,
governor Scott is trying to blatantly overturn an election result he
disagreed with. Governor Scott needs to remove himself from the process

It was announced Sunday after getting the state to recount the votes
in St. Lucie County, West lost by even a wider margin than before.
Ironically, Alan West, the man who channeled Joe McCarthy by claiming 80
House Democrats were communists, just can`t handle democracy.

Joining me tonight, chairman of the Broward County Democratic party
Mitch Ceasar. He is also on the executive board f the DNC.

Mitch, good to have you with us tonight. Crazy things continue to
happen down in Florida. Look, this Patrick Murphy has won this election.
What I want to know, what is the governor Scott up to?

you`re right. Actually, it seems Patrick Murphy now won it twice,
literally. I find this very surprising because, you know, the governor, as
we discussed before, was the king of voter suppression. Not only in
Florida, but across the country. He led the way towards suppressing the
vote. He`s up for a tough re-election in two years. And I`m a little bit
surprised because what Alan West is asking the governor to do is not solve
a legal problem, he`s asking to solve a political problem.

And if Republicans really are being truthful in the last few days and
they learned any lessons from this past election, it should be that the
American public and certainly Florida voters won on a level playing field
and the governor has no business in this fight.

SCHULTZ: Well, does he have any legal recourse where he could go in
and actually cause problems here? I mean, tomorrow at noon, Florida is
ready to certify the votes from the 18th congressional district. I mean,
probably going -- as I understand Florida law, if West is going to
challenge that after the election is certified, he would have to prove
fraud. What about the governor? What legal avenue does the governor have?

CEASAR: Well, I don`t think he has that much. As you know, ex-
congressman West resorted to the court system. He got a recount. And as
you said, he is further behind than he was.


CEASAR: I think the governor`s abilities here are very small. I
would just be very shocked if he goes, as you said, he`s going forward. By
don`t think he can go too far. You know, this is governed. It was a
three-county district. The promised within county was one type of the
voting. And I think his powers are limited. For a guy facing a tough re-
election, I think he`s crazy to get involved in this.

SCHULTZ: Is this Alan West`s ego at this point?

CEASAR: Well, you know, I think that`s exactly it. He reminds me of
Custer. Here`s a guy surrounded, doesn`t know he is surrounded, finally
figures out that he is, says to his troops which is Republican party, looks
like we`re surrounded. And they turn to him and they go, what do you mean
we? I think they are going to move away from him. The voters of the
district show that extremism as perhaps worked for him in the past has now
eventually done him in.

SCHULTZ: All right, Mitch Ceasar, great to have you with us. Thanks
for your time.

Coming up, for the first time in 50 years, Wal-Mart workers are
planning a major labor strike. It could impact the biggest shopping day of
the year. We will bring you the details. Stay with us. We`re right back.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to "the Ed Show." We love hearing from our
viewers on twitter @edshow and on our facebook page.

Now, certainly, I`m no movie critic, but I do take in a show from time
to time. Wendy and I went to this one over the weekend. We saw Steven
Spielberg`s "Lincoln" which is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin`s book "teams
of rivals."

I have to tell you, folks, absolutely fascinating. It`s a must-see.
In fact, I think that every high school government class, every senior high
school government class in America should be encouraged to see this.

Jenna Blake agreed with me. She writes, I almost took my 16-year-old
to Lincoln yesterday after hearing your review. Both my kids 12 and 16
will see it next weekend. I did tweet over the weekend that I really like

Michael Kubes wrote, funny how the party of Lincoln wants to secede
from the union.

Seriously, Lincoln is a great movie. I was moved by it big time. A
lot of political (INAUDIBLE) in it. I think you`ll love it. If you love
government and you love this country.

Elizabeth Warren is on her way to Washington as a senator. And Wall
Street, they are not really happy about it. We`ll be right back with that
story. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: And we are back.

Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is probably one of the
most qualified people ever to potentially serve on the senate banking
committee. So of course, Wall Street is trying to fight it. Lobbyists and
trade groups for Wall Street are preparing pressuring lawmakers to deny her
a seat on the committee. According to "mother Jones" magazine, the
lobbying groups have been going nuts to keep Warren off the committee
according to a Senate aid. The effort appears to be failing.

There are two spots open on the banking committee and Democrats
control the Senate. Senator Jack Reid, the number two Democrat on the
banking committee, praised the senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren.
I can`t think of anybody who has come to the Senate with 30 years of
detailed knowledge of the industry, he said. It`s really an abundance of
intellectual riches. Elizabeth Warren has been a crusader against the
worst abuser in the financial industry. She was the one who conceived the
consumer financial protection bureau. Her career, standing up for the
regular guys and the folks of the middle class. And just began at the
banking committee position reportedly if she wants it, it is going to be
hers. I hope she takes it.

Tonight if our survey, I asked, who is Paul Ryan going to fight for?
Ninety seven percent of you say the rich. Three percent of you say the
middle class.

Coming up, Wal-Mart employees are fed up with low wages and bad
working conditions so they could be staging a major black Friday strike.
We will bring you all the details next. Stay with us.


SCHULTZ: In the "Big Finish" tonight, for the first time Wal-Mart`s
50-year history, they are facing a major labor strike and it could impact
the biggest shopping day of the year, that would be this Friday.

Wal-Mart workers say that they plan to strike at 1,000 stores around
the country with the biggest protests taking place on black Friday.
Smaller demonstrations have been happening since early October. Workers
are fighting for the basics. Minimum pay of $13 an hour, fair scheduling,
less expensive health benefits and safer working conditions in warehouses.

Wal-Mart has been fighting efforts to unionize its employees for years
and now they are getting desperate. Wal-Mart filed a complaint against the
union organizing this protest with the national labor relations for today.
They claim the United Food and Commercial Workers Union is trying to force
the store into collective bargaining even though its employees can`t
unionize. Wal-Mart`s vice president in communications tried to down play
the protests earlier today.


thing straight here. Don`t believe everything you read in the union press
release. I mean, just because they say one thing doesn`t mean it`s going
to materialize. We have seen some of these events before. It`s usually a
handful of associates at a handful of stores across the country.


SCHULTZ: These workers have every right to fight for something that
they consider to be fair. Wal-Mart made over $15 billion last year and
paid its CEO $18 million. Meanwhile, when it comes to workers, Wal-Mart
has no problem hanging them out to dry. "The Huffington Post" obtained a
Wal-Mart document showing low-level employee pay structure. They found if
an employee starts at $8 an hour and performs flawlessly, they can expect
to make, God, $10.60 an hour after working there for six years. Now, do
the math for one year and that employee makes $22,000 a year after working
at Wal-Mart for six years?

On top of all of this, the Walton family, which owns Wal-Mart, was
worth $89 billion in 2010. It`s the same worth as the bottom 41 percent of
American families. It`s no surprise Wal-Mart workers are planning a black
Friday strike. The company defiantly has the money to provide its
employees with a livable wage and health care. They can lead the way in
America and help workers. But no, they hate union and don`t want to pay

Joining me now tonight is "the Nation` magazine contributing writer
Josh Eidelson.

Great to have you with us. You have been on this story since this
summer. What put you on the story?

started covering a group of workers in Louisiana at a Wal-Mart supplier who
went on strike over what they alleged and independent groups confirmed were
forced labor conditions. That means essentially slavery. So you had eight
courageous workers in Louisiana who went on strike, got Wal-Mart to suspend
the supplier and suddenly laid the groundwork for the wave of strikes its
moving throughout the supply chain.

SCHULTZ: So the retaliation, of course, took you to the next level of
covering this?

EIDELSON: That`s right. Since this summer, I have been covering
examples of workers from this group. (INAUDIBLE), which isn`t the union,
has support from unions, were workers have been speaking out over wages,
working conditions. And the response that the workers have alleged has
been management legally trying to discourage them with captive audience
meetings, but also illegally firing and threatening people.

SCHULTZ: So people have lost their jobs because they have spoken out
against the company`s practices. Correct?

EIDELSON: I have talked to numerous workers who have alleged that
very credibly.

SCHULTZ: OK. When this protest started in October, did you think it
was going to grow to what it is expected to be on Friday?

EIDELSON: I thought it would be big. I don`t think anyone knew how
big it would get. But in last month, in October, we saw 160 retail workers
out on the strike. Now, we`ll get to see how many of their co-workers they
could bring along for black Friday.

SCHULTZ: What would a thousand stores of workers walking out, what
would that do?

EIDELSON: What - there is the potential to cut into Wal-Mart`s brand
in a permanent way and the cut in to Wal-Mart sales on a day when a huge
chunk of retail business for the whole year happens. It has the potential
to inspire lots of other Wal-Mart as well.

SCHULTZ: So the legal action that has now been put in front of the
labor relations board, that was one of the things you wrote about and
certainly, that was one of the legal options. Does it surprise you that
the company did that and what effect do you think it`s going to have?

EIDELSON: It doesn`t. In some sense, it was just a matter of time.
Labor law does a lot to restrict unions and workers protest rights,
restricts their first amendments right. In this case, though, Wal-Mart
doesn`t appear to have a very strong case. They would need to prove they
are workers are actually striking to force unionization, when everything
the workers have put out since they are striking over retaliation. And
Wal-Mart hasn`t provided that evidence to the public. I asked them for it.
They gave me a letter that doesn`t address it.

SCHULTZ: OK. What was your response to what you just saw, the vice
president of communications say that they have seen these things before and
they fizzle out basically.

EIDELSON: Well, it`s clear they haven`t seen this before. In fact,
up until last month, there have never been strikes at multiple Wal-Mart
stores in the U.S.

SCHULTZ: Now, there is going to be a thousand. Do you think there
will be a thousand?

EIDELSON: I think, absolutely. So far, everything that`s been
promised has been delivered. And we should know, Wal-Mart have a
dismissive message to the public, but Wal-Mart is paying Wal-Mart workers
to sit in these captive audience meetings and be lectured to about why they
shouldn`t participate.

SCHULTZ: They are about low prices and low wages. Bottom line.

EIDELSON: You know, the most and a great report that just came out
showing that Wal-Mart, if it paid employees just half way decently, the way
the economy could be stimulated is those workers would be lifted out of
poverty and could go out and spend money.

SCHULTZ: And Josh, do you think they will ever be unionized?

EIDELSON: I think we are incredibly closer now than we were a couple
months ago. We are still verif (ph) our way. This company has closed
entire departments and entire stores just because the workers looked like
they would unionize.

SCHULTZ: Josh Eidelson of "the Nation" magazine, great to have you
with us tonight.

EIDELSON: Thank you very much.

SCHULTZ: Thank you very much.

That`s "the Ed Show." I`m Ed Schultz. "The Rachel Maddow show"
starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

Thanks very much, man. Appreciate it.

SCHULTZ: You bet.


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