THE ED SHOW
February 19, 2014
Guests: Steve Greenhouse, Virg Bernero, Barbara Boxer, Danielle Droitsch,
Tiernan Suttenfeld, Mark Pocan
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Americans and welcome to the Ed Show
live from New York. Let`s get to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The union faced intense opposition from Republican
SCHULTZ: What is motivating Bob Corker to turn on his own volunteers in
the great State of Tennessee?
SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE: Right here on Chattanooga, Tennessee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The UAW would totally was gone out of line.
CORKER: Well, I was outraged that the outside interference in this
election is .
SCHULTZ: So what`s this about? Who`s choking your chain on this dude?
CORKER: It`s about money and it`s about power.
SCHULTZ: The Communist United Auto Workers Union.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve never heard of a governor going into a private
company and advising them not to unionize.
GOV. BILL HASLAM, (R) TENNESSEE: That there are some ramifications to the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Threats suggesting the plant might miss out on future
CORKER: It`s about money.
HASLAM: Ramifications to the vote.
CORKER: And it`s about power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight folks. Thanks for watching.
There is a legal development in the State of Nebraska within the last hour
that will be interpreted as a big setback for the Keystone XL pipeline. We
will get to that later on in this broadcast with some commentary and also
some guest on that subject.
But first, I want to start tonight, because this is a story that we have
been following. This is the story that I want every worker in America to
pay attention to.
On Friday, workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen Assembly Plant voted
against the United Auto Workers Union. Now workers were swayed into voting
against their own self interest by Republican legislators, senator, and of
course the governor of the State.
Guess what, new development, Volkswagen, they`re not happy about all that.
The carmaker said today that they might shy away from new U.S. car
production because of this. The main culprit is this guy right here.
Senator Bob Corker, who`s in New York today, I`m surprised he didn`t stop
by and say hello.
Corker for weeks has been intimidating workers telling them to vote no with
all kinds of scare tactics. Today on Fox News, Corker had the nerve to
say, he`s not anti-union.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL, AMERICA`S NEWSROOM CO-HOST: Many on the
left had been very critical of you.
HEMMER: I mean they argue today that you were out of line arguing against
CORKER: Yeah, I understand that. Look, I used to be a union member. I
had men and women who worked in my company that we`re in union. I`m not
anti-union. I`m anti UAW because of all the destruction they`ve done to
jobs in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I drink a lot of beer but I just don`t like the
taste of it, right Senator?
Come on. Give me break, nice try.
Senator Corker is now the face of anti-union propaganda in this country
with the way he injected himself into this vote last week. The Senator
even had no problem misleading workers about a conversation that he had
with Volkswagen leading up to the vote.
"I`ve had conversations and based on those am assured that should the
workers vote against the UAW. Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks
-- will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-
size SUV here in Chattanooga".
That sounds like an absolute to me. It`s a bold statement from Corker.
Volkswagen officials said the outcome of the vote would have no bearing on
where the SUV would be produced. This was a blatant and highly unethical
attempt to scare workers into voting no.
Earlier today, Senator Corker addressed this wild claim. He said there
were no guarantees from Volkswagen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: You said if the Union is defeated that another line from
Volkswagen will come into this plant.
HEMMER: Is that true?
CORKER: We have strong indications and assurances that that is going to be
the case. I would have never made that comment if I hadn`t had those
assurances. And so yes, I think overtime that is what`s going to happen.
Obviously tempers have to cool. And I think what you`re saying is .
HEMMER: And can you say that`s guaranteed? Today?
CORKER: If I would have said guaranteed. I would have said it at that
time. No, I`ve had assurances that that is the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: OK. So the senator from Tennessee is now the master of word
sniffing. There`s a big difference between guarantees and assurances.
The fact is, Senator, you still have not revealed your source from
Volkswagen. And it turns out, Corker`s intimidation tactics, well they
Volkswagen said today, anti-union sentiment from Republican lawmakers could
stop the company from opening new plants in the Southern portion of the
I`m sure Alabama and Georgia are saying, "Thanks a lot, Senator".
Volkswagen top labor leader told a German newspaper, "I can imagine fairly
well that another Volkswagen factory in the United States provided that one
more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned
to the South region again."
Here`s the bottom line. Volkswagen would be more likely to produce new
cars in the United States if the plant were unionized.
Volkswagen went on to say, "The Conservatives stirred up massive anti-union
sentiments. It`s possible that the conclusion will be drawn that this
interference amounted to unfair labor praxis." That`s German terminology
for really getting in the way. They`re not used to this over there.
Here`s the deal folks, the culture of Volkswagen is to work with unions.
Now, they`re going to be managing a plant where this is going to be a
different environment. Management doesn`t want any problems, if anything
comes when they say, "Just work through the union, that`s how we do
Today, Corker addressed these statements from Volkswagen and he did a great
job at dodging a question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: What did you think of the comments out of Berlin today saying
that, you know, they`re going to fight any effort to expand auto plants in
CORKER: Yeah. Look, there`s a lot of tempers right now when we went to
the big vote, didn`t come out exactly the way a lot of people thought that
it would. It was the right thing for our community and certainly the right
thing for the employees at VW. But look, I think things are going to work
out just fine. Conversations are beginning .
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Yeah, a lot of tempers are flying. So, now, the Senator from
Tennessee is saying, "Well, you know, Volkswagen has to get their demeanor
in line on this deal. Everybody has got to settle down."
No. No, this is no time to settle down because, Senator, you have inject
yourself into a process that no one used to see happen by a political
It looks like Senator Corker may have given up thousands of jobs for his
state and security of the future. And there is no doubt Corker`s
interference was unethical and unfair.
The UAW isn`t ruling out legal action against Corker. Here`s what UAW
president Bob King told me on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB KING, PRESIDENT UNITED AUTO WORKERS: That I`ve never seen anything
like this. And I -- I think he was way out of bounce and I think that the
public in general feels that he should not have been threatening workers if
they weren`t going to get product unless they voted no.
We`re going to attorneys or experts in this area having them review it all.
I think there are number of legal actions that we have the option of taking
or not. We`re reviewing all that, now having an internal discussion about
what`s the most effective way to support those workers, protect those
KING: . give those workers the right to choose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So the bottom line here, the Republican anti-union propaganda
campaign backfired big time in Chattanooga. I told you on Monday, it`s
only one vote, this is far from over.
Bob Corker`s intimidation has Volkswagen now shying away from U.S. auto
production. His unprecedented interference could also cause a revote at
A former lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board said today. "Of
course the NLRB has no authority over Senator Corker and cannot control
what he says. What they could do is decide that his comments taint the
election and even conceivably order a new election."
Now, I think the National Labor Relations Board needs to get involved and
order a new vote at the plant. That`s only fair. There is no question
Senator Corker injected himself into this election by making false and
inflammatory statements before the vote.
And, Senator Corker, for you own integrity and for the workers who did vote
against the union, don`t they deserve to know now that the Volkswagen has
come out and said, "Well, we`re not sure about another plant in the South."
Don`t you think it`s important, Senator, for you to reveal your source on
who gave you all these assurances?
As far as the National Labor Relations Board is concerned, if you folks
can`t get involved in this, just go have a cocktail lunch and don`t
comeback to the office. You`re making the case that we don`t need the
National Labor Relations Board and I think that we all know that that`s not
If they don`t move forward on this after this elected official injected
himself from the process. What is the National Labor Relations Board good
for? Big question mark.
Get your cellphones out. I want to know what you think tonight`s question.
"Do you think the National Labor Relations Board should call for a revote
in Chattanooga?" Text A for yes, text B for now to 677 622, you can always
to our blog @ed.msnbc.com. We`ll bring you the results later on in the
And I just want to say one more thing about the NLRB. If you let this go,
doesn`t this set the president for other antis, who are in elected
positions to step out and inject themselves in future votes? You got to
stop it the first it happened because I can guarantee you the way the right
wing works it will happen again, and again, and again.
For more, I want to go to Steve Greenhouse, Labor Correspondent for The New
York Times. Mr. Greenhouse, good to have you with us tonight.
STEVE GREENHOUSE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Nice to be here, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. What could -- what action could the NLRB take?
GREENHOUSE: Well, first, the United Auto Workers would have to file a
complaint with the NLRB. The NLRB can`t act on its own. So we`re waiting
to see whether the UAW files a formal compliant.
Now, normally, if an employer, if a CEO of a plant manager says where, you
know, if, you know, "We`ll only expand production if you vote against the
union." You know, that would be seen as illegal intimidation, improper
But here, you don`t have -- someone from the company, you have a
politician. So, you know, politicians can generally say whatever they want
so it`s not clear that the NLRB could say, "Senator Corker, you acted
illegally." Conceivably, they could say, "Corker, you are somehow the
agent of some anti union officials in Volkswagen and you were speaking and
you never have." and thereby, you know, they might say, "You acted
illegally on behalf of the company."
I think a perhaps more likely scenario and I`m not saying it`s likely, Ed,
is the NLRB might conclude that Corker`s comments and those of Governor
Haslam and even more so of Bo Watson, the State Senator from the suburbs of
Chattanooga who said, "If the union is voted in, we`re not going to vote
any additional subsidies, incentives to help bring further products,
additional products to the plant."
You know, those -- the NLRB might conclude, you know, "poison the
atmosphere" and then NLRB in the past has sometimes thrown out unionization
elections and ordered a new one because it said the, you know, the
atmosphere, you know, for fair election .
GREENHOUSE: . have just too tainted to initiate it.
SCHULTZ: Well, I`ve had officials tell me they`ve never seen anything like
this before. Let me ask you as a professional reporter that`s covered
labor for The New York Times for years, have you ever seen or reported in
the past on a sitting United States senator and a senator inject himself
into a vote like this?
GREENHOUSE: Ed, you and I have covered labor a long time. We see, you
know, CEOs, plant managers say things like this, you know, I`ve been
covering this beat for a long time, I`ve never seen a politician lawmaker
inject himself the way .
GREENHOUSE: . Senator Corker did. And, you know, Senator Corker`s a very
smart guy, you know, he did this three or four days before the election,
his timing was brilliant, I really think he caught the union semi-
flatfooted and the union was somewhat slowed to respond.
SCHULTZ: Well, the UAW told me that he made a special trip back to
Tennessee, they were blindsided by his involvement because they had signed
an agreement with Volkswagen that there wouldn`t be any negative statements
coming from either side that the workers would just decide on all of this.
So I think it`s very clear that the table is set for the National Labor
Relations Board to inject themselves in this, throw this vote out and let`s
go through this process again. Because there are -- there`s new
developments on this story as a post vote. Your thoughts.
GREENHOUSE: So, you know, the union law is pretty narrowly by 86 votes.
So all it would have taken is 44 votes to .
GREENHOUSE: . change the flip, the vote.
GREENHOUSE: Now, I was interviewing a professor and one of the nation`s
leading experts on labor relations, Harley Shaiken at Berkeley. And he
said that, you know, Corker`s comments, Haslam`s comments, Bo Watson`s
comments that they could`ve easily flipped 100 more votes.
GREENHOUSE: So again of the NLRB weighs it, it might say these comments so
tainted the atmosphere that they might .
GREENHOUSE: . improperly, you know, flipped the vote in favor, you know,
against the union.
SCHULTZ: I don`t know how they don`t get a big review on this. Steve
Greenhouse of New York Times great to have you with us tonight. I
appreciate your time.
I want to bring in Virg Bernero, Mayor of Lansing Michigan.
Virg, I want to play this sound bite from Senator Corker today on Fox.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORKER: We support the works council notion that they`re trying to
implement. We just had concerns about the UAW. We know of their track
record, we know what`s happen in communities where they`ve been located, we
know they have been a job destroying entity through the years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: A job destroying entity. That`s how he has described the United
Dennis Williams, we called him for comment today, he`s the Secretary-
Treasurer at the UAW, he responded to Corker by saying, "Senator Corker
should be ashamed of himself. Look at what the UAW did at the Mitsubishi
plants in Normal, Illinois. If it wasn`t for the relationship between the
company and the union, we would have not had a new product in the Illinois
plant. Working with the governor, state officials, the company and the
community, we`ve saved thousands of jobs at the Mitsubishi plant in
Virg, what`s your response to this? This is breaking out beyond Tennessee
to a big war on labor like we`ve never seen before. Your thoughts.
MAYOR VIRG BERNERO, (D) LANSING, MI: It`s all I can do to contain myself,
Ed. As I said before, Corker should put a cork in it. He`s really full of
it in particular already talks about the UAW. The guy says he`s not anti
union, he`s just UAW. You can`t be anti UAW and not be anti union. Give
me a break. The UAW and the unions in this country helped create the
middle class. The corporations didn`t simply turn around and give health
benefits: doctor benefits, dental benefits, the five-day work week to 40
hour work week, it didn`t just happen, weekends off.
The unions created the middle class and the UAW was right there leading the
way. And the UAW today leads the way in communities like Lansing where we
set the tone, where we set the model for union, for the labor and
management working together that`s why General Motors is expanding here.
And the -- reason VW was as neutralist as they were and supportive as they
are because they know what unions can do. In Germany, the unions, the
manufacturers are virtually all unionized. In Japan, they`re virtually all
unionized. And you have labor and the management working together for the
benefit of the company and that`s exactly what could`ve happen here.
BERNERO: Corker portrayed it as the opposite. And in fact, what we`re
seeing is the company saying their next plant might be up North and we
welcome VW in Lansing where we show that labor and management can work
together and make award-winning cars like the Motor Trends Car of the Year,
the Cadillac CTS.
BERNERO: Don`t tell me that the UAW can`t cooperate and do great work
because they`re doing it all around this country.
SCHULTZ: Virg, if the NLRB doesn`t get involved here what are they formed
BERNERO: You were right on as usual, Ed. Come on, they need to draw a
bright clear line in the sand to go after this guy exposing him for what he
is and challenge Corker to come up with this. It was the big lie.
BERNERO: It was calculated. It was dastardly. It was despicable what he
did. He should be held accountable. What country do we live in? In
America people have the right to choose who they associate with. They have
the right to choose whether they want to be represented by a union. This
is America. Even in Tennessee, Corker, it`s America, it`s a part of
And the workers have a right to choose. He tainted that election, it
should be redone and it`s time for the NLRB to stand up and do the job they
are put there for.
SCHULTZ: Virg Bernero, Mayor of Lansing, Michigan, well connected with the
UAW because he`s got a lot of those workers in his community and he knows
first hand. Virg, good to have you with us tonight.
And I just want to point out if Senator Corker is really for unions as he
said to that interview on Fox today, then I`m sure that the union are going
to be able to count on him for support when it comes to the employee free
choice act. I doubt it.
Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the screen.
Share your thoughts on Twitter @Ed show and on Facebook. We want to know
what you think.
Now, coming up, we are following the breaking news on the XL pipeline.
We`ll bring you a major development out of Nebraska. Stay with us.
But first, Conservatives twist the CBO report on the minimum wage. Senator
Barbara Boxer joins me next. We`ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: Time now for the Trenders social media. This is where you can
find us. I appreciate all the Twitter action on the pipeline story and on
the union vote in Chattanooga, Facebook.com/edshow, Twitter.com/edshow and
ed.msnbc.com. On the radio, Monday through Friday, Sirius XM Channel 127
and of course you can get my radio website podcast there @wegoted.com.
The Ed Show social media nation all kinds of deciding going on and going on
and we are reporting. Here are today`s top Trenders voted on by you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s up, doc?
SCHULTZ: The number three Trender, a bunny story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is in Japan. It is called a .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A Stephen King movie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rabbit Island.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a cute little pink bunny rabbit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re walking this way.
SCHULTZ: A tourist has a hair-raising experience on Japan`s Rabbit Island.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are those meat eating?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want? What do you want? You want food?
SCHULTZ: The number two Trender.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rabbit season.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Duck season.
SCHULTZ: No foul.
MYRA SANCHICK, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: Volunteers thought it was a
great idea launching hundreds of little yellow rubber duck and have them
race for charity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rubber ducky you`re the one.
SANCHICK: Until they found out it was illegal.
SCHULTZ: Scott Walker gives duck races the go-ahead in Wisconsin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rubber ducky I`m awfully fond of you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wisconsin lawmakers passed a bill yesterday exempting
rubber duck high rollers from a ban on gambling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rubber ducky you`re my very best friend it`s true.
SCHULTZ: And today`s top Trender, 10-10 wins and losses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Congressional Budget Office has put out a study
analyzing what would happen if the nation`s minimum wage was raised to
$10.10 an hour.
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH AND CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
I`m going to keep doing whatever I can to raise working Americans` wages.
SCHULTZ: The CBO`s minimum wage report brings mixed results.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The $10.10 option would reduce total employment by
500,000 workers .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The second time in two weeks, the CBO came out with a
report saying the president`s policies caused jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is very embarrassing for the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they going to put positive spin on this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 16.5 million people would have higher earnings
during an average week in the second half of 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a net real income gain to workers of two
billion. So the net result here is positive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s beneficial to the economy and to efficiency and
OBAMA: 10.10. Let`s get that done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Joining us tonight, Senator Barbara Boxer of California.
Senator, always good to have you on the Ed Show.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER, (D) CALIFORNIA: Thanks, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. The Democrats use CBO numbers to make a case for the
American people on a number of different fronts.
This report does have mixed results. Does the good outweigh the bad in
this? The report estimates at 900,000 Americans would be lifted out of
poverty. Over 16.5 million workers would get a raise, but the number of
people that would lose their job because of attrition or because businesses
couldn`t afford it would be half million. Your thoughts.
BOXER: Well, first, there`s lots of other studies that say no to that.
But let me just say this, when people are earning a decent living, when
they don`t have to fear that they can feed their families when they come
home after working a full-day, it does lift everyone up including the
communities in which they live because they spend dollars in the community.
So I think overall, if we took the attitude that the Republicans take is
don`t raise the minimum wage and we applied it -- when I was a kid and the
minimum wage was a buck an hour, it would still be a buck an hour and by
the way since then we`ve created tens and millions of jobs.
So I think, you know, the CBO comes out with these reports, they did it on
healthcare and it turned out that was really good news also because people
wouldn`t be stuck in job lock because they`ve finally have health
insurance, they could start their own businesses, other people would take
At the end of the day, we know from so many years and decades that raising
the minimum wage is a win-win.
SCHULTZ: Does -- is this going to slow the momentum and making the case to
the American people as you see it? Because obviously .
SCHULTZ: . House Republicans are going to go nuts on this.
BOXER: Well, they already went nuts on the whole idea of raising the
minimum wage. Some of them don`t think there ought to be a minimum wage.
Again, Ed, it`s -- you got to take it to its simplest point. If you
believe that raising the minimum wage would lose jobs, it never should have
been raised from the time it was a buck, you know, in the 50s and the 60s
and we`ve created about 80 million jobs since then.
So, no, I don`t see it this way. I think there`s strong support. I think
we see the states moving forward. Everybody knows that you can`t work
BOXER: . and be in poverty. It makes no sense. So I don`t think that
this report, I mean they`ll make a fuss over it but again when you delve
through it, you look through it at the end of the day it`s going to be
good. You know, two-thirds of those on the minimum wage are women and two-
thirds of tip of workers are.
Now, can anyone argue that a tipped worker should be paid $2.13 an hour?
I`d love to have this debate. And for every study the CBO has, we`ve got
other studies that show otherwise.
SCHULTZ: Well, there`s proof positive. The states that have raised the
minimum wage have not had unemployment go on the wrong direction. They .
SCHULTZ: . have seen a better economy, your state of California. I mean
at the end of the day doesn`t it really what the people want? Do the
people matter anymore? The vast majority .
BOXER: It`s what the people .
SCHULTZ: . of Americans want this.
BOXER: Yeah. It`s not only what the people want but it`s a fundamental
question that you have to ask yourself. Should someone who works full-
time, full-time sweat of the brow, come home at night, kiss their kids
goodnight and wonder if they`ll have enough to feed them the next day.
That`s not the American dream, that`s not the American way and over the
years you can`t look at this in a stagnant way because we will invest in
other areas: infrastructure, clean energy .
BOXER: . will create many other new jobs. So, you know, I just think it`s
a losing argument and I just take it back to the simple point, this
attitude would have meant and still have a buck an hour in minimum wage and
we know that`s ridiculous.
SCHULTZ: All right, Senator Barbara Boxer great to have you with us
tonight. I appreciate your time.
Coming up, breaking news on the XL Pipeline, a ruling by a judge in
Nebraska could stop the pipeline from moving forward.
And later, Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin will tell us why we need to
say no to the TPP with some new information coming out.
But next, I`m taking your questions on Ask Ed Live right here on the Ed
Show on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Thanks for staying with us tonight. Love this segment, love the
questions, keep them coming. Social media platform is always fun.
Tonight, in our Ask Ed Live segment, our first question from Ha Akins --
that`s his Facebook name anyway. What`s that mean Ha?
All right. Have the unemployed been forgotten? Well, not by the
Democrats. You may feel forgotten because the Republicans are stuck in
concrete. They`re not going to do anything on this. They won`t do
anything for the long term unemployed unless there`s a deal made. Now, if
the Democrats have the House, you`d really be remembered and they would act
on with the jobs package.
Our next question is coming from Jimmy. He wants to know, do you think
America will ever have universal health care? Absolutely. I do. My goal
is to have it in my lifetime. I don`t know how long it`s going to take but
I do think that we`re going to have universal health care. No question
about it. ObamaCare is the first step in that direction. That`s one of
the reasons why the conservatives are adamantly trying to get rid of it.
Stick around. Rapid Response Panel is next.
BERTHA COOMBS, CNBC HOST: I`m Bertha Coombs with your CNBC Market Wrap.
The Dow falls 89 points. The S and P 500 was off 12, and the NASDAQ fell
One the economic front, housing starts to drop 16 percent last month. It
wasn`t the biggest decline. It was rather the biggest decline in nearly
A big deal for Facebook meantime is buying mobile messaging service
Whatsapp for $16 billion. In cash and stock, Facebook shares are lower in
And Tesla shares are rallying after hours. The electronic car maker`s
earnings beat estimates by a mile and guidance increased (ph) investors.
That`s it from CNBC. We`re first in business worldwide.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show.
Opponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline were handed with some recalling a
huge victory late this afternoon. District Court Judge Stephanie Stacy
declared a 2012 Nebraska law which gives the governor final approval on oil
pipelines in the state unconstitutional. The judge ruled Governor David
Heineman exceeded his authority in authorizing the route and concluded,
under Nebraska State constitution only the Nebraska Public Service
Commission has regulatory control of the routing of the pipeline.
Three Nebraska land owners affected by the proposed route challenged the
law and spoke at a hearing last September. Today, the judge ruled in their
favor. The ruling includes an injunction which prevents Governor Heineman
or the Department of Environmental Quality in Nebraska from taking any
further action to authorize or advance the pipeline.
This clearly is a big development for those who are opposed to the pipeline
in the environmental groups. I will be in Nebraska on Friday and I will
visit with one of these land owners who testified and forced this positive
ruling for the environmentalists on this program. I`ll have him coming up
later next week. Randy Thompson is his name. So we`re looking forward to
that trip to Nebraska obviously.
Joining me now on the heels of this in our Rapid Response Panel, Danielle
Droitsch, Senior Attorney and Canada Project Director for the Natural
Resources Defense Council, and Tiernan Sittenfeld who was the Senior Vice
President of Government Affairs for the League of Conservation Voters.
Great to have both of you with us.
Well, this is probably the best news and the most positive news that
environmental groups have ever gotten since this pipeline project started.
And just a little history for our viewers who have not paid attention to
it, the federal government doesn`t have to rule on this. This is a states
rights issue when all of the states had the permit to pipeline, Nebraska
was the last one. These three landowners came forward, made the case, said
it was unconstitutional. The judge has ruled in their favor.
Tiernan, what is this mean and what impact do you think it will have?
TIERNAN SITTENFELD, LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS: Hi, Ed. Thanks for
having us back and thanks for all of your ongoing attention to this. This
is, as you know, that this is a very big deal. This is very good news.
This is a win for landowners, this is a win for clean water in Nebraska and
it makes us even more optimistic that this pipeline will ultimately be
SCHULTZ: Danielle, can you take us through the X`s and O`s here on exactly
how these landowners got this favorable ruling?
DANIELLE DROITSCH, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: Well, basically, Ed
-- and thanks so much for having us on the show. We basically have had a
number of -- lots of Nebraskans here has been raising issues around the
water issues. They`ve been concerned about tar sands flowing through this
pipeline imposing major risks to the water. So they`ve been raising these
issues and they`ve been very concerned about the routes going to Nebraska
and they`ve been basically raising the question of whether it`s going
through that -- in major aquifer which provides significant water supply
for ranching of farm men. And so, they`ve contested the law that sets the
route. And right now, it looks to be that the route is unconstitutional.
SCHULTZ: What`s the role of the federal government, Tiernan, as you know
it right now? Could there be a higher court that could come in and side
with the multinationals and get this pipeline, you know, constructed.
SITTENFELD: I think the primary role for the federal government continues
to be the comment period that is in place with the State Department where
your viewers can go to make comments to tell Secretary Kerry that this
project is not international interest and that it needs to be rejected.
There`s also the 90-day interagency review where other agencies have the
opportunity to weigh in.
So, in the past, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of
Interior have expressed concerns on things like climate change and on
wildlife in the impact of the pipeline could have on that. So, we believe
that those processes will continue. And again, we`re optimistic that at
the end of the day, Secretary Kerry and President Obama who have done so
much to protect the planet and to fight climate change, to protect our
water will ultimately find that this project is an international interest.
SCHULTZ: Well, I can only speculate that there`s probably going to be some
arm twisting going on down in Mexico, because at this hour, the president
is having a one-day summit in Mexico with that country`s president, but
also Prime Minister Harper from Canada who is a staunch conservative who is
very much in favor of getting these tar sands oil out of the ground and
into the pipeline and making sure that this pipeline is constructed.
Don`t you find it, Tiernan, rather interesting that the day that the
president is going to be seeing Mr. Harper face to face that this ruling
SITTENFELD: The timing is certainly interesting. And again, it makes us
even more optimistic. And you know Ed, as you know, that it`s quite clear
that Canada is desperate in the TransCanada, the foreign company that wants
to build this pipeline, is desperate to get access to an international
shipping port so that they can send this dirty oil straight from Canada
right through the middle of our country, jeopardizing our water including
in the Sandhills in Nebraska, and then send it overseas to other countries
So, I think it`s -- they`ve made clear what they want but we appreciate
that President Obama and Secretary Kerry had made clear that there are the
process in place. I think there was actually even a comment from a White
House official that they will get back to Canada when the process is
complete and nobody to (ph).
SCHULTZ: So, Danielle, how does the president get around this? I mean,
he`s got his Secretary of State being adamant in a speech in Indonesia
earlier this week. He`s going to make some more public speeches about it.
He`s got an inconclusive State Department report where its credibility is
being questioned. And now, he`s got a legal ruling in Nebraska. Where do
you think this puts the president?
DROITSCH: Well, I think, at this point, the president is going to be
looking at all of the information that will be collected during this
National Interest Determination. So, we look at the State Department
report which actually did acknowledged that there could be significant
climate impacts from the pipeline, but certainly, this ruling will be very
significant because Nebraska doesn`t have a route anymore.
So, until we know what the new route is in the impacts that would have on
water and in local communities, then right now, they`re going to have to
take a pause and look at what needs to happen, what information needs to be
collected because the reality is that right now, we don`t know where this
pipeline is going to go.
SCHULTZ: Yeah. Well, I think it gives the president tremendous cover. I
mean, the president, he maybe push forward decision on this but he`s going
to be able to turn to Harper today down in Mexico and say, "Look here dude,
I got court issues in Nebraska." You know, now, is the president going to
be heavy-handed where he could overrule it? I don`t know how he would do
that by executive authority. Maybe he could. If he did that, that would
really turn the environmental groups against the president and that`s
exactly what he doesn`t need going into the midterms.
So, the plot thickens. There is no question about it. Where is this --
how much will this really invigorate the environmental base, Tiernan? What
would be the next stop? Because there`s been a lot of conversation about
pressure here in this latter part of the public comment period which ends
on March 7th.
SITTENFELD: Right. So the comment period goes until March 7th then
there`s this interagency review. I think that we wouldn`t see a decision
probably until at least late May but there is no timeline or no deadline
for secretary to make a decision. There`s even after he makes a draft
recommendation opportunity for the other agencies to weigh in before
President Obama makes a final decision.
But, I think, to your question about whether this would be invigorating for
people who care about the environment and who want to have a clean healthy
planet and fight global climate change, there is no question or rejection
of this pipeline would be tremendously exciting. But, it`s not just for
environmental groups, I mean, to get back to what happened in Nebraska
today, that was a case brought by landowners. So we are seeing.
SITTENFELD: . this issue unite people all across the country from all
walks of life, of all ages, from various political persuasions, and I think
that`s really exciting.
SCHULTZ: Well, I think the message here also is activists can make a
difference. These three landowners, they stuck up for their rights. They
took it to the courts. They got a ruling. And now, it`s going to be very
interesting to see what the White House reaction is to all of this.
Danielle Droitsch and also Tiernan Sittenfeld, great to have you with us
tonight on the Ed Show. Thanks so much. And of course, I will be in
Nebraska on Friday with more coverage of this.
Coming up, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman gave a speech in
support of a middle class job killer at the Center for American Progress.
What`s happening? The Trans-Pacific Partnership, we`ll talk to Congressman
Mark Pocan ahead. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in Pretenders tonight, climate shame, Pat Robertson. The
televangelist is railing against Secretary of State John Kerry`s address on
the global climate prices.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT ROBERTSON, AMERICAN MEDIA MOGUL: Can you believe what could be world`s
most fearsome destructive weapon? Obama`s third term? Not really. That`s
what Secretary of State John Kerry is saying about global warming.
The agenda is to take control of industry. If we can control it in the
name of this climate change, then the socialists will have one more
victory. They are trying to take over medicine and health care. The next
thing is to try to take overall of the plants and the manufacturing of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Hold on. This charlatan wasn`t always. So partisan, here is
Robertson in Al Gore`s Alliance for Climate Protection commercial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: In our planet, taking care of it is extremely important.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all need to work together, liberals and
ROBERTSON: So get involved. It`s the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But I guess I`m just going to have to get some more sun tan oil
in the way he looks at it. Robertson`s integrity is melting faster than
the polar ice caps. Pat Robertson can try to reverse on reason. But if he
thinks we`ll take conspiracy over a climate science, he could keep on
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. This is the story for the folks who
take a shower after work. Now, when it comes to the TPP, the Trans-Pacific
Partnership, the guy to pay attention to is Mike Froman. Froman is the
U.S. Trade Representative working on this trade agreement.
The White House, I think, has not done a very good job of explaining to the
American people why they want this trade agreement. This week, Froman made
the case of the Center for American Progress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL FROMAN, U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: The reality is this. Trade
done right is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Through
negotiations, we`re able to create new opportunities. And through
enforcement actions, we`re able to stand up for our rights and fight for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Lots of generic talk. Well, Mr. Froman, there is almost 200
people on the Congress who do not agree that they are -- and there are
maybe a conflict of interests here.
Froman is a former Managing Director at Citigroup. When he left that
company to take the federal government position, he received over $4
million in exit payments which was in his contract if he ever took a
federal job. He says some members of Congress questioning whether he can
stand up for the middle class or is he just doing the bidding for the banks
-- his old employer who greased the skids for $4 million.
Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin joins us tonight. Congressman, what`s
your take on this? How do you feel about a trade negotiator at the table
for the United States, who used to work for a big Citigroup, ended up
getting -- it was in his contract that if he got a government job, he was
going to walk with $4 million in bonus money I mean, come on, what do you
REP. MARK POCAN, (D) WISCONSIN: You know, it`s another example where the
big banks just don`t get it to do something like that. Even if someone
like Mr. Froman, who I think has a lot of respect from people for the work
his done over the years, it looks bad. It`s just not the right thing to
do. And one of the chapters is around financial regulations and certainly
people are concerned when you see, not only Mr. Froman, but others who are
involved in trade getting this big buyouts from banks. When they go into
the federal work force, it just looks bad and everyone should be smarter.
SCHULTZ: I was really taken by his argument in his presentation. I want
to play this clip. Froman`s key argument is that globalization is here and
it`s here to stay and we`re going to deal with it. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FROMAN: Our trade policy has evolved substantially from what it was 20
years ago. But many of the criticisms of it have not. Some of the
criticisms I hear of our agenda described the state of trade policy in
1994, not 2014. These are criticisms of a trade policy this president has
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, so I guess, this isn`t going to be another NAFTA deal. All
I`ve heard from lawmakers is that this is NAFTA on steroids.
POCAN: And that`s the Prometheus (ph). It is NAFTA on steroids. We`re
assuming from all of us who`ve collectively talking and looking at some of
the language where it`s at. It`s got a lot of the same bad provisions that
have cost American jobs. And I know that, you know, I think more of this
is about how do we compete with China in that region than anything else.
But when it gets to the particulars around environmental regulations, labor
regulations, food safety, intellectual property down the list of the 29
chapters, a lot of this is stuff we`ve seen before and it`s been bad for
jobs in America and really bad for the middle class.
SCHULTZ: I mean that speech was just generic bias (ph) is what it was.
You`ve got to get down to the.
POCAN: I read it (ph).
SCHULTZ: . you know, what do you think? Am I mischaracterizing it?
POCAN: Well, it was -- but I believe in trade, you believe in trade, but
we believe in fair trade not this free trade that is in this past trade
deals. So, you know, on the surface level, he said a lot that didn`t real
say anything. The problem is Ed, he`s -- the same meetings we`re having
the U.S. Trade Rep as members of Congress. It`s kind of like that speech.
And I got to tell you, unless they crank up their game, they know they`re
in trouble when they treat us like they`re trying to -- that we`re not
partners, that we`re adversaries. And I think right now, they`re treating
us in that role as adversaries. They`re never going to get something
I asked a question on some environmental policy and I said point blank. I
asked on these four areas and they said absolutely nonnegotiable from a
U.S. perspective. That language has to be there. And then a more senior
member asked right after me, "Does that mean you won`t bring us the trade
agreement if it doesn`t have those things?" "Oh well, I can`t" buying the
president. You know, that was two different answers within less than a 60-
second span to the members of Congress. So, I think they have to be more
honest with the American public, with the members of Congress if they want
to get something done because it can`t look like the bad trade agreements
of the past.
SCHULTZ: How could the president go against his Senate Majority Leader and
his House Democratic Leader -- Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi? They have
state that a claim that this is not good.
POCAN: Well, and they`ve seen these deals in the past. And so far, what
they`ve seen in this deal is it looks just like those bad deals of the
past. And when we`re still bleeding manufacturing jobs, we have to make
sure that we`re fighting for the middle class and those inspiring to be in
the middle class, make sure that everyone has an equal chance and
opportunity and trade deals don`t do that. They help the big corporations.
POCAN: . they help the multinational corporations, but they don`t help
SCHULTZ: Here`s what Mr. Froman missed at the Center for American
Progress. Charts, give me some numbers. Show me some trends. Tell me how
good it is. This is where American workers were and this where they are
now and this where we`re going to go. We don`t get any of that stuff.
It`s all Wall Street theory embedding as what it is.
Congressman Mark Pocan, good to have you with us tonight, from Wisconsin.
Thanks so much.
That`s the Ed show. I`m Ed Schultz. Politics Nation with Reverend Al
Sharpton starts right now. Good evening Rev.
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The Ed Show for Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
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