THE ED SHOW
May 9, 2014
Guests: Dwight Bullard, Ruth Conniff, Sandra Fluke, David Himmelstein, Sarah Slamen
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Americans and welcome to "the Ed
Show" live from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. I`m fired up, ready to go!
Let`s get to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you with me? Are you
fired up? Are you ready to go?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Once again this week
Republicans continue our focus on the number one issue in the country.
OBAMA: What exactly are the plans of the other side right now?
OBAMA: I love you back.
I know I`m preaching to the choir.
You`ve got to get the vocal cords working. So in love with you
BOEHNER: Hell, no, you can`t.
OBAMA: They have got one plan. They have taken 50 votes to repeal
BOEHNER: I want to repeal the law of the land. Is that clear?
OBAMA: I guess they`re going try to take 50 more, because that`s all they
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Obamacare.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Obamacare.
OBAMA: You ready to go? Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for watching.
You know the old saying. You can`t see the forest because of the trees?
That`s where the Republicans are. They`re deep into the woods. They don`t
know where they`re going and they refuse to admit defeat. This is where
we`ve got to lay it on them.
Conservative campaign against health care, against the law, against the
affordable care act, against Obamacare, it`s failed. When are the
Democrats going to claim total victory on this, where we were, where we are
and where we`re going?
This is a healthy number. At least eight million people have enrolled for
insurance under the affordable care act. Look at the numbers. The polls
show the number of uninsured people is shrinking.
Now, hold it there. This is why we did Obamacare. Because the number of
uninsured people in this country continue to go up and no one had any
answers. We had a runaway system with the insurance industry. Who was
going to reel them in? This guy named Barack Obama, you know.
That was back in 2007 and then `08. And then we got it done, and look
where we are today. This is a story that the Republicans will never own.
But Republicans won`t admit they`re wrong. Instead they`re trying to shift
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need to get the latest news on Benghazi this
morning, an issue that you have been very involved in.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: This was a terrible tragedy and really was
dependent on a lot of decisions that Hillary Clinton made in the six months
leading up to this.
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: There was a
pretty serious incident going on in Benghazi.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The entire Benghazi fiasco.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: Did
they actually go to the sound of the guns? Did they actually go into
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we`ve done a lot of stories on Benghazi, but
this is the one you`ve really got to pay attention to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: The eight previous committees that were put together were, I
guess, totally incompetent fools, shouldn`t be on the payroll. Why did
they even do it? Show me the new information here. Republicans still say
they want to repeal the health care law completely, but they don`t have the
support. And if they get both chambers of the house, you know what they`re
going to do with it. That`s why this midterm is so terribly important.
Republicans, you know what they did? They called a hearing. This is
comical. They called a hearing with health insurance executives, from the
health insurance industry. Look at them all lined up right there ready to
testify. And of course, the Republican goal was to embarrass the White
House with stories about double-digit premium increases and claims about
enrollees not paying their health insurance premiums. That back fired. It
The suits that showed up from the insurance industry, they were saying some
pretty good stuff. Instead the insurance leaders, they just very calmly
claimed and understood and explained that the premiums for the next year
were still being calculated.
They also said that more than 80 percent of enrollees into the program have
in fact sent in their first month`s check. And Republicans are grasping at
straws. They have tried to shift the focus to Benghazi. And now they`re
thinking everybody in the country will get Benghazi fever.
Republicans announced that the -- they`re going to form this special select
committee. This is a special select committee. Now, the other eight
weren`t special. This one, I tell you this is a dandy, this one`s special.
And they`re going to investigate what happened on September 11th, 2012, in
Benghazi, as if we don`t know. This is the ninth special committee formed.
Conservatives, you know, they sound like a broken record. They think by
beating this Benghazi drum, this issue into the ground, that the American
people will be totally dis-focus, forget about what`s going on with
Obamacare and how it is working and they have had nothing to do with it.
Hopefully, the economy will go bad. But it`s all in the numbers.
Nexus did a search of the terms Obamacare and Benghazi on FOX News between
April 28th and May 8th. The conservative cable news network run by the
Republicans referenced the health care law only 184 times. FOX mentioned
Benghazi over 1100 times.
Now, you tell me. Like that guy says on the commercial, "what`s in your
wallet?" You tell me, what`s on your TV screen? What are they talking
about? What are they doing? They`re changing the subject. The game of
distraction, it will not work in the midterms if we continue to focus on
what has worked for this country. The affordable health care act should
motivate voter turnout. This creates, I think, a great opportunity for the
Democrats. You won! You`re winning! You`re rolling! And this is what
I`ve been saying all along, to go out there and get after it and run on
Obamacare. Do it! I`ve said it for a long time, run on Obamacare.
Well, Democratic senator from North Carolina, Kay Hagan, is facing a pretty
tough reelection fight. She`s got no problem talking about Obamacare no
matter where she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAY HAGAN (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Last year in North Carolina our state
legislature and governor decided against expanding the state`s Medicaid
program and as a result about 500,000 people who would have qualified for
coverage through Medicaid are now not able to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: That`s not that many people. The numbers are very clear. All
Democrats across the board should run on Obamacare in the midterms and stop
the fix-it talk, OK? Stop the fix-it talk. That`s an admission that
something is really, really wrong here. No. No. Change is difficult.
This is monumental. You can`t hide the facts. Obamacare is working all
over this country.
Data from the nonpartisan Kaiser family foundation shows that Vermont,
California and Rhode Island have enrolled the highest percentages of their
residents in the country. Why? Because they believe in it.
A high enrollment state that might surprise you, Idaho. You know Idaho.
Real conservative state out there. In fact President Obama lost Idaho by
32 points in 2012. But doggone it, they like this health care thing.
Idaho officials, what they had hoped to do was, enroll 40,000 people.
Well, they topped it out at 76,000 people through the state exchange.
And of course success in Kentucky with their connect program is very well
documented. Democrats need to highlight the advantages of Medicaid
expansion and point out millions of low income Americans are going without
health care coverage because of GOP resistance in some states. Researchers
at Harvard and city University of New York estimate that in 24 states who
rejected Medicaid expansion which 7,000 and 17,000 people may die due to
lack of care.
Now, I don`t know who taught you math, but in my world, 17,000 people,
that`s no small number. Now, what are the conservatives doing? Not to say
that what happened at Benghazi and the death of Americans on foreign soil
isn`t important, but conservatives now in hearing number nine, they are
obsessing over the incident in Benghazi where four Americans lost their
lives. We know what happened. But Republicans are ignoring thousands of
Americans who are putting lives at risk by not having the opportunity to
enroll in something in Medicaid because some ideological pushback in
certain states is hurting these folks.
They`re on the wrong side of history. That should be the rally cry for
Democrats. We`re on the right side of history. We`ve done things that
they said we couldn`t do. We affected people`s lives. We have saved
people`s lives with the health care law that all they have tried to do is
I can`t think of another issue as strong as health care for the Democrats
to run on as this one. There`s nothing better. The numbers are fantastic.
And ask your opponents, why are you against saving lives? Isn`t that the
question? We just don`t want to save them this way.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, are Republicans using Benghazi to distract from Obamacare`s
success? Text A for yes, text B for no to 67622. Leave a comment on our
blog @ed.MSNBC.com. We`ll bring you results of the poll later on in this
Tonight I want to bring in Dr. David Himmelstein. He is the public health
professor at the City University of New York and also with us tonight, E.J.
Dionne, "Washington Post" columnist and MSNBC contributor.
Doctor, great to have you with us tonight. We`ll start with you. What is
your reaction to the response that Obamacare is getting across the country?
Did you anticipate where we were in October that we would be where we are
as a country right now here in May?
DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN, PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSOR, CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW
YORK: I think we`ve had more people sign up than we`d expected. And
frankly, we`ve been very disappointed that states are refusing to expand
Medicaid that the Republicans are blocking a Medicaid expansion that the
federal government would pay 100 percent of and denying 7.7 million
Americans the coverage they need.
SCHULTZ: In your survey, how accurate is it, how accurate is your research
that this many people could possibly lose their lives because of not being
access to this program?
HIMMELSTEIN: Well, we use the latest and best Medical research on how much
lack of insurance leads to problems, and the estimate is that about one
person in every 2,000 will die each year because they don`t have health
care coverage. And what that says is that the 7.7 million people who are
being uninsured because the Republicans aren`t expanding Medicaid, that
means 7,000 -- as many as 17,000 deaths, we`re pretty confident in those
numbers. The low side frankly is based on a study that my group published
about ten years back in the "American journal of public health." We`re
pretty liberal, but a more conservative group said we were too conservative
in that, that 7,000 numbers is too low, that the 17,000 numbers is closer
to the truth.
SCHULTZ: E.J. Dionne, you just heard the doctor. He says those numbers
are rock solid. How can Democrats not get a political advantage on this
and say that we`re on the right side of history?
E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I have agreed with you
on this for a long time, Ed, because I thought the notion that you would
vote for something designed to cover a lot of Americans who are uncovered
and then somehow try to back away with it never made any sense on any
level. And now I think the Republicans are in a box and I think you`re
exactly right. You only need one word to explain that they know they have
taken a whipping on this and the word is Benghazi. They`d still be on
Obamacare if the thing weren`t working.
Right now if you repeal this, you deprive 14 to 15 million Americans of
health insurance, and that`s just not a good position to have. And I think
you`re seeing in states that have turned down the expansion the possibility
of this that becomes a big issue in the election.
Mary Landrieu down in Louisiana is using it against Governor Jindal, who`s
unpopular. Kay Hagan has a chance to use it against Thom Tillis, her
opponent, the speaker of the house, who has helped block the Medicaid
expansion. This is good for people. It`s also good for hospitals. Since
when did people say to the federal government we`re offering it to you, you
don`t have to pay anything, but then they turn around and turn it down?
It`s purely ideological. And most Americans are not just that ideological.
SCHULTZ: Doctor, is there any way that Obamacare could be repealed? I
mean, and I`m not looking at it from a political standpoint. I`m looking
at it, has the system gone so far and been implemented and affected so many
people it would be almost impossible to reverse it?
HIMMELSTEIN: I think it would be awfully hard to reverse and I think
there`s an appetite to go much further. Something that I support and
19,000 of my colleagues support, I think we need a Medicare for all kind of
system which would be even more efficient, better coverage and do better
for our nation than what we`ve got. But it`s going to be awfully hard to
go backwards from here.
SCHULTZ: OK. And E.J., this house hearing that took place this week where
the insurance executives came in, I mean isn`t this kind of the icing on
the cake and a total miscalculation by the Republicans to illustrate how
far off the mark they are? I mean, they thought they were going to get
some negative stories on the affordable care act and even their allies,
that these insurance companies, these executives, they are Republican
allies and they just couldn`t serve up anything but the truth. What do you
make of it?
DIONNE: They did not look very happy, the Republicans. And, you know, I
thought this was quite surprising. I thought that members of Congress did
a little research before they had these hearings. They had to know that
that survey they put out asking, well, whether people had paid their
premiums, they knew it was totally flawed because they were asking people
who hadn`t even basically been billed yet.
So I think it was inevitable that if you had this hearing and the insurance
companies told the truth, you would get a story something like this. And I
think that that is yet another reason why they have gone back to Benghazi
land. Because they know this issue is running out of steam.
By the way, on Benghazi, I thought Nancy Pelosi did a smart thing and said,
look, if you want to do this, give Democrats an equal right to call
witnesses. If you want this to be seen as a fair investigation, set it up
as a fair investigation. And I think that puts them on the spot. Because
otherwise they have going to look like they are running a totally partisan
SCHULTZ: Well, what did the other eight committees do? I mean, were they
just totally incompetent? I mean, is there really a bunch of new
information on the table that`s going to lead us -- this is all about
Hillary Clinton and taking her down, isn`t it?
DIONNE: I agree. It`s about that. And it is about wanting to rev up
another issue to turn out their base. They had one new e-mail from the
White House basically reiterating what the White House believed and wanted
Susan Rice to say. There was nothing fundamentally new there. And they
have used that as an excuse to reopen this. This is an investigation of
talking points. This is not an investigation of why Americans died in
SCHULTZ: Dr. David Himmelstein and also E.J. Dionne, great to have both of
you, gentlemen, with us tonight. Have a great weekend. Thanks for joining
us on "the Ed Show." Appreciate it.
Remember to answer tonight`s question at the bottom of the screen, share
your thoughts with us on twitter @edshow. We like that. Appreciate the
like on facebook as well. We always want to know what you think.
Coming up, conservatives are on a mission to turn schools into for-profit
businesses. Rapid response panel weighs in on that, on the dangers of
But first, big spenders, Charlie and David Koch, will they lay out the big
budget plans for 2014? They are a lot way from being done. Trenders is
next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: What`s hot, what`s not? Time now for the Trenders on social
media. Check us out. Follow us on twitter @edshow and, of course, my
radio show Sirius XM channel 127, the progress show on Monday through
Friday noon to 3:00 p.m. back out it on Monday. Thank you, Mike Rogers,
for doing today`s show.
"The Ed Show" social media nation has decided and we are reporting. Here
are today`s top Trenders voted on by you.
OBAMA: Give America a raise.
SCHULTZ: The number three Trender, parting words.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: As I know, I part company
with many of the conservatives on the issue of the minimum wage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boehner has long opposed such a measure.
BOEHNER: I think we ought to raise it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why am I even listening to you to begin with?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt joins the chorus to support a minimum wage
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans should support a reasonable increase in
the minimum wage.
RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is one I don`t get.
Let`s not make this argument that, you know, we`re for the blue collar guy
but against any minimum wage increase ever.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know what I`m saying?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a minimum wage. It should be reasonably
adjusted from time to time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said it again!
SCHULTZ: The number two trender. Draft drama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a long wait tonight for Johnny Manziel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m waiting!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Johnny Football dropped to 22 in the NFL Draft.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the 22nd pick, the Cleveland Browns select Johnny
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels right and it feels like where I`m meant to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Johnny football, baby! Johnny football.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to pour my heart out for the team and for the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re going to be a star.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dog pound, here we come.
SCHULTZ: And today`s top trender, Koch money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republican Party isn`t kicking its Koch habit
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: Many Republicans senators these
days might as lee ware Koch industry insignias.
SCHULTZ: They will elect candidates who will cater to their every request.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Politico" reports on the Koch brothers election
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Americans for Prosperity, the super PAC funded by the
brothers is planning on a $125 million political spending spree this
SCHULTZ: Billionaires like the Koch brothers have been given free rein to
buy congressional seats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s more money than all the democratic committees
themselves are spending.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Citizens United has changed the landscape and the people do not
come out and vote and take on the Koch brothers and the puppets that they
control, this country is going to be in very serious trouble.
Joining me tonight, Sarah Slamen, field director for the Fort Bend county
Democratic Party in Texas.
Sarah, you are the perfect interview on this story because I think people
in your demographic sometimes might get a little politically discouraged
when they see all this money floating out there and you wonder, gosh, going
door to door, making the phone calls, is it really going to have an impact.
I want your take tonight, thanks for joining us, Sara. I want your take
tonight. What does this money mean to your demographic when you see and
hear this kind of stuff? What are young people talking about?
SARAH SLAMEN, FIELD DIRECTOR, FORT BEND COUNTY: Hi, Ed. You know it is --
it can be scary. I think one important thing to keep in mind is, is that
these same greedy brothers, Charles and David Koch, they spent almost half
a billion dollars. They spent $400 million in the last presidential
election and their guy lost. So while the number is big and scary, we need
to focus on the real number that matters, which is human resources.
You know, in this latest report that the Koch brothers released talking
about their renewed to $125 million field effort, they were able to point
out organizing for America, you know, the president`s association had 770
people alone organizing in Florida while they had 300 people nationwide.
You can`t really buy our hearts and minds. You can put bad Obamacare ads
on TV full of lies and that`s dangerous as the misinformation, but they
can`t really buy the people power that they need to really dominate this
SCHULTZ: How do you think people are reacting to the news that are out
there? I mean, when you`re out doing boots on the ground and you`re
interacting with Americans that you want to motivate to vote. And like for
instance, Americans for Prosperity has already spent something like $35
million in this election cycle alone. And sources telling "Politico" that
they`re going to spend $125 million and that might be a conservative
estimate. I mean it just seems to me like the Koch brothers are flat-out
trying to buy the midterms.
SLAMEN: Absolutely. I would say to the people of North Carolina and
Louisiana and Arkansas huddle together. Get together right now. Walk into
your union offices, walk into your Democratic Party headquarters and say
what can I do, put me to work?. Because we have to stick together, just
like you did in 2012.
Our wages aren`t, you know, being raised. Our employment hasn`t been
restored to full-time employment. We`re depending on temporary and part-
time work. When I`m out there talking to the people on the ground, they`re
talking about things that matter, like losing their Medicaid, like losing
their snap benefits, like not having an increase in their pay in the last
These are the things that people really care about. These scare tactics
like Benghazi and trying to make up things about Obamacare, people aren`t
concerned about these. This scare concerned with the day-to-day of getting
by and trying to make up things about Obamacare.
People aren`t conservative. They concern with the day to day of getting
by. So those people in those states being targeted, North Carolina,
Louisiana, Arkansas, start talking with your neighbors. Do the hard work
of engaging people to come out with you and say we`re not here for your
Koch brothers misinformation. We`re here to be able to afford the
groceries that we need, to afford the property taxes that we have to pay to
live in our communities and have good schools for our kids. These are the
issues that matter to regular people. Like I said, they can`t buy that
SCHULTZ: I want to hear it from a worker on the ground in Texas, Sarah.
Give us a Wendy Davis update. What`s going to happen there? What`s the
landscape look like right now?
SLAMEN You know, the landscape is looking how it looks for the last few
months. You know, Wendy Davis has questions about a lot of things. She
has questions about who Greg Abbott associates with. She has questions
about the secret scandal that Greg Abbott was supposed to investigate his
own oversight on.
And again and again we see that attorney General Abbott doesn`t have
answers for Wendy Davis, he just hides. He hides behind surrogates, behind
PACS like red state women which insult the intelligence in affecting women.
So we see a candidate that`s trying to engage statewide leadership like
Greg Abbott in the issue. And he`s nowhere to be found. He just keeps
hiding from Wendy Davis.
So we expect that to continue but it`s not going to stop us and the
Democratic Party from defining the issues that working Texans care about.
SCHULTZ: All right. Sarah Slamen, great to have you with us tonight and a
very refreshing voice in the battle on the ground. Thanks so much for
joining us. We`ll come back to you again.
Still ahead, why privatizing education is a bad deal for both students and
you taxpayers. Rapid response panel weighs in.
And later, what moms really need this mother`s day. Sandra Fluke joins me
But next, I`m taking your questions. Ask ahead live, just ahead "the Ed
Show" on MSNBC.
We are right back.
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome back to "the Ed Show."
Love the questions, love hearing from reviewers, appreciate you
participating in our "Ask Ed Live" segment.
Our first question tonight is from Mike. He wants to know do you believe
Mitt Romney really wants to raise the minimum wage.
That would be a big capital N-O. How come Mitt Romney never talked about
raising the minimum wage when he wanted to be the chief executive officer
of this country and the leader of the free world. He`s never cared about
workers. Just remember, we went at Freeport, Illinois, where he shipped
jobs overseas. And now all of a sudden he`s trying to tell the American
people that he`s for the minimum wage?
Notice how Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney all of a sudden,
they`re all for the minimum wage. Interesting. None of these guys are
running for office, none of these guys are voting, OK. None of these guys
are being held accountable by the party whip to say we don`t help workers.
It`s very popular for them to run out there on talk shows and say, yes, I
think they should raise the minimum wage.
Yes, right. Put them in a position of authority and they`d say no in a
Our next question is from Delia. What are your summer vacation plans?
What, are you trying to get rid of me?
Come on, I love doing this show. I don`t know anything about vacations.
Just kidding. I`ve got three weeks this summer, and guess what, I`m going
to take all of them!
Stick around, the rapid response panel is next.
SUE HERRERA, CNBC NEWS: I`m Sue Herrera with your CNBC market wrap. The
Dow gains 32 points to close at a new record, the S&P up two, the Nasdaq
Gap shares rose after April sales rose nine percent and earnings would be
better than expected. Apple is said to be in talks to buy the headphone
maker beats for more than $3 billion.
And the postal service says it lost $1.9 billion in the first quarter. It
also issued another plea to Congress to pass financial reforms.
And that`s it from CNBC, we are first in business worldwide.
We`re back after a quick break.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to "the Ed Show." Thanks for watching tonight. You
know, with Benghazi fever just filling the headlines and air waves across
America, you know, the headlines, you know all about Benghazi, right? Wait
a minute, it`s national charter schools week, and it`s gone virtually
But be aware, John Boehner pushed the charter school agenda one step
further this week. We don`t have money for unemployed people or anything
else or higher education, but the speaker is supporting legislation which
would pour even more funding into the exclusionary program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The waiting list for
getting into charter schools has about a million names on it and I`m not
surprised at all. Charter schools work. They`re succeeding at a time
when, let`s face it, many traditional schools are struggling. In our area,
we currently have more than half a dozen charter schools. There could be a
whole lot more if the education establishment would just get out of our
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Charter schools work. You mean, Mr. Speaker, they all work? But
you only cite just a few in your neighborhood?
Boehner is the perfect spokesman for charter schools. Public education
surge is struggling, no question about it. Thanks to the Republican
mission to stamp out all of its resources. No federal funding. That`s
what their world is all about.
It`s billed as an opportunity for a premiere education. The program, I
think, is a wolf in sheep`s clothing. Charter schools are an effort to
kill teachers unions and shortcut funding for public education.
Now a new report is out published by the center for popular democracy and
integrity in education, highlights rampant abuse in the charter school
system. That would be rampant abuse in the charter school system. We all
on the same page now?
How about over $100 million of taxpayer money has been lost to waste and
fraud in not one, but 15 states alone. Charter schools are a business with
one bottom line, it`s the money.
We`re not talking about educating children unless we mean all of our
children, right? Charter schools can pick and choose their students,
leaving other children by the wayside. The documented fraud found in this
study underscores the institutional failure. This isn`t about Republicans
and Democrats, this is about children in America. Not some, all of them.
The stakes are too high.
But here we have a Congress that wants to fork more money into a system
that they claim is perfect, but it`s ridden with fraud.
Joining me tonight, our rapid response panel, Ruth Conniff, editor of the
"Progressive" magazine and also Florida state senator Dwight Bullard.
Great to have both of you with us tonight.
Ruth, you first. This fraud that was found in 15 states, is this a
surprise to you?
RUTH CONNIFF, EDITOR, PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE: Well, not really, Ed. I mean,
I think that we`ve seen one report after another talking about how charter
schools, which are not regulated and supervised the same way regular public
schools are find a way to extract money.
And there`s something fundamentally wrong with saying that as Boehner said
competition is the answer. If public schools are underfunded and there
really is a direct link between both the poverty of their student
populations and the underfunding of the schools and their performance on
standardized tests, that their answer is to bring in a business that looks
at these forecasts and says how can I make money off this situation.
And so, here you see the most extreme examples. You see even in the
nonprofit charter world you see people paying the heads of these
organizations as more than the president of the United States. And then
they`re running off with public funds to do things like going on a shopping
But even short of that, there`s something wrong with trying to serve poor
kids with a cheaper product that allows you to extract money to take home,
instead of pouring more resources into those schools and those kids.
SCHULTZ: State senator Bullard, why are some Democrats lending their
support to this new legislation in Congress which, of course, funnels more
money into charter school systems that have got fraud in 15 states? What`s
your reaction to that and how is it playing out in Florida?
STATE SEN. DWIGHT BULLARD (D), FLORIDA: Well, I can tell you, Ed, that
it`s no surprise to me to see Democrats sort of jumping on board with this
notion. These private charter school management companies have been
running rampant here in Florida for some time and have shown their
influence financially in both campaigns and other ways in influencing the
What we find here in Florida, however, is that we`re actually on the
precipice of a federal investigation into these charter school management
companies. Not only for misappropriation of funds, but for practices that
are uncharacteristic of a truly regulated industry.
SCHULTZ: I mean is there public pushback on this? And then here you have
John Boehner saying, yes, we`ve got to throw more money at it. What about
BULLARD: Well, I mean the reality is there needs to be a better level of
oversight both at the federal level and here at the state level in terms of
what these companies do. When we think about Florida, for instance, where
charter schools have been in existence since 1996, we`ve seen time and time
again a disproportionate failure rate among charter schools versus their
public school counterparts. And so, of course, the push is well, let`s
create apples to apples comparisons.
There`s reluctance on the part of the management companies to say, all
right, we want to be compared the same way as our public school
counterparts, but in most regards they`re getting additional streams of
funding outside of private resources from the public sector that are
helping to get supplies, get iPads, get you name it. But then taxing the
public school for things like IEPs or use of their sports facilities. So
it`s definitely not fair. We`ve seen time and time again that these
management companies and these charter schools seem to not work in the best
interests of the students.
And, Ruth, there`s no doubt, whenever there`s a chance for a dollar to be
made, somebody is going to get the shortened of the change. And this is
not an equal playing field for every kid in America. I mean, charter
schools aren`t for everybody. And when you start taking resources away,
where is this going? Because they`re pushing a hard conservative agenda.
Where is this going, Ruth?
CONNIFF: Well, I think it`s -- what`s happening is in the states there are
different pieces of legislation. Here in Wisconsin there`s a proposed
piece of legislation we expect to see come up again next term that would
label public schools as failing. It would insist that five percent of our
state schools be labeled as failing and it would move charter operators in
to take over those schools.
Never mind that the biggest national study by Stanford of these charter
schools is that they perform more poorly or 17 percent, a little bit better
than the public schools. Seventeen percent, that`s a great minority better
than the public schools.
So they`re not doing better but they`re getting this opportunity to move
in, take over public schools. And then while the public schools are
labeled failing if they get Fs on an overall assessment of their tests for
two years in a row, the charter schools get a pass. They get eight years
and can get as many as Fs as they want.
So it`s bringing these business interests in, giving them a totally
different set of standards, low accountability and they are looking for a
way to make money. And it just fundamentally is a move away from
democracy, away from the idea of public good that public education serves
and, you know, siphoning public funds into the pockets of these few
individuals. So it`s not a big surprise that you see people taking
advantage of them.
SCHULTZ: And, Senator Bullard, is this going to be a big issue in the
governor`s race down in Florida? I know Charlie Crist is a big public
school advocate. He`s got the teachers union big-time behind him. How`s
it play out?
BULLARD: Well, it`s definitely going to be up for discussion. I mean, we
have a governor who over the last four years has fast tracked more school
reform or privatization efforts both within schools, within the correction
system than any other governor we`ve had in the past. And so, it is going
to be a central issue in the governor`s race and one that Governor Scott is
going to have to answer for when he`s running for office or running for
SCHULTZ: It just seems to me that all of these charter schools, where
they`re flourishing is where you`re going to find a conservative state
legislature and a conservative governor who just can`t get enough of this
stuff because I think the root of it obviously is to make a dollar, but the
other part of the equation is to get rid of the teachers unions, which of
course is very effective in every state in the union when it comes to
getting things legislatively done.
State senator Dwight Bullard and also Ruth Conniff, great to have both of
you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
Coming up, Cliven Bundy`s school of history, pretenders is next. Stick
around. Here`s a lesson for you.
SCHULTZ: And in pretenders tonight, history buff, Cliven Bundy. You know
the rancher wants to teach you a few lessons about the very government he
won`t even recognize. Bundy is milking the last few minutes of his hate-
fueled fame like it`s a free grazing cow on federal land. Cliven Bundy
released a series of history lessons going back to the mayflower.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLIVEN BUNDY, NEVADA RANCHER: Back then, transportation was in a sailboat
that they figured wasn`t very far out there. The ocean was flat and would
fall off. That was how much education and how much we knew about the
ocean. They had a central they had central government, Europe was the
strongest army in the world and they ruled with an unlimited power. Our
government has become just sort of opposite of what our founding fathers
wanted it to be. They created three branches of government. Executive and
our legislature and judicial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: America`s a judicial system, as he calls it. Well, isn`t the
only thing we have going for it. Bundy says the constitution is the key to
the global prosperity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUNDY: I can say all of our government problems could be solved just by
falling the constitution of the United States. It`s that greater document.
And not only that, all of the problems of this world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I would tell Bundy not to quit his day job. But he`s even a
Cliven Bundy can try to teach, but if he believes he`s anything but the
class clown, he can keep on pretending.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN DURANT, NBA MVP: We weren`t supposed to be here. You made us
believe. You kept us off the street, put clothes on our backs, food on the
table. When you didn`t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep
hungry. You sacrificed for us. You`re the real MVP.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to "the Ed Show." This is the story for the folks
who take a shower after work. This is your "Ed Show" reminder. Make plans
for mother`s day this Sunday. And you may have to step up your game a
little bit because NBA star Kevin Durant raised the bar by turning his MVP
acceptance speech into a touching tribute to his mother Wanda Pratt.
Now this Sunday, we celebrate the MVP moms all across America. Out there,
we want to thank them for all the sacrifices they make. Like giving up
sleep to giving up food on their plate. But there are certain things these
women should not have to sacrifice. Like their right to equal pay for
To honor these women, we need to keep fighting for paycheck fairness in
this country. We need to raise the federal minimum wage. We need to fight
the right wing policies putting women`s reproductive rights under attack.
This mother`s day, let`s focus on supporting the policies which will give
the women in America, and in our lives, the same opportunities to succeed.
Joining me tonight, Sandra Fluke, she is an attorney and candidate for
state Senate in California`s 26th district.
Sandra, it is so good to have you back with us tonight. You wrote a great
op-ed. What moms really need this mother`s day which our viewers can find
at ed.MSNBC.com. Tell us about that. What do moms really want this
SANDRA FLUKE (D), CALIFORNIA STATE SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, of course, I
think every mom -- I know my mom always appreciates hearing a thank you and
those kinds of touching tributes. But we have to make sure we`re going
beyond that, building upon it and putting in place the kinds of policies
that moms need to succeed and take care of their families as well.
So for starters, new moms, expectant moms need to be able to have
accommodations in the work place while they`re pregnant. The kind that are
required for their health. And this is right now not legally guaranteed.
So while someone with some type of disability medically would have those
accommodations, a pregnant worker might not be allowed to carry a bottle of
water or sit down to do their job. And so, there`s legislation pending at
the federal level, the pregnant workers fairness act which would fix that,
and that`s just the beginning.
SCHULTZ: Mother`s day is so special, it`s a great tradition in America.
Yet, we`ve never really focused on talking about the inequality when it
comes to pay and women`s rights on this particular day. Is this something
that you think should change?
FLUKE: I do think it should change. Because we do talk a lot about pay
discrimination and the pay gap and it`s important that we take on that type
of discrimination. That`s why as a state senator, I`ve promised to call
for an audit of our government employees here in California to make sure
we`re not discriminating against women on the state`s payroll.
But we need to understand a lot of that pay gap is also about mothers
specifically. Because they`re stepping out of the work force to be able to
take care of children. And that doesn`t have to be the way it is. If they
want to be able to stay and pursue their careers, we should be providing
them with early childhood education opportunities and child care
opportunities that are affordable and allow them to stay on their career
They also need to have access to paid family leave and sick leave. Because
women and moms, disproportionately, are still the caretakers in their
families. And when we don`t have those policies aren`t in place, it hits
women the hardest.
SCHULTZ: Do you think Kevin Durant, high profile player NBA, MVP of the
league, how much did he help the cause for women and for moms across the
America for what he did the other day?
FLUKE: Well, I think it`s always really important to have everyone
highlights how hard moms work and how much they do for us. But we have to
have our legislators and our candidates talking about that as well. And it
comes down to even things like making sure that moms know that their kids
are safe when they go to college.
Right now across the country, there`s increased attention and an outcry
about something that`s been going on for a long time and that I`ve been
working on personally for many years, which the crisis of sexual assault on
our college campuses.
Currently, it`s actually safer for a parent -- they know it`s safer to not
send their daughter to college. Can you imagine what that`s like as a mom
to think about -- I want my daughter to pursue her dreams and her career
and her education, but knowing sending her to college increases her risk
for sexual assault. We can do so much better. And the students and moms
of America deserve a lot better.
SCHULTZ: Sandra Fluke, it is great to have you with us. You have a great
mother`s day. And I`m sure you have a fabulous mother to celebrate that
day with. Thanks so much. Appreciate you being on "the Ed Show" tonight.
FLUKE: I absolutely do.
That`s "the ED Show." I`m Ed Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al
Sharpton starts right now.
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