Show: THE ED SHOW
Date: December 18, 2014
Guest: Bernie Sanders, Tony Cardenas, John Fugelsang, Mikey Kay, Byron
Dorgan, Esteban Bovo, Terence Moore, Corey Hebert
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST: Good to have you with us tonight folks. Thanks
for watching thanks for watching.
It has been a theme in this country in recent years, the middle class. A
big concern that the middle class is losing its purchasing power in
America, that it`s changing that it`s different. You could go back to the
conversation of two Americans. And the Democrats and the liberals and the
progressive movement of this country had made it really the focal point of
every election that they are the fighters for the middle class. That you
can count on them to be there when it comes to the middle class.
For the most past I would say yes to that. What did this President do?
This is a story tonight that hasn`t gotten much focus. OK, we got a bunch
of deal, all right, nobody going to shutdown the government, that`s good.
On Tuesday the President of the United States signed the new $1.1 trillion
spending bill in the law. And tonight I`m going to tell you why this bill
is a failure for what everybody`s advocating for, the middle class.
Retired Americans are taking it in the shorts. Until Tuesday, until
Tuesday it was illegal for employers to cut pension. Benefits for those
already retired, they couldn`t do it, they could not do it. Now, under the
law people covered under multiemployer pension plans can see reduced
benefits if their plans are in bad financial shape.
Now, what does that mean bad financial shape, how bad? Show me some
number, show me all of these pension plans, lay it out there for the
American people exactly how these pension plans are just falling apart and
this is what we have to do. That was not explained to the American people
at all. This was a budget deal and it was decided that all the retirees
can take the hit.
Multiemployer pensions cover retirees from more than one employer in
related industries like trucking, construction, service industry stuff.
Most of these plans were established under collective bargaining agreements
with unions. And let me point it out, the unions have not been on the same
page with all of these. There`s different faction on this on how this
problem should be handled. These plans are backed up by the federal
pension safety net which is known as the PGBC, which is Pension Guarantee
So if a pension plan fails, don`t worry you got the PBGC to bail you out.
Now according to AARP, the Associated of Retired People, there are roughly
1,400 multiemployer plans covering about 10 million people in this country.
Now, 150 to 200 and it`s not precise either, 150 to 200 or these plans are
facing financial difficulty. But nobody explained what kind of financial
difficulty. It`s estimated that 10 percent of these plans could become
insolvent within the next 10 to 20 years. They ought to be able to deal
that in but they don`t either, so we`ll use the 10 year mark at 10 percent.
This means that 1.5 million Americans could see reduced benefits, hold it
right there. You mean somebody from the middle class might have gone out
and voted for somebody and advocated for somebody yet they`re going to lose
their pension? Oh it`s only 1.5 million people. Here`s the bottom line,
it sets the table there could be heck of a lot more. It`s still up to
individual pension fund to decide if and how much a benefit should be cut
which is dangerous, it depends on who`s in power.
Plain and simple, cut to chase. This deal is bad for retirees. This
unfair deal was done secretly behind closed doors. One guy caught it,
numerous senators caught it, but I though this comment from New Jersey
Senator Cory Booker sums it up pretty good.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D) NEW JERSEY: There are rules on pensions that will
slash benefit for thousand retirees. Make no mistake we need to address
the state of multiemployer pension plans. And we need to discuss the tough
choices that have to made, but this is not the way do it. Not business as
usual with no discussion and no debate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: See now, there were three possible solutions to all of these.
First, you could cut the benefits to the workers to the retirees which is
exactly what they`re going to do. Second, you increase the contributions
which could have been part of the solution, but of course then you`ve got
workers having to pay more. And third, the federal government could
bailout any pension that is at risk, bailout I like that.
I say bailout because these people have worked hard their entire life, they
though at the end of their career that their would, Oh gosh I got $2,700 a
month coming honey we`re going to be not too bad but wait a minute now
that`s getting cut to maybe 1,600 or 1,500 or 1,400 a month.
Back in 2008 the federal government gave $700 billion, a flat out gift to
Wall Street because our financial system was going to collapse and they
just had to do it. Wall Street what they do? We all know. They engage in
risky unethical practices that crashed the American economy.
Now, we`re at a point where honest, hard-working retirees need a bailout
and the federal government in Washington has done it almost in the darkness
of night. Those who say they`re for the middle class have let this go
through and the government have said, no we`re not going to bailout these
retirees or should I say make the funds solvent.
The government`s solution is to cut their hard-earned retirement. It is
wrong, it is morally wrong and for Democrats to not be screaming in front
of the White House, to allow to this happen, this bill to be signed I think
is a serious mistake and it sends a flood message to those who have been
supported in dream that they were actually working for somebody, voting for
somebody who is going to try to stick up for them.
Meanwhile as we had reported that this deal actually give Wall Street a
really big gift a real opening here, it kills a key provision of Dodd-Frank
that separates risky derivatives trades from FDIC insured accounts.
What they are doing is privatizing profit and they are socializing the
risk, that`s Wall Street deal. What`s the deal for the workers? You got
to take a cut. Basically, this spending bill is great for Wall Street,
it`s horrible for the middle class and I think the President of the United
States punted (ph) on this big time.
Now tomorrow the President is going to hold his final press conference of
the year. I`m not going to be there but if I was I would ask the
President, Mr. President you advocated for the middle class, we could
pullout hordes of tape of you talking about the middle class in this
country. Why did you take a deal, why did you advocate for a deal that
would cut the benefits for retirees who come from the middle class? Why
did they have to suck it up? What about that Mr. President? I`d like an
explanation because it flies in the face of everything the President talked
about on the campaign trail.
Now President should have fought for these retirees but instead he turns
them into trade bait on a budget deal. He should have fought for the
middle class in this instance and, where is this guy that was on the
campaign trail in 2012.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This is not just a choice between two candidates or two parties
it`s a choice between two different visions of America. It`s a choice
between a return to the topdown economic policies that crashed our economy
or a vision that says we`ve got to build a strong foundation based on a
strong and growing middle class, an opportunity for everybody not just
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So how does it build a strong retirement if Wall Street gets what
they want with evaporation of Dodd-Frank and retirees across this country
are told, well, your pension is too fat and you`ve got to take a cut?
Nobody on the top took a cut on this. President Obama has done some very
good things for this county in fact he`s got a hell of a month. The
climate change deal with China I`m all about it, the move for immigration
and work permits going out I`m all about it, and diplomatic change with
I mean executive wise he`s on the roll. But when it comes to legislative
negotiation he`s a zero and I mean that. I think it is morally wrong for
this White House to go the Capitol Hill and say this is a good deal, we can
take this deal in fact we want this deal and to have cuts for retirees in
Now, we had a lot of story on this network this year about voter
suppression, about voter I.D. and about the voting rights act. Let me tell
you what really upsets voters. When stuff like this happens, when they
listen to politicians say that they`re for middle class and then they get a
deal like this and they`re told, well, your pensions are going to get cut.
That`s not fighting for anybody and I can guarantee you this is not what
Ted Kennedy endorsed.
Voter turnout, you want to do (ph) voter turnout? Do something for the
middle class. All of these folks who were believers in change, all of
these folks who thought that these politicians were going to fight for this
middle class Americans now have this to look at. Oh, my pension is getting
cut. How`d that work? That will kill voter turnout.
Get your cellphones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question, did Democrats throw retirees under the bus?
Text A for yes, text B for no for 67622, you can go to our blog and leave a
comment at ed.msnbc.com and I`ll bring you results later on in the show.
Now, what was hanging over America through all of these was government
shutdown. I guess you could say we survived the government shutdown it
wasn`t right, nobody died. And I would make the case to you tonight that
if the Democrats had said no this they`re probably would have been a deal,
and these retirees would not have to have taken the shot that they`re going
For more let me bring in Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Senator good to
have you with us tonight. I think this is a tremendous injustice that has
been done, this is a bad deal. But Senator how do we reverse this with the
Republicans coming into power, what are these retirees had to look forward
SEN. BERNIE SANDER, (I) VERMONT: Well Ed, this is a more than a bad deal.
It is a profound moral issue. You know, its one thing to say somebody, you
know, we`re going to cut your wages, you`re not going to get the health
care that you need. It is another thing to say, hey, thank you for working
for the company for 30 or 40 years and for understanding that at the end of
that you`re going to get a certain pension when you retire.
But now that you`re 72 years of age, well guess what? We changed our mind
and we`re going to cut your pension by 30 percent or 50 percent. So this
is not only devastating for the individuals who are going to see cuts in
their pension. But think of what it does in terms of trust. Who you`re
going to believe? You talk about suppression of voter turnout. Who`s
going to believe anything when you work for a company for 40 years based on
certain promises and then the rug is pulled out from underneath you?
So that is certainly one of the major reasons that I voted against that
appropriations bill. I think what we should be clear is that this is a
serious problem, it has to be addressed, it can be addressed. And your
point is spot on. If this country could bailout the crooks on Wall Street
who destroyed the economy surely the federal government can help working
people who are absolutely dependent on these pensions.
We cannot continue a situation where we have austerity for the elderly and
for working families and 95 percent of all new income goes to the top one
percent. So this is an issue, I am a member of that community, I`m going
to stay on this issue, we got to reverse what this bill did.
SCHULTZ: Senator, how do you reverse it? Just, would there be a shared
interest here on the part of tax dollars coming from wealthy Americans or a
benefit cut or an increased premiums or employees involved in these
programs? I mean there`s no easy way out here but to cart blank (ph)
across the board and say, well guess what? Retirees are going to have bare
the brunt here. What about that?
SANDER: You`re right, there is not an easy way out, and I think one of the
reasons that a lot of people are angry is suddenly this bill came to the
floor. We need to seriously discuss the problem of pensions in America.
How we strengthen the pension, trust fund which guarantees pensions and how
we -- what we can do to make sure that these pensions are not cut, there
are ways do it. And one of the ways is -- I think you indicated.
Yes, it maybe the taxpayers that we need government funding in order to
strengthen or some of these multiemployer pension funds. Than maybe what
we have to do and if that`s what we have to do, that`s what we have to do.
But it think as a President, to say that people who are promised benefits
are going to see major cuts in those benefits is horrendous for the
individuals and for what the future will bring.
SCHULTZ: Senator great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your
time. Bernie Sanders from Vermont here on the Ed Show.
Let me bring in Congressman Tony Cardenas of California. Congressman good
to have you with us, your reaction to this pension bill cuts. What would
have been a different avenue?
REP. TONY CARDENAS, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, first of all I`d like to thank
you Ed, that was one of the notes that I had and I was trying to figure out
how to do I explain this. It simple but it`s a little complicated. So, I
was thinking how do I explain this? So thank you so much for explaining
something so obvious in that budget bill that was tucked in to the 12 major
bill that were -- they call it a CRomnibus bill. But anyway, I`m sorry
about that. But thank you Ed.
Bottom line is this did not have to happen. And one thing I can guarantee
you is, had this -- the Democrats not lost the Senate, the negotiation
would have gone completely different and it comes down to something that
you said Ed, unfortunately the voter turnout in this country was low. But
when it comes to Democrats versus Republican, the Democrat decided not to
vote in such low numbers that that`s what we have.
Now we have two houses controlled by Republicans. And understand this
everybody, when you look at who voted for this bill, I didn`t vote for this
budget bill, no way. I wasn`t going to vote for it because of the pension
issue and many others. They cut Pell Grants by $300 million. Every other
modern country in the world is upping the anti (ph) and how much they`re
investing in their young people to get education.
We`re going on the wrong direction with this bill. But the bottom line is
this, we need to make sure that we get out and vote because it can only get
worse if the good people, the people who care about the middle class, the
people who are the middle class. The seniors who are being hurt by this
bill, if they stop voting it`s only going to get worse and the Republicans
is going to increase their numbers.
SCHULTZ: Well, you don`t have to agree with me. But I believe that is a
different form of voter suppression. I mean you listen to these candidates
run around talking about how they`re going to support the middle class and
then in the night -- in the dark of the night they allow something like
this to go through with no debate. And they should expect a certain
portion of Americans to go ahead and take this in their shorts and, oh
everything is going to be OK. No, I mean the Democrats should have said OK
shut the government down. We`re not going to do down this road. Would you
have gone along with that?
CARDENAS: Look, I voted against it whether it was going to pass or not.
So I was ready for that...
CARDENAS: ... consequence as well personally. But at the same time,
certain Democrats calculated that the actual economy going down is not only
going to hurt retirees, its going to hurt everybody, its going to hurt job
growth, its going to hurt the families that are barely making it right now.
So that was some of the calculus and honestly, some of the things that I
heard from some of my Democrats colleagues when we`re on caucus talking
about how we shouldn`t vote this bill.
Yet at the same time all I got to say Ed, is on that note it only get worse
if good people decide not to vote at all. It`s important for people to get
CARDENAS: ... engage, ask your elected officials, don`t compromise on me,
don`t compromise on the things that matter to me, don`t compromise on these
retired seniors. Don`t compromise on us who`re still on the middle class.
SCHULTZ: I have to say I thought President Obama was pretty well vetted on
what his position was in middle class. So, we`re back starting on ground
zero right now on who do we believe on who actually is going to support
folks, Congressman good to have with us tonight. I appreciate your time...
CARDENAS: Thank you very much.
SCHULTZ: ... we`ll you have back. Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of the
screen. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @edshow and on Facebook.
We certainly want to know what you think. Is this fair?
Coming up, a terrorist threat closes down a major motion picture, crazy
isn`t it? Only in America.
And later, how can a Republican Catholics go against the pope on the new
Cuban policy. Rapid Response Panel coming up. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show.
Today, there`s fresh reaction after a threats of a 9/11 style attack on
theaters of -- lead the Sony Pictures to cancel the release of the
controversial film, "The Interview". The movie`s plot involved two
journalists working with the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader, Kim
U.S. officials say they believe North Korea is connected to the recent
hacking at Sony.
NBC`s Jay Gray has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY GRAY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: The film`s Christmas Day release has been
canceled, promotional posters pulled. Still, "The Interview" can`t escape
JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: Sony pulling the release of "The
Interview" is going to ripple effects throughout Hollywood.
GRAY: In ripples, begun on social media. Rob Lowe tweeting, "Wow.
Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them."
Ben Stiller, "Really? Hard to believe this is the response to a threat to
freedom of expression here in America."
ROBERT LISCOUSKI, FRM. ASSISTANT HOMELAND SECURITY: It`s a form of
extortion. And companies deal with extortion all the time and there are
certain ways to deal with extortion and backing down is not necessarily one
of those ways you do that.
GRAY: But Sony Pictures decided the show would not go on after volumes of
data were hacked on company computers and released to the public followed
by threats invoking memories of 9/11 against theaters planning to screen
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is something that`s being
treated as a serious national security matter.
GRAY: Right now, a federal investigation continues.
EARNEST: Is being treated by those investigative agencies both at the FBI
and the Department of Justice as seriously as you would expect.
GRAY: And officials are weighing the consequences for those involved.
SEC. JEH JOHNSON, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: And we`re considering a
range of options. We regard this is a very serious attack.
GRAY: Though at this point, no one is ready to officially say who may be
responsible for the cyber attack.
Jay Gray, NBC News.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: I`m joined tonight by John Fugelsang, Political Commentator and
radio host, also Mikey Kay with us tonight, international affairs
correspondent and former British Senior Official.
My take on this is that I don`t think it`s about national security. I
think it`s about data that`s very personally damaging to a lot of people
and the company said, we got to put a stop to this because the long-term
damage of this is going to be too great. I don`t buy for a moment that
Sony is doing this because they`re afraid that America`s going to get hit.
That`s how I feel about it.
John your thoughts.
JOHN FUGELSANG. POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think you maybe right. I
think a lot of folks at Sony want to lick their wounds for the next few
weeks but what`s really going to happen here I think is that Kim Jong-Un is
just guaranteed everyone in the world will see this movie, cementing his
status as the Fredo Corleone of nepotistic dictators.
When this thing opens, you know, as the biggest February opening in cinema
history, when they finally decide to recoup their losses, it will be seen
by more people than it would have. Had he not -- had this petulant level
clown act. And the great thing about it is we should thank him. He`s
managed to bring Mitt Romney and Barack Obama together. I`ve never seen
America this united. What a swell way to end this cycle of year.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Kay, what about cyber technology and our intelligence? Why
can`t we find out who actually did this?
MIKEY KAY, FMR. BRITISH SR. OFFICER: Well I think we`re going to separate
this in two components -- I think the first component is very much about
the cyber attack and how you deal with. I think it`s Unit 121 which is
this unit that is groomed within North Korea to conduct these attacks.
Either it`s that component and then there`s a component of actually -- a
cyber attack is one thing, committing an actual attack on U.S. sovereign
territory is another. I`m not -- the broader conversations about the lone
wolf and the influence that sort of any ideology or any actions of North
Korea might have will be able to infiltrate into the U.S.
So I think for me is, this is an incredibly poor miscalculation of risk
assessment. Risk is assessed in two ways. It`s a probability versus
consequence and capability versus intent. You then use that risk to
assimilate various threat levels throughout the country. So we look at the
rhetoric that`s coming from ISIS and Syria and there is a generic risk that
is applied to America.
If you then have more intelligence through the FBI or CIA that actually
zones in on a potential threat to either an individual, a group or an
organization that`s when you have to take more serious action and that
would lead potentially to a movie being withdrawn but I just didn`t see any
credible evidences to suggest that`s happened.
SCHULTZ: What`s this mean for future films?
FUGELSANG: Well, I was going to say the exact the same thing. I do think
this means the future films will have to pass a test now. I mean, I have
two movies coming out next year, so I`d like to insult Kim Jong-Un as much
as possible for the publicity.
And I think that ones this film does open and the Sony e-mail hackings are
forgotten it will be hailed as a victory for free speech.
SCHULTZ: So the appropriate reaction Mr. Kay is you think that Sony should
have played -- go on ahead and go on with this release.
KAY: I think Sony should have taken the best advice in the most
appropriate authorities and based it on a risk assessment...
SCHULTZ: Well the White House said that there was no threat. The White
House -- record saying that...
KAY: Which leads to exactly that. What we`ve done is we capitulated to a
threat that has no incredible evidence. Has anyone seen team (ph) America?
FUGELSANG: Exactly. Now we, Sony has. And again, it could be a broad
marketing strategy. They just get away from this right now but I do think
we have to recall about a year ago Kim Jong-Un threatened a preemptive
nuclear strike against America.
And at this point, I don`t think guy can break into a blockbuster video in
Detroit. I think he`s viewed as petulant clown. He`s been a laughing
stock since this happened last year. I think this is only going to really
hurt his dwindling credibility even more.
KAY: And that`s that -- sorry -- that`s the capability versus intent it
(ph). You can have all the metric in the world. You can have exactly what
John has alluded to, but without the capability to carry out that act,
there`s no point in acting upon and that is a key assessment (inaudible).
SCHULTZ: What about some of the key stars coming out from Hollywood
tweeting and saying and taking a position on this?
FUGELSANG: I think they`re exactly right. And, I think it`s really,
really sad that Sony made this choice but let`s not forget -- no disrespect
-- Sony were the ones who raised prices on Whitney Houston music within
hours of her death.
They know how to recoup their losses. They`re not going to take an
insurance on this. This film will be released. It will be the biggest
comedy of 2015.
SCHULTZ: So the White House says that they`re considering the hacking a
very serious attack and of course you heard some of their official say that
they`re considering the range of options. What are the range of options as
you see it, Mike?
KAY: I think they`ve got to go back and they`ve really got to look at the
procedures and protocols through which they assess risk and they act upon
the risk. I mean, there`s a lot coming on around the world and the
geopolitical context at the moment.
And what we`re talking about really is we`re talking about soft power.
We`re talking about the ability to influence through social media and cyber
attacks. (Inaudible) something very difficult and that`s bombs, bullets,
rackets and mortars and we`ve got to separate the two.
If there is no ability to conduct something of credible attack, whether it
be on a movie theater, whether it would be on an individual group or an
organization, then we have to carry on as normal.
SCHULTZ: We do know that blacklist and state of affairs just kind of
couple of more episodes.
FUGELSANG: I know. Well...
SCHULTZ: I mean this is the material that plays in primetime.
FUGELSANG: Honestly, I have to wait and see what Dennis Rodman says about
SCHULTZ: (Inaudible) make up their (inaudible), where`s Dennis Rodman on
this film? He ought to be able (inaudible).
FUGELSANG: (Inaudible) is air dropping him right now at the Kim`s palace.
SCHULTZ: There is -- it`s a very serious story but there is a comical edge
KAY: I`m going to say I saw the thriller. I want to see (inaudible) and I
saw the thriller for this movie and it did not interest me in anyway
whatsoever but having seen all of these rhetoric and having seen so much of
it played out on T.V. in last couple of days, I`m probably (inaudible).
FUGELSANG: (Inaudible) compare to Dr. Strange look now before it even
SCHULTZ: This is free market stuff though, right?
FUGELSANG: Exactly right. And the free market will win over to
SCHULTZ: Mikey Kay and John Fugelsang, great to have both of you gentlemen
with us tonight. Thank you so much.
Republicans are fired up about Cuba, a heated debate in our Rapid Response
And a quarterback with a million dollar arm is going to be riding the pine
in the Windy City, Chicago.
But I don`t think they`re going to get rid of him. I got your questions
next on Ask Ed Live.
Stay with us, we`ll be right back.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. I appreciate all your questions in
our Ask Ed Live Segment tonight. Our first question comes from Anthony.
He wants to know, "How is it possible for Republicans to criticize
President Obama for both high gas prices and low gas prices?"
It doesn`t matter who the President is, its supply and demand and
speculation on Wall Street. Don`t just pick any topic to go after the
Our next question is from Christopher. "Will you go fishing in Cuba now?"
Actually the first thing I`d do would go to dinner. I did go to Havana,
Cuba back in 2003 on an ag. mission with Senator Conrad from North Dakota
and the food was absolutely fabulous and then we`ll go fishing.
Stick around, Rapid Response Panel is next.
JOSH LIPTON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Josh Lipton with your CNBC Market
Stocks staged a stunning rally and spend (ph) inspired buying continues.
The Dow climbs a whooping 421 point. It was the first such gain in three
years. The S&P jumps 48 more than 2 percent and then NASDAQ posting a
triple digit gain of 104.
Oracle shares rising 10 percent helping boost tax (ph) stocks. Second
quarter earnings and sales came in better than expected.
And filling for first time jobless claims fell by 6,000 to 289,000, the
lowest since early November.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show.
Reaction to the President`s policy shift on Cuba has been emotional and
Many Cuban-Americans are at odds on normalizing relations with Cuba. We`ve
learned the only other world leader involved in the talks was Pope Francis.
The first Latin American Pope personally reached out to the President of
the United States and Cuban leader Raul Castro to encourage an open
These new policies may have the blessing of the Vatican but they face
strong resistance from Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: It`s par for the course with an
administration that is constantly giving away unilateral concessions
whether it`s Iran or in this case Cuba in exchange for nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, our adversaries is all around the world will be
saying, two years ago on the Obama administration, now is the time to line
up and get what we want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we get out of it is cheap now vacations in Cuba if
we have normalization relations.
RUBIO: Now all of these tyrants around the world know that the U.S. can be
had, that it`s a pretty easy deal. At a minimum I would say this. Barack
Obama is the worst negotiator that we`ve had as President since at least
Jimmy Carter and maybe in the modern history of this country.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW" HOST: The United States has made
it official. We`re going to use taxpayer dollars to prop up another
communist dictatorship in our hemisphere 90 miles away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this was -- the release was tied to normalization of
relations with Cuba in any way he had performed -- negotiations
discussions, you know, a basic agreement. They are bad signal to our
adversaries around the world that says, mistreat Americans and this
administration will reward you by giving you something you want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: And joining me tonight in our Rapid Response Panel, Byron Dorgan
former North Dakota Senator, and also Esteban Bovo who is the Miami-Dade
County Commissioner. Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight.
Senator, I know that you supported in to this travel ban for years. As you
see it with all the negative comments and the opposition there, what would
be your response to all of that?
FMR. SEN. BYRON DORGAN, (D) NORTH DAKOTA: Well, you know, my response is
at last, at long last we`ve decided to change the policy that hasn`t work
for 50 years. This policy is existed through 11 Presidents. It has caused
misery for millions of Cubans living in poverty. It is restricted the
freedom of the American people to travel where they wish.
And by the way, it`s complete at odds with what we`ve been around the
countries, Communist China, Communist Vietnam. I`ve been to both
countries. You know, the United States have said, with those countries we
want constructive engagement, constructive engagement, trade and travel
will lead them towards greater human rights.
With Cuba we said, no, no, no, that`s not the case at all. This is a just
a thoughtless policy and those people that are stock in the middle of the
last century are objecting to it but good for this President for having the
guts to move this direction.
SCHULTZ: Esteban, your thoughts on this and how is it playing out in your
community in Florida?
ESTEBAN BOVO, MIAMI-DADE COUNTRY COMMISSIONER: Well obviously, the members
of my community feel that profoundly betrayed by this President.
Everything that the Senator has just talked about has been going on in Cuba
and there has been business to Cuba. There has been cash remittance to
Cuba. American businessmen have been traveling to Cuba under the different
guise and licenses, and nothing has trickled down to the Cuban citizen
because the Cuban government is in control and that means the militaries in
So any business deals, any good will gestures toward the Castro government
is sucked up by the Cuban military, the same folks that are basically
repressing the society. So sadly, nothing will change in Havana. The
status quo will remain, and if anything the Castro government has been
SCHULTZ: What about that Senator. Will anything change, how can this be
an opening the change?
DORGAN: Oh I think it will change, but the commissioner is wrong on this
notion of, you can visit Cuba. Businesses are doing business in Cuba from
United States. That`s just wrong. It`s not the case. These restrictions
prohibit the American people from visiting Cuba unless you go get a license
from the Department of Treasury.
The reason that the U.S. Chamber and so many others feel this is important
is it will open up Cuba. And my view is that the Cuban people need to hear
more voice is that just the Castro government. And let me just say by the
BOVO: Senator, unfortunately that -- in Cuba, the only in the controls all
media and all that is the Cuban government. American businesses have been
selling directly to Cuba. The only thing is that Cuba can`t pay on credit
they have to pay in cash. And many have gone to Cuba because the State
Department has passed out this license like -- they`re going out a style,
and many have gone to Cuba under these guise of education, and the cultural
changes, and all they`ve done is gone to go to junked it`s basically.
They hang out in Cuba, at their bars and beaches, and has brought no
changes. And by the way many around the world have traveled to Cuba, and
it has brought no changes. So, I don`t understand why all of sudden
Americans are going to go into the Island and change when Italians,
Canadians, British, and others haven`t been able to do.
SCHULTZ: OK, Senator.
DORGAN: I just think this advice that we have to keep doing what doesn`t
work is really interesting advice. Now by the way, I authored along with -
- a couple of another senators in 1999, the first ability to sell food in
to Cuba because I think using food part of an embargo is immoral.
So food and medicine, we were able to do that and even then, we had the
same discordant voice of saying, shame on you, you can`t do that. Well,
you know what? It`s time for us to wake up and understand this 50-year
embargo has failed, and I`d like the commissioner and others to explain to
me why it`s OK to do business as we do with China and Vietnam because we
believe that leads to greater human rights but that the same sense doesn`t
hold true with Cuba.
SCHULTZ: What about that...
BOVO: Senator I`m not Vietnamese or Chinese so I can`t speak to that. I
can only say that the Cuba is in our hemisphere, there`s a unique link
between Cuba and the United States that goes back many, many years, and it
matters too many Cuban-Americans.
Maybe in North Dakota, it doesn`t matter. But I could tell you, in Miami
it does matter and I would say to you that the reason the embargo hasn`t
worked is that, because it had been tweaked over and over. Consistently
Democrats Presidents have allowed cash remittance, visits to Cuba that and
basically weakens it, and all it`s done is strengthen the Castro
government. There has been...
BOVO: ... concessions here.
DORGAN: Commissioner, the evidence, that`s the best evidence is, with this
announcement by the President, the evidence was that the Cuban people were
cheering in the streets of Havana believing finally at long, long last we
don`t have this first around their throat, and maybe they can begin to make
SCHULTZ: And gentlemen, let me put in to this. The Cuban Research
Institutes latest annual survey of Cuban Americans living in Miami-Dade
found among 18 to 29 years old, 88 percent favor normalization.
SCHULTZ: As do 80 percent of Cuban Americans who left in the last decade,
is history going to be on your side Mr. Bovo, the way are against this?
BOVO: I think what the history is going to show is that the Castro
brothers are going to stay in power. They`re going to hand off to the
other -- there other minions that are -- that control the government. And
what they`re going to install is a Chinese form of government. There will
be no political reform. There`ll be, basically cementing of their power,
continue cementing them, there`ll be no reforms or economic reforms to the
Sadly, sadly the legacy of the President opening this up while maybe good
for history book it`s not good for the Cuban people.
BOVO: Nothing here will trickle down to the Cuban people.
DORGAN: Interestingly in this situation, we have history 50 years of it
and it`s a history of failure. So we can learn from history Ed and I think
I think these policies going forward are exactly the right policies, and
will lead to a much greater government, and more human rights in Cuba.
SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, I appreciate...
BOVO: ... Democracy, Cuba will be a lot better that`s for sure.
SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us tonight. Senator
Byron Dorgan and also Esteban Bovo...
BOVO: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: ... who is a county commissioner down in Miami-Dade.
Coming up, a Chicago Bears` shocking life or death comments.
Keep it here. We`ll be back.
SCHULTZ: And tonight, on the two minute drill, last time I`m flipping
through the channels, holly smokes, breaking news. The Chicago Bears are
going bench quarterback Jay Cutler, $126 million quarterback is going to be
sit in the bench the last two games of the season.
Smart move. Bears aren`t going to the playoffs. They`re 5-9 so Jimmy
Clausen is going to get a shot to play.
OK. It`s over this year for Cutler, why play him in a few more games
possibly he might it hurt, if you want to trade him or move him somewhere
else, you`d have damaged goods? He can`t do anymore. How about the Bears
thinking about maybe benching their defense because quite often it`s looked
like nobody was out on the field while the other team had the ball.
It seems to me that this is a smart move by Trestman, giving other
quarterback a chance. You`re not going to the playoffs. You can fresh it
up, Jay Cutler and bring it back next year. I believe that guy right there
Marc Trestman knows what he`s doing. Bears in trouble, playing the 10-4
Lions on Sunday.
We`ll be right back, it ain`t Cutler`s fault.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to the Ed Show. This is the story for the folks who
take a shower after work.
I`ve often thought that the NFL is a modern version of gladiators. I mean,
you look at the risks they are enormous and the players push themselves to
the brink for a job, more money.
One NFL player now says that the glory is worth losing years of his life.
Chris Conte on the Chicago Bears said that he would, "Rather have the
experience of playing in the NFL and die 10 to 15 years earlier than not to
play in the NFL and have a long life."
Interesting comment, rather shortsighted I`d say. This season, the 25-
year-old safety has suffered two concussions in addition to other injuries
to his eye, his back, and shoulders. Conte who has been sideline by those
injuries said this, "I don`t look toward my life after football. I`ll
figure things out when I get there as long as I outlive my parents."
The NFL relies I think on this mindset for a good product. There`s a lot
of money at stake. Federal drug agents launched a surprise investigation
into possible illegal use of pain killers, teams who are suspected of
dispensing illegal drugs to keep players on the field despite injuries.
The league is working through a lawsuit stemming from head injuries in
retired players. The pressure is high for the NFL to deliver but it is
still hasn`t changed the game a bit.
For more let me bring in Terence Moore, National Sport Columnist and
professor at Miami of Ohio University, and also with us Dr. Corey Hebert,
Professor at LSU Health Sciences. Gentlemen great to have you with us
COREY HEBERT, PROFFESSOR, LSU HEALTH SCIENCES: Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: Terence, this attitude I think is prevailing in the NFL, I do.
And, I think it goes beyond that of being a good company man. What brings
these athletes, specially this one to the point of even thinking that way
to devalue their whole life just to be a part of a team or a profession?
What do you think?
TERENCE MOORE, NATIONAL SPORT COLUMNIST: Well, I`m going to tell you what
Ed, when I look on the Chris Conte say those words, I had these flashbacks
to 35 years ago when I covered the Oakland Raiders for the San Francisco
Examiner and two names come to mind Jim Otto and Bob Chandler.
Jim Otto was the original center for those Oakland Raiders, for 15 years
never missed the game. Jim Otto through the years has had more than 40
operations, serious ones had to leg amputated and he says he would do it
all over again.
Bob Chandler was a wide receiver in early 1980s and he was about 180 pounds
never played with hip pads, never played with knee pads, barely worn
shoulder pads -- very courageous, this guy the Monday after games he would
crawl around the locker room like an old man. And there`s one game I
remember, he had his spleen ruptured, he lost like 40 percent of his blood
almost died and he was playing like four weeks later.
Now the reason I`m saying this Ed is because Bob Chandler had the same
attitude as Jim Otto, he would do it again. He died, Bob Chandler in the
mid 1990s at 45 officially it was because of lung cancer even though he`d
never had -- never was a smoker and had to go back to all these other
things and (ph) football. And again, he would not probably exchange that
for what he experienced in the National Football League.
SCHULTZ: There`s something infectious about the sport and the profession,
the fame, the glory, the attention, the money. Dr. Hebert, what is at
stake with these hard-hitting concussions sustained by these players from
game to game?
HEBERT: Well I think, it`s evidence that Mr. Conte has had probably more
than two concussions by the statement because we know that excess
concussions, they will cause dementia, they will cause you to lose your
memory, they will cause you to have neuropsychiatric problems, depression,
pain issues, all types of things like that. I`m concerned about these NFL
players because they get worked up and do they want to play and it is a big
But what I I`m concerned about are the high school players who have one in
a million shot to make it to the NFL. And they`re using these guys are
role models but we know that some of them don`t have adequate equipment.
Their helmets aren`t appropriate and they`re sustaining just as many
concussions if not more with this dream of being an NFL player. And I
think Mr. Conte also kind of miss the boat because he says that he`d rather
live, you know, he had lost 10 to 15 years more.
I`ve been at the deathbed of many, many patients and no one said, I`m glad
I did my job and it`s OK that I`m dying right now, they`re dying at the age
HEBERT: ... because the Harvard study showed that the average age of a
football player, the average death -- the age of a football player is about
50 to 55.
SCHULTZ: Terence, how should the NFL be reacting to Conte`s assertion or
MOORE: There is absolutely nothing the National Football League could do
about this. And will tell you, there`s two things going on here. There`s
a short thing or the smaller thing which is the money thing. There is so
much money to be made in the National Football League nowadays and these
guys want to keep playing because of that.
The bigger has been around forever, these guys are addicted to adrenaline
and I`ll give a quick little story here. A good friend of mine is an NFL,
former NFL player, he`s in his late 40s and we talked right before we go on
the air here. He played for a prominent NFL team and he told me that he
was satisfy with being a very good player instead of the great player like
some of his teammates back then who chose to use steroids to become great
MOORE: ... and he said they had the same attitude where they were willing
to sacrifice 10 or 15 years of his life. But here`s the rest of the story,
the same guy told me, my same friend told me that he`s a guy that was
taught at 32 that he would never run again because the NFL...
MOORE: ... and he said he`s good with that because of his ability to play
for that to those teams.
SCHULTZ: And quickly Dr. Hebert, it`s almost I think important to educate
young men who are aspiring for careers like this, to tell them really
what`s at stake, isn`t it?
HEBERT: Yes. You have to tell people because these young men, they get so
excited and they really want to play, but when you`re looking down the
barrel of early Alzheimer`s, early Parkinsonian symptoms, it`s a really
HEBERT: ... thing to be looking down the barrel...
SCHULTZ: Terence Moore...
HEBERT: ... they need to know.
SCHULTZ: ... Dr. Corey Hebert, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks
That`s the Ed Show, I`m Ed Schultz.
"PoliticsNation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now. Good evening,
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Show: THE ED SHOW