The Ed Show | December 12, 2012
>>> good evening, americans. welcome to the end show from washington d.c. . the republican party has struck a blow at the heart of the american worker. this price is not over. this is the end show. let's get to work.
>> unions and! unions.
>> the american middle class put president obama back in office. billionaires' are playing get back on the working class . andy carroll is here to unmask the dark money behind the michigan attacked. michigan senator debbie stabenow and verge pinero with the game plan to fight back.
>>> john maynor has erick kanter and paul ryan keeping the tea party on line. jan shakur boesky tells us what republicans really have up their sleeves. karl rove is back. the man who wasted millions of dollars on the electrical is now predicting a fiscal close outcome.
>>> dick cheney has once again reared his head to attack president obama 's foreign-policy. lawrence wilkerson will show us how what the former vice president still isn't shooting straight.
>>> good to have you with us. thanks for watching. michigan became the 24 states in the union to past so-called right to work legislation, a major birthplace of the labor moment became the latest target of the right wing. big money interest infiltrating statehouses across this nation. this is what is happening. it's time to pay attention . thousands of protesters jammed the capital in lansing, michigan , as the lame duck session passed the right to work bill. demonstrators made their passions known.
>> right to work is wrong! right to work is wrong! right to work is wrong! right to work is wrong!
>> these protesters are well informed and understand exactly what is happening in their state today.
>> they want to be able to control us and set the pay raise for us, benefits, do all that. have schneider and those guys walk in our shoes. have them do what we do one day, and for what we work for right now, it does not compare to what we should be getting.
>> i have been a member of this union for 66 years, and i have never seen that this would happen in the state of michigan . to have this right to work thing. i do know it's political. that's all it is. when the coke brothers put all that money into michigan , they financed this thing. this has been going on not just this year but for the last two years.
>> leo gerard is at the international conference in geneva today. he tells me the north american unions will unite and fight this tooth and nail with every legislative means at their fingertips. teachers joined the protest in lansing today forcing two michigan offices to close. governor schneider is still blaming labour for focusing -- for forcing him into this position by pushing a proposal ii last divisive. it is on the table, a hot issue. let's show some leadership. i stepped up to
>> it's about being pro worker.
>> the real story is how this all happened and it all leads back to the coke brothers . americans for prosperity , the right wing organization founded by the coke brothers is one of the big interests behind right to work. a sister organization, american legislative exchange, or a.l.e.c., also founded by the coke brothers , writes dozens of propose ed legislations across the country. david axelrod tweeted out today, they were crushed on election day . now they're back, leading a lightning strike on the middle class in michigan . this is a classic case of billionaires manipulating democracy. organizations do their best to operate in the shadows, exerting pressure on lawmakers to do their bidding or be primaried. these right-to-work groups threatened michigan senate majority lead er randy richfield. none of the republicans who voted for this measure today ran on the right-to-work platform. none of them campaigned on it. if these republicans had run on it, they would have never been elected in the first place. billionaires like the koch brothers are doing political payback. they're putting pressure on lawmakers behind closed doors . we need to shed more light on this, just like voter suppression efforts across the country that backfired. one of their objectives is to completely dismantle the infrastructure on the progressive side. the progressives need to be aware of this. of course, that's the unions. it's their infrastructure. they are right wing groups who are just out there to fight right-to-work and get it passed. one of them is called the west michigan policy forum. and it's funded by some of michigan 's biggest republican donors. its chairman is the president of amway. the west michigan policy forum was key to funding the defeat of prop 2 last summer. yet another group, michigan freedom fund, ran ads in support of right-to-work legislation. it also has ties to the family in michigan . of course, president obama weighed in on this yesterday when he was in the state of michigan . i think the president got right to the heart of the matter and was on point.
>> these so-called right-to-work laws don't have anything to do with economics. they have everything to do with politics. giving you the right to work for less money.
>> joining me now is a reporter from mother jones magazine . great to have you with us, andy. take us behind the curtain and explain the relationship of the koch brothers and all of these right-to-work organizations that have been pushing this behind the scenes .
>> what you see in michigan , behind the scenes as you say, are a number of grassroots groups that have names like americans for prosperity , michigan freedom fund and so forth. they are there to push lawmakers to pass right-to-work legislation, funded by some of the biggest interests on the conservative side. the koch brothers , we're talking about the prince family, eric prince used to run black water . so you have the largest funders, especially in the midwest and the country backing conservative policies , wanting to cut taxes, wanting to kneecap unions, pouring money into this fight and making sure that in this lame duck session , governor schneider and the republican legislature get this dope, because it's at the top of their to-do list.
>> every elected official wants to get re-elected. so this is standard operating procedure to say either put this on the floor or we're going to primary you and we're going to fund the person that we're putting up against you. it's really threatening legislation.
>> it is. not only do they have this incredible arsenal of money behind them, the americans for prosperity type groups, but they can call on their volunteers, their staffers, bus people in from out of the state. and they can protest and organize for the opponents, as well.
>> how identical is the a.l.e.c. language we're seeing, especially in michigan ?
>> it is pretty much the same thing. they have to change the wording a little bit to avoid looking like it was a cut and paste job , but in the -- what they're trying to accomplish, we're looking at the same objective here.
>> here's more from governor rick schneider on all of this.
>> this is about being pro workers, giving workers the choice. this should encourage unions to be more responsive to workers in terms of saying they need to show a value proposition . i've met a number of people that said they would like to choose or have the flexibility not to. so in many respects it could be a positive for unions over the longer term.
>> so he's been saying this has not been on his agenda, although he's got the talking points down. are they coming from the koch brothers , as well?
>> these talking points are the same things that you see from the koch funded americans for prosperity , that you see from the heritage foundation . it's all the same thing around the country.
>> i want to get to what their mission is, and that is to get rid of the democratic infrastructure. this issue of dues and who has to pay and who doesn't, a lot of members would not pay their dues if it had not been taken out of their checks. so now obviously they have to come up with a way to make sure dues get paid. but those dues are used in many respects to support proactive issues for workers in the state. is this not just an effort to defund all of that, create confusion in the labor community to weaken them so they can't be legislatively as strong?
>> the conservative side understand that the labor world, labor unions are the pillar of funding for the democratic party . when you defund the labor unions , you defund the democratic party . you can cut income tax , you have have the conservative nirvana that you want. but the labor unions have been a stalwart on the democratic and progressive side. this is an effort to get them out of the picture.
>> i think that the automobile loan played such a crucial role in the victory for president obama and what a thorn in the side it was for the romney campaign. they never really knew how to handle it. this is big-time political payback. andy kroll, thanks for your time.