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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/13/11

Guests: Sherrod Brown, Lawrence Lessig, Jackie Speier

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Lawrence. Thank you. And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. Do you believe that fluoride is a communist mind control plot, by any chance? Has it ever occurred to you that fluoride might be the means by which our communist overlords are controlling our tiny little drug-addled minds? If you believe that, you are the intellectual inheritor of the John Birch Society, the cockamamie right-wing conspiracy theorist group that was pretty popular in conservative circles when it was founded back in the late 1950s. John Birch Society was well-organized. It was well-funded. It threatened to have a pretty big effect on conservative politics and Republican politics for a while, before the Republicans realized that, freaked out about it, and shut them out. The John Birch Society advised their members to run campaigns like -- stop fluoride: how to defeat fluoridation in your city. This is part of a John Birch Society bulletin from March 1960. "Call a meeting of those interested, raise $25 or $50 or more, then buy a supply of many kinds of tracts and pamphlets that expose the horrors of fluoridation. Every two weeks, mail a different article by a different writer to all of your top city officials, school board, PTA, ministers and leaders in the city. Never stop or slow down. Keep that up for months if necessary." This is my favorite part: "If you live in a large enough city or if the communists have been able to beguile a sufficiently large enough, powerful enough, and determined enough clique into supporting fluoridation, the above formula alone may not stop them." In the 1960s, the founder of the John Birch Society reportedly warned that the brand new state of Alaska was part of the communist mind control fluoridation plot. He said the whole reason we were getting a state of Alaska was that it was being readied as a prison camp, readied as prison camp housing -- sort of like concentration camps for people who, like the John Birch Society, were trying to stop fluoride. So, not only was fluoride in the water a communist mind control plot, but the government would soon start rounding up and imprisoning in America`s very own Siberia, think about it, start imprisoning opponents of the dreaded communist mind control plot, fluoride regime. It`s so awesome. It`s so perfectly late `50s, early `60s American right-wing paranoia, right? I mean, there`s Bolsheviks in the bathroom. Fluoride is communist. The fluoride paranoia thing is like a time capsule. It is like a time capsule that somebody dug up and is opening again now in the 2000-sies. Pinellas County, Florida, which is on Florida`s west coast. It includes the cities of St. Petersburg and Largo. The county commission there in Pinellas County was recently taken over by a new Tea Party Republican majority that has made it one of their top priorities to get the communist mind control plot fluoride out of the water in Pinellas County. So if you are one of the 700,000 people who`s on the Pinellas County water supply, thanks to Tea Party Republican governance in Florida, solving a problem that does not exist, welcome to your new world of, statistically speaking, 20 percent to 40 percent more tooth decay. By the start of next year, Pinellas County`s water supply will be fluoride-less. What is the problem that this Tea Party Republican government action is designed to solve? Well, according to the anti-fluoride forces in Pinellas County, quote, "This is all part of an agenda that`s being pushed forth by the so-called globalists in our government, to keep the people stupid so they don`t realize what`s going on." According to "USA Today," Tea Party activists arguing against the fluoride said the fluoridation program was designed to, quote, "dumb down the residents of Pinellas County." So that is the problem to which they are applying their local government, which they took over. If you believe that Pinellas County`s biggest problem was that the residents were being purposely made stupid by fluoride in their water so they could be more easily controlled by globalist overlords, then you must be looking forward to Pinellas County getting way smarter all of a sudden starting in January. And probably, overall, you must be delighted with Pinellas County`s new problem-solving approach to government. But if it does not seem plausible to you that that is a real problem that needed to be solved, let me introduce you to Madison, Wisconsin -- where this week the county clerk held a mock election with volunteer voters and volunteer election workers to figure out what the time and work impact is going to be of the new Republican-passed laws to make it harder to vote in Wisconsin. In the next election in Wisconsin, there`s a whole new set of rules about ID you have to show now to vote that never had to show before, new rules about absentee voting and early voting and voter registration -- generally making it much harder to vote. The state of Wisconsin is already anticipating it`s going to cost them nearly $8 million 20 change rules in order to make it harder to vote in that state. And if Madison`s test run this week is anything to go by, it is also not going to work. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: While we heard no obscenities at this practice run, we did witness some frustration. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this scenario is not going to work. I`m going to tell you right now. REPORTER: Many poll workers and voters used the same word to describe the situation. RUSS BROWN, POLL WORKER: It`s a little more confusing right now. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think everybody`s a little confused. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It doesn`t seem like it`s working. But you know, why not do it anyway? But it`s not just in Wisconsin. This is happening all over the country -- almost everywhere that Republicans took control of state government in the last election. When they originally made these voting changes in Wisconsin, Republicans there presented no real evidence that there had ever been significant voter fraud of any kind in Wisconsin, let alone voter fraud that would be stopped by the new rules that they have now put in place. If you are not swayed at all by the evidence, if you think that despite evidence to the contrary, Wisconsin must somehow secretly have a huge voter fraud problem that is worth destroying Wisconsin`s election system and spending $8 million in order to fix, then you are probably delighted with Wisconsin`s problem-solving approach to governance. If it does not seem to you that that is a problem that needed to be solved, let me introduce you to the United States House of Representatives today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. VIRGINIA FOXX (R), NORTH CAROLINA: There`s nothing more important, madam speaker, than protecting voiceless, unborn children and their families from the travesty of abortion. Vote for life by voting in favor of this rule and the underlying bill. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Today in the U.S. House of Representatives, they did not vote on the jobs bill. No time. They instead voted on yet another iteration of the ban on federal funding for abortion that already exists. The ban already exists. It has existed without interruption since 1976. But reiterating it, reiterating it was what the Republican- controlled Congress did today. To be clear, there is already an existing federal ban on the funding of abortion services. And so, they spent all day debating and voting on and then debating on and voting on again a bill to doubly and triply ban something that is already banned. Just as an aside, I will say the most amazing thing they did in Congress today was actually the way that Democrats fought back against this, letting the Republicans know what they thought about making this abortion day in the house again. The video from the floor of the House today was astonishing. We`ve got that coming up later on in the show. But again, what they were voting on today was a reiteration of a ban that already exists. If you believe that America`s biggest federal problem right now is that a single ban on federal funding of abortion is not enough, that it needs to be doubly, triply banned, then you are probably delighted with the House`s problem-solving approach to government. If it does not seem plausible to you that that is a problem that needed to be solved, let me introduce you to Republicanland, where the problem that is being fixed at the city level is that there`s fluoride in the water. That`s the big problem. The problem being fixed at the state level is that elections work OK. And the big problem being fixed at the federal level is that federal funds already aren`t being spent on abortion. Those are the big problems that Republicans are throwing aside all other priorities to work on. So, in this environment, in Republicanland, what do you do if you are a Democrat in these circumstances? Do you try to fight and win all of these individual fights to keep fluoride in the water, to keep an election system that works, to defeat all of the new reiterations of the existing bans on different abortion-related things? Democrats from President Obama on down have been actively trying to pick a fight with Republicans on the issue of jobs. Please Republicans, they`re saying, please Republicans, fight with us about jobs, fight with us about the economy, disagree with us, let`s hear, it let`s hash it out. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even though the American Jobs Act contains the kinds of proposals Republicans have supported in the past, their party used Senate maneuvers to block this jobs bill from moving forward. I`ve got news for them. Not this time. Not with so many Americans out of work. Not with so many families struggling to get ahead. I will not take no for an answer, and I hope you won`t either. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Republicans are not choosing to engage in that fight that President Obama and Democrats are trying to pick with them. Republicans are working on other stuff at the moment. Fluoride`s controlling your brain. What do Democrats do under those circumstances? Joining us now is Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. Senator Brown, it`s good to see you again. Thanks for being with us. SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be back. Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: So, people down on Wall Street tonight. They have been there for weeks now. But people are actually rushing there tonight because they`re worried New York City`s going to end the Occupy Wall Street protest overnight and early tomorrow morning. People are doing direct action in New York and around the country in part because they are skeptical that our political institutions like the one you work in can do anything to fix our problems. Do you feel like their skepticism about our political institutions doing anything worthwhile right now is warranted skepticism? BROWN: Well, skepticism`s warranted of course, and questioning what we`re doing and pushing Republicans to do the right thing. But, you know, we`ve seen this in Ohio since the first of the year. The elections last fall were all about lost jobs. And in Ohio, the Republicans went after collective bargaining. They went after women`s rights. They went after voter rights. In Washington, they`re going off Medicare. Now they`re talking about abortion again. They`re going after Pell grants. And the focus needs to return to jobs. I urge people, particularly in Ohio but across the country, come to, sign the letter on my Web site to Republicans saying focus on jobs. We sent the largest bipartisan jobs bill to the House with 63 votes earlier this week on China trade, on China currency. John Boehner should pick that up and vote on it. It will pass. It will go to the president. It clearly will result in hundreds of thousands of jobs created because it will take away the Chinese efforts to cheat in many ways. So, we know what to do. It`s a question of focusing on job growth. MADDOW: The president has been doing a real full-court press on jobs and economic issues. The tape we just played of him was something sent out by his campaign, essentially speaking to his supporters, asking them to help pressure Republicans and to see the fight for jobs as part of his re- election campaign. He`s doing a lot of media, doing a lot of speeches, doing a lot of travel. Republicans have responded to that by, as you noted, really not fighting that fight. They are choosing to work on other things. They are choosing not to engage on that. Is there a Democratic strategic response to that? I mean, do you fight with them on the fights that they pick, or do you -- is there some way to get them back onto jobs? BROWN: No, I think we just continue to talk about jobs. When I go home, people don`t talk to me about fluoridating the water. They don`t talk to me about the John Birch Society. They don`t talk about any of this stuff except what are you doing about creating jobs? That means pushing the president`s jobs program. It means pushing our bipartisan China currency bill. There`s a paper company in John Boehner`s district, in Butler County, Ohio, north of Cincinnati, that announced that they were likely going to close again because of China currency and the advantage that China`s cheating that 25 percent subsidy by and large they get when they sell into our markets and compete unfairly. That`s why I`m organizing all over the state and all over the country at saying to Republicans, the Republican leaders -- get back on jobs, focus on jobs. If the president keeps doing this, we`ll win this debate and the Republicans -- not only forget about the election in 13 months, but the Republicans might actually do something like they did on China currency. We got 60 Republican votes on that. They might actually do something on the jobs bill, on infrastructure, on the school renovation, the FAST Act -- all of the kinds of things that so many of us are saying and the president`s saying we need to do to put people back to work. MADDOW: As you -- you`re talking about those elements of the jobs act that maybe could pass, that might come up as individual component parts -- the school reinvestment, the infrastructure investment, some of those things. Obviously, earlier this week when the senate did vote on the president`s jobs bill, the Republicans filibustered it. If it does come back up in component parts or at least comes back up repeatedly, what do you think is most likely to pass? What do you think actually could get through the filibuster? BROWN: Well, I think likely the school renovation and the infrastructure, all the construction jobs will be created that way and the manufacturing jobs that make the steel and make the cement and make the glass for construction. But you know, I`ve got to think if the president continues to talk about paying for this infrastructure with a 5.6 percent surtax on people making over $1 million a year, that money will go some for deficit reduction but most of it for fixing up our schools. The average school in this country is 40 years old. On highways -- we had in the `50s, `60s, `70s, and `80s -- our infrastructure, the world had never seen the likes of the infrastructure we built. That`s why we`ve had so many decades of post-World War II prosperity. We`ve let that decay. We`ve in too many cases let it disintegrate. We`ve focused on that. It creates jobs today and it`s long-term prosperity because we do the broadband and the community colleges and the highways and the bridges and the water and the sewer systems and the ports and the dams and the locks and all that we do that way. MADDOW: Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio -- thanks for your time tonight, sir. Nice to have you here. BROWN: Thanks. MADDOW: All right. You know what the problem is with money and politics? Too many rules. Cut the red tape, Washington. Let the system breathe. No money can get in there. Sorry, I`ve been taking a course called "how to speak Koch brothers." Do you know that in their language they have 73 separate words for deregulation? That`s true. That`s not true. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Clyde "The Glide" Drexler, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, William "The Refrigerator" Perry, and now joining them in the pantheon of awesome nicknames, comes the president of South Korea, aka "The Bulldozer." "Best New Thing in the World Today" == it is not what it sounds like at all. Ladies and gentlemen, The Bulldozer. That is coming up right at the end of the show tonight. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: President Obama`s re-election campaign announced today that it raised more than 70 million bucks this summer for his re-election. What does that mean really, that he raised that much? In absolute terms, it means nothing. I mean, yes, that is a lot of money, but the campaign and its money don`t do anything alone. It`s a competition, right? And the Obama re-election campaign will be up against not just whatever his eventual Republican opponent raises but also just pure anti- Obama money, too. The conservative billionaire Koch brothers entered this election season, for example, with plans to spend $88 million against President Obama. As of this week, we now know that their new goal is not $88 million but $200 million or more. Republican operative Karl Rove is in the same ballpark. Het founded the super PAC American crossroads. Overall, his operations raised a reported $70 million that they used against Democrats last year. He now says they`re going for more like $240 million to use against President Obama this next year. Now, does that parade of numbers make your eyes glaze over? As mom would say, that`s natural. That`s your brain helping you skip the parts you don`t need to memorize so you can grock what`s actually wrong here, the actual crux of the actual problem. This is not about who`s ahead in the race to get more millions and billions. The problem is that that`s the race. That`s how you run. That`s how you win. Who has that kind of huge, huge, huge money to spend on politics these days? And why have we given these people control of our democracy? It`s very, very few people who have that kind of huge money to spend on politics, it turns out -- the 1 percent of the 1 percent of the 1 percent of the 1 percent. When you get all misty-eyed about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or the general welfare or Commerce Clause or due process -- nerd, do not hide it, own it. When you get all misty-eyed about American democracy, you`re not getting teary-eyed and proud about those three individual rich guys who have given almost all of the money Karl Rove`s American Crossroads has taken in this year, three guys, 92 percent of the money. The three stooges had that many guys. And it`s not even the three guys who we know about who are the biggest problem. No, the even bigger problem is with all the guys we do not know about and may never know about. You`ve heard that Karl Rove`s group is split into two parts, right? One`s called Crossroads GPS. You can give Crossroads GPS as much money as you want and the GPS group will keep your name a secret. They can spend their secret anonymous money on issue ads but not on ads about candidates. The other side of the Karl Rove group is just called American Crossroads, no GPS. This part has to list its donors` names in some publicly available reports. But in exchange for that disclosure, they can spend unlimited money for and against particular named candidates. So not just issue ads but candidate ads. Can you tell the difference between an issue ad and a candidate ad? Usually, you can`t really tell the difference. But that`s the split. That`s the big noble split between the GPS side, which is a 501c4 and the super PAC side, which is the non-GPS American Crossroads thing. That is the grave ethical distinction that made Karl Rove start two different multimillion-dollar groups. It is a laughable distinction -- which is why the single best way to understand it is to have a comedian explain it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: OK. So now I can get corporate individual donations of unlimited amount for my C4. What can I do with that money? Can I take this C-4 money and then donate it to my super PAC? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can. COLBERT: Wait. Super PACs are transparent. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. And -- COLBERT: And the C4 is secret. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mm-hmm. COLBERT: So I can take secret donations of my C4 and give it to my supposedly transparent super PAC? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it will say given by your C4. COLBERT: What is the difference between that and money laundering? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s hard to say. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, in this environment, where you are not allowed to work in certain kinds of campaigns unless you say where your money comes from, one of the places you can say your money comes from is from the anonymous place. The fact you that say it`s from the anonymous place is all the disclosure that you need. And in that system, that might as well have a flashing red sign that says "insert bribe here." In that system Karl Rove`s group would now like a little more slack, please. American Crossroads filed a request for federal election officials yesterday asking to be freed up to do a little more spending with even fewer restrictions because the rules are too tight for them. See? Unlimited and anonymous money laundering is just too restrictive, they say. I know, I know. It sounds like despair. This is how we -- this is how I think of despair. It sounds like give up time now, right? Despair is always waiting, just one unexpected surge of gravity away. But do not despair. Seriously. There is a solution for this. It`s not easy. Frankly, it`s a hard solution and it requires a lot of work and working together. But it is possible. It is a real idea, a specific idea that could fix this problem. And it`s been put forward by a really, really smart guy, who joins us next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: There are differences of opinion -- different strongly held beliefs about how people with drinking problems can overcome alcoholism. Some people insist they can use their own willpower and faith to stop drinking on their own. That was former President George W. Bush`s explanation of how he gave up alcohol after drinking heavily until his 40th birthday. Some people insist that you can`t do it on your own, you need a program to follow like for example a 12-step program as well as sponsors, a support network, peers to help you out when your willpower fades. Sometimes, alcoholics find themselves subject to interventions by their friends and their loved ones. Even though you don`t think you have a problem, you do have a problem, we`re confronting you about that because we love you and you need to change. The recurring metaphor in Lawrence Lessig`s new book about how U.S. politics got corrupted, the recurring alcoholic metaphor in his book is Boris Yeltsin, president of Russia. Boris Yeltsin, president of Russia, hammered all the time -- just a hopeless drunk. Yeltsin`s drunkenness is in fact a key part of what happened and why in 1990s Russia and what we understand about it. Por ejemplo. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time in the nuclear age the Russians actually opened up the nuclear football. They went to President Yeltsin. They opened up the command and control launch codes, the button, put it on the desk, and said, "We`re under attack." Fortunately, Yeltsin wasn`t drunk, and he didn`t believe what the military was telling him. He said, "There must be some mistake." (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: In Lawrence Lessig`s "Republic Lost," he uses the idea of drunk Yeltsin, the metaphor of drunk Yeltsin to convey the seriousness of what`s happened to our politicians, to our Congress, to our political system. Money in our politics is so absolutely unconstrained now. It has so occluded every other thing that public servants are supposed to do that our political institutions are essentially powerless before the fund-raising system, the campaign donation system, the money. Like a well-meaning, lovable drunk who nevertheless is a drunk, Congress does not have a way to cure itself at this point. How could a Congress that`s totally run by and ruled by big corrupting campaign money ever take action against big corrupting campaign money? The current speaker of the House once handed out tobacco company checks on the House floor during a vote. Is there a way for him to move to get big money out of politics? Of course, you`re not. Boris Yeltsin is not going to help himself stop drinking. The metaphorical drunk Boris Yeltsin that is our money-soaked Congress needs an intervention. They cannot solve the problem that they are. But we can. There is a way. It`s hard, but it could work. Joining us now for the interview, once again, is Harvard law Professor Lawrence Lessig, whose new book "Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It" is just out. It is that plan to stop it that I cannot stop thinking about, and that has prompted me to ask you to come back so soon. Thank you for agreeing. LAWRENCE LESSIG, AUTHOR, "REPUBLIC, LOST": Great to be here again. MADDOW: The institution we`re supposed to use to fix stuff, our democracy, the representative government that we have, is the thing that is broken. LESSIG: Right. MADDOW: If Congress can`t ever be expected to fix itself, what is the option you think that we have to fix Congress for them? LESSIG: Well, the framers of our Constitution envisioned a time when Congress itself would be the problem. So, the ordinary way in which they imagined amendments to our Constitution being proposed was that the Congress would propose it and the states would ratify it. But if Congress is the problem they`re not going to propose the amendments to change it. So they gave a way for states to call for a constitutional convention. And all the convention does then is propose amendments, which then have to be ratified in the same way that any other amendment has to be ratified. So, 34 states have to call for a convention. Congress calls the convention. The convention deliberates. And then the convention proposes -- sends the amendments to Congress. Congress sends them to the states. And if 38 states ratify those amendments, they become part of the Constitution. So that means 13 states, and there are easily 13 red and 13 blue states in our country, could block any amendment. So we don`t have to worry about one side or the other running away with the game. But there`s a way then to get Congress to focus on the kinds of issues that Congress itself won`t focus on. It`s an intervention. MADDOW: What do you think would work as a constitutional amendment to make a real change -- to make enough of a change in money and politics that the problem wouldn`t just come back? LESSIG: Yes. I think an amendment has to have three parts. Number one, we`ve got to have publicly funded federal elections. And there are lots of ways to talk about it. And I talk about it in the book. I think small dollar funded elections where the money essentially is the people`s money. So when Congress is focused on the funders, the funders happen to be the people. So there`s no gap between the two and that focuses them the right way. That`s number one. Number two, I think that contributions have to be capped at -- take Buddy Roemer`s number, $100, or the equivalent. So that no contribution greater than $100 is allowed. But I think contributions should be encouraged. So this is where I part ways with Dylan Ratigan a bit. I think people ought to be encouraged to give money to politics, but not so much as to color or pollute the system. And number three, Congress has got to have the power to limit independent expenditures like the ones you were describing in the Koch brothers, at least around the election. Limit but not ban. I don`t think Congress should ever have the ability to say this group is not allowed in an election year or to talk about candidates. But we have to have a system where the system is not so dominated by these independent expenditures that members of Congress are just dancing to attract the right kind of independent expenditures. Those three changes would produce a system where Congress following the funders would be Congress following the people and we would not have a system where most people believe that 75 percent of people believe money buys results in Congress. MADDOW: I have felt hopeless about the prospect of change because of the Supreme Court. Of course, the way you get around the Supreme Court deciding something in constitutional terms is by changing the Constitution. I had been thinking about the only means to changing the Constitution as being one that could start in Congress. And as you say, since Congress is the problem, it didn`t seem like that was going to happen. The thing that makes me feel like this is too steep a hill to climb is that so many states have to do it. So many people have to be involved in calling for this. Why are you even mildly hopeful that this could happen? LESSIG: Well, I think it`s a good thing, so many states have to do it. I think it`s a good thing it should take a long time to do it. I think we the people need to have a chance to talk about these issues seriously. Now, the politics of calling a convention are actually a little simpler than it makes it sound because the reasons that states call for a convention don`t have to be the same. So there are many people. We had a conference that was co-sponsored by the Tea Party at Harvard about three weeks ago to talk about this issue. And there are many people on the right who are trying to get a constitutional amendment around the budget deficit, and they want a convention to help propose that. And there are people who want a balanced budget amendment. There are people who want all sorts of changes to our Constitution. MADDOW: Some of them cockamamie. LESSIG: Some of them cockamamie, some of them maybe not. But the point is they could rally together to get the convention and then we have an opportunity in the convention over a long period of time I think to seriously address what kind of changes the country needs. And I think that in that process, which should take a long time, we could move the debate forward in a way that`s not choreographed by people whose job it is to make polarization the business model of politics. So I think there`s a chance to get to the convention. I think the convention itself could produce sensible proposals. And I think those sensible proposal -- the only the sensible proposals would have a chance to pass. The critical thing about this, though, is that we imagine a process where we take control of the process. MADDOW: Yes. LESSIG: And that`s the critical difference between everything that people are talking about in Washington and this. MADDOW: Well, it`s the one place where the snake eating its tail of American politics is starting to become totally apartisan. Not non- partisan but apartisan -- with people resorting to direct democracy in all sorts of ways. We`re going to be talking about Occupy Wall Street and what`s going on there tonight in just a moment. Lawrence Lessig, author of "Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It," Harvard law professor -- it is a credit to your book that you were here a couple days ago and I couldn`t stop talking about you. So, thank you for coming back. LESSIG: Thank you very much. MADDOW: Appreciate it. As the Republican Party wages this year`s inexplicable war on the post office of all things and its thousands and thousands of middle-class jobs, the post office it turns out has a ferocious snarling bear of an on-air ally in Ed Schultz. "THE ED SHOW" is right after this show tonight. And here the blow your mind tape from Capitol Hill today as some members of Congress fight like you can`t believe against the big abortion standoff in the house tonight. That tape which you have not seen anywhere is coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Big news tonight in the Occupy Wall Street protests that have been happening in New York City now for nearly a month. Today, New York City ordered the protesters to begin leaving the park they have been in, Zuccotti Park, as of Friday morning, as of tomorrow morning. You can come back after we clean the place, they said. You can come back but you can`t bring sleeping bags or tarps or tents when you come back. In short, you can`t bring anything that has made it possible for this to be a long-term we`re staying, occupy kind of protest. The Occupy Wall Street protesters responded by saying that they would clean the park themselves. But that they would not leave. Quote, "This is it. This is their attempt to shut down Occupy Wall Street for good. For those of you who plan to help us hold our ground, which we hope will be all of you, make sure you understand the consequences. Be prepared for possible arrests. This is a message of solidarity." Well, tonight the folks at Occupy Wall Street got a message of solidarity, a resounding one, from the AFL-CIO labor federation. In a mass AFL-CIO e-mail tonight, the subject line was: "go to Wall Street, now." Continuing, quote, "The more people who can stand in solidarity at this critical moment, the better." The AFL-CIO is asking its members to show up at Occupy Wall Street beginning at midnight Eastern tonight in anticipation of this move by the police very early tomorrow morning. We will keep you posted. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D), FLORIDA: Please, somebody tell me why we are here considering a bill that is a direct attack on a woman`s constitutionally protected right to choose and that does not create one single job. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, you might have heard recently, the American people, it turns out, super interested in having Congress focus on creating jobs and fixing the economy right now, which is why Congressman Alcee Hastings was so confused, as you saw just then, about why House Republicans set up today`s work in the Congress as being a culture war day. These are the things Americans think should be Congress`s top priorities right now. Even if you squint really hard at this chart, abortion will not appear on it. But Eric Cantor, the Republican majority leader, told the folks at the Values Voter Summit last week that he would bring up another anti-abortion bill in the House for a vote is this week. So, full speed ahead, jobs be damned, more abortion it is. House Democrats, who can apparently read polls and stuff, showed up for abortion day in the House today ready to fight. They called Republicans out for waging a culture war today instead of working on jobs, jobs, jobs. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) REP. GWEN MOORE (D), WISCONSIN: This bill is a misguided ideological distraction from what should be our top priority, getting people back to work. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: It`s very interesting that we`re taking this bill up now, when the American people are calling out for jobs. Their number one priority is the creation of jobs. And once again, we come to the floor of the House with a major distraction that ain`t going nowhere. REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: Instead of focusing on jobs, Republicans are continuing to wage their war on women. REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: In March, they tried to close down the federal government over a woman`s right to go to Planned Parenthood for health care. And today, they are trying to close down a woman`s right to life-saving treatment in our hospitals. REP. TED DEUTCH (D), FLORIDA: Americans don`t want a war on women. They want a war on joblessness. REP. RUSH HOLT (D), NEW JERSEY: We`re 280 days into this Congress without passing -- without even having a jobs plan from the majority. Instead, the Republicans have chosen to continue their radical assault on women`s health and health care. HASTINGS: Republicans have yet to pass a jobs bill. Instead of getting down to the business of creating jobs, they`re bringing to the House floor a deeply flawed and deeply divisive bill that will not pass the Senate and would be vetoed if it reached the president`s desk. They know that. I know that. Everybody knows that. REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: The American people are begging us to work together, to create jobs, to bolster the economy. And instead, we`re hearing once again to consider legislation that endangers and attacks the right of women. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Democrats came prepared today. Lots and lots and lots of Democratic members of Congress stood up today to deliver the same message about the Republicans` latest anti-abortion bill, essentially saying it`s outrageous that you keep focusing on doubly, triply, quadruply banning abortion and attacking birth control and access to family planning and you`re still claiming to be so focused on jobs. Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California silenced the House chamber back in February when she spoke in very personal terms against another Republican anti-abortion bill. She talked about her own experience. Today, Congresswoman Speier gave another stirring speech when the Republicans went back and tried to do it again. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: This bill goes to the farthest extreme in trying to take women down not just a peg but take them in shackles to some cave somewhere. Twenty-five years ago, this body passed EMTALA, a bill that basically said anyone that shows up at an emergency room would access health care, no questions asked. Now, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to amend that law and basically say, oh, except for a woman who is in need of an abortion or except for a woman who`s bleeding to death who happens to be pregnant or except for a woman who is miscarrying. Basically, what this bill would do is say that any hospital could decline to provide services to one class of people in this country, and that one class of people are pregnant women. Now, let me tell you something. My story is pretty well known now. But I was pregnant. I was miscarrying. I was bleeding. If I had to go from one hospital to the next, trying to find one emergency room that would take me in, who knows if I would even be here today? And what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are attempting to do is misogynist. It is absolutely misogynist. The time has come for us to stop taking up this issue over and over again this year and do something that the American people really care about. They want jobs. They want to be able to hold on to their homes. They want some mortgage relief. And what do we do? We stand here on the floor and create yet another opportunity for women to be cast in shackles. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Joining us know is Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California. Congresswoman Speier, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I appreciate it. SPEIER: My pleasure. MADDOW: What do you think is behind the repeated federal anti- abortion bills over and over and over again in the House you that referred to in that speech? Is this really just a top priority for the Republican majority now? SPEIER: I think it`s a top priority for the Republican majority in that they have done it already seven times this year on the House floor. It is a way of steering up the base, and I think a way of generating campaign contributions. Call me cynical, but this particular bill on the House floor today it was over-the-top, across the line. It basically was saying to pregnant women who are miscarrying, and pregnant women in this country, 31 million miscarriages a year, anywhere from 6 million to 9 million women who need a procedure because they are miscarrying. And women that show up at an emergency room are not getting elective abortions. They are coming to the emergency room because they are hemorrhaging, because they have an infection. And in those situations, we are talk anything where from 600,000 to 900,000 women in this country every year showing up in emergency rooms in that condition. And my Republican colleagues are saying, you know, that emergency room can decline to offer services to that woman. MADDOW: The bill today went through the long period of debate that it went through, first on the rule under which it would be voted on and then ultimately when it was voted on, the House Republican majority did pass it. Nobody expect it is to pass the Senate and the president today has said explicitly that he would veto this measure. How important do you think it is? What do you make of the president`s decision to issue a formal written veto threat saying -- even before it was voted on saying if this gets to my desk, there`s no chance it will become law? SPEIER: I think it is called leadership. I think he is sending a very clear message that he is sick and tired, as all of us are of the charade that is being played out here. We have 20 more legislative days in this session and we have yet to take up a jobs bill. We have yet to provide relief to Americans who are under water in their home mortgages. It is time for us to show the American people that we are here representing them. Not some ideologue in some fringe area in this country. MADDOW: Your speech today, which we just played a chunk of, I imagine even though you know they are your words, you can tell that they are striking when people hear them -- and you have spoke about this in striking ways that get attention in part, because you have put yourself out there so personally. To see so many Democrats today speaking not just in personal terms -- in personal terms, but also with such aggression about the Republicans focusing on anti-abortion bills instead of jobs, I wonder if you feel like it does anything, if you feel like it changes anything, if it`s going to have any effect. SPEIER: Well, it is pretty depressing, I`ll say that, Rachel. But this wasn`t about abortion. This was about women who are pregnant trying to get emergency services when they are in distress and to then twist it into an abortion debate, once again, was really just the antics that were being played out by colleagues on the Republican side and I think, frankly, many of those Republicans didn`t even know what they were voting on, because why would you want to deny emergency services to a pregnant woman who wants that baby but who is hemorrhaging to death? Why would you want to deny them health care? MADDOW: In terms of the jobs issue and the economics issue, Congressman Cantor, the majority leader in the House, has said he is open to voting on pieces of the jobs bill. I spoke with Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio earlier tonight about what he thought might be able pass, piecemeal or otherwise. He suggested maybe investment specifically in schools -- about infrastructure investment in schools and some of the other infrastructure investment might conceivably become law. Do you agree with him? Is there anything else that you think might actually make it? SPEIER: Well, I do think that we can do a huge infrastructure bill, fix these bridges that are really not just in disarray but safety hazards. The roadways, the schools -- there`s a lot of job-related work right there. We could also do mortgage relief for Americans. I mean, most of these Americans who have mortgages that they are struggling with are paying 6 percent interest rate when right now it`s a 4 percent interest rate. If we just drop it had to 4 percent, they would have $800 more in their pockets every month. Now, what`s wrong with that? No cost to the federal government at all. MADDOW: Democratic congresswoman of California, Jackie Speier -- I appreciate your time tonight. I know it has been a long and intense day. Thank you, ma`am. We`ve got the "Best New Thing in the World" -- and sorely needed, and coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: First thing to know about tonight`s "Best New Thing in the World" is this -- state dinner is to regular dinner what an Airbus A-380 is to a paper airplane. State dinner is to regular dinner what this intersection in Shanghai is to a long, straight shot down a long, straight road. State dinners are over-the-top. State dinners are ornate and very fancy and a big hairy deal and they are very rare. The Obama presidency has been host to just four of them. Tonight will be Mr. Obama`s fifth. It honors the visiting president of South Korea, the Republic of Korea, we call it South Korea. Two important thing to know about the name of the visiting South Korean president. First this is what his name looks like in the Latin alphabet. Do we have that? Rather than just the picture of him? No, we don`t. But of all the three of his names, the one you think would be most -- it would be easiest to pronounce for English-speaking Americans is actually the most misleading. The Korean language is written in large part, using Chinese characters. And if the president were Chinese, you would pronounce his first name Lee. VOICE: Lee. MADDOW: And quite frankly that is how most people in the west pronounce it as well, regardless of the country of origin. But in that same Chinese character in Korea, if you are actually Korean, it is not pronounced Lee it is pronounced ee (ph). VOICE: Ee. MADDOW: So, the name of the South Korean president is -- VOICE: Lee Myung-bak. MADDOW: Lee Myung-bak, even though it doesn`t look like that. This is the first important thing to know about the South Korean president`s name. It is not what you think it is. The second important thing to know is the "Best New Thing in the World Today." The South Korean president`s nickname is "The Bulldozer." "The Bulldozer," which is awesome sounding, the sort of nickname if earn an American that would indicate he runs roughshod over people, doesn`t take no for an answer always gets his way, knocks down opponents no matter. "The Bulldozer," like former Republican majority leader Tom Delay who earned his nickname "The Hammer" when he was imagine juror whip and endorsed discipline with the tenacity of a honey badger. But it is not what they mean by "The Bulldozer" in South Korea. They are way more literal about it. The South Korean President Lee Myung-bak got the nickname "The Bulldozer" earlier in his career because he took apart a bulldozer to learn how it was made and then put it back together again -- which is so spectacularly unexpectedly geeky, it is the "Best New Thing in the World Today." Now, it`s time for "THE ED SHOW." Have a good night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END