tv The Ed Show MSNBC December 18, 2014 2:00pm-3:01pm PST
let's get to work. ♪ ♪ >> when the middle class thrives, then america thrives. >> we cannot only have a plan for wall street, we must also help main street. >> what is the price? >> this is about fairness. >> do you have such disdain for hardworking americans? >> the middle class is caught in the biggest squeeze ever. >> the economies are improving overall, but there is still this middle class squeeze going on. we cannot only have a plan for wall street. >> good to have you with us tonight, folks. thank for watching. it has been a theme in the country. the middle class, a big concern that the middle class is losing its purchasing power in america, that it's changing and that it's different. you can go back to the conversation of two americas and the democrats and the liberals, the democrats that moved into
this country have made it 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 part, i will say yes to that. what did this president do? this is a story tonight that hasn't gotten much focus. we have a budget deal. nobody will shut down the government. that's good. on tuesday, the president of the united states signed the new $1.1 trillion spending bill into 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 it was legal for employers to cut pensions. benefits for those already retired. they couldn't do it. they could not do it. now under the law people covered under multi-employer 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 numbers, show me all of these pension plans and lay it out there for the american people exactly how these pension plans have just fallen apart and this is what we have to do. that was not explained for the american people at all. this was a budget deal and it was decided that all of the retirees can take the hit. multi-employer 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 out the unions have not been on the same page with all of this. there are different packs on how this problem can be handled. these plans are backed up by the federal pension safety net which is known as the pb, pgbc which is the pension guarantee benefit corporation. so if a pension plan fails, don't worry, you've got the pbgc
to bail you out. now, according to aarp, the associate yagz of retired people there are 1400 multiemployer plans covering 10 million people in this country. 150 to 200 and it's not precise, either. 150 to 200 of these plans are facing financial difficulty, but nobody's explained what kind of financial difficulty. it's estimated that 10% of these plans could become insolvent within the next 10 to 20 years. they ought to be able to dial that in, but they don't either, so we'll use the ten-year mark at 10%. this means that 1.5 million americans could see reduced benefits. hold it right there. you mean someone from the middle class might have advocated from somebody and yet they'll lose their pension and it's only $1.5 million people and here's the bottom line and it sets the table and it could be a heck of a lot more and it's up to the
individual pension fund to decide if and how much a benefit should be cut which is dangerous. depends on who is in power. plain and simple, cut to the chase. this deal is bad for retirees. this unfair deal was done secretly behind closed doors. one guy caught it and numerous senators caught it and i think this comment from new jersey senator cory booker sums it up pretty good. >> there are rules on pensions that will slash benefits for thousands of retirees. make no mistake. we need to address the state of multi-employer pension plans and we need to discuss the tough choices that have to be made, but this is not the way to do it. not business as usual with no discussion and no debate. >> see, now, there were three possible solutions to all of this. first, you could cut the benefits to the workers and the retirees which is exactly what they're going to do. >> second, you can increase the contributions which could have been part of the solution and
you have workers having to pay more and third, the federal government could bail out any pension that is at risk. bail out. i like that. i say bail out because these people have worked hard their entire life. they thought at the end of their career that they would be, oh, gosh, i have $2700 a month coming and we'll be not too bad and wait a minute, that's getting cut to maybe 16 or 1400 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 do they do? we all know, they engage in risky, unethical practices that crashed the american economy. now we are 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 and those who say they're for the middle class have let this go through and the government has said no, we're not going to bail out these
retirees or should i say make the funds kohl vent. the government 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 this to happen, this bill to be signed i think is a serious mistake and it sends a flawed message to those who have been supported and dreamed that they were actually working for somebody, voting for somebody who was going to try to stick up for them. >> meanwhile, as we have reported that this deal actually gives wall street a really big gift and a real opening here and it kills a key provision of dodd frank that has risky derivative trades of fdic accounts. what they are doing is privatizing profit and they are socializing the risk. that's wall street's deal. what's the deal for the workers? you've 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 on this big time. tomorrow the president's going to hold his final press conference 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 pull out hoards 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 do they have to suck it up? what about that, mr. president? i would like an explanation because it flies in the face of everything the president talked about on the campaign trail. the president should have fought for these retirees, but instead he turned them into trade bait on a budget deal. high should have fought for the middle class in this instance, and where is this guy that was on the campaign trail in 2012? >> 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 some. >> 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's too fat and you've got to take a cut. nobody on the top took a cut on this deal. president obama has done some very good things for this country. in fact, he's had 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. in diplomatic change for cuba. i'm all about it.
executivewise, he's on a roll with legislative negotiation, he's a zero, and i mean that. i think it is morally wrong for this white house to go to 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 it. now, we've had a lot of stories 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 they're for the 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 kensington endorsed. voter turnout, you want to do 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 these middle class americans now have this to look at. oh, my pension's getting cut. how did that work? that will kill voter turnout. get your cell phones 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 to 67622 and leave a comment on ed.msnbc.com and i'll bring you the results later on in the show. now, what was hanging over america through all of this was the government shutdown. i guess you could say we survived the government shutdown. it wasn't right. nobody died and i would make the case for you tonight that if the democrats had said no to this there probably would have been a deal and these retirees would not have to have taken a shot that they're going to take. for more, let me bring in senator bernie sanders of vermont. good to have you with us
tonight. >> 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 do these retirees have to look forward to? >> well, ed, this is a more than a bad deal, and it is bonn thing to say we'll cut your wages and you're not going to get the health care you need and it is another thing to say thank you for working for the company for 30 or 40 years and for understanding that at the end of that you'll 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'll cut your pension by 30% or 50%. so this is not only defer sta devastating for the individuals who will see cuts in their pension, but think what it does in terms of trust. who are you going to believe? you talk about suppression of voter turnout, who is going to
believe anything when you work for a company based on 40 years based on certain promises and the rug is pulled out from underneath you. that is one of the major reasons that i voted against that appropriations bill. i think that we should be clear that this is a serious problem and it has to be addressed and it can be addressed and your point is spot on. if this country could bail out 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% of all new income goes to the top 1%. so this is an issue, and i'm a member of that committee and i'm going to stay on this issue and we have to reverse what this bill did? >> senator, how do you reverse it? would there be a shared interest
here on the part of tax dollars coming from wealthy americans or a benefit cut or increased premiums for employees involved in these programs and there's no easy way out here, but to cart blanc across the board, retirees will bear the brunt. what about that? >> you're right. there is no easy way out and 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 to do it and one of the ways are as you indicated, yes, it may be that taxpayers that we need government funding in order to strengthen some of these multiemployer pension funds. that may be what we have to do
and if that's what we have to do that's what we have to do, but i think as a precedent to say that people who were promised benefits will see major cuts in those benefits is horrendous for the individuals and for what the future will bring. >> senator, good to have you with us tonight. i appreciate your time. bernie sanders from vermont on "the ed show." let me bring in congressman tony cardenas of california. your reaction to the pension bill cuts. what would have been a different avenue? >> first of all, i would like to thank you, ed, that was one of the notes that i had and i was trying to figure out how to explain this. so thank you so much for explaining something so obvious in that budget bill that was tucked into the 12 major bills and they call it a krom ni bus bill, but thank you, ed. bottom line is this did not have to happen and one thing i can guarantee you is had 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 the country was low, but when it comes to democrats versus republicans the democrats decided not to vote in such low numbers and 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 ante in how much they're investing in their young people and we're going in 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 and the seniors being hurt by this bill, if they stop voting it will only get worse and the republicans increase their numbers. >> you don't have to agree with me, but i believe that this is a
different form of voter suppression. you listened to these candidates running around about how they'll support the middle class and in the dark of the night they allow something like this to go through with no debate and they expect a certain portion of americans to take this in the shorts and oh, everything's going to be okay. no. the dechl democrats should have said okay, shut the government down. we're not going to go down this road. would you have gone along with that? >> i voted against it whether it was going to pass or not so i was ready for that consequence as well, personally, but at the same time certain democrats calculated that the actual economy going down will not only hurt retirees and it will hurt job growth and the families that are barely making it right now. so that was some of the calculous and some of the things i heard from my democrat colleagues when we were in caucus talking about how we shouldn't vote for this bill. at the same time all i have to say is on that note it can only
get worse if good people decide not to vote at all. it's important for people to get out, engage and ask your elected officials and don't compromise on me and don't compromise on the things that matter to me and don't compromise on us retired seniors and those of us in the middle class. >> i thought president obama was pretty well vetted on what his position was on the middle class. we are at ground zero on who will tilly support folks. congressman, i appreciate your time. we'll have you back. remember to answer tonight's question and share your thoughts on ed show 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. later, how can republican catholics go against the pope on the new cuban policy? rapid response panel coming up. stay with us.
football has a season. baseball has a season. this is our season. welcome back to "the ed show," fresh reaction of a 9/11-style attack after it led to sony picture to cancel the release of the controversial film "the interview." the plot involves two journalists working to assassinate north korean leader kim jong-un. u.s. officials say they believe north korea is connected to the hacking at sony. nbc's jay gray has more. >> reporter: the film's christmas day release has been cancelled and promotional posters pulled still, "the interview" can't escape the spotlight. >> sony pulling the release of the interview will have ripple effects throughout hollywood. >> ripples that began on social
media. rob lowe tweeting wow! everyone kafred. the hackers won. an uter 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. >> it's a form of extortion and companies deal with extortion all of the time and there are certain ways you deal with extortion and backing down is not necessarily one of the ways you do that. >> but sony pictures decided the show would not go on after vol ups of data were hacks from company computers and released to the public followed by threats invoking memories of 9/11 against theaters planning to screen the film. >> this is something being treated as a serious national security matter. >> right now a investigation continues. >> it is being treated by those investigative agencies both by the fbi and department of the justice as seriously as you might upon. >> reporter: and they're weighing the consequences for those involved. >> we're considering a range of options and we regard this as a very serious attack.
>> at this point, no one is rearead to o officially say who may be responsible for the attack. jay gray, nbc news. i am joined by political commentator and radio host and international affairs correspondent and senior british officials. 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 have to put a stop to this because the long-term damage, i don't buy for a moment that sony is afraid america will get hit. >> a lot of folks at sony want to lick their wound, but what's going to happen here is that kim jong-un is just guaranteed everyone in the world will see his movie, cementing his status as the fredo corleone, and it has the biggest opening when they finally decide to recoup
their losses it will be seen by more people than it would have, and 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 ugly year. >> mr. kay, what about our cybertech tech and our intelligence? why can't we find out who actually did this? >> i think we have to separate this into two components. the first component is very much about the cyber attack and how you deal with unit 121 which is this unit that the is groomed within north korea to conduct these attacks. um, it is that component and then the component of actually a cyber attack is one thing. committing an actual attack on u.s. sovereign territory is another and the broader conversation is about the lone wofrl and the influence that any ideology or any actions of north korea might have will be able to infill straight for the u.s. and for me this is a poor calculation of risk assessment
and it's probability vers us intent. you use that risk to assimilate threat levels throughout the country and we look at the rhetoric coming from isis and syria and there is a generic risk applied to america. if you have more intelligence through the fbi and the cia that zones in on a potential threat to either an individual, group or organization. that's when you have to take more serious action and that would lead potentially to a movie being withdrawn, but i don't see any credible evidence to something that's what happened. >> what did this mean for future films. >> i do think future films will have to pass a test. i would like to insult kim jong-un as much as possible for the publicity and once this film does open and the sony email hackings are forgotten it will be hailed as a victory for free speech. >> appropriate reaction, mr. kay, you think sony should have gone ahead and gone with this release. >> i think sony should have taken the best advice from the most appropriate authorities and based it -- on the white house
said there was no threat. >> a year -- and which leads to exactly that and what we've done is we've capitulated to a threat that has no evidence. >> has anyone seen team america and it could be a broad marketing strategy, but i do think we have to recall that a year ago, kim jong-un preempted a nuclear strike and at this point, i don't think this guy can break into a blockbuster in detroit. he's been a laughing stock since this happened last year and it will hurt his kvinteling capability. >> that's the capability versus temperament. you can have all of the rhetoric in the world and without the capability to carry out that account there is no point in acting upon it and that's one of the key assessments of risk. >> what about the stars from hollywood tweeting and taking a position on this. >> i think they're exactly right. i think it's really, really sad that sony made this choice.
sony were the ones that raised prices on whitney houston music within hours of her death. they're not going to take an insurance hit on this. it will be the biggest comedy of 2015. >> the white house says that they're considering the hacking a very serious attack and, of course, you heard their officials saying they're considering a range of options. what are the range of options as you see it, mike? >> they have to go back and look at the procedures and protocols through which they assess risk and act upon the risk. >> there is a lot going on around the world and what we're talking about, really is we're talking about soft power and the ability to influence through social media and cyber attacks and that's very different and that's bombs, bullets, rockets and mortars. if there's no ability to conduct something of a credible attack whether it be on an individual group or organization, then we
have to carry on as normal. we do know that blacklist and state of affairs just got a couple of more episodes. >> this is the material that plays in prime time. >> honestly, i have to wait and see what dennis rodman has to say. >> i said that earlier today and i said where is dennis rodman on this deal? he ought to be able to figure out what's going on. >> they're dropping him into the palace. >> there is a serious story and there is a comical edge to this, unfortunately. >> i saw the trailer and i went to see "gone girl" and saw the trailer for this movie and it did not interest me whatsoever, and having seen all of this rhetoric and having seen so much of it played out on tv and i'm probably -- >> it's being compared to dr. strangelove before it even opens. >> this is free market. >> and the free market will win over total tearianism. >> great to have both of you gentlemen with us tonight. >> republicans are fired up about cuba. a heated debate in the rapid response panel tonight and a
we have a serious hairball issue. we clean it up, turn around, and there it is again. it's scary. little bit in my eye. [ michelle ] underneath the kitchen table, underneath my work desk, we've got enough to knit a sweater. [ doorbell rings ] zach, what is that? the swiffer sweeper. the swiffer dusters.
it's some sort of magic cloth that sucks in all the dog hair. it's quick and easy. pretty amazing that it picked it all up. i would totally take on another dog. [ kevin ] really? ♪ welcome back to "the ed show," appreciate your questions in the "ask ed live." anthony 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. it's supply, demand and speculation on wall street. they'll just pick any topic to go after the president. 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 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. i'm josh lipton with your cnbc market wrap. stocks stage a stunning rally as fed-inspired buying continues. the dow climbs a whopping 421 points. it was the first such gain in three years. the s&p jumps 48, more than 2% and the nasdaq posting a triple-digit gain up 104. oracle shares rising 10%, helping boost tech stocks' second quarter earnings and sales came in better than expected and filings for first-time jobless claims fell by 6,000 to 289,000 and the lowest since early november. that's first from cnbc, first in business worldwide.
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welcome back to "the ed show," reaction to the president's policy shift on cuba has been emotional and widespread. 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 raul castro to encourage an open dialogue. these new policies may have the blessing of the vatican but they face strong resistance from republicans. >> it is 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. >> our adversaries all around the world will be saying two years to go on the obama administration and now is the time to line up and get what we want. >> what we get out of it is
cheap now, vacations in cuba if we have normalization of relations. >> now all of these tyrants around the world know that the u.s. can be hadd and it's an easy deal. 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. >> the united states has made it official. we'll use taxpayer dollars to prop up another communist dictatorship in our hemisphere, 90 miles away. >> if this release was tied to normalization of relations with cuba in any way, shape or form, negotiations, discussions and a basic agreement. it would be a bad signal to adversaries around the world that says mistreat americans and this administration will reward you by giving you something you want. >> joining me tonight in a rapid response panel, former north dakota senator and esteban bova who is the miami-dade county commissioner. gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. >> senator, i know you supported an end to this travel ban for years.
as you see it with all of the negative comments and the opposition there, what would be your response to all of that? >> well, my response is at last, at long last we've decided to change a policy that hasn't worked for 50 years. this policy's existed through 11 presidents and it has caused misery for millions of cubans living in poverty. it has restrishthed the freedom of the american people to travel where they wish and by the way, it's completely at odds with what we've done with other countries. communist china. communist vietnam. i've been to both countries and the united states has said we want constructive engagement, trade and travel will lead them toward greater human rights. with cuba we said that's not the case at all. this is a thoughtless policy and those people stuck in the middle of the last century are objecting to it, but good for this president for having the guts. >> esteban, your thoughts in this and how is it playing out in your community in florida?
>> the members of my community feels profoundly betrayed and everything that the senator just talked about has been going on in cuba. earn american businessmen have been traveling to cuba under a different guise and licenses and nothing has trickled to cuban citizen and that means the military is in control so any business deals and good will gestures towards castro government is sucked up by the cuban military and the same folks that are repressing the society. so sadly, nothing will change in havana. the status quo will remain and if anything the castro government has been vindicated. >> what about that, senator? will anything change? how can this be an opening to change? >> i think it will change. the commissioner is wrong on this notion that you can visit cuba, and businesses are doing business in cuba and that's just wrong. that's not the case and these restrictions prohibit the american people from visiting
cuba unless you get a license from the department of treasury. the reason that the u.s. chamber and so many others feel that this is important is that we'll open up cuba and my view is that the cuban people need to hear more voices than just the castro government. >> unfortunately, in cuba the only thing that controls all media and all access is the cuban government. the only thing is that cuba can't pay on credit. they have to pay on cash and many have gone to cuba because the state departments have passed out these licenses like they're going out of style and many have gone to cuba because of cultural exchanges and they hang out at their bars and beaches and by the way, many around the world have traveled to cuba and i don't understand why americans will go to the islands when italians and canadians and british haven't been able to do that. >> i think this advice that we
have to keep doing what doesn't work is interesting advice. i authored along with a couple of other senators in 1999 the first ability to sell food in cuba because i think using food as part of an embargo is immoral. so food and medicine and we were able to do that and even then we had the same discordant voices saying shame on you, you can't do that and it's time for us to wake up and understand this 50-year embargo has failed and i would like the commissioner and others to explain why it's okay to do business with china and vietnam because we believe that leads to greater human rights and that same sense doesn't hold well with cuba. >> i'm not vietnamese or chinese so i can't speak to that. cuba is in our hemisphere. there is a unique link between cuba and the united states that goes back many, many years and it matters to cuban americans and maybe in north dakota it doesn't matter and in mime te does matter and i would say to you the reason the embargo
hasn't worked is because it's been tweaked over and over. consistently democrat presidents have allowed cash remittance, visits to cuba that basically weakens it and all its done is strengthened the castro government. there has been no concessions here. >> commissioner, the evidence that's the best evidence is with this announcement by the president, the evidence was the cuban people were cheering in the streets of havana believing finally at long, long last we won't have this fist around their throat and maybe they can begin to make a living. the cuban research institute's latest annual survey of cuban americans living in miami-dade found among 18 to 29-year-olds, 88% favor normalization. >> absolutely. as to 80% of cuban americans who left in the last decade. is history going to be on your side, mr. bova, the way you are against this? >> i think what history is going
to show is that the castro brothers are going to stay in brother. they're going to hand off to their other minions that control the government and what they're going to install is a chinese form of government. there will be no political reform. there will be a basically cementing of their power, continued cementing and there will be no reforms or economic reforms to the public, sadly, sadly, the legacy of the president opening this up while may be good for history books is not good for the cuban people. nothing here, nothing here will trickle down to the cuban people. >> 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 these policies going forward are exactly the right policies and will lead to a much better government and more human rights in cuba. >> it would be a lot better, that's for sure. >> thanks so much for joining us tonight. senator by ron dorgan and esteban bovo down in miami-dade.
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and tonight the two-minute drill. i'm flipping through the channels, holy smokes. it's breaking news! the chicago bears are going to bench jay cutler. he'll be sitting the bench the last two games of the season. smart move. bears aren't going to the playoffs. they're 5 and 9. so jimmy clawson is going to get a shot to play. okay. it's over this year for cutler. why play him in a few more games, possibly might get hurt. if you want to trade him or move him somewhere else you would have damaged goods. he can't do anymore. how about the bears thinking about maybe benching their defense because quite often it's
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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 gladia r gladiators. 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 off his life. chris conti of the chicago bears says that he would, quote, 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 sidelined 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 mind-set for a good product. there's a lot of money at stakes. federal drug agents launched a surprise investigation into possible illegal use of painkillers. teams were 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 still hasn't changed the game a bit. for more, let me bring in tarrance more, national sports columnist and professor at miami of ohio university. and also with us, professor cory abear at lsu health sciences. tarrance, 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, especially this one, to the point of even thinking that way,
to de-value their whole life, just to be a part of a team or a profession. what do you think? >> well, i'll tell you what, ed. when i was listening to 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 a game. jim otto through the years has more than 40 operations, serious ones, had a leg amputated, and he says he would do it all over again. bob chandler was a wide receiver in the early 1980s, and he was about 180 pounds, never played with hip pads, never played with knee passed, barely wore shoulder pads, and was considered very courageous. this guy, the monday after games, he would crawl around the locker room like an old man, and this one game, i remember, he had his spleen ruptured, lost like 40% of his blood, almost died, and he was playing like four weeks later. the reason i'm saying this, ed,
is bob chandler had the same attitude. and he died at the age of 45, officially, because of lung cancer, even though he never was a smoker. and had to go back to all these other things with football. and he would not probably exchange that for what he experienced in the national football league. >> there's something infectious about the sport and the profession, the fame, the glory, the attention, the money. dr. abear, what is at stake with these hard-hitting concussions sustained by these players from game to game? >> well, i think it's evident 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 neural psychiatric problems, depression, pain issues, all types of things like that. i'm concerned about these nfl players, because they get worked up and they do want to play, and it is a big business.
but what i'm more concerned about are the high school players, who have a one in a million shot to make it to the nfl. and they're using these guys as 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 missed the boat, because he says that he would rather live, you know, he would lose 10 to 15 years more. i've been on the deathbed of many, many patients and many people have said, i'm glad i did my job and i'm okay with dying at the age of 50. because the harvard study showed the average age of a football player, the average death of a football player is at age 50 to 55. >> tarrance, how should the nfl be reacting to conte's assertion or at all? >> there is absolutely nothing the national football league could do about this. because there's two things going on here. there's the short thing or the smaller thing, which is the money thing. there's so much money to be made
in the national football league nowadays, these guys want to keep playing because of that. the bigger thing that's been around forever, these quits are addicted to adrenaline. i'll give you a quick story here. a good friend of mine, a former nfl player. he's in his late 40s. and we talked right before we gt on the air here. he played for a prominent nfl team and he was satisfied with being a very good player, instead of a great player, like some of his teammates. 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 who was told at 32 that he would never run again because the nfl -- and he says he's good with that, because of his ability to play for those teams. >> and quickly, 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? >> 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 payroll of early alzheimer's, early parkinson's symptoms, it's a bad thing. >> great to have you with us tonight. thanks so much. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. "politics nation" with reverend al sharpton starts now. >> good evening, ed. and thanks for you to tuning in. we start with breaking news right now. federal agents are investigating who hacked sony pictures' private e-mails. the u.s. is vowing to respond, considering a range of options. law enforcement and intelligence officials say the u.s. strongly suspects north korea directed the hacking. but many cybersecurity experts say they doubt an isolated country could do it alone. what we still don't know tonight is how the hackers did it. the white house today is saying that it's being treated