updated 4/16/2009 2:07:56 PM ET 2009-04-16T18:07:56

Guests: Howard Fineman, James Moore, Chris Hayes, Arianna Huffington

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over):  Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

From Dixon, Illinois, to Duncan, Arizona; from El Cajon, California, to Sag Harbor, New York—literally dozens of FOX News viewers—sorry—dozens of outraged citizens protest having to pay their fair share of the taxes the rest of us pay.  Let the teabagging begin!

Oh, and the million tea bag dump in D.C., they forgot to get the permit.

And watch actual propaganda in the making.  At 12:10 p.m. Pacific, says Daily Kos TV .

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS:  Any estimates on how many people are here?

UNIDENTIFIED PRODUCER:  No, we‘re trying to get .

CAVUTO:  It‘s got to be 5,000.

UNIDENTIFIED PRODUCER:  Oh, at least.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Nine minutes later on the air, cue the corrupt fabrication of the news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO:  They were expecting 5,000 here.  It‘s got to be easily double, if not triple that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  That fraud ought to be in jail.

And, they‘re all really upset the rest of us are calling it teabagging.  So, if you didn‘t want us to call it teabagging, why did you choose as your official logo a tea bag?

Secession for Texas: Governor Perry flirts with it in a tea bag speech.  Go ahead.  Of course, that $17 billion you just got from the stim, we‘ll be needing it back now.  And the border fence, we‘re going to build it in Oklahoma now to keep out those illegal immigrants from Texas.

The Department of Homeland Security warns of ultra far-right extremism and Michelle Malkin and fixed news immediately decide the department is talking about them.

And Boss Limbaugh and the dead Somali pirates.  He plays the race card against Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Now, just imagine the human cry, had a Republican president ordered the shooting of black teenagers on the high seas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  All that and more—now on COUNTDOWN.

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BILL O‘REILLY, TV HOST:  Are you kidding me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

It began with a handful of patriots echoing the Boston Tea Party, sending tea bags to individual politicians.  Then they said, “Let‘s teabag Congress.  Let‘s teabag the White House.”

And today, in our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: After all the anticipation and buildup, the teabagging exploded all across America, pulling in several teabaggers in Washington who planned to dump a million tea bags in Lafayette Square only they forgot to get the permit.  Officials prevented from doing so even though they had promised to do their teabagging, quote, “on tarps and clean up afterwards.”  According to “The Washington Post,” quote, “They complied with the order but are still considering what to do with the load.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  A lot of jurisdictional nightmares.  People are saying that we could have a permit and it wasn‘t actually their jurisdiction, according to another agency.  It‘s been a lot of fun today.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  So, will there be a symbolic tea dumping?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There is going to be, it‘s just going to be in an office building.  Luckily, one of our partners, Competitive Enterprise Institute, said, “Why don‘t you just use our office?”  So instead of being outside with our event, it‘s going to be inside in an office building.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Of course, it is hard to change position right in the middle of a teabagging.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Luckily, we had a lot of flexible people and a lot of flexible attendees.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Oh, good for you.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey said, quote, “This is a bona fide American uprising.”  That‘s why in Washington, it climaxed at that grassroots organization, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, founded by “Mr. Grassroots” himself, Richard Mellon Scaife, funded by him anyway.

But this Dick Armey revolution only came out in dribs and drabs.  At some spots outside the beltway, in crowds that numbered at least one dip, teabaggers hoping to get at least two dip, got some help from FOX News, sending its big guns all over the country.  And when they could not pull in the numbers they wanted, they simply made those numbers up.

FOX News‘ Neil Cavuto in off-air video obtained by DailyKos.com estimated crowd size in Sacramento at 5,000.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO:  Any estimates on how many people are here?

UNIDENTIFIED PRODUCER:  No, we‘re trying to get .

CAVUTO:  It‘s got to be 5,000.

UNIDENTIFIED PRODUCER:  Oh, at least.  I mean—the cops aren‘t going to tell us and we‘ve been trying to get a hold of the PR person to give us the number, but I think 5,000.  You can say (ph) -- starting at 5,000 and more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Nine minutes later, this is what Cavuto told FOX viewers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO:  They were expecting 5,000 here.  It‘s got to be easily double, if not triple that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Despite relentless promotion like that, FOX is claiming teabag neutrality, claiming equal time for equal protests.  Assuming people will forget their dismissive coverage of the massive anti-war rallies of 2003, half a million in New York City alone, and 8,000, not 5,000 thousand, in Sacramento—a vast difference from today‘s turnout.

Still unclear what teabaggers stand for, oddly, teabaggers oppose stimulus, even the stimulus package.  Dick Armey hates inflation.  Teabaggers also don‘t want earmarks—which makes sense.  And Michael Steele says teabaggers should fight cap-and-trade.

Some teabaggers said it themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I am very angry.  (INAUDIBLE) wants change, he can keep the change.  I want to go back to where we were at one time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Well, obviously if he sounds like he‘s got marbles in his mouth, that‘s just the presence of the camera.  But mostly, these teabaggers claim high taxes have brought them to their knees, a claim at odds with recent tax cuts for those pulling in less than a quarter million of a year, as the president pointed out today back at the real world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES:  We need to simplify a monstrous tax code that is far too complicated for most Americans to understand, but just complicated enough for the insiders who know how to game the system.  So, I‘ve already started by asking Paul Volcker and my economic recovery board to do a thorough review of how to simplify our tax code and to report back to me by the end of this year.  It‘s going to take time to undo the damage of years of carve-outs and loopholes.

But I want every American to know that we will rewrite the tax codes that have put your interest over any special interests.  For too long, we‘ve seen taxes use as a wedge to scare people into supporting policies that actually increase the burden on working people instead of helping them live their dreams.  That has to change, and that‘s the work that we‘ve begun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  In all seriousness, while the teabaggers may have been whipped up by FOX News, maybe misinformed about tax policy, their fears are real, and we salute their turnout today.  Can we have the video of the rally in Tallahassee, in Florida?  No?

All right.  Well, this is what the state house looked like there—the imposing sight that greeted slack-jawed teabaggers there today.

In addition to Neil Cavuto in Sacramento, we had Hackensack, Dixon, Dickinson, thousand oaks, Brownwood, Greenwood, Friendswood, Walnut Creek, Little Rock, The Twin Cities, Twin Falls, Marble Falls, Hot Springs, Grand Rapids, Cedar Rapids, Rogue River, Grosse Point, Lansing, Bangor, Bend, South Bend, Piscataway and Peoria.  Duncan, Arizona, Duncan, Oklahoma, Mansfield, Manchester, Bowling Green, Portsmouth, Mount Juliet, Mount Vernon, Tomball, Morehead City, Oak Harbor and finally Sag Harbor.

In the face of all that teabagging, the claim that this is not a movement is just not—you just can‘t swallow it, it‘s pure fallacy.

And lastly, to answer those protesters who say we are evil and non-journalistic and not fair and balanced in calling these tea bag protests—from the middle of the crushing throng of 300 protesters in Philadelphia, Eric Shawn of FOX News reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  We are just blocks from Independence Hall where our Founding Fathers, the democracy was born by our Founding Fathers back in 1776, including Philadelphia‘s own Benjamin Franklin.  And here are the remnants of the tea bag Tax Day protests that was held.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Well, he said it, probably just a slip of the tongue.

Let‘s turn to MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent and political columnist to “Newsweek,” who‘s fresh from the rally in Louisville today.

Thank you for your time tonight, sir.

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Glad to do it, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Sure, you say that now.  You were at one of these—you were at one of these things today?  I mean, did you get a clear picture of what they want?

FINEMAN:  Well, I was in Kentucky where I began my newspaper career at the “Courier-Journal” in Louisville, so I had a great time going to the rally there in front of the Jefferson County courthouse.  I think I actually blundered into one of the bigger tea bag rallies.  According to my old paper, “The Courier-Journal,” there may have been up to 1,000 people there.  It was a little bigger than I actually thought it was going to be.

And what do they want?  Well, my favorite hand lettered sign was the one that said, “I‘ll keep my money and my gun and you keep your TelePrompTer.”  So that sort of gives you an idea of what they‘re talking about.  They had some specifics.  They didn‘t want the bailouts.  They‘re worried about the deficits, which is a legitimate concern, even to the Democrats in Kentucky.

But more generally, Keith, these are people who are localists, not globalists, and they feel that they have no control over things.  They want the Washington money, by the way.  They want the extended unemployment benefit.  They want the spending on the roads.  They want the money for the hospital where they work.

But they don‘t want Washington control.  And the thing that kept going through my mind is that great old Eddy Arnold country song which said, “Make the world go away.”

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN:  That‘s the mentality of the people who are at this thing today in Louisville.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, and by the way, we‘ll get rid of the TelePrompTers.  I‘m assuming here for the president‘s speeches and Bill O‘Reilly and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and me.

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN:  And all the rest of us.

OLBERMANN:  Right.  After the FOX News reporter had this honesty moment here, after all the unending ridicule wound up himself calling it a tea bag tax protest, as you heard, I want to get to the other factors in a second.  But purely on the political theater versus political humiliation meter, where did this land?

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN:  Well, the point is, Keith, that I didn‘t interview all the people at the rally about this.  But my guess is that most of them thought a tea bag was a tea bag, OK?  So they had no sense whatsoever that there was a whole subtext to this, whatever urban language is involved, they don‘t know anything about, don‘t want to know anything about.

OLBERMANN:  Well, then, just judge it on it‘s .

FINEMAN:  It‘s just part of the point—part of the point.

OLBERMANN:  Just judge on its political merits, taking aside this avoidable—although not really very easily avoidable double en-tundra.

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN:  Well, these people are, this is not a—it was more than a pathetic turnout.  It was better than that, and it was grassrootsy.  It really was.  There are some people who‘d never been in politics before, but it doesn‘t add up to a party, Keith, and it doesn‘t really add up to a movement.

This is always part of the American landscape.  People who fear Washington, who fear being controlled by outside forces, who fear the other, fear the “them.”  You know, that‘s what this means—nothing more, but nothing less than that.  And, by the way, the people there did, at the end of the rally, take a few tea bags and go down to the Ohio River, and they stood on a bridge and threw the bags into the river, which probably helped the water quality and maybe even the flavor.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  But now, you pointed out what perhaps people at these things expected it to be or what perhaps they should have expected it to be.  The right-wing coverage of this was—this was a litmus test of, in a broad sense, anti-government outrage backlash.  If that‘s the litmus test that is being presented, what did we learn today?

FINEMAN:  Well, what we learned, it—as I said—it‘s an ever-present strain in American life and there is legitimate concern about the deficit, even among Democrats.  But this does not a party make, Keith.  And interesting—these are Ron Paul people, a lot of them.  These were Ross Perot people.  There were some anti-abortion types there.  There are even the sons and daughters of some of the anti-busing protesters that I covered when I first started in Louisville, I think.

OLBERMANN:  Wow.

FINEMAN:  And interestingly, some of the speakers had words of praise for Bill Clinton.  They look on Bill Clinton as a fiscal moderate.  Who would have thought it?

They praised his presidency for having cut the deficit.  They talked about George Bush having loosened the purse strings.  So, if the Republicans they think that this is a big—the next big wave that they as a party are going to catch, they‘ve got a lot of work to do.  It doesn‘t add up that way, at least so far.

OLBERMANN:  Oh, no.  No matter what the temptation might be, I‘m not dragging Bill Clinton into this.

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  Last thing -- 300 people in Philadelphia because it rained.

FINEMAN:  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  Are we already seeing how this is going to be spun here, because I heard the sound bite on the ABC newscast tonight saying, that this was a small beginning but that‘s the important part.  It was a beginning and on July 4th, it will sweep the nation.  Do you think so?

FINEMAN:  No.  Here‘s the point.  The Democratic mayor of Louisville, Jerry Abramson is pumping out the stimulus money as fast as he can get it. 

He‘s very popular.  He won re-election there a couple of years ago.  There

I think 507 precincts in Louisville, you know, he won all but nine of them.

               

And, of course, the people at the rally were from the nine precincts.  That gives you a rough idea that even in Louisville and in Kentucky, a county, Louisville is a city that Obama won, the president‘s policies are popular and the Republicans are still looking for a message.

OLBERMANN:  Howard Fineman of “Newsweek” and MSNBC and fresh back from his youthful indiscretions in Louisville—great thanks, as always, Howard.

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN:  OK, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  The self-martyrdom of the teabaggers or at least their promoters is embarrassing and there is an instructive, a tasteless joke about this from the ‘80s British grinch (ph) comedy show, “The Young Ones,” in which one character who is attempting self-crucifixion is reminded by a housemate that it never works because, quote, “There‘s no way you can ever hammer in the last nail.”

But there is a serious consideration here to escalation.  If today you pretend you‘re re-enacting the Boston Tea Party, then tomorrow, maybe you‘ll be pretending you‘re enacting the civil war, yesterday actually.

Rick Perry whipping a Texas crowd into shouts of “secede, secede,” and then, oh, so cleverly insisting he‘d never express any kind of support for actual secession, not if there was anybody around to quote him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The next dangerous step up by Republicans, who have nothing left with self-martyrdom and inciting people to ignore the verdict of the ballot box, the governor of Texas gets so rabble-rousing that some in the crowd shout “secede.”  But he‘s not talking about secession.

Bushed: Where were the protestors today about the $100 billion in taxes you and I and they have to pay because American corporations get to hide out in offshore tax havens?

And in Worsts: the Republicans do have an alternative economic money plan.  It‘s from Senator Burr of North Carolina—take the money and run.

You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Central ideal of secession is the essence of anarchy—just one of the arguments secession that President Lincoln made in his first inaugural address, only four months and seven—after seven southern states had seceded from the union.  The Republican who made his party the party of Lincoln, concluding that once secession is allowed to happen, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.

Our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN: The Republican governor of Texas, Rick Perry, seeming to prefer anarchy and despotism.  Governor Perry joining in today‘s teabagging and in false outrage over federal tax dollars that he is more than happy to spend.

Governor Perry telling teabaggers in Austin this morning that if any in the crowd were right-wing extremists, quote, “I‘m with you.”  Adding that Texans, quote, “will not be ignored.”  Quote, “We are sending a very clear message that we won‘t stand for our pockets to be picked, our children‘s futures to be mortgaged, and our rights to be taken away.  We will not be ignored.”

Not so much ignored as perhaps ignorance, when you consider that Texas gets back 88 cents out of every federal tax dollar it sends to Washington.  In comparison, Minnesota gets back just 46 cents, with only half of its Senate contingent present—true, taxation without representation.  Delaware only 42 cents, less than half of what Texas gets back.

Then there is the $17 billion that Texas received after President Obama signed the stimulus package into law.  That is billion, with a B.  None of these facts are stopping Governor Perry from visiting Harold—I mean, Glenn Beck country, when he threw his support behind a resolution declaring the sovereignty of Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY, ® TEXAS:  I believe the federal government has become oppressive.  I believe it‘s become oppressive in its size, its intrusion in the lives of its citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state.  We think it‘s time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas.  There is a point in time where you stand up and say enough is enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Time now to call in Jim Moore, “Huffington Post” contributor, co-author of “Bush‘s Brain.”

Mr. Moore, good evening.

JAMES MOORE, “BUSH‘S BRAIN”:  Hi, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Governor Perry obviously stopped just short of endorsing secession and told reporters today that Texans might at some point get so fed up that they would want to secede.  But for now, he sees no reason to do that.  But during the speech today in Austin, while he spoke, there were several shouts from the audience of “secede.”  Is the governor making too subtle a distinction when it appears that secession is what many of the people listening to him are hearing anyway?

MOORE:  And that‘s exactly what this governor is saying.  He‘s trying to stir up his sort of radical friends to get them excited about him as governor.

You know, Keith, in defense of Texas, though, you have to remember that we‘ve given the world great writers, artists, philanthropists, business people out in the Silicon Hills not far west of here.  There are people in the tech industry doing great things.  Texas has done a lot of very good stuff for this country but people turn on their television, and unfortunately, they see this clownish suit (ph) governor of ours doing these silly things and saying these foolish things that are a bit of an embarrassment to all of us down here.

Now, just as a bit of context, as the previous governor was leaving here to go to Washington, there was a joke making the rounds in the Texas capitol press corps that his car had a bumper sticker that said, “If you think I was bad, wait until you see the guy who replaces me.”  So that‘s what you‘re looking at right now.

OLBERMANN:  (INAUDIBLE).

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  This report from Homeland Security that concluded that lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat to the United States.  Your point of stirring up the more right-wing of his followers with Governor Perry and with, you know, Congresswoman Bachmann and other people like that, has this moved beyond mere political rhetoric to something they don‘t—could not control?  Don‘t have—don‘t have a sense of how irresponsible it might or sort of irresponsible levels it might reach?

MOORE:  I think, Keith, it‘s actually transcended to irresponsibility already.

It wasn‘t that long ago, a little over 10 years ago in this state, that we had a separatist movement called the “Republic of Texas” which gained more and more political support, and then the leaders of it, a very smart guy, by the way, named Rick McLaren, who is basing his arguments on almost the same things that Rick Perry was saying, took a group of followers out on the Davis Mountains into west Texas.  This ended up in a week-long standoff with the police.  People died.  There was a gunfight and Mr. McLaren is now doing life in prison.

And yet now, we‘re seeing our governor saying the same thing.  It‘s fomenting the kind of unrest, this civil unrest.  It‘s just utterly irresponsible for a governor to do this kind of thing.

OLBERMANN:  And how much of this desire for sovereignty is due to the primary challenge that he may get from Senator Hutchison?

MOORE:  I don‘t think there‘s any doubt that that‘s got a lot to do with this.  What you‘re talking about is someone who is facing a tough race and if he can find some grassroots thing to argue and energize people.  And, of course, the whole subtext of this is about the current administration and he‘s going to be the best guy to deal with the present administration.  But he‘s got a fight on his hands and a lot of people think that he‘s going to be tossed out on his ear.

OLBERMANN:  Jim Moore, the editor of MooreThink.com and co-author of

“Bush‘s Brain.”  To paraphrase the governor of South Carolina before the

Civil War, “Texas, too small for a country, too big for an insane asylum” -

thank you, Jim.

               

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  What was the title of that sci-fi novel?  “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”?  Look, it‘s sheep in Wales with LED lights on them being played pong with.

And speaking of sheep, those tea bag protesters and their FOX shepherds, anybody out there protesting the $100 billion in taxes we have to pay because the corporations get to use tax shelters in the Cayman Islands?  Bushed ahead.

(COMMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Bushed in a moment, and don‘t tell the teabaggers, but some of the people underwriting those protests today are the same people who enabled the corporations to skirt $100 billions a year in taxes—taxes that teabaggers wind up paying.

First, on this date in 1865, at 7:22 in the morning, he belonged to

the ages.  President Lincoln died from the assassin‘s bullet from the night

before.  And somehow, as a nation, we commemorate this solemn anniversary

by making it the day that taxes are due.

               

Let‘s play Oddball.

We begin in Rickanbechens (ph), Wales, where life is simple for the Wales sheep farmer, but soon, one day, (INAUDIBLE) head, arrived themselves into a one big sheep.  The animals seem to have made a sudden leap on the evolutionary ladder.  This impressive artistry is actually aided by some computer work.  Shocking as that might seem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There are certain bits of it where we did have a little bit of help.  But in general, we‘ve got most of the shapes really by using the dogs.  The dogs were very, very able.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Those are robo-dogs, right?  And the extreme herding is not limited to the daylight hours.  Wearing LED vests, the sheep are in their finest, ready for a night on the town, including a game of pong and fireworks.

To Acworth, Georgia, where the missing link has surfaced and he‘s fighting crime.  This is surveillance video inside a convenience store.  The guy in the white t-shirt emptied the register after holding a knife to the clerk‘s throat.  After the perp got the money, he made a dash to the exit, but not before “Captain Caveman” decked him with a folding-up ladder.  The cork drop most of the cash and took, the Good Samaritan who would only identify himself as reporters as the “caveman” went back to drinking his coffee and marveling at the store supply of cigarette lighters.

Homeland Security Department warns of a possible resurgence of Neo-Nazi groups.  So, Michelle Malkin and Sean Hannity immediately decided the department is talking about them.

And from the Neo-Nazis to the proto-Nazis—Boss Limbaugh on the sea rescue of Captain Phillips.  “The teenagers shot on the high seas at the order of President Obama, he said.  These stories are ahead.

But first—because they maybe gone but their deeds outlive them, the

headlines lingering from the previous administration‘s 50 running scandals

Still Bushed.

               

Number three: Torture-gate.  “The Murdoch Street Journal” now says President Obama is leaning towards the lifers at CIA, the ones who keep secret of the specifics about the agency‘s crimes of torture and domestic spying.  These are the follow-up Justice Department rationalization memos we were told were to be released but have not been.  Nothing in them, mind you, just, “The Journal” reports, details like how President Bush was told it was legal to bang a detainee‘s head against the wall as long as the head was being held and the force of the banging was controlled by the interrogator.

Let‘s try that on a volunteer.  John Yoo?  John Yoo in the audience?

The point of “The Journal‘s” article and the leak of a detail like that might seem inscrutable, but it isn‘t.  Just listen to this part of the article, “People familiar with the matter said some senior intelligence advisers to the president raised fear that releasing the two most sensitive memos could cause the Obama administration to be alienated from the CIA‘s rank and file as happened during the Bush administration when Porter Goss, who was unpopular among CIA officers, headed the agency.”

You got it now?  It‘s a warning, via a leak through the “Wall Street Journal,” from the CIA to Obama and new director Panetta.  Keep the secrets secret, or we‘ll leave you hanging. 

Number two, exporting democracy-gate.  Mr. Bush‘s triumph in Afghanistan keeps getting better and better.  First, his president there, Mr. Karzai, unilaterally approved legislation that effectively legalizes marital rape.  Now, Afghan women have protested, 300 of them.  They were met by, today, 1,000 male counter-protesters, who, like the CIA with the “Wall Street Journal,” spoke mostly in symbols.  They threw stones at the women protesting the legalized rape.  But small stones, this time. 

And number one, tea bag-gate.  As handfuls of sheep possibly wearing Eli D vests, as seen earlier in Oddball, are herded into made for TV protests of taxation with representation, the US Public Interest Research Group has now analyzed a Senate report from last year that showed just how much we lose as a nation in tax revenues hidden by corporations in places like the Cayman Islands.  The opportunities to do so growing immeasurably under the Bush administration. 

The total figure is up to 800 billion dollars a year.  But U.S. has now figured it out state by state.  Texas would be losing eight billion a year, eight billion its ordinary citizens have to pay in taxes.  So is New York State at that amount.  Residents of California have to make up 11 billion lost to tax dodge island.  The District of Columbia, 713 million.  Even Alaska—Alaska, 174 million that Alaskans have to pay because Alaskan corporations do not. 

So where are your tea bag protests about that?  Where is the Fox out of business network on this corporate piracy?  Where is Neil Cavuto explaining to the simpletons in Sacramento that they‘re getting ripped off by international outfits like News Corp?  Where is captain tea bag himself, Glenn Beck?  Why don‘t you take credit for this idea from someone else?  Get up there and weep about U.S. corporations making us, all of us, rich and poor, pay 100 billion dollars of their taxes so we get the privilege of getting to buy their products and bail out their failures? 

Get up there and do that, and I‘ll march with you.  Until then, you‘re just a bunch of greedy, water carrying corporate slave hypocrites defending the rich against the poor. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  In its latest threat assessment, the Department of Homeland Security warns of a possible increase in violence from right wing extremists.  Extremists being defined as those who are hate oriented and single issue.  Our third story, Michelle Malkin, the manatee and their ilk have decided this assessment must be referring to them.  Remember, just because you‘re paranoid does not mean they are out to get you. 

In a classified report dated the 7th of this month, what Michelle Malkin refers to as the DHS hit job, Homeland‘s Office of Intelligence and Analysis assessing that the current economic and political climate may help right wing extremist groups with recruitment.  “Right wing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.  The economic down turn, the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for right wing radicalization and recruitment.” 

The potential mobilizing issues for such recruitment, immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use.  Originally intended for distribution to law enforcement, this assessment was leaked to conservative blogger, former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock on Monday.  Cue the hyperventilation. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  So what you have here, you have a report from Janet Napolitano and Barack Obama, Department of Homeland Security, portraying standard, ordinary, everyday conservatives as posing a bigger threat to this country than al Qaeda terrorists or genuine enemies of this country like Kim Jong-il.  You wouldn‘t write anything about Kim Jong-il like this.  They wouldn‘t write anything about Obama—Osama bin Laden. 

DR. JAMES DOBSON, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY:  Isn‘t it interesting that the media has jumped all over this when there aren‘t any examples of it.  There are no Timothy McVeighs out there right now. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The federal government is going to begin gathering information on right wing extremist activity in the United States.  Does that mean they‘re going to be sending spies to these tea parties? 

MICHELLE MALKIN, CONSERVATIVE STRATEGIST:  It‘s free speech and the Obama administration and trying to shut it down, because, as I pointed out before, they don‘t like any kind of disagreement or dissent. 

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  I wonder if they have a report on left-wing fanatics.  You know, like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  As Jonah Goldberg, who is smarter than Sean Hannity, wondered why the word left wing, or the phrase left wing, had never been used in previous DHS assessments, Mr. Goldberg‘s own readers had to point out to him in April of 2001, the Department of Energy released a report titled “Left Wing Extremism, the Current Threat.”  Also January 26th, 2009, six days into the Obama administration, DHS filed this assessment, “left wing extremists likely to increase use of cyber attacks over the coming decade.”  

Perhaps Miss Malkin and Mr. Goldberg and others should also note this, the acting under secretary of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis is a man named Roger Mackin.  Mr. Mackin was appointed by that ultra-liberal, left wing, Rush Limbaugh baiting extremist George W. Bush. 

Time to call in Arianna Huffington, co-founder, editor of “Huffington Post.”  Arianna, thanks for your time tonight. 

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  Nowhere in this report does the word conservative come up, nor the name Rush Limbaugh.  Why is the right trying to make this about them? 

HUFFINGTON:  One simple word, desperation.  They don‘t have anything else going for them at the moment, except this attempt to make stuff up.  After all, their two big ideas, tax cuts and deregulation, have failed dramatically over the last eight years.  So now they‘re actually forced to identify. 

That‘s what I find amazing.  They actually willingly identify with these right wing extremists.  We‘re talking about white supremacists.  We are talking about very marginal extreme groups that have nothing to do with conservatism or Republicanism.  And yet, Michelle Malkin and Sean Hannity and Jonah Goldberg are choosing to identify with them.  That‘s desperation and nothing else. 

OLBERMANN:  So that‘s the overall premise here?  If you have nothing, what you need to do is make it look like it‘s not that you have nothing, but you have been denied something?  In other words, you‘re not in a void, you have been excluded in some way.  It‘s self martyrdom.  Does it have much of a shelf life? 

HUFFINGTON:  I don‘t think so.  I don‘t really think it goes beyond the echo chamber that they represent and inhabit.  I think that‘s why they actually went to desperation ploy two, which was to take one line from the report, the line about the possibility that right wing extremist groups could target returning vets, and try to recruit them.  And they took that one line and they tried to pretend that it meant that Obama is targeting vets by saying that, which is a little bit like saying that the police are targeting children, if they‘re issuing warnings about pedophiles. 

OLBERMANN:  And also, last September, correct me if I‘m wrong—last September, George Bush was still president.  Homeland Security had an assessment on this exact issue at that point, in which it emphasized how right wing extremists were using backlashes against immigration as a recruiting tool.  Where was the conservative outrage about that report from George Bush‘s Homeland Security? 

HUFFINGTON:  At the time, remember, Keith, conservatives were very preoccupied with trying to paint Barack Obama as a socialist palling around with terrorists.  They were totally consumed with warning the nation against the possibility that he might get elected. 

But it‘s also something bigger, which is the tendency of so many in the conservative movement to be able to argue both sides of a case.  Remember, we had Rush Limbaugh, just a few days ago, attacking Obama for not taking the pirate situation seriously.  And as soon as the pirate situation was, for that particular instance, resolved successfully, attacking him for actually giving the order to shoot down three black Muslim teenagers. 

So we‘re seeing that again and again.  We saw it with Sarah Palin.  Remember, we were told by Bill O‘Reilly that the fact that her daughter got pregnant had nothing to do with her, but when it comes to Jamie Spears, it was entirely her mother‘s fault. 

OLBERMANN:  Last point here, on a political level, it‘s entertainment.  If you‘re of a certain political point of view, it‘s hilarious.  It feels like vindication.  It feels like catharsis to see a party so desperate that it would, as you say, willingly associate itself with people who would happily damage individuals or this country for their own perverse reasons. 

But on a greater level, in terms of a society, how dangerous is this that people like Rush Limbaugh and people even like Sean Hannity would lend whatever credibility they have in their own microscopic little worlds to potential—people who would potentially turn to violence against other citizens here? 

HUFFINGTON:  What I actually find much more dangerous is the fact that you have members of Congress resorting to really absurd statements.  Because we do need a two-party system, at least.  We may need more than two parties, but we at least need two parties.  So when you have Congressmen Baucus identify 17 socialists and Michelle Bachmann talk about reeducation camps, that, for me, is even more dangerous than what Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin are doing. 

OLBERMANN:  Obviously Baucus just went into reruns.  He got ahold of the McCarthy book and thought nobody would remember.  Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor of “Huffington Post,” it‘s always a pleasure.  Thank you for your time tonight. 

HUFFINGTON:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Meanwhile, Boss Limbaugh moves closer to the day he alienates even his own crowd.  What if Republican presidents had ordered black teenage Muslims killed, as Obama did in the pirate rescue.  That‘s right, nobody in Iraq was black, teenaged or Muslim.

And there is too a Republican alternative to the Obama economic plan.  Senator Richard Burr reveals it.  Take all your money out of the bank and carry it with you at all times.  Worst persons next.  This is COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Boss LIVE EVENT‘s latest leadership mockingly attacked the president because the three pirates killed were Muslim teenagers.  That‘s next, but first time for COUNTDOWN‘s number two, tonight‘s worst persons in the world. 

The bronze to Bill-O the clown.  In a permanent state of Def-Con Five over the possible Spanish indictments of Bushies for war crimes.  “The president says he wants to improve the USA‘s image in the world.  So he must, must stand up against Spain, which wants to damage America.  Of course, this is an outrage, a transparent attempt to put the USA on trial and make us the villain in the terror war.” 

Not the USA, dim bulb, the Bush administration.  “We have a country, Spain, that may attempt to embarrass America in front of the world.  What say you, President Obama?” 

Does this remind you of anything, like an Obama rally in New Hampshire in January 2008? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Hey, senator?  A word, please? 

Senator, a word, please?  Senator, we came all the way up to see you. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  What say you, President Obama?  Unofficially, I‘m told, the president‘s response is, he says he‘ll get back to Mr. O‘Reilly during a subsequent lifetime. 

Our runner up, Eric Telford of American‘s for Prosperity, one of the corporate sponsors of the completely spontaneous Operation Tea Bag.  Again, it‘s completely spontaneous, which is why Mr. Telford posted a message on Facebook yesterday offering, on behalf of his group, and the also totally uninvolved Heritage Foundation, 5,000 dollars in prizes for the best promotion of Tea Bagging Day, best testimonial, best frustration video, best letter.  And my favorite, number four, “give it a name.  Convey the threat of government over-spending and/or excessive debt using ten words or less.  The single best idea, as voted on by visitors to the website, will receive 250 dollars and be the basis for a new video.”

Has anyone yet submitted “Lego My Tea Bag?” 

And our winner tonight, Senator—Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina—and Rachel will have much more on this when she joins you at the top of the hour.  According to a newspaper in Hendersonville, in that state, he told his constituents that last fall, as the economic crisis, that he knew exactly what to do.  “On Friday night, I called my wife and I said, Brooke, I‘m not coming home this weekend.  I will call you on Monday.  Tonight, I want you to go the ATM machine.  And I want you to draw out everything it will let you take.  And I want you to tomorrow.  And I want you to go Sunday.”

So, there it is.  For anybody who thought the Republicans didn‘t actually have a plan to offer as an alternative to the Obama stimulus and the bail outs, you were wrong.  There it is, the Senator Burr plan.  Start a run on the banks!  Ahh!  Senator Richard Burr, that is, today‘s worst person in the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  As anyone could have predicted, Somali piracy is far from over.  And late yesterday, an American freighter was attacked but escaped.  Earlier that same day, Boss Limbaugh, sitting safely on his freighter in his studio, once more focused his gaze on Sunday‘s rescue of Captain Richard Phillips by the Navy. 

Limbaugh found a particularly subversive way to play the race card, by presuming that a white Republican president would have caught hell had he would have done what was done on Obama‘s watch.  In our number one story on the COUNTDOWN, Limbaugh says, quote, I just imagine the hue and cry had a Republican president ordered the shooting of black Muslim teenagers. 

Again, nobody in Iraq was black or Muslim or a teenager?  Less than 24 hours ago, Somali pirates attacked the American freighter Liberty Sun with grenades and automatic weapons.  The cargo ship was damaged but it escaped with evasive maneuvers, and it continued, under US Navy guard, to Mombasa, in Kenya, with its delivery of food for a United Nations relief program.  Some of the food destined for Somalia. 

And today the secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton, vowed to help shippers improve their defenses.  Quoting, these pirates are criminals.  You will recall that Navy Seals shot and killed three pirates when it became clear that Captain Phillips, having become a hostage, an alternate to his crew, was himself in imminent danger.  One of the pirates holding an AK-47 to his back. 

But the man who leads the Republican party, Boss Limbaugh delighted in mockingly calling those pirates merchant marine organizers.  And then wittily took their side. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH:  Now just imagine the hue and cry had a Republican president ordered the shooting of black teenagers on the high seas.  They were kids.  And also the story—the story is—I don‘t know if it‘s true or not, but the—apparently, the hijackers, these kids, the merchant marine organizers, Muslim kids, were upset.  They wanted to surrender—they wanted to give the captain back and head home, because they were running out of food.  They were running out of fuel.  They were surrounded by all these U.S. Navy ships, big ships.  And they just wanted out of there. 

That‘s the story, but then when one of them put a gun to the back of the captain, Mr. Phillips, then bam, bam, bam, there you have it.  And three teenagers shot on the high seas at the order of President Obama. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Let‘s turn now to the Washington editor of “The Nation Magazine,” Chris Hayes.  Good evening, Chris. 

CHRIS HAYES, “THE NATION MAGAZINE”:  Good evening, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  I go along with one thing he said there, which is, I don‘t know if it‘s true or not.  I think that should be his anthem.  But to get his hooks into this in this most despicable way possible, to reshape it into the shooting of black teenagers, this is—in a different context, this would be a beautiful thing to witness, if it were not basically insane.

HAYES:  It‘s very weird.  I mean, I don‘t know—I guess I‘m trying to figure out out of what world view or coherent set of sort of ideological principles the critique that he‘s leveraging would emanate out of.  Something tells me that were the standoff to perpetuate and for nothing to be done, that the very same Rush Limbaugh would be blasting the president for being a weak-kneed, lily-livered liberal. 

OLBERMANN:  He‘d done that in advance.  He did that before there was a decision to this.  He‘d done exactly that. 

HAYES:  Exactly.  So the only conclusion to draw is that there is no actual politics here.  There‘s no genuine set of core principals.  There is essentially one fixed idea, which is the hatred of President Barack Obama and anything he does. 

OLBERMANN:  Presumably, this was an attempt, as much of what he claims is at some sort of clever satire.  But let‘s go back to the original point here.  The idea was that President Bush would not have been given a pass on taking out those pirates or any other Republican president or presumably any other white president.  That president was, in fact, given a pass for years as the war in Iraq killed innocents, some teenagers, some Muslims, some people of color, some who were all three, again and again, along with the intended targets.  And many of the intended targets were as not guilty as the pirates. 

The whole premise of this, on a factual basis, there‘s nobody who could argue this is true, is there? 

HAYES:  Look, I wish we lived in the hypothetical world that Rush Limbaugh posits, in which there is a hue and cry and some sort of basic level for the death of non-white foreign citizens in whatever context.  And I think in this case, the violence was most likely justified.  But how often do people talk about the possibly hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians that have died in Iraq?  It is not part of our political discourse at all. 

It is not mentioned by members of either political party.  They are completely absent from the conversation that we have about Iraq and about foreign policy in general. 

OLBERMANN:  I mentioned here yesterday that—excuse me, I‘m getting choked up over this.  Excuse me.  I mentioned here yesterday that Limbaugh had attacked Jonah Goldberg, who had praised the president‘s role in the Navy Seal rescue.  What under pinned that was you can‘t, even for a second, be positive towards a political figure with which you disagree. 

That‘s madness.  I mean, even Jonah Goldberg recognizes that that‘s madness, isn‘t it? 

HAYES:  Yes.  I mean, there‘s no—again, conservatism is going to take some form in the years to come.  And that form is presumably going to have some kind of set of core principals.  Even the notorious and much-covered teabaggers of today I think had some basic, even if it‘s sort of visceral and not politically well thought out—some basic set of ideological principles. 

Rush Limbaugh has set himself up in opposition of the president.  And that‘s essentially the beginning and end of what his politics are. 

OLBERMANN:  It‘s the argument sketch from Monty Python.  It‘s automatic gain saying, as the phrase.  Whatever he says—if he says the sun is coming up in the east tomorrow, Limbaugh would say, no, it can‘t be.  He‘s a liberal.  It‘s coming up on the left side. 

Chris Hayes of “The Nation,” thanks, as always.  My apology.  The water goes down the wrong way.

HAYES:  No sweat, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  That‘s COUNTDOWN for this the 2,167th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq.  I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.

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