updated 5/12/2010 9:14:35 AM ET 2010-05-12T13:14:35

Guest: Joe Romm, Marjorie Cohn, Gillian Tett, Michael Musto

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KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over):  Which of these stories will you

be talking about tomorrow?

Gusher: The Gulf spill disaster hearings on Capitol Hill and if blame

were oil, the country would now have enough for a thousand years.  The

president of B.P. America points the finger at the operator of the rig

safety device.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAMAR MCKAY, PRES., B.P. NORTH AMERICA:  Why did Transocean‘s blowout

preventer, the key fail-safe mechanism, fail to shut in the well and

release the rig?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Political fame theater reviewed by Howard Fineman; the

actual blame assignment analyzed by Joe Romm.

The Supreme Court—release the Kagan.

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SEN. JEFF SESSIONS ®, ALABAMA:  The nominee has thin experience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  This is not just a conservative debate.  Tonight, it‘s a

liberal one.  Lawrence O‘Donnell in defense of Elena Kagan.  Professor

Marjorie Cohn prosecutes the question: this is a liberal Supreme Court

justice?

It changed again.  First, Britain‘s conservatives will form a

coalition with the Lib Dems.  Then Labour Prime Minister Brown was to stay

on, resign by September so his successor could form a coalition with the

Lib Dems.  Tonight, the Lib/Lab Coalition is dead.  Brown has quit

effective immediately.  The Liberal Democrat leader is the new deputy prime

minister and Conservative leader David Cameron is the new prime minister.

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DAVID CAMERON, CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADER:  Her majesty, the queen, has

asked me to form a new government and I have accepted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  The far left and the far right in a coalition during a

recession.  Well, that will last.

“Worsts”: Nightmare in Seattle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You got me?  I‘m going to beat the (EXPLETIVE

DELETED) Mexican piss out of you homey.  You feel me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  And one of the founders of the Family Research Council

lately involve in a programming promising, quote, “therapy” to help

homosexuals, quote, “recover,” caught with a rent-a-boy, some sort of field

research—resigns from his program.  Comments from—that‘s right—

Michael Musto.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.

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MICHAEL MUSTO, THE VILLAGE VOICE:  It‘s got to hurt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

At two separate Senate hearings, representatives from three oil

drilling companies agreed on one key fact about the Gulf of Mexico oil

spill: it is too early to start pointing fingers at them.

In our fifth story: It turns out it may be quite an appropriate time

to start pointing fingers at everybody else.

The afternoon hearing kicked off with Republican Senators Inhofe and

Vitter—Vitter of Louisiana saying not just that it‘s too early for

finger-pointing.  It‘s too soon for Congress even to speak to the oil

executives because cleanup and prevention efforts are still underway and

presumably, the three executives are urgently needed back on deck to resume

skimming and scooping oil scum from the Gulf.

To understand just what they were up to today, a quick tutorial on how

the Deepwater Horizon rig in question worked.  The floating rig itself was

owned and operated by a company called Transocean.  B.P. hired Transocean

to bring the rig over to the site and at least in the Gulf and drill and

operate the well there.  Drill, baby, drill!

Halliburton was then hired to do the cementing, sealing the well to

the pipeline that led back to the rig.

And if you believe all of those companies today, we know that all of

those companies screwed up somehow and it‘s too early to blame any of those

companies.

We begin with B.P. North American president, Lamar McKay, talking

about the questions B.P. has about Halliburton‘s cement work and about

Transocean.

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MCKAY:  Why did Transocean‘s blowout preventer, the key fail safe

mechanism, fail to shut in the well and release the rig?  B.P., as a

leaseholder and operator of the well, hired Transocean to drill that well. 

Transocean, as owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig,

had the responsibility for the safety of drilling operations.

We don‘t know yet precisely what happened on the night of April 20th,

but what we do know is that there were anomalous pressure test readings

prior to the explosion.  These could have raised concerns about well

control prior to the operation to replace mud with sea water in the well in

preparation for setting of the cement plug.

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OLBERMANN:  In his prepared remarks, Transocean‘s president, Steven

Newman, reminded the Senate that offshore drilling begins and ends with the

operator.  Quote, “In this case, B.P.,” like Mr. McKay, however, Mr. Newman

seldom mentioned exactly who did the cementing—Halliburton.  But he

wondered whether Halliburton cementing might be the reason Transocean‘s

blowout preventer did not, you know, blow out prevent.

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STEVEN NEWMAN, PRES., CEO, TRANSOCEAN:  The one thing we know is that

on the evening of April 20th, there was a sudden, catastrophic failure of

the cement, the casing or both.  Was the well properly designed?  Were

there problems with the casing or the seal assembly?

Was the casing properly cemented?  And the well effectively sealed? 

Were all appropriate tests run on the cement and the casing?  Were the

blowout preventers damaged by the surge that emanated from the well?

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OLBERMANN:  Like the other executives, Halliburton safety chief, Tim

Probert, had hard questions about the work done by two out of three

companies testifying today, telling the Senate that Halliburton only did

exactly what B.P. hired it to do and none of this would have happened if

not for the failure of Transocean‘s blowout preventer or—BOP.

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TIM PROBERT, CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER, HALLIBURTON:  No one should rush to

judgment.  However, two things can be said with some certainty.  The casing

shoe was cemented 20 hours prior to the tragic incident and had the BOP

functioned as expected, this catastrophe would not have taken place.

At the outset, I need to emphasize that Halliburton, as a service

provider to the well owner, is contractually bound to comply with the well

owner‘s instructions and all matters relating to the performance of work-

related activities.  Halliburton is confident that the cementing work on

the Mississippi Canyon 252 well was completed in accordance with the

requirements of the well owner‘s well construction plan.

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OLBERMANN:  Deciphering the tech questions like BYOBOP in the moment,

first, back to the spill thrill on the Hill with MSNBC political analyst,

Howard Fineman, also senior Washington correspondent and political

columnist for “Newsweek.”

Howard, good evening.

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Hi, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Actually, I left out a couple of the fingers in the

finger-pointing as the executives were sometimes saying, hey, we did

everything in line the MMS, Minerals Service, the agency that oversees the

drilling.  Today, the Obama administration seemed to be acknowledging that

there were problems there with a big shakeup.

Can you add that finger into the equation?

FINEMAN:  Yes.  By the way, I should say, after talking to Democrats

today after the hearings, I think there should be a B.S. preventer up on

the Hill.  That didn‘t work either—that didn‘t work either—

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

FINEMAN:  -- as a matter of fact.

Here‘s the thing.  The Minerals Management Service, you use the word

“oversees” this process.  That is a—that is precisely what they haven‘t

been doing.  That goes back to the Bush administration, but, frankly, it

continued in the early days of the Obama administration.

The fundamental problem with that agency, which is part of the

Department of Interior, is that it has two conflicting jobs.  One of them

is to collect money from oil leases, royalties that amount to about, I

think, $13 billion a year.  It‘s a big chunk of change for the federal

treasury.

Their other job is to supposedly see the leases are proper; that they

won‘t cause environmental damage; that they‘ve been properly investigated

for safety and environmental management.  The fact is this agency has been

a mess for years.

You may recall, Keith, this is the agency that out in their Denver

office, there was literally sex going on between the regulators and the

industry.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

FINEMAN:  And that‘s who these people are.  And I think the Obama

administration only now is seeing that they needed to begin the shakeup the

moment that Obama came into office.

OLBERMANN:  Well, there‘s oversight and there‘s oversight.  So—

FINEMAN:  Right.

OLBERMANN:  The B.P. shareholder who sued the company today claiming

that B.P. was knowingly cutting safety cost in violation of the commitments

after the Texas refinery blast, Texas City, and spending $16 million to

lobby against tougher regulation, by which I mean fight against any

regulation.

FINEMAN:  Right.

OLBERMANN:  How long is that Bush era voluntary self-regulation regime

going to last now?

FINEMAN:  Well, I think it‘s got—I think it‘s going to end because

it‘s got to end.  And I think that‘s clear.  What happened here is that

B.P. presented a plan for drilling this deep well that was based on an

earlier environmental impact statement of the whole Gulf of Mexico that was

done under the Bush administration and said, hey, the Bushies said it was

fine.  Please approve this.

And the person at the Minerals Management Service that was supposed to

take a close look at it said, well, OK, if the overall plan was approved

for the whole Gulf and it won‘t cause serious environmental dangers then

I‘ll improve this specific one.  He basically waved the thing on through

last April and now, you see the result.

As the Democrats I was talking to pointed out, there‘s a total

conflict between what they said in that application for the lease, mainly

that they had systems that could control any damage that would happen and

what B.P. and Halliburton and everybody else is saying now, which is: we

are trying everything because this is all a new thing to us.

OLBERMANN:  A fair number of Republicans are calling for stricter

regulation.  Do we expect to see them onboard, though, if bills get written

or are they just calling for it and hoping it happens without, you know, a

bill being passed?

FINEMAN:  Well, let me try an analogy here.  You know how on those old

John Wayne movies when John Wayne jumps down off the stagecoach and gets in

with the horses—

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  OK.

FINEMAN:  -- for the purpose of riding them but slowing them down? 

OK.  That‘s what‘s happening here.  Barrasso of Wyoming, Murkowski of

Alaska—they are jumping down in there to try to slow the horses because

there‘s a going to be a lot of sentiment on the Hill to greatly restrict

offshore oil drilling even though President Obama proposed it.

OLBERMANN:  Do you have video of that?

FINEMAN:  Of him proposing it?

OLBERMANN:  No, of Senator Murkowski jumping on the horse?

FINEMAN:  Not yet.  But, you know, you never know.  It‘s too early in

the process.

OLBERMANN:  Check with some of your “Newsweek” colleagues.

FINEMAN:  OK.

OLBERMANN:  Howard Fineman of MSNBC and “Newsweek”—as always, great

thanks for your imagery tonight.

FINEMAN:  OK.  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  All right, the text side of this.  Let‘s turn now to Joe

Romm, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, editor of

ClimateProgress.org and author of “Straight Up,” which is also a book whose

subtitles too long for television.

Thanks for joining us, Joe.

JOE ROMM, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  Thanks for having me, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Should we be relieved by today‘s hearings in a perverse

way now that we know no one was at fault?

ROMM:  Yes, it was a remarkable circular firing squad.  B.P. said,

hey, they just leased the rig and the blowout preventer should have avoided

the whole thing.  Transocean said, hey, the blowout preventer didn‘t work

because there was a blowout.  And Halliburton said they were following

orders.

I mean, really, do we want these guys between us and a massive oil

spill?  You know, I think the bottom line is, until we get to the—until

we have really figure out what happened here, we have to really put the

brakes on new drilling.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  Everybody got blamed there except the dinosaurs who

died creating the oil.  But you mentioned Halliburton following orders—

they said they were following orders not just about this spill, but on a

spill with totally different owners and operators last year offshore off

Australia.  Any way we can help Halliburton avoid all these irresponsible

oil companies that keep screwing up the good Halliburton name?

ROMM:  Yes.  Well, one has to remember, this was a company that was

run by Dick Cheney.

OLBERMANN:  Really?  I didn‘t know that.  Is that true?

ROMM:  It‘s been rumored.  Dick Cheney is still in hiding, though, so

we don‘t know for sure.  But, you know—and then, for eight years, Cheney

was in charge of the regulations for this industry.  I think the only way

that Halliburton is going to avoid irresponsible companies is if it stops

working for British Petroleum.

OLBERMANN:  Does the—did the oil industry to some degree create its

own catch-22, though, in testimony today that either that one of them was

at fault in which we can‘t trust them with the safety of our waters and

shores, or none of them was at fault, in which case there might be no way

to prevent this from happening again for certain?  And either way, doesn‘t

that mean no more drilling?

ROMM:  Yes.  I think we need a commission like we had after the

Challenger disaster, the Exxon Valdez disaster.  Until we know exactly what

happened, I agree with you.  One has to be very reluctant to keep going

down this voluntary “trust us” self-regulation approach.  Absolutely.

OLBERMANN:  How much trouble does that—I mentioned the shareholder

lawsuit against B.P. by one of its own people—how much could that be in

terms of trouble?  Because the company is accused of violating the terms of

its settlement after a similar suit had followed the horrible blast at

Texas City.  What now?

ROMM:  Well, the company has certainly been reckless.  And it‘s got

the worst safety record in the business.  And—but the fact of the matter

is, it‘s making money hand over fist.  It can pay for the cleanup to date

with just four days of profits.

So, the only thing it‘s going to notice is if there is—you know,

number one, very serious regulation put on the industry.  Number two, we‘ve

got to cut back on the oil subsidies to this industry.  And number three,

you know, Kerry and Lieberman are going to announce a clean energy bill. 

We have to get off the dirty, unsafe fuels of the 19th century and on to

the clean safe fuels of the 20th century once and for all.

OLBERMANN:  And, yet, there is an argument being made using this.  Do

you understand even the parameters of this argument that‘s being made by

some in the Republican Party that this is a reason to drill more?  That

this disaster is a reason to do more drilling—is that because we lost so

much oil during this disaster we have to find some more to replace the oil

that the oil companies just blew?

ROMM:  Well, I think it‘s safe to say that, you know, everything is an

excuse to drill more according to conservatives.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

ROMM:  But the bottom line is, we cannot drill our way out of this

problem.  We use 25 percent of the world‘s oil and we have 2 percent of the

world‘s oil reserves.  And it‘s time to really push energy efficiency, fuel

economy and clean energy.

OLBERMANN:  Joe Romm, Center for American Progress—great thanks for

your time once again.

ROMM:  Thanks for having me, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  There is considerable finger-pointing going on as well

over the latest nominee to the Supreme Court.  On the right, it is the

usual and penetrable content-free nonsense.  On the left, it is about

serious stuff.  Lawrence O‘Donnell for, Professor Marjorie Cohn—against

the nominee Elena Kagan.  Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  It is refreshing that there can be a substantive political

debate about the merits of the Supreme Court nominee.  Unfortunately, we

have to get two liberals to hold that debate.  So, we will.

Speaking of liberal, he is now out, again, in England immediately, to

be replaced by an alliance of the more liberal party with the conservative

party.  What could possibly go wrong?

Screaming anti-Hispanic slurs as he kicks the suspect in the head,

except the suspect wasn‘t actually suspected of anything.  Phoenix? 

Tucson?  Seattle.

And if you want somebody to be carrying your luggage, maybe you could

go to someplace called carrymyluggage.com.  Don‘t go to rentboy.com. 

Michael Musto on the resignation of George Rekers.

You‘re watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The more authentic debate about whether Elena Kagan is the

correct choice for the Supreme Court is brewing among progressives.  We

will stage it in miniature with two guests—next.

In our fourth story:  It might be summed by Senator Tom Harkin,

quoting, “Why did the conservatives always get the conservatives but we

don‘t get the liberals?  What the hell is that all about?”—unquote. 

Senator Harkin said that while Solicitor General Kagan was merely being

considered as President Obama‘s choice.

Since the actual nomination, the sentiment is growing and with more

specificity, from Glenn Greenwald, quote, “I believe Kagan‘s absolute

silence over the past decade on the most intense constitutional

controversies speaks very poorly of her.  Many progressives argued and I

certainly agree that the Bush/Cheney governing template was not only wrong,

but a great threat to our political system and the rule of law.  It‘s not

hyperbole to say that it spawned a profound constitutional crisis.”

But Kagan‘s supposed silence on such issues has been disputed.  As we

noted yesterday, in 2005, she and three other deans of major American law

schools wrote to Senator Patrick Leahy to oppose legislation proposed by

Senator Lindsey Graham that would have stripped courts of the power to

review detention practices.

Quoting that letter, “The American form of government was established

precisely to prevent this kind of un-reviewable exercise of power over the

lives of individuals.  When dictatorships have passed similar laws, our

government has rightly challenged much acts or such acts—rather—as

fundamentally lawless.”

Meantime, Republican leaders may be settling on their lines of attack

from the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff

Sessions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  The nominee

has thin experience, has had some very aggressive political views in her

life.  It‘s going to be critical that whoever puts on the robe of the

Supreme Court justice, that they be committed to following the law even if

they don‘t like it, even if they wish it had been different.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  First part sounded like a little bit of a self-description

by the senator.

               

GOP op senators say they want to see Kagan‘s memos from her time as

domestic policy adviser to President Clinton since her public record is—

as they put it—so thin.

Let‘s turn to MSNBC political analyst, “Huffington Post” contributor,

Lawrence O‘Donnell, who supports the Kagan nomination.

Lawrence, good evening.

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Good to be here, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  And let‘s bring in Thomas Jefferson School of Law

professor, Marjorie Cohn, who opposes the Kagan nomination.

Good evening to you.

MARJORIE COHN, THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW:  Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Professor, let me start with you.  The kind of executive

power that was expanded under the Bush administration, some of it continued

under the Obama administration.  In your assessment, how does Solicitor

General Kagan fare on that topic?

COHN:  Well, there were policies during the Bush administration that

led to the torture and abuse of prisoners, indefinite detention of men and

boys in small cages at Guantanamo without charges, spying on Americans

without warrants, the use of military commissions, using the state secrets

privilege to keep people who had been tortured out of court.

And, quite frankly, Kagan agreed with Lindsey Graham last year during

her confirmation hearing for solicitor general when she said that she

agreed that we were at war.  And, of course, this war on terror is a

misnomer.  Terrorism is a tactic.  It‘s not an enemy.  You don‘t declare

war on a tactic.

And she agreed that whole world is a battlefield and that prisoners

could be held indefinitely.  That‘s very, very alarming.

OLBERMANN:  Lawrence, to that point by the professor, was that

statement by the then-nominee for solicitor general—was that her

opinion, was it per her statement of accepted law, was it an assessment of

fact—what was it, in your opinion?

O‘DONNELL:  Well, Keith, based on my experience in Senate confirmation

hearings, I would say it was a statement to get through the hearing.  It

was a very general statement in response to a general comment made by

Lindsey Graham.  I don‘t think there‘s enough in it to tell us how she will

rule on relevant cases in that territory.

And that‘s what this is all about.  We get into this guessing game

about what—how someone is going to perform as a Supreme Court justice

using little tiny clues of evidence here and there in their background. 

And this is a new game.  It‘s a modern game.  We‘ve been wrong at it a lot.

I know that Marjorie is a great fan of Justice Stevens who‘s being

replaced here, who‘s considered the great liberal on the court.  Now, he

was a Nixon judge.  Richard Nixon made him a federal judge and Gerry Ford

made him a Supreme Court justice.

And I assume, Marjorie, you were opposed to his nomination at the time

that he was raised to the Supreme Court?

COHN:  I think I was pretty young then, so I can‘t quite remember. 

But, just—look, you had Bush appointing Souter, you have Obama pointing

Kagan who is basically an unknown quantity—and you‘re right, we have to

look at clues because she has such a paucity of a record.  She hasn‘t been

a judge which doesn‘t disqualify her.  She hardly practiced law.

And for someone who has been an academic for almost 20 years at two of

the nation‘s leading law schools, Chicago and Harvard, she wrote almost no

legal scholarship about the important constitutional issues of the day. 

So, we have to guess at where she comes down.

OLBERMANN:  Lawrence, that does beg a significant point—as Senator

Harkin pointed out, why does it that seem—and this is a great

frustration of progressives particularly at the moment—why does it seem

as if—as he put it—the conservatives get conservative nominees to

this court and liberals or progressives get question marks?

O‘DONNELL:  Well, the conservatives have often been fooled—as often

as they have been satisfied by what they got.  And they were fooled by

Justice Stevens.  They were fooled by Souter.  And it is true the liberal

moving through the confirmation process is politically considered more

risky than the conservative.  And that is the—that is the accepted

wisdom, the conventional wisdom within the Senate on getting these

confirmations done.

So, Elena Kagan has, I think, very deliberately through her career

kept her own counsel on anything that would be controversial in this

hearing.  When we first discussed this vacancy, Keith, when it first opened

up, I said at that time that there are these Manchurian candidates out

there now who have very deliberately hid what they think so that they can

build a career that allows them to get through this very tortured and very

modern confirmation process that we did not used to have as recently as the

pre-television age.

OLBERMANN:  Professor, are there—are there things about this

choice, this nomination, that are on-the-record that you have objections

to?  Is there—is there even might be a thin Senator Sessions‘ term of

her experience, it might be thin—but is there enough there to go on? 

And might these hearings pertain—what in these hearings might pertain to

any such objections on your part?

COHN:  Well, during her solicitor general confirmation hearing, she

said, quote, “The Constitution generally imposes limitations on government

rather than establishes affirmative rights, and thus, has what might be

thought of as a libertarian slant.  I fully accept this traditional

understanding.”

Well, has she read the Constitution lately?  There‘s a right to

counsel.  There‘s a right to jury trial.  There‘s a right to petition the

government, and on and on and on.

And that‘s very, very worrisome.  She also said at another point, I

don‘t think there‘s a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.  She

counseled President Clinton to ban late-term abortions.  I think that pro-

choice people should be very, very worried about this nomination.

And in terms of what I would like to hear her say at the—at the

confirmation hearing, the right-wingers are unabashed.  They‘re right-wing

ideologues.  They‘re not just neutral cautious moderates.  I mean—and

they clearly have a judicial philosophy.

I would love to hear her say: my judicial philosophy is that human

rights are more sacred than property interests.  My judicial philosophy is

that everybody has a right to self-determination, other countries, women

over their bodies, people about who they‘re going to marry.

Those are the kinds of things that I would really like to hear her say

at the confirmation hearing, and she‘s not going to because, as you say,

she has been hiding who she is all this time.  When Bush was overreaching

in an unprecedented way, law professors all over the country were speaking

out, were writing, were complaining, were objecting—Elena Kagan was

silent.  That speaks volumes.

OLBERMANN:  Professor Marjorie Cohn from the Thomas Jefferson Law

School, author of “Cowboy Republic: Six Ways that Bush Gang Has Defied the

Law”; and Lawrence O‘Donnell of MSNBC and the “Huffington Post”—great

thanks for the debate and for keeping it civil.

COHN:  Thank you, Keith.

O‘DONNELL:  That was easy.

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  And remember, it could always be worse.  We could be

dealing with the British elections, Labour loses, Conservatives don‘t win

enough, Liberal Democrats finish more distantly third than usual.  First,

the Conservative/Lib Dem deal falls through.  Next, the Labour/Lib Dem deal

falls through.  Today, the incumbent prime minister quits office,

leadership, and his seat in parliament.  Ahead on COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  One quick Tweet of the day, ripped from today‘s headlines,

from LOrion, whatever.  “Queen accepts invitation to become PM, per Fox

News.  Can someone explain it to them?”  This links to the TPM website,

which quotes Fox‘s website writing, “Queen Elizabeth accepts the invitation

of conservative party leader David Cameron to become Britain‘s new prime

minister.” 

Man, this story gets weirder every damn minute.  The queen is the

prime minister?  Let‘s play Oddball.

To Tunis, in Tunisia, which is why they call it that, where bee sting

therapy is making a comeback, after thousands of years.  The procedure is

based on the notion that venom acts as a natural medicine.  Instead of

simply injecting it, the quacks—doctors actually let the bees sting the

patient on certain pressure points.  The stinger is left in the patient‘s

body for a few hours after the sting.  The treatment is believed by some to

ease pain, curb diabetes, cure cancer perhaps.  Patients can also then make

their own honey and also develop a hive mentality.  

No, that wasn‘t her.  We‘re in West Sussex, in England, where Mary

Davies, who heard that, begins another lovely day, opening her window to

the abundance of the great outdoors after ten full years of breeding

marsupials, wallabies.  There are wallabies in the house.  Ms. Davies has a

waiting list of customers, particularly since these critters act as living

lawn mowers.  They eat the grass just to the correct height for a price. 

Top eaters fetch 1,500 dollars and you will need at least half an acre of

land, lest the furry ones run out of grub.  Also a necessity, a very high

fence. 

Finally to our friends at ITV news, political correspondent Libby

Wiener (ph), wrapping up the exciting coverage of the new British

government with a protester behind already in progress.  Watch what appears

to be a staffer trying to intervene on the left. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Now if you wander around the corridors, now

there is an extraordinary atmosphere.  There are new MPs with very broad

grins on their faces.  They are old MPs who have been in the wilderness for

13 years.  And they literally are sniffing the air, scenting that power. 

Having said that, they do know that this is going to be a very

difficult thing to get to work, this coalition. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Exit stage left. 

The real story of what she was reporting on before the slight

fisticuffs.  The United Kingdom finally has a result from last Thursday‘s

election.  Gordon Brown isn‘t quitting?  Gordon Brown is quitting?  Gordon

Brown has quit?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Two days, three resignations.  Our third story on the

COUNTDOWN, tonight, there is a new occupant, finally, at Ten Downing

Street.  Gordon Brown, who was yesterday staying on as a lame-duck prime

minister, is out.  David Cameron is in.  And the man who helped form the

first coalition government in the United Kingdom since the Second World

War, Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg, will be the deputy prime minister,

serving as the right hand man to his philosophical and political opposite. 

Just one day after announcing he would step aside by September or so,

in hopes of sealing his own coalition with Nick Clegg, and keeping his

party in power, Gordon Brown resigning as prime minister, as Labor leader,

as a member of the British parliament, marking the end of 13 years of Labor

rule. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORDON BROWN, FMR. BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:  Above all, it was a

privilege to serve.  And yes, I love the job, not for its prestige and its

titles and its ceremony, which I do not love at all.  No, I love the job

for its potential to make this country I love fairer, more tolerant, more

green, more democratic, more prosperous and more just, truly a greater

Britain. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  “Times of London” crediting Labor Pary in-fighting with

ultimately sinking the deal with the Lib Dems.  Mr. Brown joined by his

family, taking one final walk along Downing Street before leaving to offer

his resignation to the queen. 

Then it was conservative David Cameron‘s turn to make his way to

Buckingham Palace, becoming the queen‘s 12th prime minister.  Winston

Churchill her first.  He died before Mr. Cameron was born. 

In the meantime, Mr. Brown heading to Labor headquarters to thank

supports.  And as one era came to a close, the new one began.  Mr. Cameron

with his wife Samantha arriving at their new home.  The new prime minister

first praising the previous government, before outlining his own vision for

his country. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:  I aim to form a proper and

full coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.  I

believe that is the right way to provide this country with the strong, the

stable, the good and decent government that I think we need so badly. 

Nick Clegg and I are both political leaders who want to put aside

party differences and work hard for the common good and for the national

interest. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  President Obama calling Mr. Cameron, emphasizing his

commitment to the special relationship between the two nations.  Just a

short time ago, Mr. Clegg, the king maker in the equation, acknowledging

his new partnership with Mr. Cameron. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK CLEGG, BRITISH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER:  We are politicians clearly

of different political parties.  But I believe we are now united in wishing

to tackle the immense challenges this country faces. 

There will, of course, be problems.  There will, of course, be

glitches.  But I will always do my best to prove that new politics isn‘t

just possible; it is also better. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Joining me now, and just back from London, the U.S.

managing editor for “the Financial Times,” Gillian Tett.  Thanks for your

time tonight. 

GILLIAN TETT, “FINANCIAL TIMES”:  Thanks for having me on. 

OLBERMANN:  Twenty four hours ago, as cumbersome as it might have

seemed, it looked like the Lib Dem/Labor deal seemed to be set.  Gordon

Brown had resigned as the Lib Dems wanted as the first price.  What

happened thereafter?  Do we know? 

TETT:  This has been an extraordinary 24 hours for British politician. 

It is unusually exciting.  Essentially what seems to have happened was that

Gordon Brown resigned as a last-ditch bid to create a Labor/Liberal

Democrat alliance.  But basically, if you like, the Tories outbid Labor,

and they struck a deal with Nick Clegg.   

OLBERMANN:  To the idea of out-bidding, the former Home Secretary,

David Blunkett (ph), from the Labor Party, accused the Lib Dems—this is

his quote—“behaving like every harlot in history.”  What did they get? 

Did they get—the price supposedly was complete voting reform,

proportional representation.  Did they get that out of the Conservatives? 

Were they not offered that out of Labor? 

TETT:  I think it is pretty rich to accuse the Liberal Democrats for

behaving like harlots.  They have basically behaved like politicians.  Nick

Clegg has been trying to battle to get the best deal for his party. 

Cozying up with the biggest party in parliament is probably better for him. 

And he‘s played his hand pretty well. 

He does appear to have got the key demand, which was a referendum on

electoral reform.  It remains to be seen what actually happens in practice

further down the road.  But even just signaling that deal is pretty

important, and quite a victory for the Liberal Democrats. 

OLBERMANN:  As you suggest, there is some sort of—at first glance,

there would be a disbelief that this is the coalition that would work for

four years or perhaps longer.  Can it practically work with the ideological

differences between the two parties that are part of this deal? 

TETT:  Well, there certainly are ideological differences.  On things

like defense and Europe, the two parties are quite a long ways apart.  But

you have to remember two things.  One thing that is very important is for

the next few years is the economy, fiscal policy.  What are you going to do

about taxes and spending that are going to be top of the agenda.  On that,

there is actually quite a lot of room for agreement. 

Secondly, there is an awful lot of good personal chemistry between

David Cameron and Nick Clegg.  Those kinds of things matter when it comes

to the crunch. 

OLBERMANN:  To your first point there, the economy, I guess the reason

there is such room for agreement is that there is very little else to do in

the British economy at the moment other than cut.  After the vote came in

inconclusive, on Friday, we had Matt Frei from “BBC America” on here.  And

I posited him the Machiavellian idea that Brown might think the best result

for the Labor Party was resign, get out of the way, let the conservatives

do the budgetary blood letting that the next six months are going to

require, let them take the blame for that.  Then the next election, Labor

poses itself as the good guys.  I guess they didn‘t plan it that way, but

might that be the outcome anyway? 

TETT:  The reality is whoever comes in now has got a very poisoned

chalice.  Frankly, in many ways, what you want right now is someone who is

going to be expendable.  Almost like a sort of economic Winston Churchill,

someone who can stand up there and say, OK, guys, we need to rally around,

we need to make some really tough decisions; but this will be the last job

of my career, and I will then ride off into the sunset. 

I‘m not sure they actually have that in place right now.  But nobody

is going to have this job being in charge of the country and being popular

in a couple years‘ time.  That‘s the reality. 

OLBERMANN:  What is the guess on the low end of the betting line, how

short a period of time that coalition may last? 

TETT:  How long is a piece of string?  I think right now that the

Liberal Democrats have a lot of incentive to try to make this work.  They

haven‘t been in power for a very long time.  They are not in power now, but

they‘re closer to power than they have been for a generation.  So they need

to work to try and make it work. 

I think, certainly for the moment, David Cameron recognizes that he

needs to try and make it work, too.  For Britain as a whole, we need to try

and get a government that can rally people around and actually get the—

kind of pull together the blitz spirit, if you like, that will enable them

to take the tough decisions. 

OLBERMANN:  If it works, it will be the damnedest thing since then, a

conservative PM, and a Lib Dem deputy.  Gillian Tett of “Financial Times,”

great thanks for some of your time tonight. 

The anti-gay minister who turned the prose from RentBoy to—turned

to the pros from RentBoy to find someone to carry his luggage has now

resigned from his group that tries to, quote, “heal,” unquote, gays. 

Worsts, just because the fireworks terrorist tried to do his thing in

Times Square is no reason, sonny, for Cluster Fox and Friends to blame the

“New York Times.”

At the top of the hour, on “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW,” Senator Bob

Menendez on the massive finger pointing on Capitol Hill at the oil spill

hearings, with a special guest host.  Your hint, lamb chop.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  A man who ran a therapy program to cure gays caught coming

back from a trip with a gay escort.  He‘s now resigned from the therapy

program.  And no more field trips.  Commentary tonight from Michael Musto. 

That is next, but first tonight‘s worst persons in the world. 

The bronze to Matthew Kreel (ph) of Santa Fe, Texas, cited for

marijuana possession in Galveston County in March.  Police pulled him over

for driving with a defective headlight.  That‘s when they discovered A, Mr.

Kreel‘s defective license, and B, the court paperwork about pot possession

charge in which was allegedly wrapped some pot. 

Runner-up, Brian Kilmeade of Cluster Fox and Friends.  As Fixed News

fabricates a meme in which the, quote, liberal media is somehow sympathetic

to the fire works bomber and self-convicted moron, Faisal Shahzad, Kilmeade

went a step further.  “Do media outlets like the ‘New York Times‘ aid and

abet terrorists by leaking national security secrets?  Some say they do

that, including helping the Times Square bomber plan his attack without

being detected.” 

You know, some say Brian Kilmeade is just a minor bird who can wear a

tie.  His point was that Shahzad‘s use of disposable cell phones was

inspired by a 2005 Times article revealing how the government tracks

suspected terrorists.  You may recall that when the Bush White House tried

this, charged the Times with revealing this, quote, secret, it was pointed

out that the company the government got the equipment to do its tracking

with had boasted of this system on its website, its non-secret, non-

encrypted, non-governmental website.  Some say Brian Kilmeade is made

entirely out of Brie and cheese.

But our winner, Officer Shandy Cobain (ph) of the Seattle Police

Department, who has now been taken off duty after a local TV station showed

this video of him kicking a suspect in the head while spewing racial slurs

at the man.  This was after some Hispanic-looking suspects robbed somebody

in the area with a machete. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Cobain has tearfully apologized now.  Today, several human

rights groups demanded more action and threatened suit.  Police confirmed

that the man who was shown being kicked was not a suspect in the crime, and

was not arrested. 

Fortunately, nobody has passed any kind of laws recently in which that

could lead to additional interactions between the police and people who are

suspected only because they are Latino.  Officer Shandy Cobain of the

Seattle PD, today‘s worst person in the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  If you do not know the story of Florida minister George

Allen Rekers, A, sit down; B, here is the ten-second recap.  Minister co-

founds prominent anti-gay group.  minister claims to turn gay fellows

straight.  Minister allegedly rents boy to carry luggage around Europe. 

Rented boy tells reporters about alleged naked massages with minister.  And

in our number one story, today, George Allen Rekers has resigned from his

group that claims to cure the gay away. 

A candidate for governor in Florida has also been dragged into the

Rekers controversy.  And new details of the minister‘s relationship with

his rent boy have emerged.  Michael Musto joins me presently. 

This was the picture published a week ago on the “Miami New Times”

website.  Reporters were tipped off that the anti-gay minister, George

Allen Rekers, one of the founders of the Family Research Council, on the

left, had visited RentBoy.com to hire a male prostitute to, quote, “carry

his luggage.” 

The rent boy, with the blurred face, calls himself Lucien.  His actual

name is Giovanni Roman (ph).  Confronted with the accusation, Roman

confessed to naked massages, but no sex.  Last Friday, Roman, unblurred,

told CNN about the minister‘s alleged request for a cover-up. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He just didn‘t want me to mention the massage

aspect, you know. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And he asked you not to? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yeah.  He had asked me not to. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Today, the “New Times” published new details of the

interaction between Rekers and Roman.  Quoting the website, Roman explains

he gave Rekers the same massage, which involves a technique the minister

calls the long stroke, twice before traveling together. 

Must be a medical term.  Today, Rekers gave the long goodbye to the

National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, NARTH. 

NARTH.  He resigned his post as one of the country‘s leading gay to

straight conversion experts. 

It was in that capacity that Rekers had been hired by Florida in 2007

to testify as an expert witness in a trial regarding the ban on gay

adoption.  Florida‘s attorney general, now the Republican candidate for

governor Bill McCullom, paid Rekers nearly 120,000 dollars for his expert

testimony, which was later deemed not credible.  McCullom‘s 2007 letter

requesting Rekers‘ testimony was printed today in “the Miami Herald.” 

Quote, “our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for

other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers, and have

been unable to identify anyone who would be available for this case.” 

Michael Musto joins us now, the “Village Voice” columnist and author

of the blog DailyMusto.com.  Good evening, Michael. 

MICHAEL MUSTO, “VILLAGE VOICE”:  Hello, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Should any of us be surprised by this particular formula

anymore? 

MUSTO:  Absolutely not.  Its so trite.  You show me a homophobe

without a rent boy, I‘ll show you a political candidate without a love

child.  It‘s just getting ridiculous.  The second somebody starts screaming

anti-gay rhetoric, it is a matter of moments before you find the Hustler in

the closet with a card swipe machine and a publicist. 

OLBERMANN:  This is like a standard psychological formula, right?  You

can‘t possibly be this because you do so much to oppose it in public,

correct? 

MUSTO:  You are uncomfortable with your own leaning, so you make it

impossible for everyone else, because you can‘t deal with it yourself.  He

puts the broken hip in hypocrisy. 

OLBERMANN:  James Dobson does not want to admit this, but Minister

Rekers was once the founders—helped found the Family Research Council. 

I suppose with that sort of background and the word research in every other

organization that‘s connected to this, why didn‘t the guy just claim he was

doing research? 

MUSTO:  He‘s been researching his entire life, researching hair color,

body types, confidentiality agreements.  But there‘s no justification for

what Rekers does.  He is a slime—let me get serious here—who has

shattered lives with the hypocrisy. 

He even, as you say, testified against gay adoption.  His idea of gay

adoption is squiring a hustler around Europe for days.  This is what the

Polanski family values. 

OLBERMANN:  Rekers claim his friend was rented to carry luggage around

Europe because he had a bad back.  Roman says there was nude massages, no

sex.  Who are you believing?  The second part of that question, this

phrase, “he was just carrying my luggage” has that just been added to the

lexicon of colorful euphemisms? 

MUSTO:  It‘s permanently in the lexicon now.  It‘s like Tiger Woods

has now 15 luggage carriers.  Jesse James has a Nazi one.  Should I pack

your bags, Heir James? 

To your first half of the question, I‘m leading with Roman‘s side of

the story, because a hustler never lies, except for last night.  If

somebody needs a luggage carrier, you tip something like a dollar.  You

don‘t need to pay 200 dollars an hour, plus chocolate on the pillow.  Then

again, when in Roman.   

OLBERMANN:  Thank you. 

MUSTO:  Roman.

OLBERMANN:  Roman, yes.  Sorry. 

MUSTO:  The joke still works. 

OLBERMANN:  The poetic license is still OK.  By the way, on the scale

of one to ten of your jokes, in terms of danger, that was like a three. 

Isn‘t the worst part of this the reputation of this august group NARTH? 

They are shot.  Are there any reputable gay to straight conversion groups

still around?  And what about straight to gay conversion groups?  What

about them? 

MUSTO:  There is a straight to gay conversion group.  It‘s called Liza

Minnelli.  You date her and you start flouncing around in a boa, singing

Lady Gaga songs.  As for the gay to straight, I‘m sure NARTH, which should

change its name, because there‘s a lisp in there somewhere—I think they

could just hold up a naked picture of Rekers and convert you immediately,

without even electro-shock.  I mean, stars would be turning straight passed

it -- 

OLBERMANN:  Michael Musto, the blog is DailyMusto.com.  Great thanks. 

I‘m not going say anything about that last joke there. 

MUSTO:  Just a joke.  I love you, Justin, a lot. 

OLBERMANN:  That is COUNTDOWN for this the 2,567th day since the

previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq.  I‘m Keith

Olbermann, good night and good luck. 

More on the finger pointing in today‘s oil hearings on Capital Hill

with Senator Bob Menendez.  Ladies and gentlemen, in for Rachel Maddow,

here is Chris Hayes. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

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