Guests: Bruce Fein, Christian Finnegan
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice over): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not cost us $804 billion—with so-called hidden costs the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us $1.5 trillion. The president pierces us with that financial umbrella and when the Democrats try to invest in domestic issues he opens that umbrella.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: The majority was elected on the pledge of fiscal responsibility; so far it‘s acting like a teenager with a new credit card.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Or a president with nothing to stop him. Mr. Bush vetoes 600 billion in Health and Education spending. Democrats‘ spending on life—bad. Republicans‘ spending on death - good. You think that oversimplifies it? Not if you are Tom Tancredo running for president on the “Vote for me or someone will drop an atomic bomb on you” platform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TOM TANCREDO, ® COLORADO: I approve this message because someone needs to say it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: It‘s too late, Congressman, trust me or ask the nearest mental health professional. It may not be too late to investigate the administration‘s warrantless wiretapping of Americans. The new attorney general goes against his predecessor and his boss and gives the Justice Department the security clearances it needs to find out how many laws were broken by the NSA.
Bill O. breaks down. Calls the owner of the Dallas mavericks un-American for financing the Iraq war movie “Redacted.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, TV HOST: During World War II President Roosevelt might have incarcerated Mark Cuban and General Patton would have slapped the tar out of him.
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OLBERMANN: Bill O. still thinks he has his own police. Mark Cuban‘s response on COUNTDOWN. His dramatic challenge to Bill O‘Reilly.
And Paris Hilton finding her personal cause at last, fighting the fight of drunken elephants in India. Where they get all liquored up and trampled people and electrocuted themselves. It‘s all over on the Internet. Does it too good to be true? Now, that‘s only because it is. All that and more on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN (on camera): Good evening. This is Tuesday, November 13, 357 days until the 2008 presidential election. There is breaking news at this hour. Judith Reagan, the high profile book publisher and editor now suing Rupert Murdoch News Corps where she used to work and claiming one of news corps executives wanted her to lie about her affair with Bernard Kerik to federal investigators who were vetting Kerik in order to protect the presidential aspirations of Kerik‘s benefactor—Rudy Giuliani. An allegation that News Corps tried to stubborn (ph) perjury to benefit Giuliani and that she has evidence to prove that. There are few details and we would bring you more and then some reaction in a moment. But in our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: Reagan is seeking $100 million in damages from the Murdock Empire. That is a sneeze compared to the startling revelation tonight about what the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are actually costing this nation. The new estimated, the low estimate begins at $1.5 trillion. And despite that, in Indiana this morning, President Bush had the gull to demand an additional 200 billion for the conflicts from Democrats in Congress after having criticized them for wasteful spending.
On Air Force One this morning, Mr. Bush vetoing a $600 billion Health and
Education Measure while signing into law a massive increase to the
Pentagon‘s operating expenditures -- 471 billion in all including a nine
percent increase not a penny of it considered actual war spending for the
conflicts in Afghanistan or Iraq. What the president wants you to believe
anything the Democrats want to spend money on by raising taxes to do so is automatically bad. Anything defense related, that he wants to devote billions to, by borrowing heavily against the future of your children and your grandchildren, is your duty to history or the Almighty or something.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The majority was elected on a pledge of fiscal responsibility. But so far it‘s acting like a teenager with a new credit card. This year alone, the leadership in Congress has proposed to spend $22 billion more than my budget provides. And now, some of them claim has not really much of a difference. The scary part is they seem to mean it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: What‘s truly scary—the full economic cost of Mr. Bush‘s war officially pegged at 854 billion which should make you feel faint enough as it is. But the new study by Congressional Democrats estimating that the hidden costs including higher oil prices, the expensive treating wounded veterans and interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the conflicts is 1.5 trillion. Nearly double the official White House price tag. Break it down and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing each American family $20,000 and all of it paid for on credit.
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SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) JOINT ECONOMIC CMTE. CO-CHAIR: Had the administration paid for the war in Iraq, instead of borrowing, these costs would be significantly lower. Instead, the administration has created mountains of interest for taxpayers as far as the eye can see. We, of the baby boom generation and our children and grandchildren will be paying for this war for a very long time to come. What this report makes crystal clear is that the cost to our country in lives lost and dollars spent is tragically unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: With that report in their back pocket, Democrats today, giving Mr. Bush an ultimatum—no more money for the war in Iraq unless he agrees to start bringing the troops home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID, (D) MAJORITY LEADER: This bill has $50 billion in it. If the president is not willing to take that with some conditions on it, namely that there should be a beginning of redeployment in 30 days, that we have a goal of having all of our troops out of there by the end of this year actually December 15th, and there are a few other strings on it, then the president will get his 50 billion. That‘s pretty clear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Let‘s turn now to our own Jonathan Alter, senior editor of “Newsweek” magazine. Jon, thanks for coming in.
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: All right. To spend away on my war-mongering priorities but your Health and Education priorities, those are irresponsible.
ALTER: I love this idea that the Democrats are like a teenager with a credit card. There is a little psychological projection going on there. And when you think George Bush you think petulance smirking a teenager without the maturity of the presidency. And he‘s put the whole thing on the credit card as you indicated. You know, for all of American history, in every single war that we have had as a country, the president has gone to the public and asked for a tax increase. They accused Lyndon Johnson that raising taxes enough. But at least all prior presidents in war time responsibility - were responsible enough to do this. So, we‘re going to look back on this war as tragic as the loss of life has been as really the war that bankrupted America and it‘s—that‘s going to be the long-term effect of all of this.
OLBERMANN: Yes, even Lincoln put in a tax during the middle of the civil war to pay for it. This big picture now, $1.5 trillion. That‘s an unimaginable. Most people couldn‘t write it out if asked to. Would the other number resonate that the Democratic study came up with 20,000 per family? Is that the sort of thing that although it seems like well, 20,000 is nothing compared to 1.5 trillion? That might be a punch in the gut to people who finally understand this?
ALTER: I think people are beginning to understand this. And this is one of the reasons why he is reaching new depths in popularity. So, the real question - how much will this play in next year‘s campaign? All these Republicans are on record supporting the war, except for Ron Paul. And, so in a debate, in the general election, presume presumably the Democrat will have ammunition to say look, this is just bankrupting us.
OLBERMANN: We have seen Democrats with all the ammunition they have need for years. You and I have grown old answering and asking this question of each other. They‘re showing the resolve now, will they still have it in February when the Pentagon says—no more money what are you going to do about the troops out there in harm‘s way?
ALTER: Well, this has been the problem. They are still playing defense. Barack Obama referred to this on Saturday night in Iowa when he said we‘ve got to stop as a party always worried about what are the Republicans going to say. So we‘ll see how far he‘s willing to go next winter and it will be very interesting to see whether Hillary Clinton is willing to cut the purse strings.
OLBERMANN: Should we expect them to hold out that long or is this something that both sides are going to resolve before the Christmas break or is this going to bleed right into the start of the primaries?
ALTER: Never do today what you can put on until tomorrow. You know, a trillion here. A trillion there, (INAUDIBLE) said sometimes talking about real money.
OLBERMANN: Eventually. He would be startled that we substituted trillion for that. Jonathan Alter, senior editor at “Newsweek” magazine. As always, great thanks. Good to see you here.
ALTER: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Mr. Bush‘s legacy of fear over hope, death over life now openly manifest in the presidential campaign in the ads themselves. Republican candidate, Congressman Tom Tancredo making rude Giuliani like a piker with his willingness to scare voters. Tancredo unveiling a new ad asking America to endorse his positions out of fear, to vote for him out of fear, to act just as the terrorists want, out of fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TANCREDO: Hi I‘m Tom Tancredo and I approve this message because someone needs to say it.
ANNOUNCER: There are consequences to open borders beyond the 20 million aliens who have come to take our jobs. Islamic terrorists now freely roam U.S. soil. Jidahists who (INAUDIBLE) here to do as they have in London, Spain, Russia. The price we pay for stranglers politicians who refuse to defend our borders against those who come to kill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Yes, that probably was the sound of his campaign going up. Never mind that we have had our own homegrown terrorists or that London‘s too were home grown, that Spanish authorities have been watching their terrorists for years, that Russia‘s terrorists are seeking succession. In a companion radio ad, Tancredo puts some meat on his skeleton of fear referring to a threat against malls, blasting other candidates on focusing on health care and energy policy. He reminded officials who just down played the now annual phony mall threats. Never mind that an estimated 18,000 Americans die every year due to lack of insurance. Back in 2002, a measly 33 million were uninsured compared to today‘s 49 million and never mind that energy policies have left us mired in the Middle East. When it comes to Congressman Tancredo‘s top issue, he neglects to mention that if Islamic Jidahists are here, it has happened under an administration that he has supported at almost every turn when it turned a blind eye before 9/11, turned away from Bin Laden at Torah Bora. Turned our attention instead to a needless war. We turn now appropriately to Arianna Huffington on becoming fearless in love, work and life. Founder of course of Huffingtonpost.com. Arianna, good evening, thanks as always for being with us.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Six years after 9/11, how can an American presidential candidate be that, A, bone headed, B, naive, C, just plain stupid to not get that al Qaeda wants America to be afraid because they like the decisions that we make when we are afraid?
HUFFINGTON: You know, Keith, right now the GOP candidates are not focusing on al Qaeda. They are focusing on winning. They are focusing on winning by trying to fear monger. This has been the most effective GOP technique. I mean, this is what won Bush the election in 2004. And this is what not just Tancredo, for really significant but the rest of them are trying in much more subtle ways. Remember in 2004, the president had his ad about wolves gathering -- 2004 was about a metaphor of the wolves; 2008, clearly is going to be a lot more explicit. Metaphors are too subtle for 2008. And for Tancredo it‘s now real terrorists with backpacks exploding in American malls. It‘s just, unfortunately, appealing to our lizard brain. Not to our brain that tries to use logic.
OLBERMANN: See you hear that one thing occurs to me the Writers Guild strike as bad as it might be for the entertainment industry might actually shut down some of this because they don‘t have 24 to watch every week. But where do we go from here? You know, you are talking about subtlety versus getting to the point. Bush and Cheney did what they did. Mitt Romney confuses Barack Obama and Osama Bin Laden. Giuliani says vote for him or more will die in another attack. Now Tancredo on this? Somebody has to escalate this still further. But what is left? Would one of them be desperate enough to actually come out and call a Democrat a terrorist by name?
HUFFINGTON: Well, we don‘t know what‘s going to happen. But as Jonathan said earlier, the key for Democrats right now to counter this is to stop playing defense. Because, unfortunately, the reason why this democratic defense - technique has failed is because in time of war and we are in a time of war, whether we are fighting the right war or not, there‘s no question there are real terrorists threatening us. The question is can Democrats stand up and appear really strong by doing and proclaiming the right thing? Which clearly is not to continue in Iraq but to focus on the real enemy which is al Qaeda now in Pakistan. That is really what is so tragic about that. If Democrats continue to play defense, they will continue to appear weak. And the voters may, once again, gravitate towards this strong daddy figure. It‘s like 1984 all over again. Remember Arwell (ph) predicted this. A frightened people we gravitate toward a leader who appears strong, however terrifying he is.
OLBERMANN: Yes, it‘s a novel not a field manual if what he would say now. If Arwell Eric (ph) were still alive. From Tancredo to Giuliani, I‘m fascinated by this story that‘s just breaking on the “New York Times” Web site. I‘m going to switch topic if you‘re OK with this. Judith Reagan claiming in a lawsuit just filed that an executive at Rupert Murdock News Corp where she worked asked her to lie about her affair with Bernard Kerik while Kerik was being betted as the nominee to head Homeland Security in order to protect Rudolf Giuliani‘s presidential aspirations and by the way her lawyer tells the “Times” she can prove this. This sounds astounding. Is this actually astounding? Put it in some sort of proportion for us.
HUFFINGTON: Well, one of the things that is astounding is that there was with a time when the worst one could say about Bernard Kerik was that he was having an extramarital affair with Judith Reagan while his wife was pregnant. Well, now, this seems like a minor thing compared to the fact that he might have ties with the mafia, that he has been indicted, and that he is the man who nevertheless, Rudy Giuliani wanted to lead America‘s Homeland Security. So, nevertheless, it is kind of interesting that at this moment when we see FOX absolutely portraying Giuliani again and again, especially if you are watching Sean hannity as the 9/11 leader, America‘s mayor, and all the other things that they are throwing his way, to see how behind FOX, behind Giuliani FOX has been. I mean, after all, let‘s remind ourselves Roger Ailes has been a friend of Giuliani for over 20 years. He ran his first mayoral campaign. Giuliani officiated at Roger Ailes‘ wedding. So, this is an entire cable network that seems to be in the pocket of Rudy Giuliani.
OLBERMANN: So, for everybody thought one day that this all-too-cozy relationship among FOX and Roger Ailes and the Bush administration, and Rupert Murdock and Rudy Giuliani all going to come together one day and land somebody in prison. This could be the sound of the dam breaking. We‘re going to do more of this tomorrow night but we‘re out of time right now, Arianna. Arianna Huffington, founder and editor of Huffingtonpost.com. As always, great thanks for being with us.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Amid all protozoans (ph) flowing out of the Bush sewer, shocking, potable water, the new attorney general has just restarted the investigation into the administration‘s warrantless wiretapping. Talk about warrantless, Bill O. goes off on Dallas Maverick‘s team owner, Mark Cuban for financing the movie “Redacted” (ph) including this one line that‘s hard to believe he delivered with a straight face. Quote, “Hundreds of thousands of brave military people are risking their lives to you can do to the mumbo without fears some terrorists blowing you the hell of.” Mark Cuban response exclusively here. You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.
OLBERMANN: In his third day on the job, the new attorney general startles his critics and probably his president, enabling the resumption of the stalled Justice Department investigation into who broke what laws when the administration illegally wiretapping Americans. And, Bill O‘Reilly goes nuts, even more than usual. Mark Cuban‘s remarkable response including his challenge to Bill O. involving this program ahead here on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: Tomorrow morning, the third attorney general of the Bush administration will swear his ceremonial oath before the president and the chief justice. But on our fourth story tonight: Michael Mukasey has not waited for his predecessor‘s seat to get cold before turning up the heat on Alberto Gonzales himself. The Bush administration‘s warrantless wiretaps spearheaded and defended by Mr. Gonzales were the subject of internal Justice Department investigation until last year when mysteriously, anonymously the investigators were denied the security clearances necessary to proceed. The investigation was stopped cold. At the time, Attorney General Gonzales put the blame on Mr. Bush for denying the clearance. The “National Journal” later reporting that Bush did so after learning that the investigation was expected to focus on Gonzales. Something Gonzales also reportedly knew when he met with the president to discuss those clearances. Snake tail lunch. Mukasey‘s confirmation hearings last month, Democrats pushed him to revisit the matter. Now with Gonzales gone, Justice Department investigations—investigators rather have suddenly become trustworthy. The Associated Press reporting tonight that the DOJ today informed Congress that clearances have been granted and the investigation is back underway. If that news speaks well of the new attorney general‘s willingness to pursue justice, another development today casting yet another shadow of his willingness to go after every facet of the administration‘s all wheel (ph) and apparatus. Mukasey‘s refusal to defined waterboarding as illegal torture, itself becoming even more clearly defined asking clarification (ph) according to none other than the U.S. Army. The AP also obtaining an army-wide communication issued last week in response to the Mukasey waterboarding debate telling soldiers, family members and civilian employees, quote:
“The US Army strictly prohibits the use of waterboarding during
intelligence investigations by any of its members. It is specifically
prohibited by field manual 2-22.3 and is not a sanctioned interrogation
technique in any training manual or any instructions to soldiers in the
This coming just days after both Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen publicly reiterated the ban without needing to know the details Mr. Mukasey said he would need to determine the issue for him when he looks into the administration‘s three reported uses of waterboarding assuming he ever does so.
And investigation of different kind. Whether the death of Kanye West‘s mother might have been the result of ill-advised cosmetic surgery? And how do you take your coffee? Sugar? Cream? Perhaps a little monkey spit? That‘s next. This is COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: On November 13th, 1969, Felix Anger (ph) was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife. Deep down he knew she was right but he also knew that someday he would return to her. But nowhere else to go he appeared to the home of his childhood friend, Oscar Madison. Sometime earlier, Madison‘s wife threw him out requesting that he not return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy? On that note, let‘s play Oddball.
Well it, happened on this date. We begin at Yunlin, Taiwan, the home of the latest rage in disgusting coffee. Introducing monkey spit coffee. An area coffee farmer noticed the Yunlin monkeys that eat his crop eat just the fleshy fruit around the coffee bean, spitting out the hard bean center. The farmer collected the bean, brewed them and walah, for the equivalent in Yunlin, the resulting flavor from the monkey chewed beans is allegedly sweeter than with a hint of vanilla. After the coffee they make after the monkey has eaten the beans. You heard about that one too. It is a win-win deal, the monkey eats for free, the farmer charges 60 bucks a pound for the java. And that‘s right, coming to a Starbucks near you vinti monkey chinos (ph).
To Balaktikkulam (ph) village, India where when I tell you this guy‘s wife is a real dog. I mean, this guy‘s wife is a real dog. Mr. Pilaksumar (ph) says he has been down on his luck for a while ever since he accidentally killed two dogs 15 years ago. Finally, he consulted who else, an astrologer who suggested marrying a female dog would improve his luck which brings us to today‘s joyous occasion for everybody except former Senator Rick Santorum. And there we see Silvamakur (ph) placing the ceremonial mangle sutra around the dog‘s neck and you may now kiss the bitch. In case your interested that they are registered at pet land discounts and we just check online, the wee wee pad is still available.
Perfectly said, Bill O. orders his minions to rise up and smite a basketball mogul for financing what he considers an anti-American movie, implies he would have been jailed without trial just 60 years ago. Mark Cuban with the surprising answer and challenge ahead.
And the typo heard around the world. Paris Hilton trying to save drunken elephants? These stories ahead. But first time for top three best persons in the world. Number three best irony. In time when the police use of tasers has never been more controversial. The unnamed officer in the department of Madison, Wisconsin reprimanded by his superiors after he managed while checking out the device to taser himself. Number two, best caller, Christopher White lost prevention officer at the Wal-Mart at Ft. Walton, Florida for two weeks, he had been trying to stop a serial shoplifter, the problem was the guy could never be found with any of the stuff on him. He was consuming it. Hairspray, the shoplifter was consuming hair spry by drinking it. Finally, they got it. Two bottles of white rain, later.
Number one best recycling, a local dermatologist in southern China, in Guangzhou who says there is another health risk in the wild, wild west of consumer products that his nation has become. Cheap and colorful hair bands, cheap at just three cents a pack made of 100 percent recycled material, used condoms. Dermatologists would only give his first name for the interview which is, and I kid you not—Dong.
OLBERMANN: Mark Cuban, renegade owner of basketball‘s Dallas Mavericks, Internet billionaire, movie financier and television network owner might have been incarcerated by a different American president, at least that‘s the latest eruption from Mount St. O‘Reilly in the No Sin Zone. Our third story on the COUNTDOWN, is Bill-O implying Cuban should be locked up for backing Bryan Depom‘s (ph) film “Redacted” or is he implying it because Cuban had the nerve to criticize O‘Reilly.
Mark Cuban gives us his reaction and dramatic challenge to Bill-O presently. We will give you a little explanation, courtesy another COUNTDOWN translation of O‘Reilly‘s cocktail curge (ph) and dinner table heroism. First, the background, “Redacted,” a fictionalizing of events that have occurred in Iraq. It‘s done in video blog style, almost creating image for image that which has been recorded by U.S. troops in Iraq, including the horror of IEDs, of mad men willing to behead captive Americans and of the infamous attack on a 14-year-old girl and then the murder of her family by troops.
And Mark Cuban, he went from a fan who sold garbage bags to make enough money to afford a pair of basketball shoes, a guy who used to skimp on dinner so he would be able to buy a ticket to cheap seats at the Dallas Mavericks games, to owner of the franchise, all because he used his computer geek skills to create Micro-Solutions, which he sold in 1990 for six million dollars, then started Broadcast.net, which he sold in 1999 to Yahoo for nearly six billion. He has launched HD Net, the television network that now employs Dan Rather, and 29-29 Productions, which financed “Redacted.”
He has been under Bill O‘Reilly‘s evil gaze since March of this year. As usual, Bill-O‘s King Lear act, in which he threatens somebody with terrible consequences and boycotts and plagues of locusts has produced nothing tangible other than making the object of his impotent rage richer. Last week, Bill-O took off on “Redacted” and at a bloggers convention Cuban thanked him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK CUBAN, FINANCIER, “REDACTED”: Well, this guy has never seen the movie. But he has threatened, Mark Cuban, if you release this movie; I‘m coming after you. Like I‘m really hard to find, Bill, right? You know. I will be dancing with the stars finale. Show up and tell me what‘s on your mind.
At the same time, there is every bit of me that just wants to say Bill O‘Reilly is a moron. For a movie like “Redacted,” which was only going to be a small movie, he is making it bigger and bigger and bigger by the day. So I‘m very grateful to him. Bill O‘Reilly is my new best friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Nothing gets O‘Reilly to invent a phony crusade faster than when somebody slams him successfully. You may have noticed that he used to gladly get up at the crack of dawn to grace the “Today Show” with his presence, but once I started pounding him, NBC News suddenly had a radical left wing agenda and was passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union or we slipped Dennis Miller some drug that destroyed his ability to be funny or something. I can never remember the specifics.
So last night, right after sending his stalker producer out to ambush somebody else about whom Bill-O has an inferiority complex, O‘Reilly detonated on Mark Cuban, “There is no question this film will incite anti-American hatred around the world. But Cuban doesn‘t seem to care and has lashed out at me for reporting the situation.”
Translation, I haven‘t seen this film, but since I speak for everybody, my intuition about what I think it will be like is the final word. “OK, this is for you, Mr. Cuba, I would never sit through a movie that shows American troops raping and murdering a 14-year-old girl, ever.”
Even if it happened in real life? This is like the conservative complaint about the Democrats that they are angrier about Bush‘s reaction to Iran than they are about Iran itself. The rape? That‘s OK with Bill. A movie showing the rape, an outrage. “You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. While you‘re “Dancing With the Stars,” sir, hundreds of thousands of brave military people are risking their lives so you can do the mambo without fear of some terrorist blowing you the hell up. Your arrogance is horrifying.”
The mambo. The fear free mambo. Translation, al Qaeda‘s next target, TV reality shows. Incidentally, this is why you don‘t water board or otherwise torture detainees, because as stupid as this sounds, if Khaled Sheik Mohammed or that clown al Libi had actually said we want to hit live unscripted television shows, George Bush would have invaded CBS television city. “During World War II, President Roosevelt might have incarcerated Mark Cuban and General Patton would have slapped the tar out of him.”
Bill-O talking incarceration. Once again, he is under the mistaken impression that he has his own police. Plus, in this sentence, Bill has foolishly hearkened back to worst subject in school, history. He already famously blew the multiple choice test on World War II; who were the war criminals at Malmady, A, the Nazis, or B, the American prisoners slaughtered by the Nazis? This time he seems to have forgotten that FDR did not simply incarcerate media figures during the war, and that when General Patton slapped a wounded soldier for not standing at attention, Patton lost his command.
Bill-O‘s knowledge of World War II apparently derives mostly from films or things he vaguely remembers from his own dreams. But this remark he uses about president incarcerating people is serious and we will cover it seriously in a moment with constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein. But back to the fun. “Today, Cuban‘s anti-American actions are ignored in many quarters. That must change. So I am asking Dallas Mavericks ticket holders to bring signs to the arena that say support the troops. Very simple, no negative, just support the troops. That way, Cuban might get the message.”
Oops. The Mavericks home game Thursday night against San Antonio has, since before O‘Reilly‘s self-immolation, been scheduled as Texas National Guard green-out night. Cuban‘s team and the National Guard are to hand out 20,000 t-shirts the back of which bear the Guard‘s toll free 800 number for recruitment, and its slogan “defending freedom since 1636,” which they want all fans to wear to show support for the troops since the game is being telecast nationally. The Mavericks also have a Seats for Soldiers program and they encourage fans to bring signs that say things like, you know, support the troops.
“And if any movie theater in your neighborhood shows this vile film ‘Redacted,‘ let‘s stand out in front of the theater with the same sign, support the troops.”
Translation, and when I say let‘s, while it sounds like I mean, let‘s you and I stand in front of the theater, I don‘t have the personal courage to go to the John by myself, so you won‘t actually see me out front with you and the other two protesters. “Even if you disagree with the Iraq war, even if you dislike President Bush, no loyal American should support an enterprise that incites hatred against America.”
So, Bill, you are saying we shouldn‘t support the enterprise known as the Bush administration or the enterprise in Iraq or that enterprise that is most of our foreign policy? Why, Mr. O‘Reilly do you hate America? Most fascinating of all of this, Mark Cuban‘s response and his challenge to Bill-O, next on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: In our number two story on the COUNTDOWN, Mark Cuban‘s challenge to Bill O‘Reilly. This comes after Bill-O‘s latest wild charge that because he financed the Bryan Depom film “Redacted,” Cuban is anti-American and might have been incarcerated by President Roosevelt during World War II. In a moment, we will explore that O‘Reilly fetish that he can get people thrown in jail if he just yells loud enough based on some sort of historical precedent involving FDR that only he knows.
First, Mark Cuban‘s response to all this free publicity—I‘m sorry, all this outrageous personal vitriol. “The definition of Bill‘s sanity,” he writes me in an email today, “is repeating the same discussion with Bill O‘Reilly multiple times and expecting the outcome to change. But, if Bill truly feels this is important enough to him, I invite him to come on COUNTDOWN for a discussion about ‘Redacted‘ that Keith can moderate. I‘m happy to have the discussion with him. I‘m just as happy to sit through a screening of the movie with him if he would like.
Whether he accepts or not, I invite everyone else to watch the free sneak preview of ‘Redacted‘ on HD Net movies tomorrow, November 14th, at 10:15 EST, or see it in theaters starting November 16th, and make up your own mind.”
So, Bill, Mark Cuban and I will see you at the movies. Now, the serious part of all of this, incarcerating Mark Cuban or anyone else for criticism. I‘m joined by constitutional lawyer and former Reagan Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein. Bruce, thanks for your time tonight.
BRUCE FEIN, CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: Thanks for inviting me.
OLBERMANN: Did I miss something? Did Roosevelt do a lot of incarcerating of civilians during the Second World War?
FEIN: Well, there were the relocations of Japanese Americans, but it wasn‘t based upon speech. By World War II you had the Supreme Court pronouncing doctrines that have lived since in some fame that free speech means freedom for the speech we hate, as well as freedom for the speech we appreciate, and that the remedy for unwise speech is more speech, not enforced silence. By the middle of the war, the court was holding unconstitutional efforts to punish someone for failing to salute the flag. It remarked that if you begin to kill dissent, you soon end up killing dissenters as well.
So there isn‘t instances of any court approving the incarceration of someone simply because they voice criticism of the war by World War II. So that‘s counter-historical statement of Mr. O‘Reilly.
OLBERMANN: And what Roosevelt‘s predecessors did as war time presidents, think specifically in the largest context of Woodrow Wilson and Lincoln, was that predicated on Constitutional guidelines about facts that do not apply now, the prospect of actual invasion of the country and such?
FEIN: Well, it was true that during World War I you had figures like Eugene Debs (ph) who were in prison because they had made statements critical of the war that were said to obstruct recruiting. They were decisions that were upheld by the Supreme Court, but later doctrines made them obsolete. It is also true, however, that these were genuine wars, in which the Supreme Court and the Constitution itself recognized that in times of invasion or rebellion, certain liberties can be waived or suspended.
What we confront at present certainly doesn‘t raise to the level of that war and threat to the nation, where we don‘t have an invasion or rebellion.
OLBERMANN: Back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt as war time censor, O‘Reilly goes on endlessly about the Office of War Information and how Roosevelt censored newspapers and kept reporting critical of the military out of print. There is a viewpoint that, in fact, Roosevelt really helped turn around the nation‘s attitude about war time censorship, that he was arguing for and finally got late 1942, early 1943, the real tearing down of these barricades, on the premise that the country needed to know in war the good, the bad, and the ugly. Is that valid historically?
FEIN: Well, I think it‘s always true that the more information that‘s out and the more that the people believe that government is being candid and open, the more they are likely to support the government. And if you compare the distrust of the Soviet Union with—all they had was propaganda. No one believed anything in it. That shows that the wisdom comes from permitting all information, whether it‘s, as you say, good, bad or ugly—the same in which we had the Meilei (ph) Massacre on television as well. That didn‘t mean we disrespected the war effort of those that were risking that last full measure of devotion. It was truth and it was important that it be displayed.
OLBERMANN: Sage words as always from Bruce Fein, former associate deputy attorney general under Ronald Reagan. As always, thanks for joining us.
FEIN: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: The death of the mother of Kanye West again leading our brief look at the world of celebrity and entertainment, Keeping Tabs. An autopsy performed on Donda West to see if her death last Saturday was due to complications after cosmetic surgery. TMZ.com reporting Dr. Jan Adams (ph) claimed to have performed a tummy tuck and breast reduction surgery on Mrs. West, surgery which another doctor had refused to perform, which lasted twice as long as it should have. Preliminary cause of death, according to the coroner‘s spokesman, complications of surgery.
As for that doctor, Jan Adams denies that the surgery caused her death. He has both a colorful and a troubled past, appearing on TV to promote plastic surgery. But that same TMZ website reporting the California Medical Board asked to revoke or suspend his license last April because of allegations of DUI. He has also been the target of a string of alleged medical malpractice lawsuits.
Paris Hilton saving the elephants, the drunken elephants. This story made its way into every major online news service today, despite the fact that she probably even knew it wasn‘t true. Alas, that‘s ahead, but first time for COUNTDOWN‘s Worst Persons in the World.
The bronze to me. We inverted a statistic last night. The study based on stats from the Veterans Affairs and Census Bureau indicating the heart breaking percentage of homeless veterans. I said one in every four veterans is homeless. In fact, one of every four homeless is a veteran. That makes the number smaller. It is, quote, only, unquote, 194,000; 1,500 of them, according to the V.A., veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, already on the streets. I apologize for the statistical mistake.
Our runner-up, Brent Bozell (ph), creator of the so-called Media Research Center. On Fox Noise last night to attribute the low box office numbers for the new movie “Lions for Lambs” directed by Robert Redford, never mind the poor review. Bozell knows the real reason it only did six million dollars in its first weekend, quoting him, “people don‘t want to see a movie to see America‘s military trashed and America trashed.” Where up Alan Colmes asked Bozell, how did they trash the military in the film? Tell me how they did that?
Bozell‘s answer, I haven‘t seen the film yet. Colmes‘ logical follow-up, well, you don‘t even know that they trashed the military? Bozell, drowning by this point, actually then said, I know Robert Redford. Geez, Brent, you got faced by Alan Combs. Alan Combs.
But our winner, Congressman Thad McCotter from the 11th district of Michigan. Last month, a non-profit group, calling itself Catholics United, started advertisements critical of self-described pro-life Christians politicians, who nonetheless had voted against expanding the children‘s insurance program, SCHIP. That‘s not pro life, the ads note. That‘s not pro family.
One of the hypocrites the ad mentions Congressman, Congressman McCotter. But he‘s taking it well. He wrote a piece for the “National Review” in which he said Catholics United is, quote, not a Catholic church sanctioned organization. It is a leftist political front group. No one should be fooled when this devil cites scripture for his own purpose.
Because they criticize you, they are the devil? How do I know they are not right, Congressman McCotter, and you are the devil? Representative Thaddeus G. McCotter of the Michigan 11th—If I‘m right, I‘m in big trouble—today‘s Worst Person in the World.
OLBERMANN: Paris Hilton might have been on a roll. Just days after a scientific study showing that a cardboard cut out of her image reduced pain in male mice, there appeared on Yahoo News and on 289 different Google New sources, even on MSN.com, the report that she was taking up the cause of drunken elephants in India. Though it broke all of our hearts here to be so cynical, it seemed too good to be true.
Our number one story on the COUNTDOWN, indeed it was. The Associated Press tonight killed its story after Hilton‘s publicist told us and them that it was absolutely false. So the poor drunken elephants, if they ever do make it into rehab, will not have Ms. Hilton to thank for it. The gist of the AP story, attributed to a web site that produces the daily show business updates for the popular IMBD.com, World Entertainment News Network, was that Paris Hilton had expressed alarm over the drunken Indian elephant problem.
One thing evidently true about the story, last month, six Asiatic wild elephants in northeast India got into a whole lot of rice beer. The poor creatures went nuts, uprooted a utility pole and electrocuted themselves. About 34 other elephants survived.
So now back to Miss Hilton, quoted as saying, there would have been more casualties if the villagers had not chased them away. That line suspiciously similar to one from the legitimate elephant story, when a local conservationist in India said, quote, there would have been more casualties had the villagers not chased them away.
So either Ms. Hilton had been mimicking the conversationist—conservationist—or, as we discover from Hilton‘s publicist—can I just start from the start again—Hilton‘s publicist Lori Glassburke (ph), quoting her, it‘s completely absurd.
Bring in comedian Christian Finnegan, of course, a regular contributor to VH-1‘s “Best Week Ever.” Christian, good evening.
CHRISTIAN FINNEGAN, VH-1‘S “BEST WEEK EVER”: Good evening to you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Setting the journalism and all my mispronunciations aside, did Paris Hilton miss an opportunity here? Everybody loves elephants and everybody hates alcoholic elephants rampaging through countrysides.
FINNEGAN: You are telling me. I was once trapped in a building with what I thought was a pack of rampaging elephants and it was harrowing to say the least. It turns out I had simply stumbled into an AppleBees at brunch time. But it was scary, none the less. I really do think Paris is dropping the ball here, because charity is just huge in Hollywood now. I‘m talking like cocaine in the 1980s huge.
The problem is you have got all these do-gooders, your Bonos, your Angelina Jolies hogging up all the great causes, and people like Paris are left with the scraps. You have got to take what you can get, Keith. It‘s like last call on a Saturday night. Is that woman with the adult acne scars really the girl of your dreams? No. But it‘s better than sleeping alone.
OLBERMANN: Or with a drunken elephant. One detail the AP story mentioned was that she supposedly made these comments as a judge in a Tokyo beauty contest. Should we have known from that moment that the story wouldn‘t be true, because she wouldn‘t be that capable of multi tasking.
FINNEGAN: Well, that and the fact that they had her correctly using the word casualties. I‘ pretty sure Paris Hilton thinks casualties is the department of Bloomingdales where you buy sweat pants.
OLBERMANN: By the way, Hilton‘s publicist not only called the story absurd, but asked the question of us, can elephants even get drunk? Apparently they can, especially when rice beer is brewed and left out in open containers. If she were to get involved with this problem, in what ways might she help from personal experience.
FINNEGAN: Off the top of my head, she could start bringing a baby elephant around to all these big events, instead of that strung out chihuahua she‘s always toting around. How cute would that be? She‘s there on the red carpet. She‘s got elephant. I saw her last month standing next to Perez Hilton. She is already headed in that direction.
OLBERMANN: Last week, we learned of this study that the pain in lab mice—this is at McGill University in Montreal—is reduced by the presence of a human, apparently because they are distracted by fear of the human. Then they tried this card board cut out of Paris Hilton and it had the same effect of reducing the pain, but only worked on the male mice. Having said all of this, is there just something in the stars, something portended with these stories? Hilton, mice, elephants; Hilton scares the mice, but the mice scare the elephants?
FINNEGAN: I‘m thinking like a new ark. That‘s what I‘m thinking is in Paris‘ future. In Paris Hilton‘s ark, there‘s going to be a velvet rope, which will be great, because it will be able to weed out some of the less cool animals. Like, tigers you are on the list. Lions, come on through. Sorry, Wallabee, private party.
OLBERMANN: Last point, quickly, if the drunken elephants charity is still available to somebody out there in Hollywood, who should jump on this? Who do you nominate?
FINNEGAN: Keith, I see what you are trying to do here. Massive quantities of alcohol, terrifying beasts, complete lack of mental facility, but no I‘m not going to make a Gary Busey joke.
OLBERMANN: Christian Finnegan, contributor to VH-1‘s “Best Week Ever,” it was a brief shining moment of hope, the Paris Hilton drunken elephant story.
FINNEGAN: Dare to dream.
OLBERMANN: That is COUNTDOWN for this the 1,658th day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq. From New York, I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.
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