Guests: Jonathan Alter, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Daniel Gross, Christian Finnegan
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
The truth is out about the societal sabotage dressed up as phony protests against health care reform. “Poisoning the political well,” “given up any presence of being the loyal opposition,” “they‘ve become political terrorists”—the searing op-ed in “The Washington Post.”
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OLBERMANN: Constant references to: images of Hitler, Nazi‘s the SS
or from the organizer whipping up a crowd of the Americans for Prosperity funded by big tobacco and big oil, all of the above, and euthanasia, too.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stalin, Pol Pot, Mugabe, Adolf Hitler, he called his program the final solution. I kind of wonder what we‘re going to call ours.
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OLBERMANN: The one saving grace? They are not that smart.
Just an ordinary American at a Connecticut town hall still wearing his Anthem BlueCross BlueShield shirt. Just an ordinary American in a Wisconsin town hall saying she‘s not affiliated with any party—who was vice chairman of her county Republican Party as late as last year, and still boasts of being on the Republican National Committee. Just ordinary Americans taking credit for disrupting the Tampa town hall—members of a Glenn Beck fan club.
These as economists are startled as unemployment improves for the first time in 16 months and stocks soar to their highest since last October.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am convinced that we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
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OLBERMANN: Not true about Blackwater—deeper and deeper and worse and worse. How founder Eric Prince viewed his company‘s killing spree in Iraq as a modern version of the Crusade and even used terminology from the actual “Crusades” as call signs.
And “Worsts”: Our modern day lonesome roads disturbed that the angry mobs at the town halls have been called “angry mobs.” “I don‘t remember hearing these words coming from the Bush White House.” No, it only called people disloyal, un-American, treasonous, morally or intellectually confused, and unable to tell right from wrong.
All that and more—now on COUNTDOWN.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No hard feelings now. We‘re talking television.
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OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
Not nearly spreading lies but convincing a dissatisfied portion of the population to believe their propaganda and to act out in anger. Our fifth story on THE COUNTDOWN: When Hamas does it or Hezbollah does it, it is called terrorism.
Why should Republican lawmakers and the astroturf groups organizing on behalf of the health care industry be viewed differently—especially now that far too many tea party protestors are comparing President Obama and health care reform to Hitler and the Holocaust? And when a former Republican vice presidential candidate actually says—out loud—that the reform bill will create a death panel with the authority to kill her children?
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OLBERMANN: The grassroot groups maybe fake but the anger of the Americans lashing out at health care event across the country now dangerously real. The Tampa town hall featuring Congresswoman Kathy Castor yesterday more closely resembling a WWE night than a policy discussion. The protestors are not interested in hearing any voices other than their own. Outside that town hall echoes of McCain/Palin rallies of the last year, including a cry of “Heil Hitler.”
In Detroit, the president mocked by some as Hitler, the signs doing the talking outside the meeting held by Congressman John Dingell. In Denver, a young man from Wasilla, Alaska, coincidentally enough—wearing a t-shirt that said “Hitler gave great speeches, too,” picketing the town hall event held by Speaker Pelosi.
In St. Louis, six people arrested last night outside the town hall held by the Congressman Rush Carnahan—two for assault, one for resisting arrest, three for disturbing the peace. The protestors are yelling about political oppression after not having been allowed inside the doors of the venue having been closed once it had reached capacity, because of what we call the Fire Code.
As we know, the anger and the ideas of the tea party protestors did
not form organically nor spontaneously, outside Congressman Chris Murphy‘s
town hall meeting in Connecticut, nothing up his sleeve, that guy not even
bothering to hide his apparent affiliation with Anthem BlueCross BlueShield
actually not bright enough to wear a different shirt to the rally.
At the town hall yesterday held by Steve Kagen, the congressman in Kewaunee, Wisconsin, that reported protestor Heather Blish introduced herself as just a mom from a few blocks away, claiming not to be affiliated with the, say, Republican Party.
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HEATHER BLISH, PROTESTOR: No, I was not influenced. I‘m not a member of the Republican Party. I have not paid my dues to the Republican Party for two years. I left the party.
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OLBERMANN: Except the LinkedIn page for Heather Blish reveals that she was vice chair of the Republican Party in Kewaunee County until last year. She also worked on the campaign of the Republican who ran against that congressman, Kagen, last fall.
That the health care bill would purportedly mandate the euthanasia of America‘s elderly, one of the pernicious lies now taking hold, at a bus tour event in Pueblo, Colorado, last night organized by the corporate lobbying group Americans for Prosperity, a speaker from that group among those disseminating the euthanasia lie before comparing Democratic health care reform to some of the most despotic regimes in world history.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stalin in the 1920s issued about 20 million end-of-life orders for his fellow Russians. Pol Pot did it during the Vietnam War. He ended, issued about 2 million end-of-life orders. It‘s being done in Africa today. Mugabe is doing it every day. Adolf Hitler issued 6 million end-of-life orders. He called his program the final solution.
I kind of wonder what we‘re going to call ours.
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OLBERMANN: And I kind of wonder if you‘re a meth addict.
Time now to call in our own Jonathan Alter, senior editor at “Newsweek” magazine.
Thanks for coming in, again, Jon.
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: That‘s one of the lies we did not get to last night, this absurd idea of euthanasia, forced euthanasia of the elderly under this proposed plan.
Today, Governor Palin went in the opposite direction. Her Facebook page reads, “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama‘s, quote, ‘death panel,‘ unquote.” Making it sound as if there were such a thing.
“So his bureaucrats can decide based on a subjective judgment of their level of productivity in society whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”
I would here and again suggest the governor might be stoned, but that would be an insult to stoners. How did this horror, this idea that anybody—and I mean anybody—Republicans, Democrats, independents, or the insane people, would actually propose legislation that even touched euthanasia, forced euthanasia? How did this get any kind of hold rather than people like that man not being chased of the stage by the people who were listening to him?
ALTER: Well, let‘s start with what‘s actually in these bills.
ALTER: And if you go to the page that references this, which, of course, none of these critics, including Governor Palin want to do because it would destroy their despicable lies, it said something very simple, which is that when you get to an end-of-life decision, that Medicare will pay, will reimburse your doctor to have the conversation that every elderly person or grievously ill person and their families should have to make, you know, these very tough decisions. And having the consultation of the medical professional is helpful.
That doesn‘t say that anything about, you know, advancing the end of life or euthanasia.
OLBERMANN: Right. That conversation can be, “I want you to keep pumping me full of drugs until there is none left.”
ALTER: Absolutely. That‘s the family‘s choice.
OLBERMANN: Keep pumping my chest until I‘ve been dead six weeks.
ALTER: And there are families for whom that that‘s the choice and that‘s fine.
OLBERMANN: And that will be covered now.
ALTER: Right. That it‘s now covered to just have this conversation.
ALTER: . that, you know, everybody needs to have with medical professionals. I had it with some when my mother was sick before she died last fall. I think, the whole audience.
OLBERMANN: I had that—I had that conversation this year. I know exactly what you‘re talking about.
ALTER: Yes. I think the whole audience understands.
Usually, doctors do it without being reimbursed. This is a way of providing some reimbursement for them and allowing people to make more sensible choices that work best for their families.
So, the Republicans took that—not all of the Republicans, just the despicable ones—they took that and they decided to demagogue it in the most horrifying way, playing on the fears of elderly people, reaching back to these ludicrous, historical comparisons, and really creating what can only be described as an uncivilized debate.
OLBERMANN: Well, what was—what was the whole thing for the last two or three cycles from the Republicans was if you vote Democratic you‘ll die because of terrorism. That one seems to have waned, and now, it seems, if you vote Democratic, you‘ll die because of health care reform.
Which begs this larger question—the op-ed in “The Washington Post” today by Steven Pearlstein—if the Republican Party and others were actively schilling for the health care industry, knowingly inciting a dissatisfied portion of the American public towards violence with propaganda, knowing that it‘s never going to be vetted or checked by people who want to believe this, who need an excuse to get riled up and perhaps actually violently angry. How is that different than what Hamas or Hezbollah does? How are these people not political terrorists?
ALTER: Well, I don‘t like comparing people to terrorists or Nazis. That‘s what the other side‘s doing right now, comparing Obama to being a Nazi.
But I would say that this is incitement. And that the history of incitement is very dangerous. Where it starts in societies that are decaying or headed toward political violence is it starts with hate speech, then it moves to destroying property. Then it moves to killing people. That‘s the progression in these societies that are going down the wrong path.
Not killing people through, you know.
ALTER: . some imagined bill in Congress but inciting people to violence, which is where this does lead.
So, I think it‘s a scary situation right now. It‘s one that doesn‘t help the Republicans, because what it does is just discredit those honest citizens who are honestly concerned about the health care bill and turning up at these town meetings and asking perfectly legitimate questions of their elected representatives. It throws all of them in with these kooks which does not lend itself to a civilized debate or any kind of real fair exchange of views.
So Democratic members of Congress—they need to be clear that, you know, this bill should fix what‘s wrong with our system and that we should have a civilized argument about it, not this kind of name calling that we‘ve been seeing.
OLBERMANN: Jonathan Alter of MSNBC and “Newsweek”—thank you for coming in. Have a good weekend.
ALTER: You, too, Keith.
OLBERMANN: All right. For more on the anger being stoked let‘s turn to Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University.
Good evening, Professor.
MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Hi. How are you?
OLBERMANN: The spontaneous nature of these protests might not be at all spontaneous. That may be faked and the money and organizing power behind them are corporate and Republican—and, yes, they even come from Glenn Beck. But that does not mean that the people are not real and that their anger is any less palatable.
What are you seeing going on here societally?
HARRIS-LACEWELL: OK. I need you to indulge my professorial nerd side.
OLBERMANN: Go ahead.
HARRIS-LACEWELL: . just a little bit here. Because, actually, I think there‘s a bit of an answer in the research. So, there is some terrific research around the authoritarian dynamic. And what it tells us through a study of political psychology is that there are these notions of racial, moral, and political intolerance and they‘re actually all linked by an authoritarian dynamic. It was actually the name of a terrific book by Karen Stenner, “The Authoritarian Dynamic.”
And what it tells us is that, you know, ordinary people who normally feel sort of OK walking through their days, through the political world, can get riled up by change and by disagreement in public opinion. And, in fact, the more they think the world is changing and the more they think there‘s a lot of disagreement and anxiety, the more stressed out they become, and the more likely they are to be authoritarian and intolerant in their political behavior.
And I think that what we‘ve seen here is a very careful and very destructive stoking of that authoritarian dynamic—you know, by the GOP, by these corporate interests. But the folks on the ground are feeling very real anxiety about where our country‘s going.
OLBERMANN: Yes, John Dean touched on a lot of that research that you referred to in his book, I guess, about four years ago, “Conservatives Without Conscience”—which is a, just a stunner. It just—it separates a whole group of people from the idea of the Republican Party or even the conservative movement. It is that exact term you use, “authoritarianism.”
What I‘m fascinated by is that the protestors in Tampa were happy enough to say, “Yes, well, we were told by the Republican Party to come out here and the rest of us are all members of this Glenn Beck club. The guy in Connecticut did not even bother to wear a different shirt other than the one that said which health care firm, which industry part he was associated with. The woman in Wisconsin, who had been the Republican county vice chair, blatantly lying about her connections.
Is this a symptom of this—that people are not even trying to hide the puppet strings?
HARRIS-LACEWELL: Maybe. It could also be true that instead of my professorial hat what I need is my mommy hat. And I have a 7-year-old, and she tells me that sometimes it‘s just opposite day. And so, whatever you say is actually the opposite thing is true.
So, if you‘re saying there are death panels, what you actually mean is we currently have a health care system where people are dying because of lack of care. If you say, “I‘m an ordinary American,” what you really mean is “I‘m actually here at the behest of corporate interests,” you know?
So, it could be that it‘s simply opposite day for the conservative movement and if you are saying the other guy is the bad guy, in fact, it may be just a projection of your own anxieties.
OLBERMANN: So, the idea that the protestors might be unaware that they‘re shelling for the coldest kind of corporate entity that there could be, it‘s not that they don‘t know this or they might feel they‘re being used? You tie all this together, and suddenly, the corporation is the authoritarian leader in this equation?
HARRIS-LACEWELL: Well, no. It could be that it‘s both, right? So, you always want to expect that in a crowd full of people shouting, there are some folks there who are just going to be against anything Democrats want.
There are some folks there working out a kind of psychological anxiety of authoritarianism. There are some folks there who have very real corporate and job interests in this stuff. And there are some folks who are so confused by all of this policy and by all of this disagreement that they‘re grasping for something to understand—and sometimes, it‘s just the status quo.
So, what we really need is somebody‘s got to call Will.i.am and he‘s got to do a remix of “Yes, we can” so we can get the positive emotions going again.
OLBERMANN: Yes. And you can often tell these people at the protests because they are the ones wearing the shirts that read: Anthem BlueCross BlueShield.
OLBERMANN: Melissa Harris-Lacewell of Princeton—thank you, again. Have a good weekend.
HARRIS-LACEWELL: Thank you, too.
OLBERMANN: The irony is that the blind, mindless rage at the health care reform town halls is cresting just as the last big Obama plan is showing indisputable evidence of starting to work. Analysts were stunned today when the unemployment rate not only did not continue to swell but actually shrank for the first time in 16 months. Stocks went through the roof; the highest numbers since last October. The stimulus—the Obama stimulus is obviously just starting to do something.
And what a blow to real Americans like the town hall whiners.
OLBERMANN: I haven‘t done a stock report since I was on the radio in 1980, but the Dow vaulted 113 points upward today, unemployment shrank for the first time in 16 months, and the dollar gained value against the yen and the euro as world markets agree with the president who said, “I am convinced that we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.” Republicans say, “No, it‘s a miracle healing”—like, you know, the kind they have at lords.
More and worst yet from the Blackwater affidavits.
Now, the Web site that helped promulgate the phony Obama Kenyan birth certificate says it‘s a phony.
And in “Worsts”: it‘s Billo versus me and Geraldo Rivera?
You‘re watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.
OLBERMANN: In February, the final score came in on eight years of the Bush administration handling of the economy: the stock market at 7,100 and the monthly average of the newly unemployed at 645,000 and rising. Today, the brakes apparently started to take hold. The stock market crossed 9,300 and unemployment not only finally stopped growing in July but actually shrank just a little bit.
Our fourth story on THE COUNTDOWN: The Republicans say this has nothing to do with the Obama stimulus plan nor even the efforts late in the Bush administration to de-wobble the banking industry, it just sort of happened—you know, like spontaneous combustion or when a cloud of flies suddenly moves five feet to the left all at the same time.
The new jobs figures out today showed the decrease unexpected in the July unemployment rate and the big drop in the number of jobs lost. That plus last week‘s good gross domestic product numbers prompted the president to cautious optimism.
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OBAMA: Today, we‘re pointed in the right direction. We‘re losing jobs at less than half the rate we were when I took office. We‘ve pulled the financial system back from the brink, and a rising market is restoring value to those 401(k)s that are the foundation of a secure retirement. We‘ve enabled families to reduce the payments on their mortgages, making their homes more affordable and reducing the number of foreclosures. We helped revive the credit markets and opened up loans for families and small businesses.
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OLBERMANN: But, with priceless spin, RNC Chairman Michael Steele says the markets are up because the president is failing. “Because the train has slowed on health care, because cap-and-trade basically imploded under its own weight in the House and couldn‘t get across the street to the Senate, because the Obama juggernaut on trying to manage and control our economy has slowed down, the market is beginning to do what markets are supposed to do: heal thyself.”
Let‘s welcome the senior editor of “Newsweek” magazine, Daniel Gross.
Thank you for your time again tonight, sir.
DANIEL GROSS, NEWSWEEK: Good to be here.
OLBERMANN: So, this was a miracle. Just sort of inexplicably happened like when the “Macarena” became the hit song?
GROSS: Oh, you gave me—you just gave me flashback to a lot of bad weddings in the ‘90s with that “Macarena” reference. Yes, look, 2,000 years ago, we had the Immaculate Conception. Thirty-five years ago, we had the immaculate reception. And now, we got the immaculate recovery. No one seemed to have anything to do with it.
OLBERMANN: Good economic news, “cash for clunkers,” health care reform—none of this factored into what we saw today?
GROSS: Well, “cash for clunkers,” I think, helped a little bit because people saw that there was a huge amount of economic activity being generated by that. But, you know, the mood is changing. We‘ve processed a lot of the losses, a lot of these bailout efforts have actually worked. People are continuing to pay back the TARP money and the stimulus is working its way in.
So, it‘s a combination of the natural healing effects of an economy processing losses and these extra little gooses that the government is giving it through these targeted efforts.
OLBERMANN: Dan, almost since the stimulus was announced, the Republicans continued to point to the mounting job losses as a sign that it wasn‘t working and there was a reason to believe that there might be something to what they said. But what do they do now that that has stopped and improved in the other direction by comparatively an inch?
GROSS: Pray for rain?
GROSS: You know, it was interesting. A couple months ago, it was very common to hear people on the right saying that, you know, Obama should stop talking about how bad things were when he got into office. That he owns this economy. It‘s his now. And he said, “OK. I‘ll take it.”
Now that it‘s showing signs of improving, they‘re saying, oh, he doesn‘t own that economy. He‘s maybe just, you know, renting or visiting it for a while.
OLBERMANN: Last point, I mentioned the dollar internationally stronger against the yen and much stronger during the day against the euro. I don‘t really understand why that is good news or why that is kind of a neutral opinion. Can you explain?
GROSS: Well, it‘s very complicated—which is what people always say when asked to explain currency movements.
GROSS: But the U.S. versus the euro and the yen, one of the big factors that goes into making that stronger is whether the people think economic growth will be much stronger in one country versus another. People are all, of a sudden, thinking that economic growth is going to be much stronger in the U.S. than it is going to be in Japan and in Europe, then the dollar will rise against those currencies.
OLBERMANN: So, you can reverse-engineer that and say that‘s what they must be thinking because the dollar went up. I got it. All right. That was made simple. Thank you.
Dan Gross, senior editor at “Newsweek” magazine—again, great thanks.
GROSS: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: You know what they say about rugby players. Rugby players eat their dead, and their mascots apparently. Some scrum.
And speaking of scrum, there‘s nothing left of this man but his mustache after Secretary of State Clinton got done with him. Thirteen words that ended the career of ex-Ambassador John Bolton.
“Best Persons”—next here on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: “Bests” in a moment and the best 13-word joke by a politician in years.
First, on this date in 1926, Stanley Victor Freberg was born in Los Angeles. For 65 years now, he‘s been one of the nation‘s comedic treasures. From working as a voice actor while just out of high school to parodying popular music and TV and culture, to Beany and Cecil, to producing the recorded epic “Stan Freberg Presents: The United States of America,” to finally vivisecting American politics to revolutionizing American advertising. He has basically done first and best what everybody else has yet to do or done in pale imitation of him.
So, Happy Birthday, Stan Freberg there.
Let‘s play “Oddball.”
We begin with Australian Rugby League action in Miami (ph), Australia, that‘s the name of the town—where Igor, the manly sea eagle mascot is brawling with a fan. As you can see, Igor held his own, taking the punk down as security arrived. The broadcast coverage however missed the top of the scuffle so we can‘t say what precipitated the fight. Instead, we‘ll get the scoop straight from Igor‘s beak.
Cue the flashy.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) watching the end of the game, the boys were in front and someone just comes and suck punch me on the head (ph), so then I was on the ground and gave a flat-me-wings and a gave him bit of what for.
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OLBERMANN: Igor never blinked.
To Japan‘s Akita prefecture and a follow-up to story we brought you on “Oddball” a few years ago. You may recall the story of the Chihuahua born with a coronary shaped brown blotch on his side, the dog was affectionately named Heart Puppy.
OLBERMANN: Well, Heart Puppy‘s mother recently had another litter and wouldn‘t you know it, she popped out another dog with a heart shape on its coat. This one is called the Love Puppy.
The puppy‘s owners say the recurrence of a similar shape on another puppy from the same mother must mean it‘s a genetic trait although they have yet to explain why the Love Puppy reeks of magic marker.
Finally, to the Internets where we got to look at one of these
videos so clearly fake but so well done that we‘re going to show you
anyway. It‘s fielded the world‘s longest slip and slide, release, rotation
splash. Thornton Melon‘s “Triple Lindy” was more believable. But this is still pretty good.
The nightmare that is Blackwater. The story has taken four nights to tell. On this night, founder Eric Prince‘s delusion that in Iraq he was conducting modern day religious crusades.
And even the far right says all it takes is fake Obama Kenyan birth certificate taint real. What do she and the birther loonies do now?
But first, time for COUNTDOWN‘s “Top Three Best Persons in the World.”
Dateline: Papua New Guinea. Number three: Best stock market analyst, Ddalgi the parrot. Ddalgi means strawberry, competed against 10 human investors, each investing about $48,000. Ddalgi‘s investments netted her a profit of 13.7 percent. The humans averaged a loss of 4.6 percent. The bird selected her stocks by pecking on any of 30 balls bearing the names of various stocks. The humans used a far less sophisticated method: they analyzed.
Dateline North Carolina; number two, best use of discredited poll numbers, commentator Bernie Goldberg of Cluster-Fox, said that the idea that 28 percent of Republicans believe the president was not born here pales in comparison to, quote, just a few years ago when several polls came out that showed that 35 percent of Democrats believed George Bush and the neo-cons were behind the attacks on 9/11. I don‘t remember liberal journalists writing stories about how the whole Democratic party needs to explain this, or how the Democratic party is a magnet for lunatics.
No, some conservative journalists wrote that. But others, even including Jonah Goldberg, noted that the Rasmussen Poll in question was terribly flawed. “It is surely partly wrong,” he said, “because the question was not, do you think Bush and the neo-cons were behind the attacks on 9/11. It asked did Bush know about the 9/11 attacks in advance?” As in, did intel warn his government what was coming? Which we now know it pretty much did.
And dateline Nairobi, Kenya; number one, best one liner, Secretary of State Clinton, interviewed there, asked about never confirmed ex-UN Ambassador John Bolton‘s criticism of President Clinton‘s diplomatic success in North Korea. Secretary Clinton replied, quote, “if President Obama, you know, walked on water, he‘d say he couldn‘t swim.”
How to destroy John Bolton in 13 words.
OLBERMANN: For the last three nights, we have been quoting the sworn declaration of a former executive XE, the company formerly called Blackwater, in which that executive describes a nearly global enterprise shot through with criminality, arms dealing, fraud, tax evasion, child prostitution, murder; all of which Xe denies, even in cases where its employees have already pleaded guilty.
One motive for all this, the four-year executive claims, was greed. Tonight, in our third story, the other motive was god. Jeremy Scahill, who first wrote this story for the “National Magazine,” wrote the definitive book on Blackwater, in which he details some of the theocratic connections of founder Erik Prince.
Now that former Blackwater executive, known only as John Doe II, claims that Prince did more than subscribe to a fundamentalist Christian ideology. He used Xe to advance it. Quote, “Mr. Prince is motivated to engage in misconduct by two factors. First, he views himself as a Christian crusader, tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe. To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the crusades.”
As a young man, Erik Prince was an intern for the first President Bush and for the Family Research Council, the right wing religious organization his father helped to start. He later complained about his White House internship. Quote, “I saw a lot of things I did not agree with: homosexual groups being invited in, the budget agreement, the Clean Air Act.”
A Catholic convert, Prince has donated more than 250,000 dollars to conservative Republican politicians, primarily the religious ones. He has used the wealth of his family and profits from Xe to create and to fund numerous right wing and or proselytizing Christian organizations: the Family Research Council, Christian Freedom International, and the Council on National Policy, whose meetings Prince said he has attended.
That last group, the CNP, was founded by this man, the Reverend Tim Lahay (ph), whose “Left Behind” series dramatizes his biblical beliefs that in the near future Solomon‘s temple in Israel will be rebuilt; Jesus then returns, making true believers vanish away with him. Those left behind who accept Jesus battle the unbelievers.
Mr. Prince‘s devout family values Christianity doesn‘t always manifest itself however in his behavior. After a Xe, then Blackwater, plane went down in Afghanistan, Prince argued that legal immunity pertained because companies cannot be sued for the actions of their employees under prevailing Afghanistan law, specifically the Islamic Law of Sharia.
Prince was interviewed by Suzanne Simons for a new a book about him, a book that reports Prince cheated on his first wife, his dying first wife, with their nanny. Simons writes that the nanny attended the funeral while pregnant with Prince‘s child. Prince did, in his words, the right thing. He married the nanny.
At Xe, Prince has surrounded himself with like-minded believers, like lobbyist Paul Barrons (ph), board member of Christian Freedom International, and General Council COO Joseph Schmitz. As inspector general at the Pentagon, Mr. Schmitz incorporated the phrase “always under the protection of the almighty” into the official seal, and said, quote, “we pride ourselves on our strict adherence to the rule of law under god.”
He spoke to the Order of Malta, a secretive Catholic group, at the church of Paul Bremer, another conservative Catholic in the Bush administration. And Schmitz essentially exonerated U.S. General William Boykin for turning his mission missionary.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he here? I tell you this morning, he‘s in the White House because god put him there for such a time as this.
The enemy is a spiritual enemy. He‘s called the principality of darkness. And the enemy is a guy called Satan.
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OLBERMANN: After even Republicans slammed Schmitz for shielding the White House from correctional scrutiny of Pentagon purchasing, Schmitz resigned and went to Blackwater. Schmitz not only spoke to the Order of Malta, he is a member. Scahill reports the order is, quote, “a Christian militia formed in the 11th century, before the First Crusades, with the mission of defending territories that the crusaders had conquered from the Muslims.”
Territories familiar to theocratic minds.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while.
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OLBERMANN: The Pentagon put Bible verses on its reports for Mr. Bush. Some of his soldiers spoke openly about distributing Bibles in Iraq and Afghanistan, spreading the word. Erik Prince once described Xe employees this way: quote, “everybody carries guns, just like Jeremiah rebuilding the temple in Israel. A sword in one hand, a trowel in the other.”
The temple that must be rebuilt for Jesus to return. Bush officials helped Prince advance his vision. State Department Inspector General Alvin Krongard killed a probe into Xe‘s weapons smuggling, then denied to Congress that his brother was on Xe‘s advisory board.
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ALVIN KRONGARD, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT INSPECTOR GENERAL: I
specifically asked him. I do not believe it is true that he is a member of the advisory board.
During the break I did contact my brother. I reached him at home. He is not at the hotel. But I learned that he had been at the advisory board meeting yesterday. I had not been aware of that, and I want to state on the record right now that I hereby recuse myself from any matters having to do with Blackwater.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Coalition Chief Paul Bremer, another Council for National Policy veteran, once said “I cannot succeed in this mission without the help of god,” but he also need Blackwater. He gave Prince his first big contract in Iraq. Bremer later wrote the Bremer Order, granting contractors in Iraq total legal immunity, and Xe would need it.
Quoting John Doe number two‘s sworn declaration, “Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince‘s executives would openly speak about going over to lay hajis out on cardboard. Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or a game.”
A man whom Xe called a disgruntled former employee put it this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was troubling when a group of Americans who were supposedly there to help in the rebuilding of a country consider those people to be less than they are, less human than they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: But is there any evidence that these attitudes reached the battle field? We told you that Prince sent his men illegal ammo, engineered to detonate on contact with human flesh. Out of three State Department security contractors, Xe fired first in its shootouts more than any other, firing first or being the only side to fire in 84 percent of shooting incidents.
July 1st, 2007, Xe shooters allegedly opened up on a mini bus taking three families to the airport. Dead, one nine-year-old boy, his father, his uncle, his mother, trying to shield her three-month-old daughter. The baby is also dead, shot in the face.
February 7th, 2007, Xe snipers kill three Iraqi government security guards. Iraqi officials confront the shooters, who then joke about it. The State Department defends Xe without, according to the “Washington Post” reporting, interviewing witnesses, nor examining the scene.
Christmas Eve, 2006, a drunken Blackwater employee kills an Iraqi vice president‘s body guard. CNN reports the State Department kept this out of the killer‘s personnel records.
February 16th, 2005, Xe sprays an Iraqi car with more than 70 bullets, presumably killing the driver. The Xe security detail is code named Templar 20. The State Department determined that Xe lied about being fired on, but punishes nobody. Quote, “any disciplinary actions would be deemed as lowering the morale of contractors.”
Out of 195 shootings from 2005 to 2007, Xe was fired upon first just 32 times. Xe has denied wrong-doing and will reply in court to the allegations, the legal allegations against it later this month. Today, a judge ruled on Xe‘s request for a gag order. Gag order denied.
So where was he born today? When a whack job right wing website rejects the phony Kenyan birth certificate as a phony Kenyan birth certificate, where do the birthers go from here?
The “Washington Post” says this man called the commentators in his employ, quote, nut cases, and volunteered to muzzle them.
When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, how should Democrats respond to the sabotage at the health care town halls? Her guest is Representative Anthony Weiner of New York.
OLBERMANN: Summer 2009, when every day is your birther‘s day. The huge blow to the tin foil hat crowd, the Obama Kenyan birth certificate that turned out to be a doctored Australian birth certificate, has been declared a fraud by the wackiest right wing site out there.
That‘s next, but first time for COUNTDOWN‘s number two story, tonight‘s worst persons in the world, brought to you by Fixed News, now celebrating ten days without having fired Glenn Beck for calling the president of the United States racist, four days since he was warned or tried to warn his fans against committing acts of violence, but one day after he joked about poisoning the speaker of the House, even after Procter and Gamble, Progressive Insurance, and Lawyers.com pulled out as advertisers on Beck‘s program.
The bronze to Bill-O the clown. Mentioning the on-going fun here with Lou Dobbs. “He was attacked, along with his wife and children, Bernie, on NBC News airwaves.”
Bernard Goldberg answered, “Some people at NBC said that that was—here‘s Lou Dobbs, who is crusading against immigration. Not true. He crusades against illegal immigration. He‘s married to an Hispanic woman. Bill, you need to help me out on this. I‘m totally confused. Can‘t you be against illegal immigration and be married to an Hispanic woman at the same time?”
The part Mr. Goldberg and Mr. O‘Reilly left out was this: Mr. Dobbs mostly attacks illegal immigration, but not exclusively. And his wife, having been a television sports caster on a national network, and having been caught trying to take a gun onto a commercial flight, is fair game. And given that Mr. Dobbs attacks illegal immigration, it pays the bills for his kids to participate in the horse show circuit, which is the second leading employer of the illegal immigrants in this country. He is a hypocrite.
As Geraldo Rivera said on O‘Reilly, quote, “Lou Dobbs has done more to slander Latin people in this country than any other single human being. He has made the image of a young Latino man climbing the border wall into this profoundly negative icon that has totally perverted the discussion over immigration reform.”
The runner up, Roger Ailes of Fixed News. The “Washington Post” reporting today that he attended a lunch in this building this year in hopes of brokering a deal in which he would muzzle his own commentators from talking about particular subjects. Quote, “he could control his nut cases, he said,” wrote Howard Kurtz. And later announced, per Kurtz, “the war was over.” Negotiating with the people his nut cases might cover about whether or not those nut cases will or will not cover them might seem like journalism to Mr. Ailes. But clearly no actual journalist would agree with him.”
But our winner, the aforementioned Mr. Beck, or, if you‘ve ever seen the movie “A Face in the Crowd,” Lonesome Roads. Angry that the phony health care protesters were called out the way the phony tax protesters were called out, “right wing extremists, desperate Republicans, angry mobs, the mob, manufactured anger, Brooks Brothers brigade. I don‘t remember hearing those words coming from the Bush White House. I don‘t remember anybody saying that out of George Bush‘s realm. There are political hacks that said some awful things. But this, really? Did we call Democrats mobs?”
No. You and the Bush administration called us morally and intellectually confused, disloyal, treasonous, un-American. You and the government tried to black list performers and commentators who criticized Mr. Bush. The administration sent us instructions on what questions to ask in interviews of Bush critics. And Mr. McCain said I should be in a padded room. And Mr. Rumsfeld called anybody who disagreed with his policies the equivalent of Nazi sympathizers.
Mob would have been a compliment. And you just called this president a racist and a fascist. Lonesome Roads Beck, today‘s worst person in the world.
OLBERMANN: Five days after President Obama‘s so-called Kenyan birth certificate was unmasked as an obvious fake, four days after it was shown to be the rip off of a certificate for some surprised man in Australia named Bomford, and one day after an anonymous blogger took credit for the fake, telling the birthers that they had been punked, World Net Daily conducted its own exclusive investigation, and it concluded, in our number one story, that the Kenyan birth certificate, quote, is probably not authentic.
The WND expose actually includes the posting of that anonymous blogger, beginning with this, the Kenyan birth certificate, the one heralded by nut case Orly Taitz as the smoking gun. Next picture, the type writer and special paper for making official looking documents. Then the crumbled certificate. Then the payoff, you‘ve been punked.
The blogger also provides a list of materials used in the forgery, but the Kenyan document was error ridden on its face, which World Net Daily now grudgingly concedes, after interviewing Kenyan government officials.
Meantime, back at the Funny Farm, the aforementioned Ms. Taitz, who was quite breathless about the Kenyan birth certificate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ORLY TAITZ, BIRTHER: How much time do I have? I had bad experience in CNN with Kitty Pilgrim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Now you know where Ava Gabor wound up. No surprise that the most respondents in the recent poll think that there has been too much actual serious coverage of the whole birther jazz. Yet, a plurality of Republicans think there‘s been too little birther news. Fox birther channel.
Let‘s turn now to comedian Christian Finnegan to address their birther news needs.
CHRISTIAN FINNEGAN, COMEDIAN: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: I don‘t get this. CBS runs dubious documents about Bush‘s military service five years ago. The anchor gets fired. There‘s a big panel that includes a former attorney general. The right goes crazy. Don‘t we have to have a World Net Daily investigation, or at least take Orly Taitz‘s wig license away from her or something?
FINNEGAN: Keith, what you fail to realize is that CBS is a news organization. Listen, you‘re going to take World Net Daily to task for factual inaccuracies? What a buzz kill, man. Next, you‘ll want to shut down “World Weekly News” because somebody disproved the existence of Bat Boy.
OLBERMANN: Don‘t forget “World News Weekly,” the other one. Oddly, World Net Daily had verified the actual Hawaiian birth certificate a year ago. While they were having this sort of duplicity here, that there was a Hawaiian document and a Kenyan document, what do you think the argument was, that he was born in two places at once, or that there are multiple Obamas, or that Hawaii is in Kenya, or what?
FINNEGAN: Keith, again, this sensational need for fact and consistency. You don‘t think Barack Obama can be in two places at once? I don‘t put anything past that guy. He is one part Jeremiah Wright, one part zealog (ph), and one part Barack Angel, mind freak.
OLBERMANN: Fifty percent Barack Angel Mind Freak, 50 percent something else.
If you‘re Orly Taitz, immigre dentist, correspondents school lawyer who calls the media brown shirts and seems to be doing an Ava Gabor impression, after your holy grail is revealed to be not a holy grail, but holy fraudulent, you do what?
FINNEGAN: By the way, Orly Taitz Immigre Dentist sounds like the new Will Farrell movie. Just because—
OLBERMANN: With John C. Riley as Orly Taitz. Yes.
FINNEGAN: Just because this woman looks like she should be selling broaches on the Ukrainian Home Shopping Network does not mean that there aren‘t a plethora of opportunities for her. There is a ground swell to have her replace Paula Abdul on “American Idol,” as you may know. I think big pharma is behind that.
If that doesn‘t work out, she can always be Lou Dobbs‘ side kick, like his Topo Gigio (ph).
OLBERMANN: Lou Dobbs‘ side kick is the one she‘s complaining about, Kitty Pilgrim. Anyway, I thought she looked, in fact, like—remember the Schmengees (ph), the fake documentary that John Candy did?
FINNEGAN: Oh, yes.
OLBERMANN: -- with Eugene Levy.
FINNEGAN: I was thinking that or Beaker from the Muppets.
OLBERMANN: With all this, we can still count on a certain segment of the GOP to say, we want more. Yes, we‘ve got him now. Is this—do we think there is an overlap between this and the crowd that thought the best episode of “Happy Days” was when the Fonz literally jumped the shark on the motorcycle?
FINNEGAN: Well, it was the best episode. Of course it was. By the way, I don‘t know if you heard the latest “Rolling Stones” album, but that band is really starting to come into its own. Whatever happened to New Coke, by the way? I actually am one of the people that hopes the birth certificate story keeps going, because I‘m trying to plan a vacation. I‘m learning a lot about Kenya and Hawaii. And I happen to be a forgery buff.
OLBERMANN: One part of this I‘ve never heard explained; if this is a conspiracy, if there is some other birth certificate out there, why are there birth notices for Obama in two Hawaiian newspapers in August of 1961? I mean, did the conspirators think that far ahead? And if they did, can we hire them to do something like cure cancer or something? They must be geniuses.
FINNEGAN: Yes. I don‘t think there was that much prenatal planning leading up to the birth of Rosemary‘s baby. Next, we‘re going to find out that Obama‘s mother carried around a talisman filled with tanis root or something. It is pretty flawless logic when you think about it. All right, we know this kid is going to be president some day, so we have to make sure people think he was born in the United States. So where should we say he was born, where he‘ll seem like the most American of Americans? I know, Honolulu, Anywheresville, USA, a veritable Bedford Falls.
OLBERMANN: Yes, because that name Barack Obama, it‘s just too Joseph Smith like or John Jones or whatever. Christian Finnegan, who always has the distinctive name to fall back on, if everything else fails, and it has not, thanks for your time. Have a great weekend.
FINNEGAN: By the way, Keith, in honor of the late John Hughes, I want you to know I am and will always remain a Duckman.
OLBERMANN: There you go. That‘s COUNTDOWN for this the 2,290th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.
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