Guests: Markos Moulitsas, Jack Rice, Lawrence O‘Donnell, Rob Boston .
HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you
be talking about tomorrow?
Snow brings the business of government from a standstill to a
standstill. No, this kind of snow: “It‘s going to keep snowing in D.C.,”
tweets a Republican senator, “until Al Gore cries ‘uncle.‘”
Republicans in Virginia using the blizzard as an attack ad on cap-and-trade legislation. Why? Because they are this stupid—
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It‘s just another nail in the coffin of the whole global warming thing, and each—you know, every day like this, where is Al Gore?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: “The Democrats want to reduce Medicare,” scream the Republicans. Now, the Republicans officially want to eliminate Medicare. Or if you‘re nice, they‘ll make you pay a premium for it when you‘re 65.
Exploiting Abdulmutallab for political gain—the good news is: the Republicans are getting worse at it. Newt Gingrich is either too stupid or too dishonest and gets caught.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, TV HOST: Didn‘t they do the same with Richard Reid, who was the shoe bomber?
NEWT GINGRICH ®, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Richard Reid was an American citizen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Yes, he wasn‘t.
Kit Bond is both too stupid and too dishonest and gets caught.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KIT BOND ®, MISSOURI: It turns out that mirandizing Richard Reid and trying him in the court was a bad idea.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, MSNBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Why‘s that? He‘s serving a life sentence right now. He will never get out. How is that a failure?
BOND: You don‘t get the information you need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Hypocrisy on the stimulus. They voted against it, called it socialism, then took credit for it—so says Senator McCaskill, give it back. And tonight, introducing the COUNTDOWN Hypocrisy Hall of Shame.
Lonesome Roads Beck has a plan to revive America or something. He calls his plan, “the plan.” It involves this man, who likes to quote Jefferson and Madison about how they did not want separation of church and state. Except the quotes are fakes.
“Worsts”: Defending Sarah Palin—with hallucinations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She did not quit. She—the lower 48 needed her and she heeded the call. She did not take the easy way out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Oh, and she says Ron Reagan there, he never met his own father.
And the South Dakota reservations crisis and your overwhelming generosity.
All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
A blizzard has buried much of the northeast, much of the nation‘s capital, and much of Congress‘s sanity. What the record snowfall has exposed, however, is just how ignorant leading deniers are about what even the Bush Pentagon recognized as a threat: climate change. They think it‘s disproved by snow.
And Democrats are responding to a snowstorm that, in fact, may exemplify climate change by naturally backing down on legislation to combat climate change—legislation Republicans opposed because even though it would have cut taxes for the middle-class, too, you know, you, it also would have cut the profits of big polluters.
While the snowfall shut down much of the capital‘s day-to-day business, including progress on the jobs bill, key Democrats now say it now might also spell the end, for now, of the climate change bill. Why? Because people are idiots!
Senate Energy Chairman Jeff Bingaman remarking about this storm, quote, “It makes it more challenging for folks not taking time to review the scientific arguments. People see the world around them and they extrapolate.” And no one is extrapolating stupider than the people in the pockets of the energy industry. Quote, “It‘s going to keep snowing in D.C. until Al Gore cries ‘uncle.‘” Get it? Al Gore. Quote, “Where‘s Al Gore now?” See, Al Gore.
And, of course, we have Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, the Wall Street water carriers, the corporate clowns, who get rich by tricking listeners into voting against their own interests, laughing about how silly it is to believe in extreme weather change in the middle of extreme weather!
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST: The snow is hammering Washington, D.C., again. I believe God is just saying, “I got your global warming here, eh? You want a piece of global warming?”
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: It‘s just another nail in the coffin of the whole global warming thing. And each—you know, every day like this, where is Al Gore? Where is the media asking Al Gore what‘s going on with this?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: It‘s snowing, moron! No one is asking about Al Gore, of course, because the former vice president did not personally invent climate change. Scientists have predicted for decades that climate change will bring with it extreme weather. And, yes, last month was the hottest January on record since satellites were first used to track global temperatures.
What happens when the earth warms up? More water evaporates from the oceans, like steam—meaning for those places where it‘s still below freezing, there will be more snow. The National Weather Service today confirmed this—surprise—the snowiest winter on record for Washington, so far.
Let‘s bring in, fresh from the Iditarod dogsled race, relocated this year from Nome to D.C., MSNBC political analyst, Howard Fineman, also a senior Washington correspondent and political columnist of “Newsweek” and the author of the “The Thirteen American Arguments.”
Much thanks for your time and your travel efforts tonight, Howard.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No problem. No problem, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Virginia Republicans posted and then quickly pulled today this Web ad mocking the Democrats for supporting climate change legislation. Is there no sense that Virginia, the state they are from and represent, happens to be suffering right now acutely due to this storm, precisely because of the kind of climate change they are defending?
FINEMAN: No, I don‘t think there is any sense of that. I think that
number one, Republicans have had their eyes on this cap-and-trade bill, the climate change bill, from the very beginning. They‘ve been out to kill it from the very beginning. That‘s number one.
Number two, a lot of the attacks on climate change data and theory have had an effect, especially on Republicans. There was a poll recently, Keith, that said, now, about only half of people who call themselves Republicans believe that the climate change thing is for real. And that has resulted in a change in the overall numbers, but these are the Republicans speaking to their own base.
OLBERMANN: But in 2000, during the Bush administration, the National Intelligence Council concluded that more than 30 U.S. military installations face heightened risk because of rising sea levels, which is a direct consequence of climate change. Why don‘t McConnell and DeMint care about the troops?
FINEMAN: Well, as it happens, I was talking to Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, earlier today. And I‘ve covered Mitch forever, going back to—
OLBERMANN: Yes. Yes.
FINEMAN: -- when he was county judge in Kentucky. And Mitch sees the world through the eyes of the Kentucky coal operators. This is a coal opportunity, in his view, and that‘s how he sees things. He sees the energy problems as having coal as one of the main answers, if not the main answer. And as far as changing river levels and coastlines and so on, that‘s what the Corps of Engineers in the Navy are for. Come on.
OLBERMANN: All right. And there‘s not much of a danger in the sea rising to cover Kentucky—is that the idea? So he doesn‘t care.
FINEMAN: Yes. You know, we‘ve—they‘ve already rearranged all the rivers and lakes there anyway. That‘s why I say, the Corps of Engineers, you bring them in and they rearrange them some more. No problem.
OLBERMANN: Cut off the tops of the mountains.
FINEMAN: Sure. Sure.
OLBERMANN: This is what this boils down to, though: life on earth is going to be threatened because the people who recognized and warned about climate change did not just go with that phrase, climate change, and instead chose global warming, opening this opportunity up for Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin to kill us all.
FINEMAN: Well, I do think that labels matter. And in retrospect, simply focusing on warming was a mistake, just in terms of the politics and the salesmanship of what is undoubtedly a really, really big problem. But it‘s also now gotten all wrapped up in Obama, in Gore, in the whole big government idea.
You know, conservatives and Republicans, they worry about big government. Unless it‘s the national security state, then they want a lot of big government. But in this case, they‘d rather let the coal operators and the nuclear plant operators and so on, you know, have their—have their way.
OLBERMANN: Three of my four questions to you tonight have been about Republican idiocy on this subject. Now, let me turn to Democratic idiocy on this subject.
OLBERMANN: How is the majority party‘s takeaway from the display of extreme weather turning out to be surrender on a bill that fights manmade or man-influenced extreme weather?
FINEMAN: Well, I think—I think, I‘m sure from the White House‘s point of view, I think, what Jeff Bingaman said—which is basically giving up in a sense—is not what they wanted to hear.
On the other hand, I‘m not sure how committed the White House is to the cap-and-trade bill that they put forward and jammed through the House at the beginning of the session. You know, at the beginning of last year, they were all proud of themselves for that, but the thing is complete languished. This is a case where presidential leadership and explanation is required.
You know, we keep saying that Barack Obama gives such a good speech and he‘s a good explainer. I don‘t really know how good an explainer he is. He didn‘t end up explaining the health care reform bill all that well. It was very complex.
Same here—it‘s a big, complex bill. But you can‘t assume everybody understands the science behind it. And that‘s what the president has to do. He‘s got to get out there and explain it if he expects to have political activity on this.
OLBERMANN: Maybe he can just get up and say, “You know what? If it weren‘t snowing already and we‘d eliminated snow, it would be too late to do anything and doesn‘t make a difference how much of a deficit we have. So, let‘s spend $800 trillion a day, because we‘re all going to die in nine years, anyway.”
FINEMAN: He should try that. Yes.
OLBERMANN: I‘ve written a speech for him.
MSNBC political analyst, Howard Fineman, also of “Newsweek,” also author of “The Thirteen Arguments,” now—
FINEMAN: You didn‘t have to say all of that, but thank you.
OLBERMANN: Now out in paperback and available without a prescription
thank you, Howard.
FINEMAN: You‘re welcome, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Of course, you do not need two feet of snow to shutdown Washington, all you need is the average daily downpour of bull. And that‘s what we got today from the party of no, now better known as the “party of no, yes, maybe, just kidding, no.”
Bush speechwriter, Michael Gerson today, whining that Democrats don‘t really want bipartisanship because they coordinated political attacks on a sweeping budget blueprint offered by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican on the budget committee.
Why might Democrats attack this plan? Partisanship, or maybe because less than a year after Republicans whipped tea baggers into a froth, by claiming the Democratic plans to stop overpaying providers for Medicare coverage were actually attacks on seniors‘ benefits. Congressman Ryan wants to eliminate Medicare altogether and replace it with some vouchers seniors can use to buy insurance—unless they can‘t.
And as much as House Republican Leader John Boehner is running for the Ryan plan, he also will not disown any parts of it, like eliminating Social Security, eliminating Medicaid, replacing them with privatized facsimiles. In fact, the Republican plan would increase costs, because government plans leverage better prices from providers.
Joining us at this point, Markos Moulitsas, the founder and publisher of Daily Kos, author of “Taking On the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era.”
Markos, good evening.
MARKOS MOULITSAS, DAILYKOS.COM: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: You—would you like to take this opportunity to thank Congressman Ryan for this endless headline, “Republicans Want to Kill Medicare”?
MOULITSAS: It‘s very helpful. I guess this is what happens when Republicans actually talk about issues and talk about their vision for governing America.
I mean, we‘ve spent the last year hearing them say, “No, no, no,” offering no alternatives, because they know that once the American people hear those alternatives, they‘re not going to like what they see. Of course, Republicans are kind of horrified that Ryan actually opened up his mouth. They‘re trying to stuff that genie back into the bottle.
And I‘ve got to say—they‘ve been very successful, thus far, about not saying anything, and actually being rewarded in the polls for not saying anything. So, they‘re going to try to ride it all the way until November.
OLBERMANN: But to that vision issue, Senator Bond supported a similar medical—Medicare plan and “The Post Dispatch of St. Louis” pointed out that before Democrats passed Medicare in the mid-‘60s, about half of America‘s seniors had no health insurance perhaps because they made up the biggest portion of the poor in this country.
Is that the GOP vision?
MOULITSAS: Oh, it‘s clearly the GOP vision. It‘s been since the creation of Social Security itself. I mean, they do not like government programs. They do not like anything that they might—that might be construed as redistribution of wealth, money that goes to protect our seniors, those that are less lucky, those that lack affordable health care and so on and so forth.
It‘s the reason they‘ve been fighting the health care bill as dishonestly and as hard as they have, because they know that every time the government institutes a program that is popular with the American public, the public realizes that—well, government maybe does have a positive role to play in our society. And, of course, that is completely opposite to the core Republican philosophy, so that‘s why they have to fight it.
OLBERMANN: According to the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, the Ryan plan, which will eliminate the deficit and only—only cost, these little details, killing Medicare and killing Social Security, having that golden goose right there. There is also tax cuts involved in this, which is another golden goose from the Republican side of the thing. The tax cuts somehow do not reduce government revenue.
How does that part of the plan work for us, or do you have to have masters in economics to figure that out?
MOULITSAS: Well, maybe a master in economics from Liberty University, from right-wing university. Clearly, this is all silly.
And, you know, if we can look at Republicans lately, they want to cut the budget deficit. They want to cut the budget. And they want to cut taxes. And—but they don‘t want to talk about cutting the budget, right?
So it really boils down to cutting taxes and cutting the deficit.
And the math does not add up.
They asked this to the new senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, in his first press conference after being elected. They asked him, point-blank, and he completely ignored the question, because, obviously, there is no real answer to that question.
You can‘t have both. And there aren‘t enough budget cuts available to make up, to cut the deficit, to eliminate the deficit, unless you essentially eliminate the entire budget. That‘s not going to happen.
So, you know, they‘re trying to do the popular thing. The politically popular thing is to promise everybody everything, without really telling them their true agenda.
OLBERMANN: Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos—as always, great thanks.
MOULITSAS: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: So, there are your headlines. The Republicans want to kill Medicare and Social Security and there‘s no climate change because it‘s snowing.
Can we turn this country back to the Native Americans? Their real weather crisis and the startling numbers about what you did to help alleviated in one night. Next.
OLBERMANN: And now, tonight‘s first “Quick Comment.” And you overwhelm me, as usual.
Last night, continuing our coverage of the humanitarian crisis on the ice storm and blizzard-ravaged reservations of South Dakota, I mentioned the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Storm Relief Emergency Assistance Fund and we linked to it. They were hoping by the end of the month to have raised $35,000.
In 24 hours, you donated approximately $185,000. They thank you and I thank you. If anybody wants to go further, the chairman of the tribe tells us the consciousness of politicians is as important as donations. FEMA has yet to declare the region a disaster area and there‘s something else that could kill about 40 birds with one stone there. They patched much of the water and power infrastructure back together, but they really need an overhaul and something in the jobs bill, where some stimulus money could not only protect power, heat, and water there, it could also put some of the thousands of unemployed Native Americans to work in their own community.
So you could call, write, or e-mail your congressman and/or senator. If you‘re still looking to donate, the Cheyenne River Tribe has its own site. There‘s also a terrific charity that looks out for all of the reservations affected by the horrific winter in South Dakota, the Native American Heritage Association, and we have linked to both of them off our site, COUNTDOWN.MSNBC.
Every time I feel the futility of not knowing what to do about one of these crises, I forget to ask the most reliable people I know: you guys. Thanks again.
OLBERMANN: Leading Republicans today calling for the resignation of Obama deputy national security adviser, John Brennan, solely because the Christmas bombing suspect, Abdulmutallab, had been read his Miranda rights. Brennan, obviously, has to go, because as he briefed those who are now his critics, virtually as it happened, he assumed they were either smart enough or honest enough to know—when you are turned over to the FBI, they will read you your Miranda rights. And he assumed they would have said thing when former Homeland Secretary Ridge complained about a Miranda rights three days later or when Dick Cheney whined about Miranda rights two days after that.
No, Congressman Pete Hoekstra and Senator Kit Bond didn‘t know they were outraged for six weeks. Bond is saying that Brennan is, quote, “no longer credible.” Hoekstra calling him a mini czar who is poisoning the well, off-base and inconsistent with how national security issue should be dealt with.
Our own White House correspondent, Savannah Guthrie, kind of let Senator Bond torture himself, so to speak, on this network this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUTHRIE: When Richard Reid was mirandized, treated in the civilian court system, same as Zacarias Moussaoui, the 9/11 co-conspirator, did you call for anyone‘s resignation because of that? Because, essentially it‘s the same policy at work.
BOND: It‘s a lot different time. It‘s a lot—number one—
GUTHRIE: How is it different?
BOND: Number one, we now have military commissions.
GUTHRIE: There were military commissions then.
BOND: We have set up—we have set up military commissions. It turns out that mirandizing Richard Reid and trying him in the civilian courts was a bad idea.
GUTHRIE: Why‘s that? He‘s serving a life sentence right now. He will never get out. How is that a failure?
BOND: You don‘t get the information you need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Unless, of course, the suspect agrees to cooperate and willingly gives you valuable information, as Abdulmutallab did.
Then there are the facts that Republicans keep getting wrong—almost as if, on purpose. Former Bush press secretary, Dana Perino, claiming, as has Senator McCain before her, that Abdulmutallab bought a one-way ticket that should have raised red flags. He did not. He traveled to Detroit on a round-trip fare.
And last night with Jon Stewart, former Republican House speaker, Newt Gingrich, explaining why it was not OK to mirandize Abdulmutallab, but it was OK for the Bush Justice Department to mirandize attempted shoe-bomber Richard Reid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: The American public doesn‘t understand reading Miranda rights to terrorists in Detroit when it‘s fairly obvious they‘re terrorists.
STEWART: The only thing I would say that is, didn‘t they do the same with Richard Reid, who was the shoe bomber?
GINGRICH: Richard Reid was an American citizen.
STEWART: But he was read his Miranda rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: After a break, Stewart pointed out that Richard Reid was, in fact, a British citizen.
On his Twitter page this morning, Gingrich claiming, quote, “On daily show was wrong, re: shoe bomber citizenship, was thinking of Padilla. Treating terrorists like criminals wrong no matter who is pres.”
On that note, let‘s call in former CIA special agent Jack Rice, also a former field operations officer for the agency.
Jack, good evening.
JACK RICE, FORMER CIA SPECIAL AGENT: Great to be with you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: When you do what Senator Bond did today—first, about Brennan and then in that sort of self-destructive interview he did, why would anybody come away from that, not thinking the man is just a political hack, exploiting this terrorist attempt for his own purposes?
RICE: I have to be honest—I‘m scratching my head, as I listen to those words. I mean, what we‘re finding here is amazing success with Abdulmutallab. So, you‘re literally saying, this is exactly what we should have done, but I guess success is failure. Black is white, up is down. I don‘t really get this, but that seems to be where Kit Bond is right now.
OLBERMANN: And why do they want John Brennan to resign, especially considering that he became prominent in counterterrorism when he was the acting director of national intelligence after he was appointed by President Bush? Is it that political, throw guys who worked with you before under the bus now?
RICE: Strangely, that‘s what it appears to be.
RICE: If we look at where we‘re going right now, I think that the Republicans have always seen national security as their bailiwick.
The problem is that if we look at where the success of the Obama administration is right now, they are being extremely successful when it comes to this issue. They‘re doing a great job at it, and they‘re getting actionable intelligence, which is everything that you want. And frankly, it‘s what the Republicans weren‘t getting under President Bush.
So, to actually say, “Now, well, because you‘re being so successful, we need to get rid one of your chief guys, one of the guys that we had,” simply is a non-sequitur at best.
OLBERMANN: The fallback on—from Gingrich here, which indicates that he suddenly didn‘t know the separate stories of the three or four guys the Bush administration ever caught supposedly in the act, the difference between Reid and Padilla. “Treating terrorists like criminals wrong, no matter who is pres.” He means, Bush, right? I mean, they‘re willing to throw Bush in a sort of abstract sense under the counterterrorism bus just to make some sort of political point against Obama?
RICE: Oh, yes, I think that‘s very clear now. What we‘re seeing is the Republicans are trying to look like they‘re above politics, that they‘re not playing a political role here. Look, as a former CIA officer, and by the way, as a former prosecutor, my attitude when it comes to terrorism-related issues is that politics needs to be pushed aside. I actually believe the American people want that.
But what we‘re seeing right now from the Republicans, sadly, is they seem to have decided to put politics, to put party above country. And that is really disturbing.
OLBERMANN: To that point, “The Washington Post”/ABC News new poll showed more Americans trusted Obama to do a better job handling the threat of terrorisms than the Republicans in Congress by five percentage points. That sort of backstops what you said, but it also—might it explain this incorrect series of facts that they‘ve viewed in the last few days and the delayed outrage over the Christmas bomber case, this sort of seeing this, just purely political entity, slip out of their hands?
RICE: Well, maybe what they‘ve decided is they sat down with strategists and said, well, gosh, if I wasn‘t outraged before, let‘s wait for a few weeks and then we‘ll calculate something and maybe what we‘re really doing is everybody has decided the midterm elections are coming, so we‘ll sort of drive down that path. Facts are irrelevant—if they get in the way, just ignore them. Just keep saying it over and over and over again.
OLBERMANN: But we want the facts from all the terror suspects—
RICE: Yes. That‘s it.
OLBERMANN: -- after we beat the hell out of them.
Jack Rice, formerly of the CIA—thank you, Jack.
RICE: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Voting against the stimulus, then taking credit for the projects paid for by the stimulus. It deserves a Hall of Shame, of sorts, and we‘re opening one tonight, and you get to vote.
You‘re watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.
OLBERMANN: The Hypocrisy Hall of Shame opens with a special stimulus wing and you get to vote.
First on this date in 1933, the Postal Telegraph Company of New York City introduced the singing telegram. Western Union kept delivering them through 1974, even though by that time, 4 million jokes have been made about them, all of them based roughly on this premise: Hi, I have a singing telegram for you. Your Uncle Mo is dead.
Let‘s play “Oddball.”
We begin with an Oddball weather update. Last week, Accuweather.com meteorologist Jim Cosec lit up the Internets with this epic freak-out over record snowfall in the DC area. As you may have heard, it‘s snowing again on the East Coast, and Jim Cosec has not lost his job. Yes, we realize by running the following, we‘re just encouraging this behavior again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM COSEC, METEOROLOGIST: Snow? Huh. Oh, yeah. I‘ve had it!
Blowing and drifting will continue to beat us senseless.
And just in case I can‘t keep my day job, so let it snow, let it snow, yeah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Number of time he‘s been wrong this year, he better start singing. To Italian television; Rai Uno Chow (ph) -- they have imported my cousin, Mike Tyson, for their version of “Dancing With the Stars.” That‘s no joke, he‘s actually my cousin. Fresh of his Golden Globe win as part of the cast of the “Hangover,” Tyson skipped on to the dance floor, wowed the audience with some classic kicking and shimmying. Tyson would eventually take the woman orbiting him and twirl her a little bit there. Then it was back to the good old trusty kicking and shimmying.
The best part of the show was saved for the scoring portion. Judges were clearly grading on a scale. All of them gave Tyson nines and tens, except this one guy. There‘s the 10 and one guy gave him an eight. Say ariva-derchi (ph) to your right ear.
Your voting on the COUNTDOWN hypocrisy hall of shame special stimulus exhibit, and hot and cold running delusions live on television. Sarah Palin did not quit as governor. She did not take the easy way out. And Ron Reagan never met his own father. Ahead on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: What to say about those Republicans who, A, voted against the stimulus bill, B, proudly railed against that Recovery Act, both before and after the vote, but, C, posed with checks from the stimulus, or asked for stimulus money, or bragged about job creation in their home state? Now the message from Democrats, watch out.
Next week, the president will mark the one-year anniversary of signing the Stim, and Democrats plan to roll out the list of dozens of Congressional Republicans who were against it before they were for it. The party will apparently use the information in the midterm elections. And while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee calls it the Republican Hypocrisy Hall of Fame, we here at COUNTDOWN offer the more accurate hypocrisy hall of shame. We‘ll periodically give you three of the nominees. You may vote for your favorite at the COUNTDOWN website. We‘ll all later announce the first inductee.
First three, here we go. Congressman Eric Cantor, the House minority whip, the one responsible for lining up 178 unanimous Republican no votes on the stim. Mr. Cantor has since lauded the 185,000 jobs that will be created by a high-speed rail line built with stimulus funds. And Cantor hosted a jobs fair that included jobs openings made possible by the stimulus.
Of the many hypocritical GOP senators, there is Senator Bond of Missouri. He voted no on the Stim, often trashes it. But behind the scenes, according to the “Washington Times,” he sought 50 million dollars from a federal agency to get Stim money for two projects in his home state.
And back to the house, who else but Congressman Joe “you lie” Wilson of South Carolina. Voted no on the stimulus, of course, but has asked the secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, by letter, for some of the cold, hard cash on behalf of a foundation seeking aid. Quoting, “we know their endeavor will provide jobs and investment in one of the poorer sections of the congressional district.”
On that note, we‘ll bring in someone who was not nominated, MSNBC political analyst, “Huffington Post” contributor, Lawrence O‘Donnell. Good evening.
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”: Good to be here, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Against it before you were for it and karma. Please discuss.
O‘DONNELL: Listen, they better be careful. This is the kind of thing that could give politics a bad name. It‘s breathtaking. These guys said it would create no jobs, none. And here they are, putting it in writing that it has created jobs, will create jobs, in their districts. The thing about this, though, is trying to get this story to penetrate out in those districts, where they need to know about it.
Will the local papers pick it up? Will the local TV stations pick it up? Will they run with it? That is going to be the DNC‘s job. Can they push that communication out there?
OLBERMANN: The devil‘s advocate question, the when life gives you lemons make lemonade sort of rationalization of that—cannot the Republicans, to some degree, defend the idea, well, the money was raining out of the school, though we tried to stop it, we might as well use it rather than let it blow into Democratic territory.
O‘DONNELL: Well, if they had said this was lemons. They said this was arsenic. They said this was poison. This was evil. This was socialism. This was Obama-ism. Everything about it was evil and it should not be touched. This is a very difficult thing for them to march back on rhetorically. They went so far rhetorically, it didn‘t leave them a place to step back to.
OLBERMANN: When life gives you arsenic, make arsenic-aid. Does it appear to define this idea, though, if Obama came out in favor of breathing, Republicans would hold their breath, and then when the cameras were off, they would seek government-supplied oxygen?
O‘DONNELL: More clearly than anything possibly could have. But it‘s also the thing that should make us remember that the voters should decide elections, the swing voters, not the committed voters who are going to vote for every Democrat, the committed Republican who are going to vote for every Republican, or even activist independents who make very careful evaluations of which way they‘re going to go.
The swing voters are mostly making a choice that they will always tell you is the lesser of two evils. That‘s what they‘re doing. And so they‘re not really shocked by this. The swing voter who thinks of politicians, they‘re all that way—you know, we hear that phrase, they‘re all that way—they will never be shocked by this kind of behavior.
OLBERMANN: So, then, if you‘re running against Joe Wilson and Joe Wilson says, look, I got this money from the government, and leaves out the word “stimulus” and leaves out references to the fact that he didn‘t vote for it, isn‘t that ultimately still to his advantage with the voters?
O‘DONNELL: It may be. That‘s the thing about this stimulus. There are signs going up around this country that basically say this project is being funded by the Recovery Act. It doesn‘t say stimulus. So stimulus is this word that everyone thinks is some evil thing that‘s happening out there. And when they drive by those signs, they don‘t think, ah-ha, the stimulus bill is doing something good in my neighborhood. They think this federal Recovery Act thing, whatever that is, is doing it.
OLBERMANN: So the DNC would be advised to spend money supplying graffiti artists?
O‘DONNELL: Maybe. I mean, there is this problem of translating that bad word “stimulus,” make it—get the public to equate it with this Recovery Act, because they don‘t right now.
OLBERMANN: Does this push-back on this subject indicate anything in terms of getting things like the jobs bill passed or health care reform?
O‘DONNELL: I don‘t see how it helps them with health care reform, because, as I‘ve said here before in this chair, I don‘t see the route forward from here for health care reform. I‘m no longer alone in that. Nancy Pelosi says she doesn‘t either.
But with the jobs bill, there‘s definitely a place to put pressure on them on the jobs bill, going forward. Absolutely. And so, they do seem to have—it seems like the president has created some possible traction with Republicans on getting some kind of cooperation on some kind of thing they‘re going to call a jobs bill. When the Republicans are finished with it—and by the way, when the Democrats are finished with it—I don‘t know what it‘s going to look like.
I mean, right now, the Democrats have a reauthorization of the Patriot Act in the jobs bill. So what this thing‘s really going to look like in the end when both sides get finished with it, I don‘t know.
OLBERMANN: Our own Lawrence O‘Donnell, of “HUffington Post,” and who in 19 days will be absolutely correct about his prediction that nothing will pass on health care before March. Good to see you. Thanks for coming in.
O‘DONNELL: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: To vote for the first inductee to COUNTDOWN‘s hypocrisy hall of shame, Cantor, Bond or wrong way Wilson, go to COUNTDOWN.MSNBC.com.
Now, now, we‘ll get to you soon enough. For tonight, we‘ll settle for the bizarre man he intends to introduce to the American public, the one with all the made-up quotes from Jefferson and Madison.
The “Sports Illustrated” cover curse strikes again. What they did to this American superstar‘s shin, to say nothing of her posterior.
And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, Bill Nye the Science Guy tries to explain the concept of climate change to Republicans.
OLBERMANN: And now the second of tonight‘s quick comments, and more on this subject in depth later, but let‘s start with two small examples of mixing religion and politics. And the resultant fumes can separate you from reality right quick. Ask Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
To the Republican Jewish Coalition last Saturday in Los Angeles, quote, “I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the united states. We have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play.”
Then Michele and Sarah might have to play the war card. You know how they perfectly summed this up in the movie “Inherit the Wind?” The Bible is a good book, but it‘s not the only book.
Meantime, the Virginia State House of Delegates has today passed a bill that would protect residents from having microchips implanted in their bodies against their will. Worried about insurance companies or just, I don‘t know, socialism?
Nope, swing and a miss. From the bill‘s sponsor, Fredericksburg Republican Mark Cole, “my understanding—I‘m not a theologian—but there‘s a prophecy in the Bible that says you have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in end times. Some people think these computer chips might be that mark.”
I don‘t know, Delegate Mark Cole. Bible says, “mark of the beast,” for all I know, that means you. I mean, why not? Seeing my point here about keeping religion out of this? How do I know the Bible didn‘t forewarn me of Mark “of the beast” Cole?
OLBERMANN: Lonesome Roads Beck comes out of his stupor long enough to rewrite history to try to start a crusade that the separation of church and state, demanded by the founding fathers, actually was intended as complete protection of the church by the state. Wait until you see this ecstatic vision.
That‘s next, but first, tonight‘s worst persons in the world.
The bronze to someone named Pam Geller. I don‘t know what she does or what she is either, but she‘s so bad at it, it‘s hilarious. This is her arguing with Ron Reagan Jr. about Sarah Palin, with a cameo by Stephanie Miller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAM GELLER, COMMENTATOR: Your father would love her. Your father would love her.
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: First of all, his father didn‘t quit halfway through the term.
GELLER: Neither did she. She did not quit. The lower 48 needed her and she heeded the call. She did not take the easy way out. And frankly, it‘s costing the state—
RON REAGAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: No, Pam, she quit. When you leave the governorship halfway through your first term, it‘s called quitting.
GELLER: She came to lead the next revolution, Ron.
MILLER: Can I ask Ron a question.
GELLER: Your father would love her, and I don‘t think—
REAGAN: No, Pam, you‘ve never met my father. Stop blabbering about me and my father.
REAGAN: You still haven‘t met him.
GELLER: You never met him either. You never met him either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: As I said, I don‘t know who she is either. But in one interview, she insisted Sarah Palin did not quit, Sarah Palin did not take the easy way out, Sarah Palin was called to lead a revolution, she knows more about Ronald Reagan than his son does, and his son never met him. But speaking as a native New Yorker my own self, the presentation was lovely and taking the plastic off that leather couch she was wearing provided a much-needed touch of credibility.
The runner up, Tim Wildman (ph), president of the American Family Association, coming out with the most poorly thought out attack on the repeal of Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell. Listen to this: “Obama‘s new military, gays showering with straights. Tell Congress not to overturn ban on homosexuals in the military. Gays showering with straights? Absolutely. If President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and homosexual activists get their wish, your son or daughter may be forced to share military showers and barracks with active and open homosexuals, who may very well view them with sexual interests.”
They‘re showering now. You kids dig that part of it, right? Somewhere on an American military base right now, a gay is showering with a straight. In fact, the sun never sets on the co-showering of gays and straights in the US military. There isn‘t a ban on homosexuals in the military. You got that part of the memo? If the right-wing religious nut groups thought this out, they would realize that their homophobic instincts are actually served by the repeal of Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, because now, every once in a while, these scared straights will be able to tell who the gays are.
But our winners, “Sports Illustrated.” The curse of the SI cover strikes again. They put the star American skier on the cover of their Olympic issue, Lindsay Vaughn. An excruciatingly painful bruise on her shin, she says, and she‘s resorted to wrapping cheese around the leg to relieve the pain. And she says she‘s, quote, day to day. We‘re all day to day.
Plus, there‘s one other part to this. Look closely at the cover of “Sports Illustrated.” If I might direct your attention to her derriere, notice how they place the lettering of their logo relative to it. She‘s got “PU” coming out of her hind quarters. Deadspin.com noticed that. May have something to do with the cheese wrap therapy. “Sports Illustrated‘s” executive in charge of SI cover injury jinxes—might be Dan Patrick, I‘m not sure—today‘s worst person in the world!
OLBERMANN: What happens if you want your audience to believe that the founding fathers did not want separation of church and state, when they obviously, clearly and repeatedly did? Well, you make up quotes defending your position and dishonestly attribute them to the likes of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Glenn Beck, who sees President Obama as a socialist, Marxist, communist, something-ist, is himself about to unveil his 100-year plan, saying, quote, “we need to start thinking like the Chinese.”
Mr. Beck is about to launch something he calls “American Revival.” The announcement for the first event in Orlando next month, breathlessly touting, quote, “the eight-hour event, you and I on stage with three different experts. David Barton is going to be the first one. We‘re going to talk about the meaning of faith in America. You‘ll be stunned when you learn and see the real history that is no longer taught.”
More on Mr. Barton and those quotes in a moment. But this series of meetings, as noted by Will Bunch of the “Philadelphia Daily News,” will lead to a rally on the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, which is the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King‘s “I Have a Dream” speech.
But what Beck has is a plan, possibly in conjunction with his next book. As he noted last year, quoting, “we need to start thinking like the Chinese. I‘m developing a 100-year plan for America, a 100 year plan. We will plant this idea and it will sprout roots.”
Now back to the kick-off speaker, Dr. Barton. He is the founder of a group called Wall Builders, and he published a book called “The Myth of Separation,” a book so full of phony information about our founding fathers, including fake quotes, that it was rewritten and reissued under a new name, according to Will Bunch. But the basic premise is that we have misinterpreted the founding fathers. For example, Thomas Jefferson viewed the separation of church and state as one-directional, meaning to protect religion from government, but not to protect government from being co-mingled with religion.
That is, of course, completely untrue. Let‘s turn to the senior policy analyst at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Rob Boston. Thanks if your time tonight, sir.
ROB BOSTON, AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE:
Thanks for having me on.
OLBERMANN: We sort of glanced over this person that Beck will be featuring, David Barton. Can you tell us more about him, and this group of his, the Wall Builders?
BOSTON: The best way to describe David Barton is to say that he is to history what the creationists are to science. Against all available evidence, Barton argues that the United States was founded by the framers to be a Christian nation. Now, of course, they forgot to mention that in the Constitution. But that‘s just an inconvenient detail.
And he‘s made quite a handy living with his group, Wall Builders, promoting this idea of his, through books, DVD‘s, videos, speaking presentations, this sort of thing.
OLBERMANN: There‘s this quote that he‘s supposedly responsible for promulgating from Madison that supports his argument. And it turns out this is where some sort of insurance company, 1950s handout calendar. Is that the supposed source of the quote?
BOSTON: Nobody‘s really certain what the origin of this mysterious quote is. But it‘s a quote of James Madison lauding the Christian principles of the American government. And anybody who has read even a little bit of James Madison would know that that just does not reflect his point of view. A number of us spent a lot of time trying to track down the quote and figure out where it actually came from, but it‘s completely fabricated. Madison never said anything like that.
OLBERMANN: And speaking of beliefs, Mr. Barton has previously, in his career, addressed gatherings of so-called Christian groups that have this unfortunate racist bent to them?
BOSTON: Yes, back in the early ‘90s, he did give two speeches to organizations that are so out there that they make Pat Robinson sane. This, of course, was in the pre-Internet days. But you would think, even back then, you could look at the fliers and literature that these groups were producing, and realize that they were both anti-semitic and racist, which they were.
OLBERMANN: Mr. Beck claims that about 100 years ago, the progressive movement designed a plan to create a socialist utopia. This is according to his view of the world as the anti-Christ was Woodrow Wilson. Thus, he has to have a 100-year corrective plan, which he has cleverly called the plan.
On his website, his efforts, let me quote this, “culminate in ‘The
Plan,‘ a book that will provide specific policies, principles and, most
importantly, action steps that each of us can take to play a role in this
re-founding.” So do we have a sense from this what he thinks he‘s doing,
but what the people who are drawn to this idea, what they may think he‘s doing?
BOSTON: One thing I‘ve noticed from tracking the religious right for 23 years is that when they don‘t like the facts, they just invent new facts. It‘s kind of like fake butter, sometimes they can be just as good as the actual facts to a lot of people. So they promote these crazy facts and they promote this perspective. And this is exactly what‘s going on, this idea that somehow, this grand and glorious Christian legacy of this nation was stolen away from us, and now it‘s being suppressed by the evil liberals. And of course, the universities are in on this, the colleges, the media. Everybody‘s in on this conspiracy.
And people like Beck and people like Barton and people like all these TV preachers and so on, they‘re going to get the real truth and the real facts out to the American people. And of course, since the actual history doesn‘t support their point of view, they just invented a new history, just like the creationists invented a new “science.”
OLBERMANN: Obviously, from the far right, and particularly in the last couple of years, we‘ve seen these extraordinary whoppers, to call them kindly, the Birther movement and the distortion of what the Tenth Amendment meant. Do you find this particular thing, this idea of let‘s flip this on its head—it‘s not separation of church and state, but the state necessarily building a wall to protect the church, particularly troubling?
BOSTON: I do find it that way. And one of the reasons is that, right now, as we‘re speaking, there are people all over the world just being oppressed because of what they believe or don‘t believe about God, who would love to have an official separation of church and state. I mean, to me, separation of church and state is one of the great success stories of this nation. It‘s given us more religious freedom than probably any people in history, incredible religious diversity, a pretty good degree of inter-faith peace, if you think about it. And there are people out there saying that that‘s a bad idea, That we should do away with that, that it‘s a-historical? It boggles the mind.
OLBERMANN: How do you feel about this Virginia legislature move? It‘s off-point a little bit, about the microchips today, that they‘re keeping the microchips from being implanted in people because it could be the mark of the anti-Christ?
BOSTON: When I was a kid, I remember reading about that, and there were claims made that actually it was going to be a bar code. They were going to put the bar code on your hand or on your forehead, and you would go to the supermarket and get scanned. And naturally, any time the government wanted to monitor you, they would just use the bar code.
Now that was before we had chips. So you see the sort of paranoid strain of thinking among these folks just—it advances to meet the new technology that we have.
OLBERMANN: Besides which, that‘s called the iPhone, and they figured out how to charge us for it. Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, thank you, sir.
BOSTON: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: That‘s COUNTDOWN for this the 2,477th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I‘m—yes—
Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.
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