IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Guests: Austan Goolsbee, Chris Hayes, Markos Moulitsas, Jonathan Alter,

Lewis Black.

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

be talking about tomorrow?


Secret meeting: Senate Majority Leader Reid accuses Republican

leadership of holding a closed-door meeting with Wall Street executives

earlier this month.  Reid demands Senators McConnell and Cornyn reveal what

secret deals and carve-outs Republicans are offering Wall Street.




way of proceeding is to just skip the character attacks on anyone who dares

point out the flaws with the bill.


OLBERMANN:  Our special guest: White House chief economic adviser,

Austan Goolsbee.

Who is running Sarah Palin?  God is!

She tells an evangelical group, quote, “That is where god wants us to

be.  Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the

state, our Founding Fathers, they were believers.”  That‘s probably why

separation of church of state was Jefferson‘s idea and why they put,

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” in the

Bill of Rights.

How‘s that holier than thouy proselytizy thing working out for you?

This Clinton for Supreme Court?  This one?  Both are too old—says

this one.



someone who‘s reasonably young—someone with a chance to serve at least

25 years on the court.


OLBERMANN:  The latest theory that nominee is to spend those 25 years

butting heads with John Roberts.

Watching the tea party—our newest feature, “Tea Time.”  Nice video,

“National Review Online,” those six African-Americans proved the tea

party‘s not at all racist.  Six out of a crowd you claim was 25,000.

Rush Limbaugh wants a commemoration for David Koresh, Palin‘s PAC

spent nearly as much money on de-icing planes as contributing to

candidates, and 76 percent of Americans don‘t trust government.  Our

special guest: Lewis Black.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Good luck, the world is going to hell.




OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

Republican leaders in the Senate insisting anew today they have the

votes to block the Wall Street reform bill, giving Democrats what they

think are two wonderful opportunities.

Our fifth story: if the Republicans are wrong, they pass the bill.  If

the Republicans are right, they watch them filibuster on behalf of

America‘s oldest, most hated and most natural enemy on the choice of the

voters of America, that is—the vested big money interests.

The GOP is kicking off a possible implosion by handing Harry Reid the

opportunity to call them out today on a so-called “secret meeting” between

Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn and Wall Street fat cats.

A senior GOP leadership aide saying again today, the Republicans are

still united in their opposition to President Obama‘s Wall Street reform

bill, claiming to have the 41 votes they would need to keep the bill from

coming to a vote.  The aides citing a letter that Minority Leader McConnell

send to Majority Leader Reid last week in which Senator McConnell did not

explicitly say that the Republicans would filibuster but maintained that

the votes were there to do so.

Among those votes—Senator Collins, whom the White House had been

hoping to win over.  After a meeting with Treasury Secretary Geithner

today, the moderate Republican telling reporters, she wants to go to the

floor of the Senate with a bipartisan bill.  And from the health care

debate, we all know what that is, a Republican bill they want the majority

to accept.

Majority Leader Reid responding in a statement, saying that Senator

McConnell should come clean about that meeting he had with the Wall Street

executives earlier this month, taking John Cornyn of Texas with him, the

senator in charge of raising money for Republican Senate races.

The president, having criticized the senators for that meeting in his

weekly radio address, quoting Mr. Reid, “Since Republicans appear to be

conducting backroom negotiations with the same people who took our economy

to the brink of collapse, the public deserves to know what secret deals and

carve-outs Republicans are offering Wall Street executives in exchange for

their support.”

Minority Leader McConnell himself having struggled to explain the

purpose of the meeting or what was discussed.


MCCONNELL:  We sure didn‘t talk about blocking the bill.  I don‘t know

anybody who‘s in favor of blocking this bill.  I also met recently with the

Kentucky bankers who are also opposed to this bill, the community banks,

the little guys on Main Street.

We were talking about financial regulation as everyone in the country

is talking about it.  Most of the people in New York supported the

president, the vast majority are on his side.  They supported him during

the election, they still support him.

Is he saying we shouldn‘t sit down with his supporters and talk about

a bill that he thinks we ought to pass and that I think we ought to pass?


OLBERMANN:  Today, on the floor of the Senate, the minority leader‘s

defense having morphed into—poor me, I am being attacked personally.


MCCONNELL:  It seems to me that a far more efficient way of proceeding

is to just skip the character attacks on anyone who dares to point out the

flaws with the bill, be they provisions that expose taxpayers to Wall

Street bailouts or those that would further worsen the job situation, and

work out those problems now.  Forget the theatrics and get to work.


OLBERMANN:  A bill that the president thinks ought to pass and that I

think we ought to pass—you heard Mr. McConnell say.  But a reform bill

he is still planning to block.

Meanwhile, banking committee chair, Chris Dodd, the Democrats‘ point

man on Wall Street reform today, predicting that Republicans will not

follow through on the filibuster threat, especially in the wake of the

civil fraud charges that regulators filed last week against Goldman Sachs,

accusing that Wall Street powerhouse of defrauding investors by creating

and selling mortgage-backed securities that were secretly intended to fail.



believe Republican members want to be in a position where they‘re talking

about filibustering a bill that would allow us to address those issues, as

we do in our legislation.  So, I‘m going to work on the assumption that the

glass is half-full here, and that when we bring this bill up later this

week, that we‘ll have the votes across the board.


OLBERMANN:  Thus, lots to talk about tonight with White House economic

adviser, Austan Goolsbee, chief economist on the president‘s Economic

Recovery Advisory Board and a member of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Good to see you.  Thanks for coming in.



OLBERMANN:  While we watched the political fight over this bill, what

is in it that prevents the next Goldman Sachs?

GOOLSBEE:  Well, prevents them from melting down.


GOOLSBEE:  There are a lot of things, and a lot of those things are

really important.  I mean, it ends too-big-to-fail, it drives me a little

nuts to keep hearing Mitch McConnell say that this is going to preserve—

that this is a bailout bill, because it‘s not.  It specifically outlaws


No company that gets in trouble—they must fail.  The only moneys

that are in there are paid by banks, not by taxpayers, and they are for

funeral expenses and hiring a guy to sell off the pieces.  That‘s all that

can happen.  You must be liquidated or broken into pieces and sold off.

I suppose that if I simply contacted the office of Mitch McConnell and

explained to them what was in the bill, that maybe they would reverse their

opinion.  But—so, the first thing is, it outlaws bailouts.


GOOLSBEE:  So you must fail if you—if you get to that point.

The second is, many of the things that made these companies, quote-

unquote, “too-big-to-fail,” or at least we were too scared to let them go

under, centered around their ability to blow up all of their neighbors. 

And the derivatives piece was one of the most important pieces of all.  So,

when AIG gets in trouble, they say, but if we go under, all the

counterparties will go under, and their people doing business with them

will go under and you can‘t afford to do that.

So, the president made clear from the beginning that we‘re going to

end this—these dark pools of derivatives—that they‘ve got to be

brought under control and out into the sunlight.  And yet they‘re fighting

that.  I mean, it‘s unbelievable.

OLBERMANN:  And what is the one thing pertaining to what you just

referred to, a piece of politics in this.  The White House has said that in

order to get some bipartisanship on this, it would be willing to throw that

$50 billion essentially superfund, banks bailing out—or providing the

cover for failing banks.  In other words, if there were to be anything

resembling a bailout, that would be essentially handled by money that came

from the industry and so taxpayer money would not be directly involved. 

Privatized bail outs, exactly what you‘d want.

And yet that would be dismissed from this bill?  Are you—


GOOLSBEE:  What the argument is about, should you raise that money—

which, as you say, is coming from the banks themselves—should you raise

the money ahead of time or should you raise it at the time of the crisis. 

So, with the TARP now—it‘s not going to cost $700 billion, it‘s down to

something like $90 billion, and the president has said, looking backwards,

let‘s have the banks pay for that $90 billion.  They should clean up the

mess.  It shouldn‘t go to the taxpayer.

We could follow that approach, and after these things go wrong, raise

the money then.  So, there‘s some dispute of should it be what they call

the ex-ante fund or an after-the-fact fund.  But the basic idea that there

if the law forbids bailouts, it couldn‘t be more clear.  And yet, you

know, I think they just read the consultant talking point and, you know, it

doesn‘t matter what‘s in the bill.


OLBERMANN:  Right.  Crossed out health and put in bank reform.

GOOLSBEE:  Yes.  Just put it right in.

OLBERMANN:  And to that point, though, from your level of economics

expertise, mixed in with your recent political experience, especially your

recent political experience of the last year and change, shouldn‘t economic

reform be fairly easy to sell?  Should not—is this not a fairly black

and white issue?  I mean, is it not—as I said in the lead-in, something

in the case that intuitively voters in this country have always understood

that government is supposed to protect them from business and not the other

way around?

GOOLSBEE:  Well, look, I think you‘re absolutely right on the central

point that most people understand we‘ve got to have a new regulatory system

because this one failed rather badly, and we still have 8 million-some

people out of work due to this recession that began in 2007, fueled by this

financial crisis.

Now, the irony is, many of the banks themselves also believe that we

need to have financial reg reform and are in agreement on maybe 90 percent

of it.  Ultimately, I‘m an optimist, that there is going to be a bipartisan

bill, and that bipartisanship is not going to be of the form—hey, let‘s

agree to put in a whole bunch of loopholes and gut the laws that we know we


I think, in the end, it‘s going to come to a vote and there are going

to be a lot of Republicans and Democrats—they don‘t care what the

leadership says.  They‘re going to look at the bill and they‘re going to

say, wait a minute.  I‘m for this.  It doesn‘t matter what the leadership

are arguing about.  We really need this and we‘ve got to—I think we‘ve

got to do this in the near term.

OLBERMANN:  Wow.  Let‘s hope so.

The White House economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee—as I said, great

pleasure to have you here.

GOOLSBEE:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you for coming in.

For more on the politics of the Wall Street reform debate, let‘s turn

now to Chris Hayes, the Washington editor of “The Nation” magazine.

Chris, good evening.

CHRIS HAYES, THE NATION:  Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  What Senator Dodd said today, about daring Republicans to

block reform—that just plays off to something what I just asked Dr.

Goolsbee.  Does—is there a scenario in which the Republicans can spin

this enough that they really want to be on the side of Wall Street in the

Wall Street versus Main Street debate?

HAYES:  Well, they don‘t be.  And actually, you‘re seeing McConnell—

I mean, that clip you played earlier of him being extremely defensive

about, “Of course, I don‘t want to block the bill.  No one wants to block

the bill.”  Contrast that to the way the Republicans were essentially

chanting “kill the bill” with health care.  They‘re clearly in a far more

defensive posture.

What they want to try to do, I think, is shoot the moon, which is

basically simultaneously defend the interests of Wall Street, while saying

that what they‘re doing is attacking the interests of Wall Street.  So, the

thing they‘re going to try to do, which they often try to do, is

essentially just redefine everything and convince both the press and the

public at large that, really, what they‘re doing is standing up for Main

Street while they‘re explicitly doing the bank‘s bidding.

OLBERMANN:  And did we just hear—not to slight the amount of

content in what Dr. Goolsbee had to say—but did we not just hear the

kind of attitude that the Obama administration and indeed the Democrats in

the Senate and the House need to approach this with, that they have learned

from the health care reform debate namely, quote, you know, “This bailout

outlaws bailouts.”

HAYES:  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  The end.

HAYES:  Yes.  No, I think that‘s incredibly important because the

bailout is the most toxic word in American political discourse for very

good reason.  And I think that, you know, the Luntz memo that I talked

about last time I was on here, I mean, you know, he‘s on to something,

right?  I mean, it really is a bad word.  If people associate the bill with

that, it‘s going to be in trouble.

I think that saying the bill outlaws bailouts is incredibly important. 

And I think that, you know, the other thing to learn from the health care

debate—one of the reasons that the Democrats are better positioned here

is because what killed the health care bill or what almost brought it down

was that the process dragged on for so long, people hated the process.  In

this case, much of the process has happened essentially while health care

was happening.  People weren‘t paying attention to it.

So, there‘s an opportunity to act quickly, and I think that imperative

is smart.  And I think you‘re seeing the White House and the congressional

leadership understand they have to strike while the iron is hot, put the

Republicans on the defensive, push the bill, bring it to a vote and dare

them to filibuster.

OLBERMANN:  As much as we see Mr. McConnell, and laugh at him stepping

on his bank roll, there is necessarily—even if it‘s one vote, there is

bipartisanship that‘s going to be needed in the Senate that was not needed

in the case of health care reform.  Who is—is there a Republican that‘s

likely to do it?  Is it Corker?  Is it some return to Senator Collins?  Or

what‘s going to be done to make that happen?

HAYES:  Well, I think the people I talk to in the Senate say that

Corker has played a reasonably responsible role, and that‘s fairly

qualified because we have such a degraded standard to these sorts of things

these days.  I think, you know, the four most likely votes are Corker and

Brown, because of the state he represents, and the two senators from Maine.

But part of the problem here is this infinite regress, right?  Which

is that every Republican says, I want to vote for a bipartisan bill, but,

of course, they themselves define whether the bill is bipartisan or not. 

And so, they‘re constantly pawning it off.  Well, it‘s not bipartisan so I

won‘t vote for it.

But, of course, if you vote for it, it will be bipartisan.

OLBERMANN:  Last point, the Goldman Sachs charges—does this make

any of this easier for the White House or for the leadership in the Senate?

HAYES:  Yes.  Of course, it does.  I mean, I think—I think it sort

of focuses the attention the same way those outrageous rate hikes did,

right, when health care looked like it might be slinking towards the grave. 

I mean, people are reminded that of just exactly the kind of breathtaking

sociopathic villainy of the banks—which really I report on every day and

continue to be astounded by.  So, yes, I think it does help the case.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, it‘s nice to remember that whatever the business,

profits don‘t necessarily buy intelligence.

HAYES:  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  Chris Hayes of “The Nation,” on Twitter and that subject

alone this time—thank you, Chris.

HAYES:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Remember when Thomas Jefferson advocated separation of

church and state?  He didn‘t really mean it.  None of the Founding Fathers


You know who told me?  Sarah Palin.  You know who told her?  God did.



OLBERMANN:  She insists those Founding Fathers who invented separation

of church and state really didn‘t want separation of church and state. 

Markos Moulitsas comments.

He says, and the secretary of the state and he are way too old for the

Supreme Court—this amid the new talk the nominee will be chosen for his

ability to pound Chief Justice Roberts over a period of 25 years.

Seventy-six percent of Americans don‘t trust the government, so he is

here and ready to take over for it.

And another day, another new deep end for them to go off.  We premiere

a new feature.  It‘s “Tea Time.”  Sadly, Art Fern has nothing to do with

this.  Exit the Tancredo cut off, get out of your car, cut off your

Tancredo, then get back into your car and watch the rest of COUNTDOWN—



OLBERMANN:  FOX News fill-in host, Sarah Palin, has revealed that she

does not want to overturn the U.S. government with a revolution.  She just

wants to undo the first revolution.

Our fourth story tonight: Palin wants America to return to the way it

used to be in 1775 -- which might explain why a new poll finds that the

libertarian constitutionalist half of the tea party wants nothing to do

with her.

“Politico” did an exit poll at last week‘s Tax Day tea party in

Washington, finding the group united in distrust of the government split

into two wings: 53 percent of them, the Ron Paul wing that wants to limit

government involvement in daily life.  It said it would never consider

voting for Palin.  Then there‘s the Sarah Palin wing that both distrusted

government and wants government to get involved in everybody‘s life and

promote traditional values.

Palin spoke at an evangelical conference, attacking one of the

traditional values in which the nation was founded.  “Lest anyone try to

convince you that God should be separated from the state, our Founding

Fathers, they were believers.”

Funny they didn‘t mention it in the Constitution.  Quote, “No

religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office. 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Thomas Jefferson, quote, “The legitimate powers of government extend

to such acts only as are injurious to others.  But it does me no injury for

my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god.”

A believer?  Quote, “The day will come when the mystical generation of

Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be

classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of


She also has complained about President Obama‘s outreach to Muslims. 

“Hearing any leader,” she said, “declared that America isn‘t a Christian

nation, it is mindboggling.”

Not to the founders.  President John Adams, of course, signed the

Treaty of Tripoli, his outreach to Muslims.  Quote, “The government of the

United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian

religion.”  That was ratified by the United States Senate without debate

unanimously in 1797.

“Don‘t be discouraged,” she said, “by the mocking of those who claim

to want—want to claim we just cling to our religion.  I‘m the first to

admit, yes, I do cling to my faith.  That‘s all I‘ve got.”

Jefferson said, “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against

unintelligible propositions.  Ideas must be distinct before reason can act

upon them.  And the man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity.  It is the

mere abracadabra of the Mountebanks calming themselves the priests of


On that note, let‘s bring Markos Moulitsas—see if he can follow

that—founder and publisher of “Daily Kos” and author of “Taking on the

System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era.”

Markos, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  A potential Republican frontrunner explicitly calls for an

end to separation of church and state.  Is this not exactly what Jefferson

and Adams and Washington were fighting against?

MOULITSAS:  Well, clearly, those guys were elitist.


MOULITSAS:  But probably arugula left.


MOULITSAS:  I mean, clearly.

You know, you can‘t expect Sarah Palin to actually read her history of

the founding of America.  And it might be too much to ask her to actually

read the U.S. Constitution and see that, you know, like you just mentioned,

religion is only mentioned in two places.

But all she has to do is look at this first sentence where it says,

we, the people.  I mean, she should read the first sentence.  We, the


And that basically—that states where the authority of the United

States of America is vested in.  It‘s vested in us, the people.  Not in a

higher power, not in God, not in a Christian God, in we, the people.

And for Palin to go around claiming that—essentially, putting words

in the mouths of the Founding Fathers is quite insulting, I think, to the

very history of our nation‘s founding.

OLBERMANN:  Well, not if George Washington was a communist.

How did these—with this fascinating “Politico” exit poll

identifying the Paulite tea partiers and the Palinite tea partiers as

basically two totally separate groups, how do the Palinites reconcile this

distrust of government and this smaller government idea with this

simultaneous desire to grow government so it promotes tradition at values? 

Wouldn‘t it just be the similar size government just doing different


MOULITSAS:  Yes.  You know, bottom line is that they‘re not in—

they‘re not in for smaller government, they want their government that

reflects their beliefs.  So, you know, under Bush, I mean, government grew

greatly.  He had—started illegal wars without justification.  He spied

on Americans without court order—all these great, you know, huge,

horrible things, expanding the scope of government.

You know, there were no tea baggers then.  They didn‘t care because

they actually liked that kind of government.  So, it‘s not bigger

government that they‘re against.  They‘re against Democratic government. 

They‘re anti-Democratic and I say that as in big “D” Democratic, as in the

Democratic Party and in the small “D,” with basically disrespect for

democracy in this nation.

I mean, this is what the people voted for.  It‘s one thing to oppose

it on policy.  It‘s another thing to use a kind of exterminationist,

eliminationist rhetoric that they‘re using in appealing to violence and

that sort of thing.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, like this sort of thing.  This is a slight tangent

here, but it‘s apropos—the statehouse in Arizona this afternoon approved

attaching this amendment to a piece of extant legislation, and this would

now demand that anybody who‘s running for president in Arizona has to show

their birth certificate to officials in Arizona.  And apart from the fact

that the Arizona house just made themselves look like a bunch of clowns,

you can‘t pass a state law about eligibility for a federal election, can


MOULITSAS:  No.  Obviously, they can‘t.  And they‘re making a mockery

of the system, of course.

You know, John McCain would not have passed that test.  He was not

born in the United States of America.

OLBERMANN:  And last point, back to our—

MOULITSAS:  And that‘s not a conspiracy theory, Keith.  He was

actually born in Panama.  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  It‘s on the records.  And, unfortunately, there‘s no way

to hide that at this point.  But last point back to our Palinites and

Paulites discussion, that has to be a clash at some point, doesn‘t it? 

What happens then?

MOULITSAS:  Oh, right now, they have a common enemy, you know?  So,

they can both focus on Barack Obama‘s Kenyan birth certificate and I think

that‘s good enough for them.  They‘re out of power.  They don‘t have

control of legislation.

So, really, there—it doesn‘t have to be a clash at this point. 

They can sort of continue to be united in opposition.  Now, if they were to

take power, I think all hell breaks loose.  But that‘s a whole different

story, and hopefully, it‘s not one that we‘ll have to talk about for some


OLBERMANN:  Yes, if they take power, all hell breaks loose anyway.

MOULITSAS:  Exactly.

OLBERMANN:  Markos Moulitsas of “Daily Kos”—as always, thanks for

your time.

MOULITSAS:  Thank you very much.

OLBERMANN:  If you‘re a judge or lawyer and you were born on not

January 27th, 1955, and your viewpoint is opposite that of Chief Justice

John Roberts on—well, everything, the White House may want you for the

Supreme Court.  This does not describe our special guest, Lewis Black.


OLBERMANN:  The secret role of the next Supreme Court nominee to be

the foil for decades for Chief Justice Roberts.  Next with Jon Alter.

First, the Twitter report from me @KeithOlbermann: day 12, followers,

46,000.  Tweetists met over the weekend: @straightedgeracer, that would be

pitcher C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers.  Number of photos of self-tweeted

over the weekend: just the one.

Incoming tweet of the day from @MadCreative: “Go with the flow and

turn your transatlantic flight delays into volcations.  Be creative ad make

the best of it.”

Bring marshmallows.  Stick them out at plane window.

Let‘s play “Oddball.”


OLBERMANN:  We begin with a recent crime spree off the coast of

Willington, New Zealand, a diver, Victor Wang, encountered  this octopus

capturing it all in his new digital camera.  The eight-legged perp admiring

Mr. Wang‘s shiny toy grabbed it with one tentacle and took off, recording

the crime as it happened.

Mr. Wang pursued the underwater outlaw for five minutes before he is

able to grab his camera back.  Mr. Wang said the experience was amazing

until he remembered he‘d just been mugged by an octopus.  Armed and

dangerous, armed and armed and armed and armed and armed and armed


To Beijing, why did the robot cross the road?  Because he‘s a

communist.  Turn rush hour into a day-long event, courtesy of robot

rickshaw.  As you inch along busy streets, the robot announces your arrival

with clanging symbols and creepy facial expressions.  Mr. Woo says his goal

is to invent practical uses for robots, so in other words, he‘s not

finished yet.

In Zurich, the annual (inaudible) festival where costumes are warn,

merriment is made and a wooden snowman is set ablaze atop of giant stack of

burning straw.  I see where this is headed.  The quicker the snowman‘s head

explodes , the better the summer will be.  Judging by the looks of those

plains, it‘s going to be pretty awesome this summer.  Nothing better than

sanitized, deep horrified echoes of human sacrifice.

Danger on Tiki Island, you say?  Bad news, Chief Justice John Roberts,

it looks like the White House is hoping to nominate to the court your not

evil twin.  Next.



OLBERMANN:  While the obsession with President Obama‘s next Supreme

Court nominee tends to be focused on whether he or she will be liberal

enough or too liberal, in our the third story tonight, the president‘s

chief objective may be both more subtle and far more important.

Choosing a justice who has the intellectual clarity to spend a couple

decades counterbalancing offsetting or just plain pushing back against the

increasingly activist court of Chief Justice John Roberts and the advice

from former President Bill Clinton?  Pick somebody young.  Former president

first telling NBC‘s Luke Russert that President Obama should choose someone

he can be proud of decades hence.



appoint someone who‘s reasonably young, someone with a chance to serve at

least 25 years on the court.  I think that‘s important.  But I think he

also needs to consider what do these people know?  And when they‘re in a

room  talking about a case, not just are they liberal or conservative, some

kind of real world experience different from the other members of the


OLBERMANN (voice-over):  President Clinton also indicated that his

wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not interested, as was he was

not as well.  As for the relatively young Chief Justice Roberts, his

activism is now reportedly clear to President Obama particularly in the

wake of the wildly pro-corporate Citizens United case.

The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy telling

the “New York Times,” quote, “the president is very concerned about the

activism on the court in recent terms.  He wants to make sure to put

somebody on there who is not going to take radical steps like that.”

But defenders of the chief justice according to the “Times” say he has

upheld a textual analysis of the constitution, according to the friend of

Roberts, Shannon Colfin, former counsel to Vice-President Cheney, the

president is willing to attack the Supreme Court in a calculated political

manner.  The evidence for that claim apparently not offered with the


President Obama‘s central policy victory to date, health care reform

almost certain to land on the Supreme Court‘s doorstep.  Just last week

Justice Breyer predicted the moment would arrive within three or four



OLBERMANN:  To talk about the court and this idea of an anti-Roberts,

let‘s bring in “Newsweek” magazine national affairs columnist and MSNBC

political analyst, Jonathan Alter and also author of “The Promise” which

will be released next month.

Jon, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  Is there—this growing recognition you really have to

have a counterweight to Justice Roberts?  And what sort of person is that?

ALTER:  Well, they want somebody who can go toe to toe with him over

time.  There‘s two ways to go with this.  By the way, the president as I

understand has not made up his mind.  Somebody who says the contrary isn‘t

in touch with what‘s going on in there so it‘s very open right now.

There is the possibility of some wild card, dark horse candidates. 

The ones people have been talking about mostly are Merrick Garland, who‘s

on the D.C. circuit, Diane Wood from Chicago, judge from Chicago that

Obama‘s known for a long time.  Janet Napolitano, head of Department of

Homeland Security, and Elena Kagan.

Those are the four frontrunners right now.  But what he wants is

somebody who can get to five.  What that means is not somebody who‘s just

going to kind of posture for liberal ideas or in defense of the little guy,

which is his main criteria in this appointment as he‘s told aides, but

somebody who can politic on the court, build coalitions.

Instead of being the champion of the four in minority, in the

minority, to get Justice Kennedy, who is the swing vote, so they can

actually win some for more progressive causes.  So I think what he‘s

looking for is he wants somebody who‘s a champion of trying to even the

scales economically, because he feels that the court is tilted toward the

powerful right now.  That‘s the first criteria.  And the second is, can he

or she build coalitions.

OLBERMANN:  Both of those seem to describe somebody who might not

necessarily be the most liberal.  To take one of the conservative justice

as side and say here‘s where Roberts is wrong, you don‘t necessarily want a

flame thrower for that, correct?

ALTER:  Well, you might not want somebody who‘s stylistic flame

thrower, but he‘s been very clear that he wants somebody who is

economically very progressive.  That he thinks that—not just the

Citizens United case, but a series of others, that the court is siding on

behalf of the powerful.  That‘s why he voted against Chief Justice Roberts

when he was in the Senate.

Because Roberts claimed to him that he was against bullies, but when

he—when Senator Obama reviewed Roberts‘ decisions, he saw that time

after time after time he was siding with the powerful.  So he wants

somebody to redress this.  And there are some other candidates out there.

Elizabeth Warren, who I believe has been a guest on this program a few

times, she‘s, you know, a professor at Harvard law school, an expert in

some of these business areas that make up a lot of the cases before the

court.  She has a very interesting story, she came from nothing.  Her

father was a janitor.  She‘s got a very interesting human story.  And as I

understand it, she‘s a potential dark horse.  So there are some other

people who might end up on this list.

OLBERMANN:  Does this idea of the anti-Roberts, or the anti-matter

matter here fit into the current political climate in any way?  Or does it

not matter because it—they could nominate a Republican and the GOP would 

somehow find a way to argue against it?

ALTER:  I think that‘s—it‘s really the latter.  I mean, they cannot

try to pander or appease Republicans.  They‘re going to object, and, you

know, it will come down to a majority vote.  It‘s—I don‘t think it‘s

likely that the Republicans are going to filibuster.  And also, if there is

a fight over this over the summer, everybody‘s saying it‘s a bad  thing for


I think it‘s a  good thing for him to have a fight that doesn‘t go on

too long, rallies the base, tells Obama supporters from 2008 that their

president is in there fighting for them, and the Republicans are going to

object no matter what happens.

OLBERMANN:  Plus, if he‘s already gotten financial reform in there, it

will be a 3-0 record going into the midterm.

ALTER:  Right, that‘s right.

OLBERMANN:  Jon Alter, author of “The Promise.”  Congratulations on

that and great thanks for coming in.

ALTER:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Seventy six percent of Americans distrust the government

and 70 percent think it will be a great place to work.  Who better than

Louis Black to scream about that?

Worst on the day the victims of Oklahoma City, I remembered, Limbaugh

wants a memorial to David Koresh.

And at the top of the hour, an MSNBC premier, “The McVeigh Tapes,”

confessions of an American terrorist narrated by Rachel Maddow.  Never-

before-heard conversations with Timothy McVeigh on this, the 15th

anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.


OLBERMANN:  Rush Limbaugh calls for a national memorial for David

Koresh‘s anti-government cult, but first, our new feature, get out your

crumpets, it‘s Tea Time.  Let‘s start by congratulating the National Review

Online, which is posted a five-minute video designed to refute charges by

me and others at the Tea Party Movement is a virtually all white operation.

The video shot at last week‘s Washington, D.C., tax day event featured

interviewed with six actual black people.  Organizers of last week‘s

Washington D.C. tax day event claimed attendance of 25,000.  Those six

people would thus represent 0.0002 percent.  So, thanks to the National

Review Online for proving my point.


OLBERMANN (voice-over):  This video is from a weekend event in

Greenville, South Carolina.  This is a speaker asking an elected

representative, quote, “why are you trying to sell out your countrymen and

I need to make sure you being gay isn‘t it,” unquote.


OLBERMANN:  That was the most reasoned part of discourse.  Ex-

Congressman Tom Tancredo was the keynote speaker, Tancredo who we last

heard telling the National Group that Barack Obama was voted in by people

who couldn‘t spell vote in English, now said of the president of the United

States.  Remember the startling reality in 2007.  Tom Tancredo thought he

could be the president of the United States.

If his wife says Kenya is his homeland, why don‘t we just send him

back?  God help any lawyer who would have to defend Tom Tancredo at a

sanity hearing.  That wasn‘t the low light.  A speaker announced he had

been trained to defend the liberties of this nation.  He said he was

prepared to, quote, “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington and do what they

trained me to do.”

The man who was trying to incite armed insurrection against

representatives of the U.S. government and the government itself and was

making threats of violence against unspecified individuals is named Stan

Craig.  Stan Craig is the pastor of the Choice Hills Baptist Church in


It‘s simply beyond my ability to explain how they might have any kind

of religion-based tax exemption or how he could mistake those voices in his

head for that of God‘s.


OLBERMANN:  The great Lewis Black joins me next, but first tonight‘s

Worst persons in the world.  An online service of some kind announcing it‘s

going to cross over to cable, on television through partners including

Comcast, Rightnetwork delivers programming on demand that enables our

audience to watch what they want when they want.

Kelsey Grammer is the face of the outfit so I want to assume there‘s a

lot of on demand shows about babysitters.  The problem is Comcast, which is

seeking approval to buy 51 percent of NBC and thus controlling interest in

this network doesn‘t have a damn thing to do with Rightnetwork.

The head of one of its subsidiaries apparently has some of his own

money in the thing so Rightnetwork starts by lying about who‘s backing it. 

A Comcast spokeswoman said, quote, “we have no partnership with this

venture and have no plans to launch or distribute the network.

Sister Sarah bendy straws” Palin, reporting by ABC and on her filings with the FEC provides a startling

breakdown on her Political Action Committee.  Sarah PAC raised $400,000 in

the first quarter of 2010.  It donated only $7500 to actual candidates,

$2,000 to other PACs, nothing to the 20 Republican candidates in the races.

And she said she was, quote, “targeting.”  Where‘s the rest?  Plus the

half a mil she had in the bank at the start of the year?  $243,000 to

consultants, $11,000 to photography, $31,000 to generalized travel, $3400

for one stay at a hotel in New York, $7300 went to de-icing private planes.

Sarah PAC spent $200 more on donations to candidates than it did on

de-icing the wings on Mylady‘s jet.  What we‘re seeing here is the

outskirts of the greatest political financial scam in decades.  Sarah Palin

is not a candidate, leader or role model.

But our winner, Rush H. Limbaugh, whom today asked why amid the

memorials and anniversaries for the dead of Oklahoma City, quote, “were

there any anniversary ceremonies for the Waco invasion?  Have with had any

anniversary ceremonies for the invasions of Waco by Janet Reno and U.S.

military tanks 17 years ago?”

Let me ask you a question, what was the more likely cause of the

Oklahoma City bombing talk radio or Bill Clinton and Janet Reno‘s hands on

management of Waco, the branch committee and compound and maybe to a lesser

extent Ruby Ridge?  Well, obviously the answer is talk radio. Specifically

Rush Limbaugh‘s hate radio, which encourage people as he encourages people

today to view the child molester, David Koresh, and the Branch Davidians as

innocent victims of what he calls an invasion by U.S. military tanks.  This

is an exact parallel to the paranoia that Limbaugh stokes daily among those

who feel themselves invaded by the U.S. government today.  Limbaugh claimed

others would have blood on their hands in the event of future right wing


Frankly, Rush, you have that blood on your hands now and you have had

it for 15 years.  Limbaugh, today‘s worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN:   According to the new Pew Research poll released today, 76

percent of Americans distrust the government, but 56 percent would like to

see their kids have a career in government and 70 percent think government

is a good place to work.

In our number one story, maybe Lewis Black can explain that slight

disconnect.  First, the Pew Research gathered during March and April, a

total of 2500 surveyed, 76 percent of American say they distrust the

federal government, just 22 percent are trusting souls.  A figure that is

actually up five points from the 17 percent who trusted the government in a

poll in October 2008 done by CBS and “NewYork Times.”

Then there is a financial paradox in the Pew numbers, 40 percent of

the public think it‘s a good idea for the federal government to exert more

control over economy, unless economy means banks.  Sixty one percent want

the government to strictly regulate the way major financial companies do


Who better to help us focus on the confused anger coming out of this

poll numbers than Louis Black who brings us his latest show “In God We

Rust” in this direction, April 22nd through the 24th.  Good to see you.

LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN:  Good to see you.

OLBERMANN:  No government intrusion in the economy, more regulations

on the banks.  Makes sense to me, right?

BLACK:  It‘s perfect.  Everything makes sense now, because everything

we‘ve reached—we‘re almost, as you and I talked about, we‘re brushing up

against complete insanity.  So it‘s just like, yes and no.  Why not?  I

think the economy means to people, you know, like the daily stuff, and

banks means Wall Street.  So they‘re two different things.  The Dow Jones

to the guy on the street is not the economy.

OLBERMANN:  It‘s a nice number, but oh, good it‘s up, I guess it means

the banks will take less money out of my pocket.

BLACK:  Yes, I have never—I am  now in a position where I  actually

have, you know, stocks  and I still have no concept—I don‘t know—I‘ve

listened to  what derivatives are.  I think if you just listen to an

economist talk about what derivatives are, you lose a portion of your


OLBERMANN:  Don‘t you - when you buy a stock, don‘t you feel like

somebody ought to be delivering something to you?  You used to get a nicely

printed piece of paper that says, you own one share, right?

BLACK:  I actually have—it was from when my parents bought stock

when I was a child and I have, it‘s like some electrical company that

probably doesn‘t exist anymore.

OLBERMANN:  The Indianapolis urban railways and Kaiser Motors and

other great stocks.

BLACK:  It‘s something you can put up on the wall.

OLBERMANN:  Right.  This government trust issue,  this low point with

17 percent 2008, 1994, the high point was 80 percent in 1966, which is of

course the  beginning of the real escalation of Vietnam, we‘re a year away

from the society standing on its head and we‘re six years away from  the

Watergate break-in and that was the high point?  How was 1966 for you?

BLACK:  Spectacularly, it was a great year, because it‘s the year I

graduated high school.

OLBERMANN:  Excellent.

BLACK:  How good is that?  And we did believe it and we were happy and

I pledged the allegiance and I thought it was all going to work out and it

was going to be great.

OLBERMANN:  When I was 10 years old I went to a World Series game for

the first time.  We went through the Times Square subway station and got

run over by hell, no, we won‘t go protesters and I went, I‘m really

confused, and it hasn‘t stopped since.  It‘s been 41 years now.

BLACK:  Literally within a year, it was like somebody took my head and

just twisted it.

OLBERMANN:  Well, OK, that explains a lot, as my anchor for 41 years

explains a lot.  The definition of terms, we just hit on this.  We should

have a poll that asks people, who do you think this word means, before we

ask them in the poll.

But here‘s these, you know, another set of Tea Party protesters,

they‘re now meeting daily somewhere, because they all know each other,

because there‘s 2,000 of them.  But they‘re out on the mall today in

Washington, they‘re angry, you have been known to be angry, yet you were

not out on the mall with them.  I‘m confused.

BLACK:  No, I am—I don‘t generally like to hang out with groups

that are mostly white.  That‘s part of it.  My—and that came from my

mother who said, when I was a cub scout, I don‘t know if you  went through

that, and then I said, I want to be a boy scout and she said, no way.  She

said, enough‘s enough.

OLBERMANN:  Because it was—

BLACK:  Because, she said mainly because she said I don‘t want you to

ever wear another uniform again.

OLBERMANN:  A little training ground.

BLACK:  You don‘t look good in it.

OLBERMANN:  You saw that video that the National Review put out to

disprove my point on this issue, it had six black people in it.  There you

go, right?

BLACK:  But that‘s not enough for me.

OLBERMANN:  Really?  OK.

BLACK:  I need more of a mix.  It‘s unbelievable.

OLBERMANN:  I know.  I know.  And why—how do people rationalize

these things?  I‘m beginning to think the older I get the more I begin to

believe the essence of life is how well you can be as yourself, never mind

anybody else.  Right?

BLACK:  But it‘s really extraordinary, to them, that represents this

whole other group who just can‘t make it out of the house for some reason. 

OLBERMANN:  I‘m busy.  I‘m sorry.

BLACK:  I‘d love to be there with all you white people but I‘ve got

stuff to do.  You know, what‘s amazing is how—you know, they keep

talking about the fact these people have jobs. 

OLBERMANN:  Three hours off in the middle of the day.

BLACK:  It‘s an extraordinary—my problem, to be honest, it‘s like

the Democrats, the Republicans, the Democrats try to tell me stuff, I don‘t

know what they‘re talking about.  I don‘t really know what they‘re trying

to tell me.  I don‘t know what the Republicans are trying to tell me.  And

I really don‘t know what the Tea Parties are trying to tell me.  You say

less government.  What does that mean?  Less firemen?

OLBERMANN:  How are you getting home from here, on the nonsubway or

the nonstreets and what about the nonpolice who will nonbeprotecting you?

BLACK:  Yes, and less taxes?  Which to me means, there will be a bake

sale for everything?  You know?

OLBERMANN:  Go out here and look at the potholes out here and tell me

about cutting taxes.  I might as well take the money and stuff it into

those holes.  I‘m sorry to make the last joke but we‘re out of time.  Lewis


BLACK:  It was a good one.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you.  This Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at the

City Center, New York, which is a great place to be in the audience or on

the stage.  Best of luck with it and great to see you.

BLACK:  Good to you see you.

OLBERMANN:  That‘s “Countdown” for this 2545th day since the previous

president declared mission accomplished in Iraq.  Up next, Rachel Maddow

and the MSNBC premiere of “The McVeigh Tapes, confessions of an American

Terrorist.”  I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.




Copy:     Content and programming copyright 2010 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

                Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc.  All materials herein are protected by

                United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,

                transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written

                permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,

                copyright or other notice from copies of the content.