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Monday, April 26, 2010

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Guests: Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Sen. Sherrod Brown, David Weigel, Derrick


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

be talking about tomorrow?


The deluge—kiss the 2012 Democratic and Republican conventions

good-bye, maybe the 2011 all-star game, conventions, business trips,

seminars, football games—boycotts, protests.  John McCain is saying he

likes it but it‘s not clear “whether all of it all is legal or not.”  Tom

Tancredo saying he likes it but he‘s worried people might be “pulled over

because they look like they should be pulled over.”

Arizona‘s new anti-Hispanic, pro-racism act, the “show me your papers”



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  May I see your papers?



OLBERMANN:  The protests with Congressman Luis Gutierrez.  The

political Armageddon with Howard Fineman.

Lindsey Graham‘s flip-flop: He bails out of a deal on energy reform

because the White House is prioritizing immigration reform, a month after

he called out the White House for not prioritizing immigration reform.

While his fellow Republicans try to filibuster Wall Street reform,

with an unclear conscience, the Democrats lose this evening‘s test vote.


SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT:  What‘s the point of having 100

seats here, coming from 50 states, when a major issue affecting our country

cannot even be the subject of a debate?


OLBERMANN:  Perjury?  Palin testifies she never used her hacked e-mail

account for business.  But the e-mails from that account suggest quite the

opposite.  And does it matter at all in that giant money scam that is being

the imaginary president of the right-wing America?

Talking some smack at the White House—



other teams don‘t root for them.



OLBERMANN:  And Stephen Hawking says aliens from space would probably

try to hurt us.



perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets

they can reach.


OLBERMANN:  Hawking says that?  Let‘s get off this planet, quickly.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.






OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

Protests continuing at this hour at the state capitol of Phoenix,

Arizona, while calls for and outlines of boycotts of the various and

extremely vulnerable aspects of one of that state‘s primary exports,

tourism, takes shape.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: What began on this news hour last

week with Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva, now including even the

Republican mayor of New York City, who issued statement warning that people

may want to think twice before going to Arizona and subjecting themselves

to potential run-ins with the police.  This because of Arizona‘s new

immigration measure already dubbed the “show us your papers” act.

A smaller number of protesters on hand today at the state capitol in

Phoenix to show their outrage over Arizona‘s law signed by Governor Jan

Brewer on Friday.  Sunday, though, thousands had turned out to protest the

law that makes it a state crime to be an illegal immigrant, a law that will

allow police to stop and question anyone they wish, merely on the suspicion

that they might be in the state illegally.  Opponents saying the law will

lead to rampant racial profiling and turn Arizona into a virtual police


Overnight, vandals having smeared refried beans in the shapes of

swastikas on to the windows of the state capitol.  The nation‘s largest

Spanish language newspaper “La Opinion” telling—today is calling, at

least in the English translation, quote, “for a boycott of all goods and

services from Arizona and pledge to avoid tourism in the state as well.”

Some truckers responsible for hauling Mexican-grown produce to Los

Angeles also are agreeing to avoid Arizona to protest the new law.

And as we mentioned, New York City Mayor Bloomberg is using Arizona‘s

new immigration law to encourage travelers to come to the Big Apple


Major League Baseball scheduled to play next year‘s all-star game in

Phoenix, Arizona‘s capitol city, also on the short list to host the 2012

Republican National Convention, and/or its Democratic counterpart, at the


Meanwhile, Arizona‘s senior senator, “I was never a maverick” McCain,

with a hat trick of fuzzy logic on this one, simultaneously questioning the

constitutionality of the state‘s new law while defending the governor‘s

signature on it and seemingly supporting it at least in theory.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  I agree with the thrust of the bill, I

have not read the details of it.  And I agree with their frustration and

anger over the fact that there‘s not been any significant and meaningful

effort to secure our border.


OLBERMANN:  Even ultra right Republican Tom Tancredo is saying that

while he would welcome a similar law in a fellow Four Corner state,

Colorado, he believes the Arizona law goes too far.  Tancredo worrying—

Tancredo worrying—that people would be, quote, “pulled over because they

look like they should be pulled over.”

Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano calling the new immigration law

misguided.  She vetoed similar bills when she was governor of Arizona.  The

secretary is adding that we need a federal immigration system to address,

quote, “this patchwork of laws,” which is also what was said at the White




could be 50 immigration laws, because without us acting, we‘ve deferred to

the states.  I think the president has said and I think leaders in Arizona

certainly on both sides of this issue have said that this is a wake-up call

for the federal government to act.


OLBERMANN:  And good luck getting the federal government to act.  A

House Democratic aide today e-mailing “Talking Points Memo,” quote, “My

boss was told in no uncertain terms her leadership that there is no way

we‘re doing immigration reform this year, just no way.”  Another adviser

adding, quote, “we just want to see the Senate move first.”

In the Senate, Lindsey Graham is now accusing the Democrats of playing

election year politics with immigration.  As a result, he is withdrawing

support for a climate change bill.

Last month, Senator Graham having told President Obama it was time for

him to step up to get something done on immigration reform, warning,

however, that if the health care reform bill went forward, he would

withdraw his support on immigration reform as a result.

We‘re going back to the senator in a moment.  First, Illinois Democrat

Luis Gutierrez—joining the call for tourists to cancel their Arizona

vacations.  He‘s been good enough to join us now.

Congressman, thanks for your time tonight.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS:  Thank you.  Good to be with you

this evening.

OLBERMANN:  What do you think Arizona‘s softest point is here?  Is it

a boycott by individual vacationers or do you try to go after something big

picture like the baseball all-star game next year, or what do you do?

GUTIERREZ:  I think that‘s a good question, because it seems as though

in America, economics is the beginning and the end of most successful

political endeavors.  Let‘s remember that Arizona was the last state to

approve a national holiday for Martin Luther King.  And one of the things

that they did is it cost them hundreds of millions of dollars, when the

African-American community across this country called for boycotts.  And

finally, they were the 50th, but they did it.  But they did it because they

risked economics in the state of Arizona.

Because, as you have stated—look, when the police intervene with me

or with you or with anyone, it should be on the basis of our conduct, our

behavior.  Not the country they suspect we came from and whether or not we

were born here or not.  That—I‘ll tell you something, the criminal

element, those human smugglers, the drug dealers, the rapists, those that

are causing so much damage in Arizona and across this country, they‘ve got

to be happy with this law, because what is going to happen is—the eyes,

the ears, that the police need so much of the community in general, so that

they can combat crime, they‘re going to—they‘re going to cause a

division between the people in the population and the police department.

Because I‘m going to tell you, I was there this Saturday, and I was—

I was just having a bagel with a group of people.  We were kind of talking,

it was a Latino group.  We were—we looked like we had some good suntans

on and we were there.

But I‘ve got to tell you, I joke about it but at the same time, I felt

a real chilling effect when that police officer came in.


GUTIERREZ:  Because they came in and I started saying, does he—how

does he see me?  How is he going to approach me?  How do I interact with


I want to be positive because I want the police to do well, because to

the extent they do well, they defend us and they are our front line against

crime.  Let‘s not put them to become agents of immigration and to—and to

go out and spew bigotry and hatred and prejudice.  That‘s not the role of

the police.

The police should be those who cradle us, right?  And protect us.  And

we should be there to protect them and to act on the front lines against

crime with them, not against them.

OLBERMANN:  You just brought up a major point, Congressman, that I

think has not been emphasized here.  Ultimately, what do you think the

point is of this law?  Is it really just about immigration and a porous

border?  Or is there something in here about wearing out Latinos who want

to live there, particularly those who want to go vote there?

GUTIERREZ:  You know, I think they understand that the Latino

community isn‘t going anywhere.  Those that have come under desperate

straits are probably going to say, what you‘re going to do is you‘re going

to push them further underground and allow them to be even further

exploited in the condition that they‘re in.

But I think what it really is—it‘s the easy out, right?  It‘s like,

let‘s blame someone.

You know, we have a failing foreclosure system with homes going in

foreclosure.  We have a high unemployment.  The educational system really

isn‘t serving our children well.  You know what?  Why don‘t we just go

against—after those immigrants?

And I‘ve got to say this.  Look, it‘s not new.  This is pretty old

stuff.  When the Irish came here, oh, they talked about crime and how it

was going to be terrible in America.  And the Italians, when they came at

the turn of the century in 1910 and 1920s, they said, only by the rule of

law could we ever help to contain these people, referring to Italian

immigrants in New York City.

So, look, they accused the Italians of crime.  They accused the Irish

of crime.  They were wrong about them and they‘re wrong about us today. 

It‘s an old trick to divert attention about the real pressing issues that

the American public wants us to deal with.

OLBERMANN:  My ancestors got it the same way during the First World

War, Germans, Poles and Russians.  So, it‘s universal to us and it‘s

terrifying that some people don‘t seem to understand that it‘s—that it

is the same thing, as you point out.

GUTIERREZ:  And it is.  And I just want to say this—look, I know,

because I‘ve met them, and you‘ve probably met them and we‘ve read great

stories about immigrant Latinos, and immigrants from all who serve in our

armed forces.  But we know, whether it‘s in Iraq or in Afghanistan, there

are people that are going to return to Arizona because it‘s their home,

it‘s where they were born after serving in the Armed Forces of the United


And think about it, they‘ve got to prove their American citizenship? 

They‘ve got to prove they have a right to be in Arizona?  They‘ve already

met the greatest litmus test that anyone can, in terms of their

citizenship.  They‘ve put their body and their limb at risk to defend this


So, let‘s not humiliate them.  Let‘s not cheapen who they are and

their service to this nation, because I‘m going to tell you, dollars to

doughnuts, they‘re going to get pulled over.  The cop‘s going to say

something.  And you know what?  It‘s going to be another sad tragedy case

in American history.

OLBERMANN:  And a relevant one, and thank you for bringing it up.  It

couldn‘t have been better pointed out and it couldn‘t—it couldn‘t be

better emphasized.  Congressman Luis Gutierrez, the Democrat for Illinois,

thanks for your time, sir.

GUTIERREZ:  Thank you, sir.

OLBERMANN:  For more on the politics, let‘s turn to our own Howard

Fineman, senior Washington correspondent for “Newsweek” magazine.  Good

evening, Howard.


OLBERMANN:  All right.  We know how this is resonating on the left.  I

think the congressman hit three or four point that are just sort of

bubbling up to the surface three and four days later.  It may be more

viscerally felt certainly as an impact than the whole health care debate

was.  Is it also resonating to any degree like that in Washington?

FINEMAN:  Well, to some extent, let me also say that the congressman

buried the lead there, the fact that the Latinos were sitting around eating

bagels really says everything—everything you need to know about what

America‘s supposed to be.

OLBERMANN:  That‘s it.

FINEMAN:  But the fact is, while they‘re hearing the noise here in

Washington, my sense from reporting this afternoon up on the Hill, Keith,

is that the Democratic leadership, even while Robert Gibbs is down at the

White House pointing out the chaos that could happen around the country, I

don‘t think the Democrats want to—I know, based on what they told me

this afternoon—top Democratic sources on the Hill in both the House and

the Senate, told me they‘re not going to bring up an immigration bill any

time soon.

The Senate would go first.  The Senate was not going to get to it

until at least July, if then—maybe not until right before they adjourn

and then maybe not even until a lame duck session.  There‘s nobody at White

House in charge of honchoing this.  There‘s no bill drafted.

I think the Arizona thing to some extent caught them by surprise and

Democrats are very cautious about wanting to jump into this thing.

OLBERMANN:  And are Republicans cautious, too?  Because if you hear

from—Senator McCain and former Congressman Tancredo—Tancredo remark,

I want to give him the benefit of the doubt that he really does worry that

people will be pulled over because they look like they should be pulled

over. So, I‘m going to give him the benefit of the doubt until I hear

otherwise.  But even when these guys are hedging their bets, it sounds like

there is some perception on that side of the equation that this is another

proverbial third rail even for the Republicans.

FINEMAN:  Oh, I don‘t think there‘s any question about it.  The

question for Republicans is: do they dare try to take advantage of this in

the short term, in the 48 House districts that are occupied by Democrats

that voted for John McCain in 2008.  OK?  Those are the vulnerable

Democrats.  A lot of them are in Appalachia, a lot of them are in South, in

the upper Midwest, et cetera.

Do they use as a way to appeal to independents and Republicans who are

already worried about the role of government, et cetera, et cetera, or do

they really acknowledge what all of their strategists tell them, which is

that long-term, it is a huge disaster for the Republican Party to be seen

as anti-Latino?

When Latinos are now one out of every six Americans, there are 45

million Latinos in America.  The percentage of their vote is going up

election by election, even in off-year elections.

And beyond that, Keith, with all fair-minded Americans, which, you

know—let‘s give us the benefit of the doubt and say that‘s just about

everybody—the idea that a person could be walking down the street and

could be looked at with suspicion by authorities and have their papers

demanded of them in the fashion of old medieval Europe is something that is

so foreign to Americans understanding of themselves, that that‘s the fire

that the Republicans are really playing with here.  Because it‘s a very

short step for all those people who are of immigrant heritage, which is to

say all Americans, to realize that the idea, let‘s see your papers, you

aren‘t free to be an American or somebody with documents walking down the

street, you aren‘t free to be that person alone without the reach of

government, that‘s a very foreign thing.

And ironically, Republicans who talk at great length about the

overreach of government, about too much government, about intrusive

government, the libertarian streak among conservative Republicans is the

one that I think could be most offended by what happened in what used to be

libertarian Arizona.

OLBERMANN:  Thirty seconds.  What happened with Lindsey Graham?  He‘s

bouncing around like a loose basketball.

FINEMAN:  Yes, he is.  Well, he used the fact they‘re going to bring

up immigration as the excuse to try to get off the climate bill.  Now, I

think it‘s pretty clear from the people I‘ve talked to that the Democrats

don‘t want any part of the immigration bill for months and months.

So, what‘s Lindsey Graham‘s excuse now?  I think he‘s being batted

around by a shuttlecock between the moderate Republicans and the far-right

Republicans.  That‘s been true of him from the beginning and it‘s true of

him now.

OLBERMANN:  Howard Fineman of “Newsweek” and MSNBC, very eloquent

tonight.  Thank you, Howard.

FINEMAN:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  No.  Seriously.  Thank you.


OLBERMANN:  The Republicans, meanwhile, going from opposing financial

reform to claiming bipartisan strides had been made to affect it, to today

starting the process of filibustering it.  Senator Sherrod Brown next on



OLBERMANN:  The Republicans careen back towards filibustering big bank

reform on behalf of Wall Street.  This senator says they oppose a straight

up-or-down vote because they prefer backroom negotiations with big money. 

Did the imaginary president of the right-wing America perjure herself at a

trial of her email hacker?

The Thai place that would not admit a blind customer because they

thought his date had asked to bring a gay dog into the restaurant.

And Derrick Pitts will be here after the smartest man on the planet

says, if folks from other planets ever show up here, they will not be

coming in peace.  But don‘t worry.  The new illegal alien law in Arizona

will protect us.



OLBERMANN:  All that is at stake with the Senate‘s current financial

reform bill is the stability America‘s economy, the future of your job,

your home and your child‘s education.

And in our fourth story: Republicans tonight said the Democratic bill

is so bad that they‘re blocking the process that would be used to change

it.  The Democratic bill needs so much debate that tonight they‘re blocking

the start of debate.

At 5:00 p.m. in Washington, the Senate held a cloture vote—in this

case, a cloture vote to open debate on the Senate‘s financial reform bill,

specifically to launch 30 hours of public open debate during which

senators, Republican and Democratic alike, could offer amendments to the

bill.  As promised, Republicans blocked the beginning of the debate.  The

president tonight is saying he was disappointed, probably not surprise,

knowing this was coming.

Senator Chris Dodd, who‘s banking committee produced the bill, argued

for debating it.


DODD:  Hardly do we claim perfection to what we‘ve written here—

hardly.  But we believe in sound ideas that deal with these very issues

that cause the problems in the first place and what we need to do is to be

able to debate those ideas.  If my colleagues in this chamber, as many do

disagree, some think I‘ve gone too far, some think I haven‘t gone far

enough.  Those are two maybe legitimate points.

But how we ever going to resolve it if I can‘t even bring up the bill

to have the kind of debate this chamber was designed to engage in?  What‘s

the point of having 100 seats here, coming from 50 states, when a major

issue affecting our country cannot even be the subject of a debate?


OLBERMANN:  Senate Republican Leader McConnell earlier had argued that

beginning public debate is wrong because it would end the debate.  If you

can follow this logic, see your doctor and thank your stars McConnell

didn‘t get his way about your doctor.



problem.  But we won‘t solve the problem if we vote for cloture tonight.  A

vote for cloture is a vote that says we are done listening to the America

people on this issue.  And a vote against ending this debate is a vote for

bipartisanship, for working out an ironclad solution to the problem of too-

big-to-fail.  A vote against ending this debate tonight is a vote that says

it‘s no longer enough to tell our constituents to simply trust us.  It‘s a

vote that says, this time, we‘ll prove it.


OLBERMANN:  Joining Mr. McConnell in blocking debate was Democratic

Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska.  Where have we heard this before?  Also

voting that way, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa, despite the

fact that in committee, he had been the single vote backing tough new

derivative regulation.  So did Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine

who actually wrote to Majority Leader Reid to ask that those derivative

measures be added to the bill before her vote tonight against moving

forward with it.

And what was the new bipartisan measure?  Democrat Blanche Lincoln of

Arkansas added language that would move almost all the $600 trillion

derivative market into public exchanges and force banks to choose between

trading in popular derivatives and still having access to Federal Reserve

funds and FDIC insurance.  But small government, anti-bailout Republicans

want the government to keep shoring up Wall Street derivative trading and

states rights Republicans oppose returning to the states the power to

regulate the banks.

Republican opposition, however, is potentially moot.  “Politico”

reporting they committed only to filibuster tonight, but now all bets are


To see what‘s actually happening in the Senate, lets turn to the

representative of Ohio, Mr. Brown, also a member of the banking committee,

Senator Sherrod brown.

Thank you for your time tonight, senator.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO:  Good to be back.  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Can your party get a Republican vote to begin this debate

without gutting reform?

BROWN:  Yes, I think they‘re embarrassed by it.  I mean, when you just

heard Mitch McConnell, the mental calisthenics he did, he even outdid Mitch

McConnell and Jim Bunning combined.  I mean, you know, you look at this and

he‘s saying, go back to the back room, cut a deal, something bipartisan,

and then bring it out in the open and we‘ll debate it.  Why don‘t we bring

it out in the open and debate it now?

I mean, this goes back to—in December, John Boehner met with 100

bank lobbyists figuring out how to kill the bill.  A couple weeks ago,

Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn, the head of the Republican Senate Campaign

Committee, went to New York to meet with hedge fund and other Wall Street

executives to figure out how to kill the bill.  The American Banking

Association says, the more you can delay, the more chance we can write the

bill to our favor or kill it.  That‘s what they‘re doing.

I think, though, that shows like this and your outspokenness and

others, Keith, will embarrass the Republicans enough that they can‘t

continue to say: no, we don‘t even want to debate.  We don‘t even want to

discuss this.  It‘s not bipartisan to bring it out on the floor.

Let the amendments flow once this bill‘s on the floor and everybody

has an equal chance.

OLBERMANN:  Well, thank you for that.  Although I think they are

expert at sticking very effective hands in the ears so that they don‘t hear

any of it.

But correct me on this other point: blocking a straight up-or-down

vote so that they can keep negotiating behind closed doors—does that

sound at all like what the Republicans say they want these days in this


BROWN:  Yes, and that‘s what they‘ve done.  That‘s since—I mean,

you add up the filibusters, add up the obstructionism, quantify it any way

you want for—what is it—from January of ‘09 to now, 16 months or so,

of trying to slow down, slow-walk, block everything they can.

And, you know, so far, politically, it‘s worked for them.  It worked

on health care, even though we passed it.  It made Democrats‘ numbers

pretty bad.  The polls aren‘t very good.  It doesn‘t look like a great year

for Democrats.  It could be an OK year in the end.

But they‘ve—I think this is one too far for McConnell, because,

overwhelmingly, the public thinks, wait a second, you‘re not even going to

debate on an issue?  And it‘s so clear they‘re protecting Wall Street,

that‘s their benefactor.  The insurance companies, Keith, were their

benefactor on the health care bill, and Wall Street is their principal

benefactor on Wall Street reform, the big Wall Street banks.

And this one is going to blow up in their faces unless they sort of

decide—at least a few of them—to come over to our side and at least

give us a chance to debate it.

OLBERMANN:  Also, Senator, isn‘t this the definition of the “cutting

of your nose despite your face” bit from the Republican point of view? 

Because aren‘t a lot of the amendments that are on the floor designed to do

things Republicans say they want anyway?  I mean, McCain wants Glass-

Steagall back.  And, what about your own amendment?

BROWN:  Yes.  And my own amendment with Senator Kaufman and several

others on basically saying too-big-to-fail is too big, that these banks

just can‘t be that big, these five or six huge banks.

Let me give you one statistic about that.  Fifteen years ago, the

assets combined of the six largest banks in America were 17 percent of the

gross domestic product.  Today, the six largest banks‘ combined assets make

up 63 percent of gross domestic product.  That‘s a serious problem when a

small number of humongous entities have that kind of financial power over

our country.  That‘s why the amendment that we‘re working on is so


But we want a chance to offer it.  If it doesn‘t pass, I mean, I‘ll be

sorely, sorely disappointed, but you still work on this.  And we‘ve got—

we‘ve got opportunities here to make this bill better—and on both sides. 

In the end, you know, let‘s have at it.

OLBERMANN:  Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, I don‘t know how you—how

you do it every day in the Senate, and still retain your sanity, but

congratulations on both, and best of luck with this.  Thanks for your time.

BROWN:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Oh, for the nostalgic days when Republicans would debate

things with a Democratic president the way a New York Yankees executive

debated things with one of those presidents today in the White House with

the videotape rolling, briefly, though it was.

And Sarah Palin and perjury, Dave Weigel joins us.

You‘re watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN:  The restoration of Stephen Baldwin in worst persons ahead. 

First, the Twitter report, day 19.  Followers, 50,400, milestone 50,000th

Apparently @DJBlue2. It is Monday.  So after the weekend, three Tweets of

the Day, two on the Glenn Becks ratings drop.  Second runner up from that,


“does Beck‘s ratings drop mean we should stop buying gold?” 

Or the first runner up from @agerstner, “maybe all of Lonesome Rhodes‘

viewers sold their TVs to buy more gold.” 

But our winner, while he‘s still fresh, an amazing idea from Nevada

Republican senatorial candidate Sue Lowden to barter poultry for medical

care from @jakedshapiro, “someone needs to ask Sue Lowden, if she wins the

Senate seat, will she be willing to take chickens in lieu of a salary?” 

Now, Jake, we don‘t want the nice lady to turn into a pillar of salt. 

Let‘s play Oddball.

First to the White House; the ritual is now nearly 30 years old.  The

winning team visits the president and everyone gets an autograph.  The

world champion New York Yankees this time—ceremony over, the Yankees

schmooze.  President Obama was good enough not to mention that in the last

half century there have been 29 years of Republican presidents, but all

nine Yankees championships, all nine of them, have been under Democrats. 

But as he posed with Yankees‘ manager Joe Girardi and the trophy, Yankee

vice president and assistant general manager Jean Afterman talked a little

trash at the White Sox fan in chief. 



hold it?  you may not get a chance to again.

OBAMA:  And yo wonder why the other teams don‘t root for hem. 


OLBERMANN:  Meanwhile, in Taluca (ph), Mexico—so they tell you if

you like sausage, never watch how sausage is made.  What are we showing

you?  You are looking live at sausage being made.  It took 30 people three

days to create the world‘s longest sausage.  The links measuring over a

half a mile in length and weighing quite literally a ton.  The good folks

of Taluca expect to be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. 

After sizing it all up, the crowd got to enjoy the record-breaking meat, to

which a follow-up event was held with the world‘s largest tub of antacid. 

Sister Sarah‘s latest moment of martyrdom, trial of a man who hacked

into her private email.  Her testimony about those e-mails does not match

those e-mails.  Could be a big problem next.


OLBERMANN:  Funny how one thing often turns up something else.  A

former college student on trial for allegedly breaching the private e-mail

account of the Governor Sarah Palin, and the testimony of Palin herself on

whether the release of those emails had caused her actual damage.  The

trial was not about whether Palin ever used personal e-mail for state

business while she was governor, but in testifying that she did not conduct

gubernatorial business that way, she may have committed perjury. 

In our third story tonight, will it matter?  Given that the multi-

million dollar enterprise that is Sarah Palin almost requires that truth be

trampled?  In summarizing Palin‘s testimony in Knoxville, Tennessee last

week, a reporter wrote simply “she denied using the personal e-mail account

to conduct gubernatorial business,” and quoting Palin‘s testimony, “we know

there was an attorney general‘s opinion one week prior and a lot of other

opinions in the state that of course it was proper for me to have a private


By the way, if you never used your personal e-mail for governmental

business, why get defensive about whether it was a proper thing to have

such an account?  Anyway, when asked that reporter, Jamie

Satterfield (ph), for clarification, the answer was this, “what she said

was the people at the governor‘s mansion sometimes sent her e-mails

relative to issues regarding the mansion and her children.  She denied

specifically diverting gubernatorial issues to the account.” 

But 3,000 pages worth of Palin‘s e-mails, released months ago from a

Freedom of Information Request from, contradict that.  Palin‘s

personal e-mail account—she actually had three of them—were replete

with examples of government business, like the state budget, or legislation

awaiting action, or discussion of government positions. 

But it all may become a footnote set against the reality of Citizen

Palin, as detailed by “New York Magazine.”  Over the past year, it writes,

“Palin amassed a 12 million dollar fortune and shows no sign of slowing

down.”  That includes her book and plans for a second one, her three

contributor deal with Fixed News, reportedly worth a million a year, and

her upcoming reality show—that‘s a brand name—with TLC. 

Let‘s turn now to “Washington Post” political reporter David Weigel. 

David, good evening. 


OLBERMANN:  So you‘ve now done your own reporting on the testimony in

this case by Palin and not the possible perjury issue.  What have you


WEIGEL:  You seem to be having a good night and I hate to wreck it for

you, but it just—we need to see the transcript, but it doesn‘t sound

like she actually trapped herself in anything here.  The defense attorney,

Wade Davies, was prohibited from taking this much further than the

questions about what—the e-mails that were sent, that were asked about

previously.  She stuck to saying that it was political e-mails, e-mails

about the governor‘s mansion. 

The e-mails that you were talking about didn‘t really come up.  So the

people I talked to inside the courtroom say maybe she could have fudged the

words a little bit less, but this doesn‘t seem to be a problem for her. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, that‘s—the correct answer is the one we‘re

looking for, not one that might just as a matter of theory please somebody

who was involved in the show, but as a practical matter, does it make any

difference about this industry that she‘s created for herself?  I mean, one

way or the other, whether this thing just fades into obscurity as soon as

we stop talking about it or there‘s something else to it, does it make any


WEIGEL:  Well, I wouldn‘t be surprised if this doesn‘t show up on her

Facebook feed at some point, if she doesn‘t accuse people of attacking her

based on a blog post on a site that attacks her.  It was a popular blog

post and it got people like me checking into it.  But it doesn‘t really

matter, because she—as you pointed out, she‘s doing very well for

herself.  She actually felt well enough at this trial to go back and do

something that she has not done before, which is meet a media scrum and

take questions. 

This was actually kind of a pivotal moment.  This is the kind of thing

we‘ve been waiting for months and months, more than a year.  She got

friendly questions from the press.  She batted them back.  She didn‘t wish

jail for the boy who broke into her e-mails.  But she thought the

punishment might be good if somebody did something bad. 

So she is comfortable with this story.  That‘s why some people think

she may have trapped herself, but it doesn‘t look like it. 

OLBERMANN:  The “New York Magazine” expose—others have reported on

how lucrative this post gubernatorial time has been.  And certainly

anything questionable, honesty or truth wise, doesn‘t necessarily end a

business career nor a political career.  But is Palin far more comfortable

and far more profitable as this, you know, imaginary president of right

wing America?  And how does that—do you have any assessment on how that

guides her decision on whether to run for the, you know, actual president? 

WEIGEL:  It‘s a much more fun job than being governor of Alaska.  The

piece we‘re talking about points out that she actually had the book deal,

the very lucrative seven million dollar book deal before she decided to

resign the governor‘s office.  It was just that she couldn‘t conduct this

national tour and serve as governor effectively.  That was the decision

that put her out of there. 

If you extrapolate that, there‘s a lot of things about running for

president that tie you down when you might want to go take a jet with a

couple of family members, give a speech for a lot of money, and then have a

nice expensive dinner in the city you‘re in.  That becomes more different. 

You have to eat lots of rubber chicken and appear in front of Republican

committees at the drop of a hate.  Gabe Sherman said she‘s winging it when

it comes to 2012 and that is an accurate, if not pejorative way of saying

it.  She‘s got a really good gig right now. 

OLBERMANN:  Dave Weigel of the “Washington Post,” thanks for checking

into it for us.  Thanks for your time tonight. 

WEIGEL:  Thank you. 

OLBERMANN:  Kind of a surprise out of Stephen Hawking.  If ET shows

up, he won‘t look like ET, he‘ll look more like these guys from “Mars

Attack.”  Boom!  Senator Chuck “Pull the Plug on Grandma” Grassley is

taking credit for health care reform.  Worst persons ahead. 

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, back to the racist

immigration law of Arizona, who wrote it and who was pushing for it? 


OLBERMANN:  If there are extraterrestrials, they‘re not coming here to

say hi; they‘re coming here to kill us and eat us, so says Stephen Hawking. 

Run away! That‘s next, but first, tonight‘s worst persons in the world. 

The bronze to Thai Spice Restaurant in Analain (ph), Australia. 

Staffers prevented Mr. Ian Jolly (ph) from entering the restaurant because

they believed his dog was gay.  I‘ll just repeat that.  Staffer prevented

Mr. Ian Jolly from entering the restaurant, because they believed his dog

was gay.  Even for Australia this was a little too homophobic.  The court

awarded Mr. Jolly 1,400 bucks American, and ordered Thai Spice to give him

a written apology, which is a bit of an inconvenience because Mr. Jolly is

blind.  Apparently the woman with Mr. Jolly as they tried to enter Thai

Spice told a waiter she wanted to bring a guide dog into the restaurant and

they heard gay dog. 

The restaurant‘s submission to the court actually reads as follows:

“the staff generally believe that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had

been de-sexed to become a gay dog.”  OK, just ignore that bit of illogic. 

Maybe the owners of the restaurant had seen the clip from the infamous news

blooper in 2002. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  After the break, we‘re going to interview Eric

Wigenmeyer (ph), who climbed the highest mountain in the world, Mt.

Everest, but he‘s gay—I mean he‘s gay—excuse me, he‘s blind. 


OLBERMANN:  No, he‘s a dog.

Runner up, the website, which, as Andrew

Sullivan discovered, purports to be unaffiliated with the actor, uber-

conservative, and, as his own brother calls him, head injury victim.  But

it is there to help pay off his bankruptcy claiming he‘s a modern day Job

and should be redeemed by token gifting.  “As the body of Christ, we are

the greatest force on Earth.  What if 10 percent of the 159 million

Christians in America gave a token gift?” 

Send your tokens to Stephen Baldwin.  There is this catechism of St.

Stephen of Baldwin on the website—question, I guess, “why does Stephen

need personal wealth?”  Answer, “Stephen‘s influence is in Hollywood. 

Hollywood worships money.  Without it, you‘re seen as a loser and cannot be

an effective influence to this group.”  He‘s seen as a loser right now. 

Speaking of websites, our winner, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa.  You

will recall he was the highest ranking Republican to go all nutsy over

health care reform. 


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY ®, IOWA:  We should not have a government

program that determines you‘re going to pull the plug on grandma. 


OLBERMANN:  Grassley is now boasting in a press release, and on his

site, “I worked successfully to improve Medicare payments to doctors in

rural states like Iowa and, in turn, access for beneficiaries as part of

the health care reform enacted this year.”  Chuck Grassley taking partial

credit for health care reform.  I wonder if the Tea Party knows about that. 

Senator Chuck “I Got Pull the Plug on Grandma Passed” Grassley, today‘s

worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN:  On February 4th, 2008, NASA beamed the song “Across the

Universe” by the Beatles towards the north star. 431 Billion light years

into deep space, in hopes that one day extraterrestrials would hear it and

reply.  Our number one story, British scientist Stephen Hawking says if we

keep sending out the Beatles, aliens may respond with Megadeth.  Not just

the hit “Peace Sells.” Derrick Pitts will join me before it‘s too late.

First, Dr. Hawkings‘ Discovery Channel documentary series is called

“Into the Universe.”  On last night‘s premiere, he said that the concept of

alien existence is perfectly rational.  He then described his own

conceptions of what intelligent life on other planets might look like, from

sea creatures swimming below the icy surface of Jupiter‘s moon Europa, to

floating aliens living in the atmosphere of a gas giant like Saturn,

billions and billions of miles—sorry, I went—I had a class with

Professor Sagan. 

Then there was the warning that human contact with alien life forms

could doom our own existence.  To quote Dr. Hawking, “if aliens visit us,

the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn‘t

turn out well for the Native Americans.”  It is because of that

hypothetical threat to our existence that Hawking calls contact with aliens

a little too risky. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It might sound unlikely, but if you think about it

logically, alien technology should be as extraordinary to us as a rocket

ship to a caveman. 

I imagine they might exist in massive ships like these.  Having used

up all the resources from the home planet below.  Such advanced aliens

would perhaps become nomads looking to conquer and colonize whatever

planets they could reach. 


OLBERMANN:  The program went on to suggest that our big blue marble

over here could fall victim to the aliens.  Today the Hawking as H.G. Wells

has been criticized by Mary Voitech (ph), senior scientist for astro-

biology at NASA telling “The Christian Science Monitor,” quoting her,

“we‘re not going to get caught, say like the Native-Americans when Columbus

came to their shores.  We‘ve been actively listening.  And hopefully we get

some information before any eventual encounter ever happens.” 

On that cheerful note, time for our own encounter with Derrick Pitts,

chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.  Good evening,



OLBERMANN:  I think that last observation from the scientist at NASA

is comforting.  If any of the SETI scanners, the Search for

Extraterrestrial Intelligence dishes—if they picked up the Death Star

moving towards us, we‘d get how much warning time during which we could end

all division on Earth and prepare for invasion? 

PITTS:  I really think, Keith, we have several hundred million years

before we really need to worry about that.  But just in case, I think we

need to get rid of all of the ketchup on the planet. 

OLBERMANN:  They‘re going to have to eat us without the ketchup.  Has

anybody ever, to your knowledge, either scientifically or in some semi

governmental way, contemplated the defense plan, other than the old duck-

and-cover thing, bend over, head between your knees and kiss your planet


PITTS:  As much as we know about aliens somewhere else in the galaxy

or the universe, we are much more concerned with the immediate problems we

have from some country across the border, rather than worrying about some

aliens coming here to eat us.  We figure that at least we‘ll have a few

million years‘ warning, so there‘s no need for us to become concerned about

that.  So I don‘t think there‘s any plan around, other than, you know, I‘ll

set up my insurance company, let me know what you need, I‘ll provide it. 


PITTS:  I‘m sorry. 

OLBERMANN:  Derrick Pitts will insure you against alien invasion.  Dr.

Hawking calls contact with aliens risky.  Are we confident we have not

already come into contact aliens and survived this?  You know, the Dennis

Rodman theory? 

PITTS:  The fact of the matter is we have no documentation whatsoever

of any kind of contact.  There‘s so much speculation, Keith, it‘s enough to

keep the movie industry and the book industry and science fiction going for

a very long time.  It‘s sort of great to play around with this idea, but

the only problem is that whenever you make these extraordinary claims, as

you heard Dr. Sagan say, you need extraordinary proof.  We have none of

that whatsoever. 

Then the other part is our signal going out into space.  We always

think that our signal is going to travel for hundreds of light-years, and

that the “I Love Lucy” programs are way out there some place.  In fact,

what happens is that signal deteriorates over time.  So our earliest radio

signals are already deteriorating beyond 60 light-years.  So if the aliens

aren‘t within that realm of maybe 100 light years, they‘re not going to

find us. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, to that last point about the traveling and

deterioration, Hawking said in the past, he thinks the only long-term

insurance survival guarantee for the species is to leave the planet.  Do

you agree with him and can I hitch a ride? 

PITTS:  I have a ship leaving next week, it will only cost you 20

million dollars. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, with insurance.  Do I get the insurance with


PITTS:  That comes with the package.  Sure.  And all the water you can


OLBERMANN:  Derrick Pitts of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia,

and the Derrick Pitts Interplanetary Insurance Fund. 

PITTS:  Thank you, sir. 

OLBERMANN:  An entrepreneur of Biblical proportions.  Thank you, sir.

That‘s COUNTDOWN for this the 2,552nd day since the previous president

declared mission accomplished in Iraq.  We‘ll be broadcasting tomorrow from

the planet Luna in the galaxy of Andromeda.  Good night and good luck. 




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