Guest: Ezra Klein, Jonathan Turley, Richard Justice, Markos Moulitsas, Mark Mardell
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you
be talking about tomorrow?
Faisal Shahzad is still talking. The Pakistani Taliban is still
talking, says they had nothing to do with him, not even money.
The Republicans still won‘t stop obstructing Obama‘s nomination for
key homeland security positions but Scott Brown and Joe Lieberman have
introduced a bill to strip the citizenship of anybody merely accused of
terrorism. How crazy is it? So crazy even John Boehner thinks it‘s crazy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: I don‘t know how you would
attempt to take their citizenship away. It‘d be pretty difficult under the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Jonathan Turley on Lieberman‘s bid to override the
Constitution. Ezra Klein on why the Republicans would still be blocking
homeland security appointments the week after an attempted attack.
Sports versus Arizona: Governor Brewer reveals her biggest fear,
“Urging Major League Baseball to take away next year‘s All-Star Game from
Phoenix is the wrong play,” she writes. “Boycotts are just more politics
and manipulation by out-of-state interests.” Well, aren‘t sports leagues
out-of-state interests, ma‘am?
Dick Cheney‘s Katrina: oil is now apparent on the islands off
Louisiana, the cataclysm still spewing 210,000 gallons of oil a day into
the Gulf. Fortunately, today, B.P. places its containment dome, meaning
the leak will only be spewing 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf.
Tea time: “The National Review” admits conservatives coined the phrase
“tea bag.” And for them, disastrous polling on the other key buzz words:
65 percent opposed to militias, 68 percent positive towards the word
And, the greatest election night ever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What the results mean for these men for Britain
and for you—using the best and sharpest graphics we‘ve ever had and the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Tonight, it appears Great Britain has elected nobody.
All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Britain‘s future hangs in the balance tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
It‘s hard to identify a value more essential to the American character
than the belief that one is innocent until proven guilty, that the accused
are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. And as the
terrorists seek to make us shed those things that make us American, today,
a handful of congressmen and senators proposed a law that would shed that
most American of values: the presumption of innocence until trial.
Our fifth story tonight: Senators Joe Lieberman and Scott Brown team
up to take your citizenship away so you can be denied due process if you
are accused—not even convicted—accused—not even of a crime—but
accused of associating with groups the government would call terrorists.
This, Senator Lieberman today is calling a response to the arrest of
American citizen Faisal Shahzad, a measure that would clear the way for
denying future Shahzads their rights as a citizen, thereby improving their
interrogation. This, as Attorney General Eric Holder testified today that
Shahzad is cooperating after the FBI advised him of his constitutional
rights and beforehand, under the public safety exception that allows
questioning about possible imminent threats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Without getting into too much
detail with regard to Shahzad, the questioning under the public safety
exception far exceeded the amount of time we had with Mr. Abdulmutallab.
As I said, with regard to Shahzad, really made use of that exception to
elicit a very substantial amount of information from him before the
decision was made to give him his Miranda warnings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: The president meeting with his national security team
today, preparing a detailed request for intelligence from Pakistan to
provide more information, “The Washington Post” reports. Pakistani
Interior Minister Rehman telling “Reuters” it is unlikely he thinks Shahzad
acted alone. Shahzad reportedly admitting to contacts with the Pakistani
Taliban—that group, however, now saying it had nothing to do with
Shahzad, not even paying him, which does not rule out their involvement in
the attack, especially if other Pakistani terrorist groups were involved as
Shahzad‘s cooperation, however, is not deterring Senators Lieberman
and Brown for unveiling their law for stripping citizenship, measures which
were not taken against other American citizens and groups who fought the
U.S. government, ranging from Timothy McVeighs, the Black Panthers, the
Confederacy, to the Hutaree militia; and giving this citizenship power to
those abroad to the secretary of state, said to be empowered under a 1940
law to revoke citizenships of those Americans who join foreign armies, but
now, potentially, empowered to decide whether Americans are affiliating
with groups she or some successor would decide are terrorists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: Under the Terrorist Expatriation
Act, the State Department would be able to revoke the citizenship of an
American who affiliates with a foreign terrorist organization or fights—
or who fights against our country. And foreign terrorist organizations, as
you‘re probably aware, are also designated, according to statute, by the
State Department. The same due process that applies to the existing
statute would apply to those whose citizenship is revoked under our
proposed amendment to the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: In other words, none.
The senator arguing his law would prevent future Shahzads from
returning to the country to attack us, apparently forgetting no one knew
about Shahzad‘s terrorist affiliations until after the bombing attempt.
The plan so blatantly unconstitutional, even House Republican Leader
John Boehner was less concerned about America‘s safety than he was about
the rights of the terrorists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: I‘ve not seen Senator Lieberman‘s legislation, but if
they‘re a U.S. citizen, until they‘re convicted of some crime, I don‘t—I
don‘t know how you would attempt to take their citizenship away. It‘d be
pretty difficult under the U.S. Constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Today, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand proposed more
common sense responses, like automating the no-fly list so manifests are
checked automatically, up to the minute, not every two hours or every 24 or
once in a while.
Senator Claire McCaskill told our next guest today that Democrats are
working on changing Senate procedures so that Republicans will no longer be
able to maintain secret holds—holds that let individual senators block
nominations unanimously as Republicans have and are still doing against
dozens of Obama nominees, including those for TSA chief and other top
homeland security slots.
As promised, let‘s turn to Ezra Klein, “Newsweek” columnist,
“Washington Post” policy writer and the author of the “Wonkbook”
Ezra, good evening.
EZRA KLEIN, NEWSWEEK: How are you?
OLBERMANN: Well, I‘d be happier if you can answer this for me. The
Senate cannot vote for pivotal national security nominees but they have
time, at leas two of the senators do, to let the government take away your
citizenship if you happen to be abroad?
KLEIN: The Senate tends to have a lot of time for security theater
and less time than one would like for actual security. So, the issue with
the nominations is they got 96 of these people, they‘re just cooling their
heels. They‘ve already gone through committee.
And it is just bogging down and insane Senate procedures that gum
everything up. They don‘t actually have to filibuster anyone, they just
promise to do it. At some point in the future, and even though they
wouldn‘t win the filibuster of it, it would take about a week. So, nobody
tries to move forward on these nominees.
As for this sort of thing, it‘s cheap posturing. It‘s easy. You get
headline. You get on the front pages of things and get to sort of stand up
and seem like you‘re tough without actually solving any of the relevant
problems that led to the dangers of this car bomber.
OLBERMANN: The Lieberman/Brown bill specifically—is there any
national security benefit in there? Let‘s—retroactively applying it to
Shahzad, obviously, there wouldn‘t be. Is there something where there
KLEIN: There is no case that I can think of—that I can imagine
that I‘ve heard anybody else pose in which taking away somebody‘s
citizenship before conviction is somehow going to prevent their attempt to
attack America. And I think this is important because you can go in the
other direction here.
This does take away a lot of people‘s freedoms and a lot of people‘s
security. That when you give people the—when you give the government—
and I think folks on the right of the country should agree with this—
when you give governments too much power to abrogate individual freedom,
they will use it. Maybe not this government and maybe not the next
government, but these things sit on the books until somebody decides to use
them in the wrong way. And then we wish they weren‘t there on the first
So, there is a real danger to doing these sorts of things in a hasty
and uninformed way.
OLBERMANN: And, particularly, in this case because we saw what Mr.
Boehner said about this—which seemed to be, you know, made from a strict
constitutionalist‘s point of view, something that I personally would agree
with. And yet, we have those quotes somewhat unbelievable from Speaker
Pelosi, who says you have to be very careful about this. But she likes the
spirit of this bill, although she‘s not sure what would trigger it.
I mean, is she going to have to spend tomorrow walking that back to a
position where she‘s less to the right of John Boehner?
KLEIN: I haven‘t seen the quote. It is hard for me to believe
anybody agreeing with the spirit of this. I mean, the spirit of this is
fundamentally in violation of very, very basic American freedoms. I mean,
this is not—this is not even a policy question, right?
We‘ve been on the show. We‘ve talked about health care reform and
financial regulation. This is not a CBO question. This is about things
that are in our Constitution. They are about the most basic things that we
guarantee ourselves as a country.
And to allow one failed terrorist to take that away from us is to
grant him such an enormous victory for no reason that it frankly boggles
OLBERMANN: And back to—to close this out with the blocks against
these TSA and other nominees—what is the—is there a practical
solution? Is there an immediate solution of that? Do we have to get to a
constitutional amendment or what?
KLEIN: No, you wouldn‘t need a constitutional amendment. You need a
better rule. I spoke with Senator Durbin today, and, you know, the
Democrats passed a rule to deal with secret holds and Republicans voted for
it, and it turns out people are just pretty much ignoring it. And I said
to Durbin, I said, why? And he said, well, you can‘t throw them in jail
and I guess you also can‘t take away their citizenship for ignoring it.
But the Senate makes its rules. It can change its rules. And
Republicans should want to join in this because Democrats will do it to
But just one very quick important thing here—the secret hold,
Democrats are using that it‘s because clearly sort of objectionable and
unprincipled. But even if you have normal holds, you‘ll have the same
problem. The Senate shouldn‘t be confirming this many nominees. It‘s
nuts. They don‘t need to confirm our, you know, deputy trade
representative to Canada.
And, on the other hand, people should be letting these nominees
through. You know, we need a working government. It is frankly a matter
of national security.
OLBERMANN: Isn‘t there a sergeant at arms? Isn‘t there somebody that
can still put these people in prison?
Ezra Klein of “Newsweek” and “The Washington Post” and “Wonkbook” --
great thanks for your time.
KLEIN: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Let‘s turn to Jonathan Turley, professor of constitutional
law at George Washington University Law School.
Jon, good evening.
JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: I doubt I‘ll ever ask you a question that starts this way
again—but do you agree with me and Minority Leader Boehner?
TURLEY: Yes, I do. In fact, it‘s difficult even with the criminal
conviction in a case called Afroyim, the more prominent cased called Vance
-- the Supreme Court was very strict on what constitutes expatriating acts,
that is you still have to prove an intent behind the acts to relinquish
your citizenship. So, it‘s difficult even with the conviction.
But I think that—I think Boehner and others have shown that this is
a test of conscious and principle. It‘s a test that so many failed during
the McCarthy period and ultimately staying not just their individual legacy
but their collective legacy.
OLBERMANN: Senator Lieberman, though, took great pains to point that
in his assessment, this law would merely expand existing categories for the
revocation of citizenship that—categories that were essentially
established by this 1940 law and upheld by the Supreme Court. Is he right
to any degree or is he—is he leaving out some details?
TURLEY: No, he‘s not right. Section 1481 is what he‘s referring to,
which lists a series of expatriating acts that you can use—the burden is
on the government—to say that in committing these acts, the person
clearly showed an intend to relinquish citizenship. But those acts are
things like bearing arms against the United States, of joining a hostile
army. Those can be proven fairly directly.
What he‘s doing is saying that giving material support to an
organization is enough to strip you of your citizenship. Now, that
“material support” term which he has also supported under the criminal code
is very controversial. It has been used and criticized in courts. Judges
have criticized it as being almost without limitation, that anything can
constitute material support.
So you can have an agency here simply—first of all, defining an
organization as a terrorist organization under an agency process, not under
TURLEY: And then defining you as giving material support to that
organization. It‘s hopelessly ambiguous and it lacks many of the
protections that you have in criminal process.
OLBERMANN: And let‘s say for a moment that it did not have all those
flaws and was enacted. Would it not then be a quick step to taking away
somebody‘s citizenship while they were not overseas—go retroactively and
say, well, Timothy McVeigh should not have citizenship after we caught him
essentially red-handed blowing up the Murrah Building?
TURLEY: Well, that‘s right. The possibility of abuse here and
mischief is so obvious and it‘s quite frightening. I mean, it allows the
government to start defining organization as terrorist organizations,
allows the government to define you as giving material support. I‘m a
little bit chagrinned to see so many conservatives who seem to be eager to
give that power to Hillary Clinton.
TURLEY: So, we seem to be living in a parallel universe.
OLBERMANN: I think I know what you‘re going to say to this last one,
but let me ask it any way. Senator Lieberman also made what sounds at
least, maybe sophistry of it, but it sounds like a coherent argument, that
if this president can claim the power which he reportedly has to kill U.S.
citizens who have not been convicted of terrorism, then why should it be
controversial to just take citizenship away?
TURLEY: Yes. You know, this actually is an ignoble moment that
belongs to the White House. I—many of us do not agree the president can
kill American citizens on these types of strikes, when they‘re not engaged
in an act of—in act of terrorism. But it shows where that type of moral
relativism and legal relativism takes you. Basically what Lieberman is
saying is if I could kill—if the United States government can kill
someone, then everything‘s a lesser included in the greater.
Well, that logic would mean can you do anything short of death. You
can hang people on meat hooks. You could torture them. Unfortunately, in
that latter category, we‘ve done precisely that. And so, it is a ludicrous
argument but it is made somehow plausible but this administration‘s flawed
OLBERMANN: Yes. And somewhere along the line, when they shut the
gravity off for Joe Lieberman after 9/11 as well.
Jonathan Turley, kind enough to join us on this, his birthday—great
thanks, Jon and happy birthday.
TURLEY: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Back to states trying to override the Constitution—the
governor of Arizona all but admitting in as many words today that her
greatest far after she signed the “show us your papers” law backlash from
professional sports. Will she face it? Next.
OLBERMANN: Oops. Here‘s one governor who evidently didn‘t think
there‘d be any blow back to making racial profiling the law from the sports
league filled with Latino athletes. Arizona‘s desperate bid to keep the
baseball all-star game.
Here‘s another governor who thought it was fine to mock federal money
spent on state disasters—as long as it wasn‘t his state nor his
disaster. Markos Moulitsas on the red badge of hypocrisy.
I got a happy face day for Lonesome Rhodes, polling on the word
“progressive,” more than two-thirds of the country approves the word
And what if they held an election and nobody won? The apparent
outcome tonight in England—the term is “hung parliament” but the latest
news, the incumbent is now talking about staying on and forming a coalition
government. And “hung parliament” has nothing to do with him.
OLBERMANN: After reading the ESPN.com editorial written by Arizona
Governor Jan brewer, two things are apparent. One, she is deathly afraid
that Major League Baseball will pull its 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix.
And, two, she needs to work on her sports metaphors: “Essentially, our
border leaks like a team to the last-place defense.”
In our fourth story: the governor responsible for the “show us your
papers” law is worried about a repeat of her state‘s Martin Luther King Day
Super Bowl fiasco. And she should be. Last night in Phoenix, after
appearing on this program, Reverend Al Sharpton led a protest march at the
U.S. Airways Arena where the Suns, deliberately wearing their “Los Suns”
jerseys on Cinco de Mayo, defeated the San Antonio Spurs.
That jersey gesture upset ex-sportscaster-turned-McCain primary
challenger, J.D. Hayworth, who criticized the owner, Robert Sarver, and
called on Suns G.M., Steve Kerr, to apologize for his Nazi comparison to
the Arizona papers law.
Over on ESPN.com, Governor Brewer was making the case to sports fans
that boycotts only hurt, reading from her editorial, “Urging Major League
Baseball to take away next year‘s All-Star Game from Phoenix is the wrong
play. History shows boycotts backfire and harm innocent people. Boycotts
are just more politics and manipulation by out-of-state interests.”
Of course, the all-star game is played by out of state teams and
players featuring many out-of-country players.
And as to the history of sports boycotts, the governor was a state
senator in 1990 when the National Football League threatened to move the
1993 Super Bowl out of Tempe, Arizona, if the state did not approve the
otherwise national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. The King
Holiday referendum was voted down. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue took
the game away from Tempe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL TAGLIABUE, FMR. NFL COMMISSIONER: I felt and I know that it‘s
shared by a lot of the owners that there was a very negative and divisive
message in that vote, rejecting the holiday, and we didn‘t think it‘s
appropriate to play the game in those circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: The referendum was voted on again in 1992 and it passed.
The NFL later awarded the 1996 Super Bowl to Tempe, Arizona.
We‘re joined by Richard Justice, sports columnist with “The Houston
Good to talk you again, Richard.
RICHARD JUSTICE, HOUSTON CHRONICLE: Hey, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Should Governor Brewer worry about that Super Bowl
incident and a possible repetition with the baseball all-star game next
JUSTICE: Well, she should worry. But at this point, she‘s going to
dodge a bullet on this. I think, right now as we speak, Bud Selig does not
plan to move the 2011 all-star game out of there, and I think the reason
is, he feels like the people who voted for the law won‘t be the ones that
hurt—will be heard, who be heard. The ball club will be heard, he‘s
worked closely with that, the restaurant owners, the hotel owners, and all
And I also feel Bud Selig thinks he has some equity on this issue.
Baseball has a very good record under him of putting minorities and women
into position of responsibility in the game, and trying to bring inner city
baseball back to this country. And I think he feels like he can withstand
On the other hand, Keith, he as many times told you and he‘s told me
baseball—he sees baseball as a social institution. So, he is going to
be lobbied both ways on this.
OLBERMANN: And what if he is lobbied? To what degree would he need
to be lobbied by a combination of players who just say, “I won‘t go,”
whether they‘re Hispanic players or otherwise, or owners who say it is
inappropriate for us to convene there under these circumstances?
JUSTICE: Yes. You know, as you know, one of his heroes is Lyndon
Johnson, the legislator, who ruled through consensus in a lot of ways and
that‘s the way he has ruled. And I think what he‘ll try to do is explain,
A, B, C, D—here‘s what I‘m thinking, here‘s why—he‘s been very good
at getting what he wants in the past.
And I think that‘s what he‘ll do again, on, you know, what could
happen, though. I mean, if you and I could name a group of people, if
Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker and Derek Jeter go the same
as the commissioner, we‘re not playing in this all-star game, it would be a
very tough call. But I think he believes his power of persuasion and his
credibility on the issue of racial fairness will hold sway on this.
OLBERMANN: Throwing another name there that might have a more
dramatic effect, it would be Alex Rodriguez, but I‘m not holding my breath
And there‘s another thing about players and a boycott, and I‘m
wondering if this has already unintentionally part of the calculus. The
chilling effect that has been predicted of this, I‘m wondering if it‘s
already happened. Ozzie Guillen, manager of the White Sox, we both know,
Venezuelan-born, never met a controversy he didn‘t like, shoots—doesn‘t
even shoot from the hip, shoots from somewhere closer to himself than the
hip, when this passed he said, “I‘m not going to the all-star game next
year in Phoenix.”
Next day I saw him on the field and I asked, “If you win the American
League Pennant and become the manager of the American-league all star team,
you won‘t go?” And he says, “No, I‘ll go. I just go—I won‘t go if I‘m
a coach. If I have the option not to go, I‘m not going to go.” And he
said, “And the players, Hispanic players should go too because we are here
in this country to work.”
And it seems to me that might be the one problem with getting any kind
of groundswell among Hispanic players, the ones from other countries who
are already at this point afraid to make waves. Do you sense that too?
JUSTICE: Yes. And there‘s so much assimilation to the culture, to our
way of life here that players have to go through. When Richard Hidalgo was
a young Minor leaguer in the Astro system, he ordered a meal in a
restaurant in Florida one time, and the waitress laughed at him. He didn‘t
go back to a restaurant for two years. He cooked his meal in his
So—and many players follow parallel courses to that. And so, to go
from that point where you‘re trying to order a hamburger to being a social
commentator, a player‘s not comfortable doing that. Very few are.
OLBERMANN: In other sports figure in any other sport that could put
some teeth into a boycott against Arizona?
JUSTICE: I think it would have to be a group of players and I think
it would have to be—begin with players on a personal level with Bud
Selig, which is the way he operates. And just say, hey, we can‘t do this,
Commissioner. This is not what we stand for.
And I think—and I think he agrees with them, but I believe he
thinks he‘s leaning now toward playing the game and withstand being the
OLBERMANN: Richard Justice of “The Houston Chronicle”—it‘s always
a pleasure, my friend, even under these circumstances. Thank you kindly.
JUSTICE: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: An election with everything you could ever want—
excitement, lead changes in the late polls among three different
candidates, a prime minister who intends to stay on perhaps even with a
minority or perhaps a coalition government, charges of voters being denied
the vote at the last minute, animations of the leaders wrestling each other
everything you could ever want except a clear winner. Decision 2010
OLBERMANN: Federal spending on disaster prevention was laughable to
Bobby Jindal, then B.P. started to disaster all over his state.
First, the Tweets of the Day. The bronze from TheGarfoose, that would
be my friend Dirk Hayhurst; “In the future, I‘ll have your talking brain
jar on my talking brain jar‘s TV show as a guest. It will be huge for
Dirk‘s gone a little nuts lately because he can‘t pitch because he
hurt his arm and because I haven‘t plugged his magnificent book about his
baseball career, “Bullpen Gospels.” It‘s in the fifth week on the
bestseller list of “The New York Times.” They‘ve just ordered a sixth
printing. Father‘s Day is coming up.
Runner up from ScottMKaiser: “If they‘re always crying, ‘Wolf,‘ then
why are they called ‘Fox‘ News?” Because they think that‘s a clever
But our winner from whatev007: “All that was missing from the bungled
NYC car bomb was Tom Bergeron play by play.”
How becalming it is to make an “America‘s Funniest Home Videos” joke about
a failed terrorist attack.
Let‘s play “Oddball.”
OLBERMANN: White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, hello! White Sands
Missile Range, New Mexico, hello? Where NASA engineers tested the new
Orion crew capsule and away she goes. No actual people on the flight meant
to test the launch abort system, emergency separation appeared to be a
success and the parachutes deployed.
The Orion capsule was originally used to send astronauts to the moon.
A new proposal is to use it to send astronauts to International Space
Station so we‘re not always hitching with the Russian space pedicab.
To Kalapana, Hawaii, where molten lava continues to creep along the
big island. The lava has crossed and is basically repaving Highway 130.
It should be noted that shutting down one highway is nothing compared to
shutting down air traffic for about half the globe. Hello, Iceland.
Families living the Hawaiian lava flow were nervous about possible brush
fires. But authorities say there‘s no threat to subdivisions right now.
The molten stream has attracted tourists and when it reaches the ocean
it is expected to slowly expand the surface area of the island. And, you
know, Hawaii can never get enough beach front property.
And Louisiana can seemingly never keep safe its beach front property
or something like it, from manmade disasters like levees that fail and
unregulated oil rig that‘s burst. And now, the governor there wants to do
something about it. Now he does.
OLBERMANN: Four story high, 100-ton containment dome will soon be
lowered over the oil spill, Dick Cheney‘s Katrina. Chances of success,
In our third story tonight: What metaphorical containment dome can
possibly stem the tide of political hypocrisy ebbing from the governor of
Louisiana. This particular to stop the underwater gushing well has never
been tried before. We‘re now talking about the actual thing, and not the
But the 100-ton concrete and steel box was moved in position today to
be lowered a mile under the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. An executive
from B.P. says the containment structure will be placed over the leak site
late this evening. The goal is to cover the largest of the three leaks, a
dome-like top of the containment box acting like a funnel to siphon the oil
up to a tanker at the surface. If it‘s successful, the system could
collect as much as 85 percent of the 210,000 gallons of oil spewing from
the blown-out well.
But no matter what, the immediate damage from the oil rig explosion as
well as the ripple effect on the local economy is not nearly close to final
score. And oil has now reached an island formation off the Louisiana
coast, the Chandeleur Islands.
The governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, visited Grand Isle this
morning to assess the needs of local officials there. The Republican
governor has, so far, asked federal aid several times in relation to this
spill, including a request for “a federal funds should B.P. fall short of
meeting the needs of our people, a request for federal unemployment
benefits funding to help pay for disaster-related workforce training and
job placement services and unemployment benefit services for workers
displaced as a result of the oil spill, a request to the Small Business
Administration to approve more loans for to small business owners, a
request to the Department of Commerce for a declaration of a ‘commercial
fishery‘s failure‘ so that more government assistance may flow.”
The governor is saying, quote, “I want to reiterate again—this
spill fundamentally threatens our way of life in Louisiana.”
This is the same governor who decried the stimulus package which was
meant to help lessen the most painful aspects of the worst recession since
the Great Depression. It is the same governor who mocked stimulus money
for the monitoring of volcanoes that could create crises of near or equal
proportions in other states.
Of course, Jindal posed with stimulus check that reached local
communities in his state, despite his rhetorical protestations.
Whether Congress will consider special funding on top of B.P.‘s
liability recently addressed by Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey.
Quoting him, “Well, you know, hear we go. You know, the governor of
Louisiana says the federal government should stay out of the state‘s
Let‘s bring in the founder and publisher of “Daily Kos,” Markos
MARKOS MOULITSAS, DAILYKOS.COM: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The great recession destroyed the economy essentially,
every state in the Union. Governor Jindal fretted about government aid
especially for, you know, the monitoring of the—would warn of things, of
disasters like volcanoes. The big spill threatens to wreck the economy in
his state and all of a sudden, he is all over every way he can find to ask
for government aid.
Do I have it about right?
MOULITSAS: It sounds about right. Yes. No—I mean, it‘s not even
about Louisiana. I mean, there are a lot of people in Louisiana that could
obviously benefit from that stimulus funding. But Bobby Jindal thought
that it would be a good, easy way to score points against Obama and
position himself for his 2012 presidential run. Suddenly, though, I think
that people that sort of—that he know that are directly related to him,
and he himself are being directly impacted by this disaster, not just
politically but I think personally.
And while they may think, well, people who get stimulus funding,
they‘re not going to vote Republican, I don‘t care about those people, I‘d
rather score political points of them, in this case, it‘s about him. And
suddenly since it‘s about him, he cares. I just wish that he would have
had that kind of empathy for the rest of not just Louisiana but the rest of
America that has also suffered because of cataclysmic economic collapse.
OLBERMANN: The argument that people in this situation always try to
make to sort of retrofit over their sort of blinkered view of just their
own what‘s right in front of them—well, the money‘s going to go out, it
already exists, we would be derelict not to ask for that government aid.
But in the case of the Gulf, Congress hasn‘t allocated the funds yet that
would exceed B.P. liability and there is more interest now in raising that
B.P. liability limit past the current cap of $75 million if there‘s some
way to do that.
So, is Jindal essentially asking for special government aid above what
another state would get in this situation, is he not?
MOULITSAS: Yes. He‘s essentially asking for a bailout of his state.
I mean, he‘s realizing that the state now faces a cataclysmic disaster.
They cannot pay for it. They can‘t handle it.
And the federal government exists for a reason. There‘s a reason that
people like me and you have always advocated for the role of the federal
government in helping those in need. And I think Bobby Jindal is starting
to realize that the mighty state rights crowd doesn‘t have the answers when
they‘re actually hit by real crisis. They now need the federal government.
And, again, I wish that they would have this kind of empathy for the
rest of the country because there are times that it‘s right for the federal
government to come in and lend a hand, because only the federal government
has the resources to make that happen.
OLBERMANN: Well, with all of this convenient on and off of Governor
Jindal‘s recognition of that, nonetheless, is the main political thread
when this story is resolved, separate and above the damage and the effect
on people‘s lives, but the political end of this: is the main part of that
going to be guess what—another big company screwed us and the government
sort of enabled this?
MOULITSAS: Well, there‘s—that‘s definitely part of it. I mean,
there‘s no doubt about it. And I think we cannot forget the fact that the
Bush administration did help enable this. Politicians in Louisiana helped
I mean, this is sort of the whole political establishment in Louisiana
is bought and paid for by the energy industry, Democrats, Republicans
alike, to the point where many of them are still calling for expanded
drilling offshore. They‘re not learning from this tragedy and from this
disaster. So, clearly, this is a—it would be, in a rational world, a
lesson to be learned and it would sort of spur lawmakers to focus more on
renewable sorts of energy that are clean and are green.
But, you know, D.C. works differently. They‘ve been marched to a
OLBERMANN: Drill, baby, drill. Markos Moulitsas of the “Daily Kos” -
always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.
MOULITSAS: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: The most exciting election ever. Well, it‘s certainly had
the most exciting animations ever. And one of them pulled the tire iron
later on. But what the United Kingdom seems to lack tonight is a winner.
The great admission from the conservative “National Review,” it was
the tea bag crowd which invented the verb “to tea bag.” “Tea Time”—
OLBERMANN: “Worsts” and the referee stood over the dead player and
accused him of faking it—unless he didn‘t.
First, no, that is not your water coming to a boil, it‘s our nightly
check-up on the something for nothing crowd—it‘s “Tea Time.”
A hint of desperation is beginning to sink in. Once the president
made a passing reference to tea baggers and in response the group made a
major strategic mistake, reminded everybody just who introduced the term
Even the “National Review Online” admitted, quote, “The first big day
for this movement was Tax Day, April 15th, and organizers had a gimmick.
They asked people to send a tea bag to the Oval Office. One of the
exhortations was ‘tea bag‘ the fools in D.C. A protester was spotted with
a sign saying, ‘tea bag the liberal Dems before they tea bag you.‘ So,
conservatives started it, started with this terminology.”
But this reference has not led the group to, you know, swallow their
tongues about their incessantly phony outrage over the term. It‘s led a
T.P. supporter Melissa Couturier (ph) to describe the president as a
flaming hypocrite. And just in case anybody missed the point, to
illustrate her web post with an animated version of the act from which the
tea baggers drew their nickname. Way to show the president what decorum
We‘re beginning to see some results of this. Pew Research has asked
Americans of all parties to say whether they respond negatively or
positively the keywords in the news. Militia: 65 percent negative.
Libertarianism: 38 percent positive, 37 percent negative. Civil liberties:
76 percent positive. Civil rights: 87 percent positive.
And best of all, progressive. Progressive: 68 percent positive
response to the word progressive, just 23 percent negative. Glenn Beck
just started weeping—again.
Conclusion? Barely a month ago, Gallup polled voters‘ enthusiasm to
the upcoming midterms: 54 percent of Republicans said they were, quote,
“very enthusiastic” about the midterms and voting in them; only 35 percent
of Democrats were.
Today? Oops. Only 43 percent of Republicans are still such.
Democrats relatively unchanged at 33 percent.
Thus, Republicans—ask not for whom the tea bags, it bags for thee.
OLBERMANN: Most exciting election ever—how the British are
assessing the vote in which the usual trivial third party, the liberal
democrats, could wind up with power or even wind up changing the nature of
the electoral system there. That‘s next.
But, first, tonight‘s “Worsts Persons in the World.” Worst coming up
on Twitter in the moment.
The bronze to Walter Fitzpatrick and Darren Huff. Fitzpatrick was
arrested April 1st, when he walked into a county courthouse in
Madisonville, Tennessee, and told the foreman of the grand jury there,
quote, “I‘m charging you with official misconduct. I‘m placing you under
arrest. You must now come with me.”
Former Navy commander, Fitzpatrick‘s, unjustified citizen‘s arrest led
to his arrest. That led Huff, another ex-naval officer, from Georgia to
Tennessee to try to rescue Fitzpatrick. He had a handgun and AK-47 with
What‘s this all about? Fitzpatrick is the head of a group trying to
get a grand jury somewhere to indict the president for treason on the
supposed grounds that he‘s supposedly not a citizen of this country.
We‘re putting laws on the books allowing police to arrest law-abiding
foreign born citizens while we are stuck with these native born
The runner up: Samuel Wurzelbacher, good old Joe the unlicensed
plumber. He won a seat this week on the Republican committee in his county
in Ohio. As for higher office, quote, “I have a 14-year-old son I want to
spend as much time with possible,” he said. “Once he‘s gone to college,
I‘m going to sit down and talk to God.” About? “I pray that he doesn‘t
want me to run for office.”
For the first time ever, Mr. Wurzelbacher‘s mind and prayers coincide.
One of my additional ones ends with this result in 2014. Hi, this is God.
I can‘t come to the phone right now. Please leave a message after the
But our winner, it‘s not clear yet whoever is really wrong with this,
we‘ll start with the site most links trace back to, the “Croatian Times.”
By now, you‘ve heard about this Croatian soccer player Goran Tunjic of
Mladost FC from the city of Vlademish (ph) in Slovenia. He collapsed to
turf and the referee gave him a yellow card, a penalty for faking injury,
except the 32-year-old Tunjic was not faking it, he had a heart attack and
died as the referee penalized him.
We went searching for the name of this idiot referee and that‘s when
it turned out tonight that another Croatian sports Web site called “Net
(ph)” reports the whole thing is a fake. Sadly, Mr. Tunjic is dead, but
the “Net” site reports the reason nobody has the name of the ref who carded
him is that the incident did not happen. Upon his collapse, away from
play, the referees and everybody else on the field rushed to Tunjic‘s aid
and tried to save him.
So, we‘ll fix specific blame later if we can. For now, the “Croatian
Times” and all those who went with this tale, they are today‘s “Worst
Persons in the World.”
OLBERMANN: It is called a “hung parliament” and it has not happened
in Great Britain since 1974. This hour, we know that Great Britain‘s
political map has been redrawn, we just don‘t know how, nor when we might
Our number one story on the COUNTDOWN: The British hold an election
and choose—all of the above?
The potential constitutional crisis, one that has the British
newspaper, “The Guardian” predicting our very own Florida 2000. Good luck.
Fifty thousand polling stations, 44 million registered voters, and a
new and energized electorate—increasing reports tonight of some polling
stations, as shown here, closing while hundreds of voters were still in
Britain‘s electoral chief says legal challenges are possible. Now,
Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he is very concerned about the poll
station situation and would support a thorough investigation—all to
decide which party or parties will control parliament and which candidate
will get to reside at 10 Downing Street—current P.M. Brown of the Labour
Party, Conservative leader David Cameron or the liberal democrat, the
outsider suddenly on the inside, Nick Clegg.
The nation‘s exit poll consortium predicting Mr. Cameron‘s
Conservative Party would win the most seats. They drop that number to 305
now, but would fail to reach the magic number of 326 needed to secure an
Mr. Brown‘s Labour Party scoring 255, according to the exit poll, the
Lib Dems at 61 and other parties at 29.
The result would be a hung parliament in which no party had the
majority. That could lead to several possibilities.
“Reuters” reporting a source that says Mr. Brown would try to form a
coalition government with the liberal democrats and the very minor parties
or the Conservatives could form a minority government or the Conservatives
could even try to do a deal with the Lib Dems.
After 13 years of Labour Party rule, Mr. Cameron is already calling
the pending results a decisive rejection of the party and the politics of
Mr. Brown. The month-long campaign had the British media calling it the
most exciting election ever, complete with an embarrassing scandal in which
a hot microphone caught the prime minister calling a Labour supporter a,
quote, “bigoted woman.”
The emergence of a viable third party candidate, Mr. Clegg, was also
an outstanding feature this. And a first in British political history—
three televised debates. There‘s no going back after you start that.
Joining me now, the North America editor for BBC News, Mark Mardell.
Mr. Mardell, thanks for your time tonight.
MARK MARDELL, BBC NEWS: Good to be with you.
OLBERMANN: Having been watching the coverage all day, it seems to me
that the only thing the experts seem to agree on that the exit polls have
to be wrong. Are they right about that or is that just a fervent wish that
this does not end up in some unfathomable political situation?
MARDELL: We‘re absolutely not used to this situation. We‘re used by
now to knowing who our next prime minister or who the prime minister is
going to be. The exit polls, as you rightly say, point towards great
uncertainty—none of the parties being able to govern on their own. That
is a very difficult situation.
But what‘s really weird is when you look at the individual seats that
are coming in. You look at the swing from Labour to Conservative, it‘s
pretty huge, and that would suggest that the Conservatives could win quite
a hefty victory in the end. We just don‘t know what to believe. Whether
to believe the exit polls or the swing, or maybe there‘s some other third
OLBERMANN: And what is the process? What is—what is the etiquette
of this? If nobody achieves the 326 seats in parliament, does Mr. Brown
get the first shot at forming a coalition? Is that the way it works?
MARDELL: Yes, it is. That‘s the way it works. Politicians being
politicians are bickering, but the one thing they agree on is that Britain
needs a stable government and a stable government soon. But because they
all say, well, I‘m the one to provide that, so, Gordon Brown, because he is
the prime minister, or at least the Labour Party, gets the first shot. Can
they get together enough people from other parties to form a government?
If they fail, then it‘s the conservatives‘ turn.
Can they form a coalition government? If that fails, well then the
conservatives have a minority government which is, again, really awkward
because what it means is that at any time, they can come forward with a
piece of legislation, a budget, and it could be voted down. And then that
could lead to a vote of confidence.
And guess what? If they lose that, there‘s another election.
OLBERMANN: So, if Mr. Brown does what would be the natural in terms
of political orientation and tries to make a deal with the Lib Dems and got
all of them, he would have—if the exit polling is correct, he‘d have
316, he‘d still be 10 shy and suddenly 10 of these really small party
members would be the most important people in the country?
MARDELL: Yes. That‘s right. And—you could see because there are
national regional parties like Plaid Cymru in Wales and SNP in Scotland,
they are basically social democratic parties, they have the same
fundamental beliefs but with a national twist as the Labour Party. I mean,
they might argue with me on that but they‘re not conservatives.
So, you could see that quite naturally forming a deal. But the Lib
Dems, the liberal democrats—it‘s not an insult in Britain—it‘s a
party, does have a very big price which is changing the whole way that
MARDELL: The moment it‘s first past the post, as we call it. The
first horse across wins, that‘s it. That‘s your M.P. They won‘t able to
reflect the percentage of people, the vote in the country. And that would
blow the whole thing open, give them far more members of parliament. Not
only them, but it would give these other parties and perhaps that brings
the environmentalist, perhaps the far-right anti-immigration parties, more
seats and I think it would change the whole environment that we would get
used to having what is common, say, in Israel or Europe where nearly all
government is a coalition government.
OLBERMANN: So, you‘d be voting at the polls not for essentially your
own member of parliament, you‘d be voting for the party. But here‘s the
last question, after everything must be made relevant to the United States
what difference in the relationship between Great Britain and the United
States is likely pending this outcome, or is it a significant difference
one way or the other?
MARDELL: You know, we all like to remember Ronnie and Maggie or Blair
and Bush and think that the personal relationship is important and I guess
it is in some ways. But I‘ve just come from a British embassy party where
we‘re playing our BBC output of the election.
The number of people in uniforms from both countries tells you have
the story. The real relationship is about defense and it‘s about
intelligence and I think that would remain firm no matter who is in power
because they‘ve all got fundamentally pretty of the same policies,
certainly the Conservatives and Labour have very much the same policies.
Where the administration will be a little bit wary of the Conservatives is
perhaps their European policy. Already they‘ve had to reassure them they
are keen on the European Union.
OLBERMANN: We‘ll see if it‘s Barack, Gordon and Nick.
Mark Mardell of the BBC—great thanks to your time tonight. Back to
the party with you. Thank you, sir.
OLBERMANN: That‘s COUNTDOWN for this, the 2,562nd day since the
previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I‘m Keith
Olbermann, good night and good luck.
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