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

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, May 20th 2010

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Rep. James Clyburn, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Erich Pica

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

be talking about tomorrow?

The Republicans begin to rue Paul.  Their new Senate nominee from

Kentucky begins to implode on day one on Rachel‘s show.  The landmark Civil

Rights Act of 1964?  It needed modification.



titles, you know, to the Civil Rights Act, and nine out of 10 deal with

public institutions, and I‘m absolutely in favor of.  One deals with

private institutions and had I been around, I would have tried to modify



OLBERMANN:  After that, the deluge.  Our guest tonight: Congressman

Jim Clyburn.


REP. JIM CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA:  This is absolutely appalling.


OLBERMANN:  After that, begins the desperate walk back.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR:  If you had been a member of the Senate or

House back in 1964, would you have voted yea or nay for the Civil Rights


PAUL:  Yes.  I would have voted yes.


OLBERMANN:  And Dr. Paul‘s new problem tonight—in 2002, he wrote a

letter to the editor opposing the Fair Housing Act.  “A free society will

abide unofficial, private discrimination—even when that means s allowing

hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin.” 

Good-bye, Dr. Paul.

And bye-bye at the DNI—Director of National Intelligence Blair is


Leaving the cloture vote in the dust—the Senate will be able to

vote on reforming big banking.  But will the bill do enough?  Our special

guest, Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington.

Yesterday, geometry for presidential assassins in a Birmingham

classroom.  Today, burning Obama in effigy in a Wisconsin barroom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Obama‘s made of plastic.


OLBERMANN:  And one month to the day since the disaster at Deepwater

Horizon.  You can‘t stop the leaking, nobody can stop the leaking.  And

still, we are asking the criminals to stop the bleeding they caused.


KEN SALAZAR, INTERIOR SECRETARY:  B.P. is moving forward.  They‘re the

responsible party.  We have our boot on their neck to make sure they get

the job done.


OLBERMANN:  All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.



OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

Only 48 hours ago, right-wing Republicans were hailing an eye

surgeon‘s victory in Kentucky‘s GOP Senate primary as, quote, “part of an

American awakening that is taking place across the country.”  Those are the

words from Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

But in our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: Now that their tea party

candidate has reiterated his long-held position that U.S. businesses should

have the right to discriminate based on race, GOP lawmakers today all but

silent.  Who is this Rand Paul, of which you speak?

The new Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky, after

holding Tuesday‘s victory rally at a private country club today is trying

to explain away his criticism of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Last night, Dr. Paul having told our own Dr. Maddow that he questions

whether the federal government should be in the business of mandating that

private business owners—you know, restaurateurs, shop keepers, hotel

owners, university provosts—cannot turn away potential customers based

on skin color—a position that Dr. Paul has advocated not just to Rachel

but also to NPR, in an interview with a Kentucky paper earlier this year,

and a 2002 letter to the editor of “The Bowling Green Daily News” that was

turned up today by the political blog “Page One Kentucky.”

Dr. Paul, having written in part about the federal Fair Housing Act,

quote, “‘The Daily News‘ ignores, as does the Fair Housing Act, the

distinction between private and public property, should it be prohibited

for public, taxpayer-financed institutions such as schools to reject

someone based on an individual‘s beliefs or attributes?  Mostly certainly.

Should be prohibited for private industries, such as a church, bed and

breakfast, or retirement neighborhood that doesn‘t want noisy children? 

Absolutely not.  Decisions concerning private property and associations

should in a free society be unhindered.  As a consequence, some

associations will discriminate.”

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Dr. Paul also having weighed in on the

Americans with Disabilities Act, saying that requiring businesses to

provide access to disabled people is not always, quote, “fair to the

business owner.”

So how did the Republican nominee today try to mitigate all this

damage?  Largely by blaming the liberal media.

Dr. Paul telling listeners of right-wing radio this morning that the

controversy is political theater dreamed up by the, quote, “loony left.” 

Earlier tonight adding to CNN that it was the result of a news cycle that

has gotten out of control.

Meanwhile Dr. Paul‘s Republican friends today all but pretending they

had never heard of him.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MINORITY WHIP:  Again, not being familiar

with the context of his response or his questions, I really can‘t opine as

to his position.


REPORTER:  You have no comment on that?


REPORTER:  What is it?

DEMINT:  No, I support the Civil Rights Act.

REPORTER:  What about the Americans with Disabilities Act?  Rand Paul

says he wants to abolish that as well.

DEMINT:  I‘m going to talk to Rand about his positions.


OLBERMANN:  Minority Leader McConnell, Kentucky‘s senior senator who,

to be fair, actively recruited and backed Dr. Paul‘s opponent saying he is,

quote, “glad to hear that Dr. Paul supports the Civil Rights Act”—at

least the sections that deal with the public institutions.

By late this afternoon, the doctor issuing a similar statement

declaring purportedly unequivocally that he, quote, “will not support any

effort to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”  Repeal the Civil Rights

Act?  Who except perhaps Dr. Paul has even considering any effort doing

that now?

Last night with Rachel, Dr. Paul having said that had he been around,

he would have tried to modify the parts of the Civil Rights Act with which

he disagreed—earlier tonight, claiming to CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer that he

apparently would have voted for legislation he believed was flawed.


BLITZER:  If you had been a member of the Senate or the House back in

1964, would you have voted yea or nay for the Civil Rights Act?

PAUL:  Yes, I would have voted yes.


OLBERMANN:  In response to a question about whether the private

department store Woolworth‘s had the right to segregate at its lunch

counters in places like Greensboro, North Carolina during the 1960s, Dr.

Paul tonight claiming that he believes federal intervention had been



PAUL:  I think that there was an overriding problem in the South that

was so big that it did require federal intervention in the ‘60s.


OLBERMANN:  We‘re joined now by the House majority whip, Congressman

Jim Clyburn, the Democrat of South Carolina.

Great thanks for your time tonight, Congressman.

CLYBURN:  Thank you so much for having me.

OLBERMANN:  What was your first reaction when you heard Rand Paul‘s

views on the C Civil Rights Act and has anything that he said since during

this day changed since that first reaction?

CLYBURN:  No, nothing he said has changed the first reaction which was

absolutely astounding.  I just could not believe what I was watching last

night as I watched him respond to the 14th Amendment questions with a

Second Amendment answer.  It was just incredible to me.

And to hear him talk about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as if there is

no 1968 Fair Housing Law, I would like to know how he feels about that law. 

In fact, he wrote a letter, I understand, to the editor of his local

newspapers opposing the housing—Fair Housing Law of 1968.  What does he

feel about the 1965 Voting Rights Act?  That law that allowed me to be

serving here in the Congress.

I don‘t know that this guy isn‘t still parsing words by limiting his

comments to one section of the ‘64 Civil Rights Act, it tells me he‘s got

problems with other laws that we‘ve come to accept as a part of the

American way.

OLBERMANN:  Well, his defense today seems predicated on this: this was

not an issue, this is merely a red herring, a political ploy.  He blamed

Rachel Maddow for the interview and then the letter to the editor that you

mentioned from 2002.  He said basically the same thing.  I mean, the quote

I‘ll read this one again, read it once.


“But a free society,” he wrote, “will abide unofficial private

discrimination even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude

people based on the color of their skin.”

Is that a red herring, or is this now a theme to a man‘s perspective

on what‘s discrimination and what‘s not in society?

CLYBURN:  Well, he was in the public arena with his attitude a long,

long time, and I find that kind of interesting that other leading

Republicans to include the senator from my home state have been out here

pushing his candidacy, wanting him to be the nominee of their party, for

the tea party movement, to endorse him—for him to cloak himself in the

tea party movement, set himself up as the spokesperson for the tea party

movement.  I think we‘re now beginning a full picture of exactly what the

tea party movement is all about.

And so, I think it‘s time for us to ask the—Dr. Paul what he thinks

about things that have happened on Wall Street because we had people doing

oversight.  What he thinks about what‘s going on down in the Gulf Coast,

because we need oversight of oil drilling.

He seemed to feel that his libertarian philosophy gives him the

authority to push for a regulation-free society, a laissez-faire

government, just people do as you please.  This is the kind of stuff that

got us in the predicament that we‘re in now.

And I think that the people who voted for him should be asking for

their votes back.  The people who contributed to him should be given their

money back.  Because this guy is putting himself up as being something that

I‘m sure they had no idea that he was.

OLBERMANN:  What is that?  What word is apt to describe what he is

that you‘re leading to?

CLYBURN:  I think that he is in fact a sort of laissez-faire

government person.  He calls himself a libertarian, but I don‘t believe he

is that.  I think he‘s something else—something that says people should

be allowed to do as they please, except he has now said that about 50

percent of his practice is Medicare.  But he wants us to—he‘s criticized

his opponent for being for health care reform, and he wants to cut money

out of the budget, but he thinks we ought to keep the money there for

doctors‘ reimbursement.  That ought to tell people something.

OLBERMANN:  Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina—as always,

sir, great thanks for your insight and great thanks for your time tonight.

CLYBURN:  Thank you so much for having me.

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

Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent for “Newsweek” magazine,

who mentions periodically here that he started his career in Kentucky.

Howard, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  Rand Paul is blaming us from misunderstanding him when he

said private businesses should be allowed to discriminate.  When someone is

running to be a federal legislator—does the media have the right to

question him about his views on the role of the federal government,

especially when it turns out he wrote letters to the editor that line up

nicely with what he said last night, but the letter was in 2002?

FINEMAN:  Well, of course.  That‘s why I was talking to my old

colleagues at “The Courier-Journal” in Louisville where I started out. 

They had an op-ed page board meeting there in April, and they asked him all

these questions.  And sure, they had a right to do it, and they did do it.

And you know, the interesting thing is that they published the answers

and they based their editorial in “The Courier-Journal” not endorsing

either Republican primary based on those answers.  The interesting thing is

that even Mitch McConnell‘s endorsed candidate, Trey Grayson, as far as I

know, didn‘t make an issue of those comments.  In other words, it wasn‘t a

factor in the Republican primary in Kentucky.

But I think “The Courier-Journal” and other people are right to ask

about it.  By the way, don‘t forget that Rand Paul basically announced his

candidacy on Rachel‘s show a year ago and a half ago, or a year ago.  So,

it was fine for him then, it‘s not fine for him now.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  I guess that was a red herring, too.


OLBERMANN:  So, the comments were made on that show, to NPR, to two

Kentucky newspapers.  He‘s now gotten the Civil Rights Act involved, the

Fair Housing Act.  The Americans with Disabilities Act, too, we haven‘t

mentioned that.  He said he still disagreed with that on CNN tonight.  He

doubled down on that.

He had a spokesman who had to resign in December because of the heavy

metal band that he belonged to that dressed up in outfits that reference

the Ku Klux Klan.


OLBERMANN:  Is the sum total of everything here so potentially

damaging?  Because it doesn‘t seem it‘s—like these are the proverbial

collection of isolated incidents here.

FINEMAN:  Well, it‘s always interesting as to Sherlock Holmes used to

write about the dogs that don‘t bark.


FINEMAN:  I‘m waiting to hear from Karl Rove on this one.  I haven‘t

heard him rush to the microphone to defend Rand Paul.  That should tell you

a lot.

I think—I called the RNC today.  Michael Steele, the head of the

RNC, he didn‘t really know much about it because he was traveling in Tampa,

Florida.  Tampa, apparently not, you know, being penetrated by the national


You know, the Republicans are hunkered down because they know that

watching this guy cling, cling, cling to the last vestige of libertarianism

on the Civil Rights Act is something that is not good for the Republican

Party.  Wolf Blitzer sort of backed him into the corner but not fully,

because as you did in your sound bite there, Rand Paul is still saying that

the Civil Rights Act and its public accommodations stuff was necessary for

the South in the ‘60s.

Does that mean he doesn‘t think it‘s necessary now in the whole

country?  That question is still out there.  The Republicans don‘t like

that question being out there.

OLBERMANN:  Does this—certainly, as this is the start of his

campaign and his national stage, does it put Rand Paul‘s candidacy in

jeopardy?  Is he not going to be on the ballot in November?

FINEMAN:  Well, interestingly, I talked to a top Republican staffer. 

I said, what about it?  Is he going to stay on the ballot?  That‘s about an

hour ago.  The guy said, well, he can always resign.

But there‘s a, quote, “unity rally” that‘s to take place in Frankfort,

Kentucky, this Saturday which will be one of the more amusing events in

recent Kentucky political history, which is going to be Rand Paul and Mitch

McConnell who tried to defeat him.  And again, in fairness to Mitch, this

is a guy who worked for John Sherman Cooper who was a key vote in the old

Republican moderate coalition for the Civil Rights bill in 1964.

Now, McConnell‘s being careful, too, because even though Jeff Sessions

of Alabama and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have both said that Rand

Paul is wrong on the law about public accommodations, McConnell‘s been a

little more careful and circumspect because he‘s got to go to that unity

rally on Saturday.

I got to say that I‘m not convinced that this controversy will kill

Rand Paul in Kentucky.  There‘s a small African-American vote there,

unlike, say, Alabama—


FINEMAN:  -- Sessions, and South Carolina, Graham.

OLBERMANN:  Last point—does this controversy do anything to the—

this read of Tuesday‘s vote that there was tea party ascendancy, or does

that—these two things remain separate?

FINEMAN:  Well, what it shows you, Keith, is the tea party giveth and

the tea party taketh away.  It can help with the grassroots and energize

the Republican grassroots.  But especially in states with big Hispanic or

African-American populations or, quote, “liberal” populations in the

cities, in Senate races like Pennsylvania, or other state races in like

Ohio, or Illinois or whatever, this could be poison for the Republican

Party if Rand Paul becomes the emblem of the GOP, which is, of course, what

the Democrats are trying to do right now.

OLBERMANN:  Howard Fineman of “Newsweek” and MSNBC and vast—member

of the vast Kentucky political reporters alumni association.


OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Howard.

FINEMAN:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  The director of national intelligence confirms tonight he

will resign.  Republicans try to make that look like a man prevented from

defending his country.  White House sources are saying they just didn‘t

like the way he did his job.  Roger Cressey on Dennis Blair—next.


OLBERMANN:  The Blair ditch project, director of national

intelligence, Dennis Blair, out.  The Democrats finally get the cloture

vote on the big bank reform bill.  Scott Brown voted for it.  This

Democratic senator did not.  She‘s scheduled to join us.

Another day, another example of what hate speech makes people think

it‘s OK to do—burning the president in effigy in Wisconsin.

And if we‘re told on the one-month anniversary the oil spill is only

spewing 5,000 barrels a day, but B.P.‘s straw is capturing 5,000 barrels a

day, then what‘s this stuff here?  Chocolate syrup?

You‘re watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN:  After a series of public intelligence failures and private

political failures, America‘s director of national intelligence, the

retired four-star Admiral Dennis Blair, is resigning.

Our fourth story tonight: A U.S. official tonight telling NBC News the

White House had been unhappy with Blair for some time, asking for his

resignation following a blistering Senate Intelligence Committee report

that put Blair in the crosshairs for a series of failures connected to the

attempted Christmas Day airplane bombing in Detroit.  The official adds

that the administration has already begun potentially—interviewing

potential replacements.  There is a lead candidate.

The DNI had come under criticism from other quarters before, even as

some acknowledged that the position created in 2004 after a recommendation

from the 9/11 Commission was defined too vaguely, leading to power

struggles most notably with CIA Director Leon Panetta, who reportedly was

winning those power struggles when the White House was called on to


The White House is also putting out for public appearances, adviser

John Brennan rather than Blair after the Christmas Day bombing attempt. 

The attempted Times Square bombing is not helping Admiral Blair‘s cause,

nor did the Fort Hood shooting allegedly committed by a major already in

contact with a radical Muslim cleric overseas.

As recently as yesterday, 9/11 Commissioners Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean

called on President Obama to strengthen and define the DNI position, saying

it remains unclear, almost a decade after 9/11, who actually runs the U.S.

intelligence community.

Retired Lieutenant General James Clapper is a leading candidate to

take the post now—this according to senior two senior U.S. officials

speaking to NBC News tonight.  CIA Director Panetta has reportedly asked

not to be considered for the DNI post.

Let‘s call in NBC News terrorism analyst and the president of Good

Harbor Consulting, Roger Cressey.

Roger, good evening.  Thanks for your time.


OLBERMANN:  Why now with Blair?  What ultimately prompted this


CRESSEY:  Oh, I think this has been in the works now for some time. 

This was about fit between Blair, between the Obama White House, and

whether or not the Senate report or it‘s a culmination of all the events

last year, including the Christmas Day bombing attempt, triggered it now,

it was going to happen sooner or later.  You know, a lot of people in D.C.

had the over/under on Blair being the first member of the national security

team to leave, and it looks like that was the right bet.

OLBERMANN:  Are the 9/11 commissioners right about the position being

ill-defined?  Is the administration addressing that or is the next person

just going to have the same problem?

CRESSEY:  They‘re going to have the same problem.  The DNI position is

very ill-defined.

The bottom line is, the DNI is one of these concepts that sounded

great in theory and has been really bad in practice.  The true authority,

the true resource still rests with the CIA director.  And in every example

where Admiral Blair and Leon Panetta clashed, ultimately, the CIA won. 

They won for a good reason, because they have a truly-defined mission.

The DNI‘s job has been to better integrate, to bring all the elements

of the intelligence community together and do their job better.  But the

DNI has never been truly in power, either a case of having the proper

resources or having the White House back the DNI in any type of interagency

food fight.

So, whoever takes this job next, unless the president gives him or her

specific guidance about what they want that person to do, you‘re going to

be in the similar situation.

OLBERMANN:  Statement from Congressman Hoekstra who always jumps in on

anything like this, from Michigan, said the administration‘s rampant

politicization of national security outright disregard for congressional

intelligence oversight pertain to the resignation of Mr. Blair, Senator

Bond placed the blame on the attorney general—is this going to be what

we‘re going to see from the GOP over the next several days, that Blair

couldn‘t stomach the Obama approach to counterterrorism and is there

anything to that?

CRESSEY:  Yes, that‘s really constructive.  The answer is: of course,

not.  Admiral Blair has a distinguished public service.  He‘s worked hard

for this administration.  He‘s not leaving over political issues.  This is

more of an interagency problem.

The Republicans on the Hill are going to try to define this as yet

another example of how the Obama administration is putting us greater at

risk in our national security and that‘s simply wrong.  There are

fundamental structural issues here about whether the DNI is really a good

idea and how to make it a positive contributing factor in the national

security bureaucracy.  That problem hasn‘t been solved yet and it‘s going

to be up to the next DNI director to identify a path to do it.

OLBERMANN:  And if that‘s Lieutenant General James Clapper, other than

invoking the old John Carson joke about the copper clapper caper, what can

you tell us about it?

CRESSEY:  I can‘t beat that.

Former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, former director of

the National Geospatial Agency, as you said, current undersecretary of

defense of intelligence—what is very impressive about General Clapper is

he understands the intelligence community, much like Admiral Blair‘s

predecessor did, Admiral Mike McConnell, who is also a career intelligence


So, if you put someone in that job who understands all elements in the

intelligence community, the important point there, Keith, is they‘ll know

which fights to take and which fights to avoid regarding CIA, regarding the

NSA and regarding the Pentagon.  That would make for more collegial

environment and in theory might support the president even better.

OLBERMANN:  Roger Cressey of Good Harbor, MSNBC terrorism analyst—

great thanks for your time and sorry about Josh Beckett.

CRESSEY:  Oh, you kill me.

OLBERMANN:  The Democrats get closure for the financial reform bill. 

Senator Maria Cantwell, next on COUNTDOWN.


OLBERMANN:  The big bank reform bill and Senator Cantwell of


First, with a reminder that “Tworst Persons in the World” will be

tweeted starting about 20 minutes hence.

The “Tweet of the Day” from Martha Stewart.  “It is early morn here in

Kuala Lumpur, which means muddy estuary—the river looks like cappuccino

or the tarik—tea.  The city is just waking.”

Around us the jungle is alive in revels—in nocturnal sounds—rain

in places, fog patches on the coast.  So bring a light jacket.  L.A. Lakers

124, Phoenix 112.

Let‘s play “Oddball.”


OLBERMANN:  Who writes this?  Oh, I do.

We begin outside St. Louis, Chesterfield, Missouri—report of the

migratory pattern of Cardinals filed by Josh Brown of FOX station KTVI. 

Part of Brown‘s demonstration involved holding an actually red bird named

after St. Louis Cardinals‘ first baseman Albert Pujols.  Albert the bird

usually keeps a coffee stirrer in his beak to prevent him from biting. 

Usually.  Sometimes he spits it out. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Here‘s Albert.  He was captured—ahh!  Ahh!  OK! 

Ow!  OK, he‘s got to go.  Albert has to go right now.  Albert!  Albert! 

Ow!  Go.  Go.   Go.  Fly!  I‘m John Brown, Fox 2 News. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Somebody screams like a girl. 


OLBERMANN:  Well, that was nice.  Probably wouldn‘t have hurt as much

if the bird wasn‘t using—oh, never mind. 

To the island of Guam, American territory, hello.  This video from a

hearing in the Guam legislator.  The man wearing blue is the mayor of

Mangyao (ph), Nieto Blass (ph).  Before taking his seat, Mayor Blass gave

his fellow mayor, Ben Gumatoutou (ph) a tap on the leg.  Only Mayor

Gumatoutou didn‘t care for the unwanted contact and returned fire with a

jab.  Down goes the mayor.  Well, not really.  Mayor Gumatoutou later said

he doesn‘t like people touching him and apologized.  Mayor Blass said,

quote, from now on I‘m not going to touch him, I‘ll just kiss him. 

Finally, to London, site of the 2012 Olympics, also site of the

unveiling of the mascots.  Yes, what do these faces mean?  Behold Wenlock

and Mandville (ph), two doughy, asexual, Olympic Cyclops things.  They were

unveiled Wednesday with children at an elementary school on the BBC in the

form of an animated cartoon.  Pokemon styled thing named after two towns in

England, it‘s supposed to be relate to kids who can follow their exploits

on Twitter and Facebook.  Don‘t mind the thing only having one eye. 

Even though the pair look like relatives of Kang and Kotus (ph), the

Cyclops aliens from “The Simpsons,” they still present a marginal upgrade

from former Olympic mascots, like the guys from Turino, and the ones from

Athens, and whatever that was from Atlanta. 

This just in, Britain‘s Liberal Democrats say they will form a

coalition with Wenlock and Mandville. 

Where we are reforming the big banks, with Senator Maria Cantwell,

next, when we resume.


OLBERMANN:  At this hour, the Senate has just begun voting on whether

or not to pass what could be the biggest overhaul of financial regulation

since the Great Depression.  But, in our third story tonight, will the

bill, in plain terms, prevent the kind of wild Wall Street gambling that

got us into this mess in the first place?  Democratic Senator Maria

Cantwell, who will join us in a moment, thinks the bill could be and should

be stronger. 

The vote for cloture already passed earlier today, reaching the

threshold of 60 it had failed to attain just yesterday.  Republican Senator

Scott Brown changing his vote to yea, joining the two Republican senators

from Maine and all but two of the Democrats.  The vote for passage of the

actual bill, as we said, has just begun. 

President Obama, on the verge of another legislative victory, said the

bill creates new consumer protections without being bad for business. 



not stifle the power of the free market.  It will simply bring predictable,

responsible, sensible rules into the marketplace.  Unless your business

model is based on bilking your customers and skirting the law, you should

have nothing to fear from this legislation. 


OLBERMANN:  Just a side note, Senator Tom Harkin tried and failed to

get the Senate to vote on an amendment that would limit ATM fees to 50

cents.  The problem, according to the “Omaho World Herald,” may be that

some senators have no appreciation for those fees, as Nebraska Senator Ben

Nelson confessed, quoting, “I‘ve never used an ATM, so I don‘t know what

the fees are.  But I could learn how to do it, just like I‘ve learned to

swipe my to get my own gas, buy groceries.  I know about the holograms.” 

Senator Nelson later clarified that by holograms he meant the whole

bar code and scanner system or possibly Princess Leya and the whole help

me, Obi Wan Kanobe, thing.  Let‘s bring in, as promised, having just cast

her vote on the bill, Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, who is also a

member of the Senate Finance Committee.  Thanks for your time tonight,


SEN. MARIA CANTWELL (D), WASHINGTON:  Keith, great to be with you. 

OLBERMANN:  May I ask how you voted and why? 

CANTWELL:  I voted no, as I did earlier today, because I think this

bill needs to be improved.  At the heart of this issue is really making

sure that derivatives, which caused the collapse of our economy, are

properly regulated with exchange trading and clearing.  And this bill

doesn‘t quite do that.  So I‘m going to be advocating for the improvements

needed to close those loopholes. 

OLBERMANN:  Do you expect the little to pass anyway?  And do you

expect to have a second shot at derivatives? 

CANTWELL:  It will pass and it will go to conference with the House. 

I hope we will get a second shot in conference to say that when people have

the chance to look at the language, to look at how these things can have

exemptions—we don‘t want the exemption to be so big that it becomes the

rule.  That is to say that you can have thousands of pages about rules, but

two or three pages about exemptions, and then, thereby still not having

derivatives into the bright light of day, which is where we need them. 

OLBERMANN:  Ezra Klein of the “Washington Post” suggested here last

night that as this bill has moved through the amendment process, unlike

many reform packages, it has some times appeared to grow stronger with

Democrats and even some Republicans responding to general anger among the

public over the abuses of wall street. 

Despite your misgivings, despite your vote tonight, would you agree

with that assessment, that things got stronger rather than weaker? 

CANTWELL:  Well, you know what it is?  I think it‘s things like Dick

Durbin, who for three years tried to fight the banking industry and finally

gave up and said, you know what?  They‘re stronger than even people here in

Congress.  And then finally got a vote the other night on that and actually

got a change.  So, you know, there‘s some long, hard battles that are

related to banking in general that have been strengthened in this bill. 

But when you look at what brought on the crisis, the fact that we have

dark derivative markets that have now turned into a 600 trillion dollar

industry—Keith, that is a huge size.  And if we don‘t get them properly

into the transparent marketplace that we need them, we‘re going to have

this situation happen again. 

So it doesn‘t really matter if we figure out, OK, well, what‘s the new

consumer entity or how is the Fed going to handle it if we don‘t prevent it

from happening with the proper regulation. 

OLBERMANN:  I should add here, we‘re hearing from the floor that

senators Grassley, Brown, Collins and Snowe have voted yes for this among

the Republicans.  This is just an incidental fact.  That‘s not something

I‘m asking for comment on.  What I would like to know is this: in trying to

strike a sense of balance, did the Obama administration fail to get behind

measures, including like the ones you‘ve proposed that would have given the

bill more teeth? 

CANTWELL:  Well, I think what you‘re going to find now that this

legislation has passed is everybody‘s going to have a chance to look at it,

that is the manager‘s amendment, which was a very big piece of this today. 

And they‘ll be able to look and see where the loopholes are.  And just as

we saw with Tarp—you know, Tarp was a voluminous bill.  It had lots of

different pieces to it.  So we‘ll have much time to look at that and have

the debate.  And hopefully we‘ll be able to strengthen it and close some of

the loopholes that exist. 

OLBERMANN:  Senator Maria Cantwell, the Democrat from Washington, as

this vote is going on, having rushed over to our cameras after casting her

vote, we appreciate the extra effort tonight particularly.  Thanks for your


CANTWELL:  Thanks, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  The oil disaster in the Gulf is a month old today.  The

gift that keeps on giving.  We‘re still asking BP nicely to please fix it

for us. 

What does this next grainy video from a Wisconsin bar look like to

you?  Burning the president in effigy?  That‘s what it looks like to me

too.  Worst persons ahead. 

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the our, just a little follow

up on her interview with Rand Paul.  Rather a lot, really, including the

reaction of the president of the NAACP.


OLBERMANN:  First, they‘re teaching the geometry of assassinating the

president; now they‘re burning him in effigy in Wisconsin.  Worsts next. 

But now, no, that‘s not your water coming to a boil.  It‘s our nightly

checkup on the something for nothing crowd.  It‘s Tea Time. 

And I‘d like to remind you again, there is no racism in the Tea Party. 

It is a figment of my imagination and yours.  Stick your fingers in your

ears and go, na, na, na. 

I read you this yesterday from the blog of the chairman of the Tea

Party Express, about a proposed mosque two blocks from Ground Zero.  He

wrote, “the monument would consist of a mosque for the worship of the

terrorists‘ monkey god.  Repeat, terrorists‘ monkey god.  If you feel that

fits the description of Allah, then that is your own deep seated emotional

baggage, not mine.  Talk to the terrorists who use Allah as their excuse,

and the Muslims who apologize for and rationalize them, and a cultural

center to propagandize for the extermination of all things not approved by

their cult,” end quote.

That leader, fired Albany, New York, radio host Mark Williams, has now

hidden that post behind a password.  He has also had to correct the hate

speech because he got one of the hate details wrong.  “I described the God

worshipped by terrorists as a monkey god.  I was wrong and that was

offensive.  I owe an apology to the millions of Hindus who worship Lord

Hanuman, an actual monkey god.” 

Don‘t worry any apology is purely a gimmick.  The TPM muckraker site

found this previous Tea Party Express chairman blog post: “Islam is a

seventh century death cult coughed up by a psychotic pedophile and embraced

by defective tail sprouting, tree swinging, semi human bipedal primates

with no claim to be treated like human beings, or even desirable mammals,

for that matter.” 

Response to this from the Tea Party Express that Williams chairs,

nothing to do with us, his personal blog.  But you have a lot to do with

his person.  Of course this has nothing to do with the Tea Party buffoon

running for the House in Florida who stuffed every racial stereotype and

paranoid hate message against Muslims and Middle Easterners as he could get

into his 30 seconds, and neither the Tea Party Express nor the Tea Party

candidate has anything to do, even just philosophically, with the middle-

aged white terrorist caught on surveillance video carrying a can of

gasoline and a pipe bomb into the Islamic in Jacksonville, Florida, and

detonating it, without much result, nine days ago. 

They‘re just isolated incidents.


OLBERMANN:  In from Washington, the health care—rather the

financial reform bill has passed now—Freudian slip -- 59-39, four

Republicans, at least, voting yea, along with some Democrats.  We know that

Senator Grassley of Iowa joined the three who voted for cloture this

afternoon.  Brown of Massachusetts and the two Maine Republicans; 59-39

financial reform passes the Senate.  On to discussions with the House over

their version of it. 

A new dispersant to replace the first dispersant that was designed to

replace the spilled.  A month to the day since the eco-disaster in the gulf

and they‘re also again fudging how much oil is spilling per day.  That‘s

next, but first tonight‘s worst persons in the world.

The bronze to comedian Rush Limbaugh.  Not an ounce of racism in his

body.  “The Mexican president is Senor Wences.  Remember Senor Wences, the

ventriloquist dummy from “The Ed Sullivan Show” way back when?  He‘s just

Senor Wences.  Have any more salt?  He comes here to lecture us, the

president, about the way we‘re trying to enforce our own immigration law. 

What is this racial profiling anyway?  Mexico‘s not a race.  What‘s the

race in Mexico?  It‘s not Mexican.  Hispanic or whatever.  We‘re not

profiling Mexicans because they can‘t—there‘s not a race there.” 

Racist, drunk and stupid is no way to grow up, Rush. 

The runner up, more or less on the same topic, Dana Perino, the former

White House press secretary, self described eternal Bushy, Fixed News

contributor.  Listen to this, President Obama‘s decision to take just two

questions during his news conference with President Calderon, this offended

her.  She said it showed his “disdain for the press.  If Obama had taken

questions from the American press, it probably would not have been on


One of the two questions was from Univision, the American TV network,

depending on the category, the fourth or fifth most watched TV network in

this country, America.  It‘s in Spanish, so naturally Ms. Perino doesn‘t

think it‘s an American network.  The exits are here, here, here and a

pillow costs a dollar. 

But our winner, Karen Schoenfeld, the owner of Yesteryear‘s Pub and

Grill in West Alice, Wisconsin.  Neither she nor her bartender has yet

offered any explanation of this. 



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Here it comes.  Ready?  Woo!


OLBERMANN:  That‘s right.  They‘re burning a statuette of the

president with what appears to be duct tape around his neck, possibly meant

to represent a noose, at a bar.  While we are reminded once again that a

whole lot of people in this country just have no idea merely about even lip

service respect, they also don‘t even know what they‘re going to do is so

inappropriate that the law will have to get involved.  Local police are

investigating that.  The Secret Serve is is investigating that.  The bar

owner and the bartender are not commenting.  And the rest of us are left

wondering how close West Alice is to uber-Alice. 

Karen Schoenfeld, the owner of Yesteryears Pub and Grill, where they

burn U.S. presidents in effigy, today‘s worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN:  Here‘s how math works a mile below the surface where no

one can see it: BP and the government tell us the oil spill is releasing

5,000 barrels a day, and then today BP tells us the pipe they inserted like

a bendy straw into the spill is suctioning out 5,000 barrels a day; 5,000

minus 5,000 is zero, at all pressures still, right?  So then how come, in

our number one story tonight, this is what BP‘s live video feed of the

spill looked like before the site crashed a little while ago.  Oil still

gushing out at a rate of presumably zero barrels a day.  Plus the estimated

zero barrels a day still gushing out from another breech in the pipe.  The

phantom oil spill raising questions and accusations of cover-up today on

Capital Hill.


SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA:  In fact, most of the oil is

gushing like mad out there, with just a little bit being siphoned off,

which would tell you there‘s a much greater volume than BP said. 

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA:  I‘m not sure that we have had the

truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth out here, and that would

suggest why BP was so reluctant to reduce—to release the video. 


OLBERMANN:  As National Geographic today released video of the fire

following the explosion one month ago today, the “New Orleans Times

Picayune” reports that on the morning of the blast, BP sent home a team of

contractors without asking them first to conduct an acoustic test, similar

to sonar, that might have revealed flaws in the cement casing.  That is now

blamed for the deadly blast that killed 11 people and sank the rig itself,

severing the pipeline and causing the spill. 

The EPA, late last night, giving BP 24 hours to identify new chemicals

it can use to disperse the oil, after Louisiana residents and numerous

politicians, as reported on this news hour, complained that BP was using a

chemical to disperse the oil that had been banned in Britain, found to be

more toxic and less effective than others, a chemical produced and sold by

a company whose board includes members of the BP and Exxon boards, even

though its use in this quantity, at this depth, has never been before


BP after its deadline tonight getting an additional 72 hours to start

actually using a less toxic dispersal.  The White House today writing to

BP, asking the company to start releasing data the company has about the

spill, even as the Obama administration comes under growing scrutiny and

criticism for its own failures to do its own testing, with no vessels

deployed to measure the underwater oil plume, and failure to release any

deep water test results it has, and for failing to override BP‘s decision

to prevent scientists from deploying equipment that could gauge the rate of


The Coast Guard saying only last night that the government would put

its own measuring devices on the sea floor as soon as they figure out how. 

BP now expected this weekend or early next week to try its top kill method

of plugging the leak, far too late as far as Louisiana is concerned.  The

oil has reached the shore. 

Let‘s bring Erich Pica, the president of the environmental advocacy

group, Friends of the Earth.  Great thanks for your time again tonight,



OLBERMANN:  Why is the U.S. still asking BP for anything at this

point?  We‘re a month into this exactly.  Where are the subpoenas and the

warrants and the executives being dragged off to jail, instead of being

allowed to decide how this is treated and given more time when they fail to

meet their own deadlines? 

PICA:  That‘s a great question and one that we‘re trying to figure

out.  BP, --you know, these executives should be treated as criminals.  Yet

the Obama administration is basically saying, OK, we have an eco-disaster

going on, but BP, you‘re going to be the judge and jury, and you‘re going

to tell the American public exactly what you want them to hear.  And by the

way, the administration, we‘re going to back you up.  We‘re going to be

your PR people, at least for these last 30 days. 

And finally, though, we‘re seeing that with the House of

Representatives and the Congress pushing the administration to actually get

a backbone to be BPA, by pushing them on the dispersants and the chemicals

that are being released into the water, by pushing them to disclose how

much oil is being spilled, more than the 5,000 barrels that we have.  It‘s

about time the administration is finally getting a backbone. 

Unfortunately, I think it may be too late. 

OLBERMANN:  Why does it matter that BP claims its sucking up all 5,000

barrels a day, when there‘s clearly other oil still gushing out?  Among

other things, there‘s a video that shows there‘s other oil gushing out. 

And 5,000 minus 5,000 still equals zero. 

PICA:  That‘s a great equation that you have there.  And unfortunately

the facts and the video don‘t prove BP‘s point.  We‘re glad that BP is

sucking out 5,000 barrels a day.  But unfortunately, it‘s 30 days too late. 

What this amounts to is just mere damage control.  This spill is out of

control.  BP never had the resources or the ability to actually cap this

well or deal with the spill.  And so this 5,000 barrel figure, to me, is

just damage control 30 days too late. 

OLBERMANN:  Flesh out for us, if you would, the concern about the


PICA:  Yes, look, these dispersants are highly toxic.  The UK

government banned these things ten years ago.  We‘re looking at

carcinogens, mutogens, other toxic chemicals.  We see that in—to be

frank, EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, doesn‘t have I bet, to our

knowledge, the health and human impact studies that actually tell us how

toxic these chemicals are.  So its dispersant oil.  We have no idea exactly

what chemicals are in there, what they will do to not only the wildlife and

the sea life that‘s in the ocean, but also when it comes into human


We know from the Exxon Valdez spill, they used a very similar

dispersant where there were respiratory problems.  There were kidney

problems.  There were liver problems.  Yet, we trusted BP—the federal

government trusted BP.  EPA condoned and allowed BP to disperse nearly a

million gallons of this toxic chemical in the water. 

OLBERMANN:  Last point, Erich, Saying the government will put its own

measuring devices on the sea floor as soon it‘s it figures out how, how do

we allow drilling under these companies  as a government if we don‘t know

how to fix it if the company screws it up? 

OLBERMANN:  It‘s outrageous.  This goes to the point that we shouldn‘t

be drilling on the offshore coasts of America.  We just don‘t have the

technology to deal with the spill.  We know, time and time again, oil

spills—oil rigs spill oil.  We saw that in Australia.  We‘re seeing that

right now in the Gulf of Mexico.  And it‘s going to cost billions of

dollars and it‘s going to take decades for us to clean it up. 

OLBERMANN:  Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, great

thanks again for your time. 

PICA:  Thank you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  That‘s COUNTDOWN for this the 2,576th day since the

previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq.  I‘m Keith

Olbermann, good night and good luck. 

And now, as the last dying echoes of the Rand Paul implosion reach out

towards the horizon of Venus, ladies and gentlemen, here with just a little

bit of a follow up is Rachel Maddow.  Good evening, Rachel. 




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

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

transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written

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

copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>