Guests: Bob Cavnar, Philippe Cousteau, David Corn, Michael Musto
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you
be talking about tomorrow?
Forty percent to 50 percent containment of oil-pocalypse estimated,
probably. But 100 percent containment of the free still spill of news: BP
confirms it blocked the Google and Yahoo! searches so it decides what you
see when you search the net for oil spill.
The fine will be up to 4,300 bucks per barrel discharge into the Gulf.
No wonder there's no exact figure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This will be contained.
It may take some time and it's going to take a whole lot of effort.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Rationalization bordering on insanity: Liz Cheney insists
this has nothing to do with her father, or Bush/Cheney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ CHENEY, DICK CHENEY'S DAUGHTER: It's incredible, the extent to
which people are now trying to shift blame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Bob Cavnar on the latest progress from cut-and-cap, Howard
Fineman on the politics and BP's suppression of the news, David corn on Liz
Cheney's delusions, and with more overwhelming images from the Gulf,
environmentalist Philippe Cousteau.
"Tea Time": Rand Paul is back, and there's something else he doesn't
like. "I'm opposed to the government telling restaurant owners that they
cannot allow smoking in their establishments."
How about "bridge out" signs, Rand? What do you think of "bridge out"
"Worsts": The Republican state senator in South Carolina opposed to
the Republican Indian-American candidate for governor because, quote, "We
already got one raghead in the White House. We don't need a raghead in the
governor's mansion." He has now made a "Worsts" remark.
And Rush Limbaugh gets married with Elton John as the wedding singer,
and George Brett and Justice Clarence Thomas as the celebrity guests. We
have exclusive video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): And I think it's going to be a long,
long time. Till touch down brings me round again to find. I'm not the man
they I am at home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: All the news and commentary-now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a rocket man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
For those awaiting the articulation of national anger against the
perpetrators of the oil spill disaster, preferably words spoken softly,
accompanied by the implied threat of the big stick, they are tonight yours.
The president in an exclusive interview for "The Today Show" telling Matt
Lauer that some of the information he has sought about the catastrophe is,
quote, "so I know whose ass to kick."
In our fifth story, that clip in a moment, it comes juxtaposed against
BP's quite announcement today that it plans to replace the cap on its
wellhead with a slightly bigger, better fitting one next month, thus left
unsaid by BP, the current cap necessarily does not fit-just like
everything else BP has done or tried throughout the seven weeks of the
One mile down in the Gulf, the Deepwater Horizon is still gushing.
Admiral Thad Allen saying that it is not clear how much oil is being
captured by the cap. Government officials guessing that the containment
cap now collects 11,000 barrels and has done so during the last 24-hour
period out of the government estimated 25,000 barrels a day still spewing
from the well, that's a little more than 40 percent, not even close to good
At today's briefing, White House Press Secretary Gibbs pointing out
that the flow rate will determine how much BP is fined by the government,
up to $4,300 for every barrel leaked into the Gulf. That, according to a
provision in the U.S. Clean Water Act.
Gibbs' boss is showing some anger or at least angry words on the topic
of how he's handled the crisis thus far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking
heads were even paying attention to the Gulf. A month ago I was meeting
with fishermen down there, standing in the rain, talking about what a
potential crisis this could be. And I don't sit around just talking to
experts because this is a college seminar, we talk to these folks because
they potentially had the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: President Obama in the interview with Matt Lauer which
will air in full tomorrow on "The Today Show."
This afternoon, in a cabinet meeting, the president is also expressing
optimism that there will be an actual end to this ever-unfolding crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This will be contained. It may take some time, and it's going
to take a whole lot of effort. There's going to be damage done to the Gulf
Coast and there's going to be economic damages that we've got to make sure
BP is responsible for and compensates people for. But the one thing I'm
absolutely confident about is that as we have before, we will get through
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Speaking of compensation, the president repeating the
warning he gave BP first on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I do not want to see BP nickel-and-diming these businesses
that are having a very tough time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: But the evidence suggests that nickel-and-diming is
exactly what BP is doing, by at the very least drowning Gulf Coast
claimants in paperwork. "The New York Times" reporting on the extensive
documentation that the company is requiring in its claims process,
documents often hard to come by in a cash-based industry like fishing.
Then those documents being bottlenecked through claims adjusters who-
well, adjust the claims. Do they ever adjust claims higher than what a
victim has requested?
One shrimper telling "The New York Times" that he got a check for
$5,000 from BP last month. Usually at this time of year, he says he could
make twice that much in two days, or make that much in two days.
Over the weekend, BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward, having told the
BBC that the company has paid every claim presented to it-actually, his
company admits to "The New York Times" that it has paid only about half of
all claims submitted.
Two more things seemingly working in the company's favor: First, its
P.R. team managing to manipulate Internet search engines, paying Google and
Yahoo! so that should anyone search the term oil spill, the sponsored
result at the very top of the page is a link that redirects you to the
company's Web site. Quoting from the Google result, "Info about the Gulf
of Mexico spill, learn more how BP is helping."
Secondly, should anyone try to follow a federal suit against BP, it's
likely to be difficult to find judges without conflicts to hear the cases.
An "Associated Press" investigation is revealing that more than half of
federal judges in Gulf States have financial connections to the oil and gas
This morning in Louisiana, the wives of two workers who died on the
Deepwater Horizon taking their testimony to Congress, more specifically
Congress came to them. The widows are telling a special meeting of a House
energy subcommittee about the problems their husbands had controlling the
well in the weeks before the fatal explosion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLP)
NATALIE ROSHTO, HUSBAND DIED ON RIG: They had had problems with well
control before and actually lost the well and lost a lot of tools and
everything, several millions of dollars worth of equipment that had been
lost. They were also receiving a lot of kicks from the well, a lot of gas
pressure, and that had been going on throughout the duration of this well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: In a moment, the presidential politics of the kicks from
the president, with our own Howard Fineman. But we begin with the state of
the containment effort by turning to oil and gas industry expert and
veteran, Bob Cavnar, now contributor to "The Huffington Post," as well as
founder and editor of "The Daily Hurricane" blog.
Bob, thanks again for your time tonight.
BOB CAVNAR, OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY EXPERT: Happy to be here, Keith.
OLBERMANN: This announcement by BP, it's going to swap out the
current cap with a bigger one, a slightly bigger one, some time next month.
Is that just a nice way of saying the current cap is not working correctly?
CAVNAR: You know, Keith, I watched the briefing this afternoon,
listened to it over the phone and looked at the presentation. And it's
pretty clear there's several things going on. One is that the well is
producing far more than they've admitted and that the Enterprise, which has
a 15,000-barrel-a-day capacity probably can't handle anywhere close to the
flow of the well.
The other thing it told me was that this is going to drag on way into
hurricane season and they have to have a configuration where they can
either survive a hurricane or they can pull off and get back on without
having to deal with the cap itself.
OLBERMANN: Is there a reason that they did not go for a larger cap in
the first place and why would they wait until next month?
CAVNAR: I think the real problem here is when they couldn't make that
precision cut last week, and they had to make the rough cut with the shear,
gave them the only option, the cap that doesn't fit very well, and there's
so much oil escaping from underneath it that they've got to change
OLBERMANN: The flow rate is going to determine, as we found out from
Mr. Gibbs today, how much BP is fined by the government. Do we now have an
answer-another-or clearer answer at least about why BP never wanted
anybody to know exactly how much oil was flooding the Gulf?
CAVNAR: Well, you know, I think BP thought that they were going to
get this well killed way before they were going to have to deal with the
actual volume that was, or reporting the volume that was flowing. And so,
I think they were really low-balling the number, hoping to get it shut in.
Now that it looks like it's going to drag into the fall, they're really
facing a serious issue about how much volume there is because the fines
from the EPA are per barrel, and it could go well into the billions at the
rate it's flowing now.
OLBERMANN: Day 49, Admiral Thad Allen saying today there's still no
good number. There's no accurate data about how much oil is gushing, has
gushed, will gush in total into the Gulf. What needs to happen for the
government to get these numbers? Is this something that will be
investigated by a panel 10 years from now just to get a number?
CAVNAR: You know, I think that the presidential commission really
needs to get into this when they start studying this, after the panel is
formed. In the meantime, we know that they have a pretty good idea of what
the well is flowing, because they're designing a very sophisticated sea
floor system to recover the oil through both their production platform that
they have there, and another production ship that they're going to add.
So we-I think they know pretty much how much is flowing and it's
way more than the 15,000 to 19,000 barrels they're reporting.
OLBERMANN: Now, you've said that twice. Is that any kind of
indication for where this oil was going on to those tankers once it gets
through this suction device? Is there problem with where it's going? Do
they have a place to keep it?
CAVNAR: I think they're going to be able to get a tanker large
enough. And they have a tanker that's being loaded on to from the
Enterprise. So, I think capacity's not going to be the issue here. The
issue is going to be just being able to keep up with the well.
Another interesting thing, Keith, I just wanted to mention, that this
new cap actually latches on to the top of the wellhead. So, this tells me
that they're not-they can't actually shut the well in for some other
OLBERMANN: Bob Cavnar, oil industry expert, once again, thanks again
for making some of this clear for us tonight.
CAVNAR: Thanks for having me, Keith.
OLBERMANN: As promised, let's turn now to our own political analyst,
Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine.
Good evening, Howard.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: All right. That clip we put a little while ago, the
president saying he talks to experts, folks who know, so he knows whose ass
to kick, and it's his phrase, not mine. I know there a lot of criticism of
his tone has been oversimplified, that he should get emotional, I don't
know, weep or shake his fist or something.
My point was, you don't have to yell, just articulate the rage that is
out there. Do you think he did that?
FINEMAN: No. I don't think so, because I think that he doesn't fully
understand just how deep and widespread that rage is. It's bipartisan,
it's coast to coast. This is now considered to be a worst disaster than
Katrina, the government response is considered to be worse than Katrina.
British Petroleum is like the biggest corporate evildoer, to borrow a
phrase from a previous administration, than we've seen potentially in a
long, long time. And Barack Obama sometimes still seems to be behaving
like he's operating in a courtroom with a reasonable witness.
OLBERMANN: The president did also express in a general briefing
today, confidence that the spill is going to be contained, that the
nation's going to get through the crisis-leaving the second part of that
out of it, the first part that it's going to be contained. In light of the
last 49 days, was that the most bold statement of the week? And was it an
advisable one for him to make?
FINEMAN: Well, I think it's one that any president has to make in
that kind of situation. But the problem is carrying through. The problem
is he's at the mercy of events, to some extent.
As your previous guest was explaining, the well is not properly
capped. There are questions increasingly about how the government has
responded as well as BP has responded. And Congress is back in town,
Keith, which means all the finger-pointing and all the rhetoric is going to
get even more heated once members of the Congress hit the floor, which is
going to happen tomorrow.
OLBERMANN: To that point, this "Washington Post" poll that came out
that shows that those who see the spill as a disaster overwhelmingly want
criminal charges against BP, including 50 percent of Republicans want
criminal charges against BP. What does that tell us what to expect as
Congress returns and sees a clear field to beat up an obvious target in BP?
FINEMAN: Well, it's going to be interesting because that poll shows
Republicans want to do that too, the way it's gone so far is that the
Republicans have tried to blame Barack Obama for inattention, for failures
for this and that, but the public overall is focused more on British
Petroleum. I've been really amazed at how little BP has really been
focused on. It's all been Tony Hayward and the commercials and so on.
British Petroleum is the fourth largest corporation in the world.
It's based in the city of Westminster in London. It has 100-year history
of buying off politicians, beginning with Winston Churchill in 1925. It
has a quarter of a trillion dollars a year in annual revenues.
They view most governments that they deal with as appendages of their
The United States cannot be viewed as an appendage of British
Petroleum's enterprise, and that's the thing that Barack Obama, who isn't
really a populist by nature, and kind of shies away from taking a
confrontational stance has to understand, it's nice that Tony Hayward is
saying, hey, don't worry, we're going to pay all, quote, "legitimate
claims." You know, it's nice that they're going to get 1,000 boats out
there when only 100 are actually skimming oil.
But at some point we have to say, the United States has to say, we are
bigger than British Petroleum. And not many countries do say that.
OLBERMANN: If you are BP and is putting a feel-good commercial in the
middle of "World News" on ABC and buying sponsored links to manipulate
Google and Yahoo! searches, is that really going to solve this other
spewing problem for them? Can they-
OLBERMANN: -- can they suppress this anger even if perhaps the
president has not tapped it fully?
FINEMAN: Well, to make the obvious analogy, they can't cap that well
any more than they can cap the first one.
But a couple of things about the searches on Google and Yahoo! It's
not just that thing you showed there, Keith. It's not just the sponsored
link at the top. I was fooling around with it this afternoon. They're
buying the Google algorithm. They're not just buying that first thing up
FINEMAN: If you put in all kinds of other combinations and you do the
search, the top several responses you get in the un-highlighted area that's
supposedly the journalistic area also takes you directly to the BP page.
So I think there are questions to be asked about how that whole thing is
working, number one. And number two, I haven't done the exact
calculations, but I would say one single picture of an oiled pelican equals
100,000 hits on the BP sponsored page.
And by the way, the Twitter page for the real BP is not nearly as
popular as the quite acidic, sarcastic fake Twitter page about-for BP
which has many more-many more visitors to it.
OLBERMANN: BP world P.R., if I'm correct, off the top of my head.
Howard Fineman of "Newsweek" and MSNBC, turning on my softball and
hitting it out of the park there-I appreciate it. Thank you, Howard.
FINEMAN: OK, Keith.
OLBERMANN: None of this, of course, owes at all to the Bush/Cheney
administration. Ask any independent expert, like, say, Liz Cheney.
And the view from a helicopter above, what was the Deepwater Horizon
site just last Friday indicated to the trained eye, an oil slick that was
horizon to horizon, between 500 and 1,000 miles square, that was just on
More appalling images in tonight of the spill of its earlier victims
and the analysis of environmentalist Philippe Cousteau-next.
OLBERMANN: His is one of the best known names for environmental
concern, and this, says the White House energy adviser, is, quote, "The
biggest environmental disaster ever faced in this country." New images,
new estimates of dead animals and their poisoned homes tonight from the
Gulf assessed for us by Philippe Cousteau.
But none of it is his fault, ask his daughter. She said everything
except claiming we didn't even discover oil until last December.
What was Elton John doing singing at Rush Limbaugh's latest wedding?
Rush "makes jokes about Barney Frank's sexuality" Limbaugh. We have
exclusive video-not from the wedding but we'll just pretend it is.
And when you're a state senator in South Carolina, what do you say
after you said, "We already got one raghead in the White House, we don't
need a raghead in the governor's mansion," unquote? Apparently, you say
something a lot worse.
OLBERMANN: It's one thing to know that the nation's biggest
environmental disaster ever will take years to clean up.
But in our fourth story tonight, there is so much we do not know as
the BP oil slick only begins to slime its way through the Gulf's abundant
Environmentalist Philippe Cousteau joins me in a moment.
The difficulty of cleaning up this mess re-evaluated by the
government's point man of the spill, Admiral Allen, saying today that the
Coast Guard had trained four disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico,
but not one that rippled outward and broke up to this extent. Quoting, "No
one anticipated that this would spread across such an area. We're no
longer dealing with a monolithic spill. We're dealing with an aggregation
of hundreds of thousands of patches of oil. We're adapting to an enemy
that changes. As the spill changes, we need to change."
This will require far more vessels armed with skimmers, though Allen
did say that he was heartened by the 1,500 vessels currently involved in
the cleanup effort, most of them private craft.
Meantime, new numbers are expected soon on the early toll on wildlife.
Birds coated in oil may die of oil ingestion, of drowning, or exposure.
And we know BP has already tried to minimize this grim marker of the
The efforts to rescue animals must be, quote, "ramped up
significantly." That in a request to Admiral Allen from that man, Senator
David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana.
Now, let's bring as promised, environmentalist and the CEO of the
nonprofit organization EarthEcho International, Philippe Cousteau. Of
course, part of the legendary family of explorers and environmentalists.
Great thanks for your time tonight, sir.
PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, EARTHECHO INTERNATIONAL: Good to be here, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Deep underwater plumes of oil, and as we heard Admiral
Allen say, hundreds of thousands of patches of oil on the surface. Did BP
make this worse after the disaster by using those dispersants?
COUSTEAU: Well, it's a complicated issue, Keith. You know, most
certainly, the goal at the very beginning of the oil spill was to try and
keep as much oil from reaching the very sensitive wetlands that exist along
the coast of Louisiana, critical nurseries for larvae and fish and shrimp,
You know, 40 percent of the wetlands that exist in the entire 48
states are along the coast, the lower 48 states, along the coast of
Louisiana. However, by applying these chemical dispersants, I think there
was an idea that, you know, out of sight, out of mind might play a role
here-and that by applying them, much of that oil with a sink into the
This is unprecedented. This has never happened before. We've applied
900,000 gallons or more of this Corexit 9500.
And I think there was-there was a goal to actually take it away and
out of sight so that people might forget that it's there in the first
place, when it actuality, it just distributes down into the water column.
And we have to remember that there are a lot of animal that live
within the water column. It's a very important habitat and, in fact, the
largest migration of all animals that occur on the planet occurs every
night in the oceans when deep water animals rise to the surface and then
descend back, swimming through this toxic soup that I was able to see when
I went diving two weeks ago.
So, it's possible, very possible, that they have made the whole
problem worse and I think it's incumbent upon us to start doing the
research to understand exactly the scale and scope of the damage that's not
only happening along the Gulf Coast, but also within the water column.
OLBERMANN: From your own immersions in the toxic soup, what's your
greatest fear right now?
COUSTEAU: Well, I think my greatest fear is that we don't know. This
is an uncontrolled experiment. We've never had an oil spill with this
amount of oil coming into U.S. waters at this depth, a mile beneath the
surface. We don't know what impact the chemical dispersants are having.
All we know is that it's going to be very, very severe. And as I saw
when I dived into the Gulf, this oil is suspending down into the water
column-very likely that there are these purported plumes that
researchers are finding deep in the ocean that are spreading out throughout
the entire Gulf. I think what scares me the most, I know what scares me
the most, is that we just don't know the extent of the damage. What we do
know is that it will be extensive and that it's going to get worse before
it gets better.
OLBERMANN: If you were to be put in charge of this cleanup, how would
you prioritize? What would you want to do first?
COUSTEAU: Well, I think of course, as we all acknowledge, the most
important thing to do is to cap the well as soon as possible. On top of
that, what we need to be doing is collecting as much of the oil as we can
at the surface. But I think, you know, booms and skimmers and this type of
technology, which has advanced very little, if at all, in the last few
decades, underscores the fact that, you know, we can only typically, on
average, catch about 20 percent of the oil through booms and skimmers.
The reality is this highlights how little the technology has advanced.
We need to be investing in technology quickly. We also need to be doing
the science. This is going to cause tremendous amounts of damage.
We need to be understanding what's happening in the ecosystems, both
within the spill and outside of the spill, so we can do base line
comparative analysis later. You know, we can't stop all the damage, and we
need to understand now and begin restoration now. That's also critical.
OLBERMANN: Philippe Cousteau, environmentalist, CEO of EarthEcho
International-great thinks for your perspective and some of your time
COUSTEAU: Thanks very much.
OLBERMANN: Still, the most important fact about the disaster in the
Gulf, this happened on President Obama's watch, thus it is his fault, so
says Liz Cheney. And thus what happened on her father's watch must be his
fault-like, you know, 9/11.
OLBERMANN: Glenn Beck praises a book from the '30s by a woman he says
was, quote, "doing what we're doing now." And it turned out she was an
anti-Semite who wanted America to cut a deal with Hitler. That's what
Glenn's doing now? Who knew? Worst Persons ahead.
First, tonight's tweet of the day, night today's tweet of the night,
repeat winner from Don Millard, Otoolefan, "Breaking: BP now reviewing
season one of 'MacGyver.'"
Let's play "Oddball".
OLBERMANN: We begin in Gloucester, England with a 17th century
tradition updated for modern times. It's the Annual Shin Kicking
Championships. The rules are few and the objective is simple. Grab on to
the nearest drunk guy's soldiers and kick the living shin out of him.
Participants are allowed to stuff their pants with straw, which is a big
departure from the original sport, in which competitors used performance-
enhancing iron boots. The event was followed by more humane activities,
the crowd pleasing wedgy war, the swirly war and the president's ass
To Yong Yin (ph), South Korea. What's that on the television then?
Looks like a penguin. The good folks at the Egoland Aquarium have come up
with a cure all for a world gone mad. It's penguins playing soccer. It's
almost as good as the real sport. OK, I'll hear about that. Eleven of the
nation's most fearless and flightless birds, all sporting the red jerseys
in support of South Korea's other soccer team, the human one. The bird's
trainer hopes this gets fans excited about the World Cup. Looks like a
foosball table. It's alive. Someone let the foosball table come alive.
No word on how the score was kept in this wild card game. I notice
it's an empty net. Though the little guy there is known to bend it like
Living in denial; who could possibly think the disaster in the Gulf
owes in no part to the policies of the Bush/Cheney administration? Well,
Liz Cheney, for one. David Corn joins me next.
OLBERMANN: We've already laid out the case for calling this spill
Cheney's Katrina, after almost a decade of handing over this country bit by
bit to big oil. But in our third story tonight, his daughter now says not
only are his hands clean, so are those of his company. From almost day
one, progressive commentators on this news hour and elsewhere have
acknowledged the Obama administration's role in failing to the Deepwater
Horizon spill from occurring in the first place. Commentators on the
right, however, have been unable to concede even a drop of Bush/Cheney
Watch what happens when Arianna Huffington objects to Liz Cheney's
suggestion that this is solely President Obama's fault. Ms. Cheney
apparently utterly oblivious to the irony of denying her father's cronyism,
despite the fact she is on TV only because of her employment history, which
is working for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF FMR. VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: We have got now a
catastrophe on the Gulf Coast, a catastrophe that happened on this
administration's watch, which this administration is failing to clean up
and be responsive and lead, frankly. And it is a problem we're seeing with
this president across the board. A president with no-leadership --
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Right here, we have the
poster child of Bush/Cheney crony capitalism, Halliburton, involved in
this. We haven't said about that. They, after all, were responsible for
cementing the well. Here's Halliburton, after it defrauded the American
taxpayers hundreds of millions --
CHENEY: I don't know what planet you live on, but that's not Planet
Earth. It's not. What you're saying has no relationship to the facts.
HUFFINGTON: How can you say there's no relationship?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Halliburton was cementing the pipe.
CHENEY: Her assertion that Halliburton defrauded the U.S. government
HUFFINGTON: It did.
CHENEY: It's absolutely not true. It's absolutely not true.
HUFFINGTON: I'm so glad Politifact is going to be checking this. I'm
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Liz Cheney is a stone-cold liar. At least last check
rather, Politifact had not checked it. Media Matters, Think Progress have,
as have we. Ms. Huffington was being polite. Of course the company run
for years by Dick Cheney and now by his protege is up to its cement casings
in this spill. Even the Bush/Cheney Minerals Management Service blames 18
out of 39 offshore blowouts since 1996 to bad cementing, just one of the
many fine services offered by Halliburton, which also did the cementing
which is also being blamed for this 2009 spill off the Australian coast.
But defraud the U.S. government for hundreds of millions of dollars in
Iraq? Sorry, Arianna, but no, it was billions of dollars, in Iraq and
Afghanistan. According to Think Progress, in 2007 federal auditors
testified that Halliburton charged U.S. taxpayers 2.7 billion in overpriced
contracts or undocumented costs. Then there are the employees of
Halliburton subsidiary KBR, who actually pleaded guilty to fraud, theft,
taking kick-backs, et cetera. The Department of Justice, just this April,
suing KBR for, quote, "improper costs in Iraq."
Ms. Huffington polite enough not to mention exposing our troops to
toxic substances or the alleged rape cover-up or death by electrocution of
soldiers, including Staff Sergeant Ryan Mesa, in showers that were supposed
to be maintained by KBR. One Army investigator blaming KBR for, quote,
At this point, let's turn to David Corn, the Washington bureau chief
for "Mother Jones Magazine," and a columnist for PoliticsDaily.com. Good
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES": Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Liz Cheney, whose political career has revolved around
working directly for him or doing jobs she got in his administration,
denies that the administration her father was central to was one of
cronyism. It is-I guess it's weird, isn't it, that she didn't say, now,
nepotism, that's a different story.
CORN: Well, we all know that conservatives hate affirmative action
unless it involves hiring their own children.
OLBERMANN: The reality of course here is that MMS, the Minerals
Management Service, was packed to the gills with cronies of Dick Cheney.
His former intern-and I mean that sounds like this is hyperbole.
Literally, his former intern signed off on the report on which the Obama
administration relied to grant the waiver that permitted Deepwater Horizon
to start up. It's stupid. It's inexcusable of the Obama administration,
no doubt, to let that happen. But how can any rational observer argue that
the Bush/Cheney administration was not run of, run by, and run for big oil?
CORN: Keith, may I answer your question with a dramatic reading from
the Bush/Cheney energy task force report? I think you know. This is
chapter five, section five. The title is great. It's called, "The Key to
Environmental Protection and New Energy Production, 21st Century
Technology." They say-this is Dick Cheney in his report talking-
"advanced more energy efficient drilling and production methods practically
eliminate spills from offshore platforms."
And it goes on to say "examples of advanced technologies include
deepwater drilling technology that enables exploration and production of
oil and gas at depths over two miles beneath the ocean's surface."
I mean, right there, this report asks for more economic incentives for
drilling of this type. And that-you know, maybe Liz Cheney hasn't
gotten around in the last nine years to reading her father's report.
OLBERMANN: Well, clearly her father's report indicates, from that
excellent dramatic reading, that there's no oil spill because this couldn't
have happened, because they had the technology, because it's the 21st
century. But I want to, in turn, read to you from the minutes of the 2001
meeting of the Cheney task force, the oil and gas task force at the White
House, and they say-what do you know? There are no minutes.
We didn't see this as part of the clip from ABC yesterday, but Arianna
very clearly said, yes, the Obama administration shares the blame here.
Why is it impossible for Liz Cheney or anybody else to the right, and many
in the middle, for any of them to not do the same about the previous
CORN: It's not in her DNA, quite literally. I mean, would you bring
on Chelsea Clinton, who I'm sure is a fine person, to give analysis of what
went on during her father's administration? Liz Cheney's mission in life
seems to be to defend her dad, even more so than President Bush, from all
sorts of accusations. I guess a question I'd like to put to her is, in
eight years, in eight long years, did the Bush/Cheney crew do anything
wrong? Did they make any mistake? I wonder what she would say to that.
OLBERMANN: They hired her. David Corn of "Mother Jones," as we trade
set up lines back and forth. Great thanks, David.
CORN: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: He is Mr. Rush Limbaugh III. She is Mrs. Rush Limbaugh
IV. So the women are leading here. Funny that Elton John sang at their
wedding. I'll ask Michael Musto about that.
And he called the president a raghead and one of his own party's
candidates for governor a raghead, but he was only kidding. And what about
the part about us being at war with India? Worst persons ahead.
When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, on the shore, in the
wetlands, on the surface, the oil is obvious. Her guest, an expert with an
estimate of how much is below, trying to count the plumes of underwater oil
in the Gulf.
OLBERMANN: Could you really call the president and a candidate for
governor, quote, ragheads and then say something worse? Yes, you can.
Ahead in worsts.
First, 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. From wherever
he has been hiding, Rand Paul has emerged. The all seeing eye doctor has
returned to his favorite hobby, writing bizarre, almost antebellum pieces
for the "Bolling Green Daily News." You would have thought he would
learned to stop writing to that newspaper after the website PageOneKentucky
found his 2002 letter to its editor in which he came out against the Fair
Housing Act. In other words, in favor of a racist's right to keep the
black folk out of the neighborhood.
Nope, he didn't. He now has a new op-ed in "the Bolling Green Daily
News," which reads, in part, "for example, I am opposed to the government
telling restaurant owners they cannot allow smoking in their
establishments. I believe we as consumers can choose whether or not to
patronize a smoke-filled restaurant or do business with a smoke-free
alternative. Think about it. This overreaches now extending to mandates
about fat and calorie counts in menus. Do we really need the government
managing all these decisions for us?"
Frankly, Dr. Paul should have quit while he was still ahead and still
talking about what are today abstract, virtually hypothetical, mental
perambulations about parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He's now moved
into stuff that is far more tangible to the voters of 2010. Many of them
have been saved from the choice of working in a miasma of second hand smoke
or unemployment. Many of them have been able to resist that Mocha Choc
Whipped-chino once they realized Starbucks hadn't been telling them it was
His op-ed began with that touch of martyrdom that sometimes flickers
behind the otherwise blank stare in those eyes. "In the end, all that
remains for any of us is our reputation. Mine has been sullied over the
past week by lies and innuendo."
No, Dr. Paul, it hasn't. Your reputation has been sullied by your
ideas. I am expecting the next bit of government interference you will
oppose is the poison label on the box of rat poison.
OLBERMANN: Rush Limbaugh gets married and Elton John performs.
Performs what? That's next, but first, with a thank you to Helen Thomas
for doing the right thing and bowing out before I had to reluctantly put
her out this list, get out your pitchforks and torches, time for tonight's
worst persons in the world.
The bronze shared by those human teleprompters at Cluster Fox and
Friends. News actress Gretchen Carlson says, "some people are saying it's
somewhat similar and some people are saying perception is a problem,
because the president did not acknowledge the D-Day anniversary as it
passed this year, and instead was at a party inside of a theater. Some
say, again, this is a perception problem."
And some people say Gretchen Carlson is an anamatronic product of
Disney imagineering. The president, of course, went to Normandy for the
65th anniversary of D-Day last year, meaning he's one for two. President
Bush, remember him, Gretchen? He went in 2004. So he was one for eight.
The runner up, Lonesome Rhodes Beck. Held up and praised a book
supposedly outing communists in America called "The Red Network," written
by Elizabeth Dilling in 1934 and said, "this is a book-and I'm getting a
ton of these-from people who were doing what we're doing now. We now
are documenting who all these people are. Well, there were Americans in
the first 50 years of this nation that took this seriously, and they
Oops. Elizabeth Dilling also was an anti-Semite, a supporter of
Hitler. She blamed the Second World War on the Jews. She was an
advocating of making a deal with the Nazis, and a leader of the German
American Bund. After her side lost the war, she referred to President
Eisenhower as, quote, "Ike the Kike," unquote, and referred to President
Kennedy's program as, quote, ,"the Jew frontier."
Beck says she was, quote, doing what we're doing now. Ruh-roh. But
Beck has now explained it all away. Elizabeth Dilling was a rabid anti-
Semite, pro-Nazi, doing what you're doing now? "I don't know, because I
didn't look it up."
I had a dream the other night, and in the middle of it Glenn Beck
wanders in from nowhere, into the dream, he's painted his face with ketchup
and he's weeping uncontrollably. Well, I think it was a dream.
But our winner, State Senator Jake Knotts of South Carolina. First,
he won the hearts and minds of the heartless and mindless by saying of his
own parties would be Governor Nikki Haley, who is of Indian descent, "we
already have got one raghead in the White House. We don't need a raghead
in the governor's mansion."
Amazingly state senator Knotts has topped himself. His comments about
ragheads were, quote, in jest. Of course he then repeated them to
reporters and boasted, "this isn't the first time I have said it." He went
on to explain to "the Columbia Free Times," "Knotts says he believed Haley
has been set up by a network of Sikhs and was programmed to run for
governor of South Carolina by outside influences in foreign countries. We
need a good Christian to be our governor, he said. She's hiding her
religion. She ought to be proud of it. I'm proud of my god."
Knotts says he believes Haley's father was been sending letters to
India saying that Haley is the first Sikh running for high office in
America. He says her father walks around Lexington wearing a turban.
"We're at war over there," Knotts said.
We're at war in Lexington? Oh, he means India. We're at war in
India, with the Sikhs? Mr. Knotts clarified, "we're not at war with India,
just with," quote, "foreign countries." Sounds like he's at war with
reality. State Senator Jake Knotts, Republican, no neck, South Carolina,
today's worst person in the world.
OLBERMANN: According to his biographer, Rush Limbaugh believes gay
marriage is, quote, "culturally subversive." Saturday night, the famously
homophobic, gay baiting Limbaugh kicked off his fourth traditional marriage
serenaded by Sir Elton John. Anybody tell him the whole thing with Kiki
Dee only lasted the length of the record and the video? Our number one
story, we don't have a set list or pictures of the wedding. We do have
Michael Musto and a COUNTDOWN reenactment of sorts.
Limbaugh's fourth wife is Kathryn Rogers, reportedly a direct
descendent of President John Adams. She's also an event planner who is 26
years Limbaugh's junior. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Wedding singer Elton John, whose civil partnership is legally recognized in
England, is said to have received a million dollars to croon at the
Limbaugh reception. Although a Reuters story from last year lists Sir.
Elton's private party fee at two million dollars, and all money from
private shows is said to go to the Elton John Aids Foundation.
We requested clarification from Elton John's people, but did not get a
response. No truth to rumors that they didn't say, it was that Rush
Limbaugh? We also didn't get any wedding video. So we came up with our
own version of what the dance floor looked like.
Among the 400 guests at Saturday's Limbaugh affair, Karl Rove, Rudy
Giuliani, and baseball hall of famer George Brett. Since we also don't
have a million dollars, here's someone else covering Elton John.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, William Hung. "Village Voice" columnist
Michael Musto, author of the daily blog DailyMusto.com, and like me, he was
not invited to the wedding. Good evening.
MICHAEL MUSTO, "THE VILLAGE VOICE": Hi, Keith. By the way, William
was the only hung one at that party.
OLBERMANN: Boom boom. Even for a million dollars for charity, Sir
Elton John at Rush Limbaugh's wedding; was this some sort of community
service sentencing we didn't know about?
MUSTO: Yes, I think it was his punishment for duetting with Eminem,
or maybe for writing Hakuna Matata. It was certainly harsh punishment.
This was the most heinous scene since Elton himself married that German
woman in 1984. I mean, they had all the sexual heat of Kathryn Heigl and
Ashton Kutcher. Guess who was who.
OLBERMANN: Is it possible that Sir Elton took advantage of being
there to do something to befoul the punch bowl?
MUSTO: What was he, a club kid from the 1980s? What are you talking
OLBERMANN: Just thought it might have been his entree to spice up the
MUSTO: He should have done number two.
OLBERMANN: More of the guests at the wedding; Sean Hannity was there.
Fred Thompson was there. The Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who
was-officiated at the third Limbaugh marriage, was a guest this time,
despite the bad luck he obviously provided to the third marriage. Does
that sound like a fun crowd to you?
MUSTO: These people would have lynched me on-site. They would have
been throwing like lit matches at my polyester outfit. Clarence Thomas
would have been poking me with a pubic hair from his coke. Actually, it
sounds like fun. I would have slipped them all a roofie and hypnotized
them, you're all going to vote against Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I could have
OLBERMANN: Obviously, Rush Limbaugh is one of the bastions of
traditional marriage. This is fourth of them for him. He's a volume
marrier. What advice would you give him to make the fourth time a charm or
at least a non-disaster?
MUSTO: He's a bastion all right. I would say, just keep going with
this until you beat Zsa Zsa's record. Hurry and break this one up, because
for the next wedding, I can guarantee you Ricky Martin, the Gay Men's
Health Chorus, Radical Fairies, the Scientology Male Cheerleading Team. It
will be a gay-palooza.
OLBERMANN: What do you suppose the gifts look like here? What do you
give somebody for their fourth marriage at age 59 at least?
MUSTO: Something returnable. But I would have actually given him a
demo tape with a note, please book me for the divorce. I need the money,
I'm remodeling the bathroom. But instead I sent him a lump of doggy caca.
OLBERMANN: Something to put in the punchbowl. A source tells "People
Magazine" that the couple will be honey-mooning in Mexico, then going to
Africa, and there will not be a stop in the Dominican Republic.
Unfortunately, it's my understanding that they're coming back. But my
question about this itinerary, no adventure at Sandals?
MUSTO: You mean the resort?
OLBERMANN: They could party with Joran Van Der Sloot, fun, fun, fun.
No, no, no, joking. Mexico is perfect. That's where obviously Rush can
get some cheap Oxycontin. That sounds dirty. And Africa is where he can
go fight AIDS and adopt future wives. What he needs is a way to get
through customs with all that Viagra and with all the strap-ons in case it
OLBERMANN: Those-those-those-those are pop-ups you're
referring to, the things on the computers that you just referenced.
MUSTO: They're pop-ups, but not lately.
OLBERMANN: OK. I had another question, but for some reason, I just
forgot what it was.
MUSTO: I just think it's blood money, Keith. I think this is gross.
This is like if Helen Thomas took a million from the neo-Nazis and gave it
to the UJF.
OLBERMANN: Ultimately, what was Elton John doing there? How could
you rationalize that?
MUSTO: Well, even if he's giving it to charity-first of all-is
a charity that stops AIDS. No, it is. Elton is actually a pretty good gay
and he's done a lot for the causes. But this is kind of gross.
MUSTO: I was waiting for the transformation where he was going to
sprinkle fairy dust on Rush, and either come out of the closet or be gay
positive, but that hasn't happened. So Elton is just a whore.
OLBERMANN: Well, maybe we'll get an explanation later, and we can
readdress this at that point.
MUSTO: I'll be waiting by the phone.
OLBERMANN: The one and only Michael Musto, author "Fork on the Left,
Knife in the Back," a great thanks as always.
MUSTO: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: That's COUNTDOWN for this the 49th day of the Deepwater
Horizon disaster in the Gulf. I'm Keith Olbermann. Please join us again
for our special coverage of the second big primary night of the Spring.
Headline, Lincoln versus Halter in Arkansas. Tomorrow night, live at 8:00
and 10:00 Eastern, 5:00 and 7:00 Pacific. Until then, good night and good
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