Guests: Bob Cavnar, Rep. Ed Markey, Ben Jealous, Tony Yapias
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Day 86, today‘s new term, “lateral blowout.” Full testing of the stack cap greenlighted after a 24-hour delay at the insistence of the Obama administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. THAD ALLEN, U.S. COAST GUARD (RET.), NAT‘L INCIDENT CMDR.: We did this to make sure that we were taking due care, and in some cases, maybe an overabundance of caution to make sure that we didn‘t do any irreversible harm to the wellbore as we proceeded forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Translation, it could have blowed not up but blowed sideways! Good news on the relief wells. They are nearly there. Bad news on the relief wells. Their blowout preventers maybe as unreliable as the one on the Deepwater Horizon. Day 86 with Bob Cavnar and Congressman Ed Markey.
Minority Leader McConnell pushing more tax breaks for the rich and mighty. “There‘s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue, they increased revenue.” No evidence, except the congressional budget report estimate that as of 2005, the cuts have increased the deficit by $539 billion! Ezra Klein meets the new math, same as the old math.
Racism in the tea party. Sarah Palin uses the word “appalling” not about the racism, about the NAACP calling out the tea party for the racism. Our guest, NAACP president Benjamin Jealous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need to just come out and say, once and for all, there‘s no place for bigots or bigotry in our ranks, and then back that up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Yes, northern Iowa tea party sign, “Hitler, Obama, Lenin.”
The tamping down will begin any millennium now.
And witch hunt, a list of 1,300 supposed illegal aliens in Utah so specific, it lists 200 children and six pregnant women and their due dates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) are terrorized by this list.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: And maybe by this. Be afraid, be very afraid!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me? What did you say? Glenn Beck doesn‘t want to be president of the United States?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Is she the dean of women at Beck U.?
All the news and commentary now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m going to destroy the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. The Obama administration‘s apparent concern was that merely testing the new well cap could cause so much pressure, it might jeopardize the plugging of the well permanently.
This does not even address the effect of the pressure that could be caused
by actually using such a well cap.
In our fifth story tonight, the federal government seemingly content with the answers it has received from BP, tonight agreeing to allow so-called integrity testing to begin to see if the blown-out well can handle the high pressures of shutting down the flow of oil within it.
Crude still gushing into the gulf at this hour, Admiral Allen saying at tonight‘s briefing that the government gave its permission for testing to begin after a 24-hour delay, satisfied that BP‘s latest scheme does not raise undue risks that outweigh the potential reward. Testing to be conducted in stages, BP to slowly close each of the five outlets on the cap at six-hour intervals, stopping to monitor the results through seismic testing and with remote vehicles.
If all goes as planned, the testing to end after 48 hours to evaluate the results then. The risk of sealing the leak, even temporarily, that it could force the creation of other leaks further down the line, federal officials having been concerned that oil and gas could end up escaping through cracks in the wellbore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: We have never been sanguine or sure that we have known the condition of the wellbore and the casing pipe since the event occurred. As we‘ve gotten closer to having the potential to close in and do pressure readings on the capping stack (ph), we have had numerous discussions about what the current status is of the wellbore and the casings and the implications if they had been damaged or if there was any communication outside the wellbore that might bring oil or hydrocarbons into what we call the geological formation (INAUDIBLE) potentially to the subsea floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: But Admiral Allen adding tonight that a seismic survey showed the wellbore, which lies beneath the sea floor, was free of leaks, at least for the moment. Also on the sea floor, two relief wells closing in on the blowout Macondo well, one of them only 37 feet away. The concern there, that the blowout preventers on the two relief wells are no better than the blowout preventer that, well, failed to prevent the blowout.
And arguing for a moratorium, the interior secretary, Ken Salazar,
acknowledging a concern about blowout preventers that COUNTDOWN first
raised two months ago, Mr. Salazar now making the case that it is the
equipment that makes deepwater drilling inherently risky, not drilling
depth alone. Quoting from his memo from Monday, “Performance problems have
also been identified in recent weeks with the BOPs”—blowout preventers -
“on the relief wells that BP is drilling. The problems have been uncovered during new testing requirements that were imposed on the relief wells after the BP oil spill, thus providing more evidence that prior testing requirements were inadequate. It is unlikely that these problems are unique to BP.”
We‘re joined once again by oil and gas industry veteran Bob Cavnar, who now writes about the industry for Thehuffingtonpost, as well as his own Web site, Thedailyhurricane. Bob, good evening.
BOB CAVNAR, OIL INDUSTRY EXPERT: Hi, Keith. How are you?
OLBERMANN: A 24-hour delay in testing that‘s now under way tonight—the testing will be under way tonight at some point, presumably. Do you buy the explanations and the entire endeavor?
CAVNAR: No, I don‘t, Keith. And I don‘t understand this whole operation that they‘re undergoing right now. Sunday was the first time I heard the words “well integrity test.” There‘s never been any discussion about this in their public disclosure or in anything else that I‘ve seen. We did find the word “shut in” in the letter from Bob Dudley to Admiral Allen on Friday, but no talk about this. So I‘m completely confused as to why they‘re taking this risk of damaging the well further.
OLBERMANN: So you—and you have no even guess as to what they‘re doing or what they might be doing in telling us that they‘re doing this?
CAVNAR: Well, I have a guess. My guess is that they‘re hoping to be able to shut down at least some of the production from the well, so once they open it back up, or open it to the surface through the Q4000 and the Helix Producer, that it will be producing at a rate less than what it was open flow. So it‘ll be harder to measure what the total flow was from the well when it was completely uncontrolled.
OLBERMANN: So they‘re still doing—taking steps to indemnify BP, rather than the best available practices to shut down the disaster on the gulf floor.
CAVNAR: That‘s the only thing I can think of, Keith, because the whole reason for this cap was to allow two more outlets to produce to four ships, so they could capture between 60,000 and 80,000 barrels per day. This whole business of shutting in and shutting down the relief well just doesn‘t make any sense to me, at this point.
OLBERMANN: And 37 feet away. That sounds like a fairly close thing in terms even of drilling. Why did they—why did they shut that down, to accentuate the need to use the other process that covers up how much flow there really is?
CAVNAR: Well, I think there was a concern about the integrity of the casing, as we‘ve all talked about now for weeks. And if that casing does rupture down where that hole is closed, it could communicate with the relief well, which just accentuates the reason why they shouldn‘t be doing this at all. They should be continuing with the relief well to get this thing killed.
OLBERMANN: Can you describe what happened when they actually closed that ram device?
CAVNAR: What happened, Keith, they shut that ram in a couple of hours ago. In fact, it was right after Kent Welles‘s (ph) technical briefing. And that‘s done hydraulically. And it closes pretty quickly because it‘s a ram and it‘s a blind ram that closes off that entire opening. That diverts the flow to these side valves. There‘s two in the old legacy stack and there‘s two in this new stack. And they‘ve been gradually closing the side valves.
The only one we can see is—on the ROV feed is the one on the left, and it looks like only one is open. But you can‘t see the bottom valves, so I‘m not sure exactly how many they have closed.
OLBERMANN: All right, any idea why the government‘s delay could not have come before BP took the last cap off? I mean, why ask for a delay once the oil is gushing even more than it had been, about concerns that had been raised during “top kill” months ago?
CAVNAR: This sure seems on the fly. This is totally ad lib, at this point, that they didn‘t have all these steps worked out. And what tells me that this was not a planned step was that there was nothing in the communication written between the Coast Guard and BP all of these weeks before this operation was undertaken.
OLBERMANN: Well, industry veteran Bob Cavnar of Thedailyhurricane.com and Huffingtonpost, as always, thanks, Bob, if not for the outcomes, at least for the information.
CAVNAR: Great to talk to you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: For more on the so-called integrity testing, as well as the integrity of the blowout preventers, let‘s turn now to Congressman Ed Markey, the Democrat of Massachusetts, chairman of the global warming committee. Thank you again for your time tonight, sir.
REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Glad to be here. Thank you.
OLBERMANN: All right, last month, you had asked BP to provide information about the status of that wellbore. What did the company tell you?
MARKEY: Well, right now, I don‘t have any answer from them. I mean, the condition of the wellbore, its integrity, the integrity of the seabed around the wellbore, are critical to knowing how safe this procedure is that they are now conducting as an experiment at the bottom of the ocean.
It‘s a lot like putting your hand on top of a hose out in the back yard, and the more you keep your hand on the hose, the more pressure it puts on the hose. And if it‘s an old hose, it could spring a leak in another part of the hose because of the pressure. That‘s what‘s happening as this containment dome was put on and all the valves are tightened. So we have to be very careful that we don‘t cause a rupture in that well and we don‘t cause ruptures, actually, in the seabed around the bottom of that well.
OLBERMANN: That information about the wellbore—did the administration get any of it, do you know?
MARKEY: I don‘t know that. But I did ask for it. I believe that Congress should have the information. I believe the American public should have the information. You should have the information. This should be something that is highly transparent because the risks are great.
Obviously, BP continues to try to limit its liability. The quicker it can cap this well, the sooner it limits its liability because it pays per barrel, per day that goes out into the ocean. But we have to make sure that the livability of the gulf is made paramount and that no shortcuts are taken, that the time is given to this procedure so that the law of unintended consequences is not invoked.
OLBERMANN: You heard our guest expert, Bob Cavnar, on this, who‘s not convinced that what‘s being done now is designed to most rapidly seal off the well, but that the last 24 hours may have been to some degree a diversion designed to, in fact, limit the capacity of outside experts or courts to find out just how much oil was spilled. Do we have any counter to his professional expertise?
MARKEY: Well, I think, ultimately, it is important for us to know whether or not it‘s 35,000, 45,000, 55,000 or more barrels per day because the fine, if it‘s gross negligence, is $4,300 per barrel per day, and that could total up to $6 billion or $8 billion. Not having actually an accurate measurement ultimately will limit our ability to be able to sure that BP pays the full fine that it should for this damage which it has caused in the Gulf of Mexico.
OLBERMANN: The issue of the new blowout preventers and the fact that now the thought is, Well, maybe these blowout preventers are not going to be any better than the blowout preventer was on Deepwater Horizon to begin with—do you have confidence, based on Secretary Salazar‘s memo, that the relief well blowout preventers would be capable of withstanding the pressure of the oil being redirected from the blown-out well?
MARKEY: Well, when Transocean actually conducted their own testing of blowout preventers, it determined that 45 percent of them fail. And so there‘s a reason again to be apprehensive, to be cautious as we‘re moving forward. Nothing is guaranteed. We can be hopeful, but that‘s it. We have no guarantees that any of this is going to work out well, which is why we have to be exceedingly careful that we don‘t do more damage as we try to solve this problem.
OLBERMANN: And this, of course, begs the consideration of what to do about possible future problems in the gulf and in other deepwater drilling areas. Once again, the administration has tried for a moratorium on drilling. We‘ll see how the courts handle this one. The last one, they stepped on it. Is it necessary to have a moratorium when there are still questions about 45 to 50 percent of the blowout preventers on the deepwater wells?
MARKEY: Lookit, there‘s 33 rigs out there. Transocean has 10 of them. Transocean is a Swiss-registered company that works out of the Marshall Islands and had a Norwegian company doing the safety check on the Deepwater Horizon that sank to the bottom of the American Gulf of Mexico. And so we have to be very careful here.
The only thing that‘s worse than one rig at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico would be a second one. And that‘s why caution is very important and why $100 million was set aside to take care of the people who work on those 33 out of 1,000 manned rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. But those 33 are out in the ultra-deep water. We have to make sure that they‘re also ultra-safe.
OLBERMANN: So if the Transocean blowout preventers have improved, then we‘re only facing the prospect of two or three more of these, rather than four or five!
MARKEY: We really are in an area that humanity has never been before.
MARKEY: No person has ever been down that deep in the ocean, 5,000 feet. No experiment like this has ever been conducted before from dispersants to blowout preventers and trying to cap a well at this depth. The one in Mexico, the one in Australia, they were both in shallow water. This is in 5,000 feet of water. And I think that Admiral Allen, Secretary Chu, Marcia McNutt (ph), who is running the USGS, United States Geological Service, are wise in making BP slow down so that we‘re very sure each step of the way that we don‘t turn this into an even more catastrophic event.
OLBERMANN: See if the Gulf Coast judges agree with you. Congressman Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, as always, great thanks, sir.
MARKEY: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
OLBERMANN: A brief note about something we announced last night pertaining to the area. The National Association of Free Clinics will be holding a two-day health clinic in New Orleans coinciding with the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, taking place on August 31st and September 1st. Volunteers, medical and otherwise, and money very much in need for this free clinic. We should note that the clinic is to serve those who have no health insurance, a problem of particular urgency in that gulf area right now. You can donate money, register as a patient, register as a volunteer at Freeclinics.us. And we thank you.
The latest Republican defense of tax cuts for the rich—no evidence, says Mitch McConnell, that the Bush cuts cut revenues, unless you count the CBO estimate that they added more to the deficit than two wars and an economic downturn combined. Ezra Klein next on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: Today he pushed for more tax cuts, claiming there‘s no evidence the Bush cuts decreased revenues—you know, besides that CBO estimate that they had already increased the deficit by more than $500 billion by 2005. Its president on the NAACP‘s unanimous passage of a bill condemning the racism in the tea party. Somehow, something got through and stuck a nerve, his wild rationalization of his tasteless exploitation of the late George Steinbrenner. And—what?
OLBERMANN: It‘s now become a virtual GOP cotillion, Republicans coming out in all their fiscal discipline finery and doing the tax cut dance. But in our fourth story tonight, the numbers simply do not add up, and the math further shows that unemployment benefits literally do more to help an economy than any tax cut. Ezra Klein joins me in a moment.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell joined the delusional chorus most recently with this. “There‘s no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”
Senator McConnell was referring, of course, to Senator Kyl‘s view that new spending must be offset with a spending cut, while tax cuts require no such offsets. Senator Judd Gregg has also chimed in. “Makes a lot of sense because, you know, when you‘re raising taxes, you‘re taking money out of people‘s pockets. When you‘re spending money, you‘re spending money that is—it‘s not the same thing because it‘s growing the government, so I tend to think that the tax cuts should not have to be offset.”
Now, who can argue with that? But this graphic shows the projected deficit from 2009 through 2019 using estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. I know this looks like the bottom of the gulf, but you see the red portion, by far the largest part? That is the projected effect of the Bush tax cut on the deficit over the next nine years if those tax cuts were to be extended. The smaller yellow portion at the top? That represents the projected effect of two wars on the deficit.
The dark blue portion at the very bottom is the projected effect of the economic downturn on the deficit. That even smaller tiny, kind of light blue portion more towards the middle? That‘s the projected effect of various recovery measures on the deficit, including the $700 billion stimulus package about which Republicans have howled non-stop 24/7.
Let‘s bring in “Washington Post” staff writer, “Newsweek” magazine columnist, MSNBC contributor Ezra Klein. Good evening, Ezra.
EZRA KLEIN, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: This whole conversation arose out of GOP concern about how extending unemployment benefits increases the deficit unless you have some sort of, as McConnell and Kyl put it, offset. But is there an actual quantifiable reality regarding the jobless benefits and how they affect the deficit compared to tax cuts?
KLEIN: Sure. They—well, number one, the unemployment benefits, if you extend them, will cost about $30 billion. If you extended all of the tax cuts, it‘d be, if I remember correctly, $3.28 trillion. So the two are very different.
But then on the other side, you have the stimulus of the two measures, right? One thing that Republicans have said over and over is that tax cuts are important for stimulus. That‘s how McConnell thinks they pay for themselves.
But the fact of the matter is, Mark Zandi, who is an adviser to the McCain campaign, says for every dollar you spend on tax cuts, on the Bush tax cuts, you get .32 cents—or actually, 32 cents of stimulus. For every dollar you spend on unemployment benefits, you get $1.60-something. That‘s because people who are unemployed spend their money, while people who—tax cuts that are tilted towards the wealthy tend to go into savings and don‘t stimulate the economy at all.
OLBERMANN: Is McConnell even technically correct in that sentence? He said the Bush tax cuts did not reduce revenue, and meanwhile, the congressional estimate was that they just added $500 billion to the deficit. Are these just two ways of saying the same thing, or are they as non-connected as McConnell would have us believe?
KLEIN: I don‘t quite understand McConnell‘s statement. This is an old type of orthodoxy, but it tended to be something that serious Republicans disavowed. You can go back—the Atlantic “business channel” today had a good list of this. Bush‘s economic advisers over and over and over again disavowed this position. They said, Listen, nobody thinks that tax cuts pay for themselves. They just don‘t do it. And we can‘t be caught saying that because people won‘t take us seriously if we do.
And so McConnell sort of threw a wrench in them by hewing to this. And this can be a problem for them, right? Republican have been talking a lot lately about the importance of market confidence, right? We need the market to believe that we are going to pay back our debt and our deficit. Well, when the market hears Republicans saying that we don‘t have to offset tax cuts, and in fact, we sort of think they probably just pay for themselves, even though it‘s impossible to find any evidence that they, in fact, do, how does that make the market feel?
This is why Bush‘s economists were careful about this sort of thing because you need the market to believe that the people who are running the show know how to run the show.
OLBERMANN: Well, if the numbers are as compelling and as clear as they would seem to be, why is it still such an argument? And never mind the Republicans for a moment and motives that might, you know, lead to spending cuts or to some ability to run on this crazy idea as you‘ve outlined it—but why do some Democrats still need convincing to go for the extension of the unemployment benefits?
KLEIN: So the extension was real close. The only Democrat—the Democrat who killed it was Ben Nelson. He was the only Democrat to vote against it, and it would have been passed if not for the vacancy in Senator Byrd‘s seat. So generally speaking, Democrats have been pretty together on this. Nelson is saying that you need to pay for the unemployment insurance using unspent stimulus funds, which—the analogy I‘ve used on your show before is sort of bailing water from one part of the boat into another. What Nelson would do is take stimulus and make it into relief.
There‘s an argument for doing that if you don‘t think the economy needs more stimulus. I do, but you can argue that point. The point that you can‘t argue is that if you care about the deficit, as Nelson says he does and other Republicans say they do, that, A, you don‘t need to pay for tax cuts, or B, that they will reduce the deficit once you pass them into law. Those things simply aren‘t true.
OLBERMANN: Ezra Klein of “The Washington Post,” “Newsweek” and MSNBC, taking time off from his “Top Chef” viewing to join us this evening. Thank you, Ezra.
KLEIN: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: The condescension and arrogance of the tea party knows no limit. The NAACP condemns racism in the group, not even suggesting that it‘s the primary motive of the group. Yet the “Tea Party Express” outgoing chairman says the NAACP makes more money off of race than any slave trader ever. President Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP joins us.
OLBERMANN: The NAACP calls out tea party racism. There seems to be genuine shock in the tea party, you know, like there was genuine shock when the Titanic sank. First, the sanity break and the “Tweet of the Day.” I‘m at @Keitholbermann, by the way, if you want to follow. This is from Sleepover Rover. “Cheney‘s statement says he‘s thankful for his care at the hospital over the years. Yes, that government health care is not bad, is it.” They‘re also good if you accidentally get sprayed with bird shot.
Let‘s play “Oddball.” We begin on the Internet, where this group of high hooligans appears to have stolen Paul Bunyan‘s skateboard. Ironically enough, this thing is named the Big Skateboard. It‘s nearly 37 feet long, and it‘s great for picking up the kids in an extreme way. Let‘s watch one of the skaters attempt to do something gnarly. He starts down the hill, approaches the jump and—good-bye! Danger Dan seems to be all right, but his hopes of getting giant skateboard hill riding into the X-Games has just been wiped out.
Let‘s go shopping at Conseger (ph), Norway, where the deals on moose food are just too good to pass up. Hello! Running through the front window, the loose moose galloped up and down the aisles. Eventually, he was stopped in his track by the model on the Moosehead Beer Label. Sex sales. Eventually left in utter frustration when a clerk asked him where the flying squirrel was.
Finally, to Australia, for the Oddball wedding of the week. This couple has decided the best way to take the proverbial plunge is to do it under water. Some traditional marriage vows are for landlubbers. They wrote their own vows. Let‘s listen in on some of the more heartwarming moments.
Very touching. Still unclear why they decided to hold the ceremony underwater, but safe to assume there was not a dry eye in the house.
The president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, on his organization‘s resolution condemning racism in the Tea Party, next on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: As the NAACP passes a resolution condemning racist elements within the Tea Party, Tea Partiers insist they‘re not racist, and to prove it, one of the movement‘s leaders accuses the NAACP of making, quote, “more money off of race than any slave trader ever.” In our third story, as one Tea Party defender puts it, this kind of name calling is destructive, not the racist bigoted remarks, the resolution calling out the Tea Party for such racist, bigoted remarks. NAACP President Ben Jealous will join us.
NAACP‘s resolution calling to repudiate the racism of the Tea Party passed unanimously at the group‘s convention in Kansas City, prompting the half-governor of Alaska to opine on her Facebook page, “the charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling, and is regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand. Thankfully, the Tea Party movement is not racist or motivated by racism. It is motivated by love of country and all that is good and honest about our proud and diverse nation.”
That woman is an idiot, even on Facebook. That motivation illustrated here by the North Iowa Tea Party. The group creating a billboard that, while hardly explicitly racist, compares President Obama to Hitler and Lenin and is accompanies by the statement, “radical leaders prey on the fearful and naive.” The billboard has since been papered over..
Meanwhile, a St. Louis Tea Party group is calling on the IRS to revoke the NAACP‘s tax exempt status. Michelle Malkin calling the resolution a smear-fest against the Tea Party. And the embattled RNC Chair, Michael Steele, without naming the NAACP, also defending the Tea Party by labeling recent statements as, quote, destructive. “Tea Party activists,” he said, “are a diverse group of passionate Americans who want to ensure that our nation returns to founding principles. Enough with the name calling.”
To elevate discourse, enter the former chairman of the Tea Party Express, Mark Williams. As Think Progress reports, Mr. Williams‘ previous track record includes calling President Obama a, quote, Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and racist in chief,” calling the Muslim God Allah “a terrorist monkey god,” to which Tea Party Express told “Talking Points Memo” Mr. Williams bigoted language, quote, “doesn‘t have anything to do with the Tea Party Express.” Just leaders. But if Michael Steele says enough with the name calling, Mr. Williams argues it‘s actually the NAACP that is acting bigoted here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK WILLIAMS, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: You‘re dealing with people who are professional race-baiters, who make a very good living off of this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It‘s time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history, where they belong with all the other vile, racist groups that have been emerged in our history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: On National Public Radio, that liberal bastion, no less.
As promised, joining me now, the president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous.
Thanks for some of your time tonight, sir.
BEN JEALOUS, NAACP PRESIDENT: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: All right, you heard it. What is your response to Mr.
Williams‘ allegations there?
JEALOUS: (INAUDIBLE) What we did is we said, repudiate the racists in your ranks, repudiate the acts of bigotry. We‘ve sat here and we‘ve watched as you‘ve carried these vile signs. We‘ve sat here and we‘ve watched these vile statements. We‘ve sat here and we‘ve watched as you‘ve called civil rights icons and congressmen like John Lewis the “N” word and Barney Frank the “F” word.
And what we haven‘t heard—and I‘ll tell your folks the first time, because of Mike Steele‘s crazy comment—what we haven‘t heard is them come out and say it. I‘ve sat down and had lunch with Mike Steele multiple times, and Mike, please, come out and say something about this racism. And he never does. You know, just a little kind of nod here, a little thing there. Come out and say, there is no space for bigotry in the Republican Party. There is no space for bigotry in the Tea Party. That‘s what they need to do.
Just say, we disavow these acts and we disavow the people who do them.
Is it that hard?
OLBERMANN: Do you think that what you passed was actually kind of moderate, because it struck me that one of the points that you emphasized was that the Tea Party is not a racist movement, but is merely tolerating racism and bigotry by its members. I thought that was kind of mild.
JEALOUS: Look, we—this is not about party. You know, racism isn‘t about party. It‘s about what‘s moral and what‘s right. And it‘s possible for people to be in the Tea Party and, you know, be in the NAACP. I had an NAACP member who‘s a Tea Party member come up to me after my speech, put his arm around me and say, thank you. I know the space for me in the NAACP. I belong to the Tea Party in Texas, but I‘ve been beginning to feel as if there‘s not space for me there. Thank you for speaking up and making sure there will always be a place for people like me in the Tea Party.
That‘s what we do as the NAACP. We‘re not in this for party, we‘re in this for what‘s right and what‘s moral.
OLBERMANN: Was this considered a year ago, as this thing sort of mushroomed out of nowhere, blossomed out of nowhere? Was there a thought that you needed to say something as an organization last year? And if not, why take the time that you did to say something?
JEALOUS: We come together once a year for this process. We‘ve been doing it for 101 years. People come from all over the country. There‘s a whole process for months that leads up to it. This was—this resolution was brought to us by people here in the state of Missouri who were deeply disturbed, you know, feeling attacked, feeling slandered, and also knowing that the Council of Conservative Citizens, the descendent of the White Citizens Council, a group that says blacks are not equipped to participate in democracy, which is based in St. Louis, has been bragging about their influence in the Tea Party, has been encouraging people to get more involved in the Tea Party, talking about their representation in the Tea Party.
And so knowing that that‘s going on in their state, they said, please, try to get Dick Armey to stand up and just say, there‘s no space for racist in our party. There‘s no space for people who hold up these vile signs in our party. There‘s no space for people who spit on congressmen, like Congressman Clyburn, who is also in our party.
OLBERMANN: Melissa Harris-Lacewell was on the show the other day talking about this and this measure, and she made what I thought was a great point. Do you think that the people who are doing this in the Tea Party, who may be doing racist things, do not truly believe that they‘re doing racist things? That their idea of racism is what they saw on newsreels from Selma in the ‘60s?
JEALOUS: It‘s possible that some of them don‘t realize that, but the Council of Conservative Citizens and StormFront.org, which David Duke always promotes, a big site that tracks violent white supremacists, clearly know that they‘re racist, and they clearly know that they love the Tea Party. They say that they‘re in the Tea Party. They‘re promoting and encouraging people to join.
You know, we got death threats at our office in Los Angeles today. And, you know, if there aren‘t violent racists in the Tea Party, then why are there people calling threatening to kill us about speaking out about violent racism in the Tea Party?
OLBERMANN: I don‘t mean to laugh, but it does sort of rather prove your point, rather self-evidently. Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, great thanks, and continued success to you, sir.
JEALOUS: Thank you, sir.
OLBERMANN: In Utah, more subtle, perhaps more dangerous. A list of 1,300 supposed illegal immigrants, supposedly compiled by ordinary citizens, but so detailed it looks like it could be government information.
You thought what Limbaugh said about George Steinbrenner yesterday, the day he died, was that awful? Wait until you hear today‘s rationalization. We‘ll deconstruct it.
And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, Rick Barber loses, despite the endorsement of his psychotic episode George Washington hallucination?
OLBERMANN: A mysterious list of 1,300 alleged illegal aliens distributed in Utah, so detailed it includes the due dates for the pregnant women. That‘s next, but first, get out your pitchforks and torches, time for tonight‘s Worst Persons in the world.
The bronze to Sharron Angle, Republican and Tea Party candidate for the Senate from Nevada. On Monday, she began an interview on Fixed News by saying, “well, first of all, Neil, it‘s great to be on your show to talk about this campaign against Harry Reid. Who needs 25 million, and I have been saying I only need a million people to send 25 dollars.” Today, “Christian Broadcasting” asked Ms. Angle why she didn‘t go on “Meet the Press” or “This Week.” “Will they let me say I need 25 dollars from a million people, go to SharronAngle.com, send money? Will they let me say that?”
Thank you Sharron Angle. Fox News, the televised Republican fund-raising channel. Confirmed.
Runner up, Robin Fatwera (ph), made a video promoting Lonesome Rhodes Beck for president. I have to warn you, she doesn‘t know much about video, makeup, eyebrows or how close to get to the camera.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me. What did you say? Glenn Beck doesn‘t want to be president of the United States? Neither did George Washington and look how that turned out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: You know, Senor Wences died 11 years ago, but it‘s nice to see that his work hand lives on.
But our winner, Rush Limbaugh, again. This is what he said yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: George Steinbrenner has passed away at age 80. That cracker made a lot of African-American millionaires. George Steinbrenner, the classic capitalist. Everybody around him became wealthy. Like most successful capitalists, he made the people around him wealthy, and a lot of African-American millionaires along the way. And at the same time, he fired a bunch of white guys as managers, left and right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: After Americans of all political stripes blanched at his inhuman timing, let alone his point, the truly offended party was, of course, Limbaugh. He e-mailed Michael Calderon of Yahoo! News. I‘ll respond and translate as necessary. “The only thing I can remember the media and the left ever saying about Steinbrenner was that he was an evil, temperamental dictator who made illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon and consorted with hoodlums.”
Your memory loss, sir, should not be mistaken for a record of actual events.
“This is my stock and trade.” Oh, what‘s he going to stay next, his stock and trade, slander, libel, racism, sexism, degradation of the human spirit, Viagra?
“This is my stock in trade—illustrating the absurd by being absurd. Two weeks ago, a DOJ whistle blower revealed that the Obama-Holder Department of Justice ordered line attorneys to drop a 2008 voter intimidation case against the new Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. The line attorney, J. Christian Adams, said the case was a slam dunk, and we knew it was. There was video evidence.”
J. Christian Adams is not a whistle blower. He is a veteran right wing political activist and hack. And the suit was downgraded from criminal to civil on January 7th, 2009, by the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush.
“In the past two weeks, the president of the NBPP, Malik Zulu Shabazz, has been in the media attacking white crackers. One of the NBPP members from the Philly incident, Kink Samir Shabazz, appeared at a rally and suggested that the blacks would only be free when all the crackers were dead and further said that killing cracker babies was called for. No one in what is called the mainstream media has condemned or even reported any of this, though it has been all over Fox News and talk radio and many Internet blogs.”
This is probably because the New Black Panther party apparently consists of three guys. America is at far greater risk from the Christian Minstrels. If we‘re supposed to report on every impotent idiot who says hateful, racist things, all news broadcasts everywhere would be entirely about Rush Limbaugh.
So, he continued, “George Steinbrenner dies, and I being absurd to illustrate absurdity make my comments pointing out that this cracker created many African-American millionaires and fired a bunch of white managers to establish his cred.” A quick bit of research suggests that before 1995, when the average baseball salary crossed a million dollars—that made them all millionaires—Steinbrenner created millionaires out of 28 of his players, maybe 27. Only seven of them were African-Americans.
“Simple to understand and even appreciate, if—if—if, one listens to my show. Media Matters from America doesn‘t listen, but they purposely distort the things I say and the reporters who then quote MM do not ever listen to my show, print the erroneous take.” If only the gullible and the diseased listened to your show. What you call the erroneous take sane people call the diagnosis.
I hesitate to do this again, because while I‘m sure he‘s the worst, I‘m not confident he‘s still human. Rush Limbaugh, today‘s Worst Person in the World.
OLBERMANN: Tonight, there is good news for the Utah State legislators working on copy cat legislation that would mirror Arizona‘s Papers Please Immigration Law. An anonymous vigilante group has beaten you to the punch. In our number one story, a, quote, concerned group of American citizens in Utah has a list of 1,300 alleged illegal immigrants living in their state and they are demanding that these people be deported. The list of names was sent to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement Office in April. The concerned group provided names, addresses, birth dates, and phone numbers of 1,300 people, which it determined to be in this country illegally.
The group demanded quick action, because, quoting the cover letter, some of the women on the list are pregnant at this time and steps should be taken for immediate deportation. Monday, news outlets began to receive an updated list. According to the “Salt Lake Tribune,” the new list features 31 Social Security Numbers, the names and dates of birth of 201 children, and the due dates of six pregnant women.
Almost all of the 1,300 surnames listed are of Hispanic origin. As for their collection method, the vigilante group explains “this list is a result of hard work by a large force of tax-paying citizens, over the course of many months, who live throughout the state of Utah. Our group observes these individuals in our neighborhoods, driving in our streets, working in our stores, attending our schools, and entering our public welfare buildings. We then spend the time and effort needed to gather information, along with legal Mexican nationals, to infiltrate their social network and help us obtain the necessary information we need to add them to our list.”
Our NBC affiliate in Salt Lake has spoke to the one man in this list who admitted he is in the country illegally and another woman who told them, quote, “I have my papers. Why did they put me on that list.”
I‘m joined now by Tony Yapias, a community activist in Salt Lake City. He also hosts his own radio show. Mr. Yapias, thank you for your time tonight.
TONY YAPIAS, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: You, too, have spoken to people on this list. What are they saying to you?
YAPIAS: They‘re terrorized. They‘re very afraid. I‘ve been getting calls all day long with regards to what should they do? Should they move from the address where they‘re at, go somewhere else, stay with families? So this has really had a tremendous impact in our community.
OLBERMANN: The governor of Utah has asked state agencies to investigate if the state‘s government allowed private information to be released improperly and to contribute to this list, either inadvertently or in some sort of direct form. One, do you believe that‘s happened here? And two, do you have any evidence if that has happened here?
YAPIAS: I believe, based on the information that‘s been provided, that this information came from a state agency. Primarily a social service agency, where Medicaid, or some certain social information was taken with regards to the family‘s not only status, but also to the whole family. So, based on the list that we‘ve looked at, and the phone calls that we made to the families, it appears that it, in fact, comes from a database, not from these groups, as they say, that they‘ve been watching them in their streets and all that. It‘s much too sophisticated of a list to be put together this way.
OLBERMANN: I imagine every piece of that list is chilling to see it. I can only apologize for anybody who might have done something like this to a group of people who are in this country trying to work hard and live right. But one thing particularly just freaked me out about this. The idea that there were due dates for the six pregnant women. How on Earth would that information have been obtained?
YAPIAS: Well, again, I mean, there‘s—we‘ve eliminated every agency where we think this information would come from. And the only place it goes to where they would provide this type of information would be a social service agency, where they were getting some services from them. And this is for their citizen child, not for themselves, because they don‘t qualify for services.
OLBERMANN: Is there anything—wherever the information came from, is there anything about the fact of this list that is illegal in your estimation?
YAPIAS: Well, I mean, we‘ve been talking to some legal experts. I mean, there‘s a HIPAA violation. There‘s all kinds of different state and federal violations, potentially, in this. So we commend—I commend the governor for taking immediate action upon making the request to begin an investigation. He immediately asked the agencies to do that. So we appreciate that, the fact that he didn‘t take—it didn‘t take him—I don‘t think he winked at it. He just said, look—he recognized the severity of it and how important it was.
And further, we know that there are some legal families, permanent resident families who are impacted in this. And when they found out they were on the list, imagine the shock they got.
OLBERMANN: The Immigration and Customs people have confirmed they‘ve received the list. They‘re not going to comment on whether or not they are using it. Are you concerned that they might actually use it?
OLBERMANN: Well, yes. That‘s the main concern of all 1,300 people that are on the list. But, you know, the group waited a couple of months. Remember, this was sent April 4th, and it appears they were frustrated that ICE didn‘t take care of the business, I guess, as they call it, and that‘s why they decided to send it to media and everyone else, to make sure that now, this time, they can do something about it. We‘re hoping they won‘t take action on that, because they haven‘t committed a crime, per se, just by working here.
OLBERMANN: And as the governor responded, correctly, the media has responded correctly? Nobody has made this list public, but are you worried that might yet happen? What happens if the list gets out through the media?
YAPIAS: It is. That‘s the biggest concern. Because whoever the individual or the individuals who participated in this, if that gets online in the way that our technology works today, it could be in seconds it could be online and you could have potentially, individuals supporting these anti-immigrant groups that could go to their homes, to their residences, and it could create a lot of problems.
OLBERMANN: Tony Yapias, the former director of the Utah Office of Hispanic, now a local radio show host in Salt Lake City, many thanks for your time on such an extraordinary day. Thank you.
YAPIAS: Thank you. >
OLBERMANN: That is COUNTDOWN for July 14th. It‘s 2,631st day since President Bush declared mission accomplished in Iraq, the 2,220th day since he declared victory in Afghanistan, the 86th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf. I‘m Keith Olbermann in New York, good night and good luck.
Now, to explain how this country can possibly survive if a man endorsed by a guy in a 5 dollars and 99 cent George Washington wig can‘t even win his own party‘s primary anymore, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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.>