Guests: Arianna Huffington, Matt Yglesias, Ken Vogel, Dr. Jay Zwally
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
There has been a Republican truth sighting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, MODERATOR, “MEET THE PRESS”: You‘re saying extend the tax cuts that aren‘t paid for and cut the deficit. How is that a consistent credible message?
REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA: Well, I understand the credibility problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: But the Republicans still push the balanced budget amendment, no deficits, no tax increases, no end to the Bush tax cuts. So, out which of orifice are you intending to pull the money?
The phony outrage over the first lady‘s vacation and the rising tied of religious intolerance against Muslims and their places of worship, even though they‘ve had a place of worship inside the Pentagon since right after 9/11. Plus, the vacation story gives us an excuse to show this old video of the really up close Bush family safari.
If last year‘s bad weather convinced conservatives there was no climate change, what does this convince them? As another heat wave suffocates the east, in Greenland, it‘s—release, rotation, splash!
Sarah Palin‘s latest heat flash.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN ®, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Oh, my goodness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Filming her reality TV series, she encounters the reality of an Alaskan who doesn‘t like her and she gets all elite-y (ph) on her.
While Sharron Angle convenes a Tea Party for doctors—though not all the guys who dressed up as doctors turned out to be doctors.
And it turns out that in college, Rand Paul tried to kidnap a woman and force her to take hits off a bong and worship the god “Aqua Buddha” at a creek. Part of the Paul campaign response, “When Dr. Paul was at Baylor, he competed on the swim team.”
All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAND PAUL ®, KENTUCKY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Good luck on that one!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
Sick of Democrats accusing them of having nothing to improve the economy but (AUDIO BREAK) from the Bush era, Republicans are planning to introduce instead a bold new initiative from the Gingrich era.
Our fifth story tonight: it‘s called the balanced budget amendment, but its real objective is to protect the rich from tax cuts. And without those tax cuts, Republicans will not tell us how they would balance the budget. Even if they do give us a few hints, as you‘ll see.
It was Republican Senator Jim DeMint telling the newspaper, “The Hill,” that when Congress returns after the August recess, he and his colleagues, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, will introduce a resolution to amend the U.S. Constitution. The balanced budget amendment also pushed by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich as part of the 1994 Contract with America, would prevent the federal government from spending more than it takes in.
But—and there is the rub—it also has the clause barring any tax increases without a two-thirds vote in each chamber of Congress. Gingrich failed to pass it. President Clinton raised taxes, balanced the budget, and created 22 million jobs.
How many would Republicans balance the budget considering that they‘re currently pushing to renew $700 billion worth of Bush tax cuts for the rich? House Republican Leader Boehner refused to say despite the prolong attempt by David Gregory yesterday on “Meet the Press” to get him to do so.
We now join that attempt already in progress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY: You‘re not being responsive to a specific point, which is:
How can you be for cutting the deficit and also cutting taxes as well when they‘re not paid for?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: Listen, you can‘t raise taxes in the middle of a weak economy—
GREGORY: But do you agree the tax cuts cannot be paid for?
GREGORY: The tax cuts are not paid for, is that correct?
BOEHNER: I am not for raising taxes on the American people in a soft economy.
GREGORY: That‘s not the question, Mr. Boehner. The question is: are tax cuts paid for or not?
BOEHNER: Listen, what you‘re trying to do is get into this Washington game and their funny accounting over there.
GREGORY: So, do you believe tax cuts pay for themselves or not?
BOEHNER: I do believe that we‘ve got to get more money in the hands of small businesses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: For more, see Mr. Carlson runs for office, the episode from “WKRP in Cincinnati.”
The former Bush treasury secretary, Paul O‘Neill, is now having joined the chorus of former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan and others who say let those tax cuts expire. Even House Republican conference chair, Mike Pence, admitted that he gets why Republicans might have a credibility problem here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY: Congressman, you‘re asking Americans to believe Republicans will have spending discipline when you‘re saying extend the tax cuts that aren‘t paid for and cut the deficit. How is that a consistent credible message?
PENCE: Well, I understand the credibility problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: But, in fact, Republicans are tipping their hand somewhat about where they would get the money to pay for more tax cuts from the rich. Take it from the middle class and make Americans work longer before they can retire. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Republican favorite for president, suggests redeploying money from the stimulus which includes tax cuts for the least rich 95 percent of the country.
Boehner ultimately suggested to David Gregory that once the tax cuts for the rich are in place, then he‘ll pay for them by making everybody else work until they‘re 70, especially people in the tanning industry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY: One of the ways you talk about getting your arm around the spending was something you suggested back in June. And that is that Social Security, the retirement age ought to be raised to the age of 70. Is that something that the GOP will campaign on in the fall?
BOEHNER: David, I think it‘s time for the American people to have an adult conversation about the problems that we face.
GREGORY: And so, you favor raising the retirement age?
BOEHNER: David, there are a lot of options about how you solve these.
But I don‘t want to get the cart before the horse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Little wonder that in Bush‘s backyard today, literally just a few miles away, President Obama was raising money for Democrats by slamming Bush Republican economic policies. This after “Politico” reported on Friday night that the Republican National Committee has its own economic problems that Michael Steele gave his party bad news at their summer meeting last week. That the RNC will only give its congressional campaign committees $4 million this year, compared to the last midterm elections of 2006 when it gave them $57 million.
Some of the math of the economy in a moment, first, the politics. Let‘s turn to MSNBC political analyst, Howard Fineman, also senior Washington correspondent and political columnist for “Newsweek” magazine.
Howard, good evening.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Politically, at some point, does the GOP to have reconcile its supposed desire for deficit-cutting with what is obviously a more genuine desire for cutting tax for rich people?
FINEMAN: Well, they‘re going to—they‘re going to square that circle rhetorically. That‘s why they‘re going to be for a balanced budget constitutional amendment which they know either won‘t pass the Congress which it won‘t, or won‘t pass public muster, which it won‘t. It‘s a wonderful rhetorical device, while meantime, they run away from deficit reduction.
This goes way back, Keith, to when in the days of Newt Gingrich and even before him, to the late Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan. They said, you know, committing to deficit as an issue is something that‘s a loser, let the Democrats have it.
And the fact is, over the last 30 years, it‘s under Democratic presidencies that budgets have come close to being balanced. It‘s under Republican presidency that deficits have gone wild—under Ronald Reagan, under George W. Bush, to take two examples.
OLBERMANN: Howard, one thing in this entire process seems to have been lost already. The Republicans didn‘t manage to maintain the debate that they wanted which was to extend all tax cuts. And instead, they‘re in the middle of a perpetual debate in the last few weeks over whether to extend the tax cuts for the rich.
Have they lost the definitional battle?
FINEMAN: For the time being, yes. But that doesn‘t—that doesn‘t prevent some Democrats in the Senate that I talked to, including some of the leadership, from being wary of the long debate in the Senate about taxes. Because the fact is, as a basic principle, most Americans love the idea of having their taxes cut. They like that whole lot more than they like as people to focus on the hard reality of debt and the deficit. That‘s just a plain fact.
And the Democrats have a history on the spending side that, rhetorically at least, they feel they need to defend. So, Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, wants to have a short and sharp debate, will stay focused on that issue. But he‘s afraid of having weeks on end on the Senate floor, because it could get out of hand and put the Democrats back on the defensive.
OLBERMANN: What was Mike Pence doing, admitting the Republicans might have a credibility problem on any issue?
OLBERMANN: Did—has he been thrown out of the party today and he just didn‘t get the memo?
FINEMAN: Well, he‘s—he‘s from Indiana and, you know, they believe in the idea of balancing budgets there to some extent. Mitch McConnell, the governor, goes way back to the non-supply side tradition of the Republican Party which preceded Reagan and Kemp and Gingrich. And, you know, they like balanced budgets out there.
And Pence, to some extent, I think, was tripped up in his own history and his own roots in Indiana. Otherwise, he would have been completely with the program.
OLBERMANN: Somebody in Indiana just passed out Mitch Daniels. You
mentioned Mitch McConnell as the governor of Indiana. So, I just want to -
FINEMAN: Oh, I did?
FINEMAN: I‘m sorry. I meant Mitch Daniels.
OLBERMANN: Yes. I‘m sure Mitch Daniels passed out, too.
If Mr. Greenspan says that tax cuts won‘t pay for themselves—
OLBERMANN: -- and, now we have this from Paul O‘Neill. What‘s the best answer Republicans have for paying them? Is it cutting middle class taxes or making Americans work until they‘re 70 or 85?
FINEMAN: Well, they‘re not—they‘re not going to have one, Keith. What they‘re going to do is the mumbo jumbo of the balanced budget amendment, which is, you know, don‘t worry, we‘re going to put it in law and eventually, we‘ll balance the budget. And they‘re going to try to force the Democrats to vote against it. And a lot of Democrats will vote against it because it‘s not good policy, constitutionally or otherwise.
They‘re going to advocate it, hoping like heck that the Democrats will oppose it.
OLBERMANN: So, you‘ve got one side that won‘t promise to balance the budget but will—has historically tried to—
OLBERMANN: -- as opposed to the other side that promises to balance the budget and won‘t.
FINEMAN: You‘ve got it. You just summarized the fiscal politics of the last 30 years.
OLBERMANN: Do I get a degree for that?
FINEMAN: You do. You do.
OLBERMANN: Thank you very much.
MSNBC political analyst, Howard Fineman, also of “Newsweek” magazine -
as always, Howard, great thanks.
FINEMAN: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Now, let‘s bring in Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief, co-founder of the “Huffington Post.”
Arianna, good evening.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: So, the GOP says renew the tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans, that will free the richest 2 percent of Americans to start hiring everybody else and the economy will be stimulated overnight and we‘ll all have ice cream in the morning.
Does “Huffington Post” hire more people when your personal tax rate changes?
HUFFINGTON: Well, actually, the “Huffington Post” operates like most American businesses, which is that our hiring practices have nothing to do with the income or the tax rate of the people who are running the business. And it is the same everywhere. Whether we hire or not depends on demand.
It depends on whether we‘re getting enough advertising dollars.
And the problem with the American economy is very similar. It‘s the demand that is not there—the consumer demand that has sustained the economy for years, and now, the government demand. The stimulus did not generate the kind of demand that it is supposed to. And now, we know partly why.
We found out in Ryan Lizza‘s piece in “The New Yorker” that Christina Romer had actually proposed a higher stimulus among her different scenario, for $1.2 trillion. That one never even went to the president by Larry Summers.
OLBERMANN: And to that point, the former Clinton treasury secretary, Mr. Rubin, said over the weekend that he would—he came out opposing a second stimulus package. Where—how is it possible that anybody could look at what the failures of the first stimulus, the lack of its breadth, I guess we would call it narrowness with the lack of breadth, and suggest that we should do less, not more? How is that being postulated by anybody of responsible economic intelligence?
HUFFINGTON: Well, that is really major chutzpah, Keith, to have Rubin who first of all bears a lot of responsibility of the mess we are in. He opposed the regulation of derivatives during the Clinton years. Then, during his 10 years at Citigroup, where he made over $100 million personally, he was there when Citigroup got to the stage where it needed actually to be bailed out by American taxpayers. And now, he is telling us that we don‘t need another stimulus.
That is really the kind of political establishment we‘re dealing with. And that is what makes it harder to just be completely clear cut about what we needed to do. This is not about right versus left, Keith. This is about right versus wrong.
There is only one way to go and unfortunately, there are many Democrats, including Rubin, including the senators that Howard eluded to who are terrified of a debate on taxes, instead of welcoming one, who are afraid to do the right thing.
OLBERMANN: This, in a climate, Arianna, where Paul Krugman wrote just now about a very recent phenomenon of local governments that have such little in terms of cash that they‘re turning roads back into gravel from tar macadam because they don‘t have the money to maintain the tar macadam, or whatever the actually surface is, we‘ll leave the engineering for the moment. Is this really the long-term problem here? It‘s not a question of where the economy is at the moment, it‘s not just road pavers who are out-of-work, but now we‘re regressing to sort of third world infrastructure right as we need to compete with the developing economies overseas?
HUFFINGTON: Well, that‘s exactly what‘s missing from the debate. The fact that we are in a trajectory to become a third world nation. If you look at the infrastructure, if you look at the example you mentioned, if you look at the fact that Hawaii now is not just laying off teachers, it‘s laying off students, because last year alone, for 17 Fridays during the year, they did not have school. And we have a county in New Jersey that is shutting down all public libraries. This is happening in America.
And one of the problems, Keith, is that both the president and Tim Geithner are speaking in the past tense. We are not in the past tense. When they say the country has gone through tough times or the American people are going through tough times—no. We are in the present tense. We are going through tough times right now.
And if they don‘t start addressing that, it‘s no use, really, just giving us happy talk because people who are out of work or are losing their home are not going to believe that. Unfortunately, Geithner and Summers and a lot of the people advising the president, are Rubin acolytes. They‘re part of the Rob Rubin school of economics, and that has not worked so well for this country will.
OLBERMANN: And, of course, whatever—on top of everything else, whatever you do, do not extend long term unemployment benefit to people who have been out for 99 weeks. Don‘t do that because you don‘t want them to have any money at all.
Arianna Huffington, founder of “Huffington Post”—great thanks.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: House Minority John of Orange has just joined the call to alter or repeal the 14th Amendment, the groundswell against mosques grows, and Limbaugh plays the race card in fake flap over Michelle Obama‘s vacation.
And the pushback against this kind of modern Jim Crowism comes from Dana Perino?
Next on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: So, any other time a member of any other president‘s family took a vacation, the government paid for Secret Service. But Michelle Obama somehow does not merit that?
The bizarre “GQ” story, the woman who says, in college, Rand Paul tried to kidnap her and forced her to take bong hits. His campaign does not deny it. They just stared off into space.
Two out of three doctors recommend—it doesn‘t matter what they recommend because some of the folks dressed up as doctors at a Sharron Angle Tea Party event are not doctors.
Speaking of doctors, Lonesome Rhodes not only compares America under
President Obama to planet of the apes but he then tries to erase the
Ahead on COUNTDOWN—Dr. Zaius.
OLBERMANN: If you were born here in the United States, you had better not vacation in another country, particularly if you are the first lady and you did not hire your own Secret Service for the trip. If you were born here to parents who were illegal immigrant, the suggestion is even more sweeping, that you should not be considered a citizen of the United States. And if you bear any faith, you may worship freely here in the United States unless you‘re a Muslim.
In our fourth story: the ratcheting up of us versus them and the politics of fear.
First lady Michelle Obama‘s recent trip to Spain with daughter Sasha first. The mostly right wing criticism now shrill enough that even former Bush White House press secretary, Dana Perino, has stepped in to defend Mrs. Obama.
And there is Rush Limbaugh who says that the media does not criticize the trip because of our country‘s slave past. The media he says thinks the first lady deserves the vacation. Limbaugh not only pointlessly injecting race into the issue, but losing sight of what could be the only valid criticism that could look tone deaf—the first lady to vacation in Spain in the middle of hard economic times at home.
This footnote: Then-First Lady Laura Bush went on safari in Africa in 2007 with her two daughters. Other parts of the trip were deemed official visits but that was vacation. Guess who paid for that?
Far more serious nonsense from wannabe speaker, Congressman John of Orange, joining the chorus of GOP leaders—calling for the repeal or reinterpretation of the Constitution‘s 14 Amendment which clearly grants citizenship to persons born in the U.S. Boehner is saying, quote, ‘There is a problem to provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to come here so that their children can be U.S. citizens does, in fact, draw more people to our country.” People who then have so-called anchor babies—never mind that those children must reach the age of 21 before they can begin to help their parents become citizens themselves and that studies flatly disprove Boehner‘s other point about drawing more people here.
As for the hysteria over plans for an Islamic cultural center, two blocks from one corner of the former World Trade Center, that is not unique. There‘s now opposition to mosque projects in other parts of the country. In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Republicans are denouncing a Muslim center which would be built near a subdivision.
Hysteria based on nothing. Where was that hysteria when Muslim military officers began worshipping within the Pentagon in one—room 1E-438, just after the attacks on 9/11?
Let‘s turn to a fellow for the Center for American Progress, Matt Yglesias.
Matt, good evening to you.
MATT YGLESIAS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Good to be here.
OLBERMANN: This anti-Muslim unthinking hysteria first. Is there more of it now than at any time since the weeks after 9/11? And if so, why? And if not, why does it seem that way?
YGLESIAS: Well, it seems to me that there is or at least there—it‘s much more visible than it used to be because we‘re seeing it stoked by sort of the leads in the conservative movement, by Sarah Palin, by Newt Gingrich, by others, in a way that we never had before 9/11. And I think what‘s happening is that when the economy goes down, people become anxious, you see, historically, a lot of increase in xenophobia, in fear and in sort of intolerance.
And we‘ve got the conservative movement leaders, very opportunistically trying to take advantage of that, try to play on people‘s anxieties, and build this kind of anti-Muslim hysteria in a way that President Bush never did in 2001 and 2002.
OLBERMANN: The 14th Amendment redefinition or the idea that you can somehow repeal it. Arizona‘s “papers please” law, S.B. 1070, the mosque protests. We have seen these things covered separately and identified essentially as separate stories. Are they separate things or are they in some way interconnected?
YGLESIAS: I think it‘s really part of an interconnected series of rising xenophobic and anti-foreign sentiment. In particularly with immigration, every time there‘s a major economic downturn, you see new anti-immigrant measures. In 1929, President Hoover launched what he called the Mexican Repatriation Initiative where they sort of swept around the American southwest pretty indiscriminately, finding people of Mexico origin and kicking them back.
And this is what happens when the economy goes down—people get more worried about people who are different from them. And politicians who are unscrupulous, you know, really to play on that instead of trying to address the underlying problems in the country.
OLBERMANN: I‘ve never heard this before. Did—was Hoover contending that these Mexicans in the southwest had somehow caused the start of the Great Depression?
YGLESIAS: Well, the idea is that when jobs are scarce, you know, maybe if you round some people up and kick them out, and their jobs will come to other people. Of course, the economy doesn‘t really work that way. If 10 percent of the population vanished tomorrow, it would be economic chaos, not extra jobs.
But, you know, that‘s the kind of zero sum thinking that people get into when they become nervous about things they‘re seeing in their life and in their community. And we had in the 1880s as well. That‘s when we shut the door to immigrants from China and Japan.
The umbrage over the first lady‘s trip to Spain, is that also part of the “us versus them” picture?
YGLESIAS: Well, you know, I think in part. We‘ve seen over the years a lot of efforts to paint the Obamas as somehow foreign with the birther conspiracy theories and some of these criticisms of the trip. And, again, as you noted, there‘s a question of optics, you know? But the fact is that during a recession, you know, everything looks bad. Unless you can deliver jobs, growth and prosperity, there‘s really no way the first lady can spend her time that‘s going to feel good to people.
OLBERMANN: But on that point, is it too defensive to say that taking that trip at a time of economic unhappiness was tone deaf and that the White House should have thought of the optics first?
YGLESIAS: Well, you know, you always have to think of optics. At the same time, you know, people—people do need a vacation. You know, it‘s hard to know where it is you could have gone that you‘d be immune to criticism.
You remember Bill Clinton always took criticism from the right for his sort of random vacations. I mean, some of these people—Rush Limbaugh is very good at ginning up sort of phony controversy over any kind of decision.
OLBERMANN: That‘s Rush Limbaugh who spends most of his vacation time in the Dominican Republic with somebody else‘s Viagra.
Matt Yglesias, the fellow at the Center for American Progress—as always, great thanks.
YGLESIAS: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: She says Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky tried to kidnap her in college and forced her to worship something called “Aqua Buddha”—Saturday mornings at 9:30 on CBS—and force her to take hits off a bong. Not to worry, his campaign says that at that time, he was, in fact, a member of the Young Conservatives of Texas.
OLBERMANN: Sharron Angle‘s Tea Party for doctors or for non-doctors dressed up as doctors.
But, first, we say farewell to two people. Gordon L. Williams died over the weekend, Brian‘s father. Ninety-three years old, complications from a stroke, and the cornerstone in our friend‘s life. Our condolences to Brian and his entire family.
And as well as those who loved Patricia Neal, a great and enduring actress who played everybody from Senator Margaret Chase Smith through the only rational person in the planet—on the planet, the one who uttered the immortal line, “Gort, klaatu barada nikto” in “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” to the woman who discovers and then ultimately frees the country from, the television fraud Lonesome Rhodes in the unmatchable film, “The Face in the Crowd.” She died at age 84 -- 45 years after a series of devastating strokes and was to the end, a champion for stroke victims and stroke awareness.
Well, we‘ll need the sanity break more than usual tonight.
Let‘s play “Oddball.”
OLBERMANN: We begin in the small town of Trie Sur Baise, France, which is near Le Sans et Sur La Branche (ph), France. The population of the town has literally doubled to come watch men be pigs. No, it‘s not a frat party. It is the annual pig squealing championships in France. Five judges mark the performances for the contestants. But it wasn‘t enough to sound like a pig. You needed to get down in the mud and be one.
The winner of this porky affair got 662 dollars and the respect of all those in attendance. No, actually just the money.
To Italy and the World Cliff Diving Championship. This is the fourth event in a series of six to decide who can jump off a ledge the bestest. From way downtown, bang!
Contestants leaped from a platform 87 feet high and reached speeds of 56 miles an hour. Artem Silchenko (ph) of Russia was declared the winner of this round. Ahhhh.
Next week on the world of wide sports, unintentional cliff diving.
Finally to Englewood, Colorado, where the Denver Broncos training camp is in full swing, which can only mean one thing, rookie hazing. You ever see the classic example of the awful hair cut. That‘s first round draft pick Tim Tebow not even immune to the razor. But he took it in stride. Most moving of all was the promise that Tebow then made to Robin Hood. You will never see any merry men in the entire country try as hard as I will.
What was that sport? Football?
Rand Paul‘s campaign refuses to deny a report that the candidate once tried to kidnap a woman and force her to smoke marijuana. See, now that‘s what is wrong with your damn Civil Rights Act, forcing private citizens to accept government bong hits. Next.
OLBERMANN: A plodding free speech, except when that speech happens to be critical. Protesting health care reform with the help of fake doctors. Our third story in the COUNTDOWN, and if you think some Tea Party favorites seem, well, stoned, wait until you the story about Rand Paul and his bong.
Nevada Senate hopeful Sharron Angle headlining an event for Tea Party doctors protesting the Affordable Health Care Act in San Diego. The group‘s website encouraging white lab coats to be worn, prompting one attendee to admit to a San Diego newspaper that he borrowed his. In fact, Think Progress reporting another eyewitness claims numerous people in attendance were wearing white coats, while a liberal blog notes, there are actually only two San Diego medical doctors that belong to the sponsoring group.
The event sponsored by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Despite the innocuous name, this group believes the FDA is unconstitutional, the establishment of Medicare is even and immoral, and denies that there‘s any link between HIV and AIDS. It also theorizes the president may have used a, quote, covert form of hypnosis to win over voters.
True to form, Ms. Angle fled the event, taking only one question. Talk about covert. It was from the right wing PJTV, the same credible web outlet that sent a young Joe the Plumber to report from the Middle East.
Speaking of doctors with questionable credentials, “GQ” profiling Rand Paul‘s time at Balor University in the early ‘80s. It turns out that Dr. Paul was a member of a secret society. One other detail, the future Senate hopeful and a friend allegedly abducted a female acquaintance.
A woman telling “GQ” the duo, quote, blindfolded me, tied me up and put me in their car.” The pair then tried to force her to take hits off of a bong and later asked her to worship a God called Aqua Buddha at a creek. And no, Aqua Buddha does not refer to an underwater eastern philosopher nor an aftershave. The Paul campaign does not deny the story. Instead says it is considering legal options.
Meanwhile, while filming TLC‘s “Sarah Palin‘s Alaska,” the reality TV star encountering a woman who disagrees with Sarah Palin‘s Alaska. Kathleen Gustavson (ph) greeting the family Palin at Homer, Alaska, with a banner that read “worst governor ever.” Ms. Gustavson telling the half governor she was disappointed that she had shirked her duties as governor in favor of celebrity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FMR. GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: I‘m out there fighting for Americans to be able to have a constitution protected, so that we can have free speech. .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In what way are you fighting for that?
PALIN: Oh, my goodness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In what way?
PALIN: To elect candidates who understand the Constitution, to protect our military interests, so that we can keep on fighting for our Constitution, those protections and freedoms that -- .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By using your celebrity status? Certainly not by political—
PALIN: I‘m not a celebrity.
PALIN: She thinks I‘m a celebrity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You‘re certainly not representing the state of Alaska any longer.
PALIN: I‘m representing the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I know. You belong to America now. That suits me just fine.
PALIN: What do you do here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m a teacher.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I also have a few other jobs. I‘m married to a commercial fishermen.
PALIN: That‘s cool. So I am a. We probably have a lot in common. I‘m honored to meet you, I really am. And know we both agree on the freedom of speech.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Look here. We have a teacher. Joining me now, Ken Vogel of “Politico.” Thanks for some of your time tonight, Ken. .
KEN VOGEL, “POLITICO”: Hey, great to be with you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: We‘ve got three separate Tea Party icons to touch on here. First, Ms. Palin is surrounded by a camera crew, filming a reality TV series, doesn‘t consider herself a celebrity?
VOGEL: Well, whether she considers herself one or not, she clearly is one. What struck me here, though, was not so much her saying she wasn‘t a celebrity or even her alleged eye rolling, but that this confrontation would occur at all. This was sort of a complete disregard for Politics 101.
This woman has a huge sign, 30 feet. It says “Worst Governor Ever.” Probably not going to be a very receptive audience. Probably a type of situation you should avoid. Yet she wanders right up, has this conversation. Surprise, surprise, it winds up on video, on Youtube. Kind of predictable stuff and something that could have been avoided, not necessarily even by having a huge advance staff, but by thinking a little about the sort of limits of her sort of charm and her ability to win people over.
OLBERMANN: Yes. Somebody also at the TLC Television Network will be beaten severely for letting that happen, from a production point of view. Next candidate here, Sharron Angle at this Tea Party doctors event without necessarily doctors. Reportedly it had lower than expected turnout. Do the events like these really speak to the issue that the Tea Party is having with fundraising as its identity has become more and more known in the mainstream?
VOGEL: Well, There is certainly an element have that. Of course, even the best run campaigns occasionally have events that don‘t have great turnout. What is sort of—again plays into this issue of Politics 101, though, is the advance work. I mean, you check this group out. It is not hard to discern that there is some controversial, way outside the mainstream stance that it advocates. Additionally, there is a question of what type of press is going to be there, whether you‘re going to be faced with a situation where you‘re going to have answer questions, or in this case flee from the press, as she did here.
And these are things that a well run campaign should be able to anticipate and avoid. Didn‘t happen in this case. And she has had a series of sort of mishaps like this, where she‘s been unable to keep herself out of situations like this.
OLBERMANN: When they said there was a flight attendant who bailed out of a flight in anger at the—at one of the passengers, and set out the emergency slides so the flight attendant could leave and just drive and go home, I thought it was Sharron Angle. But OK, just me.
The next one, this Rand Paul bong abduction story; his campaign does not deny it. They‘re considering legal options? This seem to be something of a contradiction too. What kind of advance planning is there in this one?
VOGEL: Well, I mean, again, it does actually reflect on advanced planning. The reporter called them up, asked them about this story. They gave him kind of a non-denial denial. so they knew it was coming. Yet it circulated around the Internet for hours and hours before they attacked the reporter, which isn‘t necessarily, in and of itself, a bad strategy for a conservative candidate to take. But the fact that it took this long for them to take it kind of suggests that they weren‘t ready for something that they should have probably been ready for.
OLBERMANN: Slowed reflexes. Last thing, big picture; American politicians have been a venal, or akimbo, or fringy since Aaron Burr at least. But is this perception or reality, that the Tea Party has found more venal or akimbo or fringy candidates and found them in a shorter period of time than almost any other political movement in our history?
VOGEL: I don‘t know if it‘s found more. But what it definitely has done is cleared the way for candidates who are kind of not as vetted as folks who would have come up through the mainstream, through sort of the lower levels of politics, through town councils and state legislatures, and really quickly elevated these obscure, sort of outsider candidates, who pledge allegiance to the Tea Party and put them on a very big stage with a very bright spotlight that perhaps some of them were not entirely ready for, and some of them are having problems dealing with it.
OLBERMANN: The term Aqua Buddha probably would have thrown you out of either the Democratic or Republican party as recently as 2000. Ken Vogel, senior reporter at “Politico,” always a pleasure. Ken, thank you.
VOGEL: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: A quick update on a story from Friday; House republican whip Eric cantor has still not released the questionnaire he filled out for the PAC Government is not God, while the campaign of Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Marco Rubio—correction, senatorial candidate told us today it does not have a copy and said it is unsure whether it filled one out.
The issue at hand, a question on the questionnaire about making gay adoption illegal. The Associate Press having reported that Nevada Senatorial candidate Sharron Angle answered that she opposes gay adoption. Angle‘s campaign still not having told us whether the opposition would be retroactive, whether she would remove adopted kids from gay parents.
Unfortunately, this next item is not the largest ice cube. It is the biggest piece of Greenland to break of in half a century. Climate change is here.
A planet where apes evolved from then? There has to be an answer. Don‘t look for it, Beck. You may not like what you find, or not find, after we have scrubbed your website of your unfortunate “Planet of the Apes” analogy.
And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, if Republicans are suddenly strict constitutionalists and think everything that came after the Bill of Rights is dubious, why are they trying to change so much of the Constitution?
OLBERMANN: There is no climate change. Pieces of Greenland four time the size of Manhattan, they break off and float out to sea every day, don‘t they? Not really, no.
That‘s next, but first get out your pitchfork and torches, time for tonight‘s Worst Persons in the World.
The bronze to the media relations officer at the Katawa County Sheriffs Office in Mauldan (ph), West Virginia. , A man named Eddie M. Campbell of Bell, West Virginia, was arrested a little before 9:00 am yesterday morning in a park, near a church, with his shirt off and his pants around his ankles, and a mannequin on his lap. An armless mannequin, pants on the ground.
Mr. Campbell allegedly told the deputy he was, quote, “just trying to have a little fun.” The Katawa County Sheriff‘s Office issued this cutesy statement: “they have yet to interview mannequin, so they are unsure if it was picked up off the street or the two met for a date in the park. However, the mannequin is now being held as evidence.
It is bad enough that Mr. Campbell was jerking around in the park.
Nobody needs the sheriff‘s office doing the same thing.
The runner up is Lonesome Rhodes beck. The racism is almost standard now. It is the self-whitewashing park that is the news hear. This is what he said on August 5th, another part of the Mountain Dew and Cheetos proxism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BACK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: What planet have I landed in? Did I slip through a worm hole in the middle of the night and this looks like America? It is like the damn “Planet of the Apes.” Nothing makes sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Right. During one of those diatribes against the president, he asked the rhetorical question, this looks like America and referenced “Planet of the Apes.” No racism there.
When it came time to transform his spiel into a piece for the Fox News website, we instead got, quote, “what planet have I landed on? On what planet does this look sustainable? Probably the same one where Andy Stern is on the financial oversight committee. He was in “Return to the Planet Of the Apes,” right? Or underneath the planet. “Is this really who we want to cater to and take advice from? They‘re the ones who are bankrupting us.”
Even Fixed News felt it needed to clean up something Beck said. But since nobody can control him over there, don‘t worry, they won‘t try to stop him from saying that on television.
But our winners, Liz and Dick Cheney. Again, this pretty much speaks for itself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF FMR. VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: You‘ve also got Robert Gibbs this week, when asked about what does it mean that 71% of the people in Missouri said they don‘t want any mandate for health insurance, he said, quote, “it means nothing.”
Now when you‘ve got A White house that is that unwilling to listen to what people out there are saying, I think that it causes some real concern about whether or not they‘re actually going to be responsive to the voters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Now, you know what make that hilarious? This is what makes hilarious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP()
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two-thirds of Americans say it not worth fighting.
DICK CHENEY, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT: So?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So? You don‘t care what the American people think?
CHENEY: No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion poll.
OLBERMANN: Correct. Do as I say, not as dad did. Liz and Dick Cheney,, today‘s worst persons in the world.
OLBERMANN: Last winter it was when a series of terrific snowstorm
blanketed the east coast. The climate change claimed proof for their silly
and ultimately fatal ostrich-ism. Our number one story, as another wave of
heat and humidity hit the East Coast, and Midwest and Southwest and Russia,
funny how you don‘t hear deniers deliberately mistaking weather for climate
You want climate? A piece of ice has broken off Greenland. It contain as much water as will flow through every faucet in America over the next four months. Oops.
A literal ice island, 100 miles square, four time the size of Manhattan, has broken away from the Peterman Glacier, which is one of Greenland‘s two remaining glaciers. This is the actual satellite imagery. They have to send a craw to fix that. This is the animation of an ice island that will likely enter the Nares Straight, which lies between Greenland and Canada.
The ice island might eventually move south and block shipping or it could break up into smaller pieces, or it could fuse with land. We‘ll ask our guest what relationship this event has—or potential relationship with climate change.
But the Obama administration‘s current relationship with climate change is far more difficult to discern. The White House‘s top energy adviser says there is still a chance of climate change legislation this year, possibly during a post-election lame duck session. But it hard to see how that happens when that very legislation has been shelved in the Senate because Democrats did not think they could get the votes.
Let‘s turn now to the chief ice scientist at NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, Dr. Jay Zwally. Doctor Zwally, thanks for your time tonight.
DR. JAY ZWALLY, NASA GODDARD CENTER: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: To call this a truly gigantic chunk of ice sounds silly considering the enormity of what might be happening here. Put in it your own terms so we understand what we‘re dealing with.
ZWALLY: Well, you saw a little while ago that icebergs come off of Greenland all the time. They do. Approximately half the ice that leaves Greenland each year come out directly into the ocean in icebergs. The other half melts on land. This is a very big chunk. Usually we have a stability between the ice that‘s flowing down the glaciers. And in this case, there‘s a floating part of the tongue.
What has happened is that the floating part has been getting thinner. We believe it has been getting thinner because of warming temperature of the ocean that increase the melting. So by itself, this is not that significant. But it is a part of the pattern that is happening in Greenland.
We‘ve seen dramatic changes in Greenland over the last ten years.
We‘ve seen an increase in the melting. We‘ve seen accelerating glaciers. And we see a loss from ice from Greenland each year compared to what‘s coming in.
OLBERMANN: So the magic question here, obviously, is what are the chances are that this has—that climate change has had some impact on this?
ZWALLY: I think it is 100 percent That this is a result of climate change. We see the temperatures rising in Greenland. The temperature are rising about two degrees centigrade in ten years. That‘s 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
The changes that are taking place in the Arctic and in Greenland, the global warming is about three to four time greater than it is over the whole world. So these are having dramatic impacts on the ice in Greenland, increasing the melting, accelerating the glaciers. And the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been getting thinner and thinner.
OLBERMANN: Doctor, do you find in your professional experience here that part of the problem with this is that—number one, is that—the unfortunate use of the term global warming instead of a more encompassing term, climate change. But the other one that I always contend with is you can‘t talk to people about this because they don‘t seem to grasp that there is a significant difference between weather and climate, that a snowy winter does not mean that there is not global warming or climate change.
ZWALLY: Exactly. People are often very confused by this. The changes that take place from one year to the next are not that significant. It is part of the long term change. When you start having warmer summers, most of the years, this ten years, compared to previously—when you see these patterns of change. And I find more and more people that I talk to, especially when you go to the Arctic and talk to the people that live in Greenland, they can see the changes that are taking place.
And many peel now are beginning to realize that the climate of the Earth is very different in Washington, D.C., for example, than it was 20, 30 years ago.
OLBERMANN: And speaking of Washington, D.C., and the climate of a different kind there; politics has often screwed up serious scientific concerns. Is there any way for the clarity of scientific facts to win out on this issue, do you think?
ZWALLY: Well, it‘s very frustrating as a scientist, because so many people that I talk to seem to decide the science based upon their political beliefs. If they‘re conservative, they don‘t believe in it. If they‘re liberal, they believe in climate warming.
There is a lot of disinformation that has come out over the last ten years. So many people have heard about natural variability. There is a lot of natural variability in the climate changes, changes that have taken place due to volcanoes, changes in the Sun.
But we‘re observing those things now. We know that the changes that are taking place now are not due to volcanic activity. They‘re not due to changes in the sun. We observe these and we monitor them. What is happening is that temperature is rising. We measure the temperatures. We see it rising. And all the models, the climate models have very good prediction that match the observations.
OLBERMANN: How much time do we have left before the predictions become reality and the politics become irrelevant?
ZWALLY: They‘re already becoming reality. The impact, the sea level is rising. The rate of sea level rise is now about 12, 14 inches in the next 100 years. That‘s about 50 percent greater than it was ten, 20 years ago.
These changes are taking place. And Greenland is contributing to sea level rise now. Small glaciers around the ocean, around the Earth, and the ocean expansion. These changes are taking place. We need to take this seriously and do something about reducing the greenhouse gases that go into the atmosphere.
OLBERMANN: Dr. Jay Zwally, chief ice scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, great thanks for the grim news.
ZWALLY: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: That is COUNTDOWN for August 9th, 2010. It is the 2,657th day since President Bush declared mission accomplish in Iraq, the 2,246th day since he declared victory in Afghanistan, and the 112th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.
I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.
Now to discuss why Republicans love the constitution so much they can‘t wait to change all of it, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.
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Guests: Arianna Huffington, Matt Yglesias, Ken Vogel, Dr. Jay Zwally