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'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Dan Savage, Rep. Keith Ellison, Robert Reich, Nicole Lamoureax,

Eric Byrnes




KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over):  Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

The other revelation of the former chairman of the Republican National Committee: Karl Rove and the GOP targeted a minority group with fear and hate and legislation in 2004 and 2006 -- gays, like Ken Mehlman.  And now, the GOP is doing it again—same tactics, different groups.


ANNOUNCER:  For centuries, Muslims built mosques where they won military victories.  Now, they want to build a mosque at Ground Zero.


OLBERMANN:  An ad by Larry McCarthy, who was behind the Willie Horton commercial.

And the newest ads, metaphorical newest victims.


AHMED SHARIF, STABBING VICTIM:  I see his face.  There‘s so much anger and mad at me, and hate.  I asked him, “Please, don‘t kill me.  Why do you have to kill me?  What I did?”


OLBERMANN:  Our guest: Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota.

The GOP‘s next targeted group.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER:  It‘s just nonsense to think that taxpayers are subsidizing the fattened salaries and pensions of federal bureaucrats who are out there making it harder to create public sector jobs.


OLBERMANN:  Bureaucrats like his staff and himself, and John of Orange himself.

Five years to the day, the state of emergency declared in Louisiana as Katrina approached.  Katrina has really never left.

Our guest, as she prepares your free health clinic in New Orleans, Nicole Lamoureux.

“Worst”: Michele Bachmann‘s office has forgotten how you to spell her own name.

And the Beckoning, part two.  His carney act will rival the moon landing, Abraham Lincoln and the Declaration of Independence, only with sponsors.


ANNOUNCER:  Every great achievement in human history has started with one person—one crazy idea.


OLBERMANN:  Right.  Apparently, Rosa Parks was brought to you by Goldline.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST:  There‘s nothing free in life!




OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

The Republican method for winning elections is hate.  Hate somebody.  Anybody will do.  We have seen it this year with immigrants and now, Muslims.

And now, in our fifth story tonight: for the first time, we have a former head of the Republican Party confirming that, yes, his party does it.  They do it to win and did it in 2004 and 2006 against gay Americans.  He said this even though he himself is no longer denying that he, too, is gay.

Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is the most powerful Republican confirmed to be gay, Mehlman outing himself.  In an interview with “The Atlantic” magazine‘s Web site, Mehlman also confirming years of accusations that the Republican Party, when he was the Bush/Cheney campaign manager in 2004 and again as RNC chief in 2006, used a strategy of putting anti-gay measures, specifically limiting the right to marry, on state ballots around the country.  Mehlman, “The Atlantic” reports, quote, “was aware that Karl Rove, President Bush‘s chief strategic adviser, had been working with Republicans to make sure that anti-gay initiatives and referenda would appear on November ballots in 2004 and 2006 to help Republicans.

Mehlman telling, quote, “There were a lot of people, including people that supported the federal marriage amendments, for example, that worried about this being divisive.”

Mehlman told the “Advocate,” quote, “I think if you look at the 11 states where there were marriage amendments on the ballots in terms of numbers, Bush‘s relative improvement versus the 2000 campaign was less than in the other states.  I think President Bush won in my judgment because of most importantly, national security.”

Of course, marriage amendments only got on the ballot in states that were primarily Bush country anyway.  But one state can tip an election, like Ohio did—Ohio, which had one of the 11 marriage initiatives on the ballot.  A fact political analyst said in 2004 was essential to Mr. Bush‘s victory there.  Mr. Bush only won Ohio by 136,000.  It gave him the presidency.

Family Research Council president, Tony Perkins, telling “The Washington Post” in 2004 that gay marriage was, quote, “the hood ornament on the family values wagon that carried the president to a second term.”

Rove had famously predicted that Mr. Bush, having lost the popular vote in 2000, would need 4 million more evangelical Christian votes in 2004.  Prior to the election, Rove and Mehlman held weekly conference calls with leaders from the religious right.  By Election Day, they had anti-gay marriage initiatives on the ballot in 11 states.  Most of the states Bush would have won anyway but also likely in states like Ohio and in Kentucky, where Republican Senator Jim Bunning was in jeopardy and without Mr. Bush campaigning heavily in the state considered safe Bush territory, an anti-gay marriage initiative helped turn out evangelical voters who also propelled Bunning to victory.

Mr. Mehlman today is an investment executive.  He‘s now an advocate for gay marriage but remains a Republican, telling “The Atlantic,” that gay people should support Republicans because Republicans opposed Islamic jihad, which is, quote, “the greatest anti-gay force in the world.”

Let‘s turn to syndicated columnist, Dan Savage, editorial director for the Seattle newspaper, “The Stranger,” and author of “The commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family.”

Dan, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  How does the history of 2004 look now that we have this admission from Mr. Mehlman—both admissions, I should say?

SAVAGE:  Well, admission doesn‘t shock anybody in the gay community.  That was really on the par with Ricky Martin coming out.  If Ricky Martin had had hand in insanely homophobic Bush campaign in 2004, which of course, he did not, wake me when Levi Johnston comes up.

OLBERMANN:  Mr. Mehlman says about critics of his role in that—what is bluntly an anti-gay strategy: “If they can‘t offer support, at least offer understanding.”

Over to you.

SAVAGE:  We understand.  We understand that Ken Mehlman had a chance to come out when he could have made a difference.  And now, he‘s only out and needs to make amends and has a great deal of amends to make.  We understand that he rose quickly through the ranks in the Republican Party and wound up at the top.

And like a lot of gay people, perhaps was closeted and suppressing his desires and channeling all his energies into work.  That doesn‘t excuse his role in fomenting anti-gay bigotry in this country and putting off the day when gay and lesbian people in America enjoy our full civil equality.  He has a lot of amends to make.  And one fundraiser for marriage equality organization isn‘t going to do it.

OLBERMANN:  Mr. Mehlman‘s suggestion that gay voters ought to vote Republican to oppose the greatest anti-gay force in the world.  He‘s not out of several other closets of self-delusion, is he?

SAVAGE:  No.  The Bush administration did nothing in the wake of the fall of Baghdad and toppling the Saddam Hussein regime to stop the anti-gay death squads that were roaming Iraq in the first five or six years of the war, murdering gay and lesbians, mostly gay men, with impunity all over Iraq.  So, no—and Mehlman didn‘t speak out, didn‘t say anything about that at the time either.  No credibility there either.

OLBERMANN:  He was widely praised for acknowledging and regretting the Republican Southern strategy, which, of course, stokes white racial hatred and particularly fear against blacks to turn out the white vote, ‘60s, ‘70s to some degree, maybe the ‘80s, maybe the ‘90s.

We now know he was saying this at the same time that he has executing the same strategy, just a different target group: gays.  And now, he wants Americans to vote for the party that is currently doing the same exact thing, using the same exact strategy, with a new fill in the blank, only it‘s—you know, earlier this year, immigrants, now, more Muslims.  We may come back to immigrants.  It‘s hard to tell.

How does this cycle end if it does, Dan?

SAVAGE:  I think it ends six years ago from now in 2016 when then-former RNC chairman, Michael Steele, comes out as a Muslim.

I don‘t know when it ends.  Will they ever run out of people to hate and to campaign against and to vilify?  They can‘t run on their economic record.  Whenever the Republicans are in charge, they drive the car into the ditch, as President Obama is running around saying.

So, they have to hate and they have to stoke hate to drive voters and to scare voters, to scare their evangelical white Southern shrinking base to the polls.  It‘s disgusting and it needs to stop.  And I‘m in despair of really it ever stopping.

OLBERMANN:  And I shouldn‘t diminish the importance of this particular nature, this particular example of this strategy because it also involves people directing hatred towards a group to which they belong but cannot or will not say they belong.  There‘s an extra dimension that really is tragic to it, is it not?

SAVAGE:  It is tragic.  And it‘s a particularly gay tragedy, because we have the option of coming out or not coming out.  Living with integrity or not living with integrity.  Selling our souls as Ken Mehlman did, or not selling our souls.

And it‘s Ken Mehlman‘s personal tragedy, but it‘s also—the damage he inflicted, the role he played, it‘s inexcusable.  And, again, as I said earlier, he has a lot of amends to make, more than one fund-raiser.  And, hopefully, he is confronting not just his own conscience but people in his political party, his so-called “political allies,” about their homophobia, about the Republican Party‘s homophobia.

OLBERMANN:  Columnist Dan Savage, also of Seattle‘s newspaper, “The Stranger,” author of “The Commitment”—thanks as always for your time, Dan.

SAVAGE:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  The same party that gave us the Mehlman strategy, that gave us the Southern strategy of race-baiting that lived on in campaigns like the Willie Horton ad the first President Bush ran against Mike Dukakis, is today using the same tactic against Muslims—using anti-Muslim hysteria to drum up votes.  In this case, a new ad you‘re looking at now, false and misleading, about the proposed Islamic center, Park 51, near Ground Zero, targeting Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley, introduced by, literally, the same GOP firm that made the Willie Horton ad.

Intentionally divisive?  Open divisive?

Listen to Republican Congressman John Fleming talked about his Democratic opponent, an opponent who is literally a Methodist pastor.


REP. JOHN FLEMING ®, LOUISIANA:  He‘s going to say, you know, we need to get along better.  We need to work and we need to stretch across the aisle.  We have two competing world views here and there is no way that we‘re going to reach across the aisle.  One is going to have to win.

We‘re either going to have to go down the socialist road and become

like Western Europe and create, I guess, really a godless society, an

atheist society, or we‘re going to continue down the other pathway where we

believe in freedom of speech, individual liberties and we remain a

Christian nation.  So, we‘re going to have to win that battle -


OLBERMANN:  So, there you have it, Christian or atheist.

In New York, today, we learned that the man who attacked a Muslim cab driver here did not mention the Islamic center proposed for just two blocks from Ground Zero.  But the region that has been vilified by mosque opponents, vilified by Republican politicians heading into this year‘s election, that religion, the knife-wielding attacker certainly did mention that religion.


SHARIF:  He asked me where I‘m from.  I answer him, Bangladesh.  Then question, am I Muslim.  Yes, I am Muslim.  Then he told me, Assalamu Alaikum, I return, Wa Alaikum Assalam.  And said this month of Ramadan, how I‘m doing.  I said, I‘m doing good today.  He started making fun of the month of Ramadan.  Then I decided to keep my mouth shout.

He started yelling and screaming, this is the check post.  This is the check post, to mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  I have to put you down.  This is the time.  I have to take King Abdullah to the check point.

I said, what are you talking about?  What check point?  (INAUDIBLE) 

In this time, I saw the knife coming to my neck.


OLBERMANN:  Let‘s turn to Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim to serve in the U.S. Congress.

Congressman, thank you for your time tonight.

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA:  Pleased to be here, Keith.  How are you?

OLBERMANN:  Disturbed.  I guess that‘s a good word for it.


OLBERMANN:  Mr. Fleming of the House says our choice is between a society that is officially godless, or being a Christian nation.  Isn‘t that a choice that we made already a couple of hundred years ago, or am I misreading documents?

ELLISON:  Well, I‘ll tell you, I think that Thomas Jefferson would be shocked to hear that‘s the choice in front of us.  I think we have a choice between religious freedom or religious intolerance.  And unfortunately, Mr.  Fleming is choosing intolerance.

You know, it‘s so important—I mean, look, they have created a social, political cultural environment where somebody thinks it‘s a good idea to attack a person with a knife because they‘re Muslim.  You know, political rhetoric has consequences.  And I believe that we are—they are lighting the match on a very dangerous set of circumstances, one of which we just heard about.

OLBERMANN:  The Southern strategy that we talked about, the Mehlman strategy, the anti-immigrant strategy, anti-Hispanic strategy from earlier this year, now, anti-Muslim.

ELLISON:  Oh, yes.

OLBERMANN:  What—what is this?

ELLISON:  Well, this is distraction and diversion.  I mean, it‘s true

it‘s true agitation of people‘s hatred.  But really, it‘s because—you know, they have a failed economic program and they don‘t want people to look at it.  So, what they do is they appeal to people‘s worse most base instincts, which is to hate the other.


And this is something that you correctly pointed is tried and unfortunately true.  But, you know, you remember, Reagan was talking about welfare queens.  And now - and then we went on to Willie Horton.  And then we went on to—I mean, just the—just the divisive thing that they come up with a new one every single election.

And when the vast majority of Americans wake up to this and reach out to each other and not on each other, then they will not be able to pull it.

OLBERMANN:  Is that the only solution of this?  Because it does seem that this pattern is repeating, just with a different “fill in the blank” here.  I mean, if Republicans swap out a different group to target every year, why haven‘t Democrats figured out a way to beat it every year?

ELLISON:  Well, because I think we have too many Democrats who operate on the basis of fear.  You know, if we would just stand up and say, look, you know, we have a First Amendment and a heritage of religious tolerance that we are proud of and we are not going to back off of that, we would win.  That would be winning election strategy.  It would be good policy and good politics.

But so often, they catch up by surprise and we end up trying to triangulate and capitulating.  And it‘s just a sad thing.  I ask Democrats, progressives, liberals, to stand up and be proud of our Constitution and be proud of our heritage of equality, liberty.  And because if we don‘t stand up for these ideals, the people that want to divide us and whip up hate and division—they will be active and, unfortunately, they may be successful.

OLBERMANN:  Where we started this segment, Congressman, with Ken Mehlman, not so much his personal revelations but his revelations about what was strategitized in terms of putting this anti-gay measures—


OLBERMANN:  -- on the ballots in ‘04 and ‘06 to bring out the Republican base and a little more.

Do you have any response to what he also said in this, which—where he said gay people should vote for Republicans because Republicans oppose Islamic jihad, which he called the greatest anti-gay force in the world?

ELLISON:  You know, that just says to me that Mr. Mehlman still has not woken up.  He still is stuck on trying to vilify and scapegoat people.  I mean, I would hope that he would make a real change and really turn over a new leaf and say, you know what, scapegoating gays is wrong, Scapegoating Muslims is wrong—Catholics.  Let‘s just get out of that and really get a public ethic where we try to get Americans to come together around these basic issues of identity and respect.

So, you know, he still hasn‘t gotten it.  And, unfortunately, you know, he‘s still suffering some—similar delusion that kept him being dishonest for so long.

OLBERMANN:  Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota—it‘s always a pleasure.  Thanks for your time.

ELLISON:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Think the GOP has run out of minority groups to target and smear?  No.  Next: John Boehner attacks those federal bureaucrats with fattened salaries and pensions—federal bureaucrats, like John Boehner.


OLBERMANN:  For their next trick, he and the Republicans are targeting overpaid government employees like his own congressional staffers or him?

It‘s come to this, Michele Bachmann‘s office does not know how to spell her own name?

You know who this is?  Not her, him.  That‘s Saul Alinsky.  You know where his works are mandatory reading, his how-to guides for political organizing?  At Dick Armey‘s FreedomWorks.

And speaking of Dick Armey, the man who made a joke about my dead mother compares his speech to the moon landing and the bus ride of Rosa Parks and Iwo Jima—ahead on COUNTDOWN.


OLBERMANN:  In the GOP‘s continuing effort to stand up for the little guy, it‘s going after the personification of bloated all-consuming greed.  Wall Street?  No.  Not Wall Street.  Government employees, like civil servants and other federal bureaucrats like Republican lawmakers.

And on our fourth story: the Democratic as well as the factual pushback there, too.  In his recent speech, House Minority Leader John Boehner created such a distraction with his call for President Obama to fire his economic team that this was almost missed.

Quoting him, “We‘ve not seen or seen not just more government jobs, but better paying ones, too.  It‘s just nonsense to think that the taxpayers are subsidizing the fattened salaries and pensions of federal bureaucrats who are out there right now making it harder to create private sector jobs.”  Of course, I‘m reading it better than he did.

“Federal employees now make an average more than double what private sector workers take in.”

Fact check, according to most recent estimate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, federal pay, in fact, lags behind that of the private sector by 22 percent on average.

And the director of the Office of Personnel Management says that recent comparisons between the public and private sectors, like that of Congressman Boehner here are wrong, because more entry-level jobs are included in that private sector average.

Now, for the political pushback from Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia.  “These are people”—government employees—“who are working in the public interest and who serve the very public we represent.  Shame on John Boehner for yielding to that temptation for short-term political gain at long-term cost.”

Though it‘s hard to see how Republicans even get short-term political gain from this stinker, Congressman Connolly continued, “Last time I checked, Boehner makes $193,000, that‘s more than most federal employees.  So, a little respect for the people who serve our public is in order.”

From Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, through a spokesman, “Federal workers make up an incredible work force serving the American people.  Attacking them, while advocating for a tax cut for the wealthiest 2 percent of people in our country, is partisanship at its very worst.”

Let‘s turn to professor of public policy at U.C. Berkeley‘s Goldman School of Public Policy, former labor secretary under President Clinton, Robert Reich.

Thanks again for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN:  Is there some sort of underlying strategy here behind Minority Leader Boehner‘s attack?  I mean, what would it be, that the public is souring on anything to do with government?  Is the message that simplistic?

REICH:  Well, it is simplistic and it is true.  I mean, when you run out of people to bash, whether it‘s immigrants or Muslims or gays or whoever, you can always count on government bureaucrats.  Nobody likes government bureaucrats.  This is the oldest page in the Republican playbook, go after the government.

OLBERMANN:  What if somebody, like Boehner, said, and because of this, I‘m going to layoff 20 percent of my staff.  Would there be at least some personal credibility to the criticism?

REICH:  There might be.  I mean, you know, John Boehner himself earns, as you said, $193,400 a year.  And also, extraordinarily government retirement benefits.  I mean, he and his colleagues are among the best paid government workers in Washington right now.  And so, there is a little bit of the pot calling the kettle.

OLBERMANN:  But he also got his raw stats incorrect if the—if what we‘re hearing from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is correct.  How can you come out and say that federal employees are being paid so much or governmental employees are being paid so much more than the private is sector when the facts and the details of that and the caveats are easily obtainable with like a 30-second Google search?

REICH:  Well, I think they count on the fact that people are not going to do that 30-second Google search, Keith.  I mean, you can—you can get away with an awful lot if you just say it over and over and over again.  And you don‘t have to worry about the facts.

I mean, the fact of the matter is, as you said—in fact, I looked at it just before this program to make sure I had my facts correctly, if you look exactly apples to apples at government workers from the same education as private workers on an hourly basis, government workers are actually earning less than private sector workers.

OLBERMANN:  And whereas it‘s fun and presumably it gives some traction for politicians to attack bureaucrats, what would happen without at least most of the government bureaucrats?  What would happen in this—how long benefit lights would go out around the country?

REICH:  Well, not only would the lights go out.  But what‘s protecting us from BP oil spills, to the except we‘re being protected and damaged eggs and WellPoint insurance companies that are doubling or tripling their premiums or Goldman Sachs predations?

I mean, to the extent that we‘re being protected at all from the private sector, whose goal obviously and necessarily is to make as much money as possible—but not to particularly concern themselves with the public interest.  I mean, to the extent that we‘re protected at all, we are protected by people who John Boehner calls government bureaucrats.

OLBERMANN:  Return of service on the whole Boehner financial point of view.  The progressive think tank, NDN, is using a lot of objective data like the extension of the Bush tax cuts said that Boehner‘s policy prescriptions could increase the deficit by $3,700,000,000 over 10 years.  Have the Democrats even begun to push back with a bit of information like that, or did they feel that bringing up the subject of the economy is a third rail at the moment?

REICH:  Honestly, Keith, I don‘t know why the Democrats don‘t go after Boehner and other Republicans for, number one, having no ideas at all.  But number two, protecting the rich.  I mean, they are the ones—the Republicans are the ones who want to extend the Bush tax cuts to the top 3 percent of the Americans who need them the least.  But also, all of this hatefulness, you know, this hatemongering.

And on top of that, privatizing Social Security?  I mean, who in their right mind, given the casino we‘ve seen at Wall Street, would want to privatize Social Security?

And finally, the fifth plank, is deregulation.  And as we just talked about, the private sector these days, given what‘s happened over the past year, I mean, how could anybody seriously talk about deregulation?  The Democrats have got to it fight back.

OLBERMANN:  Social Security brought to you by Lehman Brothers.

The former secretary of labor, Robert Reich—thanks, as always, sir.

REICH:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  As New Orleans still fights to recover, BP still continues to fight any kind of accurate accounting of how much oil it has disgorged into the Gulf.  Coming up.


OLBERMANN:  New Orleans; the Katrina anniversary, the BP effect, and the help Nicole Lamoureax and the National Association of Free Clinics and I urgently need from you.  But first, the sanity break and the Twitter report; we have broken 100,000.  Current number is like 100,362, something like that.  The 100,000th follower @KeithOlbermann, MooMooMcCarl, who not only did it, but prophesied it.  “I‘m NGL.  I kind of really hope I was Keith Olbermann‘s 100,000th follower because I secretly have a huge crush on him.”  No longer a secret?  That‘s sweet.  Thank you. 

By the way, NGL is a membrane protein found in neurons.  Or it can also mean “not going to lie.”  Let‘s play Oddball.

We begin in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where dry winds and brush fires created something not seen since “The Last Airbender” left theaters.  It‘s a fire tornado.  Nobody was hurt.  Authorities claim to have the brush fire under control, after getting some help from Linka (ph) and the rest of the planeteers.  Go planet.

To Bunoi (ph), in Spain, where we find the most inefficient way known to make spaghetti sauce.  The annual tomato throwing festival known as the Tomatina (ph).  It‘s funny because it‘s not happening in our country.  No one is quite sure why this thing started, but it‘s been going on since 1945.  The week-long event will host an estimated 20,000 to 5,000 people, many of whom are merely taking out their frustration after years of eating Chef Boyarde. 

Finally to Winnipeg, the city counselors are playing a group of underprivileged kids in a charity soccer match.  This is May Sam Katz saying hello to one of the youths, right in the kisser.  The guy was fine.  The mayor was given a yellow card.  But this may be the first time a town actually wants its mayor to take a kick back. 

Five years since Katrina hit.  Four months since BP hit.  And the disturbing data accumulating, as our free health clinic in New Orleans, about the number of patients who have already registered for help.  Stand by.


OLBERMANN:  Five years ago now, the National Weather Service declared that Hurricane Katrina would strike the Gulf Coast.  There was no doubt about it.  One hundred twenty nine days ago, the Deepwater Horizon disaster began with an explosion in that Gulf.  In our third story, what BP is still not doing, followed by what you can do, with the sincere hope from all of us here at COUNTDOWN that you will. 

First, even after a scientific team arrived at its best determination of just how much oil leaked during an 87 day period, BP is refusing to agree with that number.  The obvious reason, the number affects how much the company will be fined.  Just as BP repeatedly low-balled the flow rate, just as BP managed to avoid reopening the successful cap long enough to capture all of the oil flow, and thereby arrive at an exact flow rate. 

But the Flow Rate Technical Group puts the number at 62,000 barrels a day at the beginning of the disaster, down to 53,000 barrels per day just before the gusher was fully contained.  BP says it is still evaluating the information. 

But Congressman Ed Markey, chair of the relevant Congressional committees, says in a letter to the company, quote, “as if we needed it.  This is a clear signal that BP intends to fight the same numbers they claim to have helped create about the size of the spill.  BP acceptance of a flow rate number is fundamental to its claim that it is doing everything it can to make this right for the families and businesses of the Gulf.” 

Meantime, the president will address both the BP oil disaster and the persistent effects of Hurricane Katrina in a speak Sunday at Xavier University in New Orleans.  According to a White House spokesman, the president will recommit the nation to the Gulf region. 

Which brings us to the free health clinic in New Orleans, from the National Association of Free Clinics.  The two day event is to begin next Tuesday.  That‘s five days from now.  But we are still short the necessary funds to make it work. 

Let‘s turn to the executive director of the National Association of Free Clinics, Nicole Lamoureax.  Good evening, Nicole.


How are you?

OLBERMANN:  I‘m well.  And yourself?

LAMOUREAX:  Fine, thanks.

OLBERMANN:  First, you indicated earlier today that there was something different and disturbing about this one, as you look ahead to New Orleans, the number of patients who had already registered and how that has compared to other recent clinics. 

LAMOUREAX:  It is overwhelming to me.  I‘m here in New Orleans.  As I‘m walking the streets and I‘m talking to people—we already have about 600 patients already registered for this event.  Keith, just to put that in context, historically, the patients don‘t start signing up until 24 hours in advance.  So 600 patients have already registered.  That‘s quite disturbing to me. 

OLBERMANN:  As of this moment, how short are we in terms of the funds and the medical and non-medical volunteers to meet that demand and stage the full two-day event? 

LAMOUREAX:  As you know, Keith, the National Association of Free Clinics is committed to doing this two-day clinic.  However, we‘re about 200,000 dollars short of what we need to pull this off.  We are, just as importantly, short the medical and non-medical volunteers.  We have enough to do a clinic.  We don‘t have enough to do the clinic the way that we like to have it be done. 

So we‘re really hoping that people will come out and volunteer, as they have so generously in the past, and if possible to help us fund this clinic as well. 

OLBERMANN:  As your organization prepares for this, describe for us some of what has been accomplished with the other free clinics over the past year, to refresh people or to introduce people to this process who may be hearing about it for the first time. 

LAMOUREAX:  It‘s been an incredible journey.  I know you‘ll agree with me on that. 


LAMOUREAX:  We have stopped seven suicides, two of them here in New Orleans.  We‘ve diagnosed four stage four breast cancers as we‘ve been through this.  We really have seen life and death, because after our Kansas City clinic, a baby was born two days after the clinic. 

But really, I‘d say the most important was one that happened to me that really touched me.  A gentleman ran up to me and said, Ms. Nicole and hugged me.  I had no idea who he was.  He said I came to your clinic last year.  I was 30 pounds overweight; my blood pressure was sky high.  You sent me to the hospital.  I‘ve been doing everything you all have told me.  Now I have a job.  I work here at this hotel.  It wouldn‘t be for you except—I wouldn‘t be doing this if it wasn‘t for that clinic. 

These are the stories that we‘re hearing over and over again, people who haven‘t been to a doctor in ten years.  That‘s too long. 

OLBERMANN:  And that‘s, right there, how we all get paid back.  A story like that.  Obviously, as he indicates, follow-up is needed.  Your organization offers that at the clinics as much as it can, and directs people, and gets them at least on the right course hopefully.  But how important is it just to get people into the clinics just sort of self-contained, just that event?  How often is that their first doctor‘s appointment in X number of years? 

LAMOUREAX:  On average, over the eight that we‘ve done so far, our patients haven‘t been to see a doctor in five years.  Most importantly, we‘ve hundred 9,200 patients and activated 8,500 volunteers.  How is this important to them?  These clinics are a life line to so many of these patients.  Over and over again I heard in Washington, D.C., you know what, Ms. Nicole?  I don‘t have time to wait until 2014.  I need to see a doctor now. 

These clinics have really showed us that America doesn‘t have time to wait for its politicians to do something anymore.  Volunteers are coming out to help these patients, without that entry into this system.  Then the follow-up information that we give these patients later, many of them would never go to the doctor.  And many of them would die.  That is what these patients are afraid of.  That‘s what they‘re afraid of here.  That‘s what they‘re really nervous about, dying. 

OLBERMANN:  Nicole Lamoureax of the National Association of Free Clinics, it‘s always a pleasure.  We‘re always honored by your presence and by associating your great group with us.  Thank you. 

LAMOUREAX:  Thank you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, you‘ve done it before with your generosity.  You can do this again.  A free clinic that is urgently needed.  A two day event in New Orleans, it is to begin in five days.  As you heard Nicole say, it‘s going to happen one way or the other.  This is a question of degree now.  They‘re 200,000 short, probably about somewhere around a million people watching right now.  Only one out of every five of you needs to throw in a buck. 

Go to to donate.  We do not take any of this for granted.  We greatly appreciate it.  It started for me with my dad.  So you know how I appreciate it.  Thank you. 

When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, she‘ll be in New Orleans tonight to bring you the stories of those who have not gotten the help long promised five years after Katrina. 

How you do you spell Michele Bachmann‘s first time?  Don‘t ask the people at her new political action committee.  They don‘t really know.  Worst persons ahead.

And Abraham Lincoln says, four score and seven hours from now, go see Glen Beck and buy crap from Goldline.  The Beck-apocalypse nears.


OLBERMANN:  The Beck-ening, or as the advertisements compare it to, the Moon landing; call it one crazy idea, complete with ads for Goldline over pictures of Rosa Parks.  And exclusive details on who the he is that Beck believes will be talking through him. 

That‘s next, but first get out your pitchforks and torches; time for tonight‘s worst persons in the world.

An update from yesterday.  Remember Trevor Hall, the 17-year-old boy who saved another boy from drowning and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.  His family was told by the Wisconsin hospital that they‘d have to pay more than 2,000 dollars in bills?  We made Aurora medical chief Dr.  Nick Turkel our worst person.  Today, Aurora has reversed its decision. 

There will be no bill for the hero teen.  Good call.  Thank you, Aurora. 

And hi, Dr. Nick.

Tonight‘s bronze—back to the mean stuff—to Shane Alexander and Jason Vantress (ph) of Portland, Oregon.  They‘re accused of shoplifting shoes, clothes, tools, blenders from the Johnson Creek Fred Meyer Store.  On any vast eternal scale, no big deal.  Except Mr. Alexander and Mr.  Vantress are alleged to have done this yesterday morning during the Portland Police Department‘s Seventh Annual Shop With a Cop Event at the Johnson Creek Fred Meyer Store.  At the time, the store was ringed by black and whites and some police on horseback.  Technically, the alleged perpetrators were arrested by 60 cops. 

Runners-up, Michele Bachmann and the Treasurer of her newest political action committee, Barry Arrington (ph).  They filed paperwork with the FEC to establish MichellePAC and they spelled Michele wrong.  They used two Ls even though she spells it with one.  What‘s worse, the Michele one L in MichellePAC is supposed to be an acronym.

But our winner, an unidentified evil-doer in Somerset, Massachusetts.  Police were from as far away as Swansey (ph); 911 was phone repeatedly, and a crowd of 50 wicked terrified onlookers gathered at Foxhill Cove in Somerset yesterday.  Behind Wilbur Liquors this was.  In the cove, a shark fin could be clearly seen bobbing up and down in the water.  That the shark wasn‘t likely to be that far away from open sea, nor was it likely to be more or less parked in one spot didn‘t matter because many area beaches had been closed this summer after shark sightings. 

The panic subsided, though, when police identified the shark fin as a piece of fin-shaped Styrofoam covered in duct tape and attached by somebody to weights to make it move like that.  The jerk who terrified Somerset—you‘re going to need a bigger piece of Styrofoam—today‘s Worst Person in the World.


OLBERMANN:  If all goes according to plan, and the blackboard operations, and the Black Panthers don‘t ruin things, it will rival this nation‘s seminal moments, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the flag raising at Iwo Jima, landing on the Moon.  Our number one story, rival those historical events and more, had those historical events included a welcome area, cooling stations, access to Port-o-Johns and sponsorship opportunities. 

As the Beck-ening draws near, Lonesome Rhodes advising attendees for Saturday‘s Restoring Honor Rally in D.C. to use God as a shield.  Why?  Because Beck calls this the worst case scenario here. 


GLENN BECK, FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR:  But imagine that somewhere on the edge of the crowd the Black Panthers start to march in.  OK?  Imagine—because there‘s going to be video cameras everywhere, everywhere.  The worst case scenario is that there is an infiltrator in there who is coordinating and they‘re like, oh, you bunch of “N” words, whatever.  The Black Panthers and they all just start brawling.  That‘s the worst case scenario, right?  This audience isn‘t going to do that. 


OLBERMANN:  Presumably after the audience gives any possible perps the Care Bear stare—


BECK:  You‘re going to see the spirit of God unleashed unlike you have probably ever seen it before, at least in a public function. 


OLBERMANN:  And then God will do magic tricks.  For further crowd pumping, one can check out pre-Beck-ening field trips to Mount Vernon and the Washington Cathedral, on Beck‘s producers blog, complete with captions:

“Glen admiring the architecture.”  What‘s that, a roof?  “And the resting place of President Woodrow Wilson.”  He hates that guy. 

Sorry.  Scroll down a little further and you‘ll stumble on to a new rally promo.  But before viewers are able to watch four minutes of video likening 8/28‘s rally to the Civil Right‘s Movement, Beck‘s owner would like a word with you. 


BECK:  Are you here looking for free clips and everything?  There‘s nothing free in life, my friend.  Well, except for the following clip, brought to you by Goldline.  866-Gold-Line -- 866-Gold-Line or  Thank you, Goldline. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Every great achievement in human history has started with one person, one crazy idea.  When confronted by the oppression of fear and conventional wisdom, the bravest always chart a new course to a new world.  The American experiment, men guided by their own reason.  Anything is possible through failures and success. 


OLBERMANN:  The top half of Abraham Lincoln‘s face, brought to you by Goldline. 

The Becker Head Army getting reinforcement from Dick Armey and his Astroturf group Freedom Works.  “The New York Times” detailing a boot camp for staff members, where corporately funded Tea Party activists are learning how to canvas neighborhoods, run get out the vote operations—what‘s that called, community something—community organizing? 

On the required reading list for the instruction of the “Freedom Works” boot campers, “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky.  Yes. 

Freedom Works will be joined at the rally by the Koch Family funded Americans For Prosperity.  Today, oil billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch offered an online rebuttal to Jane Mayer‘s reporting in the “New Yorker,” which detailed their contributions to the Tea Parties and other right wing organizations designed to undermine progressive, environmental and health care policies.  This is titled Koch Facts, more like Diet Coke, really.  “The Koch family and their foundations have been publicly devoted to making the world a better place.”  Like providing buses to the Beck-ening.

But one group who claims not to be on the bus, the Republican National Committee.  Communications director Doug Hye (ph) here—hi—telling the “Washington Post,” “I‘ve got to be honest with you.  I don‘t know about any Glenn Beck event.” 

Joining me now, somebody who does, the president of, Eric Byrnes.  Eric, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  How can somebody at the RNC say with a straight face they haven‘t heard of the event?  The “Washington Post” reported operatives at virtually every Republican committee in Washington claimed little or no knowledge of the event.  Is everybody going to be out of town this weekend? 

BYRNES:  No, look, we know that they know about it.  Michael Steele‘s done nothing but rave about Glenn Beck and the Tea Party movement for months.  I think the issue here is not that the RNC is worried about being associated with Tea Party.  The RNC and the Republican Party‘s brand has been so badly damaged by 20 years of failed policy, George Bush, the reign of terror by Tom Delay, that they don‘t want to get in the way of the Tea Party successful branding of itself. 

That‘s—it‘s really key to what this entire rally is all about.  This effort by Glenn Beck is to essentially rebrand the conservative movement, wrap themselves in the flag and the mythology of the country, and of course these honor of American soldiers. 

Let‘s remember—one thing that‘s not talked about very often, the Republican party‘s approval ratings are about half that of the Democrats.  We all know that the Democrats are struggling right now. 

OLBERMANN:  “Time Magazine” has reported that Beck‘s charity, the Special Operations Warrior Operation, required speakers at the event to sign an agreement to not talk politics.  Sarah Palin is going to be speaking.  How does that work?  I mean, she doesn‘t just say only the words Republican or Democrat, does that qualify as not politics? 

BYRNES:  Maybe in Glenn Beck‘s book that will.  I find it hard to believe that one of the leading Republican presidential hopefuls is not going to talk politics.  There‘s going to be plenty of politics at the event.  You mentioned Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works are going to be there registering voters, and teaching people how to do GOTV.  The National Rifle Association is going to be there. 

Let me just say, if by chance Glenn Beck is true to his word, there‘s no politics and it‘s all just about this charity that helps take care of the children of veterans who have lost their lives, then maybe that‘s Glen Beck turning over a leaf, but—that would be wonderful.  I‘m not going to hold my breath. 

OLBERMANN:  Are we expecting to see him part the Reflecting Pool? 

BYRNES:  I think he thinks he may be parting the Reflecting Pool.  He‘s talked about channeling the Holy Spirit.  I‘m skeptical.  But he‘s certainly built up the expectations.  It just kind of speaks to the fact that so much of this is about Glenn Beck really elevating himself and his delusions of grandeur about who he is.  Not only has he tried to co-opt Martin Luther King‘s legacy; he‘s trying to kind of present himself as a combination of a George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for the modern day. 

OLBERMANN:  Lastly, Dick Armey using Saul Alinsky as a textbook.  This would be funny if they hadn‘t tried to turn Saul Alinsky into every evil known to man. 

BYRNES:  It‘s really not funny, because Glenn Beck is dangerous.  And it speaks to the fundamental dishonesty not of this rally and its real intent, but of what Glenn Beck does every day.  They vilify Saul Alinsky, but then they actually use his tactics to train their operatives.  He claims the legacy of Martin Luther King for himself, a middle-aged white man who‘s a multi-millionaire, but then, of course, trashes everything that Martin Luther King has ever believed in. 

OLBERMANN:  Eric Byrnes of Media Matters, if we don‘t talk to you again before the Rapture, thanks a lot.  It‘s been nice knowing you. 

BYRNES:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  I should tell you, we have identified the He Beck hopes will be talking through him.  We‘ve turned him, as the spies say.  We will have him wired as he gives those secret messages, the voice that Beck hears, during Saturday‘s speech.  Obviously we can‘t reveal this until after the speech happens.  We will bring it to you, video exclusive, in a big COUNTDOWN exclusive on Monday.  So set the VCR right now.  Right now.

In the interim, that‘s August, 26th.   It‘s the 2,674 day since President Bush declared mission accomplished in Iraq, the 2,263rd day since he declared victory in Afghanistan, and the 129th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf. 

I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck. 

Way to the right.  Now live from New Orleans with the stories of those who never got the help they were promised, starting five years ago tonight, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.  Good evening, Rachel. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Good evening, Keith.  For the first time ever, you have broken too far to the right. 

OLBERMANN:  I‘m speechless. 

MADDOW:  Thank you.  Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. 



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