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'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, Oct. 11th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Guests: Josh Marshall, Richard Socarides, Faiz Shakir, Eugene Robinson, MG






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

The first Tea Party candidate to self-destruct.


CARL PALADINO ®, NY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE:  I don‘t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option.  It isn‘t.


OLBERMANN:  And worst, the would-be governor of New York doesn‘t even know it‘s homophobia.  He thinks he‘s being generous.


PALADINO:  Don‘t misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way.  That would be a dastardly lie.  My approach is live and let live.


OLBERMANN:  Other than the promise to veto civil unions, gay marriage, gay rights.

And the hobby of Mr. Iott of Ohio, the Republican candidate in the Ohio ninth—and part-time Nazi re-enactor.  He liked the SS uniforms the best.

When campaign speech becomes hate speech, with Josh Marshall and Gene Robinson.


REP. ERIC CANTOR ®, VIRGINIA:  I would absolutely repudiate that and then not support an individual—

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, you haven‘t.

CANTOR:  -- to do something like that.  I‘m doing it right here.  I‘m doing it right here.


OLBERMANN:  Karl Rove is laugh out loud funny, starring in the role of the innocent bystander.  He never funded American Crossroads or Crossroads GPS.  Pay no attention to the trail a mile wide.


KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH AIDE:  This is a desperate, and I think, disturbing trend by the president of the United States to tar his political adversaries with some kind of, you know, enemies list.


OLBERMANN:  And the desperate effort to pretend there is no foreign money going into the Chamber of Commerce to try to influence the midterms.


ED GILLESPIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  “The Washington Post” and “The New York Times” both completely repudiated this charge.


OLBERMANN:  Thanks, Ed Gilles-Palin.  But they didn‘t.


ROVE:  Have these people no shame?


OLBERMANN:  Shame?  It‘s cute to see him use a word he doesn‘t understand.

Well, Karl, those people with no shame—these cars, no people, with artificial intelligence software, let Google put you out of the driver‘s seat.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.



OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

Today is national coming out day, to help young people tell the people in their lives who they really are.  And we know this because it‘s getting extra publicity, today, courtesy of the Republican and Tea Party.

Our fifth story tonight: New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino spending national coming out day defending his position against teaching young people that being gay is a, quote, “valid option.”  This just weeks after some half a dozen young people killed themselves, apparently in anguish over being gay—just hours after eight men in New York City were arraigned on charges that they systemically preyed on, beat, sodomized, and tortured two teenagers and one man for being gay.

On the morning of national coming out day, Mr. Paladino claimed he has nothing against gay people, except their marriages.  But he stood by his criticism of Democratic rival Andrew Cuomo for having taken his daughters to the gay pride parade.


PALADINO:  Mr. Cuomo took his daughters to a gay pride parade.  Is that normal?  Would you do it?  Would you take your children to a gay pride parade?

MATT LAUER, TODAY SHOW:  I think that you can probably expose your children to a lot of different things and help them decide and make their own decisions.

PALADINO:  Really?  No, I don‘t think it‘s proper for them to go there and watch a couple of grown men grind against each other.  I don‘t think that‘s proper.  I think it‘s disgusting.



Mr. Paladino‘s remarks at two orthodox synagogues yesterday went far beyond opposing gay marriage.  As you‘ll see, he talks about the downfall of our culture, he talks about children, quote, “brainwashed” to think homosexuality is OK.

And when he talks about the gay pride parade, watch his face.  This as the city in which he is speaking is still reeling from a brutal anti-gay crime.


PALADINO:  The ruling elite of this society must get over their hostility towards religious people and their values.  We must stop mocking religion in this country.

We must stop this indoctrination of our children in our schools and ideas and values that will prevent them from enjoying happy and successful lives.  We must stop pandering to the pornographers and the perverts who seek to target our children and destroy their lives.

I didn‘t march in the gay parade this year—the gay pride parade this year.  My opponent did, and that‘s not the example that we should be showing our children, and certainly not in our schools.


PALADINO:  And don‘t misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way.  That would be a dastardly lie.  My approach is live and let live.

I just think my children and your children will be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family.  And I don‘t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option.  It isn‘t.


PALADINO:  If you elect me as your next governor, you can depend on me to protect and defend your family from those who seek to tear down our values and bankrupt our citizens.  And yes, I will veto all legislation that mocks our sacred institution of marriage and family.


PALADINO:  I will veto any gay marriage or civil union bill that comes to my desk.


PALADINO:  Yes, I‘m angry.  Real angry at the way our politically correct elites are mistreating our innocent children and I want to protect them and give them a real future in America, the greatest country on God‘s green earth.



OLBERMANN:  One example to show your children, give them brothers and sisters outside your marriage.  Mr. Paladino said today that he merely shares the Catholic position on gays, but civil remarks earlier that day that were written for Paladino by an anti-gay orthodox rabbi whose position he says, comes from “Leviticus,” which reads, quote, “If a man also lie with mankind as lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.  They shall surely be put to death.”  That rabbi endorsed Mr.  Paladino, saying Mr. Paladino goes farther than other candidates have.


RABBI YEHUDA LEVIN, PALADINO ADVISOR:  You are one of the first politicians to come to this community in 30 years, you are not the first one to make this kind of a speech.  And for this alone, you deserve—spiritually, you deserve, and we plead and pray to God.  This is not a political get-together.  This is a get-together of prayer.  We plead with God, be able to raise our children in holiness.  That‘s what this is about.


OLBERMANN:  And in a clip Levin posted on his Web site yesterday, a joke about Mr. Paladino firing his campaign manager turns into a joke about gay marriage.


PALADINO:  Michael, you‘re fired.





OLBERMANN:  With us tonight, Josh Marshall, founder and editor of “Talking Points Memo.”

Good to see you again, Josh.

JOSH MARSHALL, TALKINGPOINTSMEMO.COM:  Thanks for having me again.

OLBERMANN:  What are the politics Mr. Paladino associating himself with extremist religious figures like those?

MARSHALL:  Well, you know, here, we don‘t call them extremist religious figures.  We call them the Hasidic rabbis who live out in Brooklyn.  This is sort of like a, you know, a regular thing that politicians of both parties do, you know, all the time, which is part of New York politics.

OLBERMANN:  Without reading a hostage note that they are handed, a ransom note.

MARSHALL:  Yes, I think—exactly.

I think what really stands out to me about this whole episode is not so much that he went to speak to these people who, you know, part of the New York community, or even what he said about homosexuality, is just the amateurism of his whole thing.  You know, going there—you know, most politicians are more than willing to pander, but they don‘t get handed a speech by the host and to read it cold and not even knowing, you know, what‘s going to be in there.

You know, this whole thing, it‘s not even so much a campaign, it‘s like, you know, Carl Paladino‘s six-month primal scream and we all have, you know, kind of have front-row seats.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  I wish it were that.

I didn‘t even get to the fact that Mr. Paladino spoke last night at not one, but two events at which women were not allowed, female reporters were not allowed.  Women standing outside were chased away.

One of them had to cover through the windows at one.  That was s close as they could get.  What if a Muslim group had kept women out of some sort of politically related gubernatorial or other race event this time of the year?

MARSHALL:  You know, I think the reaction would have been much more negative.

OLBERMANN:  A little bit.


OLBERMANN:  Can you expand on the context in which the Paladino remarks hit last night, especially when we‘ve seen this brutal crime in this city?  I guess he thought it was OK because it was a different borough of this city?

MARSHALL:  Well, you had—you had this terrible incident in New York.  You had this suicide across the river, a Rutgers University student, gay, who was sort of forcibly outed in this kind of bizarre incident with his roommates.  You know, not really well-timed, to put it mildly.  I don‘t think he was thinking about that.

You know, the other thing that strikes me about Carl Paladino is that, you know, what he said, the actual concepts are really not that different from what most conservative Republicans say they believe about homosexuality.  The difference is, is that over the last 10 or 20 years, as societal mores have changed, those folks have come up with the vocabulary to signal that they think homosexuality is not normal, that it‘s wrong, but there‘s not a lot of “disgustings” and this really kind of, you know, harsh language.

So, you know, one thing that Carl Paladino, I think, has a lot of

credibility on now, he‘s not like other politicians.  You know, not like in

not in Albany and not anywhere.  And you see—well, maybe somewhere, but he‘s operating from different playbook.  And I think this is an example, where there‘s, you know, those rough edges are still there.


OLBERMANN:  To that playbook, and Mr. Paladino‘s religious and even biblical quotations in here.  So, the bestiality e-mail that he sent out, I assume, is covered somewhere, is OK in the Bible or in some orthodox religion?  This is his moral and ethical baseline that we‘re using here?

MARSHALL:  I think “Leviticus” was pretty down on that too, actually.  But, you know, I don‘t get the sense—you know, Carl Paladino is saying that his aversion to homosexuality is rooted in his Catholicism and obviously, the Catholic Church is not big on homosexuality.

But watching Carl Paladino for the last few months and seeing the—you know, the racist e-mails and the bestiality e-mails he sends around, you don‘t get the sense that this is like a pious guy.  This is a little—you know, this is someone who‘s got a—you know, believes in—

OLBERMANN:  Primal screaming.

MARSHALL:  Yes, kind of primal screaming kind of thing.


OLBERMANN:  -- perfectly phrased.  “Talking Points Memo” editor and founder, Josh Marshall—good to see you.  Thanks for coming in.

Let‘s turn to Richard Socarides, former senior adviser on gay civil rights issues to President Clinton, and now a Democratic strategist.

Welcome back, sir.


OLBERMANN:  I mentioned with Josh, this is not an isolated incident.  It‘s not isolated in context.  What do you see in the Tea Party?  Is it social conservatives masquerading as fiscal conservatives, or fiscal conservatives pretending they‘re not social conservatives?

SOCARIDES:  Well, it‘s interesting, right, because when pollsters ask Tea Party members if these social issues like gay marriage and gay rights are important to them, they say, no, they rank them very low in importance.  But what we see here in this incident and we‘ve seen with others is that with this fiscal conservative, this so-called fiscal conservatism, because it really isn‘t fiscal conservatism, but with what they‘re calling fiscal conservatism, comes a lot of very socially conservative—comes a very socially conservative framework.

What we‘re really worried about today, you know, in New York with Mr.  Paladino is the horrible message this kind of talk sends, first of all, to young people who may be struggling with their own identity, and also with the message it sends to people who agree with him, who think that this gives them permission to stigmatize and to bully and to hate, especially in this context that you were discussing with Josh, where we‘ve had probably the most horrific hate crime in the history of New York City, you know, that came right after this poor kid from Rutgers jumped off that—jumped off the George Washington Bridge.

OLBERMANN:  The political context—the former Bush campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, said earlier this year, famously, that in ‘04 and ‘06, the GOP used initiatives—gay-baiting initiatives—on ballots around the country to bring out the evangelical vote.

How much of that conscious dynamic do you with see here when Christine O‘Donnell at one time pretty much dedicated her life to anti-gay work, when as Josh just pointed out, there were no dog whistles.  This was—this was flat homophobic language used by this candidate for governor in New York?

SOCARIDES:  Well, I think you see some of it.  Whether it‘s conscious, whether it‘s part of a campaign strategy or not, you‘re going to see some of it, especially in the closing days of this campaign, when people want try to rally the base.

But I think the difference this year is that it‘s not really going to work.  I mean, we‘ve made—you know, despite the fact that people in the gay rights movement are upset with President Obama for not doing enough, the truth is that the country, culturally, has come—has made a lot of progress, even since earlier in 2006.  And what we have to do now is keep making that progress.  And it would be really a shame to go back.

But if the Republicans—if this kind of talk and if these so-called fiscal conservatives push the Republican Party in a direction of social conservatism, you‘re going to see a Congress that is very reluctant to even do away with “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” next year, and certainly not pass employment discrimination protections that we‘ve been trying to get.

OLBERMANN:  But the flip side that we saw of the gay-baiting in ‘04 and ‘06 from the Republicans was that social conservatives mostly did not get what they wanted.  They got played—Bush and the Republicans took their votes, and there was no second act to the deal.

What is this Christian rights/Tea Party/whatever they‘re going to call themselves next time, what would they do if it turns out that even the Tea Party is playing them, too?

SOCARIDES:  Well, you know, they‘ve been trying to make God part of this—part of elections for, you know, now, for the last couple of decades.  And it‘s very interesting what‘s happening now, because I think it‘s going to backfire.

And I think that, you know, we have to tell gay people that God made you how you are, that it‘s perfectly normal, that, you know, you need to go forward, lead your life, be out.  That‘s why this important issue of gay marriage is so important, because it sends a message, you know, marriage is really a proxy issue.  It‘s not really so much about who you get to marry, but it‘s really a proxy issue for whether or not you believe that gays are entitled to full dignity, full respect, complete equal full equality now.

OLBERMANN:  Richard Socarides, former advisor to President Clinton—as always, thanks for your time tonight.

SOCARIDES:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  It could be worse, I suppose.  There could be photos of Mr. Paladino in an SS uniform, reenacting famous troop divisions of the Nazis.  The Ohio Tea Party congressional candidate admits it‘s him, admits he does it, explains he‘s still the victim.

As Karl Rove says, he‘s still the victim.  Skirting campaign finance laws?  No, he‘s being persecuted.  There‘s a presidential enemies list—next.


OLBERMANN:  True to his dog-eared playbook, when caught trying to subvert free elections in the United States, he thought it was rule 22, yell loudly and claim you‘re on a White House enemies list.

If you‘re running for Congress and there‘s a photo of you like this and it‘s not PhotoShopped and you admit it, there wouldn‘t seem to be much to do besides move to Argentina.  Not if you‘re a Tea Party candidate.  No, no, he‘s the victim.

Has homeland security been to see this guy yet?  He‘s just proposed flying a plane into a building in Lower Manhattan.

And Google‘s latest computer wizardry, the car that does not need you behind the wheel?  Well, there goes “Car and Driver” magazine.


OLBERMANN:  The last time Karl Rove freaked out on FOX PAC, it was because his candidate in Delaware got beaten by a teenage witch from the junior anti-sex league.  This time, the president of the United States is using his bully pulpit to shine a light on Karl Rove‘s secret election machine.

In our fourth story in the COUNTDOWN: Mr. Rove is screaming, not only like this was his first political campaign, but as if this was his first time getting caught cheating.

First, appearing on “FOX News Sunday,” Karl Rove was chafed by the president‘s assertion that Rove‘s special interest groups are operating below the radar.  He also didn‘t like the insinuation that Crossroad GPS and Chamber of Commerce posed a threat to our democracy.

The president first made that claim on Thursday, he repeated it yesterday, and Mr. Rove freaked out.


ROVE:  This is a desperate, and I think disturbing trend by the president of the United States to tar his political adversaries with some kind of, you know, enemies list, with being unrestrained by any facts or evidence whatsoever.


OLBERMANN:  Rove, who worked on President Nixon‘s ‘72 campaign, is on Obama‘s so-called enemies list—which is not really an enemies list, for not sharing the names on his friends list.  More freaking.


ROVE:  Have these people no shame?  Does the president of the United States have such little regard for the office that he holds that he goes out there and makes these kind of baseless charges against his political enemies?  This is—this is just beyond the pale.  How dare the president do this?


OLBERMANN:  Yes, how dare the president insist we have open and honest elections, ones that do not disproportionately represent anonymous corporate citizens?

Today, campaigning in Pennsylvania, the vice president, Mr. Biden, going after Mr. Rove‘s secret machine.  Quoting, “Does it surprise you that Karl Rove and his friends—Karl Rove, the architect of the policies that drove us into this ditch—are back raising tens of millions of dollars from shady sources, shady in a sense that we don‘t know where the money is coming from.  For the first time in modern American history, they don‘t have to tell us.”

The vice president is also taking on the Chamber of Commerce and the allegations that the group accepts foreign money and uses it to accept attack ads.  Again, quoting Mr. Biden, “I challenge the Chamber of Commerce to tell us how much of the money they‘re investing in from foreign sources.  I challenge then, if I‘m wrong, I will stand corrected.  But show me.” reported last week that at least hundreds of thousands of dollars of foreign money were being accepted by the chamber, which does not disclose its donors and which uses money from its general fund to pay for attack ads overwhelmingly benefiting Republicans.

“The New York Times” ran the denial of the chamber of horrors.  Top lobbyist, Bruce Josten.  “Mr. Josten,” “The Times” wrote, “said the Chamber of Commerce had 115 foreign member affiliates in 108 countries who pay a total of less than $100,000 in membership dues that go into its regular funds.”

“Think Progress” is not just taking Mr. Josten‘s word for it.  This is its graphic.  Josten‘s claim may account for AmCham money, but not for the money coming from the India and Bahrain business council, or the contributions for what the chamber calls a relative handful of non-U.S.-based companies.

I‘m joined now by the editor of “Think Progress,” Faiz Shakir.

Faiz, good evening.

FAIZ SHAKIR, THINKPROGRESS.ORG:  Good evening, Keith.  And congratulations on your award.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you kindly.  Rove in a minute.

First, explain this chart to me.  Explain the foreign money coming into the chamber that your group is saying—the rest of the media is ignoring or pretty much glossing over.

SHAKIR:  We‘ve established three facts.  One is that the chamber is gladly accepting foreign money.  We know that at least $300,000 of that foreign money is coming into a general account and that that general account is used to fund $75 million worth of attack ads.

Those are the facts that are largely undisputed.  We haven‘t heard the chamber explain away any of that.  And so, we had to put together a graphic for much of the media that is hearing the chamber‘s spin story about the fact that only $100,000 comes from AmChams.  AmChams are these independent-based chapters abroad, are only responsible for a tiny amount of the foreign money that they receive.

And what we did with the graphic is showed that these business councils and that these foreign companies comprise the bulk of the money that they‘re receiving, and I think it‘s important that the chamber have to respond to the fact that they are not only accepting this money, but that some of the money might be trying to influence our elections.

OLBERMANN:  A point that Mr. Biden made in Pennsylvania today, going after Karl Rove and the chamber and others.  So, the White House just figured this out?  The light bulb went on in your neighborhood there?

SHAKIR:  I guess they could only get stabbed in the back so many times by the chamber.  I think—you know, in 2009, the White House had been working with the health insurance companies, the chamber, to try to get health reform passed.  And what they learned after that the fight was that the health insurance companies who had been working publicly to say that they were dealing with the White House were secretly funneling at least $20 million to the chamber to run attack ads to defeat health reform.

And so, people realized, I think, in the White House, that these people at the Chamber of Commerce are not out to work with them.  They‘re simply a partisan outfit that‘s out to attack every policy.  Of course, we saw that when Wall Street reform came up, they were attacking it without any basis for a lot of the claims that they were making.

And so, I think now, having gone through a lot of these historical experiences with the chamber, the White House is now fed up and we‘ve provided, I think, some good information about what the chamber‘s been up to.  And I appreciate the fact that the president and the vice president are making this a national cause.

OLBERMANN:  Mr. Rove playing victim on behalf of what the vice president called a stable of billionaires and millionaires, which is an apt phrase, especially harkening back to Mr. Paladino.  Does anyone buy this idea, or who is buying the idea that Rove is on the wrong end of a Nixonian enemies list?

SHAKIR:  Well, you mentioned the Nixonian thing.  But Karl Rove was also behind the whisper campaign during the Texas governor race to call Ann Richards a lesbian.  He was behind a smear campaign to suggest that John McCain had a black child in 2000 in South Carolina.  He was, of course, behind the outing of Valerie Plame‘s secret identity at the CIA.  He was also behind the outing—or the firing of attorneys at the Justice Department because they wouldn‘t pursue his partisan agenda.

This is the guy who‘s now telling us that he‘s upset that the president has an enemies list.  It‘s nonsense and people should, of course, take with a grain of salt.  What President Obama is doing is documenting some of the facts about what Karl Rove is up to.  He‘s operating a shadow fund that doesn‘t, I don‘t think, comply with the law.  And he‘s using this shadow operation to solicit huge amounts of corporate money that we don‘t know where it‘s coming from to fund partisan attack ads.

And the president‘s, rightfully, making everyone aware of that fact.

OLBERMANN:  Briefly, devil‘s advocate question.  The SEIU, the I stands for “international.”  It‘s an international union.  It has 60,000 or so Canadian members.

How do we know these filthy Canadians are not contributing $385 to the SEIU campaign ads?

SHAKIR:  Well, that‘s the point there, Keith, is that we know where the unions get their money.  And it‘s from unions‘ dues paying members.  It‘s from hard-working blue-collar folks.

And I think—yes, I don‘t want to diminish the fact that foreign money is coming in.  I challenge everybody across the board who might be accepting any foreign money to document how they‘re receiving it and what they‘re doing with it, and that applies to SEIU.

But let‘s be clear.  The chamber‘s problem is on an unprecedented scale.  They‘re running $75 million in advertising, $10.5 million just this week.  They‘re advocating for the companies that outsource jobs and receive a tax loophole for doing so.  And now, they‘re trying to outsource our democracy.

So, I think that they deserve scrutiny on a far higher-level scale than anybody else.

OLBERMANN:  Faiz Shakir of—thank you kindly for your time tonight, sir.

SHAKIR:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  So, a Tea Party would-be Ohio congressman likes to reenact great military battles.  So, what?  Civil war, World War I, the movements of the Nazi 5th SS Panzer Division as it makes its way into Hungary to slaughter the Jews—along side his son.  It‘s a bonding experience.  Uh-oh!


OLBERMANN:  The one time you can compare a Republican to a Nazi without invoking Godwin‘s Law. 

That‘s next, but first the insanity break.  I should explain this; as part of MSNBC‘s Lean Forward campaign, we‘re going to snaz things up a bit with a new dress code around here.  For all shows airing at 8:00 p.m.  Eastern or later, black tie will be required.  Ball gowns for the ladies. 

Morning and day side, top hats like the doormen at hotels.  Weekends, suits of armor.  No, it‘s an awards ceremony tonight.  No time to change.  Table for two, down front.  Let‘s play Oddball.

We begin in Fuman Yan City (ph), China, with a pig showing what it‘s made of.  Ju Jang Quan (ph) was born with only his two front legs, but his farmer owner Wong Shyt (ph) refused to get rid of the big.  Instead Wong trained his impaired piglet to balance and walk on his two front legs.  Since then, the hog of hope has become a major attraction, and Wang has received many bids from people attempting to buy Ju.  But he‘s turned them down because some there are things more important than money, like bacon, or sausage, and the crap Charlotte would spin about him on her web. 

To Taiwan and a thriller of a story.  Li Ping Shing (ph) got tired of telling the crows to beat it, so he came up with an idea that Li didn‘t think was bad.  He decided to, quote, “since Michael is good at grabbing his bird, I‘d invite Michael to grab birds in our fields.”  That is some off the wall thinking.  Surprisingly, the crows saw the mannequins and decided, this is it, and departed.  Li follows the old adage of “Don‘t Stop Until You Get Enough,” continues to make more scarecrows, although it is only a matter of time before the crows return to rock his world. 

Time marches on.


The man called himself Reinhart Ferdman and participated in reenacting the movements and dressing habits of a German Panzer division that killed Jews in Hungary, which I guess is just a problem for him and people who were like him or who like him, unless he‘s, say, the Tea Party nominee for the Ninth Congressional District from Ohio.  And he says he‘s the victim of a smear, even though there are photos.


OLBERMANN:  They have embraced Birthers, Deathers, and Tenthers, but what will the Republican party do with the latest out of Ohio‘s Ninth Congressional District?  Our third story, millionaire business man, Rich Iott, Tea Party favorite on the campaign trail, Nazi reenactor on weekends.  Mr. Iott, running on the usual Tea Party platitudes against Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.  That is until a report from the “Atlantic‘s” Josh Green citing Mr. Iott‘s involvement with a group of Nazi reenactors called Viking. 

Mr. Iott, seen here wearing a German Waffen SS uniform, had been a member of the group, which recreates the exploits of the 5th SS Panzer Division Viking, since 2003.  Although the Viking posted a disclaimer wholeheartedly condemning atrocities committed during World War Ii.  Quote, “as we portray the German combat soldier, we are only interested in recreating his daily life, furthering our understanding of what it took to be a soldier, and at the same time, having fun reliving history.” 

As Austrian historian Eleanor Lapin writes, “soldiers in the Viking Division were involved in the killing of Hungarian Jews.”  Mr. Iott confirming with Mr. Green that he participated in the group under an alias, Reinhart Ferdman, citing his deep love of history.  “I‘ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things.  I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia.  And it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them.  From a purely historical military point of view, that‘s incredible.”

Mr. Iott‘s response was to note he‘s also played dress-up for the Civil War, and on the Union side, and World War I.  And he dressed up like a war criminal for all the right reasons.  It was, quote, “a father/son bonding thing.”   Mr. Iott left the group in 2007, after his son lost interest in it. 

Even the Republicans are recoiling.  He‘s now been scrubbed from the GOP Young Guns website after it turned out he preferred old guns, you know, like Lugers.  However, only when pressed by Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz did the GOP‘s lone Jewish member of Congress, Eric Cantor, address the issue. 


REP. ERIC CANTOR, MINORITY WHIP:  Debbie went and launched into her attacks as to some of the reports about candidates that are running, and particularly the one in Ohio having to do with a Nazi reenactment.  She knows that I would absolutely repudiate that and do not support an individual—


CANTOR:  -- who would do something like that. 

I‘m doing it right here.  I‘m doing it right here, Debbie.  You know good and well that I don‘t support anything like that. 


OLBERMANN:  To that point, the Iott spokesman, Matthew Parker, telling “The Toledo Blade” that the House minority whip is, quote, “just one member of Congress.”  And as for Mr. Iott? 


REP. RICHARD IOTT ®, CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS IN OHIO:  I think that Representative Cantor did what so many career politicians do, is he reacted before he had all the facts.  He didn‘t know the whole story.  He didn‘t understand what historical reenacting is all about. 


OLBERMANN:  Time now to call in MSNBC political analyst, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of the “Washington Post,” author of “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America,” Gene Robinson, who will now join me for another edition of batting practice.  Good evening, Gene.

EUGENE ROBINSON, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Good evening, Keith.  I feel so underdressed tonight.  Congratulations on your Murrow. 

OLBERMANN:  Congratulate me on getting into this suit.  But thank you.  Mr. Iott is portraying himself as the victim here.  And we get it by this point.  Tea Partiers are never wrong.  They never apologize.  They do not know shame.  And they certainly do not know when to run. 

My sort of semi-rhetorical question to you is, why do they not know these things? 

ROBINSON:  Keith, I have no idea.  I mean, why do you not know that dressing up like a Nazi and running through the woods and, you know, gambling and de-frolicking and killing Hungarian Jews for pretend is not an acceptable activity?  It‘s not something we like to see in our members of Congress. 

OLBERMANN:  But, Iott‘s right about one thing, even though that sort of “they don‘t know the whole story” is sort of bespeaking—I was only taking orders from my overlord in recreation.  He‘s right about one thing, Cantor was just one congressman.  Republican Jewish Coalition came out alongside Cantor in condemning this, albeit Cantor was a little tepid about it.  But where‘s John Boehner?  Where‘s any other Republican congressman?  Where‘s Joe Lieberman?  Where‘s anybody of consequence on this? 

ROBINSON:  I have no idea.  You would think that today there would have been a stream of denunciations, and you wouldn‘t have been able to see around here for the dust kicked up by the feet of people running as fast as they can away from this guy.  I mean, this is—you know, you don‘t just decide to dress up like a Nazi on a whim.  I mean, you kind of think about it, you know—or do you?  If you don‘t think about it, that‘s even, like, scarier? 

OLBERMANN:  There is nobody locally from his side or nationally to stand up and say, even I don‘t have a problem with this.  But realistically, there‘s a picture of you in a replica Nazi uniform.  This will make it impossible for you to get elected.  You either have to come up with a much better apology, or you have to quit.  Is there nobody to say that ? 

ROBINSON:  Apparently not.  Obviously, his spokesman isn‘t going to do it for him.  So he‘s not getting terribly good advice there.  Unfortunately, as you noted, we‘re not hearing nearly enough from theoretically responsible officials who should have been making this loud and clear.  I would have hoped to hear something a bit more clarion from Representative Cantor.  You know, I‘m against anything like that; well, you know, I‘m really, really against anything like that, and question this guy and whether he‘s suitable for the office that he seeks. 

OLBERMANN:  The real one, not in the dress-up—

ROBINSON:  yeah, the real one, not the—I don‘t even want to think about whether he wants to be promoted to, you know, captain or whatever. 

OLBERMANN:  Speaking of not hearing enough, there‘s a headline I saw today on a blog on “Newsweek.”  It‘s not signed, so it has some connection to “Newsweek,” “The Nazi Sympathizer Who Isn‘t;” “Ohio Congressman Rich Iott is being attacked for wearing a Nazi uniform, but shouldn‘t we care about his views, not his attires.”  And this posting goes on to say that all evidence suggest this is just a history nerd. 

Is this not part of the problem with Iott, with Paladino, with all these sort of deliriously out of their mind, out of the mainstream Tea Partiers, that a lot of the mainstream media is treating them with kid gloves.  Any other time in our history, wouldn‘t the press, left, right, and the middle, just for the sake of the story, be screaming for the rooftops, hey, look, a lot of crazy people running for office? 

ROBINSON:  I would think so.  I would think so.  You‘ve got a witch.  You‘ve got a guy—a raging homophobe.  You‘ve got a guy who dresses up like a Nazi for fun.  This is adding up to a pattern.  And it‘s a pattern of lunacy and extremism, in my view.  And I‘m certain in not every single Tea Party candidate that you—person who takes that identification across the whole great nation of ours is a loon.  But some of them are and why don‘t we call them that? 

This is not mainstream behavior.  And I don‘t think it should be acceptable behavior, frankly, for—you know, there are history nerds and there are history nerds. 

OLBERMANN:  Lots of history.  Do something on the history of great boxers.  You could have Carl Paladino starring in Raging Homophobe, like the phrase you used.  Gene Robinson of “the Post” and MSNBC, when we‘re lucky enough to have him, thank you, Gene. 

ROBINSON:  Great to be here, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, here we go.  New car lyrics.  I‘ve been through the desert in a car with no driver.  The Google car.  There‘s nobody in the driver‘s seat.

A Denver man claiming to be loyal America wants to see another terrorist attack involving a hijacked plane in New York City.  Worst Persons coming up. 

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, more on why a federal grand jury is looking into the murder of the abortion doctor, George Tiller.        


OLBERMANN:  I don‘t know what the big deal is.  Metaphorically, it‘s been true for 100 years.  Coming soon, the Google car, the car with no driver.  That‘s next, but first get it your pitchforks and torches, time for tonight‘s Worst Persons” in the World. 

The bronze to Doug Schoen, alleged Democratic pollster or Democratic consultant, and regular bumbling presence on Fox News.  Another fund-raiser for Republican Congressional wannabe John Gomez of New York yesterday.  Most of these are staged, on-air and off, in the violation of every tenet of broadcasting, by Gomez‘s childhood friend, softball Sean Hannity.  But this one had a special guest.  The invitation read top political strategist Doug Schoen to speak at meet and greet for John Gomez for Congress.  John Gomez, Republican and conservative candidate for New York‘s Second Congressional District, will be the guest speaker at an informal gathering that will also feature top political strategist Doug Schoen.  Suggested contribution of 100 bucks respectfully requested. 

So when you hear Fox say they alone represent both sides on every issue, when you see them trot out this loser Doug Schoen, just remember, Fox does show both sides: Republican and Republicans pretending to be Democrats. 

The silver, former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, part of this phony outrage pushback by Karl Rove and his fellow travelers about the fact that foreign money is going into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to try to influence our midterms. 


ED GILLESPIE, FMR. RNC CHAIRMAN:  “The Washington Post” and “the New York Times” both completely refudiated this charge of foreign money being funneled through the Chamber of Commerce into American campaigns. 


OLBERMANN:  First, who knows whether Gillespie said refudiated to backfill, to make Sarah Palin look less poorly spoken than she is, or if it was a kind of a joke, or if he‘s poorly spoken too.  But if he meant that “the Post” and “Times” had repudiated the charge that the COC is using money from places like Bahrain and China and buying ads for Republicans with it, Mr. Gillespie is lying.  Both papers printed the Chamber‘s loud but flimsy denials. 

Then the Times wrote, “it is impossible for an outsider to know whether the group is following its rules.”  “The Post” noted, “the Chamber still hasn‘t addressed in any detail the core allegation against it.”

Mr. Gillespie is, in short, a spokesman for the big businesses that are encouraging foreign companies and governments to put their money into our elections.  Mr. Gillespie has no credibility. 

But our winner, Mike Rosen of “the Denver Post.”  In Colorado, this Rosen is still insisting we in New York City do not get to decide whether or not a Muslim center in our state and city should be built.  What‘s that about not interfering in state/local decisions.  Fine, he‘s got a right to his opinion, wrong though he may be. 

He does not, however, have the right to this—


MARK ROSEN, “THE DENVER POST”:  I think they should be allowed to build it, followed by the hijacking of an Iranian plane right into that building and blow it to smithereens. 


OLBERMANN:  So this man has just admitted to being the moral, say nothing of the legal equivalent of al Qaeda.  And he‘s just advocated for another terrorist attack on New York City.  And he pretends to be an American?  Mike Rosen of “the Denver Post,” today‘s worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN:  Like much of life, it‘s both thrilling and extremely disconcerting, a car with no driver.  Super-sensitive artificial intelligence; you can just sit back and text.  Our number one story, nobody remembers the old Brenner movie “West World,” where the machines then started killing people?  Or even the driver-less police cars in Woody Allen‘s “Sleeper,” the ones that kept blowing up.  The Google car is here. 

Here‘s one of them, appearing just over that mirror.  It‘s the dark car with the thing on the roof, a laser range finder that spins and scans the terrain in all directions.  The car also has radar sensors and a video camera, plus artificial intelligence software, to make split-second decisions, because there‘s nobody driving it. 

There is a human behind the wheel to take control whenever necessary. 

Google revealed that it has been secretly test driving seven of these cars.  Six Priuses and an Audi fully loaded have driven 1,000 miles with no human intervention, 140,000 miles with only occasional human control, according to the “New York Times.”  Only one accident, when one of the Google cars was rear-ended by one of those old-school rides, probably with a Yahoo user in the back. 

Turns out that the Google—or Locust, whatever the other thing was named - turns out that the Google car was videotaped nearly a year ago on the 280 between San Francisco and Palo Alto, but the videographer thought it had something to do with wind power.  Good guess, buster. 

But now comes the giddy confession from the official Google blog, Google cars have, quote, “driven down Lombard Street,” San Francisco, of course, “across the Golden Gate Bridge, navigated the Pacific Coast highway and even made it all the way around Lake Tahoe.” 

The official statement includes this casual reference to the authorities: quote, “and we briefed local police on our work.” 

Let‘s get a briefing from a writer from, MG Siegler. 

MG, thanks for your time tonight. 


OLBERMANN:  All right, I‘m going to assume it works, so give us the basics on how it works. 

SIEGLER:  Yes.  So it sounds like there are basically a few different contraptions on this thing.  They have a camera.  They have radar.  They have lasers.  And, of course, it‘s using GPS, all if conjunction with one another to kind of make this thing drive itself. 

OLBERMANN:  So if something goes horribly wrong, what will go horribly wrong, and what will the result be? 

SIEGLER:  Well, we have yet to see that really.  Like you said, there‘s been the one accident that wasn‘t supposedly its fault.  But, you know, there‘s supposedly a voice inside the car that, you know, alerts the person sitting behind the driver seat if they need to take control for any reason.  And that‘s happened a few times, I guess, they said. 

OLBERMANN:  Unfortunately, it is the old voice from “West World.”  Is the car communicating wirelessly with some sort of central database?  Or is it self-contained?  Is all the information it needs in the car? 

SIEGLER:  Right.  Google hasn‘t officially disclosed any of that.  But they did say the key to all this is kind of using their servers.  And I assume those aren‘t hidden in the trunk somewhere.  So it‘s probably communicating wirelessly with this thing. 

OLBERMANN:  And in a world where self-driving cars might be mass produced, what happens?  Could this be as great as Google makes it out to be?  Is there any driver in America, particularly today, who doesn‘t want to drive the car and experience the near-death thrill every three hours? 

SIEGLER:  Yes, well, Google‘s kind of been playing this off saying,

well, they can do little things like the cut the number of fatalities on

the road in half and decrease energy consumption and save people like up to

an hour a day for the average commuter.  So, you know, they‘re playing this

they‘re playing this the right way.  It can do all these great things. 

OLBERMANN:  And how long is it supposed to be before every car on the road is one of these? 

SIEGLER:  Well, you know, the estimates that some people are throwing out there now is like maybe eight years.  The incredible thing that you talked about is that this thing has already been on the run, just unbeknownst to most people.  That‘s pretty crazy. 

OLBERMANN:  And on top of it, it has a fan like you see on every old New York City building in the City, anyway, but nobody noticed that thing before.  “The Times” said the cars can be programmed to mimic different driving personalities.  You can be cautious or aggressive.  Do they have road rage and inattentive as well? 

SIEGLER:  Right.  Yeah, I think so.  I think one of them may be—is a Google car that checks its Android phone while it‘s driving.  That part of it kind of reminds me of like “The Matrix,” where they made the perfect world at first, and then the humans kind of rejected it, because they didn‘t believe it to be true.  So they need to make this car that does like crazy things, so people can actually drive in the cities with it. 

OLBERMANN:  And you wrote that the Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, recently said that your car should drive itself.  “It‘s a bug that cars were invented before computers.”  Is he right? 

SIEGLER:  Yes, that‘s kind of an interesting statement.  I mean, maybe the biggest problem this thing has is that there are already all these cars being driven by humans on the road, so it has to do things like, you know, take into account human error and things like that.  If that wasn‘t the case, maybe this would be easier to implement. 

OLBERMANN:  And Google, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Cars.  Our friend, Mr. Schmidt, is trying to take over the world, isn‘t he? 

SIEGLER:  Yes, it‘s kind of funny.  Just the other day, they released Google Street View, which is one of their mapping things, in Antarctica.  It‘s kind of like the world is “Risk” now and they‘ve completely won. 

OLBERMANN:  Here‘s a penguin over here.  MG Siegler, the writer for, thanks for explaining this to some degree.  And be afraid, be very afraid.  Thank you kindly, sir.

SIEGLER:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  That‘s October 11th.  It‘s the 2,720th day since President Bush declared mission accomplished in Iraq, the 2,309th day since he declared victory in Afghanistan, and the 175th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.  You can play it for her.  You can play it for me.  I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck. 



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