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'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday, Oct. 8th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guests: Ezra Klein, Dave Weigel, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Robert Weissman




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

The jobs report.  When there were new government jobs, Boehner bitched.  When there were today fewer government jobs, Boehner bitched.  When the stimulus created private sector jobs, Boehner bitched.

Now, after he has voted against bills to create small business jobs, Boehner bitches yet again.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER:  This coming election is about one issue, jobs.  It‘s about jobs that were promised to the American people by the current administration but never delivered.


OLBERMANN:  The GOP magic act: Republicans block job growth then blame Democrats for the lack of job growth—with Ezra Klein and Senator Bernie Sanders.

Shutting down the government: Joe Miller says he and Mitch McConnell have decided it‘s on the table.  McConnell denies this.

Stopping the madness in Nevada: In the land of Sharron Angle, key Republicans have just endorsed Harry Reid.

The anti-U.S. Chamber of Commerce strikes again, suing the government when it tries to protect you from big companies—power to the corporations.

And the chamber‘s latest attack ad lists the home phone number of a Democratic candidate.

The next voice you hear, the chairman of the Republican party of Wisconsin.


REINCE PRIEBUS, WISCONSIN REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN:  It would be good if we captured Obama in the battlefield setting.  I hope he has an explanation as to why he thinks Obama ought not to be executed.  Obama should be executed and he ought to be treated as a war criminal.



“Fridays with Thurber”: Part two of “The Dog That bit People.”

And the Cranick fund, what you have done to help them.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.



OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

It is the great shell game.  After fighting every single job creation measure proposed by Democrats in Congress and the White House, killing some, watering down others, the House Republican leader today used the very last monthly jobs report, we‘ll get before the election, to slam President Obama—for failing to create jobs.

Our fifth story: Job creation that Republicans fought every step of the way for political gain, over which they stand to gain politically both for their opposition and for the results of it—millions of Americans out of work, struggling to survive.

Both the president and House Republican Leader Boehner spoke about today‘s jobs reports, painting drastically different picture.

The congressman said private sector hiring is flat.  And, of course, he blamed the administration.


BOEHNER:  This morning, we got the latest national jobs report from the Department of Labor.  It looks a lot like the reports we‘ve seen every month since President Obama signed the stimulus spending bill into law.  Unemployment is high.  Millions of Americans are out of work.  Private sector job creation remains flat.

That‘s what you got for your $787 billion worth of spending—high unemployment, a bigger government, and an economy struggling to create jobs.

The upcoming election is a referendum.  As Americans, we have to decide.  Do we want another two years of job-killing policies coming out of Washington?  Or have we had enough?


OLBERMANN:  He‘s reading a teleprompter, by the way.

President Obama however claimed the private sector actually gained jobs.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This morning, we learned that in the month of September, our economy gained 64,000 jobs in the private sector.  July and August private sector job numbers were revised upwards.  So, we‘ve now seen nine straight months of private sector job growth.  In all, more than 850,000 private sector jobs gained this year, which is in sharp contrast to the almost 800,000 jobs that we were losing when I first took office.


OLBERMANN:  Who‘s telling the truth?  The Labor Department said the country lost 95,000 jobs in total.

So, how could the president claim the private sector added jobs?  Unlike Mr. Boehner, the president explained where the jobs are disappearing from.  Hint: what‘s the role of big government in jobs news?


OBAMA:  That news is tempered by a net job loss in September which was fueled in large measure by the end of temporary Census jobs and by layoffs in state and local governments.  I should point out that these continuing layoffs by state and local governments, the teachers and police officers and firefighters and the like, would have been even worse without the federal help we provided to states over the last 20 months, help that the Republicans in Congress have consistently opposed.  I think the Republican position doesn‘t make much sense, especially since the weakness in public sector employment is a drag on the private sector as well.


OLBERMANN:  That‘s right.  Government got so much smaller, it offset private sector growth.  This is public job change for the last two years.  Here‘s the private sector.

And how does the private sector add jobs in the recession?  Government spending on infrastructure for one thing.


OBAMA:  I believe that instead of sitting still, we should invest in rebuilding America‘s roads and railways and runways.  Too many American workers have been out of work for months, even years.  That doesn‘t do anybody any good when there‘s so much of America to rebuild.  Our infrastructure is falling far behind what the rest of the world is doing, and upgrading it is vital to our economy and our future competitiveness.


OLBERMANN:  So, what did Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announce today?  That he will now think about not canceling America‘s biggest transportation project, a tunnel hundreds of millions of dollars already spent, doubling rail capacity into New York, already underway.  The jobs of the builders hanging on it—to say nothing of money, New Jersey may have to repay to the federal government, all of it hanging on Christie‘s decision.

Let‘s turn first to MSNBC contributor, Ezra Klein, also staff writer at “The Washington Post” and a columnist for “Newsweek” magazine.

Ezra, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  You referred to the effect President Obama referenced there as the anti-stimulus.  Can you explain that to Mr. Boehner if he‘s watching what he‘s missing?

KLEIN:  Absolutely.  So, in 2009, we passed a stimulus bill, $787 billion bill.  And contrary to what Mr. Boehner said, at that point, you see job losses begin to reverse.  We‘re down at 800,000 going—losing every month and then it slowly modulates until we go up to positive job numbers in the early and mid part of 2010.

But, of course, the stimulus is ending now.  We didn‘t do it for more than two years.  And state and local governments are essentially collapsing.  The revenues are collapse.

And so, they are contracting.  They are firing people.  And just as when a business fires people, it adds people to the unemployment rolls.  When a government fires people, it adds people to the unemployment rolls.

And it‘s—by the way, and it‘s important, it‘s bad for business.  The businesses will not invest until they think jobs are coming back and people can buy their stuff.  And if jobs are not coming back because state governments are firing everybody, businesses won‘t really be able to hire either.

OLBERMANN:  So, with that, Republicans keep hammering what sounds like an intuitive argument.  You can‘t borrow and spend your way out of recession.  I‘ve heard this now for two years ever since the recession started—might be true at home over the kitchen table.  Why is it not for the federal government?

KLEIN:  It simply doesn‘t work that way.  So, imagine an economy, right, you have three people who can spend.  One is consumers, one is businesses, and one is the government.  You have a massive financial crisis for consumers and businesses are taken out of the game.

If the government steps back to, there is nobody to buy anything.  If there‘s nobody to buy anything, businesses can‘t employ anyone.  That means no money goes to consumers and neither businesses or consumers get back into spending.

Government needs to step in, not forever, but until the other two can

get back on their feet.  And right now, government did a good job of that

right at the beginning but because of Republican obstruction has taken

itself out of the game for now and we had seen the consequences.  We have -

as Obama said—had nine months of private sector growth, but it has been offset by public sector contraction.  The government, small government policy we‘re running here is essentially destroying the recovery.


OLBERMANN:  And numbers, predictions for the state and local numbers for next year are worse.  Mr. Obama‘s prospects for overcoming Republican opposition to another stimulus plan are obviously worse—no matter how the midterms turn out.  Does America get any jobs back between now and 2012?

KLEIN:  Hopefully, some will come back.  But, look, this is a real dangerous chance of becoming self-perpetuating.  If you don‘t move, if we continue have sort of weakness in the market or foreclosure crisis makes things worse, we‘ll have a situation where people are out of jobs for long enough, it becomes hard to reemploy them, their skills deteriorate.  It‘s what economists call hysteresis and it may be what we‘re moving into it.

We‘re in a real dangerous place right now for government to walk out of the game.  Remember, the Great Depression ended after World War II.  We don‘t need to have a world war, but we need Congress to not decide it‘s time to give up on the American economy.

OLBERMANN:  And to that point, the debate in New Jersey about bailing out on this double of the rail capacity into New York City and the jobs that it would create in the short term and the jobs and infrastructure it would create in the long term.  Can you explain that briefly to Governor Christie who doesn‘t seem to get it?

KLEIN:  It‘s horrifying, Keith.

So, infrastructure is the best deal in the economy right now.  If you want to see where we‘ve lost jobs, of course, it‘s construction because the housing sector collapsed.  Raw materials are incredibly cheap, concrete, steel, wood.  It‘s all very, very cheap and it‘s cheap for the government to borrow.

So, right now, the best thing we can do is invest in infrastructure.  We will never have this good a deal again.  And, of course, we will need to rebuild our infrastructure in the future.

So, we got a great deal here in the economy, we can employ exactly the people we need to employ.  And Christie is stepping out of it.  It‘s a terrible business decision for the government.

OLBERMANN:  MSNBC contributor Ezra Klein, also of “Newsweek” and “The Washington Post”—as always, thanks for your time.  Have a good weekend.

KLEIN:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Let‘s turn now to independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who joins us tonight.

Thank you for your time, sir.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT:  Good to be with you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Republicans fought job creation every step of the way. 

Now, they‘re reaping the benefits.  So, it‘s mission accomplished, right?

SANDERS:  Well, I tell you, it is incomprehensible to me that John Boehner would have the chutzpa to talk about jobs when in the Bush administration, after eight years, they ended up losing 600,000 private sector jobs.  During the Bush years, we lost 5 million good-paying manufacturing jobs and they took us through the deregulation policies to the biggest financial collapse that we had since the Great Depression.

So, the idea of these guys talking about jobs is really incomprehensible.

OLBERMANN:  Ezra Klein just reviewed how we got out of the depression fairly succinctly.  I thought no reason to go through it again.

Does Mr. Boehner know about this?  Is it something he was out that day in school?


OLBERMANN:  Is this ignorance?  Or is it cynicism?  Or what?  How can he—how can he stand there and say you can‘t spend your way out of recession or worse?

SANDERS:  Keith, this is what they want to do.  Right now, what they want to do is give $700 billion in tax breaks to the wealthiest 2 percent at a time when almost all income gains made in recent years have gone to the very, very rich.  And the top 1 percent now earns more income than the bottom 50 percent.  That‘s apparently not enough for Mr. Boehner.

In my view and in the view of many people in Democratic Caucus, what we should be doing is using a lot of that $700 billion for infrastructure improvement, rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our rail systems, our water systems.  And when you do that, over a period of time, you‘re going to create millions of good paying jobs.

You do that by restructuring our energy system so we stop importing oil from Saudi Arabia and move to energy independence and sustainable energy.  That‘s how you create jobs and make America stronger.

OLBERMANN:  Senator, to paraphrase Mr. Limbaugh, do you think the Republicans want the people of this country and this country to succeed at the moment?

SANDERS:  I‘ll tell you something.  I‘m on the floor of the Senate a whole lot.  And it astounds me that on every single issue of significance, no matter what it is, they are filibustering, filibustering, filibustering.

Here they are—they tell us that they‘re the great supporters of small business.  We brought together a small business bill which will provide affordable loans to businesses which desperately need them so they can expand, so they can create decent-paying jobs, and we barely got any Republican support at all.

So, if you‘re asking me, do I think that the Republicans are more interested in creating jobs, expanding the middle class, or are they really interested in defeating anything that President Obama brings forth?  Are they more interested in protecting the interests of their wealthy and powerful supporters?  I would have to say, the latter is true.

OLBERMANN:  Well, of course, your small business bill addressed small-sized businesses with small profits, small numbers of employees, small business, mom and pop.  Their idea and their definition of a small business is “The Chicago Tribune.”  As we know, it‘s the number of owners, that is, again, can‘t say that too often.  That is what the definition on the Republican side is of a small business.

But let me ask you in sums, Senator, why are the Republicans—with this much of a shell game going on, why are the Republicans rewarded for this at the polls?

SANDERS:  Well, I think at the end of the day the economy is hurting and people are frustrated and people want action.  And in truth, the Democrats should have been more aggressive, should have been bolder.

For example, the issue of outsourcing—the Democrats should have stood up from day one and said, you know what, no more jobs going to China, we‘re going to demand corporate America reinvest in the United States of America and create good jobs here.

We brought a bill to the floor last week.  You know how many Republicans who got—who voted for the bill to protect us against outsourcing?  You know how many?  Zero.


SANDERS:  Not one.

So I think this is—this choice, this election really is a choice.  And Boehner is right.  It‘s whether we go back to the failed policies of the Bush administration or that we demand that the Obama people become even more aggressive so we can pull us out of this Wall Street-caused recession.

OLBERMANN:  Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, summing it up as usual

thank you kindly, Senator.  Have a good weekend.


SANDERS:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  There are gusts from rationality coming in from Tea Party land.  Christine O‘Donnell, who 10 days ago is claiming she went to Princeton and Oxford is now proudly proclaiming she did not go to Yale.

And Sharron Angle getting so loopy, two key Nevada Republicans just endorsed Harry Reid.  Next.


OLBERMANN:  With Republicans in charge actually shut down the government?  The 5:00 shadow knows.  He claims Mitch McConnell told him.

U.S. chamber of horrors is putting this Democrat‘s home phone number in one of its attack ads and its plan to keep suing the government to protect those poor businesses from you.

He claims it was just a gaffe, even as he dismissed the idea that there were gaffes.  The state Republican chairman who calls for the execution of, quote, “Obama.”

And the update on your help for the Cranicks.



OLBERMANN:  Last month, when talk began of a government shutdown leaking out of Republican Tea Party circles, Dick Armey, the former Republican House majority leader and current Tea Party astroturfer reminded his compatriots of the first rule of government shutdown: you do not talk about government shutdown.

In our fourth story: Tea Party Republicans are once again breaking the first rule of government shutdown.

Half-baked Alaska Joe Miller telling the “National Review” this morning, quote, “I think there‘s an understanding that the mood of the nation has changed in such a way that there‘s not going to be a toleration of business as usual, if that means shutting down the government, so be it.”

Asked if McConnell would be up for a shutdown, Miller responded, “There was a comment made at breakfast this morning about shutting down the government.  And McConnell reacted in a positive way.  I‘m not going to quote him, but I think that he recognizes that that‘s on the table.”

McConnell‘s office is pushing back.  A spokesman saying Republicans can reduce government, quote, “without shutting down the government, but it will require Democrats to join our effort.”

House minority whip, Eric Cantor, last week told “The Wall Street Journal,” quote, “I don‘t think the country needs or wants a shutdown.  We don‘t want to be seen as a bunch of yahoos.”

Today, Mark Meckler, cofounder of the Tea Party Patriots jabbing back, “Maybe I‘m just one of those yahoos.  But I think it‘s crazy to take anything off the table.  Unfortunately, I think Cantor is repeatedly making this mistake.”

Meanwhile, back in Alaska, Joe Miller‘s everything is unconstitutional theory of government suffered two more blows.  A federal judge in Michigan ruling that the mandatory enrollment portion of the Affordable Health Care Act is allowed under Commerce Clauses.  Also yesterday, Miller confirming that in the past, his family received assistance from federal Medicaid—assistance like federal unemployment benefits that Miller now wants to deny everybody else because he thinks they‘re unconstitutional.

In Nevada, the Tea Party Republican Sharron Angle‘s juice is spoiling.  Two leading Nevada Republicans, the wife of the state‘s former Republican governor and State Senator Bill Raggio endorsing the Democrat, the incumbent Harry Reid.  Raggio, who defeated Angle in a 2008 primary, calling her ineffective, often radical, with extreme positions on issues such as Medicare, Social Security, education.

An extremity on displaying Angle‘s new attack ad—the candidate springing a trap that was set for Mr. Reid in March by Republican Senator Tom Coburn.  The ad claims—and she expects to be taken seriously after an ad like this—that Reid supports giving Viagra to child molesters and sex offenders.

Of course he doesn‘t.  Who would?

And in Delaware, Christine O‘Donnell has finally revealed her number one qualification to become a senator.


CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL ®, DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE:  I have a graduate fellowship from the Claremont Institute in constitutional government.  And it is that deep analysis of the Constitution that has helped me to analyze and have an opinion on what‘s going on today and be able to determine that.  Our leaders in Washington have lost their way.


OLBERMANN:  “Talking Points Memo” points out the number one qualification for Senate was an intensive eight-day course, slightly more impressive than a certificate of completion from sleep away magic camp.

At least, unlike her pal Joe Miller, Ms. O‘Donnell never went to Yale.


O‘DONNELL:  I didn‘t go to Yale.


OLBERMANN:  Or Oxford or Princeton.

Joining me now: Dave Weigel, “Slate” political reporter, MSNBC contributor, who spent the day at the Virginia Tea Party Patriot‘s convention.

Good evening, Dave.


OLBERMANN:  McConnell and Cantor downplaying the government shutdown idea.  Joe Miller expressing it as a viable option.  Did he not get the message about not opening that Pandora‘s box until after Christmas?

WEIGEL:  Joe Miller is more in the spirit of what the Republican base wants right now than Cantor is.  I mean, Cantor‘s job is to elect as many Republicans as possible.  Joe Miller‘s job is to elect Joe Miller and give interviews to conservative newspapers.  And he‘s saying, you know, what people who I was talking to all day are saying, which is that if they‘re serious about changing the country when they take over, they‘d be ready to stop everything in its tracks.

And this is—you know, what I noticed today in Richmond, Republican base has moved from hoping they win the election, because they‘re pretty confident they will, to just getting ready for the coming infighting.  Just getting ready to stage a battle where they demand a complete shutdown, complete repeal, everything they were promised in the heat of the Tea Party movement from Republicans.  It‘s not clear if they can get it if you listen to Cantor.

OLBERMANN:  Let me just go off topic.  Complete repeal of health care reform?

WEIGEL:  Well, yes, they want—people told me today and they‘ve been telling me, that they expect Republican candidates, if they‘re serious, to sign on to discharge petition and immediate vote as soon as they can on repealing all of health care.

And Republican strategists, you know, they‘re pretty giddy.  But if you catch them in the moments when they‘re less giddy, they realize this is going to be tough when Republican Party either is unable to get that through or Barack Obama vetoes it.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, that part.

WEIGEL:  It‘s not true that a shut down such good politics for them either.  I mean, there‘s a—there‘s a version of history in which Republicans lost Congress because they were not conservative enough.  And in that history, the shutdown was great for them.

In reality, you know, the shutdown involved the FDA not checking foods and people not getting checks they expected.  The Democrats relish it for a reason because they remember how bad it actually was.  This is—there‘s very few ways to remind people of why they like the government sometimes.  And that‘s one of them.

You know, Barack Obama hasn‘t been able to manifest many of them, but that‘s one, when the government stops performing essential functions.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  And you also mention the other part about not really thinking through the whole idea of the presidential veto on the repeal of something like health care reform.  But we‘re expecting stuff like that.

And to the point that there is some actual blowback to some of the nonrealistic aspects of the Tea Party in particular, what happened in Nevada with Sharron Angle and Harry Reid and these two endorsements from the Republicans?  Is that like—is somebody throwing their hand up from the back of the crowd going you guys are nuts?  Is it—does it mean anything?

WEIGEL:  Well, it was actually totally unexpected.  I mean, you pointed out that Bill Raggio held off an Angle challenge earlier in his career.  And, you know, from all—from all we know really does think she was an incompetent radical in legislature.

But that‘s exactly what her base wants to hear.  I mean, they‘re kind of spinning this as more proof—there‘s really nothing a Tea Party candidate can do wrong if they‘re irritating the establishment.  If Christine O‘Donnell cuts an ad that seems to the rest of us ridiculous, it‘s proof that the establishment is missing the point.  You know, if Joe Miller says something that Mitch McConnell walks back, it proves that Joe Miller is a straight talker and Mitch McConnell is not.

And here‘s another example—the fact that everyone around Sharron Angle says she can‘t hack it is proof that she can hack it or something.

OLBERMANN:  Great, and a—and a veto-proof majority with it and $1 million in everybody‘s Christmas stocking.

MSNBC contributor—well, that might be true actually for some of the major corporations.

WEIGEL:  That‘s great.

OLBERMANN:  MSNBC contributor Dave Weigel—have a great weekend, Dave.  Thank you.

WEIGEL:  You, too.  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that‘s a brand name, is no longer trying to lie even that it is supporting this country or its people, only its corporations.  Its latest bid to sue the government to keep it from protecting you—ahead.


OLBERMANN:  The star Chamber of Commerce is at it again, putting a Democratic candidate‘s home phone number in an attack ad.

First, the sanity break and tweet of the day from our friend Phil Rogers of “The Chicago Tribune.”  “Does anybody know the proper etiquette for a passenger when their cab is being pulled over by a police officer and the cabbie doesn‘t stop?”  Oh, that doesn‘t sound good.

Let‘s play “Oddball.”


OLBERMANN:  Time now for another “Oddball” cautionary tale.  Your wedding day for many brides is a day that takes months of planning, cake, flowers, dress, and oh, yes, a groom.  Let‘s say you found the perfect guy, the perfect gown, you had a ceremony so beautiful one of your guests had his difficult time controlling his happiness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Got it on video.

OLBERMANN:  In the dog‘s defense, it is more environmentally friendly than throwing rice.

London, England, Arg Matey.  Nine old year Beatrice Delap and her fellow schoolmates were looking to stage a mutiny against their teachers.

The young Ms. Delap wrote a letter to one pirate in particular, soliciting his help when ahoy Mati, Captain Jack Sparrow known to the land lovers as actor Johnny Depp happened to be shooting the fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie nearly and thought it would be fun B and her friends.

Wouldn‘t know, Captain Sparrow even came with instructions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We shall take over the school and we shall eat nothing but candy.

OLBERMANN:  After a success mutiny was staged, it was the teacher‘s turn to seek help from Captain Morgan.

Finally, Tropicana Field, site of yesterday‘s Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers playoff game.  Florida Governor Charlie Crist was given the honors of throwing out the first pitch.  Sell out crowd, homefield advantage, indoors.

Conditions on the ground couldn‘t be better until Governor Crist running as an independent in the state Senate race, veered suddenly to the right.  I think that hit Marco Rubio over there.  Time marches on.

By the way, as somebody who picked the Rays, the ad where the kid says to Eva Longoria, great game yesterday?  Not so effective today.


OLBERMANN:  The latest from the anti-U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Wisconsin GOP chair who keeps talking about executing Obama.  Next.


OLBERMANN:  The nation‘s largest big business lobbying group, the U.S.  Chamber of Commerce has been playing defense all week after it was learned that it is not just the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but something more like the Manchurian Chamber of Commerce, taking money through its so-called Am-trams overseas from big businesses around the world.

Some of them controlled by foreign governments, and using that money to subsidize operations that include running attack ads against any Democrats who stand in the way of the rich getting richer, wherever the rich happened to dock their yachts at the moment.

One of the chamber‘s favorite tactics, reduce your right to fight back against these big corporations, American or otherwise has been to push new laws that limit your ability to sue in court.  Frivolous lawsuits they call them.

So on our third story tonight, what did the chamber‘s president just announce will be their big new weapon to attack new regulations?  Reigning in the banks and the health insurance companies?  Lawsuits, lots and lots and lawsuits.

Chamber President Tom Donohue outlined his plan in a speech last night.  This is a group fighting right now to limit your ability to sue.  Litigation, he says is one of the most powerful tools for making sure that federal agencies follow the law and are held accountable.

Our public policy law firm stands ready to take the whole alphabet soup of federal agencies to court, but will the Am-tram foreign funded chamber sue for, the right to pollute.  Donohue, we‘ve sued the EPA six times this year alone for failing the follow the law when creating a whole host of new regulations, greenhouse gas regulations.

What else?  Reuters reports that just this week the SEC suspended a new rule that would give people who own stock in a company more of a say with the company‘s board.  American stockholders frozen out of the control of the companies they themselves own.

Because of a lawsuit filed by the foreign funded Chamber of Commerce, which held a reception for Bahrain banks today.  Mr. Donohue did not identify the targets of future lawsuits, but he did identify other priorities such as fighting a new labor rule that requires your boss to explain why you are being denied overtime like protecting health insurance companies from you.

Quoting Donohue, “Insurance plans that have raised premiums to cover new mandate and benefit under the health care law have been warned by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that they may be banished from participating in the new exchanges if she deems their increase is, quote, “unreasonable.”

Mr. Donohue put unreasonable in quotation marks nobody else did.  We know what the chamber thinks is reasonable because they‘re now running an attack ad against Democratic House candidate Julie Lasa in Wisconsin.

Where they tell people to call her and then put her home phone number on the screen.  Let‘s turn to Robert Weissman, President of Consumer Advocacy Group, Public Citizen.  Thanks for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN:  The Chamber of Commerce brand name, as a group called the Institute for Legal Reform, which opposes lawsuits against big business.

And it has another group called the National Chamber Litigation Center, which files lawsuits against big government.  This would seem to be something of a contradiction.  Can you explain the dynamic here?

WEISSMAN:  It‘s plain and simple.  The Chamber of Commerce gives hypocrisy a bad name.  They think people who are victims of corporate crime and wrongdoing, defective products, dangerous drugs, rip-off contracts, should not have a right to a day in court.

They think big business should have a right to use, abuse and misuse courts to block government from enforcing rules to protect all of us.

OLBERMANN:  We‘ve heard, today in fact, that taxes kill jobs, that regulations kill jobs and yet somehow in the Clinton presidency, that was massive job growth.

If the chamber is not really fighting regulation because it‘s a job killer, that‘s a front for something else, what‘s the something else?  Why are they fighting it?

WEISSMAN:  Well, hypocrisy of this claim is staggering.  The reason we‘re in the great recession right now is because we don‘t have enough regulation.  We didn‘t have enough regulation.

If we had regulation on Wall Street, we wouldn‘t be in the boat we‘re in now.  If we had regulation in the Gulf of Mexico, we wouldn‘t have had the BP disaster.

If we regulation in the West Virginia mine fields, we wouldn‘t have had the mine disaster there.  If we had regulation at the FDA, we would have Meridia, a drug pulled from the market today eight years after we asked it to be pulled.

Why does the chamber oppose regulation?  They really believe it‘s about jobs?  No.  They believe it‘s about the bottom line for the big multinational corporations they represent.

OLBERMANN:  How much to your knowledge of the chamber‘s here agenda is in fact serving foreign interests?  Is that really not even the biggest of the problems?  Is it not just nation versus nation, but it‘s the rich global multinational jet setters versus the rest of us?

WEISSMAN:  Yes, I think it‘s exactly that.  The Chamber of Commerce is a trade association that represents the big multinational corporations.  These are corporations that may be based in the United States.  They may be based in Bahrain, may be based in China.

But they have a national or super-national interests.  They want to pit countries against each other.  They want to pit the United States against China, against Europe, against South Africa, against Peru.

In fact, they‘re in European Union right now telling the Europeans too much regulation we might move to America.  Here they are in the United States saying, you do too much, can‘t make jobs here.

OLBERMANN:  So then if the chamber‘s now staffing up to sue the Obama administration even more, what‘s the remedy or counterstrategy?

WEISSMAN:  Well, we need the administration and Congress to stare down these challenges and regulate on behalf of the American people and not listen to the big business donors that‘s the first part and that‘s not going to happen unless we all make it happen.

The second part is, we have to deal with the underlying problem of why the chamber has so much political power and a huge part of that, of course, is the Citizens United Decision, which has unleashed all this corporate money in election process.  That‘s going to require a constitutional amendment to overturn this abominable Supreme Court decision.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, and that is truly Pandora‘s box.  Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen.  Thanks for your time tonight.  Have a good weekend.

WEISSMAN:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  It gets worse, three times at news conference he calls for the capture on the battlefield and the execution of, quote, “Obama,” unquote.  Mercifully, it‘s Friday with Thurber Time.  Part two of the dog that bit people.

When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, why the issue that‘s been a winner for Democrats in years past is the one they seem to be avoiding.


OLBERMANN:  Talked about capturing him on a battlefield, executing him, others who didn‘t support executing him and interchanged the two names repeatedly.  Obama and Osama Bin Laden, unfortunately, he‘s the chairman of the Wisconsin GOP.

Fridays with Thurber and part two of the dog that bit people and this update.  Your donations to the family who lost their home as firefighters stood and watched it burn.

Twenty two hours in, via the Paypal address,  The address is on our web site. Thank you.


OLBERMANN:  The conclusion of Thurber‘s the dog that bit people that‘s next.

But first, get out your pitchforks and torches.  Time for tonight‘s worst persons in the world.  The Bronze to Tokyo Rush Limbaugh.  This is mind blowing or mind altering.

There is no equality.  You cannot guarantee that any two people will end up the same.  And you can‘t legislate it and you can‘t make it happen.  You can try, under the guise of fairness and so forth, but some people are self-starters, and some people are born lazy, some people are born victims.  Some people are just born to be slaves.

OLBERMANN:  The Tea Party thing has been a liberation for Limbaugh so he can stop being so politically correct and tell us how he really feels.

The bill hicks is still ahead of his time clip of the week is about Limbaugh.  It was recorded in 1991, but I can‘t play any of it on television.  You‘ll have to listen to it yourself. I recommend by yourself.

Runner-up, Brian Fisher of the American Family Association, this is the guy who insisted on outlawing mosques.  Apparently, he also wants to ban the teachings of Jesus Christ.

This is about the Cranick fire.  Had the fire department responded, it likely would have violated the terms of its contract with its liability insurance carrier so our compassionate Christian friends would want the fire department to break its solemn agreement and put the entire city in a position of virtually unlimited risk.

That‘s hardly sounds like a Christian thing to do.  Demand somebody violate a solemn oath and put an entire city at needless risk at the same time.  Shall obey the insurance overlords.  The fire department did the right and Christian thing.

This story, a fundamental difference between a sappy secular world view, which unfortunately too many Christians have adopted and the mature world view, which made America the strongest and most prosperous nation in the world.

Yes, take from the natives their continent.  Unto thyself bestow their mineral rights and invadeth unto others before they invadeth to you.  We‘re talking about Jesus Christ here.

Our winner, Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party.  What else could he do with that name?  This is Mr. Priebus on his conference call with reporters.  This would be one Freudian slip.


REINCE PRIEBUS:  A big part of Russ Feingold‘s playbook has been to paint Ron Johnson as an extremist.  Feingold mentioned that he thought that it would be good if we captured and—captured Obama in the battlefield setting and that he suffered the quote/unquote “ultimate punishment” there.

OLBERMANN:  I‘m giving you one.  One Freudian slip.

PRIEBUS:  I hope he as an explanation as to why he think Obama ought not to be executed.

OLBERMANN:  You think it‘s already creepy?  Now it‘s creepy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What is Ron Johnson‘s position on the same issues?

PRIEBUS:  My guess is he would believe, I‘m guessing here, my guess is he would believe that Obama should be executed and he ought to be treated as a war criminal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Reince, this is Greg with Wispolitics.  You made a couple of references to execution of Obama.  You mean Osama bin Laden, I take it?

PRIEBUS:  Right.

OLBERMANN:  The chairman of Republican Party in the state of Wisconsin.  By the way, before you talk about using the wrong word or that just being a gaffe, helpfully in the very same call, in the same few minutes Mr. Preibus dispelled that excuse, too.

PRIEBUS:  Some people would just say, well, maybe he just used the wrong word and it was just a gaffe from a normally smooth, skilled politician.  If that‘s the case, then it‘s a pretty major misstep this close to the election.


OLBERMANN:  You bet.  Reince Preibus, chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, my guess wants Obama executed.  Today‘s worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN:  Before we close the week with some Thurber, three Thurber notes.  Thanks to the folks at Thurber House for letting me speak at Monday‘s presentation in New York of the Thurber price for American Humor.  It was a delight.

My congratulations to winners Steve Heely, the author of “How I Became a Famous Novelist” and my birthday wishes a day late to Mr. Thurber‘s daughter, my friend, Rosemary.

Thurber and dogs are inexorably intertwined.  Last week, I began his tale of mugs, the air dale who was forever sinking his teeth into everybody and his mother who was forever making excuses for Mugs.  We‘ll finish this out of the library of America Thurber writings and drawings with part II of the dog that bit people by James Thurber.

One time my mother went to the Chittenton Hotel to call on a woman mental healer who was lecturing in Columbus on the subject of harmonious vibrations.  She wanted to find out if it was possible to get harmonious vibrations into a dog.

He‘s a large tan colored air dale, mother explained.  The woman said that she had never treated a dog, but she advised my mother to hold the thought he did not bite and would not bite.  Mother was holding the thought the very next morning when Mugs got the ice man, but she blamed that slip up on the ice man.

If you didn‘t think he would bite you, he wouldn‘t, mother told him.  He stomped out of the house in a terrible jangle of vibrations.  One morning when mugs bit me slightly more or less in passing, I reached down and grabbed his short stumpy tail and hoisted him into the air.

It was a foolhardy thing to do.  The last time I saw my mother about six months ago, she said she didn‘t know what possessed me.  I don‘t either except that I was pretty mad.  As long as I held the dog off the floor by his tail he couldn‘t get at me. He twisted and jerked so snarling all the time.

I realized I couldn‘t hold him that way very long.  I carried him to the kitchen and flung him on to the floor and shut the door on him as he crashed against it.  I forgot about the back stairs.  Mugs went up the back stairs and down the front stairs and had me cornered in the living room.

I managed to get on the mantle of the fireplace, but it gave way.  It came down with a tremendous crash throwing a large marble clock, several vases and myself heavily to the floor.  Mugs was so alarmed by the racket that when I picked myself up he had disappeared.

We couldn‘t find him anywhere although we whistled and shouted until old Mrs. Detwiler called after dinner that night.  Mugs had bitten her once in the leg.  She came into the living room only after we assured her that Mugs had run away.

She had just seated herself when the great growling and scratching of claws, Mugs emerged from under the davenport where he had been quietly hiding all the time and bit her again.  Mother examined the bite and put Arnica on it and told her it was only a bruise.

He jump bumped you, she said, but Mrs. Detwiler left the house in a nasty state of mind.  Lots of people reported our air dale to the police.  My father held a municipal office at the time and was on friendly terms with the police.

Even so the cops had been out a couple times, once when Mugs bit Mr.  Rufustermint and again when he bit Lieutenant Governor Malloy.  But mother told them it hadn‘t been Mugs‘ fault, but the fault of the people that were bitten.

When we starts for them they scream, she explained and that excites him.  The cops suggested it might be a good idea to tie the dog up.  The mother said it mortified him to be tied up and he wouldn‘t eat when he was tied up.

Mugs at his meals was an unusual sight because of the fact if you reached toward the floor he would bite you.  We usually put his food plate on top of an old kitchen table with a bench alongside the table.

Mugs would stand on the bench and eat.  I remember that my mother‘s uncle, Horacio, who boasted he was the third man on Missionary Ridge was spluttering indignant when he found out that we put the plate on the table because we were afraid to put his plate on the floor.

He said he wasn‘t afraid of any dog that ever lived and that he would put the dog‘s plate on the floor if we gave it to him.  Roy said that if Uncle Horacio had fed Mugs on the ground just before the battle, he would have been the first man on Missionary Ridge.

Uncle Horacio was furious.  Bring your men, bring your men now, he shouted.  I‘ll feed them on the floor.  Roy was all for giving him a chance, but my father wouldn‘t hear of it.  He said that Mugs had already been fed.  I‘ll feed him again, bawled Uncle Heracio.

We had quite a time quieting him.  In his last year, Mugs used to spent practically all of his time outdoors.  He didn‘t like to stay in the house for some reason or another.  Perhaps it held too many unpleasant memories for him.

Anyway, it was hard for him to come in and as a result, the garbage man, the ice man and the laundry man wouldn‘t come near the house.  We had to haul the garbage down to the corner, take the laundry out and bring it back and meet the ice man a block from home.

After this had gone on for some time, we hit on an ingenious arrangement for getting the dog in the house so that we could lock him up while the gas meter was read and so on.  Mugs was afraid of one thing, an electrical storm.

Thunder and lightning frightened him out of his senses.  I think he thought a storm had broken day the mantelpiece fell.  He would rushed into the house and hide under a bed or clothes closet.

So we fixed up a thunder machine out of a long narrow piece of sheet iron with a wooden handle on one end.  Mother would shake this vigorously when she wanted to get Mugs into the house.  It made an excellent imitation of thunder, but I supposed it was the most roundabout system for running a household that was ever devised.  It took a lot out of mother.

A few months before Mugs died, he got to seeing things.  He would rise slowly from the floor, growling low, and stalk stiff legged and menacing toward nothing at all.  Sometimes the thing would be just a little to the right or left of a visitor.

Once a fuller brush salesman got hysterics, Mugs came into the room like hamlet following his father‘s ghost.  His eyes were fixed on the a spot to the left of the brush man who stood until Mugs was three slow creeping paces from him then he shouted.

Mugs wavered past him in the highway grumbling to himself, but the fuller man went on shrugging.  My mom had to throw a pan of cold water on to him to make him stop.  Mugs died suddenly one night.  Mother wanted to bury him in the family lot under a marble stone with a description, flights of angels to thy rest.

We persuaded her it was against the law.  In the end, we put up a smooth board above his grave along a lonely road.  On the board, I wrote with an indelible pencil, Cava Canem.  Mother was pleased with the simple, classic dignity of the old Latin epitaph.

The dog that bit people by James Thurber.  Beware of dog indeed.  That‘s October 8th, the 2,717th day since President Bush declared victory in Afghanistan and the 172nd day of the deep water horizon disaster in the gulf.

I‘m Keith Olbermann.  Good night and good luck.  And now to discuss why the Democrats are missing an opportunity to run on their issue, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.  Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW:  Good evening, Keith.  Thank you for that.  Have a great weekend.

OLBERMANN:  You too.



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