Wednesday, September 30, 2009

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, September 30, 2009
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Worst Persons
Video via YouTube: Update on Keith's father's condition

Guest: Arianna Huffington, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Markos Moulitsas, Chris Hayes, Robert Reich


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

One hundred twenty-two more Americans died today because they don't have health insurance. On the way to 44,000 more Americans dying this year because they don't have health insurance.

And Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson gets criticized for saying this.


REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Remember, the Republican plan: Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.


OLBERMANN: Asked for an apology, Grayson this afternoon says, "Stick it."


GRAYSON: I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.


OLBERMANN: Should have riled in the language, otherwise he is 100 percent correct-the Republican plan is: Don't get sick. And Republicans and milquetoast Democrats in the pockets of the insurance agencies might as well be killing people right now. Arianna Huffington on the latest politics; Markos Moulitsas on the Democratic sellouts.

And Senator Jay Rockefeller reveals exclusively on Countdown an amendment he will introduce to make it law that insurance companies have to spend a minimum percentage on actual health care, not profits or advertising or salaries for their henchmen.

Incitement to violence: 10-year veteran "Newsmax" columnist John Perry, "There is a remote although gaining possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the 'Obama Problem.'" Is this still free speech? Or is it now an illegal call for the violent overthrow of a lawfully-elected government?

"Worsts": Their prayer began, "Deliver us, oh, God," but "Lonesome Rhodes" claims they said, "Deliver us, Obama." It continued, "Hear our cry, oh, God," but Lou Dobbs heard, "Hear our cry, Obama." What was that, Sonny?

And phony outrage: The president tries to talk the International Olympic Committee into picking Chicago and thus boosting Chicago's economy - so Boehner says.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: The president is going to go out to Copenhagen when we've got serious issues here at home that need to be debated.


OLBERMANN: Twenty-four hours or less, as opposed to, say, the four days Bush went to the Olympics last year so he could sit there and watch.

All that and more-now on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

Quoting Republican Congressman Roy Blunt, the GOP point man on an alternative health care plan from June 17th: "I guarantee you we will provide you with a bill."

Our fifth story on the Countdown: 105 days later, still waiting for the Republican proposal on health care reform. All they have managed to produce so far is manufactured outrage over a suggestion from Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson that doing nothing other than attempt to defeat reform amounts to a little more than a plan to kill people.

The congressman had already thrown the Republicans a new one, saying on the floor of the House last night that the Republicans really do have a plan and it is the height of "Let them eat cake-ism."


GRAYSON: Very simply, it's a very simple plan. Here it is. The Republicans health care plan for America: Don't get sick.

That's right, don't get sick. If you have insurance, don't get sick. If you don't have insurance, don't get sick. If you're sick, don't get sick, just don't get sick. That's what the Republicans have in mind for you, America. That's the Republicans health care plan.

But I think that the Republicans understand that that plan isn't always going to work. It's not a foolproof plan. So, the Republicans have a backup plan in case you do get sick. If you get sick in America, this is what the Republicans want you to do. If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly.


OLBERMANN: Republicans calling for an apology from Congressman Grayson, Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, preparing a privilege resolution stating that Mr. Grayson's behavior, quote, "was a breach in decorum and degraded the integrity and proceedings of the House." And that the House, quote, "disapproves of the behavior of Mr. Grayson." The same language the Democrats use in their resolution criticizing Republican Joe Wilson for having shouted "You lie!" to the president during his joint address to Congress earlier this month.

Beyond the childish false equivalency, Republicans are now demanding from Mr. Grayson an apology to Congress-something Mr. Wilson has not yet done. So, this afternoon, Congressman Grayson complied and ripped them another new one.


GRAYSON: Immediately after that speech, several Republicans asked me to apologize. Well, I would like to apologize. I would like to apologize to the dead. And here's why. According to this study, health insurance and mortality in U.S. adults which was published two weeks ago, 44,789 Americans die every year because they have no health insurance. Let's remember that we should care about people even after they're born.

So, I call upon the Democratic members of the House, I call upon the Republican members of the House, I call upon all of us to do our jobs for the sake of America, for the sake of those dying people and their families.

I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.


OLBERMANN: About Mr. Grayson's reference, caring about people even after they were born, the members of the Senate Finance Committee today rejecting by a vote 13-10 an amendment by Republican Hatch of Utah that would have restricted abortion coverage for anyone getting their health insurance through co-ops or an exchange. Senator Stabenow of Michigan is calling the amendment offensive. Senator Snowe of Maine, the only female Republican on the panel, is voting with the Democrats to defeat the amendment.

Yesterday, the committee twice having rejected amendments that would have created the public option. Senators Rockefeller and Schumer, who proposed those amendments, have vowed to deep trying as health care reform makes it through Congress. Senator Rockefeller to join us presently.

First, let's turn to the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the "Huffington Post," Arianna Huffington.

Arianna, good evening.


OLBERMANN: I think Congressman Grayson should not have used the word "holocaust" because it has a different, distinct and what should be a unique meaning. I think he should correct that as soon as possible. Otherwise, I'm applauding him. What do you think?

HUFFINGTON: I agree with you on both counts. I think the word "holocaust" should not have been used. He doesn't need any hyperbole.

He has facts on his side. He has truth on his side. He's an incredibly effective leader. He has the guts to speak the truth and he should stick to the truth.

I agree with you, as a word "holocaust" is simply a distraction and should not have been used.

But apart from that, you know, Grayson has been a-really, on so many fronts, both the health care front and the financial scandal, he's been demanding accountability towards the feds. He's been demanding that corporate groups held accountable, and we should not allow this to distract us from his true leadership in the Congress.

OLBERMANN: Is this the proverbial emperor's new clothes moments? Is it first crack in the rhetorical dam which the Democrats have not been able to put through until this point?

HUFFINGTON: Well, you know, there's something very powerful when he stands there and says the truth on two counts. First of all, that the Republicans say no health care plan, and secondly, that they have no empathy. That was really what he was saying, that they don't really care. In fact, he made it very clear, and they're making it clear every day, that they would oppose anything. It's not about the specifics, it's about wanting to oppose the reform, wanting a political victory, wanting to undermine the president and the Democratic majority.

OLBERMANN: The alleged parallels to Joe Wilson. Mr. Grayson did not interrupt anybody let alone a president. Mr. Wilson has not apologized to Congress and they want apology to Congress. Mr. Wilson was factually wrong in claiming that the president had been lying about coverage for illegal immigrants.

How many other ways or how many ways in total is that analogy between Grayson and Wilson a false equivalency?

HUFFINGTON: Well, it's a completely false equivalency. I mean, as you said, not only did Joe Wilson do something unprecedented, but he also - he also lied himself in calling the president a liar. And there's no comparison. This is just red herring. And what is sad is that it is distracting us from this very real debate.

OLBERMANN: And yet you wonder, does the debate not about what Grayson said and the terms he used, but that issue, that sort of starkly defining what the Republicans have to offer in this, or in this case don't have to offer-is that not essential to the rest of this debate?

HUFFINGTON: Well, what is essential is to stress the tremendous need that the American people have for some real fundamental health care reform. And the study that Congressman Grayson referred to is a study that just came out and that makes it clear that there is a connection between the lack of health insurance and people dying. In fact, the study, it says that over 44,000 people die every year because of the lack of health care insurance. And that was really the very significant point that he was making.

OLBERMANN: One hundred and twenty-two more every day, and this was a day. So, 122 more today.

Arianna Huffington of "Huffington Post"- as always, thank you, Arianna.

HUFFINGTON: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The work-to borrow a phrase-goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die. And two Democratic Senators have, today, come up with new tacks to take on health reform. One of them inside the Senate Finance Committee.

As promised, let's turn to Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, and a member of that finance committee.

Good evening, Senator. Thank you for your time.


OLBERMANN: Let's start with your news. Senator Franken introduced something he has titled the Fairness in Health Insurance Act of 2009. You have adapted it into the form of an amendment. Tell me what it is and what's your trying to do.

ROCKEFELLER: It's very simple. I really don't believe at all that this is about politics and process and, you know? I think it's about how people are treated. Do they get health care through their insurance or do they not? Do the insurance companies make so much money that it means they're not giving health care to the people? The answer to that is yes.

So, my amendment will be very simple, along with Franken-Al Franken

and that is that over half of the health care bill in the Senate is spent on subsidies for the insurance companies, over half, $485 billion. So that they can, you know, take in more customers and presumably do more business and make more profits.

I think it's got to be about people and not about profits. And therefore, my amendment-which I may offer tonight because we're still in session-is going to say that 90 percent of all of the money that the insurance companies get from these subsidies, $485 billion in the Senate Finance mark, that they have to spend that on health care and that the secretary of health and human services will monitor that.

They have to spend it on health care. They can't spend it on administrative expenses and salaries. They have to spend it on health care.

Now, don't worry about them. That's, you know, 10 percent they have got left over. That's $49 billion, that's not so bad. But they have been ripping of the American consumers and they have been putting profits before people-and in West Virginia, you just don't do that.

OLBERMANN: But if you can't get a public option at this point, how are you going to get Max Baucus to anger the insurance companies by ever so slightly treating them as if they merited the kind of public oversight that we exert over to, say, the casinos in Vegas?

ROCKEFELLER: I think it's a very hard vote to vote no. I mean, I don't know how he's going to vote, and that's his decision. But if you-if you say they're going to make $49 billion on this, but to take that much money off of almost a half a trillion dollars and give it all to them and let them have it as, you know, 25 million, 30 million, 35 million more people pouring into the health insurance market, as we insure them, I just think that's unfair and unreasonable without their committing to spend 90 percent of that-the House has it 85 percent - 90 percent of that on delivering health care and proving that to secretary of health and human services.

It's a fair amendment. It's simple. It's fair and it's tough.

They're not going to like a lot.

OLBERMANN: Yes. Back to the public option, Senator Harkin said yesterday that the votes are still there in the full Senate to pass it. Do you agree with that assessment?

ROCKEFELLER: I do. I do. I-you know, we had our meeting of all the people that voted for it last night and had a little press conference and people kind of laughed at it. We didn't. I mean, we do feel a sense of momentum. It's the only time in the history of the Senate anybody's ever talked about this. We debated this one public option in my amendment for 4 ½ hours. That's never happened.

So a lot of people now are looking at all the Democrats who did vote for it. And we're not going to get a lot of Republicans votes, but we're accustomed to that. I think we can get this, and I think the president needs to help and I think, you know, everybody needs to pitch in and work harder than they have been. And I look forward to it because it's the only way that people could be really sure being able to afford to get health care in the future-the only way. Otherwise, they're at the mercy of the insurance companies.

OLBERMANN: Without getting too deeply into the weeds of his terminology, Congressman Grayson said that the only Republican plan is don't get sick. Do you think that was an important point for him to make?

ROCKEFELLER: I'm not going to get into that. OK?


ROCKEFELLER: I want-I want to pass my amendment.

OLBERMANN: Good luck with that. Thank you, Senator.


OLBERMANN: Senator Jay Rockefeller, great thanks for revealing the details of that amendment.


OLBERMANN: So, where were the swing Democrats yesterday on the public option vote? Right where they were supposed to be in the pockets of the insurance companies. Markos Moulitsas joins me.

First, briefly, a note about my attendance record here, which has been lately, anyway, pretty spotty. I mentioned a couple of times on the air here that my father is ill. The last few days have been critical to his recovery and I've been fortunate enough to be with him at the expense of not being able to be here. I expect this will happen again. So, I hope you will bear with me and especially with Lawrence O'Donnell and David Shuster, and my team of aces behind the scenes that did such yeomen work when I'm not here.

You know I know that secretly there's a lot about my not being here that they really, really like. I don't want to go into too much detail about dad expect to say that the most recent news was very encouraging, the people working with him, from the specialists to the nurses to the X-ray techs, have been phenomenal. And later on I intend to give them a fuller thanks.

But as to the moment, to protect my father's privacy, I am-with your information-not going to say which hospital he's at. And also, since the folks at that hospital have not seen me dressed as I am right now, I took a picture so that they'd recognize me. Brian, if you'd show that please.

OK, there it is. Dr. Kill Patient. Dr. Kill Patient. And, by the way, if there is such a thing as a conclusive argument that we need health care reform in this country, you're looking at it right there.


OLBERMANN: The logic is circular and childish and transparent. He won't vote for the public option because not enough senators will vote for it, including himself; and enough senators won't vote for it in part because he won't vote for it. Markos Moulitsas joins me to talk "Mad Max" and the Baucus caucus.

Later, hey, Lou Dobbs, they aren't praying, "Deliver us Obama," they're praying, "Deliver us, oh, God." Lou says that gave him chills down his spine. That might be the lumbago, Lou.

"Worsts Persons" tonight here on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Having spent large parts of 27 of the last 30 days witnessing our health care system from the front lines, I can confirm that there is madness in the health care debate, and the madness is, that there is any debate at all. I have met no one-from patients to administrators to families-who thinks the current system works, let alone works well; no one who even believes that the incredible financial burdens and fears are not interrupting the actual ability of patients to get better.

Yet, in our fourth story, a Democratic-controlled Senate committee could not get the damn public option passed. To recap, eight Democrats supported the Rockefeller amendment which would have created a Medicare-like public option. But all 10 Republicans voted against it, joined by five Democrats-Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida.

The more moderate version of the public option, then offered by Senator Chuck Schumer also failed with the help of three Democratic senators-Baucus, Conrad and Lincoln. As for Chairman Baucus' apparent obsession with getting something out of his committee that can garner 60 votes, it should be noted that when the GOP was the majority party, he was more than willing to pass crucial legislation with a simple majority when necessary. Since 1989, the Republicans, in fact, passed 13 percent of legislation with fewer than 60 votes. The Democrats passed about 7 percent of its bills without that 60-vote supermajority.

Let's turn to Daily Kos, author of "Taking on the System," Markos Moulitsas.

Good evening, Markos.

MARKOS MOULITSAS, DAILY KOS: Good evening, Keith. Glad you're back and best of wishes to your father.

OLBERMANN: Many thanks, my friend.

Do you think Blanche Lincoln-just as an example, it could be anyone of them-has ever sat in a hospital waiting room next to people who are splitting their prayers half the recovery of their loved ones and half that they somehow get money to pay the bill?

MOULITSAS: She sure doesn't act that way. I mean, look, I've been looking at polling out of Arkansas these last couple of weeks. And two data items really popped out. One is that Lincoln is truly endangered in coming-probably the most endangered Senate Democrat in 2010. So, she's in a lot of trouble.

Two, the public option is very popular in Arkansas, by a three-to-two margin. So you'd think, if you're sitting on the outside, you think, well, if you have trouble getting elected, do the popular thing and that will help you, right? Well, look, Lincoln votes against the public option and against almost 60 percent of her constituents.

It makes no sense. And, Keith, I don't know how you begin to explain something like that because a lot of Democrats have a really hard time not just doing the right thing, but doing the popular thing, what is the right popular thing. I can't explain it.

OLBERMANN: Well, is that-is Arkansas the state where three-quarters of insurances is handled by one of the main insurers and they essentially dictate who gets what money in politics and what gets what in terms of campaign contributions? Is she was going to be elected by one of the insurance companies as opposed to the citizens of Arkansas?

MOULITSAS: That's probably the only explanation that makes any sense, you know? But at the end of the day, you're running as a Republican, real Republican voters in Arkansas, they're not going to vote for you. They're going to vote for the real ones, right?


MOULITSAS: And if independents and Democrats think that you're not with them, why should they bother voting?

OLBERMANN: What's turn to-to the other part of this equation right now-what is the president's strategy right now, do you know?

MOULITSAS: I don't think anybody knows. There's enough mixed signals coming out of the White House where you can really support any theory. I mean, there's the optimist who'll say that he's going to work behind the scenes, work with the Senate and House in conference committee to insert a robust public option and then fight for it when it comes to both those chambers again. The pessimist will say that Obama really just wants to sign anything that comes out of Congress just so he can declare victory and move on to the next issue.

So, I don't know which side is right. I don't think anybody really knows. And if you ask me, it depends on how I feel that day.

OLBERMANN: Yes. What do you-what do you make of the premise that comes out of some sources sympathetic to the White House's position and says, look, the victory is health care reform, whether it's 10 percent of what should be done or 100 percent of what should be done, that the defeat is leaving the status quo unchanged rather than doing some now, some next year, some the year after that, as often as you can?

MOULITSAS: Yes. I might have some sympathy for that line if sort of the bad case scenario wasn't so absolutely horrid. I mean, right now, we're talking about the compromise position is that there's mandates so people are forced to buy insurance. But they have to buy it from the crappy insurance companies that have created this problem to begin with. And so, to me, there can be nothing worse than telling these young people who really were so hopeful and supportive of Obama that, you know what, you're not going to get the change you wanted, but we're going to make you have to send your hard-earned dollars to these terrible, terrible insurance companies.

OLBERMANN: Make is the phrase there-make you do it.

MOULITSAS: That's a step backwards. Absolutely.

OLBERMANN: If the president isn't the one applying the pressure on Democrats to do the right thing, where is the necessary leverage supposed to come from? I mean, there's just you and me and the people who watch and the people who participate in Daily Kos. We are only so many.

MOULITSAS: Well, there is-there is a lot of grassroots opposition to eliminating the public option. I mean, don't kid yourself. They would have gotten rid of the public option a long time ago, along with single-payer if they'd been given the opportunity to do so. So there's a lot of support for the public option. Not just in grassroots people and for the rest of media but also the labor unions.

But I have to say, the biggest heroes in this whole debate are those 50 to 60 House Democrat progressives who have said they will not vote for any bill without a robust public option. Because of Obama wants any bill to sign just to say he's reformed the system, he cannot do that if those House progressives vote against a bad bill. So, as long as they stay strong-and so far, so good-I think we're in pretty good shape.

OLBERMANN: Well, there's the subplot in the House obviously.

Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos-as always, great thanks.

MOULITSAS: Thank you very much.

OLBERMANN: To my knowledge, no rational left-wing Web site ever advocated the overthrow of the Bush administration by the United States military. In fact, to my knowledge, no irrational left-wing Web site ever did so. Yet here is "Newsmax" with a picture of Glenn Beck dressed up as Uncle Sam on its print cover and its Web site for claiming it is a news partner of the infamous "Washington Times."

Here is "Newsmax" writing in a kind of mundane, daydreamy way, quote, "Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution to an interim administration that would the serious business of governing and defending the nation." "Newsmax," you imagine that. I imagine a Timothy McVeigh reading that crap.

Next on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Can you really write an article, even for a right-wing site, suggesting that there might be a military coup and not be guilty of trying to insight a military coup? And why are the Republicans decrying a one-day trip to sell the International Olympic Committee on selecting Chicago and bring that city and that state the nation's jobs when they were happy to see President Bush take a four-day trip to China to sit on his ass and watch the Olympics? That and "Worsts" ahead.

First, time for Countdown's "Top Three Best Persons in the World."

Dateline: New York. Number three: Best embarrassing the state caused by not bothering to check John Cook of the Web site Gawker, writing about the fact that eight editions of Countdown have been hosted by David or Lawrence this month. Concluding update: "Well, we know where he was on Saturday. A tipster sent in the above screengrab from Saturday's Red Sox game at Yankees Stadium as broadcast by FOX, the logo of which is positioned just about on top of Olbermann's head." Adds, we have it on good authority that it is not in fact Keith Olbermann. Our corporate brothers at Dead Spin got the same image from the same tipster earlier this week and didn't use it. We knew that. What we didn't know is that dead spin checked with Olbermann to confirm that it was him and found that it was not. We should have checked too. Although we didn't think to because doesn't that look exactly like Keith Olbermann down to the glasses?

should we look at the screen grab? I guess that's supposed to be me on the right in the middle picture, as opposed to the woman on the far right. That's Sarah Palin, I think. I'm not sure. Maybe it's the blond kid. Maybe I'm the camera.

Number one, none of those people is me. And we confirmed that yesterday for their corporate parents. And they didn't bother to confirm it again. Number two, I was not at the Yankee game on Saturday. Number three, Fox would not show me at a game or anywhere else on this planet, even if I were to light myself on fire while announcing, Rupert was right.

Dateline New York, number two, best revelation of ingrained prejudice, Job Derbyshire of the "National Review," arguing on a radio show against women voting. "Women lean hard to the left. They want someone to nurture. They want someone to help raise their kids. And if men aren't inclined to do it-and in the present days, they're not much-then they would like the state to do it for them. Among the hopes that I do not realistically nurse is the hope that female suffrage will be repealed. But I'll say this, if it were to be, I wouldn't lose a minute's sleep."

Derbyshire went on to say that the premise that women leaning hard to the left politically, because of that the country would probably be better off if women did not have the right to vote. He did not bother to mention that since they were extended the vote, women have helped to elect just seven Democratic presidents, but they've elected eight Republicans. How about we repeal moron suffrage?

Dateline New York, number one, best indicator of somebody who has just stopped trying, Bill-O, the not paying attention clown. "Baltimore Sun" TV critic David Zurawick ripped O'Reilly for defending the racist actors who made the rather pathetic Acorn videos as heroes of the First Amendment. Bill responded a little too quickly. "Far left TV critic David Zurawick is angry that the people who exposed Acorn in the under-cover sting are not being punished. I am exhausted by these ideologues masquerading as TV critics. This guy Zurawick should get a political column, because that's what he wants to do, push a left wing ideology."

Bill, if have you ever read anything more than what pops up when you Google your own name, you would notice that Mr. Zurawick regularly tries to cut me and Rachel to ribbons over hear, at least as often as he criticizes you. If you want to hit him for clinging to a defunct TV world in which we all read wire copy to people who have already read it with themselves six hours earlier, I'm with you.

But this isn't a left wing ideologue. Although, I'll also agree with you one thing. You sure sound exhausted, exhausted.


OLBERMANN: On the heels of a survey posted on Facebook asking should Obama be killed, one right wing columnist has floated the idea of a military coup to unseat the president, as if it were not madness, incitement, un-American, disloyal, totalitarian and treasonous.

"There's a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the Obama problem. Don't dismiss it as unrealistic."

Our third story on the Countdown, more inflammatory and increasingly violent rhetoric and treasonous rhetoric from the right. In a column titled "Obama Risks A Domestic Military Intervention," John L. Perry of the website "Newsmax" writes as well: "military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for fundamental change toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option. But Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible."

Perry insisting he is only describing what may be afoot, and not actually advocating a military intervention. But then bullet points reasons why the military would stage such a coup, and proposes this twisted fantasy, "imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution" - yes, by overthrowing it -"through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation"- by destroying the nation -"skilled, military trained nation builders would replace accountability challenged radical left commissars."

After scrubbing the column from its website, "Newsmax" now claims Mr. Perry has no official relationship with "Newsmax," other than as unpaid blogger. Curious, considering Mr. Perry's byline at the bottom of his column, John L. Perry is a regular columnist for

And in case that isn't clear, TPM reports Perry has been a regular columnist for "Newsmax" since 1999.

This as the fallout continues over that poll from Facebook. It continues. The Secret Service is now investigating the threat. And the developer of the online application that was used to create the survey has come forward, telling "Politico" "there is definitely this culture of paranoia and fear, and I think both sides are reacting in extreme ways, people carrying guns to down hall meetings. That's scary. People losing their cool over an Internet poll like this that doesn't calm the situation."

Posting such a poll cools and calms the situation? Another idiot.

Joining me now, the Washington editor for "The Nation," Chris Hayes.

Chris, good evening.

CHRIS HAYES, "THE NATION": Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Please tell me that even the "Newsmax" crowd, with its Ann Coulter e-mail alerts and it's ads for free handguns, millionaire patriots and trains you, even these people have to repudiate the premise of a military overthrow of a United States government.

HAYES: Yes, I think if there's a silver lining in this little story,

it's the fact that they did take it down from the website. Maybe there are

and it was a bloodless coup. One should know that it was a bloodless coup. It was very gentlemanly, what he proposed.

But, no, I think it is a taboo, and rightfully so. This is not the sort of thing that I think should be in the normal course of our political discussions about a path forward, even amongst genuine ideologues. So I think it was actually a good sign they took it down.

OLBERMANN: Well, you're being very generous. "Media Matters" reported that the Republican National Committee provides financial support to "Newsmax" by using their e-mail list serves. When we hear Michael Steele denounce this column or anyone else with supposed authority, somebody driving the car?

HAYES: Well, that's not going to happen. This is actually a game that the right plays really well, which is they're constantly finding some commenter on Daily Kos who says something. Remember that MoveOn-you know, MoveOn has an open contest and someone sends in a video. I think 2,000 videos, and there was some momentary Hitler image that. That became a national news story for a week, in which you had calls from Democrats to denounce Moveon, despite the fact they had no control of the content.

"Newsmax" is fringy and out there. But it's part of the right wing noise machine, in good standing. There's all sorts of big time right wingers who write for it and are associated with it. It's sort of enmeshed, in a business sense, of the RNC. Fair is fair. If that's the way-if that's the standard that's going to be applied, in which you're constantly going to have to denounce the ideologues saying crazy things to your right or the left, then Michael Steele should step up to the plate.

OLBERMANN: Except, by the way, it sounded like they're coming in for you right now. Was there some sort of break in there? Is Burt Lancaster there dressed up in his "Seven Days in May" -

HAYES: The door is barred.

OLBERMANN: Is there a secondary trick here? The real hope of provocation like this-not that some general might be a reincarnation of Burt Lancaster. But just-the character he played, no offense to Burt Lancaster. But just that the more dangerous the fantasy gets, the more the possibility is that the government has to look into it, as in the Facebook thing. Then they can use the response as something to campaign against the Democrats with in the midterms.

HAYES: I don't know. Who knows? It strikes me that it's probably not that thought out. There is-I mean, I was listening to Taylor Branch talk about this book that he just did, in which he talked to the Clintons. It was just a reminder that there really was this period of genuine mass-not mass, but an actual movement of violent sort of insurrection in the country during the Clinton years. It was provoked at a time that was far left intense and sort of under stress, as the moment we find ourselves in right now.

And I tend to be a free speech absolutist about all this. I sort of continue to that. They can publish whatever they want. At the same time, I think it's easy-it's disconcerting how easily we have forgotten that militia moment in American history, and the sort of edging toward that kind of rhetoric that we're seeing now.

OLBERMANN: Yes. If there's another Timothy McVeigh, he will get his idea from something like this, if not from this. Chris Hayes of "The Nation," great thanks, as always. And keep fighting that fight as they come through your door there.

HAYES: Best wishes to your dad, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Thank you very much, sir.

Obama can't go to Copenhagen to lobby the International Olympic Committee to award the 2016 games and the jobs it will produce for Chicago. But Mitt Romney can run for president based on how well he supposedly ran the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

And they're not praying hear our cry Obama. They're praying hear our cry oh, god. And Lou Dobbs is too stupid or too ethically bankrupt to tell the difference. Worsts ahead.

When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, the Democrat from Florida who first correctly said the Republican health care reform plan was don't get sick. And then who today correctly noted that he would like to apologize to the 44,000 Americans who will die this year because the Government still has not gotten them health care. Congressman Alan Grayson is her special guest.


OLBERMANN: Obama tries to pitch the International Olympic Committee on Chicago for the 2016 games, and the Republicans say he has no right to waste a day doing so, when bush wasted four days going to the Olympics in China as a guy just sitting there. Seriously?

That's next, but first time for Countdown's number two story, tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Arizona Congressman Trent Franks. At the Take Back America Conference over the weekend, the one in which a delusional woman named Wortman (ph) compared Obama to Hitler and none of the Congressman walked out-Congressman Franks not only did not walk out, he demanded to see the president's birth certificate, called his position on abortion, quote, insane, and added, "he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity."

A spokesman for Congressman Franks, with three Ks, said he was only referring to the president's stance on abortion, and meant to say unborn humanity. Regardless, if you are as far from mainstream American as Congressman Franks is, as to feed that raw meat to insane lions, knowing it's not true, and doing it only to gain political advantage, it is you, Congressman, who has no place in any station of government. The sooner you apologize or resign, which every is your choice, the less of an embarrassment you'll be to your party and your family.

Our runner up, Lonesome Roads Beck, claiming that the broadcast towers of radio station KRKO in Everick (ph), Washington were blown up in a bombing. And "when freedom of speech is being squelched, the left usually says that's fascist. But in this case, the left doesn't even call them anything."

There were no bombs. The towers were pulled down using a heavy equipment called an excavator. It was called eco-terrorism. And the reason it was done was that for years residents there have protested that it was a public nuisance. The station also just increased power. And people in Everick Washington say they now can hear it over their phones.

This was eco-terrorism. I don't speak for the left, but I condemn it completely. One last detail Becker had left out: KRKO is an all sports station. It airs "The Dan Patrick Show," "The Tony Bruno Show," Jim Rome, Chris Myers and Vancouver Canucks hockey. Nice work, Beck. This was not somebody protesting content. Well, maybe about Dan. I don't know.

But our winner, Lou Dobbs, now officially part of the right wing echo chamber, after repeating one of the most hilarious mistakes ever made by the likes of Beck, Malkin, the usual suspects. They got a tape of a group of community organizers called the Gamiliel Foundation opening a meeting with a prayer. They're heard saying "hear our cry, oh, god, and deliver us, oh, god," and other prayer type stuff.

But starting with these welcome back jobs at not so Breitbart they decided to lie and say that the Gamiliel Foundation people were saying "hear our cry, Obama, and deliver us, Obama."

They wanted their sheep to believe community organizers were praying to Obama. Well, there certainly are sheep out there, Lou. "A stunning news uncovered by the good folks at Breitbart. Go to to see our full video. We urge you to see it because it exposes, again, very dangerous forces at work in this country supporting our supreme leader. Now, this video shows members of the community organizing group Gamiliel Foundation literally praying to our supreme leader over health care back in December of 2008. You've got to hear this. That is a remarkable-remarkable. You've got to see this. Go to to see the whole tape. It will, I guarantee you, put chills down your back."

I've got chills down my back. I'm cold. I need a god damned blanket and I need to retire. Lou, oh, god-oh god? Now they're praying to the Irish? - Dobbs, today's worst person in-where are my teeth-in the world.


OLBERMANN: In our number one story, the right wing chorus ripping the president for trying to bring the Olympics back to America, it has been joined now by the House minority leader. No Republican seems to remember that the one day this president has devoted to the effort kind of pales in comparison to the four days the last president spent attending the Olympics in China as a freaking fan.

This afternoon, the First Lady joined Oprah Winfrey on the ground in Denmark in advance of Friday's vote. The president will leave for Copenhagen tomorrow night. He'll speak to the IOC the following morning. And right afterwards, he will immediately return.

President Bush, you'll recall, took in the last Olympic Games in China last year, leaving the country fighting two wars, on the brink of economic collapse. He found time, four days of it, to enjoy the Beijing games and spank the volleyball players.

Still, the outrage that our president would spend less than 24 hours trying to bring the Olympics and an economic boon home to the US has been equally laughable and predictable.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: President Obama is heading to Denmark this week to help sway the International Olympic Committee.

Vancouver lost-how much was it? They lost a billion dollars when they had the Olympics. How is the city of Chicago and Illinois, that is broke, going to benefit?


OLBERMANN: The opening ceremonies for the Vancouver Olympics are on February 12th, 2010. They can't have lost or made anything because it hasn't happened yet, Biff. Then there are the official Republican mouthpieces. Michael Steele, in a conference call with reporters yesterday.


MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: The goal should be creating, you know, not job opportunities seven years from now, but job opportunities today. If the priority is the Olympics in seven years, OK, then tell the nation that's the priority and that's what we should be focused on, because we'll create jobs then, and we won't worry about it between now and 2016.


OLBERMANN: See, you have jobs now building stuff for seven years from now. They don't put up the Olympics facilities over night like a circus tent.

And this morning, House Minority Leader Boehner picked up on the anti-Olympic stupidity.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: He's the president of the United States, not the mayor of Chicago. And the problems we have here at home affect all Americans. And that's where his attention ought to be.


OLBERMANN: Good. You know who's who. I'm joined again by Robert Reich, secretary of labor under President Clinton, author of "Super-Capitalism," now out on paperback, and professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, from which venue he joins us.

Thank you for your time tonight, sir.

ROBERT REICH, FMR. LABOR SECRETARY: You want to briefly explain that complex economic principle that argues against Mr. Steele's belief that the Olympics starting in the Summer of 2016 only means jobs start in the Summer of 2016?

REICH: Well, it's not terribly complicated. What we know from previous Olympics, like 1996 in Atlanta or Salt Lake City-we know that almost immediately after the Olympic decision is made, there are jobs and a lot of jobs, construction and infrastructure and sales and marketing, white collar, blue collar jobs. This is a jobs machine. Starts right away.

OLBERMANN: Sports and economic analysis are always dangerous things to mix, especially when it comes to pro sports. Do you think the games in Chicago would boost the economy or would it cost the US money?

REICH: Undoubtedly, boosting the economy is what we have seen in previous Olympics. In fact, an independent study done by the dean of the business school of Cal State-California State in Sacramento, found about 22.5 billion dollars of net new economic activity in the Chicago area, but also the entire Great Lakes Area, from the Olympics. So that's a big amount of money.

OLBERMANN: The White House press secretary, Mr. Gibbs, was asked about Mr. Steel's comments. And he responded with his own question, who is he rooting for? Was the White House successful in framing this? I mean if Republicans criticize the trip, they're in fact rooting against America?

REICH: Not only rooting against America, Keith, but I think rooting against American workers. We're talking here about jobs at a time when American workers really need jobs. And I'm afraid at least some Republicans may be a little insensitive to that fact.

OLBERMANN: August of last year, the economy was already giving it's gurgles as it approached the drain, if it hadn't already begun to circle it. We had wars in two countries, and yet President Bush spent four days in China, opening ceremonies, and, so to speak, back flapping the athletes. Double standard between that situation and the current one?

REICH: I think there's a little bit of a double standard. I mean, this is a cheap shot by Republicans, Keith. The fact of the matter is I understand that the president is going to spend maybe 18 hours in total. It's not a pleasure trip. And believe it or not, you can get work done on Air Force One. There and back.

OLBERMANN: Mitt Romney made his political career after helping turn around the 2002 Olympics at Salt Lake City, the Winter games. Are the Republicans actually worried in here that this might be a success story, sort of taking their turf, or at least Romney's turf, away from them?

REICH: I think they have more things to worry about. I mean the just say no party with regard to health care and the environment, they're already seeing their polls dropping. And when their major spokespeople are people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, you know that they're in trouble. It's not just the Olympics.

OLBERMANN: It's a panoply of things. But the Olympic one I like best of all, because it looks they forgot recent history. It has that element to it as well.

Robert Reich, the former Labor Secretary, author of "Super Capitalism," as we said, out in paper book now. Great luck with it, and great thanks for your time tonight.

REICH: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: That is Countdown for this the 2,344th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.

And now, with her special guest, the man who told it like it was, Congressman Alan Grayson, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.