Monday, December 14, 2009

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, December 14th, 2009
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons

Guests: Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ezra Klein, Jonathan Turley


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

Making the world safe for hypocrisy. Yesterday.


SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: You've got to take out the Medicare buy-in. You've got to forget about the public option.


OLBERMANN: Last September.


LIEBERMAN: My proposals were to basically expand the existing successful public health insurance programs, Medicare and Medicaid.


OLBERMANN: As he threatens to filibuster any health care reform, including the Medicare buy-in which he proposed - Senator, just resign already. You are embarrassing humanity.

Ezra Klein on the latest backroom bargaining on reform; Senator Sherrod Brown on why anybody is still bargaining with Senator Joe Lieberman.


VOICE: You've got mail.


OLBERMANN: Twenty-two million e-mails, in fact. Remember those missing Bush e-mails, Gonzo-gate and the Rove records and all that? Twenty-two million Bush e-mails have just been found.

Liz Cheney's startling self-admission: She is.


LIZ CHENEY, DICK CHENEY'S DAUGHTER: Nothing short of shameful.


OLBERMANN: Oh, sorry. She's talking about Obama's speech, mentioning how he tortured prisoners after 9/11, which she denies.

"Worsts": The tea baggers ask a congressman to move his office to make it easier for them to go protest him. Ever get the feeling some people just stop trying?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, all of them, they're like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate.

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: That is simply defamatory and outrageous, and Dick Wolf is a coward for putting it out there. He's also a liar.


OLBERMANN: It's defamatory? Yet Billo is not suing?

And Beck is shocked, shocked that somebody figured out what he was doing.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST: Where is the evidence for inciting any violence? Show it to me.


OLBERMANN: OK. I will. The case against Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck in the murders of Dr. George Tiller and the three Pittsburgh policemen.

All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enough is enough.



OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

As the bid to strip Senator Joe Lieberman of his committee chairmanships and assignments - and if possible his Senate seat - took a remarkable leap forward, Lieberman himself took an almost impossible to believe leap backwards.

Our fifth story on the Countdown: Mr. Lieberman has now threatened to filibuster any health care reform that includes a Medicare buy-in for anyone under the age of 65.

In so doing, not only was he contradicting his initial reaction to the idea last week, not only was he contradicting his own proposal supporting Medicare buy-ins when he ran for vice president nine years ago, but today, it turned out he was also contradicting an on-camera interview in which he still spoke approvingly of the very Medicare buy-ins over which he now threatens to filibuster to destroy health care reform - an on-camera interview conducted just three months ago.


LIEBERMAN: My proposals were to basically expand the existing successful public health insurance programs, Medicare and Medicaid. When it came to Medicare, I was very focused on a group post-50, maybe post - more like post-55, people who have retired early or, unfortunately, have been laid off early, who lose their health insurance and they're too young to qualify for Medicare. And what I was proposing is that they have an option to buy into Medicare early.


OLBERMANN: As recently as last Wednesday, Mr. Lieberman had issued a statement opposing the public option, but saying about the proposed Medicare buy-in, quote, "We must remain vigilant about protecting and extending the solvency of the program. I look forward to analyzing the details of the plan and reviewing analysis from the Congressional Budget Office."

But somehow, by Sunday, with no analysis yet in sight, Lieberman changed his tune.


LIEBERMAN: On one part of it, the so-called "Medicare buy-in," the opposition to it has been growing as the week has gone on and the - though I don't know exactly what's in it, from what I hear, I certainly would have a hard time voting for it because it has some of the same infirmities that the public option did. It will add taxpayer costs. It will add to the deficit. It's unnecessary.


OLBERMANN: What changed? "Washington Post" domestic policy reporter Ezra Klein, who joins us presently, writes, "The CBO is expected to reject Lieberman's claim that the Medicare buy-in is too expensive." Quoting Klein's speculation, "Someone must have given Lieberman a heads up on that as he's decided to make his move in advance."

Quoting "The Atlantic's" Marc Ambinder, "Lieberman reversed himself as soon as it became evident that the left saw a silver lining in the Medicare buy-in."

After yesterday's interview, Mr. Lieberman reportedly told Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid that with a Medicare buy-in intact he, Lieberman, would help Republicans block Democrats from holding an up-or-down vote on health care reform.

Former DNC chair, Howard Dean, has said Lieberman should resign the Senate chairmanship he enjoys as the member of the Democratic Caucus if he can't support the party's wish just to hold the damned vote.

And a new poll today finds that 81 percent of Democrats also think Lieberman should lose his chairmanship if he filibusters alongside the Republicans.

Obama chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, however, reportedly told Reid, "Give Lieberman what he wants, we don't need the Medicare buy-in." Tonight, Senator Reid would not address any of the questions these reports have raised, but thank goodness, he has not run out of platitudes. He now offers all of them - except employees must wash hands.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NEV), MAJORITY LEADER: American people waited a long time and you've heard us say that for health care reform. Democrats aren't going to let the American people down. Be sure the bill, the scope we have of it, there are people that have different opinions of the caucus, and that's well the way it should be.

But we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the belief that health care reform is necessary and timely, and working hand-in-hand with the White House to accomplish that goal. I'm confident that by next week, we'll be on our way to forward this bill to the president.


OLBERMANN: Let's turn now to Ohio Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown, part of the negotiating group that apparently thought Joe Lieberman was on board last week.

Senator, thanks for your time tonight.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Keith, good to be back. Thanks.

OLBERMANN: Senator Lieberman's spokesman says there should be no surprise here, that he made his concerns clear earlier. Is his filibuster threat consistent with what he was telling your group last week?

BROWN: I don't - well, he did not show up at our negotiations, his staff did. And they, obviously, couldn't speak for him. But this -

Keith, this isn't about Joe Lieberman, it's not about me, it's not about you. It really is about the millions of Americans that need coverage.

And I - you know, of course, I'm disappointed that we aren't going to get everything we want in this bill. We're not going to get - you know, we're not going to get the public option. We still, hopefully, can get the Medicare buy-in.

There are two more major steps. There's cloture on the Senate floor. There's final passage, There's coming out of the conference committee. We're not giving up.

OLBERMANN: What if there is no public option? And number two, the sort of fallback to that, which was a Medicare buy-in. What is left in this plan?

BROWN: Well, there's a lot left. The most important thing is - and I, you know, I'm disappointed, again, as I said - but the most important thing is there is strong - well, 30 million people would get coverage. There are - there is strong insurance reform, consumer protections, no more preexisting condition, no more will women pay more for their health insurance than a man the same age? No more cutting off your health care - your health insurance policy because you got sick and you're expensive to take care of.

And, Keith, I want to talk directly to your viewers in this way. The reason this has happened is because of people watching this show. The activists in Shelby, Ohio, and Ashtabula, Ohio, and Toledo and all over this country, the activists really made this bill a lot better than it would have been. Not as good as I'd like and I'm sure a lot of your viewers would like, but a bill that really does help to move the country forward.

But we're still going to fight to - you know, in conference, we're going to fight before it's on the floor, and in conference committee to keep making the changes, including, I hope, the Medicare buy-in. But we're - all those are still on the table, as far as I'm concerned.

OLBERMANN: With the understandable, perhaps, imprecision of what Mr. Reid just said about an hour ago, hour and a half ago, we can't know what's in the latest version or what's going to last into the vote. But are there enough wedges against the insurance companies running wild, while they are being handed some many millions of mandatory buy-ins into their program? I mean, is that - is that protection against the insurance companies being the best recipients, the most - getting the most benefits out of this bill, are they, in fact, still there?

BROWN: That's exactly the right question. There are - the insurance companies will get 30 million, 35 million new customers. The rules on the insurance companies are much tougher than they've ever been, with preexisting condition exclusions, as I said, anti-discrimination based on disability or gender. It has the lifetime caps, so they can't throw you off your plan.

It will have - Senator Rockefeller in our "Group of 10," insisted, I think this is going to be in it, that we have something called either 85 percent or 90 percent medical loss ratio, which means the insurance companies can't skim off 20 percent or 25 percent as they have in the past. Insurance companies are great at staying one step ahead of the sheriff. They know how to do that. But we've really tightened these consumer protection rules a lot more than they've ever been.

That said, I want to do better. That's why I wanted a strong public option, because you need to change the rules. You also need the sheriff in town that's keeping the insurance companies honest.

But this is - this is a big step from where we were, but it doesn't mean that we give up.

And again, that's why the activists that watch your show and the activists that write me and call me, and the people that I talk to all over my state - those are the activists that's really have kept the pressure on Democrats and the president to make sure that we do a better bill than we would have done if everybody had sat back after the election, "President Obama won. Democrats are in the House and Senate control. We can just rest until the next election."

No. It's so important that people stay engaged and stay involved.

OLBERMANN: Well, I don't want to mind read for them, those people to whom you refer, but I do think that one of their other questions is, at this point, if Senator Lieberman is going to filibuster, considering his pivotal role that he has inserted himself into in the last few weeks, what possible rationale does Democratic leadership have? And what possible rationale for the White House - does the White House have to continue to negotiate with him or to continue to permit him to maintain leadership positions and chairmanships in his committees?

BROWN: Well, you'll have to ask the Democratic leadership and the White House that.

We want to get this bill. Nothing's more important to me. I mean, I - you know, retribution, punishment, all that, for people that aren't team players is one thing. Talk about that later.

What matters to me, and I know what matters to activists, it's not -

it's not what happens to Joe Lieberman or what happens to any of us, it's

do we get a bill that is moving the country forward? And as I said, I'm disappointed.

This bill isn't as good as it should be, as I hoped it would be. It's going to be a good bill. It's not going to be a great bill. And I want to make it a little better than it would have been otherwise. And I think we've - we've gone some pretty good steps that way.

OLBERMANN: Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio - as always, great thanks for your time tonight.

BROWN: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Now, as promised, "Washington Post" staff reporter, Ezra Klein.

Ezra, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Once again, you answered that question for me. Flesh out what I quoted from you earlier if you would. Senator Lieberman first said he was going to wait for the scoring, the analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, then, surprisingly enough, he didn't. Why not?

KLEIN: Well, originally, he had a couple of very distinct policy rationales, from being concern about this bill, the Medicare provision in it. And they were basically that, one, it would add to the debt, and two, that it would reduce Medicare solvency, that it would shorten its life.

The problem was the CBO has actually looked at bills like this before. And it finds two things pretty much. It will reduce the debt because subsidies would be cheaper, probably. What it has found in the path is that it actually lengthens the period of time in which Medicare is solvent.

So, this wasn't really a secret. We were just waiting for CBO to say it.

And, I think, Lieberman recognized correctly that if he wanted to oppose this, the time to get out was - he had to get out in front of it. It would have been very hard to come out in opposition after the CBO said, "Yes, this is great. You should put it in the bill."

OLBERMANN: Why - and I know, I understand Senator Brown's reasons for trying to skip this, although I thought it was fairly dramatic that he said, basically, retribution can wait. What is the Democratic leadership rationale about still trusting this man and why is the White House still reportedly insistent upon negotiating with him?

KLEIN: I don't think they trust him. I think they need him. So, they want to have this bill done by Christmas, right? And they have three options for doing that.

One is they go to Olympia Snowe. And Olympia Snowe has said, "Listen, I don't like your timetable, this needs to take longer. We need to take our time." So, she's not going to make a deal in the next three days - which is what they need in that timetable.

Number two is reconciliation. The reconciliation process, with all of its other problems, you wouldn't have insurance regulations, it would also require starting over. You would have to go back to the House, back to the committees, take a very long time.

Your third option is Lieberman. And at least with Lieberman, it seems - unless he changes again - and look, he's changed, you know, before, it seems you can move him pretty quick. That if you just, essentially, do his compromise, which is there's no compromise, you can get him on the bill and get this done pretty much by Thursday - which is when you need to begin the process of calling successive cloture motions to get this bill done by next weekend.

OLBERMANN: Senator Brown just said, it's a good bill, but not great, as it currently stands. I presume he's giving up on the Medicare buy-in, because they have to give up on the Medicare buy-in to get Lieberman.

Is there any thought in any position of responsibility in the Democratic Party in the Senate, particularly, that the country might be better served at this point by scuttling this current bill and going back to the drawing board if it's by any different means or in a different kind of time frame or waiting until after the midterms?

KLEIN: I don't think so. I mean, I don't think you get a bill this way. The history of this is it that you fail.

But, you know, one thing that I think we should be very clear on, and I was hammering Lieberman on this earlier, and it goes in the opposite direction, too - we don't have a tendency to talk about this the right way, right? That if you look at the number of people without insurance that die every year, you're looking at this bill saving about 150,000 lives in its first 10 years.

Whether or not you're talking public option, Medicare buy-in?

That's cost stuff, 150,000 lives.

For Lieberman to threaten to destroy this bill over Medicare buy-in

which is, you know, a small ball, whatever way you look at it - was unconscionable. But it would also be unconscionable to let this bill fail because people are irritated at compromising with Lieberman.

I mean, this is a huge, huge step forward. It isn't a great bill. Senator Brown is right on that. But it is for, you know, the 150,000 people whose lives will be saved and the thousands and thousands more who won't go bankrupt, who won't be in chronic pain or infirm, it matters.

OLBERMANN: Ezra Klein of "The Washington Post" - with cogent analysis as usual, thank you again, sir.

KLEIN: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: And meantime, Joe Lieberman continues to spit in the face of this country's desires and need. It's not about retribution as much as it is about right now. You and I might hope that were we ever guilty of such lying, such betrayal, such humiliation, we would flee office or go hide in a monastery or go jump off a bridge.

But people can get away with the most amazing perfidy, seemingly forever - seemingly. Tens of millions of Bush administration e-mails vanished just as they were needed to establish paper trails in such scandals as the political purge of federal prosecuting attorneys. Guess what just turned up today? Hint: they're electronic and there are 22 million of them.


OLBERMANN: Take the sound your computer makes for an incoming e-mail and imagine it being repeated 22 million times. That's how many lost Bush presidency e-mails have just been recovered. Jonathan Turley on what they may or may not yet mean for prosecution and investigation next.

And later, "Law & Order" and Beck and O'Reilly.

You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: In a revelation that may one day make the Nixon tapes look trivial by comparison, 22 million missing White House e-mails from the Bush administration have finally been found.

Our fourth story on the Countdown: These e-mails may very well overlap Plame-gate and the run-up to the Iraq war and Gonzo-gate and the U.S. attorneys' firings.

Computer technicians have now found those 22 million e-mails, long after the failure of the Bush administration to install an electronic recordkeeping system. The missing e-mails constitute about 95 days' worth. More may still be recovered, maybe two or three weeks more worth.

But there may never be a complete tally, according to two citizens groups that had sued the executive office in 2007.

The Obama administration inherited and recently settled that lawsuit and diligently searched for the records. The general counsel of one of the citizens' groups is saying, quote, "Many poor choices were made during the Bush administration" - you bet - "and there was little concern about the availability of e-mail records despite the fact that they were contending with regular subpoenas for records and had a legal obligation to preserve their records."

The executive director of the other group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, adding, quote, "We may never discover the full story of what happened here. It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved. This gives us confirmation that the Bush administration lied when they said no e-mails were missing."

It will be years before the e-mails are released to the public, however - certainly none before 2014, because of the process at the National Archives.

Let's call in professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, Jonathan Turley.

Jon, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Do we have any kind of idea, even a broad one, of what time period these e-mails might be from and what this might mean in the -

I don't know, the forward-looking process of mankind?

TURLEY: Well, you know, we know that the first 5 million e-mails that were identified as missing occurred between 2003 and 2005. We're talking about a much larger amount already, but we're really dealing with one of the most critical periods of the Bush administration. This was a rather target-rich environment in terms of scandals and investigation.

And so, it's expected that these e-mails have a wealth of information about what was known and whether there was efforts to deceive Congress and whether there were efforts to cover up critical historical moments.

OLBERMANN: Is there any chance any of this could be used in prosecution or in congressional investigation? Or is that release drag, that 2014 time line, just too much to overcome on that front?

TURLEY: Well, Congress can get these. It's true the Archives moves at a glacial pace. That's for historians. Congress has the ability, as do courts to do it.

And also, what's interesting is that this cuts across a number of investigations. It first became public with Fitzgerald's investigation when he revealed it. And all that time, you have White House officials denying that e-mails had been lost.

I put on my blog tonight that, you know, one statement, where the White House basically says there's no evidence of any e-mail gone missing. They were only off by 22 million.

And so, there's a lot of statements there that seem patently false. There's also of statements that were clearly made to Congress that seem false. But it's unlikely that you're going to see people prosecuted. They dodged this bullet as well.

OLBERMANN: One even simpler point on this, if the Obama administration's computer techs recovered these e-mails, the Bush computer techs could have. What are the full potential implications of that, if any?

TURLEY: Well, obviously, I think you're right there, Keith. That the most telling aspect of this is that two computer experts were able to make, not fast work of this, but were able to reassemble these e-mails.

The White House may have known about this as early as 2003. They certainly knew about this problem by 2004.

And it becomes a question of willful blindness. It's sort of the political version of "The dog ate my homework." You just let the problem stand.

And what's really fascinating, Keith, is, when you look back at the Bush administration, how they were at war with the most basic principles of good government - from transparency to retention of historical documents to accountability. And this is all part of that legacy. And it's amazing to me that people really fought so hard to achieve that. But now, at least, we're going to have some record as to what was lost - what they thought was lost and what has now been covered.

OLBERMANN: The dog ate my homework. I was just reminded that Mr.

Bush had said he wouldn't care if his last friend was, in fact, Barney.

Maybe you're on to something there.

TURLEY: His best friend, yes.

OLBERMANN: That's right, the computer-savvy dog.

This - the current administration has - and you and I know this very well, this is what we mostly talked about nowadays - it is confounded us by upholding the stances from the Bush era on executive privilege, on basic accountability, on torture prosecution. Is this one instance - and not to compare any of those to this in terms of relative importance - but is this one instance in which the Obama administration has done the right thing? Or did it really have no choice in this?

TURLEY: Well, I wouldn't say that this is a redeeming moment for the administration, but I also think we need to point out that this administration is, in fact, better in terms of transparency. But we also have to note that they, in fact, opposed the disclosure of e-mails, in this area as well, as well as fighting for many Bush doctrines. They don't get a very high mark in terms of transparency. But when you're compared against the Bush administration, it's hard not to look like a front-runner.

OLBERMANN: Jonathan Turley of George Washington University - always a pleasure, sir. Thank you for your time.

TURLEY: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: And send me an e-mail.

If you've ever felt like swearing at a politician, we'll take you inside the Irish parliament, just pretend he's talking to Liz Cheney.

Or join me as I answer back to O'Reilly and Beck. They didn't like how "Law & Order" took their real life irresponsibility and made it into part of an episode. Tough.


OLBERMANN: On this date in 1911, Roald Amundsen became the first man to walk on the South Pole. On this date in 1972, Gene Cernan became the last man to walk on the moon. Wow! It was fun while it lasted.

Let's play "Oddball."


OLBERMANN: And we begin inside the Irish parliament where Paul Gogarty of the Green Party did not care for the heckling he was getting from an opposition member during a floor debate about welfare cuts. So, Deputy Gogarty let it fly.


PAUL GOGARTY, GREEN PARTY: I respected your sincerity. I'd ask you respect mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't seem very sincere.

GOGARTY: With all due respect, in the most un-parliamentary language (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you, Deputy Stagg, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you. I apologize now for my use of un-parliamentary language.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deputy Gogarty, that is the most un-parliamentary language.

GOGARTY: It is most un-parliamentary language. And I now withdrew and apologize for it.


OLBERMANN: Most un-parliamentary - well, he did apologize, and he then added - and that goes double for you, Lieberman!

Under the sea off the coast of Bali where this octopus has gone cuckoo for coconuts. Scientists were stunned to find this vane octopus squatting inside half of a coconut, running around inside the coconut shell and eventually using it as a protected home on the ocean floor. What's even more impressive are the delicious macaroons the guy bakes. The team at the journal "Current Biology" says this is the first evidence of tool use in octopus. And it's also evidence that somewhere, a mermaid is topless.

The rest of the night's news has an odd instructional tone to it. While spouting criticism of President Obama, Liz Cheney reveals more of what she must find repugnant about herself. While spouting criticism of the producers of "Law & Order," Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck reveal more of what they must find most damming about themselves.

And while planning to protest in Harris a Democratic congressman, a Virginia Teabag group reveals the most embarrassing thing possible about itself. It needs the congressman to help it picket him.


OLBERMANN: We rejoin the delusional ramblings of the Cheneys, already in progress. In our third story in the Countdown, Liz Cheney, the daughter of five time Vietnam War draft deferer Dick Cheney, was asked about President Obama's speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the speech that drew praise, even from many conservatives, include Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. Well, Miss Cheney said she found parts of the speech with which she agreed, her objections remained.


LIZ CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF FMR. VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: But we still had in the speech - you know, it's almost like it's become reflexive, this notion that America abandoned our ideals after 9/11. And I think that as we see this president repeatedly go on to foreign soil and accuse America of having tortured people, talk about Guantanamo Bay as an abandonment of our ideals, you know, that part of the speech to me really is nothing short of shameful. And it's not just an attack on political opponents. You know, it really is casting aspersions, and I would say slandering, the men and women in the CIA who carried out key programs that kept us safe, and the people, frankly, right now at Guantanamo Bay, who are guarding some of the world's worst terrorists.

So I think that part of the speech represents something I hope the president will stop soon.


OLBERMANN: No, he meant your father. Several other points, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, Ms. Cheney, America did torture or allow torture in multiple parts of the globe under the Bush/Cheney administration, in Bagram Internment Facility in Afghanistan, in Abu Ghraib in Iraq, from rendition, most notably, of course, at Guantanamo Bay. For any US official to stand up against torture by other US officials does not impugn the entire organization, for example, the CIA. But Ms. Cheney evidently shares with her father a blind, mindless investment in authority, that any criticism of an organization like the CIA would be slander.

But what is equally remarkable is the passage from the president's Oslo speech that incited such ire from Ms. Cheney was this.


OBAMA: And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America's commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions.

We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend.


OLBERMANN: That is what Ms. Cheney characterized as President Obama going on foreign soil and accusing America of having abandoned our ideals. But the first sentence of the Cheney criticism may be very well the most telling of them all, quote, "it is almost like it has become reflexive, this notion that America abandoned its ideals after 9/11," end quote, because that is the crux of it. That is precisely what Dick Cheney and company did during the Bush administration. They abandoned American ideals. Not with one fell swoop, not through one misspent but well-intentioned action. They did it systemically and relentlessly, with much deliberation and forethought. And they continued to do it, even when the dire consequences of such actions grossly reverberated within their eight-year reign.

So it is telling that Liz Cheney pointed all that out. As it is also instructive that Bill O'Reilly has claimed Dick Wolf of "Law & Order" has defamed it, but Bill is not suing.

Then there are the tea-baggers so out of energy they've asked a congressman to get closer to them to make it easier for them to protest.

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, Tom Harkin's idea to drastically alter the Senate filibuster.


OLBERMANN: A, Bill-O and Beck help to inspire the murders of an abortion doctor and three policemen. B, "Law & Order: SVU" weaves this truth into one of its episodes. C, Bill-O calls out the producer of "Law & Order." No lawsuit, no evidence, just calls him a bunch of names. So, D, why doesn't Bill-O sue?

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

The bronze to Vincent Keene, chief executive of Unity Health Care. It's generally an asset to the community in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit that runs about 30 health clinics for the District government there, which disapproves of a group called Remote Area Medical and Missions of Mercy for the Virginia Dental Association, doesn't want them to stage a free health clinic in Washington late next month to underscore the urgency of health care reform. Mr. Keene argues against such a clinic for residents of his city. What they need, he says, "is comprehensive care. And I think the worst thing you can do for a patient is diagnose his problem and then not be able to treat it over the long haul."

Well, no, the worst thing you can do to a patient is not be given any goddamn chance at all to find out that he has a problem. We need Mr. Keene's clinic and the Remote Area Medical Clinic and every other clinic we can get in Washington and everywhere else.

The silver to Senator James Inhofe, the senator from the oil business. When even Fox Noise has to break it to you that the World Meteorological Organization has found this decade as the warmest on record, you would know you were in trouble. Not the Hofer (ph). "It means very little because that was based on the same flawed science, the IPC science that we've been looking at."

What he means by that is the stolen e-mails he's been looking at. More bad news on that front for the Hofer. The Associated Press had five reporters and seven scientists, including experts on the ethics of research, analyze the one million words in the 1,073 hacked e-mails that supposedly constitute climate-gate. They concluded that they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data, but the messages don't support claims that the science of global warming was faked. The AP, which periodically leans a little right-wards, if it leans at all, has thus disproved climate-gate. Too bad its reporters could not now move on to disproving Senator Inhofe.

But our winner, John W. Whitehead, the founder of the Rutherford Institute. He may not lead the most famous Teabag outfit, but he certainly leads the laziest one. Mr. Whitehead's target is Democratic Congressman Tom Perriello of Virginia, who has been threatened by tea-baggers with being burnt in effigy, if they can just summon up the energy. "Unfortunately," Mr. Whitehead writes to Perriello, "it is your choice of office location that has hindered the ability of citizens to effectively communicate concerning issues of the utmost importance to you, Congress, and the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia."

You figured it out yet, what Mr. Whitehead wants Congressman Perriello to do? "The first amendment clearly guarantees individuals the right to speak out publicly and address their government representatives on the important issues of the day."

Whitehead wants Perriello to move his office to make it easier for the Tea-baggers to threaten him. Apparently his office is in - how un-American is this - an office complex. And the day spa next door to his office has gotten the police to tell the Tea-baggers, you can't block the spa doorway. You have to go all the way out to the sidewalk, literally feet away, and there you can make fools of yourselves. So the protesters insist Congressman Perriello should move his office to make it easier for them.

John W. "do you want them to care your signs for you too because they're so heavy" Whitehead of the Rutherford - just give me a second. I'll resume protesting you. Let me just catch my breath in a moment - institute. Was it named for Lumpy Rutherford? Today's worst person in the - world.


OLBERMANN: Even in the fun-house mirror world that is far right lunacy, this was lunatic. Our number one story, NBC's "Law & Order: SVU," and executive producer Dick Wolf, make a passing reference to the hot and cold running incitement to hate and violence that Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Bill O'Reilly constitute. And Beck and Bill-O act if they've been violated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't get why you're defending this wacko.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a symptom, not the disease.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That symptom killed three kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Garrison, Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, all of them, they're like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate. They've convinced folks that immigrants are the problem, not corporations that failed to pay a living wage or a broken health care system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Save the soap box, Randy. The cameras aren't even running.


OLBERMANN: Warm up the calliope of outraged impotence. Finneus T.

Bluster O'Reilly is about to threaten to do nothing.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: That is simply defamatory and outrageous. And Dick Wolf is a coward for putting it out there. He's also a liar.


OLBERMANN: Well, sue. Come on, tough guy. That's defamatory and outrageous? Sue. You sued Al Franken. You sued Andrea Macras. If that's defamatory and outrageous, now you have to sue. Because if you don't sue, you are saying, in effect, I, Bill-O, agree I am a cancer spreading ignorance and hate. Or are you afraid you can't prove that you don't spread ignorance and hate? Are you afraid there would be a trial and then the subject of spreading ignorance and hate would come up. And the defense would mention the assassination of Dr. George Tiller. And then they would play this tape.


O'REILLY: For 5,000 dollars, Tiller "the baby killer," as some call him, will perform a late-term abortion for just about any reason. This man, Dr. George Tiller, known as Tiller "the baby killer," is performing late-term abortions without defining the specific medical reasons why.

Tiller has killed thousands, thousands of late-term fetuses without explanation.

No question, Dr. Tiller has blood on his hands.

Tiller "the baby killer" out in Kansas acquitted, acquitted today of murdering babies. There's got to be a special place in hell for this guy. This guy will kill your baby for 5,000 dollars, any reason. Any reason.


OLBERMANN: So if that isn't Bill O'Reilly, cancer spreading ignorance and hate, and if you aren't a coward, sue.


O'REILLY: Patriotic Americans can debate illegal immigration respectfully. No one on the Factor has been allowed to demonize any innocent human being.


OLBERMANN: Oh, true, how very true. Here's an example of that.


O'REILLY: He doesn't have a right to be here!


O'REILLY: He doesn't have a right to be in this country!

RIVERA: But that has nothing to do with the fact -

O'REILLY: Yes, it does!

RIVERA: He got drunk -

O'REILLY: He should have been deported! He should have been deported and this mayor and the police chief didn't deport him!


OLBERMANN: Illegal immigration debated respectfully. Also, that was done in 2007, not long after Bill-O insisted the real story about a fire in New York City was not the eight children burned to death, but his guess that the parents were illegal immigrants.


O'REILLY: I means, enough's enough with these network pinheads who shove propaganda down our throats under the guise of entertainment.


OLBERMANN: As he says, I means enough's enough. We're in agreement here, actually.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack, I said the holster your weapon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your primary objective?! What is your primary objective?!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary of defense!


OLBERMANN: Enough network propaganda shoving. But back to Dick Wolf and "Law & Order".


O'REILLY: Again, enough is enough. I'm calling out Dick Wolf.


OLBERMANN: Wow, what are you going to do, sue him? Or just send one of your stalker producers to try to follow him around with a camera, because you don't have the guts to leave your studio like a man would. You're calling him out. You wouldn't even call him up.

Here, kitty, kitty, kitty. But, of course, it wasn't just all talk Bill mentioned. If "Law & Order" might indulge us yet again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't get why you're defending this what wacko.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: - is a symptom, not the disease.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That symptom killed three kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Garrison, Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, all of them, they're like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate. They have convinced folks that immigrants are the problems, not corporations that failed to pay a living wage or a broken health care system.


OLBERMANN: Well, guess who else didn't like that.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Because of me, Bill, and Rush? Where is the evidence for inciting any violence? Show it to me.


OLBERMANN: You got it, sparky. Remember Richard Paplowski (ph), who ambushed and killed three policeman outside Pittsburgh last April 4th? Who told friends and posted on the Internet that he was ready for the "S Hits the fan, the end of the world as we know it, because Obama was coming for his guns?" That was Beck's favorite topic last March, before he became a gold shill. What did Paplowski post to a website called "Storm Front?" He posted a link to this video? .


BECK: I told you that I was going to tell you about the FEMA cams or the FEMA prisons today. First of all, on the FEMA prison thing -

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: Your concern that they might be setting up these camps that verge on concentration camps. There's no evidence that I can find that they're actually set up. But I think there is a justified concern.


OLBERMANN: If that's not enough evidence of violence resulting from what you, Mr. Beck, and Mr. O'Reilly have said, we could play the Tiller "the killer" tape again, I suppose, or go through the story of James Atkinson, who walked into a Tennessee Unitarian church in July 2008 and killed two ordinary people because of one of O'Reilly's Fox News analyst. "This was a symbolic killing," he said. "Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate and the House, and the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media."

So Goldberg inspires Jim Atkinson, and O'Reilly inspires the assassination of George Tiller. And Beck inspires the Pittsburgh cop killer. And who's ready to blame? Beck knows.


BECK: Janeane Garofalo smugly smeared millions of people on the other networks because she disagreed with their viewpoints. Listen to this.

JANEANE GAROFALO, COMEDIAN: This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of Tea-bagging rednecks.


OLBERMANN: Yeah, Janeane was way off base there, no racial animus being incited by any teabag-Ger. No racial hatred, not even from the Teabag-Ger in chief there.


BECK: Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, are transforming America. And they are all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations. This guy has real issues with race, real issues.

This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don't know what it is. This guy is, I believe, a racist.


OLBERMANN: Well, fortunately, the slandering of Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly and Bernard Goldberg is about to come to an end. Mercifully and finally, the liberal media is going to get there. Having succeeded in making those on his side of politics look like the most gullible, paranoid folks on the planet by pimping those high-school humor quality Acorn videos, a man Breitbart (ph) - again, the name seems to be meant ironically - is founding a website with which he will, quote, "fight the mainstream media, who have repeatedly, and under the guise of objectivity and political neutrality, promoted a blatantly left of center, pro-Democratic party agenda."

Let me give him two windmills to tilt at, to start with. There is no liberal media. The media, which is, after all, owned by corporations, naturally leans to the right. Corporations, by definition, lean to the right, towards the status quo. If an American media outlet presents a progressive point of view, the right will exploit the media's tendency to desperately seek balance. If the progressive says, no, Obama was elected president last year, they will mindlessly put in a clip of somebody from the right saying, no, he wasn't; it didn't happen.

The second thing I already mentioned; in the Tiller, Pittsburgh, and Knoxville cases, Beck, Goldberg and O'Reilly clearly incited murderous violence. And Dick Wolf was being over the top by comparing Beck, O'Reilly and Limbaugh to disease, because comparing them to disease gives disease a bad name. And to paraphrase something from the web from several years ago, written by a fellow identifying himself as Bart-cop, if Mr. Beck disagrees or Mr. Goldberg disagrees or Mr. O'Reilly disagrees or Mr. Breitbart disagrees, and they think they're being crushed under the weight of this vast left-wing media conspiracy, they can go on the Orly Tate's Limbaugh show, where Orly will insist conservatives have no voice in the media. Or go on the Sean Hannity show, where Sean will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on Cluster Fox and Friends, where Brian Kilmeade will insist conservatives have no voice in the media. Or go on Mike Huckabee's show, where Mike will insist conservatives have no voice in the media. Or go on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show, where G. will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on Michael Medved's show, where Michael will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on Mark Levin's high pitched radio show, where Mark will insist conservatives have no high pitched voice in the media.

Or go on the Neil Boortz show, where Neil will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on the Lou Dobbs radio show, where Lou will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on the Laura Ingraham radio show, where Laura will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on the Neil Cavuto show, where Neil will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or go on the John Stossel show, where John will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get David Horowitz to write a column in which David will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Bill Kristol to write a column in which Bill will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Coulter-geist to write a column in which Coulter-geist will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Peggy Noonan to write a column in which Peggy will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Jonah Goldberg to write a column in which Jonah will insist his mom told him conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get John Fund to write a column in which John will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Brent Bozell to write a column in which Brent will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Cal Thomas to write a column in which Cal will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Charles Krauthammer to write a column in which Charles will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get George Will to write a column in which George will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Sarah Palin to post something somebody wrote for her on Facebook in which Sarah's ghost writer insists conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or get Matt Drudge to steal somebody else's column in which somebody else will insist conservatives have no voice in the media.

Or pay Armstrong Williams cash to write a column in which Armstrong will insist conservatives have no voice in the media, and then he'll expense it.

Because, to conclude where we started, with Dick Wolf and "Law & Order," "in the right wing dominated media system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the right-wing media who instigate crime, and the right-wing media who prosecute the imaginary liberal media."

Thank you. Now having gone to Washington just to investigate Senator Tom Harkin's proposal to vastly restrict the filibuster in the Senate, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Keith. Thanks very much for that.