Thursday, July 15, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, July 15th, 2010
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Tea Time, Worst Persons
Video via YouTube: Killer monkeys!, Emmy nomination

Guests: Bob Cavnar, Leonard Bahr, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Dean Baker,

Alexander Zaitchik

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

What's that not spilling into the Gulf? The stack cap works - so far.


DOUG SUTTLES, BP COO: Everybody is pleased with the fact, at least for the moment, there's no oil going out.


OLBERMANN: So, only 87 days worth of oil to wash ashore now - and Bobby Jindal's berms have failed.

Financial reform passes. Not to say "John of Orange" has become a bit of a cliche. But his reaction?


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: I think it ought to be repealed.


OLBERMANN: The president in Michigan to tout another stimulus result

while polling says just 43 percent have confidence in him to make the right decisions.

Thus, Senator McConnell claims the economy has given the Republicans their groove back. Except the same poll says just 26 percent have confidence in congressional Republicans to make the right decisions.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is going to be a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and my policies that are getting us out of this mess.


OLBERMANN: Our guest, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan.

"Tea Time": The supposedly satiric letter designed to refute the idea there's racism in the Tea Party. In it, he uses the word "colored" 12 times.

And now, Mr. Beck goes anti-Semitic.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: If he was a victim and this theology was true, then Jesus would have come back from the dead and made the Jews pay for what they did.


OLBERMANN: Fortunately, to cheer up, "The New York Post" warns us about Taliban-trained killer monkeys in Afghanistan.





OLBERMANN: All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.




OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

This is a test. For the next 48 hours, the BP oil company will conduct a test of well integrity and the capping system. This is only a test.

Our fifth story: Oil stopped gushing into the Gulf of Mexico at 3:25 Eastern this afternoon, if only temporarily, as part of the so-called well integrity test - the first time that has been achieved since the disaster began 87 days ago.

But the celebration might be short-lived, the first apparent good news in three months of an environmental nightmare, BP is saying this afternoon that oil had stopped leaking into the Gulf for the first time since April. The company is slowly dialing down the flow as part of its test on a new temporary cap - the plan to keep the oil trapped for the next 48 hours to see if the busted well holds. If it does, a short-term fix until engineers finish drilling two relief wells and try to plug that well permanently.

Reaction this afternoon was cautious.


SUTTLES: All of us have been watching those horrible images for almost three months now. And it's the first time this that time period we haven't seen that image. But I have to - I have to stress, we have to manage our expectations, because depending on what the results are could depend on what happens next.

OBAMA: I think it is a positive sign. We're still in the testing phase. I'll have more to say about it tomorrow.


OLBERMANN: Of particular concern in the next two days, what scientists cannot see beneath the seafloor, whether oil and gas could be seeping through cracks in the wellbore. Admiral Allen is admiral saying tonight that once tests are concluded, it is likely BP will return to oil capture vessels and to containing the crude. The relief well is still a number of weeks off, even though engineers seem only to have 37 feet left to drill for one of them to hit home.

For some perspective, let's turn to oil and gas industry veteran, Bob Cavnar, who now writes about the industry for "The Huffington Post," as well as his own Web site, "The Daily Hurricane."

Bob, good evening.


OLBERMANN: This time yesterday, we were talking about BP shutting down the valves at intervals of six hours.

CAVNAR: Right.

OLBERMANN: Do we know why they moved so quickly to close off the valves?

CAVNAR: You know, I was really surprised by that myself, Keith. I figured they would start closing things in today. But they got the well completely shut in.

So, I'm pretty well convinced now that they're going to watch the pressure at six-hour intervals rather than close it down at six-hour intervals.

OLBERMANN: What are the signs you're looking for to see if this test, as unexpected as it might seem, will be successful? What are you looking for that might indicate that there are bigger problems with the well?

CAVNAR: You know, the real challenge here is looking at the ROV feeds. You really can't see much, unless there's a physical leak in the old blowout preventer. I really wish that BP would provide the data feed of the pressures in the well itself so we could watch it.

What they're looking for is a steady pressure build to a fairly high level. I think Admiral Allen said 8,000 or 9,000 pounds - which concerns me about the wellhead they talked about yesterday.

But if it stays steady, that shows that it will hold it. If it levels off at a lower pressure, then they've got a leak down below. If it goes up and then breaks down, then they've caused some damage. So, that's what they're going to be looking for.

OLBERMANN: And what do they do in either eventuality? How does this turn out?

CAVNAR: They've got to open it up. They've got to get this well flowing back to the surface through those four risers that have been set in place to keep pressure off the well so it doesn't leak either underground blowout farther down or possibly to the surface in some of this upper damage.

OLBERMANN: How confident are you in their having the equipment that's needed to fully examine the wellbore and the seafloor for damage? Are they just going by those pressure measurements?

CAVNAR: I think they're doing a pretty thorough evaluation. I've been watching the ROVs. They've been flying those real low over the bottom all around the well. And they've got one focused on the well and others focused on other parts of the operation, some of the ROV cages and some of the gauges. So, they're watching it pretty closely.

OLBERMANN: As we mentioned, Admiral Allen says it remains likely they'll resume containment using the cap. Is there a way to read anything into that or is he just hedging his bets since their operating without enough information yet themselves?

CAVNAR: What I read into that is they know this well can't be shut in for a long period of time. Plus, they really don't want this well to be shut in while they're trying to complete that relief well that's just a few feet away because that creates bottom hole pressure that's harder for them to kill once they get there.

OLBERMANN: Once again, do you have any - is it any clearer to you today than it was yesterday about how - why this sequence has occurred in the way it has? The tests and the suspension initially of the tests and the resumption of the test, and the tests were going to be six-hour intervals and now, all of a sudden, the thing is entirely shut off? It just doesn't sound, like you said yesterday, sounded more than just a little ad-hoc.

CAVNAR: Yes, it's clearly been on the fly. And they've been - there's a lot more discussion behind the scenes obviously with the government and BP team than what they're disclosing to the public.

And what I've learned in this whole experience is: if you get a long on period of silence, something's going on. And so, I think that's a lot of what happened today. Plus, they've had the leaks in the stack they've had to fix.

OLBERMANN: Oil industry veteran, Bob Cavnar, of the Daily Hurricane and also, "Huffington Post," and we're lucky enough to have him here - thank you again, Bob.

CAVNAR: Great talking to you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Along the Gulf Coast, residents dealing with the estimated 4 million gallons of oil that have already gushed. For Governor Jindal, that problem compounded by a $360 million project aimed at keeping the mess from coming ashore. His boondoggle now appears to be sinking - literally sinking.

The Louisiana Republican claims to be a fiscal conservative, approving an expensive plan albeit at BP's expense, to bulldoze sand out into the Gulf to form artificial islands known as berms. The idea being that the berms would trap the oil before it could reach the shore - except there appears to be nothing to trap the sand.

In photographs, the berms seeming to shrink like a wool sweater in hot water, according to LSU marine science professor, Len Bahr. These are Professor Bahr's pictures given to him by federal officials who asked not to be identified out of fear of retribution.

In "The New York Times," another geoscientist professor saying that the photos depict clear signs of, quote, "erosional scouring."

Governor Jindal, meanwhile, pointing to a similar photograph to say that it proves the artificial islands are working. Today, out on one of the berms, Governor Jindal making big claims to the NBC News.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: What we've seen time and time again is when you build these sand berms, it captures the oil before it enters our wetlands and caps those oil that gets past the booms, get past the skimmers. It also captures that subsea oil. It also works 24/7.

You know, during the storm, the skimmers could not operate. A lot of the boom wasn't effective. The sand berms work.


OLBERMANN: Let's turn now to former LSU marine sciences professor, Leonard Bahr, who also served as a coastal science policy adviser for the Louisiana governors' offices for 18 years until Governor Jindal asked him to retire in 2008. And his blog, (ph), which features those photos of the sand berms.

Thank you for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: There seem to be a little wiggle room, little equivocation in the interview we just heard with Governor Jindal in NBC News this afternoon? Are the photographs up to the interpretation he seems to imply?

BAHR: I think there's a lot of wiggle room. You know, I - we all support - we really want to see this thing - this problem go away. We're all excited about the possible capping of the flow.

But, you know, the technology that you all just heard about in terms of the drilling technology is not being matched by the incredible technology of the science that we - that is right available to the governor. He's not taking advantage of. And that's a frustration.

OLBERMANN: What specifically do you think he should be doing that he's not doing, or how should that money have been spent that it was not spent?

BAHR: Well, we have a brain trust of coastal science here in Louisiana, been here for 50 years because of the Mississippi River delta. We know the delta better than - I mean, we have the people who are the absolute world experts.

When the berm project was proposed and all of a sudden kind of announced as a done deal, none of the scientists had been involved in planning this thing. We all had concerns by an engineering project without adult supervision frankly is a - is a prospect that could do more harm than good. And now that the oil spill may have been - the leak may have been cut off, we hope, I'm afraid that by the time these berms are complete in nine months or a year, it will be a moot question anyway because the oil will not be the threat that it is right now.

OLBERMANN: Do the berms themselves - apart from the fact they don't

seem to work, and as you said, they've been done without adult supervision

do the berms themselves have any environmental impact? Are they damaged

by themselves?

BAHR: No, the berms themselves don't have - don't do any damage.

What is the problem is that we have a finite amount of sand in this delta. We all support - every scientist that I know and respect supports a massive barrier shoreline restoration project. I'm afraid that what's happened here is some people thought, well, we'll get BP to start pay for this thing. And - but it was - and that's not a bad idea but the thing is this sand berm project is being done without coordinating with - again, with the science community that could really make it work right and sustainable.

So what happens is if you dredge the finite amount of sand and you change the profile of the bottom, then you could make the problem even worse. And you can increase the erosion rate. And you can make it so that the oil actually gets sucked in more by the tides. If you try to put rocks in the tidal passes and build berms across the tidal passes, you increase the flow of water. And the scientists know about these things. And they've not been consulted.

OLBERMANN: Is - you have experience in this governor's office - what's his motivation for building the berms and going ahead without adult supervision here? Is it just - is it just to have something to say, "Look, we did this," or is there something more nefarious behind it?

BAHR: I don't - I won't say there's anything nefarious. What I - what I will say is that the people in southern Louisiana are desperate and they're anxious for a solution and physical solution that sounds great. I mean, we're going to build a wall. That's a very - that's a very comforting idea to those who are really desperate about their jobs and their homes and the storms approaching this hurricane season.

But they shouldn't be given false hope by a project that is not well conceived. And I think that's what drives it. I think the idea of doing something dramatic is a driving force.

OLBERMANN: Yes. A lot of arms and legs moving around and not necessarily doing anything.

BAHR: Right.

OLBERMANN: Leonard Bahr, marine biologist, former member of the Louisiana governor's office - great thanks for your perspective and exposing this for us as well.

BAHR: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: BP's stock bounced back today unsurprisingly. As to the rest of the economy, the Senate minority leader boasts about how it has given him and his party his groove back. So, he's wrong on the polling and the facts and the ill-fated cultural reference.

And with the president in Holland, Michigan, on this subject, that state's governor, Jennifer Granholm - next.


OLBERMANN: Our special guest, the governor to whose state the president went today to talk realistically but with hope about the economy, just as financial reform finally passes the Senate. Even as this man spoke of the economy giving the Republicans their groove back. I'm thinking he does not know how the real life version of Stella getting her groove back turned out.

How can the tea party refute charges that it tolerates racism? Probably not by letting this guy writing a mock letter to President Lincoln declining emancipation in which he uses the word "colored" a dozen times?

And just to make sure nobody gets left out - Beck explains Jesus Christ was killed by the Jews. Oh, here we go.


OLBERMANN: As the president visits Michigan to promote another result of the stimulus, the "party of no" wants you to know they had nothing to do it with it. John of orange calls the president's economic policies the epitome of failure while Mitch McConnell tries a more positive tact.

Our fourth story: All the filibustering, all the stalling, all the obstructing, he says, has helped the GOP get its groove back. Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan will join me.

The president in Holland, Michigan, earlier, speaking at the groundbreaking of a battery factory made possible by the stimulus. Mr. Obama confident his administration's effort to create jobs is working despite the GOP's efforts to obstruct.


OBAMA: There are some folks who want to go back, who think we should return to the policies that helped to lead in this recession. Some of them made the political calculation that it's better to obstruct than to lend a hand. They said no to tax cuts. They said no to small business loans. They said no to clean energy projects.

I just want to make sure that everybody understands that this country would not be better off if this plant hadn't gotten built and if the clean energy package that made it possible wasn't in place.


OLBERMANN: House Minority Leader Boehner offering a prebuttal to the

president's visit. In an op-ed for the "Detroit News," attacking Mr. Obama

on the stimulus, writing, quote, "I hope that instead of trying to convince

the people of a city suffering from 11.8 percent unemployment that our

economy is moving forward, he will closely when they ask, 'Where are the


More government, fewer jobs: this isn't the picture of recovery; it's the epitome of failure."

House Speaker Pelosi reminding her Republicans colleagues of their role in the economic stall.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: If we had health care sooner, if we had energy sooner, if we had the education bill sooner, there were all three pillars of job creation. And that would have resulted in more jobs created by now.


OLBERMANN: Meanwhile, the Senate minority leader, Mr. McConnell, administering a pep talk at the Young Republican Leadership Conference today, as well as previewing the GOP midterm strategy, blasting an explosion of government.

Absent from Mr. McConnell's speech - a substantial discussion of jobs. But Mr. McConnell did offer reassurance that many of his Republican colleagues would keep theirs.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Those Republicans in Washington, the ones who were supposed to be beaten down, demoralized and despondent - well, we were listening. We broke out of the Washington echo chamber and fought the government-driven solutions the Democrats were proposing. In short, you might say we got our groove back.


OLBERMANN: 1995 called, still on McConnell, it wants its cliche back

and an odd choice of words, too, considering the latest "Washington Post" poll shows 43 percent of Americans have either a great deal or good amount of confidence in the president's ability to make the right decisions to the country, that's a low number. Thirty-two percent said the same of congressional Democrats. And as for the party of the purported groove, they scored 26 percent, Republicans in Congress in the public's confidence.

Also, just a cultural reference clarification now, the phrase "got your groove back" comes from the '90s movie "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." It was an author's fictionalized account of her marriage to a man 20 years her junior and the movie came out and then the actual guy revealed he was gay and the actual couple got divorced. So, be careful with your groove, Senator McConnell.

Joining me now from East Lansing, as promised, if she has not bailed out after hearing that note, the governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm.

Thanks you for some of your time tonight, Governor.


OLBERMANN: Is there a way to assess how the stimulus has impacted your state and if the president's plans are working even just within the experiment that would be Michigan?

GRANHOLM: Yes. In fact, we're sort of the poster child, I think of how this has started to work. Clearly, we've not arrived yet, but the progress is evident. And that's what today's visit by the president was intended to show.

But today's visit was at a battery plant. This is the battery that goes into the electric vehicle. These are incredibly important investments not just for Michigan but for America to become energy independent and to be the place where the electric vehicle is produced.

But this plant is one of 16 plants in Michigan that have come as a result of the Recovery Act. Sixteen electric battery companies or their suppliers in Michigan which over the next 10 years is going to create 62,000 jobs. Now, that's not something to shake a stick at. It's a - it's a huge amount of hope for a state where we have really been focused on diversifying and adding new sectors. None of that would have been in place were it not for the Recovery Act.

So, I can tell you, as the governor of the state that has had - doesn't anymore - but has had the highest unemployment rate in the nation where the auto industry was in freefall a year ago today, the fact that we have a stable auto industry, a commitment to manufacturing, a whole new sector of our economy, in addition to the investments that are being made in wind and solar as well, this is a new day. As I say, we haven't arrived, but it's sure progress.

OLBERMANN: The Republican assertion and Mr. Boehner described this in this newspaper and others described it in various ways today, that unemployment would be kept - it would have been kept at 8 percent if there had been no stimulus. Is there - is there credibility to the argument? Is there a way to determine what unemployment would be like without the stimulus?

GRANHOLM: Well, I mean, it's mind boggling to me because in Michigan, since the beginning of the stimulus, we've seen 275,000 jobs created. That's just in Michigan.

Now, I think it could have been bigger. And if we had Republican support in the Congress, it should have been bigger and targeted again at more infrastructure, more energy. But I - without the stimulus and certainly without the assistance to the manufacturers in Michigan, we would have had Chrysler and General Motors that would have been probable liquidated rather than restructured. We would have had suppliers throughout the country falling apart. We would have completely obliterated our manufacturing infrastructure in this nation.

Now, certainly, we wouldn't have had the long-term strategic jobs that the stimulus bill has provided. So, you know, I think what the frustration is on the part of everyday citizens is that they have wanted to see this happen more quickly. And I think everybody, even the president, would say that as well.

But as Nancy Pelosi suggested in the clip that you were just playing -

if the Republicans hadn't been obstructing, we would have seen this more quickly. If the Republicans would get off the dime and support an investment in extending unemployment benefits or in extending credit to small businesses - another bill that's pending before the Senate - or in extending emergency help for those on Medicaid, then we would be in a different position. If it weren't for the obstructionists, this would be happening more quick quickly. But we're grateful for what we have.

OLBERMANN: You mentioned G.M. Obviously, it's impossible to truly prove a negative. They say, well, here's the alternative timeline, there's no stimulus, and we got a depression by the way, and the major auto manufacturers went out of business and the suppliers, as you said, would follow.

But is - to some degree, is G.M. kind of that example, that you can almost prove the negative with, to say, this is - we know what would have happened to G.M. if there had not been intervention and this is the way the rest of the economy would have been had there not been this kind of intervention? And if that's the case, do you think the reclaiming of the auto industry has been sort of undersold by the proponents of what the president did both in that and the stimulus?

GRANHOLM: Well, I think the auto industry is an example of strategic surgical intervention. Now, of course, it's not finished yet. When General Motors takes the company back public, then you will really have the sort of completion of this.

But I can tell you - in November, General Motors is rolling out the Chevrolet Volt, which is the first all-electric vehicle. That vehicle will be powered by the batteries that were in the plant that are going to be made by the plant that the president was at today. Those batteries are going to be supplied by other suppliers in Michigan that have cropped up as a result of this stimulus.

So, not only do we have an auto industry that's producing the electric vehicle, which have wouldn't have happened before but for Obama's intervention - Obama administration's intervention, we have this whole supply chain and infrastructure surrounding energy independence that we are creating through the stimulus. All of that would not have happened but for the Obama administration's intervention.

OLBERMANN: The governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm - it's always a pleasure, Governor. Great thanks for your time tonight.

GRANHOLM: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Another day, another acid trip of a conspiracy theory from the far-right. The latest? The Taliban is training monkeys to use machine guns against Americans in Afghanistan. Killer monkeys!


OLBERMANN: Financial reform finally passed.

First, a quick thank you to the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences which today did me the great honor of nominating my obituary of my mother from this newscast in April of last year. It was called "A Baseball Fan Named Marie" for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in News Writing.

To borrow from George M. Cohan, "My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you."

Let's play "Oddball."


OLBERMANN: This - this will not get nominated. We begin next door at the famed Christie's Auction House. Literally, it's next door. The possessions of Roy Rogers on the block. The items range from toys and lunch boxes to the singing cowboy's 1963 Pontiac Bonneville. But, if that's a little too mainstream for you, you can always buy Trigger. Yes, Roy Roger's faithful companion, now stuffed and mounted, 266,500 dollars. If the horse is a bit grandiose for your tastes, Bullet the wonder dog is still available.

To a subway station, also not so far away, where we find a young princess on her way to the Imperial Senate. Little does she know that the Transit Police are on the lookout for fare skippers and take her to a subway station that appears to be located on a small Moon. Is this a Moon? No, it's a processing center. The main transit lord comes aboard and convinces the troops this is not the scofflaw you were looking for, and sends the princess on her way.

When asked for comment on the event, most riders were happy that they left Jar Jar Binks out of this one.

I don't know what the hell happened then.

The Senate passes financial reform; House Minority leader John of Orange calls for its repeal. But they're not the party of no. Next.


OLBERMANN: Today, the largest financial reform since the Great Depression passed the Senate, its final hurdle. But a few hours before passage, the man with the tan, House Minority Leader John Boehner, called for its repeal. Our third story tonight, with clear public support, will the bill translate into political gain or loss? And will the new law actually do some good?

By a vote of 60-39, the financial reform bill passed in the Senate this afternoon, following passage in the House about two weeks ago. Fifty seven senators from the Democratic caucus voted aye, along with the two Republican senators from Maine and Republican Senator Scott Brown.

President Obama will sign the bill into law next week, marking in his third major legislative victory, following the Recovery Act and health care reform. Today, he marked the bill's passage this way.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Reform that will protect consumers when they take out a mortgage or sign up for a credit card. Reform that will prevent the kind of shadowy deals that led to this crisis. Reform that would never again put taxpayers on the hook for Wall Street's mistakes.

There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts, period.


OLBERMANN: Earlier in the day, House Minority Leader Boehner, who would become speaker if the Republicans regain majority in the midterms, expressed his eagerness for repeal.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: And the fact that it's going to punish every banker in America for the sins of a few on Wall Street, I think it's unwise. On top of that, I think that it institutionalizes Too Big to Fail and gives far too much authority to federal bureaucrats to bail out virtually any company in America they decide ought to be bailed out. I think it ought to be repealed.


OLBERMANN: President Obama reacted to that as well, not even mentioning what would have to happen for a hypothetical House to be able to override his presidential veto.


OBAMA: Now, already, the Republican leader in the House called for repeal of this reform. I would suggest that America can't afford to go backwards. I think that's how most Americans feel as well.


OLBERMANN: The bill's vast provisions include new regulations of Wall Street and new federal power to break up failing companies. The bill also creates a new Consumer Protection Agency. Is it enough?

Let's bring in the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Dean Baker. Mr. Baker, thanks for your time tonight.

DEAN BAKER, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH: Let's start with the positive. Assess the strongest points in this bill.

BAKER: Certainly the most important thing for most people is going to be the Consumer Protection Agency. In principle, this is supposed to ensure that the products we get - if we get a mortgage, we get a credit card, it's understandable. There's not going to be surprises in there. You won't have the deceptive mortgages that we saw, that contributed so much to the housing bubble and the crisis.

We also have resolution authority that President Obama is referring to. That means there will be an orderly process. If you have an AIG-type situation, a non-bank, a large financial institution that's not a bank, it principle, it would give us a mechanism through which we could unwind that.

The other really important point, at least in my view, is that you're going to have a lot of these derivatives will be traded over the - I'm sorry, in clearinghouses or exchanges, so you won't end up again with an AIG sitting there with hundreds of billions of dollars of commitments that it can't make good on. So those are what I consider the three most important points in this bill.

OLBERMANN: What did it miss?

BAKER: Well, what I'm troubled by is it really did not fundamentally change the way Wall Street does business. You're going to hear them whining about it. They always whine. But basically, they're going to go back to work the day after President Obama signed this and do things pretty much the way they had before. It doesn't break up Too Big to Fail. We don't see a real crackdown on speculation.

I would love to see - you have in the Senate Senator Harkin and in the House Representative Peter DeFazio both proposed a financial speculation tax. Make it a little more costly to speculate, as they've been doing there. You don't have that in there. So you have a lot of bad practices continuing.

OLBERMANN: With the pros and the cons, does that represent, do you think, this bill something that the Democrats can discuss in concrete terms and make sellable to the public as they move into the midterms?

BAKER: I think so. Aspects of this are going to be way over people's heads. Not the sort of thing people pay attention to. It's not easy to understand. The idea of a Consumer Protection Agency - when you go in to get a mortgage - I've been in that boat once, twice, three times. You don't get a mortgage every day of the week. You're sitting there, looking at a big document. You don't read through the whole thing. No one's going to let you do that. The fact that you can be confident that there are no surprises in there, it says what you think it says, that should make a difference for people. I think it is good policy, and I think it will be good politics.

OLBERMANN: From the reverse side of this, even if the GOP gives up on the idea it's just passed, let's repeal it, like everything else, what are they going to go after? What are they going to they demonize?

BAKER: What they're trying to do - you've heard Representative Boehner said it institutionalizes Too Big to Fail. I wish they had broken up big banks. But the fact is it makes it easier to allow a big bank to fail. The problem was we had AIG. We had Lehman. It was very difficult to deal with those banks when they got into a crisis situation. This will make it easier. It's not foolproof. It's not easy. It's probably not possible to construct a system that's foolproof. But it does make it easier to shut down one of these giant banks if they get into trouble.

OLBERMANN: Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, thank you again for your time tonight.

BAKER: Thanks for having me on.

OLBERMANN: Forty five years ago, even the Catholic church acknowledged that the Jews did not kill Jesus. Glenn Beck has just said the Jews killed Jesus.

And, segueing nicely, what the hell is this? Well, it's Taliban-trained killer monkeys. What does it look like? Worst ahead.

When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, her special guest, the latest American hero about to be thrown out of the military over the absurdity that is Don't Ask, Don't Tell.


OLBERMANN: The "New York Post" reports Taliban-trained killer monkeys threaten U.S. troops. Worst next. First, no, that's not your water coming to a boil. That's our nightly checkup on the something for nothing crowd. It's Tea Time.

The Tea Party does not want my advice, but I'm going to give it to them anyway, kind of on behalf of the greater good and humanity and just good taste and stuff. Find your man Mark Williams, because if you have any credibility left on the racism issue, he will spend all of it before the end of next week. Mr. Williams' response to the calm, almost tepid request by the NAACP that the Tea and Republican parties renounce racism in their own ranks has been responded to by Williams with what he thinks is some sort of satirical retroactive fake letter to President Lincoln in 1863.

Highlights, if that's the right word for Williams' psychosis: "Dear Mr. Lincoln, we colored people have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us colored people, and we demand that it stop. The Tea Party position to end the bailout," he continues, "is just silly. Bailouts are just big money welfare. Isn't that what we all want all coloreds to strive for?"

Continuing. "And the ridiculous idea of reducing the size and intrusiveness of government, what kind of," quote, "massa would not want to control my life? As coloreds, we must have somebody care for us. Otherwise, we would be on our own, have to think for ourselves and make decisions."

Continuing, "the racist Tea Parties also demand that the government stop the out of control spending. Again, they directly target colored people. That means we colored people would have to compete for jobs just like everybody else and that is just not right."

Continuing, "perhaps the most racist point of all in the Tea Parties is their demand that government stop raising our taxes. That is outrageous. How will we," quote, "colored people ever get ever a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earned? Sincerely, Precious Ben Jealous, Tom's nephew, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, head colored person."

Again, to the cooler heads in the Tea Party, if there are any, you have to repudiate Mark Williams and this insanity. Otherwise, when any of you claim that racism is not part of the Tea Party movement, only four words will have to be spoken to prove you wrong: the Mark Williams letter.


OLBERMANN: If Jesus Christ was a victim then, quote, "he would have come back from the dead and made the Jews pay for what they did." OK, obviously, Glenn Beck didn't get the memo from Pope Paul VI in 1965. That's next, but first, get out your pitchforks and torches, time for tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Brian Kilmeade of Fixed News, interviewing the owner of a temp agency. The man said five percent of the people he offers work to turn it down because unemployment benefits are too high. Of course, last week the same man said only two to three percent of the people turn it down. But what's a little 50 percent exaggeration on Fox? Kilmeade, who never notices, said, "best of luck. Maybe the unemployment benefits will get people to sober up and take some of your offers."

Having seen that hallucinotthon (ph) show of yours, I'd think carefully before I told anybody else to sober up.

The runner-up, Eugene Toady (ph) of Buffalo. I know you think I make these names up. I do not. This is courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Mr. Eugene Toady was returning to this country from Canada. He was using somebody else's passport. And he had a court-issued ankle-monitoring bracelet. Don't know how he explained the passport, but the bracelet story is priceless. He was wearing it, said Mr. Toady, as a sign of solidarity with Lindsay Lohan, who has to wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet around her ankle.

Police disagreed. He was wearing it after he had been sentenced to probation for criminal contempt. He was not supposed to have left the country. He's been accused of misuse of a passport, lying to federal officers, improperly dissing Lindsay Lohan and being named Eugene Toady.

But our winner, Col Allen, editor of Rupert Murdoch's vanity newspaper the "New York Post." Readership is off 30 percent in two years. Yet another reason why, headline, "Jihad Monkey. Taliban-training primates."

Oh, yes. They ran this in what they call a newspaper. "Taliban terrorists have a secret weapon to destroy the infidel American enemy, monkey marksmen. According to the 'People's Daily' in China, the Taliban in Afghanistan is training monkeys to use weapons to attack American troops. Islamic insurgents have drafted macaques and baboons to be all that they can be, arming them with AK-47s, machine guns and trench mortars in the Waziristan tribal region near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The monkeys, being rewarded with bananas and peanuts, are being turned into snipers at a secret Taliban training base." House.

Killer monkeys from Afghanistan. The good news in this, possibly the dumbest story "the New York Post" has ever run, imagine the stories I'm bypassing to make that claim. It has already been dismissed by American military authorities in Afghanistan, and it has already been made into some more fabulous animated news by our old Tiger Woods bashing friends at Apple Daily in Hong Kong.




OLBERMANN: Training monkeys to use weapons to attack American troops. Training monkeys to run the "New York Post" more like. Col Allen, editor, as Murdoch's paper sinks further into laughability, today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: The good news about the Lonesome Rhodes conspiracy theory hour on the Fox News Channel is that fewer and fewer people have been watching. The bad news is, if he's going, Glenn Beck is going with a supernova of the stupid. Number one story, among the torrent of questionable religious views now spewing from the evangel of Fox News, Jesus Christ was killed by the Jews.

This morning on his radio program, Beck and a caller agreed that the liberals "are enemies of the heavenly father." Yesterday on his TV show, Beck unveiled his Mount Rushmore 1960s civil rights icons. One person doing God's work was Beck's Fox News Channel pause.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: The Panthers and the threats causing congress to pass the Civil Rights Act. Bull crap. God did it by working through people and inspiring people like Martin Luther King and C.L. Jackson and yes, white people like Bobby Kennedy and dare I say it - oh, my gosh, I'm going to set the world on fire with this, Roger Ailes.

I think he spent some time in the civil rights movement.


OLBERMANN: About an hour and a half. Roger Ailes in 2003: "I booked Martin Luther King and sat in rooms like this with Martin Luther King and talked to him." He's a legendary civil rights leader for booking Martin Luther King on "The Mike Douglas Show." Later on, "Herman's Hermits."

Then there's Glenn Beck on the death of Jesus Christ. Tuesday, he was discussing liberation theology when he let out a little chestnut that just might be enough to cheer up Mel Gibson.


BECK: Jesus conquered death. He wasn't victimized. He chose to give his life. He did have a choice. If he was a victim, and this theology was true, then Jesus would have come back from the dead and made the Jews pay for what they did. That's an abomination.


OLBERMANN: Yeah, it is. It sort of is an abomination. Of course, it was the Romans who crucified Jesus Christ. In 1965, the Vatican was so worried about anti-Semitism stemming from centuries of blaming them for that that the Pope issued a formal position on the subject. Quoting from the letter of Pope Paul XI, "true, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ. Still, what happened in his passion cannot be charged against all the Jews without distinction, then alive nor against the Jews of today."

It was the Catholic Church in 1965. Alexander Zaitchik has waded into the abyss to write "Common Nonsense, Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance." Thanks for coming in tonight.


OLBERMANN: The whole Jews killed Jesus thing, that's usually a pretty, and understandably, a touchy point for not just Jewish people, but people in general. Has he got a Mel Gibson situation on his hands here, or does nothing stick to this man?

ZAITCHIK: Well, I think at this point in his career, it's clear he can get through most situations, and there's not a problem that he doesn't have on his hands. As a baseline, you got to remember, this guy probably has the world record for being condemned by civil rights and advocacy organizations, usually more than once, going back to his top 40 days in radio.

OLBERMANN: But now we know that Roger Ailes was a civil rights leader. So he's got street cred via Roger Ailes? I got to say, I didn't know Roger Ailes was a civil rights leader. Was he at Selma with John Lewis?

ZAITCHIK: Well, if you live in a world where Barack Obama is a communist and Van Jones is a black nationalist revolutionary, then why not? Roger Ailes was a giant of the civil rights movement.

OLBERMANN: Is this - I've always wondered in watching Beck if he is the personification of the guy who thinks because somebody tells him something that it is necessarily true and he's the only one who knows about it. There's a sort of wonderful confidence that he just has been privately revealed something that people don't know. Roger Ailes was a civil rights leader. Is that the baseline, as you say, of the Glenn Beck experience? Boy, I found out something great, you've been lied to all this time. Two plus two is 86.

ZAITCHIK: That's certainly what he's selling, is the grand sort of scheme, the big map, with the map key that only he has possession of, and only by watching his show with a notebook and pencil will you be able to follow along and figure out exactly who the devils are and who the angels are, and be able to fight on the side of the angels. Yeah.

OLBERMANN: Based on your research for this book, he doesn't come up with all this stuff. He couldn't possibly come up with all this stuff himself. He would have to not sleep to have that many conspiracy theories. I imagine that's possible, too. To my knowledge, there are consultants who tell him what his audience wants to hear and he goes right off in that tangent. Is that correct?

ZAITCHIK: He definitely has help. People provide him with scripts and facts that he proceeds to mangle. But he does have something to works off of. His influences range from guys like Leon Gauzen, who is sort off the chart nutty Mormon radicals from the last century, to organizations like Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works, which provide him with most of his sort of political scripts. The religious stuff comes from rather fringe characters in the Mormon tradition.

OLBERMANN: I guess the one he brought up yesterday - or Tuesday probably would be on the fringe. I know these things interweave. It's very difficult to pin down which Beck you're going to get on one day or the next. There was for a while a sort of generic conservative Beck. That morphed in the last year and a half into this Thomas Payne, John Adams, Sam Adams, Don Adams Beck. Most recently, though, it's been more and more often Amy McPherson Beck. Is there an evolution? Does he get tired of playing these roles and move on to something else? Or is he standing there like Barnard Hughes in the hospital, with hands up, going I am the fool for Christ, and whatever else the rest of the statement was?

ZAITCHIK: Yes, the last few years there seems to have been a progression from delusions of grandeur, where he thinks he's the sort of new founding father, to straight up paranoid, delusionary behavior, thinking God is speaking to and through him. At least that's what he's claiming. Whether he believes it or not fully, only Glenn Beck knows. If, in fact, that is what he believes, he's moved into new territory. Sister Amy territory, as you mentioned, where he is ready to start a church.

OLBERMANN: Could that be - in addition to the book cover, is that what he's going to roll out in 8/28? What's the meaning of that sort of defilement of the Martin Luther King anniversary? Is this his last shot to stop the hemorrhaging on the ratings or is it just a big book party?

ZAITCHIK: We'll see. It's changed even since he rolled it out in November, what it's going to be. What it means we'll find out. It will be very interesting to see what kind of language he brings to the podium, whether it is the religious movement head that he's trying to position himself as, or whether it's more of a crass release party. We'll find out.

But the 9/12 Project in this country is already mobilizing. It's too early to write off Glenn Beck. A lot of buses are going to be rolling into D.C. I'd caution people about reading too much into the recent 2010 television ratings dip. That's just one platform in his empire. He's been very conscience about building up a multi-platform empire that can survive any single dip.

OLBERMANN: Not conscious about what he's saying, but conscious about making money. He's an expert on it. There's no question about that. Alexander Zaitchik, the author of "Common Nonsense, Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance." Many thanks. The rest of the quote was "the Paraclete of Kaborka (ph)." I think that's what it was, anyway. Thanks for being here.

ZAITCHIK: Thanks for having me.

OLBERMANN: That's Countdown for July 15th. It's the 2,632nd day since President Bush declared mission goodnight in Iraq, the 2,221st day since he declared victory in Afghanistan, and the 87th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf, which continues even if the spill does not.

I'm Keith Olbermann in New York, good night and good luck. Now, with her special guest, Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, who is about to become the latest victim in the Don't Ask Don't Tell fiasco, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.