'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Video via MSNBC: Twitter Report and Oddball, Tea Time (YouTube), Worst Persons
The toss: That phone
Guest: Rep. Raul Grijalva, Sen. Ted Kaufman, Richard Wolffe, Jonathan Turley
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you
be talking about tomorrow?
The "Show me your papers" law. Mexico issues a travel warning about
the state of Arizona. "It should be assumed that any Mexican citizen could
be bothered and questioned for no other reason at any moment."
San Francisco debates canceling all contracts with Arizona.
A Florida tea partier blasts the law.
Lindsey Graham even acknowledges reality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Good people are so afraid of
an out-of-control border that they had to resort to a law that I think is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Reaction from Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva and Gene
Robinson asks: where's the tea party now that "overreaching government
poses a grave threat to individual freedom?"
Fire storm at the Goldman Sachs hearing in the Senate -
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: Look what your sales team was saying
about Timberwolf. "Boy, that Timberwolf was one (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.
Should Goldman Sachs be trying to sell a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: The amazing quotes and we will not bleep them again. Our
special guest: Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware.
There is no racism on the right. Yes, the front page headline of this
reactionary D.C. paper does say Obama disses white guys. But that's not
racism. They say Obama's the racist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is the regime at its
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Yes. Wow, fella, the man has really kept you down, huh?
Chicken-based health care is off the table. Miss Lowden of Nevada
says she was taken out of context. She adds - cluck, cluck, cluck.
And Jonathan Turley on the big next legal question: are bloggers
journalists or can police raid their homes because one bought and wrote
about a prototype iPhone that some idiot at Apple lost at a bar?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, I have no comment. I'll refer you to my
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rest is pretty much just an iPhone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
Mexico has issued a travel alert warning that it might be unsafe for
its tourists to travel in the United States of America, specifically in the
state of Arizona.
In our story fifth tonight: Arizona's reaction to its porous borders
has created common ground among everyone from a tea party Senate candidate
to the city of San Francisco and all of Latin America.
The head of the Organization of American States is calling the law
Mexico's President Felipe Calderon said the new law which imposes up
to six months in prison for legal immigrants if they fail to have their
papers on them when stopped, quote, "opens the gate to intolerance, hate,
discrimination and abuse.
The Mexican state of Sonora pulled out of its annual meetings with
The alert from Mexico's foreign relations office warning Mexican
residents - Arizona's biggest source of international tourism, by the way
of that state's adverse political environment in which Mexican citizens
could be bothered and questioned without much cause.
Mexican legislators are pondering a trade boycott with Arizona which
sends nearly a third of its exports to Mexico.
San Francisco official are looking at boycotts and how to cancel
contracts with Arizona companies - a move endorsed by the nation's largest
Spanish language newspaper, "La Opinion."
L.A.'s city council today introduced a boycott resolution there.
D.C.'s city council is expected to consider one as well.
And, so far, at least six conventions have canceled plans to conduct
their business in Arizona.
All this as Governor Jan Brewer of that state last night low-balled
concerns about the economic impact on Arizona.
And while national tea party panderers, like House Republican Leader
John Boehner today defended the Arizona law, Florida tea party favorite,
Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban exiles, called out the law as "government
overreach." Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whose brother tried as recently as
2007 to pass immigration reform, actually raised, quote, "civil liberties
But despite the fact Bush and other conservatives will hold a news
conference Thursday to push Congress for immigration reform, Republican
Senator Lindsey Graham, who last month wanted reform done soon, today
warned against trying even the 2007 bill anytime again soon. Also
criticized, you know, the drawing the criticism of the Arizona law while
also questioning Arizona's former governor, now Homeland Security Secretary
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: I would bet everything I own that the answer is this 2007
bill will not pass. Can you agree with that or not?
JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I will bet you
everything I own that the Congress needs to take up immigration reform
because it's not going to go away.
GRAHAM: Yes, ma'am. What happened in Arizona is that good people are
so afraid of an out of control border that they had to resort to a law that
I think is unconstitutional. It doesn't represent the best way forward and
it is impossible for me and any other serious Democrat to get this body to
move forward until we prove to the American people we can secure our
borders and, quite frankly, Madame Secretary, we got a long way to go. But
once we get there, comprehensive reform should come up, will come up, and I
believe we can do it by 2012.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Joining us once again tonight, Arizona Congressman Raul
Thank you, again, for your time tonight, sir.
REP. RAUL GRIJALVA (D), ARIZONA: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: The House is not going to move on immigration according to
the leadership of the Democratic Party until the Senate does. Is Senator
Graham right that immigration is dead in the Senate until your state's
border with Mexico is closed?
GRIJALVA: Well, I think that's grasping at straws and a very
convenient way not to deal with comprehensive reform to say until the
border is secured, we cannot do anything else. I think it's a mistake. I
think we can chew gum and walk at the same time.
The security issues need to be dealt with, everybody knows that. The
cartels and the gun runners and the people smugglers are in control of the
border right now, and that has to be dealt with. But you also deal with it
with comprehensive reform by knowing who's here, why they're here, and
should they be here. And part of that process has to be part of
If you don't do the essential human part of the undocumented in this
country, sealing the border, pretending that everything is secure is not
the answer. And good people that live on the border know that. That part
of security has to be comprehensive reform that deals with the path to
legalization for the people that are here being decent and working hard.
OLBERMANN: Congressman, what is the point of the various boycotts?
Not just the ones that you suggested last week but the ones across the
nation, San Francisco, Los Angeles, possibly D.C., over a law that as its
been rolled out, almost nobody with any kind of legal brain believes it's
going to pass muster in court. Don't - is the first thing still necessary
if the second thing is true?
GRIJALVA: No, I think the first thing is necessary. And I think
that's part of the reaction.
And as I said to you earlier, there has to be economic consequences to
something as unjust and stupid as this law is and we're hoping that the
Obama administration, through their Justice Department, joins - goes for
an injunction because it is a supremacy clause, and we should not be - the
state of Arizona should not be enforcing federal law.
Second of all, I think that all the reaction across the country to
this law is that good people are beginning to say, if we allow this box to
be opened, where racial profiling, documentation required of all, including
United States citizens, based on appearance and racial profiling, then
we're opening up a box that takes us back to the pre-civil rights era, and
many people in this country think we've already fought that battle and
don't need to fight it again.
OLBERMANN: This travel alert from the state of Mexico, it really sort
of sends a shutter through anybody who happens to live in this country,
that we should get into such a state that other countries are warning their
residents, don't come here, it may not be, at least in terms of your
freedom, safe for you.
But I'm wondering, the people who passed this bill, even the governor
who signed it - did they know that Mexico is Arizona's top source of
international tourism or that Mexico is responsible for a third of
Arizona's international exports?
GRIJALVA: Well, the Department of Tourism and Commerce should have
known that and they should have advised them of the consequences. Because
when Governor Brewer signed that law, she dragged the state of Arizona into
a bigger dark hole economically than any one convention or San Francisco
not doing business with Arizona - billions of dollars of trade, billions
of dollars of retail sales, visitation, tourism - all from Latin America.
They've been great trading partner and a great source of consumers for the
state of Arizona, and justifiably so, they're saying, there's a law that
identifies me as a criminal and why should I go spend my money there.
OLBERMANN: Last question and you couldn't know about this because
it's been happening while you've been standing there. But as we've been
speaking, surprisingly enough, you've been attacked on FOX News Channel as
a congressman who's hurting his own constituents by hurting his own
businesses. That's a summary of it, but Lord knows what they said in
But I'm wondering if you wanted to address that while the camera is
GRIJALVA: Yes. The biggest hurt I can do for the citizens of Arizona
and the people I represent and for the people that will be profiled by this
law is to keep quiet. And by bringing attention to and nationalizing the
issue in Arizona, I'm doing the people of Arizona a favor, so we can get
out from under this horrible shadow that extremists have put us in in
OLBERMANN: Well said, sir. Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, as
always, thanks again for your time. We'll talk to you again on this.
GRIJALVA: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: As promised earlier, let's bring in MSNBC political
analyst Eugene Robinson, also associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning
columnist for "The Washington Post" to address this subject, particularly
the reaction or non-reaction from the tea party.
But, first, Gene, quick point of fact before we get to the thesis in
your piece today - legal immigrants face up to six months if they don't
have their papers on them. What happens to a U.S. citizen stopped who
cannot demonstrate citizenship in Arizona?
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, that's kind of
unclear to me, Keith. And I suspect it will depend on who does the
stopping. I mean, you know, I presume, that, for example, if it's a deputy
of crazy Sheriff Joe Arpaio who does the stopping, I'm going to assume that
the citizen could be somehow induced or required to eventually produce
proof of citizenship.
Most police agencies hate this law, think it's going to make their
jobs harder to do and so they might react differently in making a stop,
although the bill - and another crazy provision - allows police agencies
to be sued if they are not aggressively enforcing this law. So, it's - it
is - we'll have to see. I hope we never see how it works out, but we're
not really clear on that point.
All right. To your point in the paper today - this law essentially
should have been right in the tea party wheel house based on what we've
heard from them for a year.
ROBINSON: It seems to me they've been saying for a year that big
government, oppressive big government is overreaching, that it's a grave
threat to your individual liberties, to our freedoms, and that's that one
of the main reasons they're out there to get government out of - out of
areas where it has no business, that this country is founded on individual
Well, here you have a - here you have a law that guarantees that U.S.
citizens are going to be stopped and going to be - going to - demand is
going to be made of them that they demonstrate that they have a right to
live in their own country. And they can be stopped arbitrarily. They
don't have to have done anything wrong.
This has - this is exactly in the tea party wheel house, and so where
are the demonstrations? And I wondered in the column this morning whether
there's some sort of asterisk or exception for citizens who happen to be
brown and who might speak Spanish.
OLBERMANN: Well, then, that brings us to the senatorial candidate,
Mr. Rubio, in Florida - is he exempt from the myopia of the tea party that
seems to envelop him on every other subject because of his own ethnic
background? Or what is the rationalization here?
ROBINSON: I suspect it does have something to do with his own ethnic
background and his understanding of the immigrant experience through what
his parents went through. You know, maybe there's a bit more there than we
have seen from his earlier pronouncement. But at least it is kind of
encouraging that on an issue that one assumes hits this close to home for
him, he can stand up and say, you know, this really is not a good thing.
OLBERMANN: It sure is different when it turns out you are them.
ROBINSON: It is.
OLBERMANN: Gene Robinson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of
"The Washington Post" - as always, Gene, great thanks.
ROBINSON: Great to be here, Keith.
OLBERMANN: An epic day for the United States Senate. Not only was
the deliberate pedaling of failed investments by Goldman Sachs revealed
there, not only was Senator Levin of Michigan on fire, not only will
Senator Kaufman of Delaware join us, but the one word you always wanted to
hear said in or about the Senate was said on the senatorial record - so we
have to run it without bleeping it - the S-word.
OLBERMANN: If they can say it in the Senate, we can show them saying
it on the news. The bad deal Goldman Sachs sold its customers, only this
senator did not use the word, bad. We'll let him use the real word. And
we'll be joined by Senator Kaufman of Delaware as well.
The president calls upon African-Americans, Hispanics and young people
to support Democrats this fall as they did in 2008. So the right-wing
obviously calls him a racist.
Hugo Chavez on Twitter. Tweeting now mandatory in Venezuela?
And Nevada's chicken lady finally announces that her barter-birds-for-
blood-test idea was not a policy suggestion. It tastes like political
You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.
OLBERMANN: Today on Capitol Hill, representatives of Goldman Sachs
testified before a Senate panel and not to worry, as complicated as its
business activities were, they can fairly simplified to their truest terms.
Those Wall Street executives were betting against you and they acknowledged
that what they were selling you was shoddy - only they didn't say shoddy,
the exact word you'll hear in a moment, no bleeping.
Senator Ted Kaufman, a member of that Senate panel today will join us
in a moment.
And our fourth story tonight: The very legislation designed to do
something to prohibit that kind of insanity in the future was once again
this afternoon blocked by Republican senators. And both first, which marks
the second time in 24 hours that the Republicans have stood united to stop
the mere opening of debate on the Senate's financial reform bill, 57-41,
with all Republicans who were present voting no. Democratic Senator Ben
Nelson tagged along also of voting no, as he did yesterday.
President Obama is holding a town hall in Ottumwa, Iowa, today
describing this struggle thusly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's precisely because
we didn't have common sense rules on Wall Street that some of these firms
could take these huge risks to oppose just even talking about reform in the
front of the American people and having a legitimate debate. That's not
OBAMA: The American people deserve an honest debate on this bill. We
can't let another crisis like this happen again, and we can't have such a
short memory that we let them convince us that we don't need to change the
status quo on Wall Street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: The vast disconnect between Wall Street and regular people
best exemplified by today's Senate hearing. Just 11 days after the
Securities and Exchange Commission accused Goldman Sachs fraud in $1
billion civil lawsuit, executives testified before the Senate Subcommittee
on Investigations. The topics, that alleged fraud as well as the broader
economic meltdown that Goldman and other firms helped to create.
Senator Carl Levin, the committee chairman, focused on Goldman's
obligation to disclose to clients that it was betting against the same
risky investments it was trying to sell them. One example, $1a billion
scheme called Timberwolf. And the unburnished highlighted the day, perhaps
of the year, a nugget that captures what happened to this nation's economy
at the hands of Wall Street's gamblers. Senator Levin was questioning the
former head of Goldman's mortgage department, Daniel Sparks.
And another warning: there is a common place but offensive word. It
is being quoted from a Goldman Sachs internal e-mail. It is repeated
several times within this portion of the hearing. We are not bleeping it
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEVIN: Before you sold them, this is what your sales team were
telling to each other. "Boy, that Timberwolf was one shitty deal." They
sold that shitty deal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman.
LEVIN: That context - let me tell you - that context is might
clearly. June 22 is the date of this e-mail. "Boy, that Timberwolf was
one shitty deal." How much of that shitty deal did you sell to your
clients after June 22, 2007? You didn't tell them you thought it was a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I didn't say that.
LEVIN: No. Who did? Your people, internally. You knew it was a
shitty deal and that's what your email showed. How about the fact that you
sold hundreds of millions of that deal after your people knew it was a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: The answers from Goldman executives at that hearing could
best be summed up as laborious and evasive. Though one did concede that it
was unfortunate that emails like the one described by Senator Levin and
other potentially incriminating emails have been disseminated.
Senator Claire McCaskill brought it home while connecting the dots -
the offensive word again is referenced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: We're trying to hone in on why
I've got so many unemployed people in my state and why so many people that
I work for in Missouri have lost incredible amounts of money in their
pensions. That's we're honing in on today, this synthetic derivatives. By
the way, this is - this is the same one that your folks called shitty
later. This is the same one. OK?
What's clear here is that there didn't seem to be a great deal of
confidence in the long side of this particular instrument, but the sales
people were being pushed to move it. And you know, it just looks like that
you guys are not only making the market, you're playing the market and
mucking it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Joining me now, as promised, Senator Ted Kaufman of
Great thanks for your time tonight, Senator.
SEN. TED KAUFMAN (D), DELAWARE: Hey, Keith. How are you doing?
OLBERMANN: We have saved your participation in this key hearing today
to let you describe it. The deal-making at issue was complex. But how
would you characterize it?
KAUFMAN: I'd say complex, but really very simple. I say it's really
simple about the fact exactly what the point people were trying to make is
it just seems like none of the people at Goldman Sachs were aware of the
fact of the incredible conflict of interest of what they were doing.
OLBERMANN: Not aware or pretending it didn't exist?
KAUFMAN: You never know. I mean, you can't tell. But these are
very, very - I mean, it's hard to believe, I think your point is well
taken. As I said during the hearing, these are very smart people, and the
idea that you could be out selling something to people at the same time
shorting it is such an incredible conflict of interest. They wouldn't even
recognize a conflict of interest.
Now, I think what they're concerned about is a very thin line between
conflict of interest and fraud.
OLBERMANN: To that point, since accountability is not forthcoming for
these executives, are lawsuits and investigations like the one you're part
of here in the Senate, are they the only things that would force this into
KAUFMAN: No, no. I think what's going on - remember, earlier this
year, Senator Leahy and Senator Grassley and I got a bill passed to get
$175 million to the Department of Justice, the Securities Exchange
Commission, for the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission to just
go after fraud on Wall Street who's responsible for this. And I think we
had an oversight hearing a couple of months ago. They're moving ahead on
I think the Goldman Sachs case just announced a week or so ago is just
the first step. Now, I think we're going to see more of this.
OLBERMANN: To the idea of getting the finance reform bill passed -
OLBERMANN: Republican Senator George Voinovich has said within the
last few moments that he will eventually vote with Democrats to get the
bill to the floor after giving negotiations a bit more time.
OLBERMANN: So, there is reason to believe that this will actually
happen or at least the debate will happen?
KAUFMAN: I absolutely believe. I mean, I don't see how - I mean, I
have a hard time figuring out, it's always - it's always dangerous trying
to figure out what the, you know, Republicans are doing. I'm a Democrat
and it's hard for me sometimes to figure out. But I don't understand what
they're doing on this. I mean, everywhere I go, people are concerned about
And the idea that - you know, I can understand lots of behavior, but
to filibuster the motion to proceed - and I said on the floor last night,
you know, one of the things after hanging around this place as long as I
have and teaching about it for so long is that American people just aren't
interested in process and procedural votes, but every once in a while, it's
so in their face.
I mean, the idea that here's an issue where - that's brought about so
much discomfort to so many people, and they don't want to move the bill, to
even talk about it? Keith, I don't understand. I don't think - I don't
think it can stand very much pressure. I think George Voinovich is just
the beginning. I don't think Republicans can withstand the idea that
they're standing in the way of getting reform.
Now, we have may have differences of opinion. I have some difference
to the bill. I think it's a good bill, but I have some differences with
the bill. But the idea not even talk about it, not to debate it - and the
thing that really frankly upsets me is that all this discussion on health
care reform about transparency and we should be out in the open, and what
they want to do is they want to carry up there, they're holding - as
George Voinovich said, who I have a greatest respect for, he says, "Well,
I'd like to negotiations to go further."
Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I thought you guys were the ones for
out in the open. Let's get on the floor. Let's get past this negotiations
thing. Clearly that's not working.
Let's get on the floor and actually people can offer amendments.
Republican can offer their amendments. Democrats can offer their
amendments. I think I got some amendments to get good Republican support.
OLBERMANN: Senator, I have to ask you this - it's off the point, but
so many have asked me and I'm going to show in turn. Is there any way they
can talk you into staying in the Senate?
KAUFMAN: No, Keith, this is - this is a two-year contract. I made
that deal. I tell you, you know, now, this is - this is - I'm doing the
OLBERMANN: All right. Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware - a great
pleasure. Thank you kindly for your time.
KAUFMAN: Thank you, Keith. Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: Police raided the home of a blogger who bought and
revealed the workings of the next iPhone. Is a journalist protected
against that? Is he a journalist? Was he doing journalism? We'll
OLBERMANN: Obama seeks Democratic votes from minorities and young
adults. Headline, "Obama Disses White Guys." That's ahead.
First, the Twitter report, day - I don't remember anymore.
Followers, 51 - no, 51,000. Number of Tweets today - what's it to you?
You going to charge me for them? Tweets of the day, they're all about
Second runner-up, @TBIBOK, "Great. My g-pa swam the Rio Grande in the
1920s. Do I have to go back too?" Yes. Yes, you do, all of us. I do
because I can't find my great, great grandfather's papers. Even Lou Dobbs
has to go back.
Runner-up, @TracyStark, "I know I'm a day late with this, but
Chateuneuf-du-Pape in southern France passed a law forbidding UFOs from
landing there." Shh. Don't tell the Arizonians.
Winner, @DCDebbie, "only in a God fearing state like Arizona can you
get pulled, over, detained and fined if your name is Jesus." Sounds bad,
looks worse in print, and is worse in reality. Let's play Oddball.
To Kiev, in the Ukraine, democracy in action. This is the parliament
in a debate over whether to renew Russia's lease of a Naval port.
Opposition law makers tossed eggs at the parliament speaker, whereupon
aides opened umbrellas, risking all sorts of curses to protect their boss.
Then comes the smoke bomb. Here come the smoke bombs. At least it made
aiming those eggs far more difficult.
Scoff now, we'll be lucky if it's only like this in Washington by
And to Krasnoyarsk, in Russia. Great way to kick off the workweek,
although I have a sneaking suspicious it's all downhill from here. The
event loosely translated as fun in Russian is a way that local skiers and
snow boarders commemorate the end of winter. Costume daredevils competing
to end up face first in a pool of half-melted ice. Area ski resorts enjoy
the longest cold weather season in the world, although with climate change
taking its toll, these folks are experiencing shrinkage of winter. Of
The chicken lady again endorsing bartering them for health care, but
now says it is not a policy suggestion, but you should still do it.
And Obama calls for those who voted for him to vote for Democrats this
November, so Rush Limbaugh calls him a racist. Next.
OLBERMANN: To keep a majority of Congress for his party, President
Obama is urging his supporters to rally the same voters who came out for
him in 2008 to show up at the polls for Democrats this November. The
president, who read his 2008 exit polling, says those voters are young
people, African-Americans, Latinos and women. In our third story, today,
according to the right-wing media, for identifying those groups, the
president is a race card playing racist race hustler, who disses white
Asking for the votes of young white guys is dissing white guys. The
president's remarks, posted on BarackObama.com on Friday, the Democratic
National Committee fearing the same results in the 2009 elections for
governor in New Jersey and in Virginia, asked the president to try to
energize the electorate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will be up to each
of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos and
women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again. If you
help us make sure that first time voters in 2008 make their voices heard
again in November, then together we will deliver on the promise of change
and hope and prosperity for generations to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Yesterday, a conservative website made sure those comments
would be mischaracterized all over right wing media, by posting a headline
reading, "Obama Plays Race Card, Rallies Blacks, Latinos For '10 Upset."
That guy's nuts. Surely that's worth a segment on Fox News. Right?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is President Obama playing the race card in
rallying the troops ahead of the midterm elections? All right, panel, so
that's the headline on "The Drudge Report" today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Hi, I'm a news actress. To his credit, Brad Blakeman,
that Republican panelist, disagreed. Never see him again. Boss Limbaugh,
on the other hand, did not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is regime at its racist
best. What's the regime doing? Asking blacks and Latinos to join him in a
fight. What is a campaign if not a fight? He's asking young people,
African-Americans, Latinos and women to reconnect, to fight who? Who's
this fight against?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: A robot skeleton army. Today, Wesley Pruden editorialized
in "the Washington Times," that the Obama comments were toxic, and that
Obama is a "race hustler and a race baiter," and his Washington rag was not
alone in actually playing the race card. There it is, the front page of
"the Washington Examiner," which they actually print, "Obama Disses White
Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, also author of
"Renegade, the Making of a President," and, like me, a white guy. Richard,
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The easiest part of this, if you ask young voters to vote
for you, whether you are Obama or Sarah Palin, how is that racism?
WOLFFE: Well, that is the easy one. Of course, it's not racist at
all. And what you're seeing here is just a sad and pathetic attempt to
distort, with this toxic mix of malice and ignorance, the words of someone
who has spoken more than any elected official about racial issues in this
country. For heaven's sake, he was even raised by a white family. It is a
complete disconnect and it just speaks to sort of despair that these people
OLBERMANN: If you ask people who voted for you last time to vote for
your people this time, that's also racism? Rush Limbaugh would not ask
Hispanics or black people or women to vote Republican?
WOLFFE: Well, Rush Limbaugh is a purveyor of outrage. His issue all
along is that he doesn't have to get votes, so he can just do this kind of
thing to build up an audience. But there is an interesting insight here to
the mentality of folks like Limbaugh or Wes Pruden. Behind this is this
idea that something underhanded in getting African-Americans or Latinos or
women or even young people, young white people, of course, to vote.
What is unequal about their vote? For people who are like Rush
Limbaugh, portray themselves as the protectors of liberty and American
values, there is nothing less equal about African-Americans voting than
there is about white people voting. They are Americans voting. They
should be encouraged. People of all colors and all faiths should be
encouraged to vote. There's not an issue about that.
I think it's interesting insight that for some reason, they feel
afraid of Americans, their fellow Americans, voting.
OLBERMANN: That's what's missing in this. You reverse engineer it
and it becomes Republicans don't want Hispanics and young women people and
women and African-Americans to vote.
WOLFFE: And to be fair, you know, say what you like about George W.
Bush - and boy, did we ever do that - but, listen, he actually recognized
that African-Americans needed to come back to the Republican party, that
Latinos needed to come back, and that he actually made inroads with women
voters as well. So for serious politicians - and there was a lot that was
unserious about Bush - but for serious politicians, for people who care
about the Republican party having a future, they know these people have to
go back to that party to make it successful.
OLBERMANN: Richard, it has been slowly dawning on me for about the
last year - I guest it's been crystallizing now - that the right's
challenge to Obama is based on the oldest one in the book, that you accuse
your opponent of what you are doing, the idea of I'm rubber, you're glue.
Is I'm rubber, you're glue an effective way to maintain power in
WOLFFE: It's an effective way to stay as an opposition. Look, Wes
Pruden - the hypocrisy is stunning here. These, for start, are people who
always complained about Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson throwing out the
accusation racism. Here they are being the first to do so. Wes Pruden
accused Barack Obama of being sired by a Kenyan father, quote, unquote. He
said he didn't have the same genetic imprint as other presidents. And yet,
yes, here he is accusing him of racism.
What we are seeing here is something that is really age-old. If you
want to go out in history and say, steal from Jewish people, what did you
accuse them of doing? Stealing from people. What do you do if you want to
inflict violence on people of color? Well, you accuse them of being
violent. This is the same. It's being played out in politics. But it's
an age-old tactic. And it's deeply insidious.
OLBERMANN: Indeed, it is. Richard Wolffe, the author of "Renegade,"
great thanks, Richard. Have a great night.
WOLFFE: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Here we go. The iPhone police show up at the home of
Gizmodo Guy, and here come the legal questions about blogger journalists,
The chicken lady still defends bartering for your buffering, but
clucks a new tune about trading chickens as Republican and Tea Party
And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, more on why the
Republicans are so hell bent to keep immigration reform off the table.
OLBERMANN: Worst persons in a moment, with Hugo Chavez on Twitter.
First, no, that isn't your water coming to a boil. It's our nightly
checkup on the something for nothing crowd. It's Tea time. Chickens for
check-ups, bartering for your B-12, cocks for docs; it had many names, but
now it belongs to the ages. The chicken lady, Sue Lowden, seeking the
Republican senatorial nomination in Nevada, and still courting Tea Party
votes and addressing their rallies, again today initially defended her idea
that Americans should trade poultry for health care, insisting that the
Democratic incumbent, and evidently the rest of us, do not know the reality
of farm life in rural Nevada.
"I want to say," she told a talk show host, "that I know that
bartering takes place here in Nevada. It takes place throughout the
country. That Harry Reid has been saying something like that - the truth
is it is happening, and that's how out of touch he is."
But later in the day, the idea of the chicken in every doctor's pot
clucked its last cluck. Ms. Lowden, who reduced herself to a national
laughing stock - a national laughing live stock, if you will - says the
chicken swapping idea was just a casual statement. Her spokesperson later
told the "Plum Line" blog that Sue's comment on bartering was never a
policy proposal, except, of course, Ms. Lowden kept talking about how
bartering is really good, and it could prices down in a hurry, and "I'm not
backing off that system."
But she wasn't actually suggesting anybody go ahead and barter with
your doctor, except that time when she said, quote, "go ahead and barter
with your doctor."
But the political chickens have now come home to roost and
evidentially as far as Tea Party or Republican health care policy, you can
simply forget about the chickens. You can dismiss the chickens. In fact,
you can choke the chickens.
OLBERMANN: Is blogging journalism? Were police right in raiding the
home of the guy from Gizmodo who wrote about the lost iPhone prototype?
Was the lost iPhone prototype stolen? Jonathan Turley next, but first
tonight's worst persons in the world.
The bronze to Hugo Chavez, the quote, president, unquote, of
Venezuela. He is now going to start on Twitter. Spokesman says he is sure
Commandant Chavez will break records for numbers of followers. This guy
goes on radio and TV for like eight hours at a stretch every Sunday, just
him, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And he is going to do 140 characters at
The runner-up, Lonesome Rhodes Beck. Why are the ratings down? Maybe
this beaut about presidential spending will explain: "what has Obama done
that is different? I think he's done exactly what George Bush was doing,
except to the times of a thousand. I mean, we're talking about a
progressive. And George Bush was a progressive."
George Bush was a progressive? George Bush, George Bush? OK, now
I've got to defend George Bush from Glenn Beck?
But our winner, Coronica Jackson. Well, that's what she said her name
was. Pulled over for an improper taillight in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida,
she was asked by police for her name and license. When the officer asked
how she spelled Corinica, she said "Corica." Then her passenger, quote,
nudged her in the shoulder and she then said, no, "I mean Cornaica." Then
her passenger interrupted her and said, "no, it's Coronica." So the
officer finally asked the officer to write out Coronica Jackson and she
wrote "Coninan Junise."
Before you wonder if we're making fun of the functionally illiterate,
Ms. Jackson Junise laughed about this. She didn't laugh quite as loudly
when the officer noted that the photo on the license didn't look anything
like whoever she was, and that while she claimed to be 27 years old, the
license was suspended in 1997, when she would have been 14. That's when he
cuffed her and that's when she threatened to quote, pee in his car,
unquote, which she then did.
Mrs. Corn - whatever your name is, today's worst person in the
OLBERMANN: An Apple employee leaves a prototype of the next
generation iPhone at a California beer garden. Somebody finds it, sells it
to the editor of a tech website, who writes about it, posts pictures and
video of it. Does that give police the right to raid his house?
Our number one story, legally is bogging journalism and are loggers
entitled to anything like the same kind of protection from events like
that? By the way, did Apple know this would happen? And why would they
want to buy themselves this horrible kind of publicity? Jonathan Turley
will join us.
California police raiding the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen,
searching for evidence associated with the now-famous lost iPhone
prototype. Investigators taking Mr. Chen's hard drives, digital cameras,
cell phones, American Express bill and copies of his checks. A search
warrant, signed by a San Mateo County superior court judge, stating those
items may have been used as a means of committing a felony, or could show a
felony has been committed.
Last week, Mr. Chen posting photos and details about the found iPhone
Gizmodo paid five grand for. Apple acknowledging the device belonged to
it, demanding its return. Gizmodo says Apple has the phone back.
Meanwhile, Gizmodo's parent company, Gawker Media, expects, quote, "the
immediate return of the materials seized from Mr. Chen."
Chief Operating Officer Amy Derbshire, writing, "under both state and
federal law, a search warrant may not be validly issued to confiscate the
property of a journalist. It is abundantly clear, under the law, that a
search warrant to remove these items was invalid."
Meanwhile, the founder of Gawker, Nick Denton, asking perhaps the most
pressing question, in an email to the Associate Press, "are bloggers
journalists? I guess we'll find out."
Joining me now is the constitutional law professor at George
Washington University, Jonathan Turley. Jon, thanks for some of your time
JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: All right, Gawker says Mr. Chen is a journalist. Legally
speaking, is he? Was what he was doing as even a blogger journalism? And
if he had been Chen of the "L.A. Times," what would or would not have
TURLEY: Well, you know, unfortunately, that is a question that has
divided courts. We just had a New Jersey court, in the Hale case, say that
a blogger was not a journalist. The California courts in 2006 said that at
least bloggers were covered by the state's privileged law.
The concern by a lot of courts, but also some journalists, is that if
you define journalists so broadly to cover anybody with a blog, then it
becomes a distinction without meaning, and that eventually you're going to
lose protections of the media, if everyone can be classified as a
In my view, he is a journalist, but not a very good one if this is the
way that he practices that profession. Most mainstream organizations, most
professional journalists do not engage in checkbook journalism. That's
what this does appear to be. I mean, he paid 5,000 dollars, according to
reports, for something that is arguably stolen property.
OLBERMANN: Is it, in fact, stolen property? That may be at the heart
of this, too, correct?
TURLEY: Yeah, under the California Code, Section 485, it is arguably
stolen. Just because somebody leaves a phone at a bar doesn't mean that
it's abandoned property that anybody can take. You're supposed to take
what are called reasonable and just efforts to get the phone back to the
owner. Now, the source, as they call it, supposedly said he made such
efforts, although that, unfortunately, contradicts his later actions, which
was - or her later actions, which were to accept 5,000 dollars to hand the
phone over to a magazine.
So, I think there is an arguable theft here under state law.
OLBERMANN: This premise of checkbook journalism is also ill-defined.
Certainly it's ill-defined legally. What's the difference between doing
something like that and a news organization paying a citizen for a piece of
videotape of an event that is recorded only by a citizen's camera, other
than that issue of whether or not this was stolen? Just that idea of, you
know, some money changed hands for the rights to use something?
TURLEY: Well, Keith, that's part of the problem with this case.
There certainly are some analogous circumstances that come close. I don't
think it quite gets to this point. But one of the concerns is that this is
going to be a bad case that makes bad law for journalists. This is not the
case that journalist want to fight these issues on.
Here you've got someone who is being paid not for information in a
typical checkbook journalism case, but actually for property that belongs
to someone else. That makes it even worse than most of these
controversies. And I think what you're going to see is if this case goes
forward, it may define what that standard is. And I think a lot of us who
support press rights are very concerned how that might come - turn out.
OLBERMANN: So if it had been video of it that he had sold for some
nominal fee, or if no money had changed hands, just given them the phone,
what would have happened then?
TURLEY: It would have been much better if he had just given them the
phone. That certainly would have made Gawker and Gizmodo more plausible in
their argument he was a, quote, "source" and to protect their
confidentiality. The problem with many of the laws they cite, including
the federal law, is that exceptions have machine been made when you have an
allegation of a crime. For example, in California, the Grady Case in 2006,
Apple lost that case against bloggers that were found to be covered by the
law. The footnote of that case, the court says that it really isn't
looking at this as an alleged criminal act, and that it might not reach the
same conclusion if it was.
The federal law defines protected - the protected sources of material
by excluding material that is part of a criminal act. So, those laws
really don't take them all the way, at least where they need to go to get
out of this problem.
OLBERMANN: At least Apple got good publicity, being involved in a
raid against Apple sort of consumers. That was a genius move too. Anyway,
that's not really a legal issue. Jonathan Turley of George Washington
University, as always, Jon, thanks you for your time.
TURLEY: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: That is Countdown for this the 2,553rd day since the
previous president declare mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith
Olbermann, good night and good luck.
Now with more on why Republicans are adamant in trying to prevent
federal action on immigration reform, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel
Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.
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