Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Web content for Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

How to Get Current TV
Video via Current.com

Promo: Introducing Keith to the Current TV Crowd ('One Of Us')
Video via Current.com

Contradictionary: "Death Ceiling"
Video via Current.com


How to Get Current TV:

Two questions I get more than any other can now be answered through the miracle of Countdown Online...

The first: yes, this is my own hair. If it weren't, wouldn't I get some that **wasn't** gray in the front but black in the back?

Second: yes, there is an easy way to find out where you can find Current, and thus Countdown on Current, on your television. You will see on the main page of Countdown Online - right up here, basically right above my head - a place to enter your zip code.

The computer will, in a matter of nano-seconds, not only tell you what carrier or carriers are available in your home, but exactly what channel the network is on.

And if you are not in one of those 60 million American homes that get us right now, whose fault that is, how to complain to them so that they know you're angry but do not dismiss you as a blaspheming malcontent, and how to build up a potent but non-swearing polite power base with which you can force these slacker outfits to carry the show you love, oh so very much.

It's really very simple. Remember where you live. Remember the zip code. Enter the zip code. If it gives you a channel number, memorize that number! It couldn't be simpler unless I came to your house and did the show from there.

I'm sorry, I'm **not** coming to your house and doing the show from there.


I'm Keith Olbermann with Countdown Online's first-ever edition of Contradictionary.

This is going to be a place where we beat the Conservative Spinmeisters to the punch, and anticipate how they intend to pervert the language to take something benign and make it nefarious...

Or how **we** might take a political event or development and redefine it for your edification and amusement.

If you've got one of these - we not only have room in the Comments section for you to suggest it - we **want** you to suggest it!

Words are the universe's most potent source of power, and frankly, Conservatives know how to use them to scare the gullible much better than us Human Beings do.

We've heard how the slight IRS curb on perpetual inherited wealth became "The Death Tax" and how the opportunity to actually have your insurance cover the cost of discussing end-of-life care with a doctor became "Death Panels."

It is no great leap to think that some Roger Ailes wannabe could look at the the issue of the Congressional limitations on national borrowing and see a golden opportunity:

This new phrase villainizes the debt ceiling - the line that stands between America's economic integrity and America becoming a deadbeat debt-payer. Used and shared gratuitously, it will have every man, woman, and child in the nation soon hating that debt ceiling with that same passion previously reserved for Al-Qaeda and certain American Idol contestants.

Countdown's Contradictionary gives you..."Death Ceiling."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Web content for Friday, May 27th, 2011

Welcome to Countdown Online
Video via Current.com

Worst Persons: Bill Shine & Ed Rendell, James Murdoch, Bill O'Reilly
Video via Current.com
via YouTube

First Guess: Is Glenn Beck... Good?!
Video via Current.com
via YouTube, h/t fferkleheimer



Well. Here it is. My new online home.

Countdown online, or if you've somehow already forgotten the formal name: Current-dot-com-slash-Countdown.

I always like moving into a new house and boy has this one got a lot of stuff in considering we're just beginning to buy the furniture and program the giant massage walls and stuff like that.

You will find show segments from Countdown on Current TV here, obviously. But that's only part of the deal - and much of the rest of the deal is already up and running - videos like the commentary series "First Guess" will be done as web-exclusives, there will be Thurber readings that only appear here, stuff like the Contra-dictionary and the Countdown Word Storm, and staff and contributor blogs and links, and there will even be daily in-progress updates from our new Countdown newsroom inside the new Fortress of Solitude.

And don't forget the latest in computer technology: using our contacts inside the highest levels of Silicon Valley - a thing, what you can put your zip code into, and it'll tell you what channel Countdown and Current are on. Huh! Huh?

And nearly everything on the site is in color!

So. Welcome. Whether you're old FOK (Friends of Keith) or new FOK (Friends of Keith), stick around, kick the tires, enjoy yourself, and, no flipping!

Worst Persons:

Greetings from Countdown Online and the Worst Persons of the Day - a special all-Fixed News edition.

The bronze, a tie between the Vice President of the quote "news organization" unquote, Bill Shine, and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

Governor Rendell said the recent expose on Fox's news fraudulence in "New York" Magazine, quote:

"Strips away any thin veneer of impartiality that Fox may have, simply because it admits it was a proving ground, for presidential candidates."

Rendell is right - so why is he on the list? Because during the Democratic presidential race of 2008 he had said, quote "I think during this entire primary coverage, starting in Iowa and up to the present - Fox has done the fairest job, and remained the most objective of all the cable networks."

It was crap then, and it's crap now.

Of course Mr. Shine responded to Rendell's more recent and more **accurate** assessment of the Fox B-S Machine by saying, quote: "Governor Rendell didn't seem to have an issue with our credibility or impartiality when he was trying to shake us down for more money before signing with MSNBC."

Of course, since Mr. Shine did **hire** Rendell, this means, Mr. Shine, that you also didn't have an issue with paying him to kiss Fox's ass.

The runner-up: James Murdoch. As you may have heard my boss Al Gore say - -

Incidentally, do you have any idea how nice it is to say "my boss Al Gore"? -

Anyway, Murdoch decided to impress Daddy by kicking our network, Current, off his cable system Sky Italia, long after his employees there had worked out a deal to keep the network on. You have to understand that in Italy, where an aging, debauched, corrupt media magnate - an Italian Rupert Murdoch - is Prime Minister, Current is the primary independent television news network.

It appears, and I'll take Al's word for this, that this was a preemptive strike by Murdoch and Fox... against **me.** Because we all know how well it worked out the last time for Fox, when Daddy Pirate fired me ten years ago this month, for reporting the truth about his negotiations to sell his baseball team, even though I had cleared that reporting with all of Rupert's right-hand men.

Right, Jimmy Murdoch. **That's** how to impress Dad: repeat his dumbest mistake and remind his greatest American foe to keep reminding everybody what threats the Murdochs and Fox are to freedom of speech, in Italy, in the United Kingdom, in Australia, in this country - and how Fox has become the enemy of American Democracy.

But the winner: it's so nice to see Billo the Clown stepping up his game a little bit in anticipation of my return as his worst nightmare.

The Frank Burns of News went on the air the other night and cited a poll about the credibility of news people, conducted by Suffolk University.

Quoting: "By the way, according to the same poll, I, your humble correspondent, am the most trusted political TV guy in the country, by far. CNN's Anderson Cooper is second."

There's always a caveat, and Billy always leaves it out.

The **real** winner for "most trusted political TV guy in the country" wasn't O'Reilly, it was "I Don't Know," with 21 percent.

So O'Reilly was the runner-up, then?

Nn-nn. The runner-up was "None" - with fifteen percent.

O'Reilly was third - at nine percent.

"I Don't Know" or "None" - 36 percent. O'Reilly, a quarter of that.

"I, your humble correspondent, am the most trusted political TV guy in the country..."

As Winston Churchill once said of his successor Clement Attlee: he is a humble man, who has much to be humble about.

See you on Current on June 20th.

First Guess:

Look Deeply Into My Eyes And Repeat What I Say... Mr. Beck!

I'm K.O.; welcome to Countdown Online and another First Guess.

For a long time I have listened to and read the words of Lonesome Rhodes Beck - it's why I have gray hair - and I've been left again and again with the impression that Beck's delusions are like those we see late in the movie "Network" where the corporate titan who owns the company that owns Howard Beale brings him in, screams at him, and explains the world to him - and Beale runs out and starts spouting the same nonsense on the air.

Like Beale, Beck says it all with such conviction, such certainty, such borderline religious ecstasy, that it's as if he's just been proselytized and is now repeating what he's heard. I keep seeing that scene over and over again. Ned Beatty explaining that "there are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There is no third world. There is no west. There is only one holistic system of systems; one vast inter-woven, inter-acting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars... That is the natural order of things. You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you! Will! Atone!"

And in the movie, the next thing you know, Howard Beale is out there telling people that the individual is dead and the corporate state is a good thing.

Most of the people on Fixed News are like this. They repeat completely absurd arguments - Obama's not from here, all Muslims are terrorists, Bill O'Reilly is sane - but they do it poorly, as if they can't quite remember the talking points; as if they heard it and they agreed with it, but right in the middle they were thinking "oooh, look, a kitty!" and they missed whatever the filling was in the B-S sandwich. This explains the morning show in particular, where Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson seem to be in perpetual competition to see who can get as many details wrong as possible.

But Beck - Beck is different. The morning clowns forget, and O'Reilly must necessarily embellish, and Dobbs can't hear very well any more. But Beck is, and I know what I'm saying when I use this word: Beck is **good.** Beck gets the whole memorize-and-repeat stuff.

And I think I've finally found out why. Years ago, we found out that a Fox Vice President named John Moody, who was at my college radio station until the year before I got there, used to send out quick editorial notes every morning that defined the wacky conclusions that all of Fox's worker bees were supposed to say, and conclude, and support, and defend, and lay down their lives for. That mantel has since been picked up by others, and the middling results continue - a kind of garbled word-of-mouth fundamentalism.

But Beck is different. And now comes New York Magazine's article on the inner workings of Fox Noise - a must-read incidentally - and the analysis of it by Media Matters. That organization notes that at least six times since August, 2008 - as recently as the 11th of May - Lonesome Rhodes Beck has pronounced as if it were fact that President Obama had created or was creating his own national police force.

What this is, of course, is a simple paranoid reaction to a speech Obama gave in 2008 in which he proposed expanding "Ameri-Corps" from 75,000 people to 250,000. "AmeriCorps" was a Clintonian expansion of the old "VISTA" group - Volunteers In Service To America - and most intriguingly its 75,000 size was reached when it was doubled by... President Bush.

But to the crazy, it's "Obama's Private Army."

And now, finally, we get this from New York Magazine, about then-White House Advisor David Axelrod and Fox's Puppeteer Roger Ailes.

Quoting: In one meeting in 2008, Ailes told Axelrod that hew as concerned that Obama wanted to create a national police force. 'You can't be serious,' Axelrod replied. 'What makes you think that?' Ailes responded by emailing Axelrod a YouTube clip from a campaign speech Obama had given on national service, in which he called for the creation of a new civilian corps to work alongside the military on projects overseas. Later, Axelrod related in a conversation, that the exchange was **the moment** he realized Ailes truly **believed** what he was broadcasting."

There it is, in inglorious color. The exact provenance of the crap Beck and the others spew out. Roger Ailes, madman, paranoid, genius - sees the benign and the normal, mixes in his own prejudices and hatreds and especially fears - Roger Ailes lives waking and sleeping, the life of the terrified man - and then recites them to Glenn Beck like Ned Beatty's "Arthur Jensen" recites them to Peter Finch's "Howard Beale."

Only, Ailes and Beck are **real.**

And now we must ask again why Beck is leaving. Has the puppet somehow realized he **is** a puppet? Or that the puppeteer might be crazier than he is? And when he goes off on his own, who's going to keep him hooked on The Crazy?

See you on Current on June 20th.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Web content for Thursday, May 26th, 2011

First Guess: Cantor Puts Politics Over Missouri's People
Video via Current.com
via YouTube, h/t fferkleheimer


Marie Antoinette never said "Let Them Eat Cake." That was Eric Cantor.

I'm K.O.; welcome to Countdown Online and another First Guess.

Indeed there is no evidence that the Queen of France ever said anything of the kind when told the peasants had no bread.

Unfortunately there is no question that the House Majority Leader said what he said about funding emergency relief for the victims of the airborne version of Katrina that hit Joplin, Missouri, and its environs.

We could spend the rest of our lives simply collecting the monstrous, inhuman, pro-suffering things said by Republican leaders. But I doubt many would contend, for sheer arrogance, for tone deafness, for self-revelation, with the remarks from Eric Cantor in the wake of Joplin, and the push to pass a supplemental spending bill to provide more help to the tornado victims of Missouri.

"If there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having "pay-fors" to that supplemental."

'Pay-for' is Republican-speak for budget cuts.

Mangled bodies were still being pulled out of the wreckage where Joplin Missouri **used** to be, and Eric Cantor still had to, had to, **had to**, turn it into a political stunt for his phony budget-cutting meme. He **exploited** the dead, wounded, and homeless of a typical Midwestern American town, to serve his endless pitch to economically enslave the people of places just like Joplin, so that the rich people **he** serves can get just that much **more** rich.

It is shameful.

It is not even the argument about cutting funds elsewhere - surely the money could be cut from, say, the military budget, or from funds due to be spent in the 7th District of Virginia (represented by one Eric Cantor).

But there is no excuse, none, for talking about "pay-fors" at the very hour when body-bags are being filled. If Mr. Cantor doesn't realize that, he should resign his leadership post, and even his seat - he has no business in the people's house if he can act so crudely and crassly towards actual **people**.

And for people living in those parts of Missouri **not** touched by the tornados let me note that six of your state's nine Congressmen are Republicans. And one of your Senators. And your State Assembly. And your State Senate. And they support this Cantor.

To anybody from Joplin, I'm sorry you had to hear any of this, from Cantor or from me. I apologize. We can discuss it much later once things have improved enough that politics matter again to you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Special bonus podcast or YouTube (Late Show with David Letterman)

Monday, May 16, 2011

FOK News Channel for Monday, May 16th, 2011

Fridays with Thurber: Recollections of the Gas Buggy
Video via Current.com
video 'podcast'

Now that the humorous magazines have taken to printing drawings of horses rearing at the sight of an automobile, and of children exclaiming as a car goes by, "What is that thing, Mamma? Mamma, what is that thing, huh, Mamma?," it is perhaps not out of place to prepare some small memorial in advance of the passing of the motor car. It appears to have reached, on its way backward to oblivion, what corresponds roughly to the year 1903.

I think that no one has drawn a darker or more vivid picture of the approaching doom of the gas engine than Mrs. Robertson, the aged colored washerwoman whose prophecies and pronouncements I have the privilege of listening to every Monday morning. Mrs. Robertson is, for my money, an extremely sound woman, although admittedly my judgment of soundness has sometimes been questioned.

Some of the opinions of Mrs. Robertson which I recall offhand are these: "If you don't pay no mind to diseases, they will go away." "The night was made partly for rest and partly as a punishment for the sinful." And "The government only allows you to keep furniture for two months." This last conviction grows out of Mrs. Robertson's habit of buying furniture on the installment plan and failing to keep up her payments longer than six or seven weeks, with the result that the things are repossessed. She looks upon this recurring ritual in her domestic life as a form of federal taxation.

Mrs. Robertson's beliefs and feelings about the future of the automobile (which I have been leading up to) go like this: the oil supplies of the world are being dried up in order to prevent future wars. This will also put an end forever to pleasure driving, but that is all right because, if people kept on riding in cars, they would soon lose the use of both legs, and the life of Man would pass from the earth.

If Mrs. Robertson is right in her predictions, I should like to set down my own few unique experiences with gas-driven vehicles before I forget them. They may possibly serve as footnotes to the work of some future historian, lightening a little the dolorous annals of the automobile.

Let me admit, to begin with, that the automobile and I were never in tune with each other. There was a fundamental incompatibility between us that amounted at times almost to chemical repulsion. I have felt the headlights of an automobile following me the way the eyes of a cat follow the ominous activities of a neighbor's dog. Some of the machines I have owned have seemed to me to bridle when I got under the wheel. Neither the motor car nor myself would greatly mourn if one of us were suddenly extinguished.

Years ago, an aunt of my father's came to visit us one winger in Columbus, Ohio. She enjoyed the hallucination, among others, that she was able to drive a car. I was riding with her one December day when I discovered, to my horror, that she thought the red and green lights on the traffic signals had been put up by the municipality as a gay and expansive manifestation of the Yuletide spirit. Although we finally reached home safely, I never completely recovered from the adventure, and could not be induced, after that day, to ride in a car on holidays.

When I got an automobile of my own and began to drive it, I brought to the enterprise a magnificent ignorance of the workings of a gas engine, and a profound disinterest in its oily secrets. On several occasions, worried friends of an engineering turn of mind attempted to explain the nature of gas engines to me, but they succeeded only in losing me in a mechanical maze of terminology. I developed the notion that the gas engine was more soundly constructed than I was. I elaborate this point only to show you on what unequal terms the motor car and I were brought together.

Out of my long and dogged bouts with automobiles of various makes, there comes back to me now only one truly pleasurable experience. There may have been others, but I doubt it. I was driving in the British Isles in 1938, and came one day to a sudden, coughing stop in a far and lonely section of Scotland. The car had run out of gas in the wilderness. This car's gasoline gauge had a trick of mounting toward "Full" instead of sinking toward "Empty" when the tank was running low, one of many examples of pure cussedness of which it was capable. There I was, miles from any village, with not even a farmhouse in sight. On my left was a thick woods, out of which the figure of a man suddenly appeared. He asked me what was the matter, and I said I had run out of petrol. "It just happens," he told me, "that I have a can of petrol." With that, he went back into the woods, and came back out again with a five-gallon can of gasoline. He put it in the tank for me, I thanked him, paid him for it, and drove on.
Once when I was telling this true but admittedly remarkable story, at a party in New York, a bright-eyed young woman exclaimed, "But when the man emerged from the lonely woods, miles away from any village, far from the nearest farmhouse, carrying a five-gallon can of gasoline, why didn't you ask him how he happened to be there with it?" I lighted a cigarette. "Madam," I said, "I was afraid he would vanish." She gave a small laugh and moved away from me. Everybody always does.

Another experience I had in England the same year helped to shake the faith of at least one Briton in the much-vaunted Yankee affinity for machinery. The battery of my car had run down in a village about twenty miles from York, my destination. I put in a call to a garage and a young mechanic showed up presently in a wrecking car. He said he would give me a tow for a few yards. I was to let the clutch in and out (or out and in, whichever it is) and start the engine that way. It is a device as old as the automobile itself, and years before I had managed it successfully. Any child or old lady can do it.

So he attached a rope to the back of his car and front of mine, and we were off. I kept letting the clutch out and in (or in and out) madly, but nothing happened. The garage man kept stopping every 500 yards or so and coming back to consult with me. He was profoundly puzzled. It was farther than he had ever dragged a car in his life. We must have gone, in this disheartening manner, about a third of the way to York. Finally he got out for the seventh time and said to me, "What gear have you got her in?" I didn't have her any gear. I had her in neutral. She had been in neutral all the while.

Now, as any child or old lady knows, you have to have her in gear. If she is in neutral, it is like trying to turn on the electric lights when there are no bulbs in the sockets. The garage mechanic looked at me with the special look garage mechanics reserve for me. It is a mixture of incredulity, bewilderment, and distress. I put her in low gear, he gave me a short haul, and she started. I paid him and, as I drove off, I could see him in the rear-view mirror, standing in the road still staring after me with that look.

After I had got back to America (safe and sound, to the surprise of my friends), I produced this same expression on the face of a garage man in Connecticut one afternoon. I had driven the same care from Newton to Litchfield on a crisp October day. It happened that I was just getting over an attack of grippe, and still running a temperature of a couple of degrees. The car, out of plain deviltry, began to run one, too. The red fluid in the engine gauge on the dashboard started to rise alarmingly. It got to the point marked "Danger." I drove into a garage in a pretty jumpy state of mind. A garage man looked at the gauge and said the thermostat was clogged - or something of the kind. I was standing outside the car, staring at the dashboard and its, to me, complicated dials, when I noticed to my horror that one of them registered 1560. I pointed a shaking finger at it and said to the mechanic, "That dial shouldn't be registering as high as all that, should it?" He gave me the same look I had got from the man in England. "That's your radio dial, Mac," he said. "You got her set at WQXR."

I got in the car and drove home. The garage man stared after me until I was out of sight. He is probably still telling it around.

My temperature rose a degree that night, and I developed a theory about my automobile. The thing possessed, I decided, a certain antic intelligence, akin to that of a six-months-old poodle. It had run temperature that afternoon out of mischief and mockery, because I was running one. It had deliberately betrayed me in the Scottish wilderness that other afternoon, by running its gasoline gauge toward "Full" instead of "Empty." I began to wonder what I had done to the car to arouse its malice. Finally I put my finger on it. The car had probably never forgiven me for an incident that had occurred at the border between Belgium and France one day in 1937.

We had stopped at the Belgium customs on our way into France. A customs man leaned into the car, glanced at the mileage recorded on the speedometer, and said something in French. I thought he said I would have to pay one franc for every kilometer the car had travelled. I was loudly indignant in French and English. The car had gone about 35,000 miles. I figured this out in kilometers, and it came roughly to 55,000. Changing that figure into francs and then into dollars, still loudly and angrily, I estimated that I would have to pay around $1800 to the Belgian customs. The customs man kept trying to get a word in, and so did my wife, but I roared on in my peroration. I shouted that the car had not cost one half of $1800 when it was new, and even then it hadn't been worth a third of that. I announced that I would not pay as much as fifty to drive the car into Oz or Never-Never Land (Jamais-Jamais Pays).

The engine, which had been running, stopped. The customs man finally got in a word. Dismissing me as obviously insane, he spoke to my wife. He shouted that he had said nothing about $1800 or even eight dollars. He had simply made some small comment on the distance the car had gone. As far as he was concerned, we could drive it to Jamais-Jamais Pays and stay there. He turned on his heel and stalked away, and I started the motor. It took quite a while. The car was acting up. The night my fever rose, I thought I knew why. It had resented the slighting remarks I made about its value and had determined to get even with me.

* * *

It got even with me in more ways than I have described.

Whenever I tried to put chains on a tire, the car would maliciously wrap them around a rear axle. If I parked it ten feet from a fire plug and went into a store, it would be only five feet from the plug when I came out. If it saw a nail in the road, the car would serve and pick the nail up. Once, driving into a bleak little town in the Middle West, I said aloud, "I'd hate to be stuck in this place." The car promptly burned out a bearing, and I was stuck there for two days.

If Mrs. Robertson is right in her prophecy, and the gas engine is really on the way out, it will be no dire blow for me. I will move within roller-skating distance of a grocery, a drugstore, a church, a library, and a movie house. If the worst comes to the worst, I could even walk.

Friday, May 13, 2011

FOK News Channel for Friday, May 13th, 2011

Worst Persons: Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Charles Koch
video 'podcast'

Thursday, May 12, 2011

FOK News Channel for Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Special Comment: Michael Moore and the Killing of Osama bin Laden
Video via Current.com
video 'podcast'

The quickest way for a nation to ruin itself is to sanctify falsehood. And the quickest way to sanctify falsehood, is to attack anyone who even asks if it's falsehood.

I do not have a problem with this country dispatching a shoot-to-kill team to get Osama Bin Laden. The impracticality of a trial - the prospect of hostage-taking, or other attempts to free a living and captured Bin Laden - are compelling reasons to do what was done. Even on the philosophical and legal levels, there are reasons to believe that Bin Laden was not a mere state-less terrorist, but the self-proclaimed leader of an entity of some kind, a virtual, if not mapped, nation which had declared war on the United States. I do not think you can imprison the equivalent of soldiers of that conflict, indefinitely, without trial. But the leader of that entity? I think there is much evidence that you can shoot him, the way we shot him. What I object to, is those who want to silence those who disagree with me.

My friend Michael Moore told CNN, quote, "We've lost something of our soul here in this country. Maybe I'm just an old-school American who believes in our judicial system. We're better than them, we don't just operate in an uncivilized way the way they did on 9/11."

Michael's points are right-on. More over, only someone who had deliberately forgotten the last decade would think that our shooting Bin Laden won't be used as an excuse by somebody somewhere for shooting an American - and soon.

I believe, with great regret, that the pragmatic circumstances of keeping Bin Laden alive outweighed, very narrowly, what Michael is addressing. But for him to then be accused of "intellectual liberal hand-wringing" by a supposedly liberal commentator on a supposedly liberal television network, is outrageous.

Further, to suggest that those hoping to keep to the ideals of this nation - even if it was impractical to apply them here, even if Michael Moore was wrong - to suggest that those hoping to keep to the ideals of this nation preferred a route that would have gotten President Obama impeached, is farcical, and beyond the pale, and calls into doubt not Moore's point-of-view, but the willingness of his critics to permit the questioning of the proverbial official story.

Some of us - not enough - questioned the official story in 2002 and 2003. But few of us who did so, had as much to lose as did Michael Moore. We were accused of "intellectual liberal hand-wringing" - even by supposedly liberal commentators on supposedly liberal television networks. We were dismissed, and demonized.

And to this day, even though Michael Moore was right, and George Bush was wrong, and even though Michael Moore was right, and Newt Gingrich was wrong, and even though Michael Moore was right, and John Boehner was wrong - to this day it is Moore who is demonized by the Republican Cult in ways that Bush and Gingrich and Boehner are not demonized by the American Left.

Instead, Moore, himself, now gets demonized in part, by the American left.

I want Michael Moore to question everything. I want him even to repeat the ten tweets he had in the aftermath of the killing of Bin Laden, in which he picked up on his theme from three years ago, when he told Larry King that the story that Bin Laden was living in caves, moving from one to the other, was palpable nonsense, that the only millionaire who willingly lived in a cave was Batman, and he only went there to change costumes.

I want Michael Moore, and every other Michael Moore, to remind us that, indeed, "Pakistan just couldn't be seen as participating with us" and that, indeed, "the story has changed four times now in four days" and that, indeed, "As long as he wasn't conducting terror, Osama Bin Laden alive served a purpose. Someone should just fess up: the war industry needs fear to make (money)."

There doesn't have to be a conspiracy for those details to be true. You don't have to agree with Michael Moore, to thank him for reminding us of them.

Yet or what he said on one television network, Moore was upbraided on another, accused of doubting that the Navy Seals were trained enough to know whether or not they were in danger, and of, quote, "dissing" them.

On May 8th, 2003, I became the first person on cable news to even refer to a report in the newspaper The Toronto Star which had revealed that a U-S Commando raid in Iraq was not only not what Central Command had claimed it had been, but that it was not necessary at all. It was the quote "rescue" unquote of the injured and captured Private Jessica Lynch - an event now considered a symbol of the lies, exaggerations, and propaganda of The Bush Administration.

I was accused of "liberal hand-wringing." I was accused of doubting that the Commandos had been trained enough to know whether or not they were in danger. Demands were made that I apologize to the servicemen. And I did so. Because, since I had not insulted them any more than Michael Moore had insulted the Seals who went in for Bin Laden, I saw, in underscoring this point, a wonderful opportunity to tell of the falsehood of the Lynch story again.

Do we want to go back to the way the media was in this country eight years and four days ago? That to question the honesty of those in power is to find oneself painted as unpatriotically questioning the troops?

Because that is where Michael Moore's critics would lead us. I want hand-wringing over exactly who a President gets to kill. I want Liberals to question other Liberals. If the official story deviates at all from the facts, I want the official story questioned.

Michael Moore is damned good at questioning official stories and should be encouraged to do so, even at the risk of offending some liberals of uncertain provenance. Because I'd rather have one question too many than one too few and because while the Official Story is always "official" it is not always more than just "a story."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FOK News Channel for Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First Guess: Moore On Moore, Excellent Mr. Burns

We've announced the first five contributors who you'll see often when Countdown premieres on June 20: Michael Moore, Ken Burns, Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos, Nicole Lamoureux of The National Association of Free Clinics, and the one and only Richard Lewis, my friend of 20+ years.

I'm delighted, obviously, by their participation in the show and the support that the participation represents. To say nothing of the publicity they're already generating: The Hollywood Reporter, Time (which mistakenly assumes all contributors are necessarily political), Huffington Post, Daily Kos and Yahoo! News – all in the first two hours after the announcement.

I think they all touched on it, but to be clear: these are just the first five names – and they're not even all the big names, who are already committed to Countdown, and who we'll be announcing in the less-than-six weeks before premiere night. It's a helluva roster, if I must say so myself.

In the interim, forgive me for quoting myself: "I'm delighted and honored that so many of my friends – who are not coincidentally among the top progressive and entertainment voices in the country today – will be joining me as contributors to 'Countdown' on Current. I hope these talented individuals, and the others we are to announce in these weeks before the premiere on June 20 will give viewers a sense of the strength and depth of the franchise we're assembling."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Two FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Snappy Answers
Worst Persons
Snappy Answers: Tara Palmeri Hopes For A Career In Journalism Some Day

Keith Olbermann Struggles For Staff At New Gig

That was the New York Post's headline this morning for what might have been – even for them – a record-setting amount of lies and falsehoods in a story about me.

This one is, in fact, almost completely fabricated. And worse yet, they knew it was when they printed it. One of the junior sleazebags over there, somebody named Tara Palmeri (she's @tarapalmeri, tweeters) ran her steaming load of crap past the media relations department at Current on Friday. The appropriate correction (and proof) was emailed back, same day. Yet her item published in the "newspaper" today she lied and claimed a "representative" did not "get back" to her.

Let's look at this line-by-line, so you can enjoy each of her other lies and the embarrassing result when a little truth is applied:

Gasbag Keith Olbermann can't seem to wrangle staff for his Current TV show, "Countdown."

We have ten full-time editorial staffers, plus two consultants. I think on Countdown we had fourteen or fifteen editorial full-time staffers. Gosh, this only gives me six weeks to line up the last couple.

Still in need of an executive producer and other staff, famously difficult Olbermann has crawled back to his contacts at MSNBC, many of whom he offended while there, to beg for staff.

Wow. Just wow. This moron is going to look, well, moronic, when we announce the identity of the Executive Producer. That deal may get wrapped up this week. Also there is this phrase "beg for staff." I only asked about half a dozen of my former staffers to join me, largely because most people in television have contracts and can't just pick up and leave – now. And if we want to debate "famously difficult" we can, but I'll take what my ex-colleagues thought of me as my epitaph. I wonder if Rupert Murdoch would dare do the same.

"Everyone is laughing," said a source. "They would never leave the network to work for him."

If they're laughing over there, it must be because they're reading The New York Post. Three of the new staff of Countdown on Current are from the old staff of Countdown on MSNBC. A fourth staffer came in from another show. One of the consultants is from MSNBC. And we've engaged more than a dozen people, familiar to you from the old show, as formal Contributors to the new one. So if you'd like to add that all up, in point of fact around 20 people have done what the Post's made-up source claims they'd never do.

And I say made-up source because it goes without saying that I won't believe anybody at NBC would actually feed them false information in an attempt to damage Countdown on Current.

A witness recently saw him hobbling around the Upper East Side with a stick in his hand. Olbermann is recovering from a foot injury.

This was the only part the unfortunate and professionally doomed Ms. Palmeri even bothered to alter even though she was corrected on all this more than 72 hours ago. Her original version had me 'walking around the Upper East side with a walking stick' as if I should have also had a top hat and tails and been singing 'Sooopa Dooopa.'

The Post is bizarrely interested in how I dress. In 2002 it breathlessly reported that I had attended a Mets game and sat in the press box 'wearing shorts.' They were cargo pants, and it was 90 degrees, and that day about half the media were wearing them.

And so another Page Six staffer begins her inevitable descent out of journalism. The internet doesn't tell us much about Tara Palmeri, except that she used to work for another bastion of reporting, the DC Examiner, and that she has appeared on the unintentionally hilarious "Red Eye" show on Fox, and that she was once expelled from a benefit for Haitian earthquake relief because she chose that somber and important event to badger Sean Penn about a tasteless remark he'd made about cancer. She appears to have begun what must have seemed to her to be a career, at CNN. So it's CNN to DC Examiner to Page Six. The next step in that progression would be writing graffiti on the wall of a men's room at New York's Penn Station.

UPDATE POSTSCRIPT: The thing was immediately picked up by the myna birds of the right wing media. A website called Pajamas stepped in it up to its neck with this gem:

"...(he) is legendary around Washington for his awful treatment of everyone who works for or near him."

I've never worked full time in Washington. Another fine, accurate news source.
Worst Persons For May 9, 2011
text only

With the advisory that there won't be any videos for the next three days because we're shooting other stuff (and I'm appearing on David Letterman's Show on Wednesday), here are the Worst Persons for May 9, 2011.

The bronze goes to Bill Simmons, a writer for ESPN. The two-time defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant were about to lose their fourth game in the best of seven series to the Dallas Mavericks. So, since the game was to be played in Dallas, in what passes for wit among half-wits, Simmons tweeted:

The Kobe era just made the turn at Dealey Plaza and passed the book depository...

This reference to the assassination of John F. Kennedy might not bother you (it didn't seem to bother Simmons, who despite a degree in political science might qualify as one of the least plugged-into-reality people in sports), but as somebody who knows two of the late president's nephews, it bothers me. So I tweeted back that it was tasteless.

Simmons' response was not to defend the remark nor apologize for it. He tweeted back some hackneyed personal attacks on me, highlighted by two incidents I long ago had apologized for (one of the apologies dates to 2002), another of which was a total fabrication about my career. That was it – no "maybe that was over the top" and not even one of those watered down "if anyone was offended" non-apology apologies.

As an aside, this is the second time I've criticized this writer and both times I was shocked by the response. Shocked, that is, by the number of people I heard from at ESPN congratulating me on taking on The Sacred Cow of Bristol. He apparently has more detractors internally there than anybody since...well...me.

Our runners-up: Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which has yet to fire two pilots who forced Muslim clerics Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghlou off their flight from Memphis to North Carolina. The pilots evidently believed the two Imams – in their religious attire – made other passengers nervous. The men were re-screened, and the pilots still refused to let them board, and took off without them.

What this – the equivalent of throwing a couple of nuns or priests off a flight – is all about is unclear. But check out this quote from a wire account:

One representative of Delta Air Lines, who claimed to be advocating on the two men's behalf, came out visibly red-faced after a long talk with the pilot, according to Rahman. This was after the plane had returned to the gate and Rahman and Zaghoul had gotten off and gone through a secondary screening process. Shortly thereafter, the plane took off — without the men, who hadn't been allowed back on board.

The two Imams were, of course, headed to North Carolina for a conference on intolerance against Muslims.

If this sounds familiar to you, it should. In November 2006, six Imams were kicked off a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix. Their crime? They were praying, they were sitting separately, and some of them asked for seat-belt extenders. Even after the re-screening of the Imams and a sweep of the plane turned up absolutely nothing, one passenger told reporters:

"These guys were up to no good. We think the airport people did a real good job in taking care of it."

Later on the issue became the danger of innocent bystanders being victimized: the passengers who complained.

But our winner: Greg W. Howard, who tweeted just another one of those "accidents" confusing Barack Obama and Osama Bin Laden:

Based on the twitter feed on it, this appears to be Mr. Howard's site. There's either a lot of hate on it, or a lot of typos. It has apparently not been updated since February, which may or may not have anything to do with the fact that this "financial advisor" filed for bankruptcy the year before.

You know, a week ago, here, typing in a hurry, I did a very mild form of this myself. I wrote that George W. Bush had personally de-prioritized the "hunt for Obama." And you know what? It was very much a Freudian slip. Because alone among the leading Republicans of 2008, Bush did not attack his eventual successor's credentials, experience, loyalty or birth.

So even if this pig Howard simply "slipped" in tweeting that "Obama's" body should be used as a latrine, or hung from the Statue of Liberty – if it was just a Freudian slip, it was because Howard's unconscious was pondering, perhaps advocating, just such an assassination.

More over, a tweet is not a thousand-word blog post nor even an on-air blooper. It's a 140-character haiku and most tweeters have to agonize over every letter and space to make it all fit and make it all make sense. You review it and review it.

In short: if, in a typo, you publicly advocate hanging a president of the United States, you apologize for it. Otherwise it will be assumed you meant it – which makes Greg W. Howard the Worst Person of the Day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

FOK News Channel for Friday, May 6th, 2011

Fridays with Thurber: The Casebook of James Thurber
video 'podcast'

Thursday, May 5, 2011

FOK News Channel for Thursday, May 5th, 2011

First Guess: Poll Shows We Are Lotto Nation
Video via FOK News Channel

source data

unofficial transcript

Pollster confirms we are living in Lotto Nation.

I'm Keith Olbermann in New York with a First Guess.

Two weeks ago I did a piece here called Lotto Nation which tried to answer a viewer's question: why are people who will never be rich so adamantly defending tax breaks for the rich? As I put it then, those who are unwittingly collaborating with the Radical Right, those who should want the government to spend every dollar on the people who need it like themselves, those who are instead protecting the rich are convinced - utterly, profoundly, life-alteringly convinced - that they themselves are going to be rich.

It's Lotto Nation. The more easily led are absolutely convinced that they will win the lottery tomorrow. They could have played it for a thousand days in a row and not even won a free second Lotto card, and they remain convinced. They literally believe money will fall from the sky and they will be rich and they will be damned if they'll let the socialists take the money they don't have, and are never gonna get.

That was my guess anyway. But now the Reuters news service has been kind enough to poll 2000 American adults on their economic futures, and the results are jaw-droppingly startling and stupid. 16% of them consider themselves well-off or upper middle class, just 16%. But asked if they will become well-off within 5 to 10 years, the number who say yes: 50%. Half. While two thirds of those polled admit that they are barely keeping their heads above water right now, and that the economy has yet to bottom out, half still believe that they will prevail. That as the country gets poorer, they will get richer.

My goodness, 60% of them think they'll start moving on up within the next year! Please do not tell them just how mathematically impossible this is, unfortunately. What's worse is that while Republicans are exploiting what is in many ways a commendable, admirable, uniquely American spirit, the very Americans they are exploiting think that the Republican cult's answer to all problems - cutting government expenditures - is a mistake. Two thirds believe reducing state and local spending for police and firefighters and education and roads and bridges and mass transit would have a negative impact on themselves and on everybody else.

I'm suddenly reminded of my friend Dirk Hayhurst's book, The Bullpen Gospels. Dirk is the former baseball major league pitcher with the Padres and Bluejays, now returning to form in the minor leagues after an injury. He woke up one day, pitching in the California state league, suddenly realizing that there were ten teams in that league and about 300 players, but only about five of them would ever make it to the big leagues. Those five guys were the Harlem Globetrotters. The other 295 players were the Washington Generals, the team the Globetrotters hired to tour with them and lose to them time after time and night after night. The other 295 guys were the tackling dummies, the practice wives, the chorus, against which the real prospects could just test themselves.

Yet all 295 of those players thought they were the ones who would achieve the stardom. And suddenly, Dirk Hayhurst was the only sheep to realize that he was a sheep.

66% say cutting services will make life worse. 66% say the economy is yet to bottom out, but 60% think their economy will improve by next year. Only 16% consider themselves well-off or upper middle class, yet 50% expect to become well-off in ten years tops.

They are the sheep, they are the practice wives and they are the Washington Generals to the Republicans' Harlem Globetrotters. And worst of all, they're also rooting for the Globetrotters.

I'm Keith Olbermann, see you on Current on June 20th.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

FOK News Channel for Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

First Guess: Obama's Bridge Game: One No Trump
Video via FOK News Channel
video 'podcast'

unofficial transcript

Is Barack Obama, is anybody, actually smart enough to have tried this?

I'm Keith Olbermann in New York with the First Guess.

For a week now, even before the end of bin Laden, I have puzzled and struggled and wondered over one question. It has been in the front of my mind, it has been in the back of my mind. It has kept me awake and it has haunted my dreams. Not 'Why did the President release his birth certificate', but 'Why did he release it when he released it?'

My conclusion is that President Obama may have made the most single brilliant, most adept gesture of American political manipulation in decades. I think he saw a unique opportunity, the seam in football, the window in business, the mother lode in prospecting.

I wrote here last week that while the decision might dent the veneer of respectability surrounding the birthers, it certainly won't dissuade the diehards who rely upon the birther issue as a comforting rationale, a kind of euphemism for their inability to accept a black man in charge. These people are, as I wrote, carnival barkers. They don't stop selling tickets to the midway just because there is not a real mermaid back there - if you prove there is no mermaid, tomorrow they'll just tell you there's a Martian.

And yet the President chose last Wednesday to do what conceivably could have been done the first time this was brought up in 2007 or so. In releasing the certificate after the prolonged moronic bleating of Donald Trump, Mr. Obama did give Trump a kind of respectability, an aura, among the birthers, among the Tea Partiers, among the other members of the Republican cult. He made Trump look like the guy who could, in a small way at least, beat Barack Obama.

This was an inadvertent side effect to Mr. Obama's decision. Unless it wasn't inadvertent.

What if Trump was the reason the President released the long-form birth certificate last week? Look, even before bin Laden's death, the Republican presidential field was a disaster area. By this date in 2007, Obama and Hillary Clinton had already emerged as the favorites for the Democratic nomination. John Edwards, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson were already declared, and already pushing hard. The Republicans at the same point in 2011? Haley Barbour dropped out. Haley Barbour! After he went on the diet to look better during the campaign. After! He looked around at the field of clowns, and figured what apparently has occurred to most of the plausibly elected Republicans: that this crowd is so jam-packed with idiots that it's going to rub off on whoever gets nominated!

And suddenly the man who wears an otter on his head is the class of the field. Rasmussen reports, the crazy right-tilting polling company founded by the people who created and then lost ESPN, has as of last week Trump as the favorite among Republicans with 19%. Romney at 17, Huckabee at 15, Palin and Gingrich at 9, Ron Paul at 8, Tim Pawlenty at 5.

It is in Barack Obama's best political interest to keep Trump's poll numbers as high as possible, because the greatest gift the Republicans could give Obama would be a Trump run for president. The man is self-destructing. Trump is a self-inflating business man with a string of bankruptcies in his past and he appears in public at all times wearing either make up or a bronzing solution that makes him look orange in a way that John Boehner can only dream of. When they say he glows, it's not a compliment.

Just contemplate for a moment the Republican presidential debates. Giuliani, denied the sting of 9/11, having retired to a monastery and we're left with Romney and Gingrich and Bachmann and Paul and Palin and maybe Huntsman and Trump! Gingrich, denied the bogeyman of bin Laden, loses his cool and attacks Palin. Palin attacks Gingrich and Trump on the subject of multiple wives. Gingrich and Trump attack Romney and Huntsman on the subject of multiple wives. Trump makes a pass at Bachmann! Paul advocates a flat tax, Romney says Paul is no businessman, Trump says Romney is no businessman, Gingrich takes a swing at somebody.

The Republicans have a lousy presidential field. The George Bush types, the men with little or no past to encumber them, Mitch Daniels, John Thune, Jeb Bush, they're staying out for fear of contamination. Add Trump to the lousy mix and you get a nominee, whether it's him or anybody else, who could give rise to a third party candidacy from the far far right and who could give Barack Obama a ten point win in November of next year and who could hamstring the Republican party for decades to come.

And for all the idiocy you and I see in Donald Trump after the fiascos of the birth certificate, the swearing speech in Vegas, his vivisection by Seth Meyers and Katie Jacobs Stanton at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, many Americans see in Donald Trump the man who got Barack Obama to release his birth certificate. The stupidity of the result means nothing to them; they are too blinded by the giddiness of a triumph they don't realize is utterly shallow, self-defeating and meaningless. They need somebody dumb enough to challenge the man who just got bin Laden.

And foremost among them, the most impressed by what Donald Trump got Obama to do is... Donald Trump. If anything would convince him to sacrifice what little he has left for a disastrous presidential run that would take away everything, if anything would compliment his haircut and lick his ego, it would have been the President's decision to release the document. And after a week of mulling this over, I think the President knew that would be the outcome!

Well played, Obama.

I'm Keith Olbermann, see you on Current, June 20th.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Two FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Rumsfeld Disproves Conservatives' Tortured Argument
Worst Persons
Worst Persons: Andrew Breitbart, Sally Kern (R-OK), Rep. Michele Bachmann
video 'podcast'
via YouTube
Rumsfeld Disproves Conservatives' Tortured Argument

The GOP spin machine, caught with its Abu Ghraib pants down, has come up with only two rickety memes with which to pull itself out of the deep end of the political pool. The first was the simplest: "Obama merely finished what Bush began."

But the second was a little more robust: The Peter King (R-Stupidity) claim mirrored by a tweeter who asked me: "how does it feel knowing Bin Laden courier was discovered under Bush admin & info was obtained in Gitmo?"


"We obtained that information through waterboarding. So for those who say that waterboarding doesn't work, who say it should be stopped and never used again, we got vital information, which directly led us to Bin Laden."

Two problems with that. There is the unfortunate realization that if this information truly germinated during the Bush Administration, and truly came from waterboarding, that means The Bush Administration Had A Direct Link To Bin Laden Eight Years Ago And Either Didn't Know It Or Didn't Bother To Figure It Out.


Wait, it gets worse. Guess who's out tonight denying that waterboarding, or even "harsh treatment" led to the info that led to Bin Laden?

"It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding."

That was said by Don Rumsfeld.

I'll stop writing now so you can spend a few minutes laughing through your mouth, nose, ears, feet, and eyeballs.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Three FOK News Channel posts for this date.
Click to go directly to:
Special Comment: On the death of Osama bin Laden
Bin Laden Dead – And It Was Live-Tweeted
Snappy Answers
Special Comment: On the death of Osama bin Laden
Video via FOK News Channel
video 'podcast'

transcript dubiously sourced, may not be official

Now, as promised, a special comment on the death of Osama bin Laden and its immediate impact on this country.

Unlike most such things, the counterterrorism component can be overestimated. By all accounts, bin Laden had largely disconnected from the operational side of al Qaeda, so he will likely prove more valuable to its terrible cause as a martyred inspiration than he had been as a large and perpetual target.

Concomitantly, while the desire for revenge within those who ally themselves with that almost diaphanous organization may be intense, al Qaeda was never built for, and has never succeeded at the quick, bold strike; plans were meticulous and lead-times measured not in days but in years. If there have been such nightmares hatching within what we might define still as "al Qaeda", it is possible that they might be sprung, and soon.

But the story of terrorism within this country since 9/11 is the story of amateurs in a hurry. And in terrorism, amateurs in a hurry tend to kill themselves; or lock their car keys in their car bombs in Times Square; or decide to shoot up an army base while leaving their training videos to be duplicated at Best Buy; or wind up lighting on fire not their underwear bombs, but their own crotches.

The greatest threat right now certainly is from individuals, not directly connected to al Qaeda, out of rage and frustration, and an accurate sense that their evil inspiration is now dead, acting alone with whatever they might have. It is simultaneously both reassuring and disturbing to remember, however, that these kinds of individuals could be set off by anything - anything from bin Laden's death to bad weather - their threat level may not grow very much at all.

Certainly there will be no groundswell in the Middle East, rising up to avenge the slain supposed leader. Except for the Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan, and those Pakistani elements who completely failed bin Laden and have a lot more to worry about now, there is not a government in the region who is not happy he's dead: he was their enemy as much as he was ours.

And curious, was it not, that as the uprisings of 2011 unfolded in Egypt, in Libya, in Tunisia, in Syria, in Yemen, not only did none of those who sought change invoke bin Laden or al Qaeda as symbols or inspirations, but the fact that they ignored a terror group that also sought to overthrow these very same governments was not even a part of the public discussion, there or here.

Nobody even questioned why those rightly seeking to derange the power structure of the Middle East did not turn to bin Laden, and that is the ultimate answer to the proverbial question, "What will be the reaction on the Arab street?" Some on the "Arab street" may have danced on 9/11. They did not dance when bin Laden began killing Muslims in Indonesia, or in Mumbai.

Thus, the largest international impact for this country relates to the nature of our involvement in Afghanistan. Despite the elimination of bin Laden and the prospect that it could animate the Taliban, support for the Afghanistan war here will probably vanish in the weeks and months to come. President Obama could easily accelerate a withdrawal and get nothing but praise from most of the nation.

And now we come to the least important, but the most fascinating impact of the raid at Abbottabad - its rearrangement of the political landscape of this country.

If your instinct is that politics should play no immediate part in the aftermath of bin Laden's death, that is natural and commendable, and the ship sailed in the other direction in 2002, from the day the Republicans put out an ad showing Georgia's senator, Max Cleland, and bin Laden in the same picture.

The symbol of that party might as well not have been an elephant, but bin Laden himself. Everything that happened, everything that did not happen, was perverted into a symbol of Republican mastery and of Democratic weakness, and even Democratic treachery. Five separate national Republican political campaigns were run on a simple premise: "Vote Democratic and you die."

Cleland was only the first to be smeared in 2002. The Swift Boaters turned John Kerry's military experience into a liability in 2004, and the GOP boasted that a bin Laden tape released days before the vote had turned the election to President Bush. The 2006 midterms were run on the GOP premise that Bush had kept us safe, conveniently ignoring that it was on his watch that the nightmare of 9/11 unfolded.

2008 brought this divisive, sick strategy to its apex: the claim that a candidate for the presidency was not actually American, that he was a terrorist sympathizer. 2010 saw invocations of how that president had "failed to protect America", even though more terrorist actions had been stopped in his first 18 months in office than had in his predecessor's two entire terms.

And each campaign, and those few days between each campaign, were devoted to a campaign of a different sort - the argument that terrorism could be countered only by unique and gruesome methods. Torture was necessary; laws were not. And none of that bestiality captured anybody, least of all bin Laden. Just two years, three months, and eleven days after that subhuman dictate was reversed, the ordinary rules prevailed, and triumphed.

This disgusting cornerstone of Republican politics is now gone. Rudy Giuliani's political career ended in an instant: he was reduced this afternoon to praising President Obama. Sarah Palin sealed her demise by tweeting congratulations only to the military, not to the desk jockeys and other intelligence officers whose reading of reports and hard slog work over maps made this possible. And certainly she offered no congratulations to the Commander-in-Chief. Michelle Bachmann's "un-American" meme just vanished. Newt Gingrich's premise of a president flailing internationally went up in a puff of ego. The Peter King hearings in the House - the ones with that thin veneer of studying Muslim extremism masking the true goal of smearing Obama's counterterror efforts - it'll be a surprise if anybody but Rupert Murdoch even sends a reporter now.

Even the immediate fallback, the Republican default about all this, that Barack Obama simply finished what George Bush had started, collapses with the addition of just one fact, that the Republicans themselves so gleefully and viciously trotted out in 2006 and 2007, namely, the hunt for bin Laden did not begin with President Bush, it began with President Clinton. It began with a Democratic president, and it has ended with a Democratic president.

The oversimplification is ridiculous and unfair to those who genuinely fought al Qaeda and bin Laden under the previous president, but oversimplifications shape a nation's thinking, and win elections, and have been the essence of Republican argument on this and other complex subjects for decades. And there is right now only one oversimplification that matters anymore: Barack Obama got Osama bin Laden. And every other political calculation, every strategy that suggests Democratic weakness or liberal uncertainty, or an Obama half-hearted in his defense of this nation, is, of an instant, gone.

These arguments are worse than laughable, worse than stupid, worse than bankrupt. These arguments are today as dead as bin Laden.

Good night, and good luck.
Snappy Answers To Stupid Questions

Idiot Named Jay Gaston Keeps Posting Inappropriate And Vulgar Comments Here Not Realizing I Have His Email And IP Addresses

Answer: I said if he does it again, I'll post them. Let's start: email addresses censored by Countdown Library management

As a further warning: any commenter posting threats against other commenters (or anybody else here) will also be banned from this site. Nothing of this sort will be tolerated; do not make threats to commenters on or off this site.
Bin Laden Dead – And It Was Live-Tweeted (Updated)

As the details continue to come in, there are several important points (and, at the bottom of this, several unimportant ones) to remember, and a remarkable new one to digest.

- The elimination of Osama Bin Laden was live-tweeted:

Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).

That, for Sohaib Athar of Abbottabad, Pakistan (@ReallyVirtual) was when it started, around 4 PM Eastern time.

Go away helicopter – before I take out my giant swatter :-/

Closer to 5 PM Eastern:

A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S

Ear-witness to history. The details begin to come in to Mr. Athar:

the few people online at this time of the night are saying one of the copters was not Pakistani...

Tell me about it.

Since taliban (probably) don't have helicpoters, and since they're saying it was not "ours", so must be a complicated situation #abbottabad

I once left Palm Springs, California, at the exact moment students began to riot during spring break. My astonishment upon learning what I had seen is still fresh in my memory. That must've been nothing compared to Mr. Athar's growing awareness:

Two helicpoters, one down, could actually be the training accident scenario they're saying it was

This next one, about 10 PM Eastern, gives me chills:

Interesting rumors in the otherwise uneventful Abbottabad air today

Once again, all jigsaw puzzle parts are there. Only nobody knows that it's a jigsaw.

Report from a taxi driver: The army has cordoned off the crash area and is conducting door-to-door search in the surrounding

We are now past the time Obama's speech has been announced:

Report from a sweeper: A family also died in the crash, and one of the helicopter riders got away and is now being searched for.

Truer words never tweeted. And then comes this:

RT @ISuckBigTime: Osama Bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan.: ISI has confirmed it << Uh oh, there goes the neighborhood :-/

I love this man.

Uh oh, now I'm the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it.

Mr. Athar is, for now at least, The Most Interesting Tweeter In The World.

- Mr. Athar's life now begins to resemble Wilmer McLean, on whose property the first major battle (Bull Run) of the Civil War was fought. Athar advises he relocated from Lahore to get "some peace and quiet." This was why McLean left his farm and moved to Appomattox Courthouse, where four years later his house was used for Lee's surrender to Grant.

About 1:40 AM Eastern, Mr. Athar decided to show us Abbottabad.

He accompanies this with sage insight:

People don't use twitter here, hence they don't realize the attention they're getting. Ignorance is bliss.

And a little more humor, at about 2:15 AM Eastern:

Interesting. I didn't think my name would trend on twitter before releasing a couple of rock albums and a few award-winning software...

Have you ever considered hosting a show on Current?

- The President is right to raise security levels at US installations and bases. However, remember the premise of Al-Qaeda is the long-planned, meticulously-choreographed "spectacular." While an attempt at vengeance should not be discounted, it should be pointed out that what we would call in normal-human speak 'a quick turnaround' is not their forte. A terrorist in a hurry is a terrorist who drops the backpack bomb when he gets chased out of the subway. A terrorist in a hurry is a terrorist who lights himself and not his underwear bomb on fire. A terrorist in a hurry is a terrorist who locks his house keys in his car-bomb in Times Square.

- There is no reason to assume Al-Qaeda dries up and blows away. It is in fact plausible to consider that since (as Al-Jazeera pointed out) Bin Laden was no longer even connected to actual terrorist operations, he may prove to be more valuable to terrorists as an inspirational martyr than he was as a perpetual target.

- It is fascinating that after a decade of breaking all of our traditions of spycraft and not torturing so we wouldn't get bad intelligence and not starting wars that don't have anything to do with the matter at hand, it only took two years, three months, and eleven days after reverting to the ordinary old hard slog of human intelligence, the target was eliminated. In fact, based on the skeletal timeline the President gave, the target was located only 19 months after the old rules were restored. Remember: the professionals always say spying and intelligence (military intelligence included) resembles not Ian Fleming's James Bond, but John LeCarre's George Smiley.

- Here's one of those unimportant things. This was the President, via C-SPAN, captured by The New York Observer, during the jokes about bin Laden during The White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday Night. The proverbial 1000-word screencap:

- You can say all you want about unity and non-politicization of this event, but that ship sailed – and in the other direction – in 2002 and 2004. The GOP claimed all the credit in the world for anything that happened and anything that didn't. President Obama was attacked before during and after his election for supposedly "weak" national security credentials. In point of fact, as of tonight his national security/counter-terrorism credentials probably jumped to Number 4 on the all-time Presidential list, just behind Lincoln, FDR, and Madison.

- To that end, please join us in saying goodbye to Sarah Palin, whose career ended tonight. She sealed it by tweeting congratulations only to the military. Not a word about Intelligence personnel, and certainly not a word about Obama. Speaking of intelligence, rationalizing the death of Bin Laden under a Democratic president is going to test the limit of hers. Which ain't gonna take long.

- The primary "respectable" meme from the Right will be that this was merely the culmination of the search begun under President Bush. You know: the parallel to the sense that Harry Truman was only a steward completing the World War II tasks of FDR. That's very nice – and certainly those Americans who bravely hunted and searched, no matter who was in charge, deserve our humble thanks right now. But the American hunt for Bin Laden began under President Clinton – as the Republicans were so happy to point out loudly and grotesquely in 2005-06-07 (and the arming of Bin Laden began under President Reagan, by the way, back when we thought he was a good wedge against the Russians in Afghanistan).

- An ugly, and ill-informed, version of the above has appeared in the laughable Washington Times. In point of fact, Mr. Bush personally de-prioritized the hunt for bin Laden said himself he didn't worry about him. There will be a lot of Sour Grapes on the right – it sucks being them right now.

- Lastly, you can't stop them, you can only hope to contain them. This twitpic from ESPN Chicago correspondent Sarah Spain comes from the Fox affiliate in Sacramento. Sigh.

Somebody found an even better image:

This pales, of course, to what the anchor at the Fox station in Washington, WTTG, said – first thing out of his mouth as the President walked away from the podium:

"President Obama speaking from the East Room of the White House, telling the nation and the world: President Obama is in fact dead. It was a U.S.-led strategic (horrified co-anchor mumbles correction) I'm sorry. Osama Bin Laden is dead."