'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, June 20th, 2011
What We're About
via YouTube, h/t cathyferkleheimer
ShowPlug1: Libya? Legal? Stoppable? Why is POTUS doing Bush Impression? W/ @MMFlint Michael Moore. + Special Comment on this show
ShowPlug2: SCOTUS vs the women of Wal-Mart, and Clarence's Conflicts. Is he Abe Fortas? Guest: Contributor @JohnWDean
ShowPlug3: Right Wing Radio: Opinions For Sale. How Mark Levin confirmed Ken Vogel's Politico story that it's all for sale. Ken joins me.
ShowPlug4: Worst Persons: Patented Palin, Fox Edits Jon Stewart to cover for Fox exec, & Crazy Train Woman: Greatest cell video ever!
ShowPlug5: Inside The Republican Cult: McCain blames undocumented immigrants AGAIN for AZ wildfires, Huntsman up the creek, GOP laughs..
ShowPlugLast: at Obama Impersonator's race jokes w/ @Markos Moulitsas (& why he hasn't been on cable news). & Oh yeah, it's the PREMIERE
'Libya & War Powers', Michael Moore
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
Special Comment: What We're About
'Supreme Court Issues', John Dean
Time Marches On!
'The Right Fluff', Ken Vogel
Worst Persons: Sarah Palin, Bill Sammon & Chris Wallace, Hermon Raju (the woman on the train)
Current.com: part 1, part 2
'Inside The Republican Cult', Markos Moulitsas
Web Extra: Keith and Markos Moulitsas
unofficial transcript except for Worsts, not fully checked out yet
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Libya, 91 days in, when 90 days requires congressional approval. The Left largely acquiescent, the Right demanding the president use more American weapons of war.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) LINDSEY GRAHAM: Congress should sorta shut up and not empower Gadhafi.
OLBERMANN: Congressman Kucinich proposes cutting support for action in Libya from the next defense bill. NATO bombings we are paying for again kill anti-Gadhafi rebels we are supposedly fighting with. Our special guest: Michael Moore.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) JOHN McCAIN: This is isolationism. Wonder what Ronald Reagan would be saying today.
OLBERMANN: Nothing. He's dead. He was a lousy president and he helped keep Gadhafi in power.
Clarence's conflict, the latest. As the Supreme Court defends Wal-Mart, he takes gifts while his wife takes political contributions from a Texas real estate tycoon. A district judge would be out of a job for that why isn't he? We'll ask Countdown contributor John Dean.
Conservative souls for sale. I know you're shocked, not that they'd sell them, that they have them. The rightwing radio host who inadvertently confirmed his opinions are available to the highest bidder.
Our opinions tonight. A Special Comment: What we are here for. Government by the people, not by the corporations.
McCain blames Arizona wildfires on illegal immigrants. No, not the blaming he did over the weekend, this is new blaming, again, this morning.
The GOP goes over the top with an Obama impersonator.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) REGGIE BROWN: My favorite month is February, Black History month. You see Michelle, she celebrates the full month, and, you know, I celebrate half."
OLBERMANN: But they only gave him the hook, when he joked about Gingrich. Another day inside the Republican cult with Markos Moulitsas and why he hasn't been on TV for a year.
And greatest cell-phone video ever.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)(No Sound)
OLBERMANN: Wait till you hear what she says on her LinkedIn profile.
All that and more, currently on "Countdown".
Good evening from New York. This is June 20th 2011, 505 days until the 2012 presidential election.
As I was saying... What was the only echo of disasters past, still missing from an unauthorized, possibly illegal, morally murky war, in which the presumed good guys keep accidentally dropping bombs on their purported allies? Correct, the endorsement of Rove and a Cheney. Karl Rove and Liz Cheney this afternoon adding their signatures to a draft version of a letter, urging Republicans in the House to attack President Obama's continuing military action in Libya. Not because he's done too much there but on the theory that he has not done enough. Michael Moore joins me in a moment.
He is most unlikely to endorse the war, conflict, or as the White House would have it, limited US role, supporting NATO's Libya bombing runs, as Rove and Miss Cheney did, when they wrote quote, "The problem is not that the President has done too much, however, but that he has done too little to achieve the goal of removing Gadhafi from power."
On the ground in Libya, Moammar Gadhafi's still very much in power, while NATO bombs today reportedly killed 15 people, including three children in an air strike in what's been described as either a command and control center or a family compound. This, after a NATO spokesman apologized on Sunday for a technical failure, in their terms, that caused a weapon to strike a home in the Libyan capital Tripoli, in an area that's been a center for protests against the Gadhafi regime. Libya's foreign ministry said the attack killed nine and injured 18. Libya's foreign minister listed the international organizations and people he blamed.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) MOUSSA IBRAHIM: This is cold-blooded murder. We hold the UN, we hold NATO, we hold Mr. David Cameron, we hold Sarkozy, we hold Obama, responsible morally and legally, for this murder, for these crimes.
OLBERMANN: All this while a debate heats up in this country over the War Powers Act and the legitimacy, if any, of this latest foreign conflict. Sunday marked 90 days since the US involvement in NATO's air war over Libya began. If this is a war or hostilities, as many on both sides of the aisle insist, then Congress must, under the act, vote whether to authorize any further involvement. But the Obama administration insists the United States is not involved in hostilities because American forces went into a quote "support mode" for NATO after the first round of strikes. This though US forces continue to supply essential logistical aid to NATO and continue to strike targets, using armed, unmanned drones. If the administration's claims sound specious to you, the New York Times lifted a few legal rocks, and reported over the weekend that the president had rejected the views of both the Pentagon's general counsel and the acting head of the justice department's departmental legal counsel, when they insisted the US was involved in hostilities that would require the War Powers Act be applied. Instead the president sought legal advice from his White House counsel and the state department's legal advisor, both of whom said hostilities were not at issue and neither was the War Powers Act. If this sort of maneuver sounds familiar, it may be because it reminds you of the Bush administration's cherry-picking of legal opinions to support the enhanced interrogation regime, aka torture, of prisoners in the so-called "War on Terror". This view, supported by Yale law professor and legal blogger Jack Balkin, who writes, quote, "Bush...arranged matters so that decisions about waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques would be in the hands of lawyers he knew would tell him yes;...Obama's strategy...also short circuits the normal process of seeking opinions...it simply does so in a different way".
When the legal battle goes on, a poll published in The Hill shows the view of overseas conflicts by the vast majority of Americans is much less legalistic. They're just tired of them. 72% saying the US is in too many foreign wars, 16% think the current level of engagement is appropriate, 12% are not sure. Count Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich in the majority on that one. He hopes to amend the upcoming defense spending bill to eliminate funds for the Libyan conflict and he has sued the White House for starting that conflict without congressional consent. In principal Kucinich seems to have the backing of much of the GOP presidential field in its New Hampshire debate last week. Gingrich, Cain, Bachmann, Paul, all opposed continuing the conflict, at least in its present form. Which is creating a split in the GOP between these candidates and the party's international wing over in the Senate.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) JOHN McCAIN: This is isolationism. There's always been an isolation strain, isolationist strain in the Republican party. If we had not intervened, Gadhafi was at the gates of Benghazi. He said he was going to go house to house to kill everybody. That's a city of over 700 000 people.
LINDSEY GRAHAM: The president's done a lousy job of communicating and managing our involvement in Libya, but I'll be no part of an effort to defund Libya or to try to cut off our efforts to bring Gadhafi down.
OLBERMANN: As promised, I'm joined now by Michael Moore. Documentary filmmaker, activist and Countdown contributor. And his films include of course "Bowling for Columbine", "Sicko" and "Capitalism: a love story". It's great to see you here, sir.
MICHAEL MOORE: I'm honored to be your first guest on your first show. I'm sorry I don't have a housewarming gift.
OLBERMANN: That's fine.
MOORE: But, this is, this is really great and ah, and you've been missed by a lot of people.
OLBERMANN: Thank you kindly, sir. All right, Libya, setting aside the rightness or wrongness of us getting involved in this in any way, for a moment. Do you have any idea why the president is doing it this way, rather than through congress?
MOORE: Cause it's the easy way to do it. I mean, it's, it's ah, why go through all that hassle, ah, when you can just order planes to engage and start bombing and whatever. I mean, he's not that much different from most of the presidents in the modern era, where they believe that they've had this right as the commander in chief. Um, they obviously have not read the constitution, which is a little strange in his case, because he's a constitutional lawyer. The Congress is the only one that really can make war. And um, and the fact that, you know, it's, it's, it's the sort of thing where, and I think, um, the disappointment with a lot of people who voted for Obama on this particular issue is, that um, we really wanted him to show the right way to do things. If you really believed in it,
MOORE: go to congress and make the case. I think there's a lot of people that I respect, I don't necessarily agree with them but I respect them, that could make the case that he made. Why not just go and do that? Um, he probably would have Congresses' support, that's the other
OLBERMANN: I was just gonna say, who would be standing in his way at this point on it? I mean just, eh, let alone of the ethics of the thing. And you presume Kucinich is operating from that point of view as he usually does.
OLBERMANN: But, but just on the politics of the thing, who was gonna stand in his way from a, from a Democratic side of this..
OLBERMANN:..after what happened with getting Bin Laden. He bought himself kind of a, kind of a blank check in what is loosely described as international affairs. Where would the opposition come from?
MOORE: It wouldn't. That's, that's what's so odd about this. Other than to just, eh, other, other than to make the case that the executive branch has more power than these other two branches. And where, you know, where we've been used recently to, to the Supreme Court essentially taking that same position. That the so-called court, that doesn't really believe that the judicial ah, part of the government should make law
MOORE: that's all they've done is make law. And, and they somehow have tipped the balance, ah, where, essentially, they have made corporations whole as persons, as citizens
MOORE: and, and has, and have said that money is now speech and they can buy candidates, ah, and the sort the third wheel in this is Congress. Like, where are they? They don't stand up to the Supreme Court on that issue, they don't stand up to the president on this issue. Um, it's not healthy for the country.
OLBERMANN: And it appears in Congress they're spending too much time there for it to be just a hobby but not enough, they're not taking it seriously for it to be a full time job. They're doing something in between, I'm not sure what it is.
MOORE: Oh, what is it?
OLBERMANN: Yeah, ah, that's, we, we can go that, we can go in some other venue, a larger question about them. But let me ask you about the specifics on Libya. McCain was in essence, although perhaps not in his deliriousness, correct. Gadhafi did threaten his own people. Was there no justification for NATO and its action including our own in your opinion?
MOORE: I think there's always justification, when you see a group of people who are going to be slaughtered or going to be killed for us or anyone to stand up and defend somebody who's going to be killed. I think you would do that out on the street. We would do that hopefully as a, as nation that has a good heart and cares about people, but I don't think that's really, really what has taken place here. And while initially, when the French planes went in in that first night, to stop the Libyan troops, who were on their way, essentially, amassed to this town to perhaps cause a lot of damage, beyond that it's like, you know, they keep bombing every compound that they think that Gadhafi is in and then turn around and say 'Well, we're not really out to get Gadhafi'. What's the problem with just saying that? What's the problem with just being honest with people? Let us have the debate. It's whether or not our military should be doing that. Because there is a list of about 20 or so other really bad guys who run countries in this world, that, if using this same criteria, we would have every right to go and bomb their presidential palace or their compound. Not that I want to suggest that but as I heard myself saying that, I think there are people in the Pentagon
OLBERMANN: I'm gonna write that down, Michael. Thank you very much!
MOORE: Damn, that's right, there are another 20! As the American people have said in the poll that you showed, people are tired of this. They don't want it and we don't have the money for it. Ah, this, this really has to stop. And, you know, we have to find other ways to do this.
OLBERMANN: Are you worried about the specifics of this situation or the parallels drawn between President Obama cherry-picking legal support for his position and whether or not they actually match up with the ones about president Bush cherry-picking legal opinions to support his decision in the cases of Guantanamo and rendition and terror and eh, and eh torture.
MOORE: Well, there's a couple of big differences between Obama doing it and, and Bush doing it. Although I think it, it's wrong on just, you know, on a base level I think it's wrong to do it. But I think Obama did it because in his heart he wanted to stop what he believed would be the slaughter of innocent people.
MOORE: Bush's reason to tell the intelligence community 'Get me some information and don't come back until you tell me there's WMD', boy, that is, you can't really compare that to Obama. Because what Bush did was to start a war under false pretenses. He knew they were false pretenses. He went and and found the evidence he needed or the people, not really the evidence but the people who would say that there was evidence and then took us into this incredible war, sad, incredible, devastating war, based on a lie. There's no lie, other than maybe, you know, they might have hyped the actual threat of how strong Gadhafi was or whatever. But I don't think Obama's motivation is to lie. But to get to where he's going he's doing a similar thing by only listening to the people who agree with him.
OLBERMANN: Why get so close. Michael Moore, the auteur of "Sicko" and "Fahrenheit 911" and and so much more and now we're so proud to say, a contributor to Countdown, you have my gratitude, sir.
MOORE: Well, I'm, again, honored to be here and I think your parents are looking down tonight and are very proud of you for keeping the good fight going and thank you on behalf of everybody who's watching.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Michael.
It is fitting at this point, I think, to tell you in the briefest of Special Comments what we intend to be doing here. This is to be a newscast of contextualization, and it is to be presented with a viewpoint: that the weakest citizen of this country is more important than the strongest corporation; that the nation is losing its independence through the malfeasance of one political party, and the timidity of another; and that even though you and I should not have to be the last line of defense, apparently we are. So we damn well better start being it.
The words of another are suited to this moment. This is from of all things Harriet Beecher Stowe's magazine profile of Abraham Lincoln, written in 1863. It pertained to the actual Civil War then, it pertains to the silent civil war being waged against us now.
"The revolution through which the American nation is passing is not a mere local convulsion.
It is a war for a principle which concerns all mankind.
It is the war for the rights of the working classes of mankind as against the usurpation of privileged aristocracies.
You can make nothing else out of it.
That is the reason why, like a shaft of light in the judgment day, it has gone through all nations. Dividing to the right and left the multitudes.
For us and our cause: all the working classes of Europe, all that toil and sweat and are oppressed.
Against us: all privileged classes - nobles, princes, bankers, and great manufacturers, and all who live at ease.
A silent instinct piercing to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, has gone through the earth and sent every soul with instinctive certainty where it belongs.
No sophistry could blind or deceive them. They knew that our cause was their cause and they have suffered their part heroically as if fighting by our side because they knew that our victory was to be their victory.
On the other side, all aristocrats and holders of exclusive privileges have felt the instinct of opposition and the sympathy with struggling aristocracy for they too feel that our victory will be their doom."
John Dean on Clarence Thomas' latest conflict of interest next.
The Supreme has today thrown out a class action sex discrimination suit and suddenly 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees are out of luck. As one legal expert put it today 'The Supreme Court made today a really good day for big business.' Meanwhile big business makes every day a really good one for the one of the men on that court for whom there is tonight another stake through the heart of his credibility. Clarence Thomas may or may not be personally corrupt but his impartiality has been irredeemably corrupted. After the revelation that he received gifts and his wife received political donations from a conservative Texas real estate high roller.
The Wal-Mart case first.
It dates back 10 years, to when Bethy Dukes said the California based store she worked at passed her over for promotions yet promoted male staffers. The court voted 9-0 to throw out this class action suit saying there was nothing really holding the different defendants or the different plaintiffs together. But it was just 5-4 on ideological lines against whether they could file another class action suit. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote the key dissent in the 5-4 vote, saying it "...disqualifies the class at the starting gate, holding that the plaintiffs cannot cross the 'commonality' line set by (the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure)."
For its part Wal-Mart released a statement saying "We are pleased with today's ruling...as the majority made clear, the plaintiffs' claims were worlds away from showing a company-wide discriminatory pay and promotion policy...Wal-Mart has a long history...of providing advancement opportunities for our female associates [and will continue its efforts to build a robust pipeline of future female leaders."]
And then there is Justice Thomas. He is reportedly been enjoying a robust pipeline full of monetary contributions to his and his wife's pet projects. According to the New York Times, conservative real estate mogul Harlan Crowe has contributed half a million dollars to Thomas' wife Virginia's Tea Party group and another $175 000 to finance a library project dedicated to Justice Thomas. Crowe also paid millions to restore a canary and museum in Thomas' home town Pinpoint, Georgia. If Thomas were a mere federal judge, these contributions would raise questions of conflict of interest. Judges are not supposed to be involved in fundraising. But because that ethical code does not apply to the Supreme Court, Thomas can wave and apparently watch the whole controversy slide by. Joining me now Countdown contributor, one time counsel to President Richard Nixon, author of "Conservatives Without Conscience", John Dean. John, thanks for being here for the first pitch ceremonies.
JOHN DEAN: Welcome back Keith, we've missed you.
OLBERMANN: Thank you kindly, sir. All right, let's start with the, with the Wal-Mart decision first. Part of it was nine-zip, part of it was 4-5. Are there implications of each that go beyond just this case?
DEAN: Well, the nine-zip is a little misleading because, really, that was on a technical issue, on back pay, ah, and the, it's really a 4-5 ideological decision. It came down based on whether they had the, eh, commonality to proceed with this lawsuit. And it's a very consistent ruling, Keith, with what this court has been doing with its conservative majority. Ah, those 5 can now drive the court and it's just right in their standard pattern of, of taking care of corporations.
OLBERMANN: The quote that I read before "This is a great day for big business" Eh, is this a great court for big business?
DEAN: It is a good court for big business. It's a good, it's a court for people with money, ah, the whole jurisprudence of this court, at least the majority of this court, ah, is to keep small players out of federal courts entirely, particularly cases that rise as high as the Supreme Court. So we're, we're, we've seen a pattern develop to when this collection of justices gathered and (theirs)this thinking has been extended, for example in the opinion today of the Wal-Mart decision. Scalia made it much more difficult for future ah, actions. Now, he, he has just one vote to do that, eh, he has a 5 to 4, but still it has direct implication for future, ah, class actions. It's gonna make it very difficult. And no one wants to individually litigate these things, no one can afford to do it. Ah, so the companies win when this happens.
OLBERMANN: So, in other words, the more employees you screw, one way or the other, the more likely you are to get away with it, I guess is the conclusion.
DEAN: Nicely put,
OLBERMANN: Thank you, (sir)
DEAN: nicely put.
OLBERMANN: That's one, one law class in four years of college. That ah, that eh, that, I got my money's worth out of that. (All right) To Clarence Thomas and his wife and their buddy and his donations and his presents. If you're, if you're a certain age this invokes the name of a justice who actually had to leave the court because of a construction not unlike this one. Tell us in brief the story of Abe Fortis.
DEAN: I was there. Ah, and what happened is, the Mitchell, ah, Department of Justice, turned to Richard Nixon, decided to aggressively try to remove a justice who had really done maybe even less than Clarence Thomas. And they did it by leveraging the situation, they threatened to go after his wife, ah, who had bin, eh, who was a practicing lawyer in the city and forced the issue by raising all kinds of problems. In fact, the great irony, Keith, is that it was Bill Rehnquist, later chief justice, while at the Department of Justice, who wrote the basic game plan for Mitchell to go after Fortis and said he could prosecute a sitting justice, if he wanted to. They didn't really have the case, ah, and I suspect they had much less than we see right now but they bluffed Cor, they bluffed Fortis right of the court. It was, it was quite striking.
OLBERMANN: Clearly Clarence Thomas is not gonna be bluffed in there and I don't think there's anybody who has the, has the leverage to triangulate him out in some way, Is there anything to be done legally to remove him with this continuing casebook being filled with, with ah, either the appearance of conflict of interest or real conflicts of interest?
DEAN: Well, what there is to be done is not likely being done. You'd ta-, ah, you'd referred earlier to eh, to the timidity of Democrats, this is not their sort of thing. Where Republicans would aggressively go after and they might use a grand jury, they might start a congressional investigation. They would find a pretext to go after this. I don't expect the Democrats to do this, ah, much to the chagrin of a lot of people who'd like to see them be more aggressive on issues like this.
OLBERMANN: Columnist, author, Countdown contributor John Dean. Very proud to be able to say the last part, John, thank you kindly.
DEAN: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: The rightwing radio host who unintentionally confirms he does sell his endorsements of rightwing causes and rightwing groups, how Fox News edited out one of Jon Stewart's key points in their interview with him and Markos Moulitsas explains, why he has barely been on TV for a year. Ahead on Countdown, only on Current.
On this date in 1837 a young woman just 27 days past her 18th birthday took a new job. Women employed as anything but cooks, nannies or wet nurses were unusual in 1837 but this one went into management. Her new gig that started on June 20th, I tell you as I start my new gig on June 20th, merely lasted 73 1/2 years. She was Queen Victoria. And if I last here as long as she did there, I'll be doing this till I'm 125 years old. Here's our nightly break from the madness, a segment we call "Time Marches on!"
Bellvue, Washington, hello! Where the Bellvue square Microsoft store has found a new way to attract customers: cute kids who can dance. How did it take them so long to come up with this? Anyway, this dancing tween clearly has the skills to pay the bills. The question becomes, is this kid more talented than our past dance champion, the little superstar. If I'd had to pick a winner in this, I'd have to keep the title with the little superstar since he does not have any technological assistance. But I think there is only one way to settle this: worldwide dance off. Or: possibly a class action child labor lawsuit the Supreme Court can throw out.
To Beverly Hills, where Brendon and Brenda Walsh are up to their old tricks. Ah, maybe not but I do miss that show. Instead we have a collection of old Hollywood dresses up for auction that were amassed over 50 years by the actress Debby Reynolds. Some of the more noteworthy pieces include a ceremonial headdress worn by Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, the blue Dorothy dress worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" but the piece de resistance was a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in "The 7 year itch", that one, nicknamed "the subway great dress" for that reason. And that dress sold for just $4.6 million. I got $25 an hour and it took hours and hours, you'd be surprised.
Finally we travel to Tokyo with our continuing coverage of our future robot masters. Ryuma Niiyama has spent the last three years as a robot. No, no, he's working on building a robot who can run and jump. He started with the simple premise get the robot to leap up onto the chair, chair jump achieved, the next step a little more, yeah. From way downtown, bang. I'm, off for 5 months and they still haven't perfected this? Finally, time for a quick jog. Off to a good start, then it pulls a hammy. Ah yup, the Albert Pujols the.. Overall the robot they have named athlete perhaps ironically marks a substantial leap forward in robotic movement and a small step towards Olympic testing for robotic limbs, Lee Majors. Time marches on.
The rightwing radio talker who just admitted they basically auction off their endorsements of causes and groups. Next.
Whatever time you're seeing this, we want you to know that we're live at 8 pm eastern, the primary replay is at 11 pm eastern / 8pm pacific. We're also replayed at 2am, 4am, 7am, 10am, noon, 3pm and 6pm. Watch all nine editions and you win a pony. Also there is web only stuff at Countdown online. We will be cutting back to five replays next week.
Ninety percent of the time the safety and security of the democracy has been assured not by law, not by bravery, not by foresight but by the stupidity of those who would erase that safety and security. The website Politico wrote last week that rightwing talkers like Rush Limbaugh, Lonesome Rhodes Beck and Mark Levin in essence sell their endorsements of rightwing causes and groups to the highest bidder. Levin promptly attacked the author of the piece and in so doing he inadvertently confirmed that this soul selling system is in place. Levin defended his sell out to a group called Americans for Prosperity by questioning the standards of Ken Vogel, the reporter for politico who exposed Levin's murky funding from his rightwing sugar daddies. On the website 'Human Events' Levin wrote "Politico self-identifies as a news operation. Yet, it is also a commercial operation... Kenneth Vogel, his colleagues, his bosses, and the investors behind Politico, earn their salaries and revenue based on the ability of Politico to attract advertisers...Conservative talk hosts do not hide their opinions or pretend that they are journalists, which is the lie perpetuated by many so-called news outlets, like Politico...This would be obvious to most observers. But apparently not Politico and Vogel. Kenneth Vogel's unprofessionalism and ideologically-driven writing would be better practiced on an avowedly left-wing site." Notice that there was not the slightest hint of a denial in there. Levin was the only one to give away the store while trying to defend it but he's not the only one guilty of shilling based on who'll pay him the most. What you will hear next what introduced to a radio audience as a legitimate news story about a nuclear treaty.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) RUSH LIMBAUGH: Now the good people of the Heritage Foundation been asking these questions way before it hit your newspaper. And the heritage bunch have been prodding Republicans in Washington. They've asked some questions of their own and they are. ... it's a perfect example of the kind of work Heritage does on our behalf, on behalf of the United States. They are constantly focused on our liberties and our freedoms and what must be done to defend them. Not only do you have to look at it on the merits but the effect it will have on liberty and freedom in this country. In fact you can go to askheritage.org right now and check out their 10 reasons why America shouldn't ratify the treaty. And it's el freebo. You can read it for nothing. Heritage.org memberships are available to each of you, they start at $25 a year and they go up from there depends on eh how much you wanna pay.
OLBERMANN: There's the old joke of eh about Michael Jordan if they invented a jockstrap that you wore on your head he'd do a commercial for it. But the most refreshingly transparent host is old Lonesome Rhodes Beck who is sponsored by Freedom Works and presents as his TV pundit guest a mouthpiece from Freedom Works.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) GLENN BECK: Well, let me go to Matt Kibbe, 'cause that's what your job is at Freedom Works. You try to put the coalition of of power together. And it really is frightening, Matt.
MATT KIBBE: Sort of forgetting the fundamental mandate from our founders.
OLBERMANN: No shot at Jordan there. I was actually just saying Jordan it's a joke, Limbaugh it's the truth. Joining me now from Washington the co-author of the Politico piece on ideology for sale and target of the assault from a high-pitched commentator, Kenneth Vogel. Ken, good evening, good to see you.
KENNETH VOGEL: Hey, great to be back with you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Headline here Levin attacked you but wound up confirming your story in essence.
KENNETH VOGEL: Yeah, that's right. He didn't really question any of the eh of our reporting. In fact he confirmed that he has this relationship and other folks have told us that these types of situations are on the rise. But they say, however, that this has long been going on in radio. And of course it has. If you listen to eh talk radio or morning drive time radio you can hear people pitching pizza shops or urging their listeners to go get their car repaired at a certain garage but this seems to us to be quite a bit different in that what these guys are selling and what their sponsors are selling is political ideology. And they're incredibly popular. They have millions of listeners and these groups have benefited from these sponsorships to the tune of tens of thousands of new members and increased contributions, which have made them all the more powerful in advocating the types of policies that they're pushing in Washington. So, it's quite a bit different than just buying pizza or eh getting your muffler changed at a at at a particular garage.
OLBERMANN: Ah, but does it matter to conservative talk listeners that the choice of which flavor of Koolaid they're being given at a at a given hour is the result of advertising dollars rather than some sort of actual editorial choice.
KENNETH VOGEL: Well, talking to ah conservative ah other folks in the conservative movement who have similarly been made aware somewhat recently of this phenomenon, they do believe that there're that there're some listeners who are misled by these types of arrangements because of the way that these hosts seamlessly weave the advertising together with the contents of the with the content of their shows. Ah in fact there was this specific case that was mentioned to me ah involving Glenn Beck, who actually started his own Tea Party group at one point and was really aggressively advocating for them, ah had some of their members and leaders on his website and then as soon as he entered the sponsorship agreement with Freedom Works which probably pays him on the order of a million dollars a year,
KENNETH VOGEL: he ended up shutting out this other group and instead endorsing Freedom Works. So it does raise the specter which conservatives are acutely sensitive to as a result to some of the Abramoff, Ralf, Reid, ah Native-American gaming relationships of this pay-to-play.
OLBERMANN: Ah, did you look into that, into whether there is some sort of equivalence here to the disc jockey scandals in radio in the 50s, the Payola thing where they took money to play individual records or as long as they put it on their taxes is it still legal.
KENNETH VOGEL: Well it is totally legal. And the only thing that would make it improper is if in fact they were advocating or saying something that they did not believe in the advertising, Which would make it sort of false advertising. What surprised some of the conservatives who I talked to though is sort of the blatant nature in which some of the distributors and ad sales people where hawking not just advertisements but content. Whole blocks of programming where they say if you enter into an arrangement we will guarantee that once every week we will have a segment. Some of them called it magic moments or embedded advertising where they will build an entire segment, content, sometimes around the news, that basically touts this organization. Its initiatives, its membership in it in a way that is not exactly clear that it's advertising.
OLBERMANN: Well, as you can see I'm utterly shocked by this and I can barely contain my, my amazement that this is the arrangement in, in conservative radio. Ken Vogel of Politico. Reporter and correspondent and apparently not seriously scarred by Mark Levin. Great thanks, good work on the story too.
KENNETH VOGEL: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: It may be called Worst Persons but tonight it has the best cell phone video ever. And Jon Stewart going on Fox News complaining about bad news ethics like selective editing and then getting that comment about it selectively edited out. Ahead.
He does an interview with Fox about honesty and bias in news, they deceivingly edit out the moment when he calls out their dishonest biased news executive by name. Worst Persons ahead. And Markos Moulitsas on those Republicans lurking in the weeds, the ones who seem to be smoking them as we go inside the Republican cult.
John McCain in trouble for blaming wild fires on illegal immigrants, John Huntsman in trouble because his family business is in bed with Iran, Markos Moulitsas on another day inside the Republican cult and why he hasn't really been on TV for 13 months.
First, time for Countdown's top three nominees for today's "Worst Person In The World."
The bronze... to Sarah Palin.
She has apparently succeeded... in patenting herself.
Politics-Daily report the deadline to protest her bid with the Patent Office passed on Friday.
Thus: the term "Sarah Palin" is now trademarked in two commercial categories.
The first: "information about political elections" and "providing a website featuring information about political issues."
The second? For "educational and entertainment services."
OK. The entertainment - I'm buying.
But a patent for the term "Sarah Palin" for "education"?
That patent... is an idiot.
The runners-up: a tie between Bill Sammon, Washington Bureau Chief of Fixed News, and front-man Chris Wallace.
Wallace as you know interviewed Jon Stewart for "Fox Noise Sunday"...
And it turns out Fox edited out one key moment of their conversation. You would have seen this:
"It reminds me of, you know - you know, in ideological regimes, they can't understand that there is free media other places. Because they receive marching orders." "Do you think I get marching orders?" Do you think I get marching orders.
Unfortunately there was something edited out - and clearly it was too brief to have been edited out for time:
After Stewart said "Because they receive marching orders" - and this is from the actual tape of the unedited interview - he added...
"It reminds me of, you know - you know, in ideological regimes, they can't understand that there is free media other places. Because they receive marching orders. And if you want me to go through Bill Sammon's emails and... Do you think I've ever... How do you explain me? Oh I think you do a nice job and I've told you that on the show. I think you're one of the most interesting... Do you think I get my marching orders?" Do you think I get marching orders.
A guy alleges that Fox News Executive Bill Sammon is sending marching orders by email, and they just happen to edit it out.
Presumably after receiving marching orders from Bill Sammon.
The winner: Hermon Raju... who is reportedly the... woman on the train.
You haven't seen the video of the woman on the train?
The greatest cell-phone video ever?
For the first time in the last million occurrences, a conductor on New York's suburban commuter rail line, "Metro-North," actually intervened when the passenger you've been stuck next to at least once on a plane, or bus, or train... not only talked too loudly, but was also allegedly swearing.
We join the lady, going off the rails, on a crazy train - already in progress.
Ms. Raju - the alleged well-educated commuter - has a profile on the job site "Linked-In" in which she claims to have, quote.
"Excellent management and communication skills...
She also asserts that she is a, quoting again, "Highly proficient professional with a passion for pushing limits on expectations".
So, it's okay then, she was just showing her excellent communication skills by pushing limits on expectations.
Hermon Raju - likely to be driving to her folks from now on - today's Worst... Person... In The World!
To wrap it up with our inside the Republican cult segment, Senator John McCain has today doubled down on his weekend claim that the so-called Wallow fire which has already consumed 519 000 acres along the Arizona/New Mexico border, was started by illegal immigrants. He says quote "I was briefed by the Forest Service about the fact that illegal immigrants sometimes start these fires". Then he claimed he never said he meant that particular fire. Then he cited an LA Times story supposedly supporting his claim. The LA Times version of that pretty much sums the whole thing up.
McCain quote "also cited a Los Angeles Times report backing his claim, although it was unclear which story he was referring to." And he of all the Republicans, who have run for president or might yet do so, may still have had the best day today. Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos joins me in a moment.
The Republican National Leadership Conference in New Orleans this weekend turned into a battle among the candidates for who could claim the medal of being the most conservative of all the conservatives. And it was also of course an opportunity to take some shots at the president. The tone for the conference, set by that man, Reggie Brown, an Obama impersonator, who tore into the president for economic policies, Libya, bad golf game, nah now, he went after the same thing conservatives have latched onto since Obama declared his candidacy, his race.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) REGGIE BROWN: we're more than half-way through June already. Now, ah, my favorite month is February, Black History Month. You see, Michelle, she celebrates the full month and, you know, I celebrate half.
OLBERMANN: Where this crowd of red meat Republicans racially charged jokes for like cat nip, they responded with resounding applause, as you heard. But when the comedian started laying into the hide of the GOP candidates, the crowd's response was negative enough to get the guy forcibly escorted from the stage.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) REGGIE BROWN: You got your front runner, Mitt Romney. Now, don't get me wrong, he might make a great president along with his first lady, ah, second lady, ah third lady. I gotta go. God bless you, god bless the United States, god bless America. Thank you.
OLBERMANN: While the impersonator got the proverbial boot, the guy who really got the Republican crowd going was the man in the cowboy boots. Tough talking, budget slashing, secession hinting, hair dyed Texas governor Rick Perry. He urged the GOOP to move even further to the right, stop playing nice for Democrats, like some other candidates have been accused of doing, I'm looking at you Mr. Romneycare.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) RICK PERRY: We need to stop apologizing for celebrating life. We need to stop apologizing for wanting to protect an individual's right to build a business. We need to stop apologizing about stemming the tide of entitlement mindset that's out there. And and our loudest opponents on the left are never gonna like us, so let's quit trying to curry favor with them. Let's stand up. Let's speak with pride about our morals and our values and and redouble our effort to elect more conservative Republicans. Let's stop this American downward spiral.
OLBERMANN: Will you jack it down, pal. Perry has yet to formally enter the race but among those who have, Ron Paul won the most recent straw poll. Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and ambassador to china's second. However, his campaign's off to a rocky start. Reports that Huntsman Corp, the chemical company founded by his father, sold a substance in Iran that could be used to manufacture missiles. So now not only does Mr. Huntsman have to defend himself against criticism that he's too cozy with the Obama administration, now he's got to explain why his family's company might be supplying Iran with weapons grade material. Speaking of weapons grade material, the Democratic party is never without it as long as it is talking internally. Last week's Netroots in Minneapolis, Kaili Joy Gray, associate editor of Daily Kos took White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer to the woodshed regarding the president's struggle to fulfill the promises he made in his 2008 campaign.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) KAILI JOY GRAY: If it's impossible to get these things done or almost impossible to get these things done, unless he has a supermajority in the House and the Senate, and even when he did he said it was still next to impossible to get these things done, what difference does it make whether we reelect him.
DAN PFEIFFER: We passed the recovery act, repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell, we passed healthcare, we passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, we made it so the FDA can regulate tobacco
GRAY: Well, Don't Ask Don't Tell, I mean, you're still firing people for being gay, so
OLBERMANN: Our David Shuster reported that Mr. Pfeiffer was actually chosen by the White House to go to a Netroots because he seemed to look the most deserving of sympathy. Nevertheless, despite the human sacrifice, a whopping 80% of attendees said that regardless, next year they'll vote to reelect the president.
Pleasure to be led through the jungle of rightwing extremism by the founder and publisher of DailyKos.com, now Countdown contributor Markos Moulitsas. It's good to talk to you. Thanks for your time tonight, my friend.
MARKOS MOULITSAS: Oh, it feels, you know it's been a while but it feels like it was just yesterday I was just in front of the camera talking to you. So I'm so thrilled to have you back. I don't know if having the gig about walking through that rightwing nutjob mind field is really a gift or
MOULITSAS: something positive but I'll, I'll, I'll embrace it.
OLBERMANN:Yeah, it's a punishment
MOULITSAS: Let's do it.
OLBERMANN: It's a punishment. It's a punishment. Did, did, ah, star, something of self-sense. Did Jon Huntsman just blow away?
MOULITSAS: Ah, you know, Jon Huntsman, I don't know if he was ever gonna be sure inside, I think he was trying to buy for the media darling role because there, there, the rightwing grassroots, they were never gonna embrace him. I mean this guy was in the Obama administration. He believes in global warming. Ah, so, he really had a tough, ah, slot to begin with. Of course what this shows is that Republicans don't really believe all that rhetoric about being tough on terrorism and whatnot. If they can make a buck off that stuff, they'll make a buck, ah, in a heartbeat. But of course this gives ammunition to his opponents. Not sure they needed that much ammunition, but it does make his tough slot pretty much an impossible one.
OLBERMANN: Are all the candidates of the moment doomed anyways? Is this gonna be about Jeb Bush riding out on his Paul Revere horse at the last minute?
MOULITSAS: Ah, I, I, I, to me, ah I, I, I don't see Jeb, ah, coming out this year. Ah, I think all the most serious Republican candidates, and I use serious in quotes but the most serious to them Republican candidates, I think they're gonna buy for 2016 at an open field. Because it's gonna be tough to unseat Barack Obama. It's always tough to defeat an incumbent. The may look at the economy, they may do their best to tank the economy, they may try to st, try to prevent the debt ceiling to be raised to try to tank the economy. They'll do whatever they can. But ultimately I think Obama's in a much better position now then the Democrats will be in 2016. So I think all the most serious, tough candidates, they'll buy their time and wait four years.
OLBERMANN: So, let's go a little longer. We're gonna continue past the top of the hour, ah, nearly every night. I'm sorry I forgot to tell everybody. Ah, I've gotta ask you this. I haven't been on television since January this year but you haven't been on cable television since May 12 2010. Why for?
MOULITSAS: Well, it seems that your old boss had a little problem with me. I was under the impression that you were in charge of your own guests, that you can decide who can speak on your show and those of Ed Schulz and Rachel Maddow and the rest of the line up on MSNBC. Turns out that Joe Scarborough has veto power over who can speak in everybody else's shows. So I got in a little Twitter war with him. I mean this is a Twitter war with Joe Scarborough. Apparently I made him cry, he went crying to Phil Griffin, your old boss, and he decided that I would not be allowed back on MSNBC until I apologized to Joe Scarborough. I offered to buy him a fainting couch for Christmas, ah some hankies to wipe away the tears but apparently none of those were good enough, they needed an apology. So I found it very, kind of, bizarre, that the lowest rated morning show host, in all of cable news, was dictating the guest list at the only show on cable news that cracked Fox News' stranglehold on the top ten. I mean yours was the most successful show not just on MSNBC but one of the most successful shows on cable, yet Joe Scarborough, a, a, such a loser host was dictating who you could talk to.
OLBERMANN: Well, regardless of what all that might have been or not been, did you try to do anything to mend those bridges?
MOULITSAS: Ah, you know, we, we, tried to, I mean I tried to talk to Joe Sc, to Phil Griffin and ah the fact is he wanted this apology and and that was what it was gonna take and I, I just didn't think that an apology, first of all, was warranted. And second of all I would think that somebody who is a political host would have a bit of a thick skin, you know. God knows I get assaulted every day by my, my colleagues on the right. I don't sit there and demand apologies. I get attacked from my friends on the left. I don't demand an apology. It comes with the territory. You gonna get arrows slung at you and you just sort of shrug them off and you carry forth because you believe in what you believe in. Joe Scarborough apparently couldn't hack it and so went crying to his superiors to try to do something about it.
OLBERMANN: You print your best or worst hate mail, don't you? I mean you publish it on the website.
MOULITSAS: I do. I mean this comes with the territory. I mean people all the time, you know, my readers say 'I can't believe you read through this stuff.' Ah, I read through the stuff, I mean it happens, it comes with the territory. So I'm not afraid of it. I have a thick skin though. I understand that I'm gonna be accused of all horrible things. Ah, 99.9% of them being wrong, scandalous, potentially libelous. It comes with the territory, I slug it off, I shrug it off and I move forward.
OLBERMANN: Well, that's all, it's kind of a sad story you told us just there, Markos.
MOULITSAS: It's not a, well, might have been a sad story. I think it is a thrilling story. I'm happy that now you're here, you got a new show, you're on a network where you get to call the shots as far as I can tell. I'm not exactly behind the scenes but it looks like you're in a good situation. I like your boss quite a bit. And, and ah, I think we're, I'm gonna do everything I can to help you build something incredible because we have very few voices on television of any sort, good, strong, populist, progressive voices. And I, you know I believe you're a national treasure and I can't wait to do everything I can to make your show a success.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, sir. Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos and now Countdown contributor. Great thanks. All right, that's Countdown. Up next on Vanguard the newest nightmare of Oxycontin: "Gateway to Heroin" including pharmacy jacking, which may have been the intent of a murderous attack yesterday at a suburban New York City drug store.
I'm Keith Olbermann. Thank you for helping us preserve freedom of news. Good night and good luck.