Thursday, August 25, 2011

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, August 25th, 2011
video 'podcast'

ShowPlug1: Cheney Throws Colleagues, Facts, under the bus in new memoir "They Call Me Dick." (OK, it's really "In My Time")

ShowPlug2: Contributors @JeremyScahill and @JohnWDean on claims about waterboarding, and trashing of Rice, Powell, Tenet, even Bush

ShowPlug3: Romney On The Run -fight with a voter; Rove calls Palin "thin-skinned," and Perry compares gays to alcoholics w/ @BrianBeutler

ShowPlug4: Cantor demanding budget cuts before he'd support Emergency Funding for earthquake, hurricane, in HIS OWN DISTRICT

ShowPlug5: @KarlFrisch assesses the political self-destruction and the inhumanity; I'll tell of my weird meeting w/Cantor in 2009

ShowPlugLast: Moammar's amazing wardrobe, and more amazing obsession with Condoleezza. Leezza with 2 Z's, + @MikeyMusto

watch whole playlist

#5 'Cheney Fact Check', Jeremy Scahill

#5 'With Friends Like These', John Dean
YouTube, (excerpt)

#4 'Right and Righter', Brian Beutler

# Time Marches On!

#3 'Tough Luck, Folks', Karl Frisch
YouTube, (excerpt)

#2 Worst Persons: Phillip Hinkle (R-IN), Rep. Steve Southerland, Frank McCourt, YouTube

#1 'Condi Crush?', Michael Musto

printable PDF transcript

KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

Cheney, unrepentant.

Cheney, unconscious!


JAMIE GANGEL: In your view, we should still be using enhanced interrogation?




GANGEL: No regrets?


CHENEY: No regrets.


GANGEL: Should we still be water boarding terror suspects?


CHENEY: I would strongly support using it again if circumstances arose where we had a high-value detainee, and that was the only way we could get him to talk.

OLBERMANN: Cheney's autobiography.

He wanted to bomb Syria four years ago.

Felt better positioned to run the country on 9/11 than Bush.

Trashes Powell, tried to get him fired.

Trashes Tenet, says he quit "when the going got tough."

Trashes Rice, calls her naive, and said she came to him once in tears.

And admits he was unconscious for weeks in 2010.

He was only unconscious for weeks, and only in 2010?

The Cheney Memoir, "They Call Me Dick."

Romney on the Run.


MITT ROMNEY: You had your turn.

You had your turn, madam, let me have mine.

Let me have mine.

Listen, I'll give you the microphone in a moment, but let me complete.

I'm sorry, it's my turn, you had yours, now it's my turn.

Would you please hold on a moment and let me finish?

OLBERMANN: He's not happy.

Also Perry versus homosexuality, he equates it to alcoholism.

And Palin versus Rove.


KARL ROVE: But it is a sign of enormous thin skin that if we speculate about her, she gets upset.

OLBERMANN: And Cantor versus his own constituents.

An earthquake epicenter in his district.

Hurricane Irene, headed right for his own district.

And he still won't support Federal relief without budget cuts.


ERIC CANTOR: We've had discussions about these things before, and those monies will be offset with appropriate savings or cost-cutting elsewhere.

OLBERMANN: And Moammar Gadhafi, the fashion plate, Gadhafi, the Condoleezza Rice stalker?

Found in his compound, two Condi Rice photo albums, and a poem in free verse.

"I support my darling black African woman. I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders. Leezza, Leezza, Leezza, I love her very much." I thought it was pronounced Liza Minnelli.

"Who knew?" with Michael Musto.

All that and more, now on "Countdown."


LIZA MINNELLI: Come to the Cabaret.

OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York, this is Thursday, August 25th, 439 days until the 2012 presidential election.

And you thought you wouldn't have Dick Cheney to kick around any more.

Instead, parts of the 46th vice president's memoir "In My Time" are leaking left and right.

His first TV interview is everywhere, and thus it becomes our time to vet Cheney's sometimes seemingly delusional history of his two terms with George W. Bush.

The fifth story on the "Countdown," the former vice president throws truth, and nearly everybody he worked with under the bus.

John Dean will evaluate the scorched earth, and Jeremy Scahill, the fractured fairytale that is Cheney's version of events.

Mr. Cheney must have high hopes for his memoir, proudly telling NBC News, "There are going to be heads exploding all over Washington."

And if there is one American politician who knows about that topic it's Dick Cheney -- ask his quail-hunting pal Harry Wittington.

We start the metaphorical body count with his chief rival in W's administration, Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Mr. Cheney said Powell tried to undermine Bush when he shared some of his private doubts about the conduct of the Iraq war.

"It was as though Powell thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government."

I have a theory to what he's talking about there, in a moment.

Cheney admits he also pushed to get Powell outside the government, asking Bush to dump the Secretary of State after his 2004 re-election.

Powell announced his resignation on November 15th of that year.

Former CIA Chief George Tenet also gets the Cheney treatment, the former VP blasting Tenet for having resigned in 2004 when the going got tough, an act he called unfair to the president.

Former National Security Advisor and Colin Powell successor Condoleezza Rice also gets Cheneyed.

Described as naïve for trying to negotiate a nuclear weapons pact with North Korea.

And Cheney gets personal with Condi over part of the White House misinformation campaign in the lead-up to the war in Iraq.

Cheney writing that he disagreed with White House aides who thought an apology was owed the nation, if not the world, for the misleading claim that Iraq had acquired uranium ore for its nonexistent nuclear program from the African nation of Niger.

A claim that led to the trashing, as you know, of former Ambassador Joe Wilson, and the outing, as you know, of his CIA agent wife Valerie Plame.

According to Cheney, Rice ultimately became convinced he, Cheney, was right.

In fact, so convinced, "she came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk and tearfully admitted I had been right."

While Cheney was perhaps the foremost defender of White House secrecy in the Bush Administration, he does not mind violating a few secrets now that he's out of the White House.

Writing that, Bush came to him on numerous occasions for advice, and detailing their disagreement on whether or not to strike at Saddam Hussein at the war's start.


GANGEL: Do you think President Bush will feel betrayed that you've revealed these private conversations?


CHENEY: I don't know why he should.


GANGEL: You don't think so?




GANGEL: You have always said that you believe the president deserves to be able to trust the people around him.


CHENEY: Right.


GANGEL: By revealing these differences, you don't think you're betraying that trust?



OLBERMANN: And Cheney sticks by a decision that will always stay in the Bush Administration and the country it led -- the use of water boarding.

A form of torture, illegal under both U.S. and international law, to interrogate supposed top terror suspects.


CHENEY: I would strongly support using it again if circumstances arose where we had a high-value detainee.

That's was the only way we could get him to talk.

OLBERMANN: Thanks a lot, Dick.

As I said, we'll vet this in two ways, first Cheney's new revised history of the second Bush Administration with Jeremy Scahill, "Countdown" Contributor and national security reporter for "The Nation."

He's in Milwaukee tonight.

Jeremy, good evening.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The New York Times is also reporting on this, that Cheney says he was -- and I'm going to read the word from the piece of paper so I know I am not making a mistake, an "outlier" in the Bush Administration, who criticized other advisors who took what he considered the misguided course about national security.

Was Cheney out of the Bush Administration mainstream?

I mean, wasn't he playing Bush like a two-dollar banjo for eight years?

SCAHILL: For all practical purposes, especially when it came to U.S. counter-terrorism policy or war policy, Dick Cheney was the president of the United States, at least in the first term of President Bush.

I mean, this was a guy, who along with Donald Rumsfeld, was micro-managing every aspect of the U.S.-targeted assassination program, was responsible for a radical privatization of the war industry, primarily through Halliburton, the company he headed throughout the '90s and then gave the keys to the kingdom when he then became vice president.

And was at the center of pushing for the most outrageous, illegal torture tactics to be employed. But I do think it's telling that he considered himself an outlier, it just shows how extreme this man is that some of those wacky neo-cons in there probably thought Cheney was a bit off of his rocker.

But no, he very much had his finger on the trigger.

And that was very frightening, particularly for the first four years of the Bush Administration.

OLBERMANN: Do you have a sense that this whole president is in charge, vice president is the back-up premise eluded him throughout that eight years?

SCAHILL: Well, you know, I never thought I would hear myself say this, Keith, but I think in a way, we have to be grateful that Bush was the president that day and not Dick Cheney because I think it could have actually been a lot worse.

And I say that as someone who has been to Iraq, Afghanistan, to many of these war zones.

No, I mean, Dick Cheney was very much at the center of this, very much driving some of the worst policies of that era and was just an aggressive lunatic when it came to -- he had obsession with killing people and corporal mutilation.

He says that he is going to make heads explode in Washington.

Well, he has a long track record of making heads explode around Iraq, Afghanistan, elsewhere.

OLBERMANN: How sad that that's absolutely, literally true.

You mentioned how it could have been worse if the roles had been officially reversed.

The Times also reported that Cheney also says he was the only member of the Bush Cabinet to support bombing a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, in June 2007.

Something the Israeli Air Force wound up doing that September.

And by the way, he seems to be shocked that he was the only member of the cabinet who thought this was a good idea.

Is he correct, to our knowledge?

Is he simply trying to demonstrate that he was the most radical, maybe unhinged member of the Bush Cabinet?

What's the story behind Syria and the proposal to bomb that plant?

SCAHILL: Well, first of all, let's not forget that U.S. Special Operations Forces from the Joint Special Operations Command, which Dick Cheney had a very, very close relationship with general Stanley McCrystal, who ran JSOC through that term.

They did actually go into Syria in an operation that was supported by Black Water, a company very close to Dick Cheney.

And Cheney, clearly, was pushing to expand the domino pushing down of all of these countries in that region.

They wanted to redraw the maps.

And the sort of elephant in the room here is Iran.

Dick Cheney was a big-league supporter of also bombing Iran, and I think that the Syria case is probably mild in comparison to what he was saying behind closed doors about what he wanted to do with Iran, and taking out not only its nuclear facilities but trying to impact regime change there, as>
OLBERMANN: And, of course, we can't go without talking about the use of water boarding.

Has Mr. Cheney not, in affect, in this, just by agreeing with the interviewer's use of the term, hasn't he declared himself guilty of violating domestic law?

Hasn't he declared himself guilty of violating international law, and pretty much taken the rest of the Bush Administration with him?

I mean, it's not going to appear in a court anywhere likely, but at least in the court of public opinion, didn't he just damn them all to hell?

SCAHILL: Right, I mean, well, you know, the fact is that Dick Cheney has been the big pit bull in going after President Obama and saying, you know, that Barack Hussein Obama is soft on terror and basically isn't keeping us safe.

While at the same time it's President Obama, whose policy of looking forwards, not backwards, keeps Dick Cheney safe when he talks openly of having been involved with what I think many legal analysts would say was criminal activity, in the form of torture.

Violations of not only U.S. law, but international law, and I mean, I think we always have to come back to this, Keith.

We can't forget what these people were responsible for, and I think it's one of the shameful aspects of this administration that they've taken a position that they're not going to hold those individuals accountable, including Dick Cheney.


It was a bad starting point and unfortunately it's a good guide to the next group that wants to try the same thing.

Jeremy Scahill, "Countdown" contributor, National Security Reporter for "The Nation."

As always thanks for your time, Jeremy.

SCAHILL: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: All right, let's look, as I said, at Vice President Cheney's torching of his former colleagues, and I'm joined by the Nixon White House counsel, "Countdown" Contributor, author of "Conservatives Without Conscience," John Dean.

Good evening, John.

JOHN DEAN: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Uh, Mr. Cheney's obsession with secrecy in the White House is well known and yet this seems to be perhaps the most, certainly the most highly placed tell-all book to come out of the White House.

I find a certain incongruity there.

I'm wondering if you think Mr. Cheney does.

DEAN: Well, I'd suspect he does not.

He is a classic authoritarian personality.

We're seeing it in his book.

He was certainly demonstrated as vice president, and while he can set rules for others, he has his own rules, and he can't see any hypocrisy in what he's doing, and so this is just fine by his standards.

OLBERMANN: Some of the people that he goes through we'll go through ourselves, sort of one by one.

Colin Powell, he attacked him for trying to undermine Bush by expressing his private doubts about the war to people outside the government.

And I'm assuming, by the way, that that's the famous last great interview with Tim Russert, where as he begins to talk about how we were wrong, or we had the wrong information when he went to the U.N., the press aide tries to cut it off, and he overrules the press aide to make sure that he tells the truth on that interview.

Did, do we know, did Bush consider Powell to be disloyal?

And what is the loyalty, incidentally?

There's always the two-way street, what's the loyalty of sending a military hero like Colin Powell to the U.N. with a satchel load of made-up information to try to rationalize an illegal war?

DEAN: Well, as you recall, also, it was Cheney's office that tried to push the documents in front of Powell and tell him, and write the speech for him that Powell at least rejected a lot of the information, but it was clear they set Powell up.

They were using his good name.

They were using his credibility in front of the rest of the world because they were already teetering as to their credibility.

And made him, in effect, their spokesperson, feeding him bad information, and it was, you know, he was being a team player, and now for Cheney to come out and cut him down at the knees is a typical kind of Cheney action.

OLBERMANN: And George Tenet, he criticizes George Tenet for quitting in 2004, and said that's when the going got tough.

Is there any explanation of that, because I had the impression, at least the Bush Administration professed that the going had gotten tough around 9/11, 2001?

DEAN: I think that's correct.

And I think if you recall, also, they ignored some of the earlier warnings about 9/11 from Richard Clarke, that the going might get tough.

They didn't want to hear that.

You know, I think this, again, is some sour grapes.

This is a score-settling book.

He obviously had differences with Tenet, couldn't get Tenet to give him the intelligence he wanted.

You recall, he was one that was driving out, a very unusual act for a vice president to go out to Langley, and go through the analysis, himself, and push them around a little bit.

So he's trying to set the historical record by his terms, but I don't think he's going to succeed, Keith.

OLBERMANN: You touched on this earlier, and I want to pick up on the thread before we're done.

And you touched on it obviously in your book.

Cheney -- about "Conservatives Without Conscience," sort of a meta sense, but Cheney had this reputation of being the sober adult room, at least during -- adult in the room, at least during the first Bush Administration, at least before 9/11.

This man has now repeatedly trashed the people with whom he worked.

You had written previously of him that his career was marked by upward mobility and downward performance.

What -- what's the value of this book?

I mean, we can't look to it for loyalty.

We can't look to it for factuality.

Is this another one of these wonderful, original source documents that you could use towards explaining the premise of "Conservatives Without Conscious"?

Is this sort of the litmus test, is it a Rorschach test?

What is it?

DEAN: I think he's gonna show, very clearly, the pattern of a very prototypical authoritarian.

From the clips I've seen of the book, his interview, from the little bit that was in the "New York Times" review of the book, this is -- this is very typical of this kind of behavior.

It's not a book, as you say, that's gonna be historically important for its factual.

I think it's going to be more telling about the personality and nature of the vice president, and help us put him in perspective, and a proper perspective.

It's not a perspective he's necessarily gonna want to be put in.

OLBERMANN: It might be a good idea if you're gonna go out and read this book.

Get a copy of "Conservatives Without Conscience," and sort of alternate back and forth.

You'll understand both much better.

The "Countdown" Contributor, the author of that book and columnist, John Dean, as always, thanks, John.

DEAN: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: As yet, we have not heard Dick Cheney trash Karl Rove.

We have, however, just heard Karl Rove trash Sarah Palin.

And Eric Cantor trash his own constituents, and Mitt Romney trash the audience, and Rick Perry trash the gay people.

It's "take out the trash" night, that's next.

This is "Countdown."


MAN: At Current TV, we salute the insightful perspective.

OLBERMANN: A reasonable Republican might run in the opposite direction.

Good luck finding one.

MAN: At Current TV, we celebrate journalistic integrity.

WOMAN: Vanguard is going out there and aggressively pursuing stories that we believe are important.

MAN: At Current TV, we expect accountability.

MAN #2: There's the school sign.

Here's the cigarette stand.

No one has any problem with this?

MAN: And Current TV creates the commentary that drives the truth.

This is the new Current TV.

OLBERMANN: Ronald Regan yelling about how he was paying for that microphone, worked wonders.

Mitt Romney, in a confrontation with a voter, not so much.

Eric Cantor cares about nobody, not even the people who voted for him, the ones who live at the epicenter of the earthquake and now have a hurricane bearing down at them.

He still will not support federal funds for disasters for them, unless the Democrats cut something.

This is Indiana state representative, Philip Hinkle.

Phil voted for a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and woman.

But sex, that can still be between him and an 18-year-old boy.

And some people obsess over Liza with a "z."

He obsessed with Leezza with two "z's."

Condoleezza Rice photo albums of Muommar Gadaffi -- stop looking at me like that, ahead on "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: There is nothing more dangerous to one's self than a candidate angry at the electorate.

Mitt Romney, now trailing Rick Perry in five different polls, has gotten into either a disagreement with a Republican on tape or was baited into a confrontation with somebody who isn't a Republican, on tape.

In our fourth story tonight, Romney's collision, just the most obvious of a bunch of them in the GOP, Palin versus Rove, Perry versus Gazes, Romney versus Perry.

Romney versus Romney?

The Governor suddenly taking a swing at one of his past positions.

Today saying in New Hampshire that he doesn't know if climate change is occurring, but he certainly wouldn't spend government money to find out.

He previously called climate change "a scientific fact."

His revised rightward views might not win over voters as evidenced by an angry New Hampshire town hall attendee, who attacked Romney for simply parroting Republican talking points.

WOMAN: I wish you would speak to the truth rather than say something that you think is a platitude when, in fact, we do need the government to spend money.

We need the government to spend money --

MITT ROMNEY: Did somebody --

Did someone in the room say that we don't need any government?

WOMAN: No, I didn't say that -- you said that.

ROMNEY: Someone in the room said that it was me, that --

WOMAN: You said "balanced budget amendment," and I --

ROMNEY: You had your turn.

You had your turn, madam.

Let me have mine.

Hold on.

Let me have mine.

Listen, I'll give you the microphone in a moment, but let me complete.

I'm sorry.

It's my turn.

OLBERMANN: One point he was able to get across, he stands by his controversial remark last week that corporations are people.

Rick Perry's camp attacking him for that contention, with Perry's chief strategist telling The Washington Post, "I don't think the country is looking for somebody to be a buyout specialist."

The country might not be looking for a Texas cowboy either but the Republicans seem to be.

The five separate polls showing Perry over Romney.

Perry gets an average of 26 percent of the vote there, Romney just 16 percent in the polling, rather than a vote.

Perry, of course, has had no problem rallying the base with these ultraconservative views, which are often extreme, even in the context of his own party.

The L.A. Times reporting today that he had compared homosexuality to alcoholism in his book "On My Honor," writing, "even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink... and even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender."

So, he lost the gay people, and he lost all their relatives, and he even lost alcoholics there, and recovering ones, particularly.

Meanwhile, Karl Rove and Sarah Palin with some choice words of their own, in their conservative showdown.

Palin recently lashing out at Rove for speculating on whether she will enter the race and painting him as a member of the Republican old guard.

Last night on Fox, Rove called her bluff.


KARL ROVE: There's a sign of enormous thin skin that if we speculate about her, she gets upset, and I suspect if we didn't speculate about her, she'd be upset, and try and find a way to get us to speculate about her.

OLBERMANN: Lots to talk about with Brian Beutler, reporter for "Talking Points Memo." Thanks for your time tonight, sir.

BRIAN BEUTLER: Good to be back, Keith.

OLBERMANN: What was that with Romney in New Hampshire?

I mean, was he going for the Reagan "I'm paying for this microphone" moment?

'Cause I thought he actually wound up sounding a little bit closer to Howard Dean, overmodulating.

BEUTLER: Yeah, I don't -- I haven't really seen that side of him too often during the primary or this primary or the previous primary.

I think probably he just got a little bit flustered.

He was challenged by somebody who was doing a, you know, fairly articulate job of, you know, restoring some gravity to the rhetoric that he used about both the policies he favors and about, you know, President Obama.

So, I think he just lost his cool a little bit and he doesn't really do it with a whole lot of aplomb.

OLBERMANN: Yeah, it's funny, since running for president is the family business, this is the second generation of Romneys to try, and his second time to do it.

But one thing that struck me about going over the -- his new position on climate change -- do you think -- is there a sense of panic in the Romney camp?

That they have to lurch, suddenly to the right to the degree of saying, "Okay, we're gonna make the candidate look like he's disavowing what he has said unabashedly before about climate change being a scientific fact."

BEUTLER: Yeah, I think -- you know, I think I wouldn't call it a "lurch."

I'd call it an inch.

I -- you know, he --


BEUTLER: He has said -- he's said in the past that he thinks climate change is real and probably, at least in part, caused by humans, and today, he said, "I'm not really sure if it's caused by humans and it's not worth spending trillions of dollars to reduce emissions" and so, you know, he hasn't really changed his policy position too much.

And he's definitely inched his rhetoric a little bit closer to the Perrys and the Bachmanns who say -- you know, they think it's all kind of a hoax.

But, you know, I think this is sort of what we were talking about last time around, which is that he has to walk a very -- he's got to straddle.

He's got to find that sweet spot between, you know, Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry.

What Karl Rove is trying to -- you know, pull Perry in a more sane direction and probably, you know, make Mitt Romney seem a little bit more conservative and, you know, more like a real American than he is.

And what you're watching him do is really try to -- try to walk that line, you know, very finely, and so that's why you're having all these, like -- these, like, small parsing of language.

OLBERMANN: The Rove hit one Sarah Palin and this continuing back and fourth, little -- "meh" kind of quality to their back and forth.

We know he's, obviously as you suggested, he was involved with Rick Perry and got it started and all the rest of that.

What's happening here between -- within -- between Rove and Palin?

BEUTLER: Yeah, I think he wants to keep -- he wants to keep people like Palin either, you know, out of the race, or if they get in the race, to make them seem sort of like marginal figures, even within the Republican Party.

I think he's, you know, very smartly, very shrewdly taking the temperature of both the base and the country.

And he realizes that there's a real risk that his base could nominate a candidate that can't win nationwide in a general election.

And so that means Palin shouldn't get in, and if she does get in, she needs to be, you know, cut off at the heels.

Same goes with Bachmann.

And I think, you know, he's like, fired some warning shots at Rick Perry about -- about some of his rhetoric and some of, you know, his more extreme positions to temper those a little bit, you know, even though the base is really fired up and wants the -- their candidates to be, you know, extremely conservative, not to give in to that temptation to just leap frog all the other candidates in that direction because, if they do, they won't be able to beat Barack Obama and so, he wants -- he wants a candidate that hits a very sweet spot, and none of them have really done it yet.

OLBERMANN: It strikes me as now twice in 27 minutes that something complimentary will have been said about George Bush on one of my programs, which seems really unbelievable.

Is there some -- George Bush tended to listen to his advisors in terms of his campaign.

Whether or not he did during his presidency is another thing altogether, and you can get into the Cheney dynamic as we did earlier.

But, Rick Perry equating alcoholism and homosexuality, and incidentally just taking a whole swipe at the entire concept of addiction science, and what that whole nightmare is no matter what the substance might be, you know, whether it's food or heroin or, you know, alcohol or whatever it is, he's taking that whole issue and that's not even being addressed here.

The gay issue is being addressed here.

Am I missing something, or is Perry kind of reveling in being George W. Bush without the veneer of pretending to be acceptable to the mainstream of the country?

BEUTLER: Yeah, you know, George Bush, he ran on compassionate conservatism.

That was actually a thing.

OLBERMANN: Remember that?

BEUTLER: Yeah, the whole campaign.

Rick Perry has a lot of the same attributes both you know -- both cosmetically and, also, you know, just in terms of the direction he would want to take the country.

But, he doesn't have that shine, at least on the trail of like really giving a rat's patootie about anybody.

At least anybody who is not a conservative Republican from Texas.

You know, I think that as a governor of Texas for 10 years, he is a little bit myopic about what plays there versus what plays in the rest of the country.

OLBERMANN: Saying he didn't know where Martha's Vineyard was -- pretty funny, too.

Brian Beutler, congressional correspondent for "Talking Points Memo," much thanks, sir, take care.

BEUTLER: Thanks so much, Keith.

OLBERMANN: It's one thing to deny money to people who don't get for -- or to vote for you or against you.

But, to tell your own constituents -- your own congressional district after an earthquake, with a hurricane coming up in the same week, that they will not get disaster relief funds unless the budget gets cut elsewhere.

The question has to be, "How stupid is Eric Cantor?"

Coming up on "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night or earthquakes saves Eric Cantor from trying to screw the people in his Congressional district.

No disaster relief funds, unless there are offsetting budget cuts, next.

First, the sanity break.

On this date in 1835, the newspaper "New York Sun" published the scoop of the century, Sir John Herschel, the world's leading astronomer at the time, had built a huge new telescope on the Cape of Good Hope and had detected life on the Moon -- bison, goats, unicorns, trees, oceans, beaches and people with bat-like wings.

Buffalo with an aqua lung.

For six days of breathless, populous snapped up all the copies available of "The Sun," it was obvious the whole thing had been made up.

But, "The Sun" never even owned up to the fraud.


And the newspaper's circulation grew to the point that it remained in the business for the next 115 years.

"Time Marches On!"

We begin with a high-speed chase of the day, slow-speed chase of the day, Cruiser the tortoise is on the prowl for his latest meal or maybe just some shade.

Either way, he finally finds somebody he can keep up with.

And they're off!

Hoveround Hank jumps off to the early lead, but slow and steady running the tail scooter turns the lap from the turtle and pulls away for victory.

How a rabbit ever lost a race to that guy is beyond me.

Hoover Hoveround paid 232, 151, 63.


To the Internets, we join a wedding reception already in progress and it's time for the cake.

Two aces of cake bring out their masterpiece and preparing for the kudos.

Oh, the elegance.

Oh, the booty.

And oh, oh.

Almost -- nice way to hold it.

With your face.


Release, rotation, splash.

All right, just -- just act natural.

Nobody will notice it's just one -- now, it's a pie.

Oh, okay.

That was nice.

That was -- oh, very nice.

No cake for you.


Finally, let's check on the pets.

There it is, timeless battle of cat versus dog.

The stand-up worthy Billy the Kid, and mad dog.

These two titans of the animal kingdom are facing off to finally decide household supremacy.

They're feeling each other out.

And finally comes the message, "Attack!"

Followed by, "Retreat."

The pooch tried for the element of surprise but was not expecting a cat to have cat-like reflexes.

To say there is no shame in retreat but that looked pretty shameful.

He is now the official hounded puppy.


"Time Marches On!"

Eric Cantor versus his own constituents.

Los Angeles Dodgers versus Vin Scully.

Ahead on "Countdown".


OLBERMANN: We are live from "Countdown" world headquarters in the M.C. Escher building here in New York.

Each night at 8:00 P.M. Eastern and then we transmit it into your home.

At 11:00 P.M., 2:00 A.M., 7:00 A.M., Noon and 3:00 P.M.

We call it our little miracle.

It is one thing to treat the citizens of the United States as if they were your idiot cousins, loafing around your house waiting for you to pay them their meth bills.

In a twisted part of this country, that has worked for house majority leader Eric Cantor, but in our third story of the "Countdown," 99 percent of those people do not, cannot vote for him when he treats the folks inside his own Congressional district that way, he evolves from Scrooge-like to potentially self-destructive.

The Virginia 7th was, of course, the epicenter of Tuesday's earthquake.

It is in the path of hurricane Irene in the same week.

Two potentially epic disasters, and the disaster relief funding that Cantor complies he would hold up, to his own district, unless it was paid for by budget cuts elsewhere.


ERIC CANTOR: The Federal government does have a role in situations like this.

When there is a disaster, there is an appropriate role, and we will find the money, but we have had discussions about these things before.

And those monies will be offset with appropriate savings or cost cutting elsewhere in order to meet the priority of the Federal government's role in a situation like this.

OLBERMANN: Mr. Cantor's spokesman followed that up today with these remarks for people preparing for Irene's landfall -- "We aren't going to speculate on damage before it happens, period.

But as you know, Eric has consistently said that additional funds for federal disaster relief ought to be offset with spending cuts."

In May, after the Midwest was torn by tornados, Cantor said devastated families in places like Joplin, Missouri, should dig into their savings the way they would if they had had to spend $10,000 for a family illness instead of for a new car.


CANTOR: Families don't have unlimited money.

And really, neither does the Federal government.

OLBERMANN: Cantor's cant at that time was quickly answered by Missouri's Democratic Congressman William Lacy Clay, who said of him -- "Where is his heart?

Where is his compassion?"

From Washington, we will ask that question and others to Karl Frisch, syndicated columnist and Democratic strategist.

Karl, good evening.

KARL FRISCH: Thanks for having me back, Keith.

OLBERMANN: You're welcome.

The inhumanity, I get.

The political self-destruction, though, I do not get.

Every politician is seemingly smart enough to protect those limited number in his own constituency.

Why isn't Cantor?

FRISCH: I don't think he cares about his constituents.

He certainly doesn't care about the American people.

I mean, if Eric Cantor were King Solomon, he would cut the baby in half before even talking to the two women claiming to be its mother.

OLBERMANN: Just wants to see a baby cut in half.

Are budget cuts still some sort of fiscal policy that occasionally had relevance in our economy, or have they just become like a brand name of an ideology that's gotten completely out of hand?

FRISCH: It's kind of the Tea Party automaton.

You ask a question, you put your quarter in, and that's the answer you get.

But it's really sick.

I mean, this is about values.

I mean, what he is offering is an absurd choice, not only to his constituents, but the people of Virginia and anybody else who has damage from this hurricane.


FRISCH: Hopefully, they don't.

The choice is, you can have destruction, you know.

We can take care of the destruction and give you relief there, or you can have Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits.

I mean, when people lose everything, or they have the potential of losing everything, that's not the time to cut those vital services.

But he doesn't realize that.

I mean, you know, the quote was that he has no heart.

I mean, I have often thought of him as the tin man from Oz walking around the yellow brick road to Washington with no heart.

But I am beginning to think that he is Oz.

He is the man behind the curtain.

He's running the show here in Washington.

OLBERMANN: Two years ago at the White House correspondents' dinner, which is always a mistake to begin with -- but I was there.

And I had this very strange encounter with him.

It was maybe an hour before everything started, and I could see him come from 10, 15 tables away.

He came up and he introduced himself.

All he said to me was, "I just wanted you to see that I am an actual person."

And I am inferring from that, especially the two years to think about it, that he has long had to prove that, to counterbalance this assumption that there is no heart there.

FRISCH: Well, maybe his constituents should be introducing themselves to him.

They are actual people.

There are Americans all over this country that have been victims of natural disasters.

Eric Cantor is coming off like an unnatural disaster for working families.

At the end of the day, this is about values.

It's a choice of what and where we spend our money.

When we have natural disasters, it's the government's responsibility to step in and do something and not cut vital services.

You know, we've talked a lot about Cheney's book coming out, President Bush is out there for the anniversary of 9/11.

The last thing this Republican Congress should want to do is remind people about Hurricane Katrina, because if Eric Cantor had his way, our response would be Katrina 2.0.

OLBERMANN: Something about this, Cantor's point of view is representative as you say, perhaps pulling the strings now with the Republicans, how does this help him ultimately or his party long term, because this is, in fact, one of those generous nations that has ever existed and always comes out.

We always do something.


OLBERMANN: Even when the government screws up, we go in and fix it for them.

I always had this theory that the leaders of that party are people who have never been hurt.

If John Boehner can sit there and go, and get teary-eyed over the fact that he once used to have to sweep floors -- like everybody didn't have a job like that at some point.

FRISCH: Right.

OLBERMANN: My Dad had to sweep cockroaches off of a wall.

I mean, a wall full of cockroaches.

Think about that for a moment.

But, I mean, you know, you have to sweep a floor, and we are talking about people who have had a roof fall in on them.

That's the difference, isn't it?

I am crying for myself because I had to sweep a floor at one point, but I am not doing anything for you just because you had your roof fall in.

FRISCH: Right. You have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if your boots were lost in a hurricane.


Or your legs.

FRISCH: Speaker Boehner is the emperor with no clothes, but he's got a heck of a spray tan, and Eric Cantor has basically committed a de facto coup d'état Congress.

He's the puppeteer here.

I don't think he cares about whether or not they keep a majority.

I think he cares about moving up the ladder.

And the only way that he stays in the position of power in this Congress is to give a little bit every now and then to that Tea Party caucus.

They are keeping him strong, and he has shown time and time again that he is skillful at getting speaker Boehner to renege on his agreements with the White House and to come back around and support what the Tea Party wants, and what the Tea Party wants is not what this country needs.

OLBERMANN: The columnist and Democratic strategist, Karl Frisch.The columnist and Democratic strategist, Karl Frisch.

Great thanks again, Karl.

FRISCH: Have a good night.

OLBERMANN: The pay is lousy, the health care is overrated.

He thinks they are shooting at him, and he says, "This job don't mean that much to me."

A Tea Party-backed Congressman from Florida expressing buyer's remorse nine months after he was elected to the House.

Next in "Worst Persons."


OLBERMANN: Yeah, we're going to have a graphics department meeting after the show.

Former dictator of Libya, former master of the world's 12th largest oil supply -- it turns out he was also the former borderline stalker of Condoleezza Rice.

An almost Judy Garland-like icon.

Michael Musto joins me.

First, the worst.

No, not him.

Never him.

The man who may be trying to ease him out, next on "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: Never mind Libya's freedom or the oil.

What about the wardrobe?

Won't somebody think about Moammar Gadhafi's wardrobe and his apparent obsession with Condi Rice?


First, because we can't hide behind the curtains 'cause Moammar took them and made them into a shawl.

Here are "Countdown's" nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."

The bronze to Indiana State Representative Phillip Hinkle who says he will not resign after soliciting a "really good time" from an 18-year-old boy on Craigslist.

The Republican allegedly offered $80 to the kid online, plus tip.

Then, met him at a motel, exposed himself, and when the young man recognized him as a political figure, he tried to prevent the kid from leaving and finally offered him hush money.

Hinkle admits only to mistakes of judgment.

And he says since he wasn't planning for running for re-election next year, there is no need for him to resign this year, something with which the Republican Speaker of the State House disagrees.

Ordinarily, this would be just be the kind of thing that needs to be met with some compassion and just the right amount of prosecution, except that last month, Representative Hinkle had voted for an amendment to the Indiana state constitution defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Well, he did say "marriage."

Runner-up Congressman Steve Southerland, the likely one-term Republican of Florida.

He made the mistake of mistakes.

He told his Tea Party supporters at a town hall that his congressional salary -- $175,000 a year nearly -- really isn't that much.

The government health insurance really isn't that good and, "By the way, did I mention?

They are shooting at us.

There is law enforcement security in this room right now, and why is that?

Because your crack-pot gun-wielding Tea Party supporters fostered a culture of violence around the government and the elections like the day Jesse Kelly rallied people to vote against Gabby Giffords by letting them shoot a machine gun with him.

If you think this job pays too much with those kind of risks and cutting me off from my family business, I'll just tell you, this job don't mean that much to me.

I had a good life in Panama City."

Congressman, the exits are here, here, and here.

Though he makes three times the median salary of his constituents, Southerland kept coming back to the "woe is me" claim.

"You took the hours that I work and divided it into my pay, the $174,000 salary would not seem so high. The health insurance plan that I have is no different than any other Federal employee's in the United States government. I pay my portion."

Congressmen have a choice of 10 different health care plans plus back home, several additional HMOs.

And in the capital, for a few hundred bucks a year, they can use any Federal medical facility they can find.

Hey, Congressman, if you don't like that, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, but if it does, you can get free treatment at the fully staffed Congressional medical clinic that sits between the House and the Senate.

But our winner -- Frank McCourt, still as evidence that there is, in fact, an actual devil, the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

According to "The Times," the team has sent a survey to its season ticket holders asking them to evaluate one of the team's announcers on a scale of 1 to 5.

"In the following eight areas -- one, knowledge of baseball, two, knowledge of the Dodgers organization, three, objectivity, four, accuracy of calls, five, storytelling ability, six, focus on the game, seven, style, eight, overall performance."

One of the announcers the Dodgers are apparently asking their fans to grade, Vin Scully.

Vin Scully, who joined the team in 1950, who personally endeared it to the new community when the Dodgers moved to L.A. in 1958, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 19 years ago, and who has announced Dodger games under 12 different American presidents.

And they're asking the fans to grade him, presumably either to come up for an excuse for cutting his salary or maybe even trying to force him into premature retirement, forgetting that were Scully ever removed against his will from the job, that would spark looting and sacking of Dodger Stadium and the chasing out of town of the McCourt family, which has already driven the team into bankruptcy.

Frank McCourt, tone deaf and bankrupt is no way to go through life, son.

Today's "Worst Person in the World."


OLBERMANN: The war in Libya rages on with the rebels continuing to make significant gains and perhaps the biggest victory so far came when they were able to fight way into Moammar Gadhafi's compound.

Our number one story on "Countdown," it was the biggest victory not just for freedom, but for obsessed Condi Rice fans everywhere, because the compound yielded a rare look into the life of a brutal, and surprisingly flamboyant, dictator.

There was, of course, a lot of jewelry and art work, but then it began to venture into the absurd -- with a zoo, an old-fashioned carousel and some carnival-style spinning cups.

A couch made in the shape of a mermaid.

In case you are wondering, yes, that is the face of his daughter, Aisha, as its head.

Of course, that's the only the beginning of the object d 'art discovered in Gadhafi's version of the Neverland Ranch.

There was also closet after closet of outlandish outfits.

More on that in a moment.

Perhaps the most shocking bit of memorabilia found were two photo albums containing image after image of the former U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

The two of them met face to face in 2008.

Apparently, though, his admiration goes back further.

In an interview with Al Jazeera in 2007, Gadhafi said about Condi, whom he called Leezza, "I support my darling black African woman.

I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders.

Leezza, Leezza, Leezza.

I love her very much.

I admire her and I'm proud of her because she's a black woman of African origin."


Coming from a man who kept his own hand-picked personal Amazonian guard, that makes this crush seem all the more startling.

Less surprisingly, Condoleezza Rice has yet to respond publicly to the album.

For a story this bizarre, we need the insight of "Village Voice" columnist, Michael Musto, author of "Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back," due in bookstores September 1st, but available now at

Good evening, Michael.

MICHAEL MUSTO: It's better than Snooki's novel, I promise.

OLBERMANN: I'm sure it is.

It's in -- presume it's in English, in fact.

Say for a moment you're Condoleezza Rice, your reaction to this is what?

MUSTO: Really creeped out.

I mean, this is the weirdest pairing since Star Jones and Al Reynolds.

Then again, they're both forces of pure evil, so they're well suited.

They could even maybe change her name to "Converted Rice."

But wait, isn't she a lesbian, though?

Oh, no, that's Wanda Sykes.


Yeah, I think she went out with a football player in the old, old days when she was in college.

MUSTO: Or a tennis player.

OLBERMANN: What other albums might have been found in those compounds?

Or are they perhaps still to be unearthed?

I mean, if that's what he left behind, did he make sure -- did he take something else with him of greater import or sentimental value?

MUSTO: Well, I think the only thing he left behind were the shots of Condi making out with Karl Rove.

He thought that was distasteful.

Those were the outtakes.

But what he took with him were, I don't know, Kim Kardashian's wedding album, Lindsay Lohan's Candy shoot, and also an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog just for equal time.

OLBERMANN: All right.

Just -- I'm going to have to take a second here.

Just give me a second.

I'm sorry.

After that and what you just did to me with Karl Rove.

I just --

MUSTO: Are you vomiting in your mouth a little bit?

OLBERMANN: No, no, no.

I'm just -- I just -- ahh.

Good eye bleach.


MUSTO: I'm here for disturbing imagery.

That's why they hire me.



I can barely see you now, but -- the outfits.

What should the rebels do with these remarkable clothes that he would wear?

I mean, I'm sure there's some Libyan out there who has this -- an ordinary citizen, one of the rebels perhaps -- who has this need for a starched white Sergeant Pepper outfit.

MUSTO: Well, that's probably another album he has, "Sergeant Pepper," but I think his style is rather charming.

It's very Liberace meets Hitler.

It's really adorable.

It's a little bit, I don't know, comme des garbage.


MUSTO: And it is very useful.

These rebels can really use -- the purple chemise, for example, could be mosquito netting.


MUSTO: There's one outfit that's kind of like a potato sack.

That could obviously be a potato sack.

And they could just sell back the medallions to QVC.

That one is very Della Reese.


But is the country devoid of curtains and drapery cloth now, do you suppose?

Because where the hell else do you get this stuff?

MUSTO: Well, let me break this right here.

There is a curtain crisis in Libya right now, and people don't know what to do.

They're frantically putting, like, goats and yaks up on curtain rods just to block them from the sun, and the animals are getting sun damaged.

Sally Struthers, you're the only one who can help.

And if you like that reference, please get my new book, "Fork on the Left."

You'll love it.

OLBERMANN: What would -- I mean, if they can't unload them anywhere else, would you get one of those signature outfits and wear it around to the bigger social events in town?

MUSTO: Obviously, yes.

Look at me.

I'm already wearing them.

I mean, Helen Keller --

OLBERMANN: I was going to say, what an obvious question.

MUSTO: Helen Keller is my stylist, okay?

The week that I was in the "Would You Be Caught Dead in this Outfit?" in "Star" magazine was, like, the highlight of my life.

OLBERMANN: Oh, geez.

There is a new "Forbes" list.

Condoleezza Rice was once on this at number two of the 100 most powerful women.

The new list came out today.

Andrea Merkel, the German Chancellor who President Bush once gave the shoulder rub to --


Katy Perry?


Andrea Merkel.


I don't read --

OLBERMANN: Hillary Clinton, 2.

Lady Gaga, 11.

Michele Bachmann, 22.

Sarah Palin, 34.

How could two women who might wind up being president actually finish behind a woman who travels in an egg and wears outfits made out of meat?

MUSTO: You mean Andrea?

OLBERMANN: Yeah, right.

Andrew Merkel, right.

She wears a meat pouch.

She is the meat Prime Minister of Ger-meat-many.

MUSTO: And there's a meat shortage.

But look, Marcus Bachmann made it to number 10.

No, no, no.

Keith, I have always said that pop singers are more powerful in our society than politicians.

Madonna did more for us than anybody in the White House, even Monica Lewinsky.

The killer is that Sarah Palin has even ranked lower than Beyonce, okay?

A presidential wannabe is lower than somebody shaking her coulo and singing "Crazy Right Now."

It's poetic and yet it totally makes sense to me.

I only listen to music.

I don't read the papers.

OLBERMANN: All right.

Ten seconds.

Who'd be number one on the most powerful women list that you would put on?

MUSTO: My mother, because when she says, "Get a flashlight for the hurricane," you listen.

And Condi, because she is obviously the love object of way more despots than we ever imagined.

OLBERMANN: Way more.

Just at least the one there, and then the one in the United States as well.

The inimitable Michael Musto of "The Village Voice."

He may have a book out or something.

I'm not exactly sure.

Thanks, Michael.

MUSTO: Subliminal.

Buy it, buy it.

OLBERMANN: Yes, I'm like that.

No, you passed subliminal a long time ago, my friend.

All right, take care.

MUSTO: Bye-bye.

OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown."

The 25th day since the Republican's debt ceiling blackmail worked.

Speaker Boehner, where are the jobs?

Where's our credit rating?

Up next on Current, "One Day in September," the account of the 1972 Olympic massacre.

Keith Olbermann.

Good night.

Good luck.