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"COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN" (8:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M. ET)
Host: Keith Olbermann
It's a big night. Herr Olbermann bellowed his way through the opening spiel: "Desperate HouseRepublicans", Hastert "on the ropes", Iraq "a helluva mess", "Mister" Bush in the polls, and the "highly improved" Bill Jefferson Clinton. And naturally, a plug for tonight's isnt-that-special comment :
The loss of habeas corpus
KO wasted no time in getting the spin cycle on high:
A politician like Dennis Hastert will say anything.
Well, at least he won't lie about habeas corpus. But more on that later.
Krazy Keith cited a new poll because it showed Bush below 40% (we noted previously how he hasn't cited polls that show him above 40%). Rove is confident. Barbara Bush says it's "a terrible year". The Hill says the GOP will focus on taxes and national security weakness and appeasement. Secret RNC reports show no dropoff. Say, isn't it time for Olbermann's Brain?
Sure enough, Craig Crawford chortled his way into the seat of honor. Republicans are "panicking". The White House is "in denial". "This is [sic] bad numbers." At Olby's suggestion, Brain was happy to opine that the GOP fears Dem subpoenas more than Dems coddling terrorists, but added that "Speaker Pelosi" has ruled out impeachment hearings. Herr Olbermann asked of Hastert:
Is there no sewer this man will not crawl through just to save his job right now?
Craig chuckled that he wouldn't "put either party past" much in these political times, so Olby tried another tack, trying to give the impression that most people actually favor higher taxes:
Has this equation, tax burden vs standard of living, somehow shifted into the favor of Democrats.
Brain demurred again from Krazy Keith's spin, diverting the topic to turnout and special interest voters. Crawford, possibly because he didn't parrot every last syllable of OlbySpin, only got thanksed (no "great") as the discredited sports guy swung the topic to B.J. Clinton. KO all but had an Olbgasm introducing a lengthy clip of B.J.'s platitudes, and then introduced Trippi:
...known best, perhaps, for the successes he shared as campaign manager for Howard Dean in 2004.
Successes? Oh yeah, we all remember Democrat Presidential nominee Howard Dean. And President Dean too. Herr Olbermann started slobbering again about B.J.'s comments (never once referring to him as "Mister" Clinton) re "discussion about actual ideas"; Joe likened it to his "common ground" speeches, a "stark contrast to Bush". KO sermonized about GOP plans to go negative and run an agressive voter turnout campaign, and Trippi talked about "playing the card of fear". He avoided lambasting voter turnout efforts, a wise move considering the "successes" he had with Dr Dean in that regard.
All Keith was interested in was what the Dems could do to make sure they win. Is there turnout effort good enough? Should they borrow more money? We've never seen him express these concerns about Republican campaigns, but then, when was the last time he brought on a GOP political strategist to chew the fat? At least within the parameters of The List: NEVER!
After great thanksing his Dem guest, there was another plug re the fictitious "loss of habeas corpus" , and the #4 story was about Democrat ads that feature Bush, who is "not a lame duck, but rather an albatross" (taped report recycled from NBC). Olby great thanksed the machine that played the video, before teasing again how "Mister" Bush was "signing away habeas corpus"  (lather, rinse, repeat--the credulous will swallow anything if you say it often enough). Then oddball and the #3 segment: the Iraq war and comments by James A Baker.
Monkeymann tried to twist a Bush quote into comparing Iraq to VietNam, but Ricks backed away from that attempt. Baker's purported alternatives (stability vs withdrawal) were discussed, with Ricks predicting that stability will be the preferred path, even if it means a less democratic government. After Ricks, another plug  that included the lie:
We have let the Bush administration destroy habeas corpus, and with it our freedoms.
And then, yet another tease for you know what . The #2 story: taped video on Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, and another plug for...whatever.  The "worst person" segment was baseball oriented, with KO ironically criticizing someone for "homophobic jokes". Even more bizarre, he slammed ABC for mistakenly putting the late Mr Lidle's year of death as "3006"--this from a slovenly hack who was denigrating the man just minutes after his death.
Then it came. "Fat Ass" Olbermann's staff of moveon writers must have worked overtime to create such a sanctimonious sermon, riddled with hyperbole and falsehoods, amounting to little more than a steaming pile of semantic dung. [See APPENDIX below.] Suffice it to say that habeas corpus is not "gone" and has not been suspended for any US citizen. It is blatantly false to claim that you have to "convince" someone to give you a "hearing" when every enemy combatant gets hearings, including appeals to the DC Court of Appeals and if necessary the US Supreme Court. And they are not the "lackeys" of Monkeymann's diseased fantasties. It's not "Mister" Bush who lied. It's Keith Olbermoronn.
Dogs that did not bark: North Korea moves ever closer to a second nuke test, but Edward R Olbermann could care less. Gas prices lower, housing market stronger, and the Dow breaks the 12,000 barrier for the first time in history. New analysis of recent poll numbers suggests a glimmer of hope for the GOP; that's enough for KO to ignore the story. Just like the newly discovered Al Qaeda handbook. And disgracefully, Krazy Keith has allowed to stand his baseless smear of Chris Mihlfield and Albert Pujols, lifted from a discredited and retracted blog entry.
Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name has sunk to #125 at amazon, while Mr Bill's "Culture Warrior" is #12. And O'Reilly's book stands at #2 on the New York Times Best Sellers. Tuesday's ratings could not have been encouraging for Krazy Keith: third place in overall viewers, and a miserable fourth place, in Keith's coveted, all-important, critical, beloved, key "demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 13 .
APPENDIX: Edward R Olbermoronn's latest propaganda spiel:
We have lived as if in a trance.
We have lived as people in fear.
And now--our rights and our freedoms in peril--we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.
Therefore, tonight have we truly become the inheritors of our American legacy.
For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:
A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.
We have been here before--and we have been here before led here--by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.
We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use those acts to jail newspaper editors.
American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote about America.
We have been here when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as "Hyphenated Americans," most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.
American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said about America.
And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9066 was necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use that order to imprison and pauperize 110.000 Americans while his man in charge, General DeWitt, told Congress: "It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen--he is still a Japanese."
American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did, but for the choices they or their ancestors had made about coming to America.
Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
And each was a betrayal of that for which the president who advocated them claimed to be fighting.
Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.
Many of the very people Wilson silenced survived him, and one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900,000 votes, though his presidential campaign was conducted entirely from his jail cell.
And Roosevelt's internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States to the citizens of the United States whose lives it ruined.
The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
In times of fright, we have been only human.
We have let Roosevelt's "fear of fear itself" overtake us.
We have listened to the little voice inside that has said, "the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass."
We have accepted that the only way to stop the terrorists is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.
Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.
Or substitute the Japanese.
Or the Germans.
Or the Socialists.
Or the Anarchists.
Or the Immigrants.
Or the British.
Or the Aliens.
The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
And, always, always wrong.
"With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?"
And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.
Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.
You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.
Sadly--of course--the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously was you.
We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
But even within this history we have not before codified the poisoning of habeas corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.
You, sir, have now befouled that spring.
You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.
You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.
For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
And -- again, Mr. Bush -- all of them, wrong.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done to anything the terrorists have ever done.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that "the United States does not torture. It's against our laws and it's against our values" and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens "unlawful enemy combatants" and ship them somewhere--anywhere -- but may now, if he so decides, declare you an "unlawful enemy combatant" and ship you somewhere - anywhere.
And if you think this hyperbole or hysteria, ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was president or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was president or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was president.
And if you somehow think habeas corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an "unlawful enemy combatant"--exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this attorney general is going to help you?
This President now has his blank check.
He lied to get it.
He lied as he received it.
Is there any reason to even hope he has not lied about how he intends to use it nor who he intends to use it against?
"These military commissions will provide a fair trial," you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush, "in which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney and can hear all the evidence against them."
"Presumed innocent," Mr. Bush?
The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain "serious mental and physical trauma" in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.
"Access to an attorney," Mr. Bush?
Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.
"Hearing all the evidence," Mr. Bush?
The Military Commissions Act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.
Your words are lies, Sir.
They are lies that imperil us all.
"One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks," you told us yesterday, "said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America."
That terrorist, sir, could only hope.
Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.
Habeas corpus? Gone.
The Geneva Conventions? Optional.
The moral force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.
These things you have done, Mr. Bush, they would be "the beginning of the end of America."
And did it even occur to you once, sir -- somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 -- that with only a little further shift in this world we now know--just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died -- did it ever occur to you once that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future president and a "competent tribunal" of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of "unlawful enemy combatant" for -- and convene a Military Commission to try -- not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?
For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.
And doubtless, Sir, all of them--as always--wrong.
Impolitic: "Keith speaking truth to power once again"
The Blue Herald: "Olbermann is smoking hot..."
Petulant Rumblings: "Once again, Keith Olbermann articulates rage better than anyone"
Anysia: "Keith Olbermann lets him have it"
The Raw Melos: ?...the bar by which future generations of journalists should be measured"
Doug Krile: "special"
The Apostates: "You might be surprised"
Truth, Justice and Peace: "Now we know"
Les Enrages: "American genius"
Impolical "Must see Olbermann"
AlterNet: "Bush signs, Olbermann mourns"
Colorado Boob: "WOW .... I mean WOW ...."
Relevent Torture: "There's nothing I can add"
Newshounds: "Most Compelling TV Comment Since Murrow...not a partisan diatribe...Watch it and tell your friends" Oh Well: "another home run" Dad's on a rant again: "Maybe we should join him?" The Agonist: "will just blow you away" Online Journal: "Except for MSNBCâ€™s Keith Olbermann, few television news reporters have bothered to mention that the Military Commissions Act has changed the U.S. justice system and our approach to human rights" The Reid Report: "He sounds more depressed than me" Skpetical Brotha: "Keith Olbermann is the Bomb, for real though" Demokat: "I have always had quite a crush on Keith Olbermann, but after his commentary last night, I think I'm in sweet, sweet puppy love with the guy" HuffPo: "a heroic performance" Newsbusters: "suggested Bush was as big a 'threat' to America as the 'terrorists.' " Hot Air: "Olbermann Watch debunked it before the show aired" The Spoof: President Bush: "Keith Olbermann is an Unlawful Enemy Combatant!" Time.com: "a clear example of the thinking that pervades this increasingly powerful part of the Democratic base" The Bullwinkle Blog: "Keith Olbermann (Warning: MSNBC link) is pushing fear-politics again" Red State: "I guess we'll never know how he managed to get control of his broadcasting studio long enough to send out this polemic" TV Squad: Olbermann too preachy? Ad PulpRighteous Indignation Is A Tough Sell ============ UPDATE: How far over the deep-end has Keith gone? When the John Birch Society sings your praises it's time to check yourself into rehab.
Newshounds: "Most Compelling TV Comment Since Murrow...not a partisan diatribe...Watch it and tell your friends"
Oh Well: "another home run"
Dad's on a rant again: "Maybe we should join him?"
The Agonist: "will just blow you away"
Online Journal: "Except for MSNBCâ€™s Keith Olbermann, few television news reporters have bothered to mention that the Military Commissions Act has changed the U.S. justice system and our approach to human rights"
The Reid Report: "He sounds more depressed than me"
Skpetical Brotha: "Keith Olbermann is the Bomb, for real though"
Demokat: "I have always had quite a crush on Keith Olbermann, but after his commentary last night, I think I'm in sweet, sweet puppy love with the guy"
HuffPo: "a heroic performance"
Newsbusters: "suggested Bush was as big a 'threat' to America as the 'terrorists.' "
Hot Air: "Olbermann Watch debunked it before the show aired"
The Spoof: President Bush: "Keith Olbermann is an Unlawful Enemy Combatant!"
Time.com: "a clear example of the thinking that pervades this increasingly powerful part of the Democratic base"
The Bullwinkle Blog: "Keith Olbermann (Warning: MSNBC link) is pushing fear-politics again"
Red State: "I guess we'll never know how he managed to get control of his broadcasting studio long enough to send out this polemic"
TV Squad: Olbermann too preachy?
Ad PulpRighteous Indignation Is A Tough Sell
UPDATE: How far over the deep-end has Keith gone? When the John Birch Society sings your praises it's time to check yourself into rehab.