Olbermann Accuses 'Fascist' Bush of Engaging in 'Terrorism'

On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment" rant against President Bush, this time attacking him for threatening to veto an extension of the Protect America Act unless it includes provisions to give immunity from lawsuits to telecom companies who have cooperated with government surveillance in the past.

Calling the President a "liar" who was "slinging crap" and using "a form of terrorism against his own people" to gain support, Olbermann accused President Bush of fascism: "If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business, come out and say it! There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend. You're a fascist! Get them to print you a T-shirt with fascist on it! What else is this but fascism?" (Transcript follows)

Olbermann also had blunt words for Congressional Republicans who staged a walkout, as the Countdown host called them "crash dummies" who should "keep walking out of the country." Olbermann: "And your minions like John Boehner, your Republican congressional crash dummies who just happened to decide to walk out of Congress when a podium-full of microphones await them, they should just keep walking, out of Congress and, if possible, out of the country."

As Olbermann began his "Special Comment," he quoted the President's contention that "if the bill was good enough" to be passed last summer, "why not pass the bill again?" and then invoked the past legality of slavery and, referring to Executive Order 9066, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II:

Now, as promised, a "Special Comment." A part of what I will say was said here first on January 31. Unfortunately it is both sadder and truer now than it was then. "Who's to blame?" Mr. Bush also said this afternoon, "Look, these folks in Congress passed a good bill late last summer. The problem is, they let the bill expire. My attitude is: If the bill was good enough then, why not pass the bill again?" You know, like the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Or Executive Order 9066. Or The Alien and Sedition Acts. Or slavery.

The MSNBC host soon accused the Bush administration of spying on Americans "under this flimsy guise" of seeking out terrorists:

It is bad enough, sir, that you were demanding an ex post facto law which could still clear the AT&Ts and the Verizons from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who might be stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail.

Olbermann accused President Bush of fascism as he attacked the President's State of the Union reference to protecting telecom companies "believed" to have aided the administration:

But when you demanded it again during the State of the Union address, you wouldn't even confirm that they'd actually done anything for which they deserved to be cleared. "The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America."

Believed? Don't you know? Don't you even have the guts Dick Cheney showed in admitting they did collaborate with you? Does this endless presidency of loopholes and even fine print extend here, too? If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business, come out and say it! There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend. You're a fascist! Get them to print you a T-shirt with fascist on it!

Olbermann added, "What else is this but fascism?" before recounting the appearance of an AT&T employee on his show who talked about his role in such surveillance, comparing it to "Big Brother" The MSNBC host went on to label Bush a "liar." Olbermann: "And if there's one thing we know about Big Brother, Mr. Bush, it's that he -- well, you -- are a liar."

Citing Bush's contention that passage of the bill was important in protecting Americans against terrorism, the Countdown host soon continued: "This is crap. And you sling it with an audacity and a speed unrivaled even by the greatest political felons of our history."

Olbermann soon labeled Congressional Republicans who staged a walkout as "crash dummies" who "should just keep walking ... out of the country." Olbermann: "And your minions like John Boehner, your Republican congressional crash dummies who just happened to decide to walk out of Congress when a podium-full of microphones await them, they should just keep walking, out of Congress and, if possible, out of the country."

The MSNBC host soon continued: "The lot of you are the symbolic descendants of the despotic middle managers of some banana republic to whom 'freedom' is an ironic brand name, a word you reach for when you want to get away with its opposite."

Olbermann concluded his rant by accusing the President of a "form of terrorism against his own people," and contended that people like him will not "fear" speaking out against the President:

As recently ago as 2006, we spoke words like these with trepidation. The idea that even the most cynical and untrustworthy of the politicians in our history, George W. Bush, would use the literal form of terrorism against his own people was dangerous territory. It seemed to tempt fate, to heighten fear. We will not fear any longer. We will not fear the international terrorists, and we will thwart them. We will not fear the recognition of the manipulation of our yearning for safety. We will call it what it is: terrorism. We will not fear identifying the vulgar hypocrites in our government. We will name them. And we will not fear George W. Bush. Nor will we fear because George W. Bush wants us to fear.

Below is a complete transcript of Olbermann "Special Comment" from the February 14 Countdown show on MSNBC:

Now, as promised, a "Special Comment." A part of what I will say was said here first on January 31. Unfortunately it is both sadder and truer now than it was then. "Who's to blame?" Mr. Bush also said this afternoon, "Look, these folks in Congress passed a good bill late last summer. The problem is, they let the bill expire. My attitude is: If the bill was good enough then, why not pass the bill again?" You know, like the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Or Executive Order 9066. Or The Alien and Sedition Acts. Or slavery.

Mr. Bush, you say that our ability to track terrorist threats will be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger. Yet you have weakened that ability. You have subjected us, your citizens, to that greater danger. This, Mr. Bush, is simple enough for even you to understand.

For the moment, at least, thanks to some true patriots in the House, and to your own stubbornness, you have tabled telecom immunity, and the FISA act.

You. By your own terms and your own definitions, you have just sided with the terrorists. You've got to have this law, or we're all going to die. But, practically speaking, you vetoed this law.

It is bad enough, sir, that you were demanding an ex post facto law which could still clear the AT&Ts and the Verizons from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who might be stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail. But when you demanded it again during the State of the Union address, you wouldn't even confirm that they'd actually done anything for which they deserved to be cleared. "The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America."

Believed? Don't you know? Don't you even have the guts Dick Cheney showed in admitting they did collaborate with you? Does this endless presidency of loopholes and even fine print extend here, too? If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business, come out and say it! There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend. You're a fascist! Get them to print you a T-shirt with fascist on it!

What else is this but fascism? Did you see Mark Klein on this newscast last November? Mark Klein was the AT&T whistleblower, the one who explained in the placid and dull terms of your local neighborhood IT desk how he personally attached all AT&T circuits, everything, carrying every one of your phone calls, every one of your e-mails, every bit of your Web browsing into a secure room, room number 641-A at the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco, where it was all copied so the government could look at it.

Not some of it, not just the international part of it, certainly not just the stuff that some spy, a spy both patriotic and telepathic, might be able to divine had been sent or spoken by or to a terrorist.

Everything! Every time you looked at a naked picture. Every time you bid on eBay. Every time you phoned in a donation to a Democrat. "My thought was," Mr. Klein told us last November, "George Orwell's 1984. And here I am, forced to connect the Big Brother machine."

And if there's one thing we know about Big Brother, Mr. Bush, it's that he -- well, you -- are a liar. "This Saturday at midnight," you said today, "legislation authorizing intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor terrorist communications will expire. If Congress does not act by that time, our ability to find out who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying and what they are planning will be compromised." You said that "the lives of countless Americans depend" on you getting your way.

This is crap. And you sling it with an audacity and a speed unrivaled even by the greatest political felons of our history.

Richard Clarke — you might remember him, sir: He was one of the counterterror pros which you inherited from President Clinton before you ran the professionals out of government in favor of your unreality-based reality — Richard Clarke wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"Let me be clear: Our ability to track and monitor terrorists overseas would not cease should the Protect America Act expire. If this were true, the President would not threaten to terminate any temporary extension with his veto pen. All surveillance currently occurring would continue even after legislative provisions lapsed because authorizations issued under the act are in effect up to a full year."

You are a liar, Mr. Bush. And after showing some skill at it, initially, you have ceased to even be a very good liar.

And your minions like John Boehner, your Republican congressional crash dummies who just happened to decide to walk out of Congress when a podium-full of microphones await them, they should just keep walking, out of Congress and, if possible, out of the country.

For they, sir, and you, sir, have no place in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

The lot of you are the symbolic descendants of the despotic middle managers of some banana republic to whom "freedom" is an ironic brand name, a word you reach for when you want to get away with its opposite.

Thus, Mr. Bush, your panoramic invasion of privacy is dressed up as "protecting America." Thus, Mr. Bush, your indiscriminate domestic spying becomes the focused monitoring only of "terrorist communications." Thus, Mr. Bush, what you and the telecom giants have done isn't unlawful. It's just the kind of perfectly legal, passionately patriotic thing for which you happen to need immunity!

Richard Clarke is on the money, as usual. That the President was willing to veto this eavesdropping means there is no threat to the legitimate counterterror efforts still under way. As Senator Edward Kennedy reminded us in December: "The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retroactive immunity. No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he's willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies."

And that literally cannot be. Even Mr. Bush could not overtly take a step that actually aids the terrorists. I am not talking about ethics here. I am talking about blame. If the President seems to be throwing the baby out with the bath water, it means we can safely conclude there is no baby.

Because if there were, sir, now that you have vetoed an extension of the eavesdropping, if some terrorist attack were to follow, you would not merely be guilty of siding with the terrorists. You would not merely be guilty of prioritizing the telecoms over the people. You would not merely be guilty of stupidity. You would not merely be guilty of treason, sir. You would be personally, and eternally, responsible. And if there is one thing we know about you, Mr. Bush, one thing you have proved time and time again, it is that you are never responsible.

As recently ago as 2006, we spoke words like these with trepidation. The idea that even the most cynical and untrustworthy of the politicians in our history, George W. Bush, would use the literal form of terrorism against his own people was dangerous territory. It seemed to tempt fate, to heighten fear. We will not fear any longer. We will not fear the international terrorists, and we will thwart them. We will not fear the recognition of the manipulation of our yearning for safety. We will call it what it is: terrorism. We will not fear identifying the vulgar hypocrites in our government. We will name them. And we will not fear George W. Bush. Nor will we fear because George W. Bush wants us to fear.