'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
ShowPlug1: 2nd pepper-spray incident by Officer Bologna caught on tape. WNYC's @ArunNYC Arun Venugopal + @MTaibbi on #OccupyWallStreet
ShowPlug2: Zogby Poll puts Herman Cain ahead of GOP Field; Fox poll has him close 3rd behind Perry. @Markos on GOP Clown College
ShowPlug3: A vet's attempt to Citizen's Arrest Donald Rumsfeld. My guest, the man who tried, Nate Goldshlag @VFPNational
ShowPlug4: Worsts: The CNN/conservative blogger who calls Pres. Obama a liar, then quotes her own blog in which she proved he wasn't.
ShowPlugLast: And @SarahPalinUSA calls Herman Cain "Herb" three times. So she used to read the SF Chronicle? Janeane Garofalo joins me
watch whole playlist
#5 'Becoming a Movement', Arun Venugopal
#5 'Becoming a Movement', Matt Taibbi
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#4 'Perry Plummets', Markos Moulitsas
# Time Marches On!
#3 'No Arrest For The Wicked', Nate Goldshlag
#2 Worst Persons: Dick Morris, Sen. Rand Paul, Dana Loesch
#1 'Tea Party Pooper', Janeane Garofalo
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
printable PDF transcript
Topics: Donald Rumsfeld, Election 2012, GOP Primary, Immigration, NYPD, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin
Contributors: Markos Moulitsas, Matt Taibbi
Guests: Arun Venugopal, Janeane Garofalo, Nate Goldschlag
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Occupy Wall Street. Same cop, different pepper spraying. Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, again.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: He just maced us!
OLBERMANN: Even New York's Police Commissioner is beginning to sit up and take notice. The case of Officer Tony Bologna and His Pepper Spray versus Occupy Wall Street is referred to NYPD Internal Affairs. Meanwhile, it's Occupy Everywhere.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN #2: Welcome to Occupy Boston!
OLBERMANN: Occupy Wall Street, as assessed by my special guest Matt Taibbi. The Republican race - they are now basically supporting whoever hasn't really screwed up yet. Romney 17, Perry 18, Cain 28.
(Excerpt from video clip) ALEC BALDWIN: Mitt Romney said he was for, uh, against Obamacare. But what about - Mitt Romney? I mean, Mitt Romney Care. Was it was before he was before - he was before - border control.
OLBERMANN: The unexpected arm of the law for Donald Rumsfeld.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Hey, you rummy there! Come here! Come here!
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #2: I'm making a citizen's arrest!
OLBERMANN: The vet who tried to arrest Rummy joins us. And Janeane Garofalo gets to tee off on one of the dumbest things this Republican has ever said.
(Excerpt from video clip) SARAH PALIN: Take Herb Cain. Look at why he's doing so well right now. He's - I guess, you could say, with all due respect - the flavor of the week because Herb Cain is the one up there who doesn't look like he's part of that permanent political class. So, Herb Cain is a good example of a connection with the voters and why his message - good messenger - he's resonating with the people.
OLBERMANN: This is Herman Cain, whom she meant. This is Herb Caen, the famous columnist of The San Francisco Chronicle who died in 19-flipping-97! That woman is an idiot! Now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) MEN: All right, Herb!
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Wednesday, September 28th. 405 days until the 2012 presidential election.
The brutal pepper-spray attack by New York Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna on four penned-in protestors from the Occupy Wall Street movement on Saturday proves, tonight, to have been only one such assault by Inspector Bologna on protestors there. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly finally says his department will investigate, while the Occupy movement may be coming to a city near you.
Our fifth story on the "Countdown" - whatever happens to Mr. Bologna, his seemingly unprovoked attack - or attacks - may one day be seen as having played a crucial role in turning a protest against Wall Street greed and corruption, a kind of amorphous thing, into a national movement.
Already in news breaking at this hour, local operation New York 1 reports that the protestors now hope to march near New York Police Headquarters on Friday. The second incident coming to light - and reminiscent of the first - blasting his pepper spray at demonstrators or bystanders already moving down the street. Difficult to know how he expected to clear the sidewalk by forcing people to drop to their knees while clutching their eyes in pain.
That assault appears to have followed the one you have already seen, this one - Bologna's unprovoked attack Saturday on four women protestors who had already been penned by police behind that plastic net. Bologna's spray also hit at least one of his men in blue who swore colorfully.
Before the second video came out today, Commissioner Kelly told the media briefing that the NYPD Internal Affairs Unit will, "look into Bologna's use of caustic chemical, as will the Civilian Complaint Review Board." Kelly also said that - while he didn't know what precipitated the incident - he found the videos inadequate.
(Excerpt from video clip) RAYMOND KELLY: What we don't show is the tumultuous conduct that happened before that. It was, you know, certainly a disorderly situation.
OLBERMANN: However tumultuous they were, it could not have been more so than was a searing dollop of pepper spray to the eye. Occupy Wall Street did not seem impressed with Kelly's decision, spokesman Patrick Bruner saying, "It seems like Kelly is further into the cover up. If anyone else had done that it would have been a lot more than getting fired from their day job."
Deputy Inspector Bologna has not been fired from anything, at least not yet. But Occupy Wall Street does seem to be firing up plans for more protests around the country. Occupy Together, a Website that calls itself "a hub for events in solidarity with Occupation Wall Street," shows similar protests are planned in cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle, K.C., Philadelphia and Denver.
And while many are in the planning stage, Occupy protests are scheduled already for September 29th - that would be tomorrow - in San Francisco and Lexington, Kentucky as well. October 1st in Washington and Sacramento, and October 6th in Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas and Tampa. About 70 demonstrators reportedly took part in a march in Los Angeles today, and around 200 turned out last night in the center of Boston Common to plan an Occupy protest in that city.
Marisa Egerstrom and Matthew Krawitz are the organizers.
(Excerpt from video clip) MARISA EGERSTROM: We're trying to get the corrupt banks out of government, and we've all got a million causes here that we all believe in and all want to see achieved. But on a deeper level, this is about our right as Americans and, moreover, our right as humans to live lives of purpose and meaning.
(Excerpt from video clip) MATTHEW KRAWITZ: I am in no way a leader. I'm simply a guy who said enough. It's time to change.
OLBERMANN: Arun Venugopal, reporter for WNYC, the New York public radio station that's been covering this story and has joined me here at the control desk with the latest. Thanks for coming in.
ARUN VENUGOPAL: Sure, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Do you know anything about this supposed protest on Friday at NYPD Headquarters?
VENUGOPAL: Well, they've been trying to align with people in more traditional movements, unions and whatnot, and so, that - those - that networking has been happening for a few days now. This is sort of, the first event where they're kind of holding hands together and saying that they're all in this fight together.
OLBERMANN: You were down there at the protest today. What did you see? What has this evolved into at this point?
VENUGOPAL: Well, it's an interesting scene. This is going on for about a week and a half now, nearly two weeks. What you see is right there amidst all of these skyscrapers, this whole plaza has been essentially occupied, taken over by hundreds of young people mostly, coming from all over the country. You see sleeping bags and beds. They might be lounging on them, sleeping because they have been up late last night. They might be playing music, guitars and whatnot. They're also holding discussions. They're having debates about what it is exactly that they're trying to achieve.
OLBERMANN: To that point in a little bit, but the Anthony Bologna incident - or now we have videotape suggesting incidents - the spokesman was not - or the Occupy Wall Street spokesman was not particularly impressed, as I mentioned, with the Kelly comment, or the promise of looking into it. I don't know if that's a formal investigation or not. Are protestors satisfied with the police internal reaction now that it has at least advanced to the sound bite stage from the police commissioner?
VENUGOPAL: Well, I'm hearing some mixed things. Some of them say, well, would this have happened had it not been for the video we, ourselves, were taking of that incident, that went viral many times over around the world?
At the same time, I think there is some discomfort with having outed this particular gentleman in the NYPD, whether it seems a little vindictive. He does have a history, it seems, from the RNC and other events. But they - some people say they just want to kind of move on and not politicize this overly. There's also been relatively decent interactions with them in other situations.
OLBERMANN: Which they've all expressed many times, and we tried to emphasize here. Is there - is there, from what you could tell talking to the people involved in this, is there a fundamental disconnect over, "Let's do whatever we need to do to get this publicized, to get our point of view out to let people know that we are here," and some sort of belief that organically, this can develop of its own - own essentially free will that because it's a good cause, people will cover it, people will pay attention to it? Is that the split?
VENUGOPAL: I mean, I think that there is, right now, this sort of euphoria to some extent amongst members of the movement because they see it's growing. It is growing organically. There are people who complain all the time about not getting enough media coverage, but they - at the same time - they are very interested in getting the public support, getting their story across. What it is exactly they are aiming for, that's a whole another matter.
OLBERMANN: Right. And saying that they're not sure of that - we were discussing with one of the leaders the other night - excuse me - Kelly Heresy that that was part of an organic process, and you can understand that - but these are sound bite days, particularly in terms of politics in America and change. Is that refusal to sort of buy into the standard media exploitation or exploitation of the media, is that harming what they want to get out, do you think?
VENUGOPAL: There is definitely a lot of internal pressure that they're feeling to articulate their list of demands or what have you. At the same time, some people say, "Listen, we've got to the have this process. This is all about process. This is about having everybody kind of buy into this movement, growing it, sort of a horizontal structure here. We don't want to have one or two people, this small clique of demonstrators who tells the rest of the world what it is we want. We want everybody to sort of have their voice." These general assemblies, as they call it, these meetings they have out in the open - completely transparent - is what they're trying to achieve, project to the world. They're trying to get people to discuss it to such an extent that there is a lot of, I guess, solidarity in the final choices they make.
OLBERMANN: Arun Venugopal - I keep doing that. My apologies again - of WNYC. Thanks for coming on, and we appreciate your time in coming in as well.
VENUGOPAL: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Occupy Wall Street may be gaining strength, but it's not without its critics on the left. Many have applauded the movement support for "the 99% on the on the lower rungs of the economic ladder who will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1% on top."
But the group has indeed yet to articulate any specific demands. And while it may be performing a crucial role in helping to educate the uniformed about how they have been victimized by Wall Street and the "too big to fail" banks, the deliberate - almost - lack of organization, the self-styled "leaderless resistance movement" and its refusal to articulate demands could both hamper its growth and slow its being taken as seriously as it would like to be. Matt Taibbi, of the "Rolling Stone," contributing editor and "Countdown" contributor joins me now, here at control. Good to see you, sir.
MATT TAIBBI: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: All right, so you're - you decided you were writing about this and hadn't seen it, didn't know what it was, and you literally just hopped on a train from Boston to go see it?
TAIBBI: Well, yeah. I mean, I decided to check it out this afternoon.
OLBERMANN: What did you see?
TAIBBI: Well, I think the - you know, there is about a thousand people that I counted down there today. And the - the sign that I thought most accurately represented the whole thing, I can't really say the actual words on air, but -
TAIBBI: There was a sign that said, "'Bleep is bleeped up" and I think that kind of generally sums up what it is. It's a generalized protest. People are angry about something and they - they kind of generally understand that Wall Street is somehow behind the problems, but they don't know exactly why.
OLBERMANN: And many of those who are saying and - and pushing to keep this nonspecific have said, "Look, Tahrir Square, Cairo, we brought down the Mubarak government." By the time that really had its impact, they were very specific about what they wanted.
OLBERMANN: They wanted freedom for a nation that was obviously being wildly suppressed and the - and the - and violence against those - those protestors. What is seldom known, and to the credit of this network was to begun to be reported on here on Vanguard in 2006, was that those Tahrir Square demonstrations started with 50, 60 people just saying, "We want things to be better."
OLBERMANN: So, is there - is there, in fact, some reason for them to believe that this is the root of something? Has the last week and a half suggested that they actually grew something there, in that time?
TAIBBI: You know what, I think so. I mean, I thought about this a lot.
TAIBBI: Obviously, you know, it's not 100,000 extremely desperate people chewing through brick walls with their teeth, you know? It's a thousand college students having a sleep-in right now. But the reality is that there's a lot of real anger out there and it's - the movement is growing organically, I think, just because people know that there's something to protest now and they're - they're coming out. And all these people are distressed, and there is enough real distress and desperation out there that this could transform into a real movement where there's enough really angry people to scare people in power.
OLBERMANN: And of all people, you would know that they're - they didn't just pick something in random, like saying, "We don't like cobblestone streets downtown."
OLBERMANN: "That's the cause of every American problem." There is so much wrong with Wall Street. And as you wrote, any movement against Wall Street corruption will have to involve some very elaborate organization.
OLBERMANN: Is this something that could conceivably grow into that, or merely an inspiration for something else that might grow into that?
TAIBBI: Well, I think this - what this could do is that it could provide the political support for those - those activists who are trying to change very specific things about how Wall Street operates. Obviously this is a crowd that doesn't know a whole lot about how, for instance, the derivatives market works. But there's enough anger out these that people who are trying to reform the derivatives market can point and say, "Look, there are protests out there. We need to do something because the public won't take it anymore."
OLBERMANN: What about the - the move towards other - we cited the one in Los Angeles today, 70 was the low end of one estimate, couple hundred was another. All the ones on slate for tomorrow, the rest of this week, big towns, small towns - are they interconnected, or are they being inspired by each other?
TAIBBI: Well, I think, clearly, this one seems a little different to me because it's supposedly specifically directed towards Wall Street and it's at Wall Street and so, thematically, it should be different. But I think, you know, it has a lot in common with the tea party movement that popped up a couple of years ago, which is, you know - somebody gave people an excuse to come out in the streets and organize and show their anger and, all of a sudden, there were millions of people. I think that could really happen here because there is enough discomfort out there that, you know, those numbers will be there.
OLBERMANN: Right. Where are they relative to media coverage? I don't want to pat everybody on the back here too much, but we were essentially the first people to do this on national television, at any length.
OLBERMANN: In the context of a news program and there seems to have been some pick-up. What are people covering, and is the message being delivered by the media? Is it being thwarted by the media? Do you have any perception of that?
TAIBBI: You know, I've - obviously, I covered a lot of tea party events in the early going and I - you know, it seems like every time there was a decent-sized event, there were always live trucks everywhere and -
OLBERMANN: A loud cough.
TAIBBI: Exactly, exactly. And this one, you know, there's - there are a few reporters, there's a set up there for the media but it's - it's not anywhere near the numbers, you know, you saw on the other side.
OLBERMANN: You made the reference. I've done it before. You're the expert on it. Not me. If those were tea party protestors in Wall Street for the last week and half complaining about welfare, complaining about stimulus packages, demanding the ouster of Ben Bernanke, what kind of coverage would that get, do you think?
TAIBBI: I think it would get a lot of coverage. But interestingly, there are some tea partiers there. I mean, there are - there are Ron Paul supporters there, in some numbers and, you know - and they're being ignored, too. So, I think that's worth pointing out.
OLBERMANN: Maybe there just aren't enough funny hats.
TAIBBI: Right, right.
OLBERMANN: So we're going to be having a telethon here on Current to raise money for funny hats for Occupy Wall Street to try to just sell the media presence a little bit. The "Rolling Stone" contributing editor and "Countdown" contributor, Matt Taibbi, with the perspective on Occupy Wall Street. Great.Thanks for it, Matt.
TAIBBI: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Good to see you, as always.
Supporting the theory that the presidential Republican campaign is actually a game of Whack-A-Mole - new polling, in one of which Perry is just ahead of Romney, in a second just behind him and in one - Herman Cain is suddenly in the lead. In the other poll, he's just six points back - which is news to Sarah Palin because she thought Herman Cain's name was Herb. Seriously!
OLBERMANN: Cain, 28. Romney, 18. Perry, 17. It's a Zogby poll, and it's interactive - so you should have some doubts. However, in a poll for Fox - Romney, 23. Perry, 19. Cain. 17. Nevertheless, the Republican presidential disaster field may be getting its fourth frontrunner in six weeks. Markos Moulitsas, next. And that is Herman Cain, as opposed to what she called him last night, three and a half, four times. Janeane Garofalo joins me to laugh - not with Palin, but at her.
Citizens' arrest. The military vets who tried to haul him in last night, the man who tried to make the collar joins us.
And it takes a brave man to oppose the rest of the Senate, the safety experts, the environmentalists and the corporations who run the industry, but Senator Rand Paul wants to protect the rights of oil pipelines to blow up and kill people. "Worsts" - ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Rick Perry, today, accused of being a closet liberal.
In our fourth story on the "Countdown," Perry - gun-toting, health-care-repealing Texas governor - now facing criticism from fellow Republicans that he's too far left. And it's causing trouble with his poll numbers, in fact it's "raising Cain" with them. Perry getting the most flack for defending his decision to allow children of immigrants to qualify for in-state college tuition. The horror! That position drawing scorn from right-wing ideology enforcers such as Rush Limbaugh.
(Excerpt from video clip) RUSH LIMBAUGH: I know what the people of this country want, and they don't want John McCain Jr. They don't want another moderate Republican who can work with the other side. They don't want somebody who wants to cut it both ways on illegal immigration or on health care. They want - a conservative.
OLBERMANN: So, Perry will give them a conservative. The governor apologizing today for having not been savage enough in his immigration policies. Or at least for calling fellow Republicans who oppose his position "heartless."
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK PERRY: I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word, and it was inappropriate.
OLBERMANN: Heartless is now inoperative.
Mitt Romney sensing weakness - today his campaign spokeswoman telling Talking Points Memo, "Instead of dreaming up phony attacks on Mitt Romney, Governor Perry should explain why he encourages illegal immigration."
The attacks have taken a toll. In just the last month, Perry has dropped more than 20 points among Republican voters, according to the latest, and significantly suspect, Zogby interactive poll.
Coming in first in that one? Herman Cain. The pizza mogul who's never held elected office, now the fourth different GOP front-runner, leads by this measure with 28 percent. But, it could be worse. One-time leader, Michele Bachmann, continues her free fall - from 34 percent at the end of June to just 4 percent now.
Another poll, this one conducted on behalf of Fox News, shows a slightly different picture. Here, Perry still falling behind, but second to Mitt Romney, with Cain in third. Do we have it? No, we don't.
Perry can't blame all his problems on his opponents' attacks, though. His own dismal performance in the Republican debates has not helped. The governor fumbling his lines, and at times looking like he'd rather be napping - Alec Baldwin significantly channeling the Texas governor on "Saturday Night Live."
(Excerpt from video clip) BALDWIN: Shep? Shep, if I may I'd like to attack Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper.
(Excerpt from video clip) BILL HADER: Are you sure? It's late in the debate, this is when you normally get tired and confused.
(Excerpt from video clip) BALDWIN: Not tonight. I'm ready. Mitt Romney said he was for - against Obamacare. But what about - Mitt Romney? I mean, Mitt Romneycare. Was it was before he was before?
(Excerpt from video clip) HADER: Uh-oh.
(Excerpt from video clip) BALDWIN: Was it was he was before - border control.
(Excerpt from video clip) HADER: And he's asleep.
OLBERMANN: I'm Shepard Smith, and I come from a town full of secrets. Best line in 30 years.
Joining me now, "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas, the founder and publisher of Daily Kos. Markos, good evening.
MARKOS MOULITSAS: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Rick Perry - before we get to the poll numbers - had to apologize for not being mean enough to immigrants. Shouldn't that be, no matter who the nominee is, should that not be in every Obama ad that runs in every language between now and November 2012?
MOULITSAS: Yeah, absolutely. I mean - not being hateful enough is actually now a failure of the conservative primary electorate litmus test. And to me, you know, what's really funny is that heartless are really sort of - really upset that Rick Perry would call them heartless. Now this is the same crowd that thinks that empathy is a bad word. What is empathy? It is having heart, and consideration for the feelings of others. So, now Perry says basically that was a distinct lack of empathy to say that about those children of undocumented immigrants. They should be applauding that. That's what they like. But apparently - with Rick Perry, you cannot win anymore.
OLBERMANN: Again, we've analogized this previously to the French Revolution. It's like, "Well, I'm in favor of 10% of the country getting their heads chopped off on the guillotine - no, no, no, I'm in favor of 15%." Have they thrown - is Perry on the cart headed towards the area outside the Bastille? Or is he gonna get another chance to get worse?
MOULITSAS: You can have plenty of chances to get worse. He's just now starting to get the heat on immigration. And it's amazing, because as bad as Romney has had of - six weeks he's been in the race, I think, four to six weeks - been terrible, right?
Only now has immigration been an issue, and when he first entered the race, I thought, and I wrote, "Immigration, that's gonna be his Achilles heel." And it's amazing that it took this long, and that he's that damaged already by the time they finally get around to bashing him on not hating brown people enough. So, it's - he's only got down to go at this point. I'm not sure how he recovers.
OLBERMANN: The Zogby poll, you had some significant problems with that. Explain why, and then what - then we'll review what was in the poll for Fox News.
MOULITSAS: Yeah, no, the Zogby poll is an interactive. I mean, this is basically a panel of volunteers clicking on the button online. So it's an online poll. I put these up on Daily Kos all the time, I don't pretend that they're statistically significant.
The Fox poll, on the other hand - that is actually a legit poll. I mean, Fox News is not - their polling actually - it's solid polling. To me, it's amazing that it's showing Perry dropping like a rock, but what's even more amazing is that Mitt Romney hasn't budged. People are not moving over to Mitt Romney. And no matter how much he talks, and how much - you know, his debates, and how much Fox News is pumping him up trying to get their establishment candidate some traction - he's still stuck at about a quarter percent of the vote, which is pathetic given that he has the highest name recognition of any candidate in that field.
OLBERMANN: Right. Romney, 23. Perry, 19. Cain, 17. I suggested earlier the Republicans are responding to these polls by picking the guy who has not really screwed up big time yet. So, who's the next front-runner after Cain screws up big time? I mean, who's number five? Would it be Romney, Bachmann, Perry, and sort of Cain? Who's left and who's next?
MOULITSAS: You know, looking at that Fox poll, one of the numbers that struck, you know, that struck me as well - and I didn't expect this - is that Newt Gingrich is showing signs of life. He was at around 8% of the vote? Plenty of time for him to make a brief appearance at the front-runner ranks before he, as well, plummets to the bottom.
OLBERMANN: And there's one more - this Huff Post-Patch Power Outsider survey - that just says the Republican establishment soured on Perry, leaning towards Romney, and then - once again, as you point out - Romney, no matter what else happens around him, stays right there at about a quarter of the polling. Is there anything that, conceivably, could move him? Could he come out tomorrow and say, "I repudiate Romneycare and I'm gonna repeal the Obama health care?" What can he do to get the tea party?
MOULITSAS: I don't know. Romney is irreparably damaged. I mean, he's been on the opposite side of literally every single issue that matters to the tea party.
The thing with Romney is that he - people, the establishment - want him desperately. They want a credible candidate to oppose Obama, and Romney polls the best against Obama, so he would be their best general election candidate.
What the establishment has never liked about Romney is the fact he is unelectable in a Republican primary. So they're looking for that candidate - this magical creature - who is both acceptable to the establishment and acceptable to the tea party. They thought they had that guy in Rick Perry and, obviously, that didn't work out very well.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, Romney is on the cart. He's on his way to La Place de la You Ain't Got No Head No More.
MOULITSAS: And that's why they're still talking about drafting -
OLBERMANN: Chris Christie.
MOULITSAS: Whether it's Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels. They keep throwing names hoping something sticks against the wall.
OLBERMANN: Ooooh, Mitch Daniels. I hadn't thought about him. All right, so I'll cross off Charles Evans Hughes and write in Mitch Daniels.
The founder and publisher of dailykos.com, "Countdown" contributor, Markos Moulitsas. As always, great, thanks, sir.
MOULITSAS: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: And again that's Herman Cain, not Harry, or Hermes, or Harmon. Or as Sarah Palin called him "Herb." Herb Cain. Three and a half times. Janeane Garofalo joins me on one of her favorite topics ahead on "Countdown". Maybe it was a pizza thing.
OLBERMANN: The citizen's arrest of Donald Rumsfeld next.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date in 1841 was born Georges Clemenceau, all the proof you'd ever need that - contrary to the Rumsfeld story - doing the right thing eventually pays off, often way later and often much more than you could have ever dreamt.
Chased out of his native France for attacking the Emperor Napoleon III, Clemenceau became a French teacher at a girls' school in Connecticut. He later went home, and - after a middling career as a politician - he opened up a newspaper and at the age of 58, he went out on a limb and published something written by the novelist Emile Zola in defense of a hated traitor. Well, the traitor was Captain Dreyfus. The thing Zola was the still-famous letter "J'accuse."
At age 65, Clemenceau became prime minister of France. At age 77, he helped win World War I, and then write the Treaty of Versailles.
"Time Marches On!"
You ain't got no head no more.
We begin in San Diego - our cameraman, Joe's, favorite Internet video - the last day of the dog days of summer and these gnarly pups are hitting the waves one last time for the sixth annual Surf Dog Surfathon. Hang ten. San Diegans are the best. All right, just hang on. One of the more experienced dogs takes the wave backwards. Hello. He's just a hot dog - .You know how that ends. Down goes Frazier! Oh, a collision at sea. Oh, the humanity. Tune in next week for the feline kayaking competition.
From the sea to the land to all of southern California - the dogs are taking over. This 3-year-old Pomeranian, Mango, caused quite a traffic jam in Portland, Oregon as drivers stopped their cars trying to help out the scared little pup, but as you know, you can't have-a the mango. Mango first became lost around 4:30 when she slipped out of her collar and made a run for it. Eventually, she was chased down on foot, returned to a very happy owner. Reached for comment, Mango said, "Now she knows why humans are always complaining about rush-hour traffic." That's the way it is.
Finally, the annual Twelve-Hour Lawnmower Race. Run for your life, grass. This is in England. The race began Saturday afternoon and finished early Sunday morning. Because it began so late in the day, they did it in darkness with lights. What is this? Le Mans? 24 hours? Do you want see people do it? It's better it's in the dark. The winning team "Who's Racing?" - the English version of the Abbott & Costello joke - beat 34 other teams by completing 362 laps. The worst part is they missed a spot right by the sidewalk, and they had to go back and do the whole thing over.
"Time Marches On!"
The Vietnam-era vet who attempted to perform a citizen's arrest on Donald Rumsfeld next on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: DuMont boxing from the St. Nicholas Arena with Chris Schenkel will not be seen tonight, so we can instead bring you "Countdown," live each weeknight at 8:00 P.M. Eastern, 5:00 P.M. Pacific utilizing all the technological advances of the 21st century. And now - in color.
Donald Rumsfeld remains a free man tonight despite an unsuccessful attempt to arrest him in Boston. In our third story on the "Countdown," the try for a citizen's arrest came from a group called Veterans for Peace. They confronted the former Bush - President Bush's Secretary of Defense - at a book signing on Monday night.
(Excerpt from video clip) NATE GOLDSCHLAG: I'm making a citizen's arrest! I went down front and looked Donald Rumsfeld in the eye and said, "I'm making a citizen's arrest."
OLBERMANN: The man speaking there was Nate Goldschlag, who will join us shortly, who's part of the larger group that gathered at the Old South Meeting House, the site that sparked the actual Tea Party in 1773. Rumsfeld was there to discuss "Known and Unknown," a memoir - a memoir - which a New York Times review called "a fast and loose game of dodge ball, tedious and self-serving, filled with efforts to blame others."
Despite Rumsfeld's efforts to rewrite history, the facts still blame him and others in the Bush Administration for the ongoing carnage that followed the invasion of Iraq. Some of Rumsfeld's supporters disagreed with the protestors.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: I fought for this country, and that man is a war criminal!
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #2: Yeah! Traitor! Traitor!
OLBERMANN: Mr. Goldschlag was one of several removed from the protest co-sponsored by Code Pink. One man was reportedly arrested for using a bull horn to assault a police officer. About 300 supporters of Rumsfeld were inside while the protestors stayed mostly outside. One wore a mask and a costume suggesting new attire for the man his pals call "Rummy."
And now, as promised, let's bring in Nate Goldschlag who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era and is now a board member of Veterans for Peace. Thanks for your time tonight, sir.
GOLDSCHLAG: Thank you for having me, Keith.
OLBERMANN: All right - so the old "Dog catches, or - Dog follows car, chases car, catches car" - what would you have done with Mr. Rumsfeld if you had succeeded in arresting him?
GOLDSCHLAG: Well, obviously - for a citizen's arrest - the Boston police have to come and actually make the arrest and they were - they had nothing to do with that. In fact, they hustled me out.
OLBERMANN: The use of the term "war criminal," it's strong and weighted language. Give me your rationale for using it.
GOLDSCHLAG: Okay. We believe that Donald Rumsfeld is - is basically one of the people responsible for the Iraq War. He lied about weapons of mass destruction. He lied about Saddam's links to 9/11. He lied about yellowcake from Niger. He lied about mobile weapons. It was a whole thing, and he got us into a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, 5,000 Americans. So we view him as a war criminal.
OLBERMANN: When you put it that way, it sounds like it was a pretty convincing argument, and yet the protestors seemed outnumbered by the Rumsfeld supporters. Were you nervous? Did - how were you - how were you treated on the whole, do you think?
GOLDSCHLAG: Well, once I got up, they started shouting at me to get out of there and, you know, as we were hustled out, they were yelling, "Good-bye, good-bye." That kind of thing. But, you know, there were 300 people that were gotten by right-wing talk radio in Boston and it was to what we expected.
OLBERMANN: Was it instructive at all to be among people who think he's some sort of hero as opposed to the very bad, very ill-prepared and possibly criminal Secretary of Defense under George Bush?
GOLDSCHLAG: Was it instructive? No. I thought it was a little bit comical and discouraging that people can actually think that. I think one of the people on the news report said, "He's one of the finest Americans in history." So, I just don't understand how people can think that. I don't think these people are representative of most people in the United States.
OLBERMANN: But did you see any - so, I guess what I'm saying is did you see any sign of thinking? Because it occurs to me that thinking's got nothing to do with it. These are people who probably had undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder after 9/11, or just people who get their rocks off watching us invade countries and kill people who don't deserve either. Did you see any sign that there was actual - somebody who could have presented some sort of intellectual argument against what you were saying?
GOLDSCHLAG: No, not really. I mean, the guy in front of me in line - I was not dressed like this - with this Veterans for Peace t-shirt. I had on, you know, good clothes, and it was kind of incognito, and this guy in front of me was yelling at protesters "Go back to Cuba." You know, "Go back to Cuba." It was just - you know, it was comical. I mean, these people, you know, these people really are a little bit out there.
OLBERMANN: Too much listening to local right-wing radio in Boston, which is particularly laughable - like, what's that - "Callahan and Dennis," the old sports writers. You had to pay $50 to get in. Did you get your - your book autographed at least?
GOLDSCHLAG: I couldn't stomach taking his book. The book - the book was on the table, you could have taken one. But, you know, as it was, I was forced to give him standing ovations and stuff before I stood up. But, you know, I didn't take his book. But, I'll tell you, Keith, we're going to be down in D.C. next week, October 6th occupying Freedom Plaza - Veterans for Peace, along with many other groups.
GOLDSCHLAG: And, we want you there. We know you've covered the occupation of Wall Street, and we appreciate what you're doing, we want you to come there.
OLBERMANN: Which date have you picked?
GOLDSCHLAG: October 6th.
OLBERMANN: All right.
GOLDSCHLAG: Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., we're beginning an occupation.
OLBERMANN: All right, let me see if we can work it out logistically. I doubt it, but, let me see - it would be a logistical question and nothing else. Nate Goldschlag, proud American veteran, after his attempt to conduct a citizen's arrest on former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and great thanks for some of your time tonight, sir.
GOLDSCHLAG: All right, thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Herman Cain, the Republican presidential wannabe. "Herb Caen," the late, great San Francisco Chronicle columnist who died 14 years ago - same guy, according to Sarah Palin, another lead lecturer at the Republican presidential clown college.
Janeane Garafolo joins me ahead here on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: It could have been worse - she could have called him Dean Cain or Michael Caine. The dimness of Sarah Palin reaches new heights. Janeane Garafolo joins me - not many people know that. First, the worst. The CNN token right winger who calls the president a liar in her latest column after having proved he was not a liar in her previous column, next.
OLBERMANN: The Right goes nuts over a flip remark on "Dancing with the Stars," and Sarah Palin calls Herman Cain "Herb." Whatever you say, Sally.
Janeane Garofalo is here.
First, because you don't have to call them Herb, you don't have to call them Sally, but you should always call them "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze to columnist and disgraced former White House staffer Dick Morris. Some are navel gazers. Dick Morris is a toe sucker. Several weeks ago, he wrote an entire column based on this sentence, "In August, the economy lost 30,000 health-care jobs, a drop from its recent monthly increments of 10,000 to 15,000, well down from historical norms of 30,000 new health-care jobs each month."
Unfortunately for Mr. Morris, in August, the economy didn't lose 30,000 health-care jobs. The economy gained 30,000 health-care jobs. So, Morris is not paying attention, can't tell gained from lost. Par for the course for him.
However, this week he has now written, "According to a Washington Post/ABC News survey, his favorability" - that's the president's - "rating among African-Americans has dropped off a cliff, plunging from 83 percent five months ago to a mere 58 percent today, a drop of 25 points, a bit more than a point per week."
Sadly, no. The poll actually reported that Obama's favorability rating among African-Americans had not dropped to 58 percent. It had gone up to 86 percent. Mr. Morris evidently now has a serious problem with honesty. Or with math, which must've been a bitch when it came to paying the hooker for letting you suck on her toes, Dick.
The runner-up - Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. There's a bill in the Senate. It's the worst - the first one in history supported by the leaders of both houses and parties, and the safety experts and the environmentalists, and the owners of the industry the new legislation would affect. It tightens up regulations on oil pipelines to lessen the chances of another one of them blowing up, the way one did in San Bruno, California last year, killing eight of us. But, the bill has had a Senatorial hold placed on it, by the only Senator - indeed, apparently the only American - who thinks it's a threat to our freedom to get blown up.
Yes, Senator Rand Paul put a hold on the anti-pipeline explosion bill. Correct. He is pro-blowing up. You first, Randy.
But our winner, Dana Loesch, blogger, of CNN. Now, it is important to remember here that she's not very bright, and thus, she has to get a little benefit of the doubt. But this is still one of the all-time dumbest things in the history of American journalism.
When President Obama complained that an American soldier serving in Iraq had been booed at the Republican debate, Loesch wrote, "I'd like to say that the president grossly misstated the true nature of these incidents, but that would be inaccurate. It was a lie to willfully misstate that the actions of a couple of individuals were instead from the entire audience."
To support her accusation that Obama had lied, Loesch linked back to her own blog post of September 23rd, in which she reported that an American soldier serving in Iraq had been booed at the Republican debate. And then most of the crowd was booing the booing.
But she quoted a witness with the improbable name of Sarah Rumpf. "There was audible booing after his question."
Then, Loesch went on to add her own point. "I've also received a couple of emails from other debate attendees who back up Rumpf's claim, done independent from her, that it was a couple of blockheads who decided to show their idiocy."
And just to hop on the we-better-scold-them-too bandwagon, Loesch had written, "Frankly, I don't care where you stand on DADT, you don't boo a soldier in the battlefield, period."
So this stupid person thinks that booing after the gay soldier's question was a couple of blockheads, followed by the rest of the Republicans there booing the booers. Now, even if you accept her mind-reading act as fact, Loesch still managed to confirm the truth of what she said the president had lied about. That there were Republicans - at the Republican debates - who showed their flag-waving, "Don't-Tread-On-Me," self-advertising, self-serving "support for the troops" by booing one of them. And she confirmed it by quoting her own article. That is a special kind of dumb.
Dana "blink, blink, blink, blink" Loesch, quoting herself to contradict herself, today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: Breaking news, Sarah Palin has still not yet decided if she's going to run. Even without running, she continues to find ways to garner media attention and our number one story - the latest wrinkle in the Palin saga - her gushing over a current GOP candidate named "Herb."
Last night, Governor Palin appeared on Greta Van Susteren's program. No, that's not the funny part. Stop laughing. In between commenting on Chris Christie, and again blaming the media for - you know, everything - she discussed the results of the recent Florida straw poll. Rather than focus on whether the candidates did anything wrong, she instead focused on what Herman Cain did right. Herman Cain.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: Take Herb Cain. Look at why he's doing so well right now. I guess you could say - with all due respect - the flavor of the week because Herb Cain is the one up there who doesn't look like he's part of that permanent political class. Herb Cain - he came from a working-class family. He's had to make it on his own all these years. Herb Cain is a good example of a connection with the voters and why his message - good messenger - he's resonating with the people.
OLBERMANN: Yes, Herb Cain, Herbal Essence Cain, Herm Cain, whoever he is, resonating so well, you can't get his name right unless she's confusing the former CEO of Godfather Pizza with the Pulitzer Prize-winning San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Herb Caen, C-A-E-N. Common mistake, of course. Or more likely, that woman is an idiot.
But Ms. Palin's name flub was not the only mention of a Palin on TV last night. On the episode of "Dancing with the Stars," contestant Carson Kressley gave viewers a glimpse behind the scenes, stopping in the wardrobe closet, he had a little fun with that gorilla mask that Bristol Palin famously wore in her appearance on that show.
(Excerpt from video clip) CARSON KRESSLEY: I think Bristol Palin wore this. Smells like a tea party still.
OLBERMANN: A small joke connecting Bristol Palin with the tea party. Nothing exactly to get riled up about unless, of course, you are a blogger for brain-damaged Andrew Breitbart. A post on his blog captured the true essence of Kressley's joke. "So, what are we to make of this nonsense? Kressley's saying the tea party activists smell like gorillas?" It was a suit, sir. Adding, "So, what do Democrats smell like? Maybe Europeans? How about Reds?" Reds? You mean Communists? So, you're equating the tea party with communists? On that note, let's bring in comedienne, raconteur and "Countdown's" man about town, Janeane Garofalo.
JANEANE GAROFALO: Thank you. Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Good to see you.
GAROFALO: First off, if I may. . .
GAROFALO: Can I just jump right in?
OLBERMANN: Go right ahead.
GAROFALO: Andrew Breitbart, first and foremost, has no credibility. He is a guy - sort of like an Andy Kaufman-esque/Tony Clifton-type character. He - it's his job, I guess he think, to manufacture outrage and to throw red meat out to people who are easily manipulated. And then with that, with the mask, the gorilla.
GAROFALO: That gorilla mask is immaterial. What he was saying is smells like Bristol Palin, smells like tea party. I don't think there was any deeper meaning besides Bristol Palin is a tea - probably would identify as a tea partier.
OLBERMANN: One would think.
GAROFALO: This smells like that. And then I think he's calling for a boycott or something, Andrew's trying to manufacture this kind of -
OLBERMANN: Well, Chaz Bono's on the show, too, so -
OLBERMANN: And Nancy Grace. So -
GAROFALO: So, there's some reason to attack - I'm sure there's a right-wing - right-wing letter writing 'cause Chaz Bono was on because they have problems with the - with the gay/lesbian/transgendered community.
OLBERMANN: But Tony Clifton, Andy Kaufman - they knew there were doing that as opposed to just being sort of involuntary -
GAROFALO: Oh, Andrew Breitbart knows he is full of it.
OLBERMANN: Do you think he knows he's a fraud?
GAROFALO: Andy Breitbart knows he is dishonest, but also another level that's going on here - which I don't think was going on with Andy Kaufman - is that Andrew Breitbart, I suspect, is dealing with his inner dysfunctions and demons and playing them out on a national stage. He is - he's got - he's got some issues. Anyone who does what he does is a person struggling with their own - with their own probably self-loathing. And again, I'll say it - I've said it before - I know a lot about self-loathing.
OLBERMANN: Yes, this is not -
GAROFALO: There's no one who can - who can speak more to self-loathing -
OLBERMANN: You are putting yourself out there first.
GAROFALO: I have the decency to hate myself. Andrew Breitbart may not have the decency to hate himself. No, he doesn't have the decency.
OLBERMANN: But you know his denial of your claim that he knows he's dishonest. Is he gonna have to now come out and say, "I know I'm not dishonest," or "I don't know I'm dishonest." That's the one. It's "I don't know I'm dishonest." That's his denial of what you just said.
GAROFALO: Well, of course, he would say that. He's like a performance artist or like a merry prankster, if you will or a situationist. I hate to just bring all of these references in, but -
OLBERMANN: Merry pranksters are funny.
GAROFALO: But they're nice. No, no, they're nice.
OLBERMANN: They're funny.
GAROFALO: I'm saying it's the dark side.
OLBERMANN: They're funny. They're funny. Tony Clifton was funny in one respect.
GAROFALO: But he was mean-spirited.
GAROFALO: That's why I used Tony Clifton, and not other Andy Kaufman characters.
OLBERMANN: Quickly, on the premise here. Herb Cain. You have a theory about this.
GAROFALO: Oh, I thought - I thought actually she was saying Herm. I honestly thought Sarah Palin was using nicknames to be all down home and folksy.
OLBERMANN: So, you thought we were just mishearing Herm for Herb?
GAROFALO: No, no, no, I - she may well have been saying Herb. And I would say some other things about the creditability thing about that.
As Andrew Breitbart has no credibility, I believe Sarah Palin and Fox News and News Corp have none. So there's no reason to really bother getting into it.
And Herman Cain is - is is a - is probably well-liked by some of the Republicans because it hides the racist elements of the Republican Party, conservative movement and tea party movement, one in the same. You know, people like Karl Rove like to keep the racism very covert, and so Herman Cain provides this great opportunity so that you can say, "Look, this is not a racist anti-immigrant, anti-female -
OLBERMANN: We have Herb over here.
GAROFALO: - Anti-gay movement, "Look it, we have a black man."
OLBERMANN: We got Harry over here.
GAROFALO: Look, he's polling well and he won a straw poll.
OLBERMANN: Hank over here.
OLBERMANN: Hal over -
GAROFALO: I thought she was saying Herm because she was being all kind of nickname-y.
OLBERMANN: All right, lastly -
OLBERMANN: I want to give you a chance to chime in on Occupy Wall Street. Is the media ignoring it? It seems like that has not been the case the last 24 hours.
GAROFALO: Well, I think the media for the most part - mainstream media tends to ignore any kind of outside-of- the-establishment-box movements, especially if they're considered to be on the left. And they do have a clear message. It's called Occupy Wall Street. Wall Street. It's not called Occupy Just This Floor or This Table. And "We are the 99 percenters" - which they're saying - means "We are the 99 percent of citizens who have no voice in government." The message, I think, seems very, very clear.
And, you know, sometimes people bring the tea party in and compare them. The tea party is an establishment movement funded by - and supported by - corporate money, and a propaganda network, and they have messaging people like Frank Luntz, or people who do these things in the echo chamber - Grover Norquist. This, on Occupy Wall Street, is a real grassroots people movement with a message.
OLBERMANN: My message to you, though, is I'm out of time.
GAROFALO: And Happy Rosh Hashanah.
OLBERMANN: Janeane Garofalo, the not-really-man about town. Always a pleasure.
GAROFALO: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for this, the 59th day since the Republicans' debt ceiling blackmail worked. Speaker Boehner, where are the jobs? Where's Herb Cain?
Keith Olbermann. Good night, and good luck.