'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, October 6th, 2011
ShowPlug1: Police Riot: full video documentation of Wednesday night at #OWS w/Ryan @RDevro Devereaux of Democracy Now! + my own trip there
ShowPlug2: The #OWS Declaration: its co-authors @NewYorkCreator Ryan Hoffman + @Wingstwospirit Lex Rendon join me
ShowPlug3: Cops break up #OccupySF in midnight raid, but #OccupyDC marches; @DavidShuster covered, reports for us from Washington
ShowPlug4: Delayed: is "Retroactive Recusal" possible for Thomas SCOTUS vote on Citizens United? @JohnWDean has found a precedent
ShowPlugLast: Beck forecasts Guillotines at #OWS; + if you'd said that's why Fox hired @SarahPalinUSA she could sue you.She's not suing him!
watch whole playlist
#5 'Occupy Protests', Ryan Devereaux
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#4 'General Assembly Declaration', Ryan Hoffman & Lex Rendon
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#3 'Occupy Coast to Coast', David Shuster
# Time Marches On!
#2 Worst Persons: Roger Ailes, Herman Cain, Glenn Beck
#1 'Ethical Question', John Dean
printable PDF transcript
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Police riot. The NYPD loses control when Americans protesting an American economy out of balance try to step on an American street. Occupy Wall Street protestors thrown to the pavement, thrown against buildings, prodded with motorbikes, pepper sprayed.
(Excerpt from video clip) DICK BRENNAN: Fox Five photographer Roy Eisen got sprayed with mace. I took a hit from a night stick in the stomach.
OLBERMANN: And he was from Fox. For the third time, the New York Police Department escalates tensions at Occupy Wall Street and helps elevate a protest into a movement.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #1: My little nightstick is going to get a workout tonight, hopefully.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #2: I said, 'I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting." That's when I got a boot in the face. Broke my glasses. And here we are.
OLBERMANN: And now we go to Protest D.C. - but not Protest San Francisco, after police there rolled up everything, including the protesters' possessions. And still, the politicians are not close to getting it.
(Excerpt from video clip) JAMES BENNET: Do you feel any sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street movement?
(Excerpt from video clip) TIM GEITHNER: You know, I feel a lot of sympathy for what you might describe as the - as a general sense among Americans is whether, you know, we've lost a sense of possibility.
OLBERMANN: Occupy Wall Street Day 20 with the co-authors of its Declaration with reporter Ryan Devereaux of Democracy Now, with David Shuster at Occupy D.C.And with all of the astonishing video.
"Worsts" - if you said what he said about her, she'd punch you. Or sue you. And she'd be right. And the bid to overturn Clarence Thomas' vote on Citizens United.
(Excerpt from video clip) LOUISE SLAUGHTER: There is such a thing as a retroactive recusal. We're looking into that. That case, if you remember, was decided 5-4. If we could take away his vote, we could wipe that out. It would lose.
OLBERMANN: John Dean tells us if that's even possible. All that, and a first-hand report from Occupy Wall Street, now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: We got sold out!
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Thursday, October 6th, 397 days until the 2012 presidential election.
For the third time in its less-than-three-week history, the Occupy movement has grown in the immediate wake of an outburst of police violence in New York's financial district. In cities across the country, rallies today against Wall Street greed, corporate corruption and the politicians who enable both.
And for the first time, comments from President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner about Occupy Wall Street, both demonstrating they don't really get it. At least not yet.
The fifth story on the "Countdown" - we will show extended video from last night's confrontation. At least 23 protesters arrested, many others clubbed or pepper sprayed or flung off of the streets, after a smaller group tried to push through police barriers blocking them from marching down Wall Street itself. We will talk with Ryan Devereaux, reporter for Democracy Now, on what he witnessed, when a peaceful protest with thousands of people turned ugly.
First, the president. Mr. Obama telling reporters he had seen things about the protests on TV and giving this explanation for the movement.
(Excerpt from video clip) BARACK OBAMA: I think people are frustrated and, you know, the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.
OLBERMANN: President Obama might realize the protesters' frustrations include many about his policies - that prioritizing restoring "too big to fail" banks and finance firms to robust health without demanding that they, in turn, use their health to pull the rest of the country through the great recession may have been a mistake. That said, the president seems like he might yet get it. Treasury Secretary Geithner, even more clueless. Not so much.
(Excerpt from video clip) GEITHNER: I feel a lot of sympathy for what you might describe as the - as a general sense among Americans as to whether, you know, we've lost the sense of possibility.
OLBERMANN: Contrary to Mr. Geithner, the Occupy movement is restoring a sense of possibility and hope to millions of Americans fed up with right-wing Republicans and hapless Democrats even in the face of last night's violence.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: My little night stick is going to get a workout tonight hopefully.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #2: Why?
(Excerpt from video clip) BRENNAN: Fox Five photographer Roy Eisen got sprayed with mace. I took a hit from a night stick in the stomach.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #3: Okay, okay, okay. You got it. Just don't hurt us.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #4: Just doing my job. I am just doing my job. I am just doing my job.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #5: I have pepper spray in my face. I have pepper spray.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #6: I was not resisting.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #7: Police chased me, threw me to the ground. I was trying to get up to the sidewalk 'cause that's what they ordered. Threw me to the ground. I said, "I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting." That's when I got a boot in the face. Broke my glasses. And here we are.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #8: I was pushed violently with batons. I was not resisting arrest. And three to four cops wrestled me to the ground, threw me violently to the ground. They rammed their baton on my back, like, as hard as they f - - could.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #9: The cops are going to be the cops. They have to work, they have to make a living. Like, they're not the real enemy here.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #10: Each new depiction of the abuses of the police on the First Amendment, the more people will show up here in New York City and the more waves of occupation will spread across this country.
OLBERMANN: Spokesman for the NYPD said the police were exercising their right to defend themselves from charging protestors who, as you saw, were armed with dangerous ideas.
New York City's Mayor Mike Bloomberg backed that spokesman up saying, "This is a city that values people's rights and gives them the ability to say what they want to say, I think more so than any city I know of around the world." The mayor hasn't traveled a lot. "But you don't have a right to charge police officers like somebody did the other day."
Occupy Wall Street is back in New York's Zuccotti Park today, and in Washington, D.C., where a demonstration was under way. I'll report a little later in this news hour about Washington and all over the country.
We will move East to West. To Philadelphia where Occupy protestors gathered, preparing to camp out in a park near City Hall there. To Tampa where protestors are holding organizing workshops in Gaslight Square. Austin, Texas - Rick Perry country - where thousands were expected to protest at City Hall. Salt Lake City - John Huntsman country - where hundreds marched to the state capitol. And Sacramento, were demonstrators say they will stay in Cesar Chavez Park until they are confident their message has been heard.
Now as promised, Ryan Devereaux, reporter for the radio and TV program Democracy Now, who covered last night's demonstrations joins me again. Good to see you, sir.
RYAN DEVEREAUX: Good to see you.
OLBERMANN: Let's clear up one reality here about that video, and that was disturbing to watch and there's much to discuss in there - and I am not saying I am agreeing either with this fact or the police response - but the police had set up some parameters here, and those from the protest who ignored those parameters were doing so deliberately. That was civil disobedience as opposed to, say - clear the cops of at least this implication - the cops didn't just charge into a crowd and start beating people for no reason at all. Right?
DEVEREAUX: That's correct. It was a conscious decision. As thousands of protesters gathered along the streets of Broadway - both sides - they called for a general consensus, meaning basically polling the crowd as to what they wanted to do, if they wanted to attempt to take Wall Street, itself. That was the decision that they came to.
Second announcement was made in which a young man told everybody that if they did not want to be arrested, they should move from the front of the crowd. And if they wanted to risk it, they should move forward. That's what they did. Shortly thereafter, the crowd pushed forward.
OLBERMANN: The expectation in terms of taking Wall Street would have been to go on to Wall Street and be arrested and carted off? Was that the expectation? I mean, nobody was anticipating occupying buildings for 23 days, right?
DEVEREAUX: No, they were attempting to walk down a street that was entirely empty and has been empty since September 17th when the police erected barricades all over the financial district.
OLBERMANN: Mm-hmm. The response that had been anticipated in terms of - after we're seeing the police with the pepper spray two weeks ago, and some of the limited police interactions with particularly the white-shirted supervisors - obviously, the capability was there for something unpleasant to happen. Was anybody anticipating the degree of physicality of the police response last night, do you think?
DEVEREAUX: Well, I think after three weeks of covering this story, the one thing I've learned is you don't know what to expect. I didn't expect - less than a week after 700 people were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge - that we would be finding ourselves in another situation like this. The degree of violence was certainly stunning, though, and I don't think people who were gathered there peaceably, legally, on a public sidewalk - who weren't the ones instigating the push - expected to be pepper sprayed or hit with batons.
OLBERMANN: And the level of indiscriminate use, particularly of the pepper spray as we saw, in an irony - and we should distinguish between a Fox News Channel reporter and a local Fox station reporter - there was a local Fox station reporter, whose clip we played before, who got batoned, while his cameraman got apparently pepper sprayed. He said "maced" in the thing.
There - was - it didn't matter who you were or whether you were in the front of the charge, or you crossed the line or what. Was there any rhyme or reason as to who got manhandled and who just simply got pushed out of the way?
DEVEREAUX: It was an admittedly chaotic situation, but I saw no attempt by the NYPD to distinguish between the people who had pushed against the barricade and those who were just gathered in the area. The pepper spray, I noticed moments after the push began.
DEVEREAUX: It was a cloud of pepper spray above the front of the protesters, and it seemed to have been directed at just about anyone who was in the area.
OLBERMANN: So, if you were to assess this, what the police did - was that an attempt to hold that line, as it were, to restrain people from crossing into Wall Street - or was it punishment the moment that they crossed into Wall Street?
DEVEREAUX: Well, the barricades were knocked down almost immediately, and the police surged into the area where the protesters were. So, it wasn't as if they held the line so much as they moved into the crowd and began swinging the clubs, pepper spraying, throwing people around, whether they were journalists, bystanders or part of the group that actually was attempting to push forward.
OLBERMANN: I asked you this on Monday, after the Battle of Brooklyn Bridge and the 700 arrests - does Occupy Wall Street - since the credibility of the NYPD is imparting to them each time something like that happens - and, conversely, is there any sense the NYPD has any idea that each time somebody swings a club, it's going to make this thing bigger?
DEVEREAUX: You know, you would think that at this point the NYPD would realize that every time that they do this, the protesters seem to gain more attention, they seem to solidify, and admittedly, they get sympathy from around the country. What's very interesting about the protesters' approach to the NYPD is that it's - when you speak to these people - when you speak to the protesters, that is - they don't express harsh feelings towards the officers themselves. Most of their chants when they encounter each other are, "Wall Street is trying to take your pensions, too." "You're on the wrong side." They don't see the NYPD as the enemy.
OLBERMANN: Right. If - as I will mention in a moment, I was there for about an hour this afternoon just to see what was going on and talk to people and be talked to and all that. If you had not known about this last night, there was no sense that it happened at Zuccotti Park, correct? I mean, it was just - there was no bitterness. There was no recrimination. There were no plans or no "We'll get them back." There was none of that which would seem almost against human instinct, let alone sort of the rules of protest, correct?
DEVEREAUX: I'll be honest. The protesters at Zuccotti Park - renamed Liberty Plaza - the Occupy Wall Street protesters are a remarkably forgiving set of people. They don't dwell on these issues with the police, and since day one, they have made it clear that they don't want the narrative of this movement to be about police versus protesters. They see the police officers as part of the 99 percent that they're trying to advocate for.
OLBERMANN: Ryan Devereaux of Democracy Now. Thanks again for helping us out tonight, and last night with the tweet coverage while we were trying to figure out here what was going on there.
DEVEREAUX: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, sir. Now, a quick comment on what I did see this afternoon at Zuccotti Park.
First of all, that Zuccotti Park - I used to eat my Burger King lunch there when I first started in television at CNN. It's across the street from where the World Trade Center stood. It's in the middle of Manhattan's always-frenetic financial district. The tour buses now roll by, and it is the subject of their picture taking, and it may be the most unassuming, least threatening place in New York City.
Its occupants are impeding no one, wreaking no havoc, starting no chaos, inflicting no sanitation catastrophe. They were polite, well-spoken, informed, diverse, funny, respectful. They weren't whiners, freaks, stoners, pedants, what's-in-it-for-me'ers, Astroturfers or funded minions.
And most importantly - whether you agree with their message or not, almost unique in this nation in this time - here at the start, they begin with the questions, not the answers, and what they ask will make millions say, "I didn't know anybody else was asking that. I'm not alone." And with that, will come the answers. Back with the co-authors of the Occupy Wall Street declaration next.
OLBERMANN: We read it in full last night here - and it's a list of the people's grievances in a country where the balance between citizens and corporations has tilted too far one way - has galvanized a protest into a movement. In a moment, the authors of the declaration from Occupy Wall Street. Now, it's on to Occupy D.C. David Shuster went for us today, and joins us live.
Is it possible? A means to disqualify Justice Thomas' vote on Citizens United and then pre-empt his vote on health-care reform? I'll ask John Dean about retroactive recusal.
And if you had said, "That was why FOX hired her," the right would attack you like you were a germ in the bloodstream and they were the white cells, but because a conservative man said it, everybody - including Palin - is just fine with it. Hypocrisy at its best ahead on "Worst Persons."
OLBERMANN: Yesterday, the Occupy Wall Street protests started with a march of between 15,000 and 30,000 protesters - probably the lower figure is closer to correct - ended with 28 arrests, and claims of excess violence by the NYPD. By those standards, today was obviously a much quieter day, but no less important. The crowd endures in Zuccotti Park, and today consisted of an open forum, hosted by Naomi Klein, and an art exhibit inspired by the movement and the nightly meeting of the General Assembly.
In our fourth story - all the meetings and open forums are a process which help the protesters come together to crystallize their beliefs, and evidence of the success of the meetings - the declaration of the occupation of New York City, which I read in full on this program last night.
It lays forth - not a list of demands - but grievances against the corruption on both Wall Street and in politics, concluding with a call for change, and a challenge to every citizen to exercise your right to peaceably assemble, occupy public space, create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
Joining me now are the co-authors of the declaration - Ryan Hoffman and Lex Rendon. Thanks for your time tonight.
RYAN HOFFMAN: Thanks for having us.
OLBERMANN: Ryan, one thing I noted in reading it - both on the air and off - they're questions. They're not answers. I'm gathering that was deliberate.
HOFFMAN: Yeah, I think part of the - part of the process is, sort of, identifying the problem. And, I think, a big part of the process was, you know - sort of creating an apathy killer. Sort of, to get people engaged, and, you know, hopefully, if you don't agree with everything on that declaration and the list of grievances, you agree with some of it or something, or one part of it. And we can work together in towards getting everybody involved in the conversation, and I think that was a big - a big part of why we decided to do it that way.
OLBERMANN: You know, that's sort of the context of what's in it. Lex, why was it done now? Is there some sense that there needed to be some explanation for what was going on because everybody else was providing their own? Or why - at this point - was anything needed?
LEX RENDON: Well, the declaration actually originated as a very short, simple call to action. The idea for it came from something that happened at the GA. A man from Bed-Stuy came and kind of gave us a wake-up call. He said, people from his neighborhood didn't want to join us because we weren't addressing the issues in his community, and realized that we can't know the issues in each individual community. We needed everyone to get involved. We need everyone to start the conversation that will lead to the solutions that will get us out of this crisis.
OLBERMANN: All right, so that explains that one. Do you anticipate more - the need for more statements - as time goes forward or it that, again, something that will sort of develop organically?
RENDON: I think it will definitely develop organically. This one came from a working group. Everyone involved in the GA can form a working group, can bring proposals to the GA and have them, you know, approved or turned down.
OLBERMANN: But then that leads us to the question about the premise of Occupy being consensus, which is tough enough, I tell you - it's the original form of democracy. However many people you got, they all have to vote on this. How do you, on Earth, do you get consensus on a document that takes four minutes to read? That's a lot of document.
HOFFMAN: Patience and persistence.
OLBERMANN: That's why it appeared at - almost at the three-week mark.
HOFFMAN: Oh, yeah. I mean - well, everybody down there sort of knew. I mean - when I first went down there and the conversations that I was having with the people there - the general sentiment was, like, the system has failed us. And I think that's something that we can all agree on, and nobody could really sort of put a face to the problems that we were having right now.
And so, we decided that we would take a look at one of the most famous list of grievances there is, the Declaration of Independence, and we took a look at that for the first time since high school. And we decided that, you know, we were, sort of, model our declaration after that, just to, sort of, give us a point of solidarity, a point of unity, things that we could do. And, hope - and luckily, we were able to convince people of our working group that, you know, this was a good idea, and they all helped and edit it. And then we went to the General Assembly - who had already published principles of solidarity for us, you know, things to unite around - and we decided that, you know, we were going to push through.
And, it was my job to, sort of, make sure everybody's concerns were heard, you know, make friendly amendments that were proposed at the GA. And, you know, every person there has the right to block. Every person there has the right to veto. So, you know - if you don't put the right terminology in there, somebody's going to block, and then we have to go through this all over again.
HOFFMAN: So, it's a very time consuming, very frustrating, but also - ultimately - very rewarding process. To have everybody reach consensus was extremely uplifting, I think, for everyone involved.
OLBERMANN: So, Lex, when people say, "What do you want?" Are you satisfied with this document as, at least, an initial explanation?
RENDON: I feel like people really want, you know - they wanted a statement from us that somehow addressed why we were there. And, if we weren't going to give demands, we needed to - at least - list our grievances, why are we there?
OLBERMANN: Yeah. Do you anticipate that there will be demands at some point, or - how do you see this evolving?
RENDON: I think - I think he had something to say about that.
OLBERMANN: Ryan, what do you think?
HOFFMAN: I think, as far as that goes - I think that it's something that's going to develop again, and it's something that has to go through the process. And, I think, right now, the - the major thing that we have to focus on is getting people away from the apathy and towards action, and I think once more people are involved solutions will present themselves.
And this is the opportunity for everyone to get involved in this conversation, and that's what we want. And we're not going to make demands on behalf of the 99 percent when the 99 percent aren't involved yet. You know, this is not a liberal issue. This is not a conservative issue. This is a person issue, and we want all people involved. So -
OLBERMANN: Well, it's a good start, certainly, towards getting that. As I keep saying to everybody - how many problems have ever been solved without people first saying, "Hey, this is wrong. We don't have the answer, necessarily, but let's - let's get it on the table."
Ryan Hoffman and Lex Rendon, the co-authors of the "Occupy Wall Street Declaration." It was my pleasure to have read it. The video of it is on the website, so is a transcript of it. So, great thanks for your work, and for coming out.
HOFFMAN: Thank you so much for having us.
RENDON: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: My pleasure. And now Occupy goes to Washington where the politicians point at it, and try to figure out who should lobby it, and to which parties it should be invited and do not know it will swallow most of them whole. Occupy D.C., next.
OLBERMANN: Police in San Francisco breaking up an encampment of hundreds of protesters, arresting one, confiscating the belongings of virtually everyone else. This has thousands take to the streets in our nation's capital, calling for an end to war and corporate influence in politics.
Our third story on the "Countdown" - the Occupy Wall Street movement exploding coast to coast today, and we'll start in San Francisco, where a march yesterday drew hundreds of protesters expressing solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. An estimated two hundred stayed on, sleeping overnight in a makeshift encampment next to the Federal Reserve bank last night. But, early this morning, about 80 police officers in riot helmets reportedly confronted the protesters, arresting at least one and ordering the rest to leave. According to protesters, police then allowed city workers to remove the tents, sleeping bags, and other personal belongings.
Organizers calling the confiscation illegal, and saying in a statement, "We complied with their demands by taking down our tents. Yet still, the police wearing helmets and carrying batons formed a perimeter around our goods and prevented us from saving anything."
Meantime - on the opposite coast - protests erupting in D.C. as well, with thousands turning up to express dismay at the state of the country, on this - the tenth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, and the first day of the 2012 federal austerity budget. An estimated 3,000 protestors chanting, "Where are the jobs? Stop the war."
They assembled at Freedom Plaza, then marched toward the Chamber of Commerce - the nation's largest business lobby - down K Street, the main drag of the Washington lobbying machine - the event bringing protesters of all kinds, including veterans, many from past wars who came asking for an end to the current exorbitantly costly wars.
Voters came expressing anger at corporate influence in government.
And labor unions, such as a group from Wisconsin you see here, came representing American workers. One member of that group expressing his concern over the direction the country is going in.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: I just say too much war. I'm not saying end the war. I'm saying it's too much, and let's stop - let's prevent the next one.
OLBERMANN: Protesters then reconvening at Freedom Plaza where they formed what was called "The Human 99 Percent," giving voice to the concerns that 99 percent of Americans, who they say are overlooked and simply fed up. Joining me now from Washington, "Countdown" correspondent David Shuster, who's been covering the protests in D.C. today. David, good evening.
DAVID SHUSTER: Keith, good to be with you.
OLBERMANN: Flesh out the scene for me. We got a few pictures there. What did you see?
SHUSTER: Well, Keith, it was a very sort of festive atmosphere, at least at Freedom Plaza. That's where you had a lot of music, you almost had a lot of different booths. It was like a, sort of a bazaar in a sense, in that you had your first aid booth, you had the station where people could make their own signs. You had people who had sort of like their giant puppets, and you had people who were getting food. And then, you had some - some of the demonstrators who decided to go for the walk.
The police then essentially cleared 15th street so they could leave Freedom Plaza, walk up to the Chamber of Commerce. They stretched about at least a block and a half when they were walking in front of the chamber, and then they came back. The police said it was extremely peaceful, even though the traffic was sort of shut down for part of the day. There were no arrests. The police did not engage, and the people, they have a permit until Sunday, and the police said "Look, they're free to continue doing this same thing for the next couple of days."
OLBERMANN: Just from the reporting, and a lot of the video that we just showed - inferring that there was a lot more anti-war stuff in D.C. than in New York. Was that your assessment?
SHUSTER: Yeah. This originally, Keith - the part on the plaza - this had been planned since April, and was largely sort of anti-war groups, groups who were complaining about the drone attacks, who want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. They had had this event planned for several months, and what happened is when the Occupy Wall Street marches sort of took off, the group sort of came together under the rubric of, "Well, look - regardless of whether the issue is the war, whether the issue was student loans or jobs - as long as Washington is corrupted by the amount of corporate money in politics, then none of these issues get solved." So, they all came together under the agreement of "Well, look, we can all agree, regardless of the issue, that we all need serious campaign finance reform, we need publicly-financed elections," and that's the sort of layer that connected all of these various disparate issues, even though the anti-war protesters had had the permits for several months.
OLBERMANN: An interesting juxtaposition of the two groups sort of coming together there. And speaking of things coming together, I didn't notice a preponderance even of younger people in that. Was that also your impression?
SHUSTER: Yeah, it was really remarkable, Keith, how many of the sort of millennials were not there. I mean, there were obviously a lot of baby boomers, a lot of Gen-Xers, but not a lot of younger people. And in fact, the police made particular notice of that, because usually - with these sort of rallies - there are the anarchists, or the people who show up at the World Bank protest and can be dangerous in terms of possible violence.
The police were looking at this crowd, and said "Look, this is a very docile, hippie-ish kind of 60s crowd." There were a lot of people there who had their own signs who came from thousands of miles away. There was one grandmother who walked 200 miles over the last week and a half to get here from West Virginia. There were a group of Marine veterans who bicycled down from New York. And, there were a lot of people who brought their families, so it was a very peaceful, festive kind of atmosphere.
And I think that contributed to a lot of the sense that this is something that people hope will last for a while, and everyone - including the police - thinks that this will remain peaceful at least through Sunday while they have their permits.
OLBERMANN: What are the logistics there for the kind of permanent camp scenario that New York City had?
SHUSTER: Well, that's where it gets interesting, Keith. Technically, in Washington, you're not supposed to sleep overnight in the parks or the plazas. What they're - it looks like they're going to do, they're going to let people with the tents and the makeshift sleeping bags and whatnot in Freedom Plaza tonight. And, they'll probably let them through Sunday. The big question will be what happens come Monday. And, the protesters, the organizers, say they want to have a presence here for several weeks. They're already talking about a major event on the weekend, and they want a much larger rally next Wednesday or Thursday.
Well, they don't have the permits for that, and so, it will get very interesting here on Monday as some of the demonstrators who clearly have made preparations to stay for a while with their supplies and the first aid and the legal help. They want to stay for several weeks. The police have said no, they can really only stay as long as they have the permit on Sunday.
So, if things were to start to sort of get dicey, you would look for that to happen perhaps on Monday when the police say "Okay, it's time for you to go," and then you have the hardcore group that says "Wait a second, we're not finished yet."
OLBERMANN: Errol Louis from NY1 told us here yesterday that Brooklyn's Democratic leader and one of the mayoral candidates were in the crowd last night - seen but not heard - during that City Hall march. Any Washington politicos out there today, any familiar faces? Or was this so far politician-free zones?
SHUSTER: It was a complete politician-free zone, and even other than sort of the folks, Keith, who represent the D.C. statehood Green Party who are very active in local politics. But as far as Congress, the administration, nobody - there was an interesting moment, Keith, though, where after President Obama's news conference today where Dick Gregory, told the crowd - the activist told the crowd - "President Obama supports you being here." And there was a cheer that went up. The sort of details of what the president said, of course, were not explained.
SHUSTER: And it wasn't quite as simple as Gregory suggested, as you pointed out. Nonetheless, there is a sort of feeling that people are getting a lot of attention by being here and that the politicians are taking notice, even if they're not actually marching with the demonstrators themselves.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, and Dick Gregory, who's - I think - been to every protest march since 1964 - 5, something like that. Great to hear the name thrown around again.
David Shuster, in Washington for us - great thanks as always, David.
SHUSTER: Keith, thank you, appreciate it.
OLBERMANN: What on earth would happen if a liberal said that Sarah Palin was only hired by Fox News because she was quote, "hot," and she got ratings. How the right would howl. Yet, somebody said exactly that, and nobody's complaining. "Worst Persons" ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: DuMont's live network coverage of the 1954 National Football League Championship game with Byrum Saam and Chuck Thompson will not be shown tonight, so we can instead bring you "Countdown." Whenever you are watching us, we are live at 8:00 P.M. Eastern time and - as good as we think the show is at any time in any venue - live gives it a certain "uh-oh" excitement that cannot be replicated elsewhere.
Retroactive recusal, a way to eliminate Clarence Thomas' vote on Citizens United and thus eliminate Citizen's United? Too good to be true? John Dean explains ahead.
First, the "Sanity Break," and I'm a day late on this and - tough! On October 5th, 1949 was born George William "Bill" James, who - 30 years ago - took the embryonic field of nerdy baseball statistical analysis and changed the sport with it, even getting himself a position as senior advisor to the Boston Red Sox. So, belated happy birthday to Bill James, who is 62, but whose adjusted age value above replacement statistician, is just actually just 57.7.
"Time Marches On."
And we begin with a little music. There's always room for J-E-L-L-O pianos. The Resistor JelTone, a piano made out of Jell-O, was prize winner at the 2011 Brooklyn Jell-O Mold Competition. Let's have a listen. . . .No, no, it would sound a little better with a little Cool Whip. Put some Cool Whip on it. Who stole my strawberries?
In sports, Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre knocked that home run in the first inning of Tuesday's playoff game, rounded third, cameraman Tim Burke follows alongside, trying to get a good shot. And down goes Frazier! Beltre went on to hit two more home runs in the game. Burke was able to stay on his feet both times.
Finally, it's family movie night. Tonight's selection is "Star Wars." Spoiler alert - it's the scene where you find out Darth Vader is Luke's father.
(Excerpt from video clip) LUKE SKYWALKER: He told me you killed him!
(Excerpt from video clip) DARTH VADER: No. I am your father.
OLBERMANN: You should've seen their reaction at the end of "The Sixth Sense." And "The Lying Game."
"Time Marches On."
(Excerpt from video clip) SKYWALKER: That's not true!
OLBERMANN: Didn't show them "The Lying Game," I promise. Didn't show them that.
Roger Ailes says the most sexist thing ever said about Sarah Palin and she appears to have liked it. "Worst Persons," plus retroactive recusal, ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Is it, as Representative Louise Slaughter suggests, a chance to reverse Citizens United and fix the blemish on the Supreme Court that is Clarence Thomas? Or is it just a pipe dream? Retroactive recusal - the analysis of John Dean. First, the "Worst." Occupy Wall Street and the analysis of Glenn Beck. And who needs analysis more? He says it will lead to the guillotine. Glenn spends a couple hours every day believing he's Inspector Javert.
OLBERMANN: Retroactive recusal, a chance to undo Citizens United and Justice Clarence Thomas, are just a pleasant illusion - John Dean's assessment.
First, because retroactively sending these guys to space is not feasible, here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze to Roger Ailes - the Jabba the Hutt of "Fixed News" - Ailes said something about Sarah Palin that would get any other boss sued for sexual harassment. "It wasn't politics," he told the Associated Press, "I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot and got ratings."
So there it is, conservatives who think the left is dismissively sexist about Sarah Palin. You can't get much more dismissively sexist than "I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot." Here I go again, defending Sarah Palin. It burns, it burns!
The runner-up, Herman Cain, Republican wannabe for president and nitwit, telling "The Wall Street Journal" -
(Excerpt from video clip) HERMAN CAIN: I don't have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama Administration. Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself.
OLBERMANN: So, Mr. Cain has just cleverly told his own non-rich and unemployed supporters to blame themselves. And his preamble was, "I don't have the facts to back this up," which should be his campaign theme song. Wait. He gets dumber.
(Excerpt from video clip) ALAN MURRAY: You don't think the banks have anything to do with the crisis that we went into in 2008?
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: They did have something to do with the crisis that we went into in 2008, but we are not in 2008, we are in 2011.
OLBERMANN: Thanks, I didn't know that. 2011, you say? I'm gonna start writing that on my checks. Herman Cain, super genius.
But our winner, "Lonesome Rhodes" Beck. I know, I know. You're saying to me, "He got fired from Fox, what's he doing these days? Selling gold doubloons door to door?" No, no. Still on the radio, still on the computer to 200,000 subscribers, or so his company claims. And still happy, too, to quote Steve Martin, "Criticize things you don't know about," like Occupy Wall Street.
(Excerpt from video clip) GLENN BECK: These people are not interested in creative destruction. They are only interested in destruction. That leads to gas chambers. That leads to guillotines. That leads to millions dead. That leads to Mao. That leads to totalitarianism every single time.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, like the American Revolution in 1776, when it led to Mao. Asshole. Glenn Beck - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: The group of Democratic Representatives wants the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the ethics of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Specifically his handling of the money paid to his wife by right-wing pressure groups like the Heritage Foundation. One of the signers of this week's letter, Representative Louise Slaughter of New York, even suggested on this show Tuesday of this week that Thomas be retroactively recused from the critical Citizens United decision which permitted a new flow of corporate and union money into political campaigns.
In our number one story on the "Countdown" - is it all just wishful thinking? Even the future stuff like the inappropriateness of Thomas voting on the constitutionality of health-care reform? The letter was signed first by Slaughter and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon. At least 42 other Democrats have signed, and it is still being circulated for more signatories.
It says, in part, "We are deeply concerned about potential ethics violations by Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas has failed to accurately disclose information concerning the income and employment state of his wife, as required by law. Justice Thomas may have also failed to report gifts from wealthy supporters."
Two nights ago, the Congresswoman joined us here on "Countdown" and addressed the Virginia Thomas issue directly.
(Audio from video clip) SLAUGHTER: Now, we all know that she worked very hard for the Citizen United case, which I think is one of the most egregious things that's ever happened in the United States Supreme Court.
(Audio from video clip) OLBERMANN: Agreed.
(Audio from video clip) SLAUGHTER: There is such a thing as a retroactive recusal. We are looking into that. That case, if you remember, was decided 5-4.
(Audio from video clip) OLBERMANN: Uh-huh.
(Audio from video clip) SLAUGHTER: If we could take away his vote, we could wipe that out. It would lose.
(Audio from video clip) OLBERMANN: Goodness.
(Audio from video clip) SLAUGHTER: How about that?
OLBERMANN: The Senate committee, yesterday, heard from Thomas' colleagues on the bench - Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia. And though Slaughter had urged the committee to push the ethics question, all Scalia was asked was about theoretically replacing recused judges with retired judges.
(Audio from video clip) ANTONIN SCALIA: I think we can stumble along the way we are.
OLBERMANN: It's the right verb for it - "stumble." Let's bring in columnist, author of "Worse Than Watergate," and "Countdown" contributor, John Dean. Good evening, John.
JOHN DEAN: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: So, retroactive recusal on Citizens United. It's unlikely, implausible, impossible? What do you think?
DEAN: Well, it's probably unlikely and impossible now because of the time lapse. There is a concept. It's a very rare, very extraordinary thing to happen, but I looked deeply into the law today and indeed found there are situations where there have been retroactive recusals and they're - but as I say, they are extraordinary cases.
OLBERMANN: Has there ever been one that involved the Supreme Court?
DEAN: Never one that involved the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has ruled on one, and they are the lead - of course, the leading case is their case, and it was a 5-4 decision. It's interesting that the liberal members of the court at that time in 1988 really wanted to have - enforce the recusal which resulted in a reversal of the lower court decision. The four - the four conservatives were very opposed to it.
OLBERMANN: If there was a political will to do it, if there were 438 Louise Slaughters in the House of Representatives - which would have other sorts of wonderful implications - but could it be done? Is there some process by which it could happen in the Supreme Court or is it just something that's a nice matter to debate philosophically and theoretically among - among legal scholars?
DEAN: Well, you know - theoretically, it would take somebody who was directly connected and in privity, as they say, with the case itself, if we're talking about the Citizens United case - and they would have to be the moving party because they have been affected by the ruling immediately. Of course, we've all been affected by it broadly. But they would probably have to be the moving parties. And - and there is a one-year time limitation on those kind of extraordinary motions under the Federal rules.
So, I am not sure there's anybody who could actually start the action, unless there was some extraordinary information we found out that just the court would be inclined to overrule it on its own behalf in the sake of justice. And I don't, for example, think that any of those who voted for Citizens United are about to change that vote.
OLBERMANN: Is there - is there any prospect in terms of the future and preventing the situation again because Mrs. Thomas - Mrs. Justice Thomas - has her hands in so many different things politically, is there a chance that an anti-health care reform lobbyist's husband might be somehow prevented from voting on the constitutionality of health-care reform?
DEAN: Well, there is a statute that directly applies to this. I've been exchanging e-mails all afternoon with Ron Rotunda, an ethics expert and he assure me that the - indeed I have looked up the statute he raised with me applies directly to the Supreme Court on having conflicts. So, a case can be built that might make it very uncomfortable. We don't have all of the details as - as Congresswoman Slaughter said, she's earned a million six, apparently, in this effort. I am a little fuzzy about where exactly she earned it. But I think if they are building a case, now is the time to do it, and it might well force his hand on recusing himself on the health-care decision.
OLBERMANN: But who brings it up to him even? I mean, let alone who enforces it. If he decides to cast his vote, what are the other - what are the other eight - seven - Associate Justices and Chief Justice Roberts have to hold him down and rip the piece of paper out of his hand or not let him put his hand up, or whatever - however it's done?
DEAN: You know what happened in yesterday's testimony, Breyer - Associate Justice Breyer - was asked by Durbin about the ethics applying, and he said, "You know, we believe they do apply." And he's correct.
And he said what - what often tips them off is - is journalists making inquiry. And they said then they have a responsibility to go and look, and see, indeed if they do have that conflict and they should recuse themselves. He said that he's done it in some cases. He's also raised the problems which led to the Scalia exchange you mentioned.
DEAN: That it's very difficult for them to do, because there is nobody to replace them at that level, and they know that their vote will indeed affect the outcome and the moving party often tries to shape the bench and they try to prevent that from happening on the - on the highest court.
So, anyway, it's an interesting process in the works here. I don't think we've heard the end of the story as to how Thomas is going to have to deal with this or not deal with it. And I think that people like Congresswoman Slaughter are to be commended for their effort to flush this issue out because I think the man does have a conflict, and he's done this all of his life and, sort of, gotten away with it.
OLBERMANN: Indeed. We'll see if there's anybody to enforce the rule, too.
John Dean, author of "Worse than Watergate," "Countdown" contributor. As ever, John, great thanks.
DEAN: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for Thursday. 397 days until the 2012 presidential election. Tomorrow, a perspective on Occupy Wall Street from Chai Ling, one of the leaders at Tiananmen Square.
I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night, and good luck.