'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
ShowPlug1: Arrests tonight at #OWS; 10 more arrested at #OccupySF. Citi CEO says protestors' "sentiments are completely understandable"
ShowPlug2: SF City Councilman @AvalosSF and one of the most important American activists of the last 50 years, @TomHayden join me (should be @TomEHayden - Ed.)
ShowPlug3: "Occupations" now up to 1100 nationwide; story moves to the smaller cities and towns. We'll meet Craig Barber of @OccupyTucson
ShowPlug4: GOP debate devolves into fantasy. Gingrich calls for arrests of Todd, Frank; Perry thinks our Revolution was in 16th Century
ShowPlug5: "The Curse Of The Lucchino": Red Sox owners anonymously trash Manager, GM, in paper whose parent company also owns part of team
ShowPlug6: Worsts - Florida State Rep wants to legalize firing squads; ex-IRS employee Bachmann says she's always been private sector
ShowPlugLast: Breaking news - Mayor Bloomberg shows up at #OWS. Details on Countdown, 8 EDT
watch whole playlist
#5 'Taking On The Banks', John Avalos
#5 'Taking On The Banks', Tom Hayden
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#4 'Occupy Main Street', Craig Barber
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Debating with the Stars', Dave Catanese
#2 Worst Persons: Bill O'Reilly, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Curry Todd (R-TN) & Brad Drake (R-FL)
#1 'The Green Monsters'
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
Background reading on Baseball Nerd
printable PDF transcript
Topics: Election 2012, GOP Primary, Major League Baseball, Occupy Together, Occupy Wall Street
Guests: Craig Barber, David Catanese, John Avalos, Tom Hayden
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Occupy Wall Street. The quote of the year, "Their sentiments are completely understandable. Trust has been broken between financial institutions and the citizens of the U.S." Who said that? The CEO of Citigroup, Vikram Bandit - sorry, Vikram Pandit.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: We are the 99 percent! What?
OLBERMANN: Ten of whom have been arrested at Occupy San Francisco. Occupy Wall Street goes back to marching towards Wall Street.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: We got sold out!
OLBERMANN: And Occupy Twitter. "We're a small town, but doing what we can in Northeast Pennsylvania." - Occupy Gouldsboro. Gouldsboro has 4,800 residents. The startling fact that this is not just about big cities. The 1,100 American communities trying to Occupy. Plus, a father of modern American resistance - our special guest, Tom Hayden.
Master debaters. The GOP sinks further into absurd fantasy.
(Excerpt from video clip) NEWT GINGRICH: If you want to put people in jail, I want to second what Michele said, "You ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd."
OLBERMANN: Barney Frank replies, "He's been having a bad year, you know, this self-styled intellectual leader of the free world struggling to stay ahead of Michele Bachmann in the polls."
Speaking of, catch anything contradictory in these two statements?
(Excerpt from video clip) MICHELE BACHMANN: I'm a federal tax lawyer. That's what I do for a living. I'm 55. I spent my whole life in the private sector.
OLBERMANN: And then there's "Don't know much about history."
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK PERRY: It was actually the reason that - that we fought the revolution in the 16th century, was to get away from that type of onerous crown. . . Debates are not my strong suit.
OLBERMANN: Politics would seem to not be your strong suit.
"Worsts" - the Florida politico who wants to use firing squads for death row inmates and admits he got the idea from a constituent at a Waffle House.
And Dead Sox. After baseball's worst collapse, the franchise owners in Boston anonymously trash the team's most successful manager and most successful general manager on their way out the door with the collaboration of the city's leading newspaper. All that and more now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) TERRY FRANCONA: It's a tough place to be the manager.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Wednesday, October 12th. 391 days until the 2012 presidential election.
Occupy Wall Street staging a mini-version today of yesterday's Millionaires' March, this one aimed solely at JPMorgan Chase CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon. There were arrests, reportedly for wearing masks, because of all of those roving gangs of - masked bank robbers?
The fifth story on the "Countdown" - unexpectedly, the protesters got the attention of a different billionaire tonight. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg showed up, parading through Zuccotti Park and saying "People have a right to say what they want to say. Nobody is a better defender of the first amendment than I am."
Occupy Wall Street tweeting, "Mayor Mike Bloomberg just showed up at Liberty Plaza. Reception peaceful but not too inviting."
The billionaire mayor spending between five and ten minutes there, shaking hands during a glorified media-heavy photo op and eschewing both questions from, and extra security offered to him by, the protesters. The mayor was serenaded with cascading cries of "You are the one percent."
He told protesters they'll have to leave in stages so the park can be cleaned on Friday. Zuccotti Park owner, Brookfield Properties, concerned its condition made it unfit for public use. Occupy Wall Street will reportedly be allowed to return so long as protesters follow the owners' rules. If they don't, arrests are presumably possible. As in San Francisco today, where some 200 activists rallied in front of Wells Fargo's corporate headquarters.
For anybody wondering why the Occupy movement continues to grow, the latest Gallup poll should tell you everything you need to know. America now falling behind China in its share of people who say they could not afford to feed themselves or their families in the past year.
Here's the Wednesday Round-Up:
Occupy San Francisco launching this "foreclose the banks" protest outside that Wells Fargo today, demanding "an ending to predatory lending" and "for respect for the human right to housing." At least 11 arrests as protesters attempted to block the building's entrance. City Supervisor John Avalos was there and addressed the crowd. He will address us shortly.
In New York's financial district, hundreds joined the March to JPMorgan Chase. Some reportedly arrested for violating a 46-year-old law that prevents "the masked gathering of two or more people unless they're throwing a masquerade party." I wish I were making that up.
Prosperity a masquerade at best for many Americans, that Gallup poll showing a frightening decline in many peoples' ability to provide for themselves and their families - especially compared our alleged chief foreign rival, China. In 2008, 16 percent of the Chinese said "there had been times over the previous year when they had lacked money for food." That year, 9 percent of Americans said the same thing. This year, the numbers have been reversed. Just 6 percent in China said there were times they or their families could not afford to eat. The number of Americans who couldn't always buy a meal grew to 19 percent.
Affordable shelter - also a growing problem here, and a declining problem there - 16 percent of the Chinese saying they had trouble affording a roof. That's down five points from 2008 compared to 11 percent of Americans unable to pay for housing in the past year. It's up six points from 2008 here. With numbers like those, some Wall Street moguls conceding Occupy Wall Street might have a point.
The Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit told Fortune magazine, "Their sentiments are completely understandable. Trust has been broken between financial institutions and the citizens of the U.S."
And Bill Gross, co-founder of the Pacific Investment Management Company tweeting, "Class warfare by the 99 percent? Of course, they're fighting back after 30 years of being shot at."
Occupy Wall Street taking a shot at the banks with this. It's a flyer for a march on Saturday urging Chase Bank customers to close their accounts there. Other Occupy movements are also asking supporters to take money out of the other big corporate banks and deposit it in smaller community institutions instead.
Following up on yesterday's morning arrests of Occupy Boston protesters, police now say 141 marchers there were arrested in what is being called "the largest mass detention in recent memory" in the city, arrested for refusing to move from the Rose Kennedy Greenway. With one protester, Iraq War veteran Rachel McNeill, dragged off by the throat by police.
McNeill tweeting later, "It was me, and it happened, and I'm okay. I support the majority of Boston police I encountered during detention who do support us. This action has only made Occupy Boston stronger." Boston police insist their response was proportionate and that no Occupy demonstrators were hurt.
Meanwhile, Occupy movements are now starting overseas. Korean activists planning to launch Occupy Seoul this Saturday with a two-day sit-in across the capital. And Lech Walesa, the one-time dockyard worker, the Polish president, Nobel Prize winner whose Solidarity movement did more than any other group in the world to help defeat the Soviet Union and bring it toppling down - no matter what other crap you hear about Reagan - says he is coming to New York to support Occupy Wall Street.
He told a Polish newspaper, "How could I not respond? The Wall Street protesters have focused a magnifying glass on the problem."
For more on today's protest and arrests in San Francisco, I am joined by city supervisor John Avalos. Mr. Supervisor, thanks for your time tonight.
JOHN AVALOS: Thank you. Thank you for having me, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Do you consider yourself part of the Occupy movement, and - whether you do or you don't - what are you hoping it's going to achieve?
AVALOS: Well, I've spoken a couple of times at the Occupy movement. I think the movement largely exists without my participation, but I have been asked to come out and speak. I support it.
OLBERMANN: What issues are driving the movement in San Francisco, in particular?
AVALOS: Well, I can speak from my district that I represent - San Francisco - is that we have a large number of foreclosures, a high level of unemployment - higher than other parts of San Francisco - and people are feeling very desperate, having a difficult time paying the mortgage, having a difficult time paying rent, putting food on the table. There's a feeling that the banks who got bailed out have not done enough to support the local economy and to support households against foreclosures and defaults.
OLBERMANN: What's the expected response from those banks? Do you think that - viewing this from having two feet firmly in the political spectrum of the city and yet being sympathetic and empathetic with the Occupy movement - do you think they can make things change?
AVALOS: You know, well, they were given a bailout. The Bank of America was given about $273 billion, and with that, I hear now they're downsizing or firing about 30,000 workers countrywide. I don't really feel that they're in the ability to move right now to support working people. And sometimes I think it's best that we look at banking elsewhere.
As a supervisor, I'm looking at creating our own municipal bank, pulling our money out of big banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, so we can actually control how we are investing in local businesses and small-property owners.
OLBERMANN: What's the interaction been between the protesters and the police and the city to this point?
AVALOS: It's been, I would say, fairly calm. Today, there was a March down in the financial district of the city, and the police were helping to go make sure that the marchers were safe from traffic, and it was respectful. There was civil disobedience today, and people had blocked the doorways at Wells Fargo. It was done peacefully. And I believe there were 11 arrests that were made today, but that was something that was intentional.
OLBERMANN: You're running for mayor of San Francisco. Have your political aspirations hurt your credibility either with Occupy San Francisco, or has it worked the other way? Do you know?
AVALOS: I really don't know. With Occupy San Francisco, I spoke today, and everyone was, like, cheering and very happy and congratulated me on my speech. I'm basically saying that, when we don't get what we need from our financial institutions, that we need to recreate them. And that was a spirit of why people were gathering today, and I think they - that message resonated with them. And then with my - with the voters - the people I'm working for and who are supporting me are working class and middle class people, and they're the 99 percent. So, they're actually with me as well.
OLBERMANN: John Avalos, San Francisco city supervisor and a presence at the Occupy San Francisco protest. Great thanks for some of your time tonight, sir.
AVALOS: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: For more perspective on Occupy as the movement goes forward, a pleasure to be joined now by Tom Hayden, civil rights and anti-war activist, member of the California state legislature for 18 years, founder of the '60s radical group Students for a Democratic Society. It's a great pleasure to talk to you, sir. Thanks for being on.
TOM HAYDEN: Keith, nice to talk to you. Thank you.
OLBERMANN: You were a Freedom Rider in the rural South as that began, and you were a community organizer in Newark as the country woke up in the early '60s and you helped focus the rallies against the Vietnam War. Give me a historical perspective - where does Occupy stand in terms of its start. I mean, 26 days in. Compare it to where any of those other movements were 26 days in.
HAYDEN: I think it's difficult. I think this movement needs breathing room. It's just materializing, and it could go in any direction. The sit-ins started February 1st, 1960, and spread to 100 cities, 70,000 arrests. Free Speech Movement started over an incident about literature on the table at Sproul Hall. Nobody expected it. So, the future seems to arrive unexpectedly, and there's a danger of trying to over-interpret what's about to happen. But something is definitely happening.
OLBERMANN: Have you got an idea what the tipping point was on whatever it is that's happening? Was it Scott Walker and the union-busting efforts in Wisconsin? Was it something - part of the movement itself - the arrests, perhaps? The 700 arrests at Brooklyn Bridge? What changed this? Because, wherever it's going - after the first week or ten days, it looked like "Well, that was interesting and very dramatic, and now it's going to go away" - and it's obvious now, the reports are 1,100 American communities - 1,100 have some form of this.
OLBERMANN: What made it jump to the right side of the river, if you will?
HAYDEN: Well, I think there's - first of all - two or three years of increasing desperation in terms of foreclosures, unemployment, job insecurity, young people feeling that their future jobs have already been outsourced. That combined with - like the early New Deal - nothing happened for a couple of years, and then people started to go on strike. Nothing has been happening, and I think the protesters are completely correct, that Washington is impossible. I think that the possibilities at local levels, like Los Angeles or San Francisco - a municipal bank, some of these reforms are possible.
There's, to me, three or four scenarios, because this can't last. One - one scenario is that it keeps growing as it has unpredictably - with no end in sight. Two is, somebody orders the police to crack down - I'm glad Mayor Bloomberg seems to be listening to the advice of his girlfriend, who's on the board of that Zuccotti Park neighborhood association. Three, it escalates to civil disobedience and arrests - non-violent, peaceful arrests on a scale never known before, probably, in my lifetime - it would have to be 20,000 to 100,000.
HAYDEN: And imagine though, Keith, if 10,000 or 20,000 people peacefully sat down in the streets of New York and said, "If you don't do anything about Wall Street, arrest us."
HAYDEN: "And by the way, we're going to demand jury trials of our peers." The whole system would break down, and the message would not be lost.
Or - a final scenario, of course, that's always possible - at the last minute, the president could sense an emergency that requires action and do some things that he has not done before, things that he alone can do, that are - don't require the Senate, or the House or the dinosaur elements in Washington.
One would be to end these wars. That would be a trillion and a half dollars.
Two would be to let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire, that's another trillion.
Three would be to name his own Special Advisor on Wall Street reform, and start appointing people and doing things within the executive branch.
And then four - just lay down the gauntlet, and say "Look, folks. I have tried with the Republicans in Congress. It hasn't gotten us anywhere. This is going to be the campaign of 2012, please give me a mandate."
Something will happen, because these encampments will fester. The one in Los Angeles is interesting, it's not like New York. In LA, it's right up against City Hall. So, you have the beautiful City Hall, the grass is now covered with - by my count yesterday - 250 tents, 500 people, and it's just a circle of shame around the center of power.
You can't go to City Hall on any business to get your development permit or your tax break or whatever it is that you want without passing through these tents of people who are staring at you, who go into the building, who lobby, who go back out to rallies. It's quite serious and it's amazing that the authorities haven't done anything negative, which is good. But also, it's amazing that they've done nothing positive, which is, kind of proves the point.
OLBERMANN: Tom Hayden, I always thank every guest. That was particularly, I think, extraordinarily insightful and useful as we look ahead to where Occupy is going. So, I thank you kindly for that and for your time, sir.
HAYDEN: Thanks very much, sir. Good evening.
OLBERMANN: Good evening to you. Wow.
And as extraordinary as the first 26 days of Occupy Wall Street have been, there are Occupy movements everywhere. At first, we thought the number was 250 cities Occupying, now the estimate is 1,100. Occupy Tucson, next.
OLBERMANN: Do you know where Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania is? Of course, it's near Tannersville and Scotrun. And it, along with about 1,100 other communities you probably don't know the names of, is staging Occupy. Occupy Gouldsboro, Occupy Tucson.
Then there's "occupy the empty space between the Republican candidates' ears." The latest debate? An orgy of infinite threats to arrest Democrats. A five-year Congresswoman and former IRS employee insisting she's never held a government job. And a moron who thinks the American Revolution took place sometime around 1576.
Speaking of which, this is a state representative who has proposed letting people carry guns in bars. And this is his mug shot for - yeah, you already guessed - "Worst Persons."
And - hung out to dry. Anonymous sources trash the now ex-manager of the Red Sox in The Boston Globe. Turns out some of those sources owned part of the team. Details ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: The Occupy Wall Street movement started in the financial center of the world. It has now spread to an estimated 1,100 American communities and is continuing to grow.
But in our fourth story - what turned this from a protest into a movement was not the overreaction by the New York Police Department, it was the reaction by people in smaller municipalities all over the country who heard the message and decided they, too, had had enough.
New York is still the largest and most active protest, but people unable to make it to a large city have begun holding a protest wherever they can. The Occupy Together website now has an area where anyone can announce where and when they want to protest and can invite interested parties to join. The time zones may be different, but the stories are the same, whether it is Keith Cuesta in Tampa, who - after two years of college - believes that the biggest false promise is the American dream, to Oklahoma City where a group of about a hundred protesters have occupied Kerr Park for the last two days.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: The goal is basically to focus on people's needs rather than on the corporate greed.
OLBERMANN: Then there's the protesters in Walnut Creek, California, decrying the wealthy inequality in their suburban town, and then there's a tweet I received last night. "Keith, we're a small crowd, but doing what we can in Northeast Pennsylvania. Occupy Gouldsboro." Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania, town of about 4,800 people named for the infamous 19th century financier Jay Gould.
Tucson is not that small. A million in the metropolitan area, but given Arizona's recent history, would not have thought it right territory for Occupy, and yet - there is Occupy Tucson, and Craig Barber is one of its spokespeople. Thanks for your time tonight, Mr. Barber.
CRAIG BARBER: Thank you for having me, Keith. I appreciate it.
OLBERMANN: How big is the group? How ripe is the territory?
BARBER: Well, to give you an indication as to how big our group is, our first general-assembly meeting to plan the event occurred two weeks ago. We had about a hundred people show up for that. Last Sunday was our second general-assembly meeting, where we were doing some more planning. We had 300 people show up. And - if any indication from what I'm hearing from local political activist movements, and also from what I'm seeing on the social networking websites is an indication - we're probably going to see upwards of a thousand people coming out on Saturday when we kick off the event.
OLBERMANN: That's a pretty good growth in a matter of two weeks, a ten-time - tenfold - growth in a state with this conservative fever raging for the last few years. What - what are you expecting in terms of the context, the reaction from passersby - from the community - if you will?
BARBER: We've already seen some tea party people come out. We, of course, allow them to say their piece. This movement is open to all. And we've already heard from various avenues that there's some counter-protests planned, and as long as people keep things peaceful, you know, we're fine with that.
Tucson happens to be a more progressive cluster within Arizona, so the response from the community that we've been getting is very positive so far, whereas - you know, we're surrounded by red with the rest of Arizona.
OLBERMANN: Is there any political reaction - locally or otherwise - yet to what you're doing?
BARBER: I've actually been trying my best to proactively reach out to political figures within the community who I feel will be supportive towards our movement because - like what happened in LA where they had city councilmen coming out in support - I think that would benefit us here, so that we don't see what happened in Boston happening here. So, we've been getting tentative support as far as local councilmen and also from some local congressmen, but nobody so far has been willing to step up and officially endorse us.
OLBERMANN: You get a thousand people, I think that may change. How much does -
BARBER: I hope so.
OLBERMANN: You mentioned Occupy LA How much does what happens at Occupy Wall Street or Occupy D.C. or Occupy LA or whatever, matter to those of you who were involved in Occupy Tucson.
BARBER: Well, what happened in Occupy Wall Street is what inspired us. I mean, it's what inspired the local Tucson community to come out, and we're also keeping an eye on what's going on around the country so that we can learn from what's happening elsewhere, and so that we can take cues from them. So we're definitely paying attention and we're definitely trying to avoid any pitfalls.
OLBERMANN: Do you have a message to anyone who was watching and thinking of becoming part of the Occupy movement, specifically? Which is better? Going big of forming your own group locally and focusing on your own city? I mean, Tucson - it's not a small place, and, I mean, just the city itself is half a million people, but if - the further down you go, the question becomes, "Do you go a hundred miles to a mid-size city or do you have a hundred-person rally in your own hometown?" Which do you think is best?
BARBER: Um, I honestly don't know. It depends on the situation. I mean, we have - like you talked about - we have people coming out from the smaller cities in our area. We have people coming out from as far as Yuma, Arizona - which is about a four-hour drive away - so it depends upon how much support you get from the community.
Thankfully, here in Tucson, we've been getting a lot of support from our community especially labor organizations within our community. I mean, we have Move On and the AFL-CIO coming out and marching to our event on the 15th, and so if you feel that your community is ripe for it, then I say go for it.
I mean, don't be discouraged by the fact that you're a small city. You have local issues that you can raise up in addition to the national issues. That's one of the reasons we're doing what we're doing - is to highlight local issues like SB1070 which directly affect our community.
OLBERMANN: The infamous "Papers, please" law of Arizona.
BARBER: Exactly, exactly.
OLBERMANN: Craig Barber from Occupy Tucson. Great thanks, and good luck with it.
BARBER: Thank you so much, Keith.
OLBERMANN: And then there is the latest Republican debate, where the motto should be, "If you want to sound presidential, shut up and let the morons next to you eliminate themselves one by one from the competition." And the lesson is, if you try to remember when the American Revolution was and you're wrong by more than 200 years, you're not eligible.
Details of the whole stinking mess coming up.
OLBERMANN: Rick Perry reveals he does not know when the American Revolution took place, nor the fact that Washington, D.C. was not founded until 15 years after that revolution in the - 1550s or something? Next.
First, the "Sanity Break." And on this date in 1935 was born Tony Kubek. All-Star shortstop of the New York Yankees and later a broadcaster so good that he was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in 2009, and I was honored to be asked to join him and his great family at the induction. Seventeen years ago, when he felt baseball had been consumed by greed, he walked away from his announcing career and never returned, showing that - of all his gifts - his principles might have been the greatest. Happy birthday, Tony Kubek.
"Time Marches On!"
We begin on the Internet. I don't know about you, but this road production of "Cats" just doesn't have the same magic as the original. I have to say, the one playing Grizabella is very convincing. You think this is good, you should see their version of "Book of Mormon."
South Africa - a biker, competing to win a mountain race. Unfortunately, a local antelope has other plans for him. Wait for it. Down goes Frazier! That guy got bucked up. As he said later, "This is why you wear a helmet." For those of you keeping score at home, that's Antelope 1, Biker, 0.
The biker, as you see, would make a full recovery immediately and later said he enjoyed the race but didn't particularly care for the part where the antelope tried to decapitate him.
Finally, we end - as we always do - with a giant pumpkin catapult, part of the Pumpkin Patch Festival, Litchfield, Minnesota. Famer Don Nelson's constructed a twelfth century-style trebuchet. Guess he has some free time after being fired by the Warriors. Look out below. Even Billy Corgan'd be impressed. The catapult the perfect way to meet your neighbors. "I'm lookin' for my pumpkin, probably came through here earlier."
A note of warning for all you kids in Litchfield, watching - heads up when trick or treating at the Nelson Farm. That's the way it is.
"Time Marches On!"
You're the absentee owners of the Boston Red Sox and you want to make it look like it's all the fault of the manager and the general manager you just chased out of town. How best to do that? How about smearing them anonymously in the newspaper whose parent company owns 16 percent of the Red Sox? Details ahead.
OLBERMANN: DuMont Brings You 1949 New York Yankees Baseball, with Mel Allen and Curt Gowdy, will not be seen tonight so that we can instead bring you "Countdown." Whenever you are watching us, we are live at 8:00 P.M. Eastern. As good as we think the show is at any time, in any venue - live gives it a certain "What's gonna fall off the top shelf tonight?" excitement, which cannot be replicated.
Let's play Carnac. Calls to imprison Democrats, cheap pizza jokes, at least one reference to the devil and a guy running who thinks our revolution took place around 1556. In our third story tonight - what happens when you put eight GOP candidates around a table and ask them how they plan to fix the economy?
Kicking off the fun, Newt Gingrich - drawing a not so clean line from the Occupy Wall Street movement to jailing Democratic members of the House and Senate.
(Excerpt from video clip) GINGRICH: It's perfectly reasonable for people to be angry but let's be clear who put the fix in. The fix was put in by the federal government and if you want to put people in jail, I want to second what Michele said. You ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.
OLBERMANN: In response, Congressman Frank destroying long ago Congressman Gingrich. Quote, "Apparently, Newt Gingrich - who considers himself one of the intellectual leaders of the free world - is so embarrassed by the fact that he is running behind Michele Bachmann in Republican polls that it has increased his already well-developed propensity to utter outlandish things." Gingrich not the only one uttering outlandish things. Jon Huntsman awkwardly jabbing at Herman Cain for his admittedly ridiculous $9.99 tax plan.
(Excerpt from video clip) JON HUNTSMAN: I think it's a catchy phrase. In fact, I thought it was the price of a pizza when I first heard about it, Herman.
OLBERMANN: And what would a GOP debate be without Michele Bachmann invoking the devil?
(Excerpt from video clip) BACHMANN: And one thing I would say is, when you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil's in the details.
OLBERMANN: Maybe Satan-sponsored, but it's a plan - which was more than Rick Perry could offer. The governor of Texas who is, after all, running to be leader of the free world says he's not gotten around to coming up with an economic plan. Then he tried to use that as a way of attacking front-runner Mitt Romney.
(Excerpt from video clip) PERRY: Mitt's had six years to be working on a plan. I've been in this for about eight weeks.
OLBERMANN: Ah, but Governor Perry's true movement came after the debate, when he revealed he has absolutely no idea when the American Revolution occurred.
(Excerpt from video clip) PERRY: It was actually the reason that - that we fought the revolution in the - the 16th century was to - to get away from that type of onerous crown.
OLBERMANN: Sure. Whatever you say, buddy. Joining me now, David Catanese, national political reporter for Politico. Thanks for your time tonight, sir.
DAVID CATANESE: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: I have to start with Governor Perry. How can any 61-year-old man who graduated college, and had a 2.5 GPA, not at least get the century of the American Revolution right, let alone one who wants to be president?
CATANESE: Well - in his defense - you know, running for President is a tiring thing. The problem with Rick Perry is he has had too many of these gaffes in a row. And you're seeing it in the polls. You know, his precipitous drop is very much connected to these debate performances. Now, you've got this latest clip, you know, that's circulating and people are talking about. He needs a moment to inspire confidence and he hasn't had one in a long time, basically since he announced his candidacy.
OLBERMANN: The other part he'd mentioned was how the founding fathers were very weary - or wary - of centralized government in Washington, D.C. and they didn't want Washington, D.C. to take over so many different functions in the country, and we'd be wise to listen to their advice after 500 years or whatever it was.
Washington, D.C. wasn't - wasn't even established until 1791. Is somebody going to write that down and slip him a note or - what happens when, if he were somehow elected president - what would happen when issues of historical import somehow found their way into the daily political discourse?
CATANESE: Well - and I think, you know, again, this is tied to part of his problems.
CATANESE: Voters are now taking a look and they're saying. "Is this guy serious? Is he competent?" And now, "Does he know some basic history?" And I think you have some Republicans who won't say it out loud but they're saying, you know, "Do we want another Texas governor who has garbled, you know, rhetoric, garbled syntax and doesn't have his facts straight?
Again, this isn't only relegated to Rick Perry in his field. Michele Bachmann has had her history problems as well. And I think, you know, that's probably why Mitt Romney looks a whole lot better than he did two, three months ago. All these other guys are stumbling over each other.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, this is going to sound really strange but I - I mean, if you're going to insult George Bush by comparing him to Rick Perry, I'm going to have to stand up for President George W. Bush. I said that out loud. He comes across -
CATANESE: Wow, it's -
OLBERMANN: Yeah, he comes across as -
CATANESE: An endorsement.
OLBERMANN: The man who ate the Encyclopedia Britannica, compared to Governor Perry. You mentioned Romney. Did he win this last night, based on the fact that he didn't make a jackass out of himself? Is the pathway for him finally clear? Sort of smile quietly to yourself while the others detonate, like the flies who get too close to the bug zapper?
CATANESE: I think Mitt Romney did win the debate. You know - and for that reason that - you know, this guy's been through this before, you can tell his answers are put together. He knows what's coming at him. He knows the answer to the health care attack. He sees that coming and he is doing pretty well with it. And you can see, I think, his confidence when they were doing the question and answers to each other last night.
CATANESE: All of the questions were directed at Romney. But when Romney was asked a question, he basically pitched a softball to Michele Bachmann. He's seen her drop in the polls - he wasn't going to engage Rick Perry - and basically said, you know, "Michele Bachmann, what are you going to do for the economy?" and she was able to tout her plan. I think that's a sign of confidence. Saying "I don't even need to be aggressive because I am beating you guys, and you're stumbling over each other.
OLBERMANN: I can't get any blunter about Newt Gingrich than this - after the statement last night about arresting Barney Frank and Chris Dodd - what's wrong with him?
CATANESE: Well, look. I mean, this is not the first time Newt Gingrich has said something controversial. This is sort of his M.O. The thing that I was surprised about watching him give this answer is the moderator gave him another shot to reel it back in.
OLBERMANN: Yes. Right.
CATANESE: I thought he would and say, "Well, no, I didn't really mean they should go to prison. I disagree with the Frank-Dodd bill." No, he doubled down, and then no one else on the panel said, you know, "That's a little too far."
And I think those are the clips that the Democrats are gathering. You know, you put this together with the booing during the gay soldier, the yelling during the allowing the 30-year-old man to die without health insurance, and the Democrats are keeping all these clips and they are going to try to frame whoever the Republican nominee is as the tea party extremist. And I think that's what you will see in the fall.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, and only 13 more debates to mine for those clips.
David Catanese of Politico, great. Thanks, David.
CATANESE: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: There was one other doozy from the debate, but we saved it for "Worst Persons." Michele Bachmann, U.S. Congressman, former IRS employee, insists she's always worked in the private sector. Oh, boy. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: The owners of the Boston Red Sox anonymously trash the departed manager and general manager of the Boston Red Sox in a newspaper owned by other people who own part of the Boston Red Sox. The Fenway apocalypse continues.
First, the "Worsts." I had a lovely conversation with them. Then, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West carved Bill O'Reilly into tiny little bite-sized Bill O. snacks last night. Highlights ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Owners of the baseball Red Sox throw their departing manager and general manager under the bus, in perhaps the worst smear job in the history of baseball. Or business. Next.
But first - because exaggerating the work of these miscreants is neither necessary nor possible - here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worsts Persons in the World," not counting the owners of the Red Sox.
The bronze to Bill O. the clown. Remember last Friday when I interviewed Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West at Occupy LA? That went well. Apparently, Bill decided to steal the idea and invite them both on his show. Big mistake.
(Excerpt from video clip) BILL O'REILLY: So, Professor, we'll begin with you. Where am I going wrong here?
(Excerpt from video clip) CORNEL WEST: Well, I think you are going wrong because I think the lens that you're using still are not accessing the fact that one percent of the population own 40 percent of the wealth. The oligarchs and the plutocrats that you tend to want to promote rather intensely, not only doing well, but been too greedy.
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: That's socialism, and that's not going to work here. What do you say, Tavis?
(Excerpt from video clip) TAVIS SMILEY: Three things. Number one, it wasn't socialism - apparently - when we bailed out the banks in the first place. That pretty much fits a textbook definition of socialism, what we did for the banks, that you don't want to acknowledge.
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: What do you mean I lied about it? Wait a minute, Tavis.
(Excerpt from video clip) SMILEY: No, no. I said you're right.
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: Don't call me a liar on this program. What did I lie about?
(Excerpt from video clip) SMILEY: Bill, Bill, Bill. Bill, Bill, I said you were right. R-I-G-H-T. You were right.
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: Yeah, I was right about it. I apologize.
(Excerpt from video clip) SMILEY: Yes, calm down.
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: We've got a remote here on Faneuil Hall? I'm calm.
(Excerpt from video clip) SMILEY: But, but -
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: I'm calm.
(Excerpt from video clip) WEST: He doesn't lie. He actually thinks he never lies, but everybody lies. Bill, you lie too, brother.
(Excerpt from video clip) SMILEY: Now the talk on Fox News is that it's costing taxpayers money for police to do their job. Not one bankster. Not one, Bill. They could arrest hundreds of protesters, but not one banker has gone to jail to pay for his crimes. Not one.
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: Because they didn't violate any laws, Tavis.
(Excerpt from video clip) SMILEY AND WEST: Oh!
(Excerpt from video clip) SMILEY: Bill!
(Excerpt from video clip) WEST: Come on, Brother Bill! How do you know? How do you know that?
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. All right. Knock it off.
(Excerpt from video clip) WEST: There has been no investigation of all the predatory lending, market manipulation, insider trading.
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: All right. Wait a minute. Hold it. Hold it.
(Excerpt from video clip) WEST: Why would you say something like that, brother?
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: Psychopath with a comb-over. The wake for Mr. O'Reilly's credibility will be at 7:00 P.M. tomorrow evening. Please bring Handi Wipes so we can clean it off the walls.
Runner-up? Michele Bachmann. She's not really running for president anymore, so we had to put her here. At the debate - apart from admitting some sort of hallucination in which the president not only revealed to her that he is trying to destroy Medicare, but also that Obama used the word "Obamacare" - there was this.
(Excerpt from video clip) BACHMANN: I am a federal tax lawyer. That's what I do for a living.
OLBERMANN: Got it. You're a federal tax lawyer. You worked for the IRS. You have a government job. Thirty-nine minutes later, though, there was this.
(Excerpt from video clip) BACHMANN: I am 55. I spent my whole life in the private sector. I get job creation, too.
OLBERMANN: You're a federal tax lawyer, but you spent your life in the private sector? And besides, the federal tax lawyer part you boasted about - how could you have spent your whole life in the private sector if your job was state senator for six years, and U.S. congresswoman for five more? Are you reincarnated?
And our winners tonight - two of the finest local politicians in this here country - Republican State Representative Curry Todd of Tennessee and Republican State Representative Brad Drake of Florida.
Mr. Todd of Tennessee first. He's behind a bill in the House there that would make it legal for gun owners to carry firearms into bars. "Folks were being robbed, assaulted. It was becoming an issue of personal safety. Police aren't going to be able to protect you. They're going to be checking out the crime scene after you and your family's been shot or injured or assaulted or raped."
Last night, Mr. Todd was arrested, charged with driving drunk while in possession of a handgun. A Smith & Wesson - a .38. Hello, Tennessee State Representative Curry Todd. In short, the bill was designed to let him drink and pack at the same time. Is that your campaign photo?
Now, as to his co-winner, Brad Drake - the state representative from Florida - he has introduced a bill to eliminate lethal injection, apparently because it's too humane, and replace it with the inmate's choice - electric chair or firing squad. Is that not crazy enough for you? Mr. Drake explained the idea was inspired by a constituent he met at the Waffle House. "In a Waffle House in DeFuniak Springs," Drake said, he heard a constituent say, "You know, they ought to just put them in the electric chair or line them up in front of a firing squad."
After a conversation with the person, Drake, 36, said he decided to file the bill. "There shouldn't be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me, we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and be done with it." You first, asshole.
There it is - America 2011 - laws written by sociopaths like Brad Drake, inspired by blood thirsty goobers he met at the Waffle House!
Florida Republican Brad Drake, death fetishist. And Tennessee Republican Curry Todd, drunken, gun-carrying driver - today's "Worst Persons" in the world.
OLBERMANN: On Friday afternoon, September 30th - less than an hour after the exit of Terry "Tito" Francona, the only man to manage the Boston Red Sox to a World Championship in the last 93 years - a trusted baseball friend told me, "Now, a lot of crap about Tito is going to come out."
In our number one story on the "Countdown" - this morning, just as the architect of the Red Sox dynasty of the decade - General Manager Theo Epstein - was finalizing his own departure to take over the Chicago Cubs, my baseball friend's prediction came true.
The Boston Globe newspaper has printed a remarkable hatchet job on Francona and - to a lesser degree, Epstein - cobbled together from a series of anonymous sources. As other sources say, it mainlines directly back to Red Sox ownership.
Francona and Epstein were not merely blamed in the story. The newspaper essentially printed an ownership implication that Francona had a prescription drug problem. It is, in short, one of the more remarkable smear campaigns in baseball or business history. It ran on the front page of a newspaper in a city that - more than most - considers its baseball club a manifestation of its civic self image.
Among vaguely attributed allegations - in a story written not by a sports writer, but by an investigative reporter - "Team sources also express concern that Francona's performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication, which he also vehemently denied. One of his children expressed concern about a pill bottle in his hotel room. Francona said the doctor told him he did not have a drug-abuse problem."
The article also implied that Francona lost control of his players, who'd formed factions and griped about the schedule, and also about Francona's use of his players and many other things. It also reported that, "While the team collapsed in the last month of the season, three starting pitchers - Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Jon Lackey - stayed in the clubhouse during games when they were not pitching to drink beer, eat fried chicken and play video games."
General Manager Epstein was criticized for his talent selection, including having traded for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez was criticized for a lack of leadership. Gonzalez batted .338 this year, including .318 in September, even as the rest of the team collapsed around him.
Now, to explain all this - with a caveat that I consider both Francona and Epstein friends, but neither of them was a source for what follows - there is blame for everybody in that article except the stadium P.A. announcer, two or three hot dog venders and the Red Sox owners John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner.
"The owners also indicated in post season remarks they were generally unaware of how deeply damaged the Sox had become until after the season. They denied being distracted by their expanding sports conglomerate." In a 2500-word article implying incompetence by the general manager, inattention possibly caused by inappropriate drug use by the manager, that's all the criticism that the owners - Henry, Lucchino and Werner - get. Even when they admit in the article that they were "generally unaware of how deeply damaged the Sox had become until after the season," even when other baseball people were talking about that specific damage - the beer drinking, as an example - in early September.
If you ever need to deconstruct a newspaper story based on anonymous sources - especially one printed in one of the so-called "more respectable" newspapers - all you need to know is who the writer savages and who he lets get away with it. Follow the blame, if you will. Whoever doesn't get the blame, they're probably the source.
"In the ugly aftermath," the Globe writes, "the Sox owners privately vowed to correct any lingering problems." The Sox owners are the sources. The Boston Globe, in fact, comprises part of The Sox owners. Its parent company owns 16 percent of the team.
And, if the childishly naïve promise there - which it dutifully ran on behalf of its co-ownerss - is to be fulfilled, the first thing Messers Henry, Lucchino and Werner need to do is find out which of them - or which of their minions - was so ethically bankrupt as to trash the men who made the team's success possible, as those men went out the door.
They need to know which of them decided to scapegoat a universally-respected baseball man like Francona by dragging in his marriage, his health and the fact that he, himself, volunteered to double-check his own use of pain medication with the team doctor to make sure it wasn't excessive.
Incidentally, if a ball payer was in such pain from 30-year-old knee problems that he had to have blood drained from one of the knees hours before a game, on the road, by the visiting teams doctors, in the stadium, and he still played that night with only mild medication, the owners wouldn't imply he was abusing pain killers, they'd deify him.
In fact, they did so - when a Red Sox pitcher named Curt Schilling pitched a World Series game in 2004, even though blood was supposedly leaking from surgical scars on a tendon sheath in his right ankle.
He's a legend, but Francona's option wasn't picked up and - on the way out - he gets bloodied with the implication that he has "a problem."
Yet there was one more detail about Francona, revealed to the newspaper, that elevates this particular hatchet job to the level of making one hope it is another 93 years before Boston wins. That they go from the overwrought Curse of the Bambino" to the "Curse of the Lucchino."
"While Francona coped with his martial and health issues," the Globe wrote, "he also worried privately about the safety of his son, Nick, and son-in-law, Michael Rice, both of whom are marine officers serving in Afghanistan."
To drag into this the service to this country of Francona's son and son-in-law is not only beyond any pale, it isn't even new. They didn't just get there this season. But publicizing where they are is something Francona has asked even his friends not to do. It actually might materially affect their safety.
But a large corporation, needing to scapegoat the departing geniuses whom they will replace with malleable mediocrities, doesn't give a damn about anybody but the three clowns at the Red Sox top who have mistaken the success and effort of others for something they somehow created.
Not even the one thing those owners did to bring to the equation - cash for a large payroll - actually earns them any credit here. The principle owners of the Red Sox became such via a sweetheart deal engineered by the commissioner of baseball a decade ago. They have been playing with house money ever since. And they have now shown themselves to be actually good at only one thing - blaming others.
In short, the wrong executives are leaving Boston.
That's "Countdown" for Wednesday, 391 days until the 2012 presidential election.
I'm Keith Olbermann, give yourself a round of applause for getting through another day of this crap. Good night and good luck.