'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday, October 21st, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: Occupy Eric Cantor! Majority Leader cancels speech rather than face Philly group; Occupy Murdoch: protestors go to Fox
#ShowPlug 2: As Bloomberg hints of tighter rules for #OWS, @CornelWest is arrested in Harlem. Paul @NYTimesKrugman goes to OWS, joins us
#ShowPlug 3: And with her account of her arrest at earlier #OWS protest of Cuomo speech, @NaomiRWolf joins me
#ShowPlug 4: Iraq Spin Cycle: Earlier this week they told us to leave, so now we announce we've decided to leave? + GOP inanity vs POTUS...
#ShowPlug 4: My guest is Rolling Stone's @7im, Tim Dickinson. Jobs bill part 1 dead, poverty #s up. Guest: @jdub321, Politico's Joe Williams
#ShowPlug 5: Murdoch's Shareholders Meeting: he's also confronted by top British MP in Hacking Investigation, my guest, Mr. @Tom_Watson
#ShowPlugLast: Worsts: Ex-GOP Pres. wannabe tries to tie Gabby Giffords shooting to #OWS; Cain has successor to Plan 999 From Outer Space
watch whole playlist
#5 'Occupy Wall Street', Paul Krugman
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#5 'Occupy Wall Street', Naomi Wolf
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#4 'Exit Strategy?', Tim Dickinson
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Republicans Against Jobs', Joe Williams
#2 Worst Persons: Gary Bauer, Phil Mitsch, Herman Cain
#1 'Murdoch-Gate', Tom Watson MP
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
printable PDF transcript
Categories: Show Transcripts
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Occupy Philadelphia occupies Eric Cantor's speech venue, so he cancels. Occupy DC occupies Union Station, interrupts the chairman of Wal-Mart. Occupy Melbourne, dragged away by Australian police. Occupy Chicago marches in the business district, so the traders drop flyers on them reading, "We are the one percent paying for this." If they were, there wouldn't be any Occupy movement. There still, might not be. Mayor Bloomberg of New York with an ominous hint.
(Excerpt from video clip) MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Some people lose interest, some people find other ways to make their point, some people decide that - what I think should happen is - let's go create the jobs that people need rather than complain that they don't.
OLBERMANN: And some get arrested - Dr. Cornel West, at Occupy Harlem this afternoon.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: We won't stop until you stop "Stop and Frisk."
OLBERMANN: The Occupy movement, assessed for us tonight by Paul Krugman. Iraq is over, but the spinning has just begun.
(Excerpt from video clip) BARACK OBAMA: I can report that - as promised - the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over.
OLBERMANN: Except - that is spin. We aren't withdrawing, we are being thrown out. And the Republicans criticizing the President are spinning even more disingenuously. Romney, "Naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude" Bachmann, we should have demanded, quote, "Iraq repay the full cost of liberating them." And it's Fox-hunting season again. Rupert Murdoch confronted at his stockowners meeting, by Occupy.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: "The shareholders of News Corporation, the Murdochs, know that were out here. They know that we're fired up. And they know we are not going anywhere. Because they have destroyed our democracy.
OLBERMANN: Murdoch also confronted by shareholders. Murdoch also confronted by the British Parliamentarian at the forefront of the investigation into the hacking scandal. My special guest, Mr. Tom Watson, MP.
And - Plan 9-9-9 from Outer Space. Herman has a new plan and it also has its own magic number! All that and more now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Greetings, my friend.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Friday, October 21, 382 days until the 2012 presidential election. Occupy Wall Street - branching out again today from its epicenter, Zuccotti Park in New York - marching in Harlem against the NYPD "Stop and Frisk" searches, which allow street cops to stop anyone who looks suspicious, question them and then pat them down for weapons, searches that overwhelmingly target black and brown men. Occupy Wall Street also inviting parents to bring their kids down to a Zuccotti Park sleepover tonight. While New York Mayor Bloomberg promises tougher enforcement against Occupy protesters who march without a permit.
Our fifth story on the "Countdown" - Occupy Wall Street still more or less on the right side of the law, but Mayor Bloomberg sometimes sounds as if he regrets that. While Occupy protests in other cities face both expulsion and arrests, including a brutal police action in the Australian city of Melbourne.
Starting in New York, where neighbors are still supposedly complaining about the noise, extra tourists, traffic, in and around Occupy Wall Street - for their sake, let's hope the kids are quiet tonight. Literally, Occupy inviting hundreds of parents to bring their kids down for a solidarity sleepover. Play area, toys and snacks will be provided. The Wall Street adults probably use them as well. Perhaps to the dismay - all that - of Mayor Bloomberg who said on his radio show this morning that he wants to keep a balance between the right to protest and the right to avoid protest.
Saying wistfully that, "If you look at history, some people lose interest or find other ways to make their point." Claiming he'd like to negotiate with Occupy, but there's "nobody to work it out with," and issuing a not-so-veiled threat to Occupy protests away from Zuccotti Park.
(Excerpt from audio clip) BLOOMBERG: What they've done so far is when they've marched from one place to another - they have done it peacefully and they've done on it on the sidewalk, sometimes without a permit. We will start enforcing that more.
OLBERMANN: And enforcement was very much in evidence when Occupy protesters joined a march in Harlem against the New York Police Department's "Stop and Frisk" program, by which they stop huge numbers of New Yorkers based on hunches. And what do you know - a vast majority of them happen to have dark skin. In the crowd a veteran of an arrest at a D.C. protest, the Princeton professor Cornel West.
(Excerpt from video clip) CORNEL WEST: We have to come to terms with arbitrary police power ...
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: We have to come to terms with arbitrary police power ...
(Excerpt from video clip) WEST: To ensure that the rights of young folk disproportionately poor and black and brown
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: To ensure that the rights of young folk disproportionately poor and black and brown
(Excerpt from video clip) WEST: Are acknowledged and affirmed.
OLBERMANN: Police affirming their power by arresting professor West and about 30 others after they linked arms in front of the 28th precinct, in a show of civil disobedience. Professor West has the courage of his convictions. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has - convictions. Mr. Cantor, today, canceling a speech on income inequality at the University of Pennsylvania after learning the speech was open to the public, including protesters from Occupy Philadelphia, who had vowed to show up.
Cantor spokesman saying simply that, "The University of Pennsylvania was unable to ensure that the attendance policy previously agreed to could be met." That's too bad, I'm sure Occupy Philadelphia could have enlightened the majority leader on the subject of income inequality.
Elsewhere in the Occupy movement today, Occupy Los Angeles because Occupy Murdoch for a day. About 125 protesters gathered outside the Fox studios. Inside, Rupert Murdoch was pilloried by his shareholders with the company's phone-hacking scandal. Much more on that with Tom Watson from the British Parliament, later in this news hour.
In Oakland, where the mayor had marched with Occupy protesters last weekend, Occupy protesters have been served now with an undated eviction notice. The city says the tent city at Frank Ogawa Plaza has become unmanageable. Another major march is scheduled for tomorrow.
And in Cincinnati, at least 21 arrests for misdemeanor trespass this morning after Occupy demonstrators refused to leave Piatt Park where they spent the last 12 nights.
In Chicago, windows at the Board of Trade boldly declared "We are the one percent." Some of those traders later dropped flyers on Occupy protesters marching by, reading "We are the one percent paying for this and you are paying for one percent of this." Once again, nobody has helped the Occupy movement more than those it is protesting against.
In Washington D.C., an Occupy flash mob disrupted a thousand-dollar-a-plate fund-raiser in the city's Union Station. One that featured Wal-Mart chair Rob Walton and Northrop Grumman's CEO Wes Bush.
And in Melbourne, Australia, almost 100 arrests as police drag Occupy protesters from City Square after they refused an order to leave there. Dozens of officers reportedly removed their identification badges before attacking the demonstration. Protesters complained of kicks to the groin, eye gouging, punches and pepper spray directed at minors. The protesters said, however, they will be back.
The Nobel Prize-winning economist, Princeton professor, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman visited Zuccotti Park last night, and joins us now from Princeton. Thanks for your time tonight, sir.
PAUL KRUGMAN: Hi there.
OLBERMANN: You've seen, you've gone - what did you see and what did you think?
KRUGMAN: I saw a lot of very reasonable people, in a remarkably good mood - especially since it was already getting a little windy and cold. I saw the human - well, I heard the human - microphone in process. It's - it's - what amazes me is, actually, how moderate and how mild this is, and yet - this comes as a total shock, because nobody was speaking up against where we've been going and saying, "Hey wait, what about the people? What about the 99 percent?"
OLBERMANN: There is one achievement that this already - and, I think, fairly solid, 35 days in - Michael Moore had noted it, there was a great bit of research done on it, practically speaking, in - for Daily Kos, even I noticed it. And you wrote in your blog today that the Occupy movement has shaken up the national dialogue - what we are talking about. How unlikely was that, and how longstanding do you think - and long-term do you think - it's gonna last?
KRUGMAN: Well, I actually think it's going to last. I don't know how long the protests will last. You know, nobody knows - especially with winter closing in - but we - six weeks ago, before this started, we were basically having an insane national discussion. Here we were with 14 million people unemployed, and with the government able to borrow at the lowest interest rates in history and with enormous increase in inequality - with a few people at the very top prospering immensely, and most people having made no headway, even before the crisis hit. And yet - what were we talking about? Deficits, austerity, "Let's cut Medicare and Social Security."
And the whole issue of, "What about jobs? What about doing something for the vast majority of Americans?" was completely ruled out of the discussion. And now some of us - you know, I tried to write about it, other people have tried to write about - but somehow, that was not making a dent in the conversation. And then a group of people started camping out in Zuccotti Park, and all of a sudden the conversation has changed significantly towards being about the right things. It's kind of a miracle.
OLBERMANN: The conversation obviously has changed - I'm in complete agreement with you on that - but will it actually change the policy discussion in Washington? Because at this point - again, 35 days in is not necessarily the end of the thing - but it doesn't seem like either side is acting any differently then they were 36 days ago.
KRUGMAN: Actually, I would say that the - I've had plenty of complaints about Obama, but he has turned in the right direction. Instead of - instead of competing with the Republicans on who can do the most deficit reduction, he is, in fact, proposing a jobs bill, which is not going to be implemented, but at least he's fighting on the right issue.
There are subtler, sort-of-insider things - I follow the conversations within the Federal Reserve a lot, and monetary policies - one of those things that can act. And again, six weeks ago, it was all "Oh, the Federal Reserve is printing too much money" and inflation - even though inflation is not actually a core issue right now. And now there seems to be a significance faction within the Fed which is saying, "Hey, our mandate says we're supposed to fight unemployment," and so that is actually starting to happen.
So, whether there will actually be a policy change in the next six months or even the next year, I don't know, but we're getting - something is happening.
OLBERMANN: Whatever that thing is - if it's an entity, if it's a force, if it's - it merely is - pressure finally, sort of, coalescing in one place and being used against the political system - how is it maintained, how can it be with maintained, with every factor coming in - from the public's random attention, to various distractions, through the coldness of the Eastern winter approaching? How does it stay alive?
KRUGMAN: Well, that's - that you really need to ask somebody who's a better organizer than I am, but I think the visibility, giving something - it turns out that no number of learned papers on how we're doing this wrong, no number of sober editorials on how we're doing this wrong - was making a dent. But something that catches the public's attention - something that makes a news story out of it - makes a huge difference.
And the great advantage here is - this is really like the little boy and the emperor who wore no clothes. The fact is, the emperor really is naked and all you have to do is get people to look. That, I think, is how you understand the miracle here. It doesn't take a mass organized movement. It just takes some people saying, "Hey, look at what's actually happening, look at what's right in front of your eyes."
And that's - I think if we can find ways - if the movement can find ways - to keep on doing that, then you'd be surprised. It's not gonna fade away very quickly.
OLBERMANN: You have been - as a last question - you have been extraordinarily specific with some of your suggestions over the years and, unfortunately, not many of the politicians listened in critical moments and we are probably all suffering for that. Do they need to be specific at Occupy Wall Street? I'd love your theory on this, having been a proponent of specific actions and the proponent of proposing specific actions. Is this generalized, somewhat-amorphous point somehow more effective in this day and age?
KRUGMAN: I think it actually is. I mean, for one thing - if you actually you go to Zuccotti Park, or go to any of the Occupy demonstrations - you'll see it's a pretty diverse group of people. This is not - this is not a Leninist movement, right? This is a genuine, popular upsurge of outrage. And it's not gonna be easy to get agreement on a 10-point plan.
And the other thing to say is - that's not really the movement's role. I mean, the role is to - is to highlight all this stuff we have not been talking about, even though it's what really affects people's lives. I think that, then, the discussion - if that issue is raised - then the wonks, then people like me, can come in and start, you know, proposing specific things. But - but, I don't think - I don't think they have to have a - you know, 93 theses that we're all gonna sign onto to make this work. I think that just highlighting the issues - highlighting the neglect - is the achievement that we're looking for.
OLBERMANN: The ultimate expression of the human microphone from Zuccotti Park. The Nobel Prize-winning economist, Princeton professor, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman - great, thanks for your insight and your time.
KRUGMAN: Thanks to be on.
OLBERMANN: My next guest spent a little time behind bars this week, courtesy of the NYPD. Feminist author Naomi Wolf was arrested Wednesday for refusing to obey a lawful order, for refusing to leave a sidewalk outside a Huffington Post awards ceremony honoring New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. She of course is also the co-founder of the American Freedom Campaign, author of the book "Give Me Liberty" and was a guest on the very first news hour I ever did, which was just a few years ago this month. Naomi Wolf joins me now. It's good to see you.
NAOMI WOLF: It's good to be out and to see you.
OLBERMANN: It's good to be out. Did you ever anticipate saying that in this sort of - we've assumed this era is the non-protest, non argumentative, docile American public time? People would have voted - If we had to vote on this two months ago, people would have said, "Yeah that's a pretty good description." Would you have anticipated ever saying, "I just got out after my arrest during a protest?"
WOLF: Um, well I'm not surprised that there's this massive protest movement, because that was bound to happen sooner or later, and because it is so powerful. I mean, I studied - as you know, in my book "End of America" - how democracies close down. And people said, "Well, us tell us how to open them up." And so, I studied how they open up. And the number-one effective tool is mass protest, but it has to be a certain kind of protest. It has to be peaceful and enduring - long-lasting - and it has to disrupt business as usual.
So, now that people have begun to show up, they are starting to wake up and realize that they're acting like Americans. This is what the Founders intended us to do. It's not optional. The Founders didn't say "You have a right to protest," they said "You have an obligation, when your representatives are not listening to you, you have an obligation," and they put the First Amendment first. It's the most important obligation. Everything else follows from that. To peacefully assemble and petition government for redress of grievances, that doesn't surprise me.
What does surprises me is that I actually didn't - I wish you could have read the quote marks around "refusing to obey a lawful order," because I actually refused to obey an unlawful order. I was - it's quite amazing - I was jailed for standing on a corner outside an event to which I'd been invited, with my boyfriend, peacefully - after having ascertained what the permit was that governed the sidewalk - in order to obey the law, right? And so I was there obeying the law, and I was arrested because the official in white - who yelled at me to get off the sidewalk - I was frozen, I couldn't do it, because I knew that to do it, I would be going against the rule of the law.
OLBERMANN: Basically giving the law up.
OLBERMANN: In exchange for the order part of the law and order, rather than law part.
OLBERMANN: Did the Department of Homeland Security have anything to do with this?
WOLF: Well, I have no idea if they had anything to do with this phalanx of 30 or 40 police officers surrounding me and my partner, and taking us in when we were peacefully not breaking any laws on the sidewalk, but I do know that something very disturbing happened after we were put into a police van. We were supposed to be taken to the First Precinct - and, that's the one that governors what happens on Hudson Street where we were arrested. But they got a call that the protesters had gone to the First Precinct with the lawyers of the National Lawyers Guild who were going to help us and meet us and represent us, and so they detoured - the police detoured - across town to the Seventh Precinct, and misled the protesters about our whereabouts, which is very disturbing. Because in America, you know, prisoners - even for a little while - are not supposed to be unaccountable.
WOLF: Disappear. Even more disturbing, we learned that - when the protesters arrived at Ericsson Street where the First Amendment - First Amendment, what a slip - where the First Precinct is, it was blocked off, and they said "What's going on?" - they didn't let any protesters or lawyers through, but let people in business suits through. And NYPD said Homeland Security has frozen Ericsson street.
So, to me as an American - as a New Yorker - this is very big news, for reasons I don't have to explain to you. A federal agency can - because two middle-aged, you know, couch-potato intellectuals get arrested for not disobeying the law - they can freeze a New York City street?
OLBERMANN: But even if they weren't freezing it, and the name was merely invoked - that's its own problem.
OLBERMANN: If a city police department is invoking this shadowy, national entity, that becomes its own threat to the First Amendment and freedom of assembly and all the rest.
WOLF: Keith, you're completely right. And what baffles me is - where is The New York Times, investigating this?Where are our local newspapers? Where is the national newspaper? Because you block - you let Homeland Security block off - or even say Homeland Security's blocked off - one street, they could cordon off downtown Chicago tomorrow. And it's not, like, weapons of mass destruction or a natural disaster - It's, you know, two random people standing on the sidewalk being the excuse to close down our civil society.
So, there's another really scary thing, if you want me to keep scaring you - but this is scary for all of us - it's not - it is not what happened to me and to my partner that is the worrying thing, the thing that I'm distressed about - it's that people have got to understand that this could happen to absolutely anyone. For four or five years I've been saying - "You start with Guantanamo, history shows they start with the other - it gets closer and closer and someday they come for you when you were innocent and you have no recourse."
When they were releasing us, the guy said, "Okay, I'm gonna let you go this time with a summons. But if you go down and rejoin your friends, the protesters, and you get arrested, it will be a real arrest next time. Here's the camera" - he pointed to a camera - "It'll take your photograph. Here's the fingerprint machine. We'll take your fingerprints, it will go into that database - a federal database - and it will follow you forever."
And then I said, "But officer, I got arrested tonight when I was obeying the law. How do I get avoid getting arrested in the future?" And he didn't dispute that I was obeying the law, he said "Well, the officers decided it was a safety issue." And I said, "But then, what prevents any situation from being called a safety issue and trumping the law and how people are obeying the law?" And he didn't answer, but referred me to a section of the criminal code. But that, too, is very scary.
OLBERMANN: We've given them the right to make up the law as they go along.
WOLF: You know, interesting. We haven't given them - well, we've given it to them by sleeping on the job.
WOLF: But there's something I really also want everybody to understand, which is why - there is this amazing montage of - here are people in this public park being told you can't put up tents, here's the mayor saying, "Well, I want to strike a balance," - as if it's up to them, right?
This is what's happened - in the last 30 years, because the mass protests of the 1970′s - the moratorium, you know, workers' rights, the Free Speech movement was very effective, right? Big, mass public protests, the civil rights movement - all those protests are illegal now, why? Because the powers that be realized this is a powerful tool.
So, there's been this stealth, secret tactic for 30 years - in municipality after municipality - to pass secretive permit requirements so that - in Washington Square, you can't rally now, and citizens can't use a megaphone, but police can use a megaphone. And on and on, and so - technically, we have the First Amendment, but when you try to actually use the First Amendment, you find that there are all these secretive permits.
And the permit that I was told meant that my boyfriend and I couldn't walk on the street, I looked it up - because I'm a reporter - it's a permit that obliges the event holders to allow people to walk on the street. So, they just made it up and arrested us. And - and that's what we need to refuse to tolerate. It's not up to them.
The First Amendment is for public space to be public and citizens to have the right to free assembly. And, again, it's not - "Does the mayor let us?" We have to take back that right, we have to, you know, absolutely wipe out these stealthy and really evil over-permitizations of our free speech.
OLBERMANN: And that's why they're there. Naomi Wolf, great thanks. Great to see you. Thanks for coming in.
The president says we're leaving Iraq. The right accuses him of failing there. Neither is true. Why no one will acknowledge that - earlier this week - the Iraqis told us, "Get out." That's next. This is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: The spinning on Iraq is already breaking land-speed records. He called it "a naked political calculation or sheer ineptitude." The President himself is avoiding the key fact. We aren't leaving, we're getting thrown out. Despite his fierce lobbying, the first part of the Jobs bill is dead. But state-by-state poverty numbers continue to rise.
Rupert Murdoch on defense at his own shareholders' meeting, confronted by many, including the British Member of Parliament at the forefront of investigating the hacking scandal. Tom Watson joins us.
And you're running for state office in New Jersey and you tweet this advice, "Women, you increase your odds of keeping your men by being faithful, a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom." What do you do next? How about something different every day for a week? "Worst Persons" ahead.
OLBERMANN: After 3,138 days, more than one trillion dollars, and the lives of 4,400 and more American troops, the American presence in Iraq is finally nearing its end. In our fourth story - despite a President, and all major news coverage, saying so, however, it is not so much a withdrawal, as it is this country being shown the door.
Thus, President Obama is both being credited for something he didn't do, and being blamed for something he couldn't stop. Due to an agreement with Iraq signed by President Bush in 2006, all American forces were to be withdrawn from Iraq by December 31st of this year. The president had hoped to maintain several thousand in Iraq as military trainers, but - as we told you earlier in the week - Iraq's Parliament was unable to agree on a proposal to continue immunity for U.S. troops in their country. So, to avert those service personnel from being liable for prosecution, there will be no force left behind. Of course, that's not a very dramatic story.
(Excerpt from video clip) OBAMA: As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end, for the sake of our national security and to strengthen American leadership around the world. After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011. So today, I can report that - as promised - the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over. So to sum up, the United States is moving forward from a position of strength. The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year.
OLBERMANN: Joining me now - Tim Dickinson, political correspondent for Rolling Stone. Tim, thanks for your time tonight.
TIM DICKINSON: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: Is this one of those rare instances when all political sides are spinning reality to something else? We were asked to leave. Are we not now saying, "You can't fire me, I quit."
DICKINSON: A little bit. But, I mean, this is sort of - sort of the definition of an orderly transition that we're seeing here. This is a deal brokered by a Republican president, executed by a Democratic president and, you know, in conjunction with a democratically elected Iraqi government. So, they've asked us to leave and we're leaving. And this war - this awful misadventure that we somehow salvaged - is coming to an end and I think we can say hallelujah.
OLBERMANN: Will people, in fact, care why we are out of Iraq, or just happy that we are?
DICKINSON: You know, I think most people are just going to be happy that we are. What we're talking about is a force of 10,000, 15,000 troops that would have stayed there and helped train Iraqis, you know, to bolster the military there. And that could be important around the edges, but I don't think that's going to be the difference between Iraq having a functioning democracy and Iraq breaking out in a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. So, you know, I think most people are going to say "Check that off the list, thank you very much, let's bring them home."
OLBERMANN: In defense of the president, he did promise this outcome. Is there any evidence that the "couple thousand stay" idea was tailored, in some way, that it would necessarily fail with the Iraqis? In other words, was this an outcome that he was happy to have occur?
DICKINSON: Well - well, the ironic thing about this is that the president, seemingly, would have gladly taken a small political hit with his base to leave this training force behind. And so, this isn't, sort of, a naked political calculation. This is a president, sort of, being backed into keeping his campaign promise by the Iraqi Parliament. So there's a small irony here, but I think it's perfectly acceptable for the president to say "Hey, I promised this, this is what I'm doing. Go, me," I mean - that's politics.
OLBERMANN: Of course somebody did say it was naked political calculation - it was Mitt Romney. And then Bachmann had the line about "We should have demanded that Iraq repay the full cost of liberating them, given their rich oil revenues," meaning she has not dropped the crazy in the slightest. But that, really, that was about the end of what looked like - as these comments came out so quickly - a cascade of remarks that didn't happen. Is that, by itself, indicative of how little there is left of the "we need to stay in Iraq for 100 years" crowd that used to run this country?
DICKINSON: Well, I think what it reveals is if this - if you look at the polling for about since 2006, there's been about the third of the country that wants a strong, imperial presence in Iraq and that is - you know, no coincidence - the Republican base. And so, here you are in the middle of a primary season and you have Republican politicians sounding kind of foolish by trying to cater to this small dead-ender crowd.
OLBERMANN: The Rolling Stone political correspondent, Tim Dickinson. Very useful and concise information, thank you, sir, have a good weekend.
DICKINSON: Thank you, you too.
OLBERMANN: The Republicans kill part one of the Jobs Bill against a backdrop of new and horrifying state-by-state poverty numbers. And the British member of Parliament who confronted Rupert Murdoch today in Los Angeles will join us. We continue.
OLBERMANN: Another part of the Jobs Bill is dead, but the poverty numbers are all too alive - next.
First, the "Sanity Break." And, on this date in 1946 was born Jim Hill. He was a defensive back with the NFL San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers, then became a sportscaster in Los Angeles. In fact he was Sports Director of KCBS-TV there before I was, and again, he has been so since I left there at the end of 1991. So, 1946 that makes him 65. No way, because if he's 65, then I'd have to be - Jesus.
"Time marches on!"
In sports, or, as Jim would say, "Keep the faith" - the NBA lockout continues, the players are all signing with European teams, and the league is looking for potential replacements anywhere. This frisky fella is just starting to learn the basics of dribbling. Fast hands on him - look at that, could be a defensive threat. Fit in with the Bobcats?Scouts say his biggest down side, he throws up a lot of hair balls. Oh, you knew that was going to happen.
To the world of transport, where - maybe, sometimes - you should not keep on trucking. Despite most of the cab being missing, this truck driver continues to enjoy the open road. Uh, you might have a little ding there right by where the hood and passenger seat - or where they used to be. And, at this point it's - go right ahead, roll down the driver window.
Finally, we end with romance. This sentimental young man has found the perfect spot to propose to his girlfriend. The best part is the thing will be forever captured on video. Or will it? Down goes camera! That's what you get for telling me we're just going for a walk in the woods, pal. They'll be doing the re-shoots next week, but they're talking about possibly re-casting the dog.
"Time Marches On!"
The British Member of Parliament at the forefront of the Rupert Murdoch investigations, on his face-to-face confrontation with Murdoch at Fox, today. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: "Countdown," as of next Monday, the longest continuously running 8 PM program on cable news, unless you think Fox is news. We are live weeknights here at 8 PM Eastern, 5 Pacific. Our primary replays are at 11 PM Eastern and 11 PM Pacific. We call it "our little miracle."
Against the backdrop of startling poverty numbers that continue to rise state by state, Senate Republicans continue to oppose each and every aspect of the president's jobs bill. In our third story on the "Countdown" - a unified Republican group was joined by three members of the Democratic caucus last night to turn down a $35 billion jobs proposal. It would have helped states and cities prevent the layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police officers. They needed 60 votes. They got fifty. Mock Democrats Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Ben Nelson voted against the bill, as did the Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
All this as a U.S. census report showed that the poverty rate rose from 14.3 percent in 2009 to more than 15 percent last year. Mississippi and New Mexico suffered the most - more than one of five people in each of those states now living in poverty.
The next steps in the Democrats' Sisyphean task in the senate? Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota will sponsor a $58 billion bill in November to try to help rebuild national infrastructure. It would create jobs to improve roads, bridges transit systems, airports and railroads. Certainly did not impress the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which said of it. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, yet that's exactly what Senate Democrats are proposing today. So, when taxpayers hear Senator Klobuchar and her fellow liberal Democrats call for even more bloated government stimulus spending it serves as yet another reminder of their broken promises and failed economic policies."
On that note, let's turn to Politico's White House reporter Joe Williams. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
JOE WILLIAMS: My pleasure to be here.
OLBERMANN: Democratic Leader Reid said this week, "The Republican strategy is to keep the economy weak long enough to defeat the president in re-election 2012." Is it plausible that they can do it, is it plausible they can do it without their own fingerprints on it?
WILLIAMS: Well, here's the thing - this whole situation reminds me of the phrase "Stop me if you've heard this before" - because, basically, we have Republicans standing in the way of what looks like a jobs agenda that the public not only can support, but might that actually might move the needle on some of these unemployment numbers.
Job one for Republicans, however, is to make sure that this president is defeated. It's conceivable that they can do it, because their strategy not only is banking on not having fingerprints on it, but not having people notice the fingerprints being wiped off by the Republican majority. The president's countervailing strategy, by the way - and the reason why they keep doing the same thing - is to hope that they can highlight the fact that Republicans are, in fact, standing in the way. So, it's, sort of, opposite sides of the same coin. The Republicans are hoping people will not notice, the Democrats are sounding the alarm saying, "Hey everybody, look over here, we're trying to get something done, the Republicans are not playing ball."
OLBERMANN: I don't want to agree with Republicans, because it would ruin my reputation, but the one thing about this quote here was "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think the rest of that statement I might have a disagreement with, but the Democratic strategy now is, as I mentioned - the Klobuchar part of the jobs program, to work on infrastructure - is that not going to face the same fate as this did last night?
WILLIAMS: Well, chances are it will, because - keep in mind, this is the infrastructure bank idea, also, that's out there - and the funding for this particular bill will come from the millionaire surcharge, a .07 tax levied against the highest earners in the nation. Republicans are already on record that they don't like it, they're already on record that they don't like the infrastructure bank, so it's beyond conception - it's probably almost anticipated - that it will fail. But again, the strategy is to make it fail, the strategy is for Republicans to be held accountable by Democrats and by the attentive, paying public that this is a jobs bill that they are standing in the way - in front of - and the Republicans are banking on, that this is going to be another feather in their cap for stopping runaway government spending.
OLBERMANN: Is there, then, in light of that - and in the light of last night - an explanation of their votes from Senators Nelson and/or Pryor? Is Nelson retiring? Are the Democrats still going to fund Pryor in 2014 if he seeks the seat again?
WILLIAMS: Well - and that's the thing, that's the tricky part - I mean, the Nelson part, he's retiring, but he's doing what Ben Nelson does, and that is represent the conservative red state that sent him to Congress. As far as Pryor is concerned, he is trying to do the same thing. He's in a very shaky district - or a very shaky state rather - and the state that could swing either way, he is trying to maintain his bona fides. He may not get a lot of love from the national party, but, certainly, he's banking on - that's easier to choke down than not getting love from his constituents.
OLBERMANN: The poverty numbers are appalling. I haven't seen them mentioned elsewhere in the media or, particularly, from politicians. Is there, to your knowledge, a reason or an explanation for that - that this is not part of this discussion right now? Do we just all need to look the other way?
WILLIAMS: That's - the reason why it's not being discussed is because it's bad. I mean, you said the word - atrocious is - for a country this size, with this much wealth, this much industry - it's atrocious. And it reminds me of a phrase that I read long ago in one of my favorite writers, Richard Brautigan - American poverty, back in good times, was sort of "the bad wind that blows off sugar." Here, we don't even have the sugar. We have a bad wind and nothing to really make us feel better about either - a) doing something about reducing these numbers or b) explaining why these numbers have come forward to begin with.
So, we have a problem that's not being addressed, because Republicans and Democrats, in some measure, are not tackling it. The poverty numbers would be reduced if there were a cohesive, sensible housing policy, for example, to get rid of the overhang. If there were some national jobs bills, if there were some giveback by Wall Street to, sort of, get things moving again - loosening credit, get things going, people can buy, people can build houses, people get paid, they spend the money, poverty rate goes up - a rising tide lifts all boats.
But what's interesting, also, is the fact that poverty numbers in Texas are really kind of eye-opening, where you have Rick Perry announcing that he created more jobs than anyone, but he has got one of the most deeply-rooted pockets of poverty in his state where - I believe the number's somewhere close to three in ten - are living hand to mouth.
OLBERMANN: Extraordinary. Joe Williams of Politico with great insight for us tonight. Great. Thanks for that and have a good weekend.
WILLIAMS: My pleasure, sir.
OLBERMANN: Trying to draw a connection between Occupy Wall Street and the man who shot Congresswoman Giffords. An old bible-thumping, would-be president has the audacity to attempt it. It's not Pat Robertson. Coming up in "Worsts."
OLBERMANN: Rupert Murdoch comes face-to-face with the British member of Parliament at the front of the investigations of Murdoch-gate. Tom Watson, MP, joins us. First, the "Worst." Plan 9-9-9 From Outer Space tonight has a sequel. With a new number! Next.
OLBERMANN: The Fox Hunt is on again. Rupert Murdoch confronted at the News Corp. shareholders' meeting, by the British Parliamentarian at the forefront of the investigation of the hacking scandal. Mr. Tom Watson, MP, joins us in a moment.
First, here are "Countdown's" nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze to Gary Bauer, Undersecretary of Education in the Reagan Administration and, later, laughably unsuccessful presidential contender, and jackass. Now Chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, Mr. Bauer has decided to re-invent himself as a spreader of the lie that Occupy Wall Street is anti-Semitic, by dragging in the man who shot Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and 19 others last January
"Jared Loughner," he said, "who was an apolitical radical who would fit in well with the Occupy Wall Street movement ... the pundits and talking heads turn a deaf ear to all the hyperbolic rhetoric on the left. They were quick to point out one or two odd signs at a tea party rally, but they ignore the blatant anti-Semitism in the Occupy Wall Street movement."
What Bauer is talking about is the fact that Occupy is opposed to Wall Street and Big Money. In his bigoted mind, those are synonyms for "Jewish people." Thus, in his world of stereotypes, Occupy becomes anti-Semitic. Everybody has to make a living, so I suppose we can forgive him that. But to drag Giffords name into this hatred is unconscionable.
The runner-up? New Jersey Republican State Senate candidate Phil Mitsch. He has finally apologized for a series of tweets in which he advised someone, we don't know who, "Women, you increase your odds of keeping your men by being faithful, a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom. #quote Mitsch"
"I would like to sincerely apologize for any offense I may have caused anyone, particularly women," he said today, in what would have been a solid "sorry," if it had not been his fifth different position on the thing. As late as yesterday morning, Mitsch said he was definitely not apologizing for his "relationship tips." Wednesday, he had told a newspaper that his tweet had shown "the utmost respect for women." Monday, he said that wasn't his tweet and he wouldn't have said that, but the quote had been cobbled together from his tweets by Democrats and a screen-shot of them "fabricated." And last week, he had claimed they were not public tweets but private Twitter direct messages that had reflected his "dry humor." Well, he's creative.
But our winner? Alleged Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. As we mentioned last night, he has revealed the coda to his economic platform, Plan 9-9-9 from Outer Space. In it, there are so-called "Opportunity Zones," in which the minimum wage and the capital-gains tax would be eliminated. That this would protect the 84 percent of American householders whose taxes would go up under Plan 9-9-9 from Outer Space. For those below the poverty level, Cain now says "your plan isn't '9-9-9', it's '9-0-9.'" So his next economic plan would be "The One After 9-0-9?" Herman Cain - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: Humorist Andy Borowitz was the unexpected real victor at the annual News Corp.'s stockowners meeting, tweeting a fictional quote from Rupert Murdoch, "I know our shareholders are happy because I've heard their voicemails."
In our number-one story - for the first time since his appearance in front of the British Parliament, Rupert Murdoch appeared in front of News Corp. shareholders, and - just like his appearance in front of Parliament - British lawmaker Tom Watson was there to question Murdoch on the hacking-and-spying scandal that may yet topple him. Mr. Watson joins me presently.
As we mentioned, Occupy LA setting up outside of the Fox lot on Pico Boulevard, one protester accused Murdoch of destroying American democracy. This, as news comes of the settlement in the hacking of the voicemail of the murdered school girl Milly Dowler, with News Corp. to pay $4.8 million, a third of that going to charity.
Things were not going much better for Rupert Murdoch inside that meeting. Several large groups of shareholders pledge to vote against re-electing his board, specifically Rupert and his son James. News Corp. has announced tonight the board was re-elected, but it refused to release the tally, saying it would do so next week.
NPR's David Folkenflik tweeted from the meeting, "According to Bloomberg's Edmund Lee, News Corp. PR is desperately trying to stop the questions, gesturing to staff."
They could not stop the questions quickly enough. As the British member of Parliament Tom Watson got to the microphone and presented Mr. Murdoch with more evidence of News Corp.'s spying.
(Excerpt from audio clip) TOM WATSON: As you pointedly said, you are cooperating with the phone-hacking scandal in the U.K. that has got 200 police officers on the case as we speak, but they're also looking at other allegations, that range from conspiring to pervert the course of justice, executives committing perjury and bribery of public officials, including police officers. You haven't told any of your investors about what is to come, and I have to say, Mr. Murdoch, that if I know about this, then - with all of the resources you're putting into clearing up the scandal - you must know about this, too.
OLBERMANN: Joining me now from the British Parliament and - today, anyway - from the News Corp. shareholders' meeting, Mr. Tom Watson MP. This is an unexpected pleasure sir, thanks for your time tonight.
WATSON: The honor is mine, Keith, good to be on your show.
OLBERMANN: Why didn't they release the vote count? That seems awfully strange.
WATSON: It's very curious, and - at the end of the meeting - I'm sure I heard Rupert Murdoch say the results will be announced within a couple of hours. So, I can only assume that some of the key votes were pretty close and they didn't want to wrap that up into the news coverage of the meeting today.
OLBERMANN: How did you happen to be in there in the first place?
WATSON: Well, I was invited to come out. I did a teleconference with investment advisors in Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. about three weeks ago, I explained the investigation that we've had in the U.K. Many of them were shocked and suggested that I come over to the meeting, because they felt that a lot of the shareholders were not conscious of just how deep and wide the scandal in the U.K. was, and what kind of liabilities it might open the company up to.
OLBERMANN: You have suggested, and you suggested today in front of Mr. Murdoch, that there's an extra - or new - aspect, certainly, to the hacking scandal and the spying scandal, opening up. A second private investigator, perhaps, involved in this, other techniques. What details did you give at that meeting and are there any you can share with us here?
WATSON: Well look, the remarkable thing about this scandal is it - it - it centers around the evidence file for one convicted private investigator. We know, now, that actually there were at least three other private investigators being investigated by the Metropolitan Police. I very strongly suspect that computer hacking was involved. I raised it with the board today. I wanted to leave every individual member of the board in no doubt about the seriousness of that, and what the consequences would be for the civil liabilities of the company, but also for the reputational harm that that might have going forward. And, you know - in a sense, I have discharged my duty now. The board know how strongly the views are of the U.K. parliamentarians and the shareholders know as well.
OLBERMANN: Did you get a sense from any of those shareholders that they listened to you, rather than to Mr. Murdoch's version of events?
WATSON: I think they were shocked. Look, I didn't go in expecting there'd be a big, radical change to company structures today, although there were some very positive reformist motions on the meeting agenda. They obviously all fell. But, you know, a company that doesn't take heed of these things - this is a $32 billion, complex, transglobal media empire that's run like a dysfunctional family firm - and I don't think Rupert Murdoch can put his hand on his heart and say "We put in measures that will stop executives covering up criminal wrongdoing on an industrial scale like what happened in the U.K.," and they're leaving themselves open to potential disaster in the future.
OLBERMANN: Since this scandal began to unfold, Mr. Watson, there has certainly become a new element involved in this, at least in this country - the Occupy protests. I know that you saw them and you spoke to them. Do they have a role in this process, in this investigation?
WATSON: Well, I think they're a remarkable phenomenon for politicians throughout the Western world. You know, these groups can come together really easy using social media now. And politicians and big companies like News International - News Corporation - that don't respond to the legitimate concerns of these organizations, I think are not going to do themselves much good. So look, they provided an amazing backdrop to the entrance and the start of the AGM today. And I'm sure they're not going to go away in really difficult and uncertain economic times.
OLBERMANN: What do you think happens next in Britain's investigation of Rupert Murdoch? Because obviously, that is a subject that is of considerable interest here, since the investigation domestically is so - embryonic, I would say is probably a good word for it. Where does your investigation go next?
WATSON: Well, I think the focus will be on James Murdoch - he's the chairman of BSkyB, they've got there AGM at the end of November, and there will be similar moves to remove him as chairman of that company. He's likely to be in front of my committee in Parliament in November before the AGM. There was some remarkable testimony from the external counsel only this week, where they essentially said "the lawyers made the company aware that criminal wrongdoing was - there was a powerful case that others were involved in criminal wrongdoing - as early as 2008."
So, there's been a cover up, Parliament is getting to the truth on it, the police are conducting a criminal investigation and then the shareholders and the activist groups will be focusing on the AGM on the 29th. It's not going to be an easy month for News Corp. in the U.K.
OLBERMANN: When you put all of this together - what you heard firsthand, what you saw today, what, perhaps, you read in Rupert Murdoch's face as you stood there and talked to him - what - does he understand, does James Murdoch understand, the trial they're facing and the enmity that has been built up over these years, that is beginning to weigh against them?
WATSON: I think he must understand that now. It was telling to me that they didn't put any of the Murdoch children on the top table today. They were sitting in the front row. There's clearly some embarrassment about James Murdoch's presence there. What I find curious about Rupert Murdoch is - he's a curiously charismatic man, who's also incredibly arrogant. We came out of the meeting with no change at News Corp., the status quo prevails. Rupert Murdoch is still chairman and chief executive of the company, with no additional reforms to protect corporate governance. And so - he wasn't listening, but he gave the impression of humility. He manages to pull the trick off at the same time. It's a remarkable feat.
OLBERMANN: He may have been studying with some of his newscasters here in the United States, that's one of my theories about him. Lastly, this is absolutely trivial - and I only have about 40 seconds left, so this is the right about of time to devote to it - I read this, repeatedly - all people attending this meeting were asked if they had cameras and what other thing were they worried about?
WATSON: Pocket knives. There was a big guy at the door, asking me if I was carrying a knife, which is the first time I've been asked that as a U.K. politician.
OLBERMANN: And I understand this is - this was universal? This was - everybody who went in that room was asked that question?
WATSON: Well, they - I'm not sure if they were targeting me or not, but they certainly asked me. And then they kept giving me the rules of engagement, what - the questions I could ask and how long I could speak for. It was a peculiar event.
OLBERMANN: Again, sounds like an audition for Fox News. Mr. Tom Watson, member of the British Parliament. Our greatest thanks for your time, and best of luck with the inquiries. And thanks you for being with us tonight.
WATSON: All the best.
OLBERMANN: Thank you. That's "Countdown" for Friday, 382 days until the 2012 presidential election. I'm Keith Olbermann. Give yourself a round of applause for getting through yet another day of this crap. Have a great weekend. Good night and good luck.