'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, October 31st, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: On Halloween one GOP'er says he's victim of a witch-hunt, other is acting possessed. Herman Cain + Rick Perry self-destruct
#ShowPlug 2: Cain's denial already evolving into remembering details of a "gesture." TPM's @evanmc_s McMorris-Santoro on Cain
#ShowPlug 3: Matt @MTaibbi on the bizarre Rick Perry speech; have the two stories cinched the GOP nomination for Romney. Then: all-Occupy
#ShowPlug 4 CORRECTED: Rubber bullets, gas, blight Gov Hickenlooper's Denver rep; 36 arrested in Austin over a food table; Nashville back
#ShowPlug 5: @Jeannie_Hartley of @OccupyDenver plus Democracy Now's Ryan @RDevro on reports NYPD dumping substance abusers at Zuccotti
#ShowPlug 6: Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Occupy's Win in the discourse + next steps; Buffalo law firm's hideous anti-Homeowner Halloween costumes
#ShowPlug Last: Most Publicity In The World! Canada goes nuts over @TOMayorFord in Worsts - there is news on the 911 story
#ShowPlug PS: Court victory for #Occupy in Nashville while Portland PD takes crazy step of posting photos online of those arrested
#ShowPlug PS count is 4! RT @jmartpolitico: NBC has confirmed 2 female nra employees complained about Cain; they've confirmed 1 pay-out
Note: NBC and Politico complainants about Cain may be same women. Not clear if two, or two more
By the way, if you're placing a bet, there is a reasonable chance the get-up in the avatar WILL be seen on Countdown this evening
watch whole playlist
#5 'Cain's Crash?', Evan McMorris-Santoro
#5 'Peculiar Perry', Matt Taibbi
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#4 'Police vs. Protestors', Jeannie Hartley
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#3 'Power For The People', Ryan Devereaux
# Time Marches On!
#2 Worst Persons: Rob Ford, Chris Myers, foreclosure law firm of Steven J. Baum
#1 'Occupying The Future', Eliot Spitzer
printable PDF transcript
Categories: Show Transcripts
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: Shame! Shame! Shame!
OLBERMANN: Occupy Denver - mounted police, tear gas, rubber bullets. Occupy Portland - Mayor Adams makes up to 30 arrests, then claims he supports Occupy.
(Excerpt from video clip) SAM ADAMS: I look forward to the Occupy movement's next phase, next iteration of really finding a way to act on its core mission to bring to justice, to bring more equity.
OLBERMANN: Occupy Richmond - an overnight raid and the bulldozing of the protesters' belongings. Occupy Wall Street - police reportedly taking the indigent and homeless substance abusers to Zuccotti Park and taking away generators, just before a freak October snowstorm.
(Excerpt from video clip) TOM FATONE: The more there's tactics that are being used to try and take away the warmth - like taking away the generators, you know, supposedly for our safety - the more people are going to react to that and they're just going to provide more things. We're going to find ways to make it work.
OLBERMANN: And Occupy Oakland - Scott Olsen told of the worldwide support and gives a thumbs up.
Occupy Day 45 - live to Denver, live in New York. Live with former Governor Eliot Spitzer. Live with a Fox poll actually asking if this will end up in riots. Bye.
(Excerpt from video clip) HERMAN CAIN: I have never sexually harassed anyone and - yes, I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association.
OLBERMANN: So, why did the National Restaurant Association then make a cash settlement with the women?
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: If the Restaurant Association did a settlement, I am not even - I wasn't even aware of it, and I hope it wasn't for much - because nothing happened.
OLBERMANN: Oh, and by the way, it also appears he launched his campaign using illegal corporate contributions. Now we know what this was for - it was the proverbial last cigarette before the blindfold.
And - oh yeah, this guy self-destructed too.
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK PERRY: Expand your tax footprint. You know what I mean? Like, 9 percent expansion. I love Herman, is he the best?
(Excerpt from video clip) MARG DELAHUNTY: Mayor Ford! It's me, Marg Delahunty!
OLBERMANN: Oh, the publicity that got me and the publicity this will get - the Halloween party at the upstate New York home-mortgage-foreclosure law firm. Those are supposed to be people they foreclosed on. All that and more, now, on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) PERRY: Bring it!
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Monday, October 31st, 372 days until the 2012 presidential election.
Only one thing could make Occupy our last three-quarters of the hour, not our first. The confluence of ever-increasingly bizarre details by Herman Cain of what is now two sexual harassment claims - confirmed by two different news organizations - and an unceasingly bizarre speech by Rick Perry.
The fifth story on the "Countdown" tonight - one leading GOP candidate is claiming he's the victim of a witch hunt, while the other one is acting as if possessed.
Herman Cain, first - accused in a Politico exclusive of having sexually harassed two women while he ran the National Restaurant Association. NBC News saying it has confirmed two employees of that association complained about Cain, and that there was at least one payment made. Partying like it was "19-9-9-9."
According to the Politico website, Cain's accusers say they faced "sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them uncomfortable and angry" - or angry and uncomfortable behavior - that allegedly contained - included - "conversations allegedly filled with innuendo, or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature... Physical gestures that, while not overtly sexual, made the women uncomfortable ..." and gestures they regarded "as improper in a professional relationship."
According to Politico, both women eventually left the National Restaurant Association after agreeing to five-figure settlements that barred them from taking - or talking about - why they had left.
The denials from the Cain campaign began October 24th, four days after Politico first contacted spokesman C.J. Gordon for comment. Gordon writing, in part, that "these are old and tired allegations that never stood up to the facts. This was settled amicably among all parties many years ago, and dredging this up now is merely part of a smear campaign."
Politico reporter Jonathan Martin then confronted Cain with the anonymous allegations on Sunday before an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation." Cain was neither pleased nor forthcoming.
(Excerpt from video clip) HERMAN CAIN: I am not going to comment about two people that you won't tell me who they are. Okay? That's like - negotiating - I am not - I am not going - I am not going to comment on that. Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?
OLBERMANN: Turning the question back on the questioner - an old technique, but the questions did not go away with that. Cain faced them again this morning. And this time, he actually denied the charge.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: It is totally baseless and totally false. Never have I committed any sort of sexual harassment. If the Restaurant Association did a settlement, I am not even - I wasn't even aware of it and I hope it wasn't for much - because nothing happened. So, if there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers that worked for me at the Association.
OLBERMANN: Cain also tried explaining why he had ducked the Politico reporter's question.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: When we were asked for me to comment, they wanted for it to be from two anonymous sources. We weren't going to go and chase anonymous sources.
OLBERMANN: Except, that turns out not to be entirely the truth of things. As Cain's chief of staff, Mark "The Cigarette Man" Block conceded today - Politico's sources had not been entirely anonymous.
(Excerpt from video clip) MARK BLOCK: They did pass the name along, correct.
OLBERMANN: Which did not stop Mr. Cain from insisting on his innocence again and his victimhood - this time at the National Press Club.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: When the charges were brought, as the leader of the organization, I recused myself, and allowed my general counsel and my human resource officer to deal with the situation. And it was concluded, after a thorough investigation, that it had no basis.
OLBERMANN: Cain will reportedly give a more detailed defense tonight on Fox News. According to Byron York of the Washington Examiner, a noted right-wing mouthpiece, Cain insists he can only recall one woman charging him with harassment - Cain reportedly saying he never traveled with his accuser on the road, that the only incident he recalls is one where he held his hand up to his own chin and told the woman "my wife comes up to my chin," referring to her height, apparently. He said, also, the settlement paid his accuser was for two or three months' salary, the same as if the employee had been terminated.
The Cain campaign is also facing other charges tonight. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporting that the Cain campaign received over $37,000 in iPads, chartered jets and other support from Prosperity USA, a tax-exempt charity founded by two Cain aides, one of them Mark Block. According to The Washington Post, many of the payments would be prohibited under federal election law and Cain says he knows nothing about that report either.
For more on the sagas of Herman Cain, I'm joined by Evan McMorris-Santoro, a reporter with Talking Points Memo who's been following the Cain story. Evan, good evening.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The "I know nothing about this" initial response - he said these were anonymous names, or names - accusations without names - and it turned out they weren't. At least one name was known to his chief of staff, Mr. Smokey Guy and then he said he knew nothing of the settlement - I mean, this has been changing all day. Do we have a sense of just how much the changes in his answers to these questions have propelled the story and have hurt him?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, you know - as you say, it's sort of gotten curious-er and curious-er as the day has gone on. He started out the day by - in Politico, denying everything, not commenting on anything - and then he comes out and says, "You know, I don't know about any settlements." And then, by the end of the day, he's saying, "Well, I knew about a settlement but it wasn't very much money and I'm not sure that it's really all that important."
So, it seems to be, every time he opens his mouths - and he does seem to be interested in talking about this, he seems to go on TV and answer questions about it - he, sort of, adds more fuel to the fire, and sort of digs himself, maybe, a bit of a deeper hole.
OLBERMANN: And it - he apparently started digging quite some time ago. He did this long interview earlier, in which he said he expected to be the victim of a Clarence Thomas-like smear. Was that pro-active spin about this story or is he just some sort of prophet and/or good guesser?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, this is, of course, a part of Herman Cain's appeal right from the beginning. He's spoken quite often about how people - you know, whenever he talks about race at all, his own race - it's often in the guise of saying that liberals are out to get him because he is an African-American - African-American conservative. So, it makes sense he would identify with Clarence Thomas from the beginning. You know, whether or not he's being prescient - it seems like he's found himself in the same position now.
But, I do think it's, sort of, part of his larger persona of - sort of, embracing this idea that liberals are out to get him because he's a black conservative, and that's some of the pushback that we've seen from this story today from the Herman Cain campaign and other, sort of, conservative sources today.
OLBERMANN: And, speaking of some conservative sources, the louder ones - Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham - all backed Cain. Limbaugh said it's nothing more than "the politics of minority conservative personal destruction."
Ingraham, who I should note was Clarence Thomas's law clerk and believes everything the man ever said, said "it's about destroying a good man's reputation."
Hannity compared the case to Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill.
I know this may sound a little paranoid, but could this be a set up? We've seen Mr. Cain play every card that he could to evoke sympathy for himself throughout this campaign. He's always the victim. Could it be martyrdom, because certainly it helped get Clarence Thomas confirmed, as it turned out, twenty-odd years ago.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, if it's a set up, I'm not sure it's a very good one. I mean, he's finding himself answering a lot of uncomfortable questions. They're continuing to be uncomfortable. There is more news to be asked about this. I mean, everything he said today has made this into a Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 kind of story, which I don't think you want at all if you're a presidential nominee, especially if you are running in the top of the field.
OLBERMANN: What if you're - you know the theory, of course, this is just a pretend candidacy. What if you're not running for - actually running for president? If you just want the publicity, and you need a way to get out before people realize you don't have campaign organizations in several of the key states? I hate to portray this as a kind of "death by reporter" kind of thing but is it - I mean, everything else about his campaign has been so utterly bizarre - why are we taking that off of the table?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, you know, I think it's really too early to tell about any of that sort of stuff. I mean, there's still so much more of the story to come out. And as you - as you mentioned earlier in the show, he's already, sort of, confirmed parts of it are true. So, until we know all of the details, I think it's sort of hard to say where this story goes.
I mean, it's definitely true that conservative media is already, kind of, backing Cain up and coming to his defense, but that could change as more details come out. So, you know, it's an interesting theory. We'll have to see how it plays out.
OLBERMANN: Not one of my more mainstream ones, but what the hell. Evan McMorris-Santoro of Talking Points Memo, great thanks for bearing with us tonight.
OLBERMANN: As I mentioned at the top of the program, Herman Cain is just one of the two GOP candidates with a new set of problems tonight. Texas Governor Rick Perry is the other. Dropping in the polls - currently tied with Gingrich with just 7 points in Iowa - the one-time front-runner hamstrung by a series of miserable debate performances, and now this - tape of a Perry appearance in a conservative forum in New Hampshire on Friday.
Time Magazine suggesting his appearance has revived rumors the governor "may still be on serious painkillers after major back surgery in July," rumors the Perry campaign has denied. Though - whatever got into the governor Friday, he should probably consider getting it removed. Here are a few excerpts from the Rick Perry Show:
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK PERRY: Write your checks. Gold is good. If you've got any in the backyard, because, you know, if they print any more money over there in Washington, the gold is going to be good ... And I - I - this is such a cool state. I mean, come on - "Live free or die." You know, that's - you've got to love that. Right? ... And my plan is really pretty simple. It does deductions for the mortgage deduction, for charitable - yep, you keep that in there. And your state and local taxes are in there. You can put those on - $12,500 for every dependent that you have and - you know, just pretty easy math, subtract it - send it in. It's awesome. Why not?
OLBERMANN: Yeah, tip your waitresses. Matt Taibbi is a Rolling Stone contributor and of course - a contributing editor and a "Countdown" contributor. His latest story in Rolling Stone, "Is Rick Perry the Best Little Whore in Texas?" Matt, you - obviously - are behind Rick Perry's speech to sell the magazine, right?
MATT TAIBBI: Uh-huh.
OLBERMANN: This had everything except him going, "Hey, I don't get no respect. Hey, I'm telling you." What? Huh?
TAIBBI: I don't know, man. To me, I think we are witnessing, like, a historic campaign trail crack-up. Perry's - the previous meltdowns on the campaign trail have all been episodes, you know -
TAIBBI: Like Ed Muskie crying or Dean's scream - this thing went on for 22 minutes. It was like he was on laughing gas the whole time. It was really - and we've kind of seen it coming, too - I mean, the people who've been following him have seen him, kind of, veer from pole to pole. And, this has sort of been in the works. So, my impression is - it's just the guy is rattled, and he's losing it.
OLBERMANN: So, it appeared that if it was going to be a meltdown, it would conclude - previous to this - with him just suddenly going and another (snoring sounds) - in the middle of a debate or a speech or an inauguration. But this is the reverse of things. Is that - has that been seen on the stump anywhere before that - sort of, Super Animated - Guy?
TAIBBI: You know, I haven't really seen that too much. I mean, I've seen Perry kind of all over the map because - sometimes, he is completely in command. If you look at his performance, for instance, at The Response - that religious revival back in the summer - he acted like an evangelical preacher. He was very commanding in his public speaking voice. I've seen him other times be almost - like you say, narcoleptic - on stage. I was at a speech in Georgia where the reporter next to me was like, "You know, should we call an ambulance? This guy's going to pass out." But this is - this hyperactive thing - is sort of a new - new Rick Perry. And you just never know what you're going to get.
OLBERMANN: Something from your piece - you quoted the Republican Party Committeewoman Liliana Ross - who used to be Ileana Ros-Lehtinen - saying, at another campaign event, "He grabbed my hand and held on to it. His hand was so cold, like ice. And he was sweating. He didn't seem well, like he was in pain or he was sick or something. I don't know what it was, but something was definitely wrong."
Is she onto something, and do you have any idea what it might be?
TAIBBI: No. I mean - I think she is on to something, you know. Obviously, a lot of the reporters who've been following Perry kind of noticed that - somewhere in the beginning of September, he just, sort of, lost it. You know, he barreled into the campaign with all of this momentum and he was very confident, you know, when he was - when he felt like he was on his own home turf - he comes across as a very commanding, slick, smooth politician. But as soon as he got into the rigors of the campaign - I think, you know, some people can just handle having their lives torn apart on national television and other people just can't. And I think he's just one of those guys.
OLBERMANN: The Rick Perry that you are portraying in Rolling Stone is kind of the antitheses of what the tea party claims it wants. Instead of this small-government tax cutter - the ultimate soulless politician willing to sell himself at all times to the highest bidder - as you say, willing to do absolutely anything for a buck today. How did he manage to turn the image around, so to speak?
TAIBBI: Well, I think this is Rick Perry's sort of unique talent as a politician. He has - he does have this ability to kind of identify where the wind is going to blow a few years from now. He kinda got a start following the American agricultural movement, way back in the late 70s. He kinda knew that was going somewhere. It was sort of a similar to the tea party - kind of a populist movement.
He switched parties from Democrat to Republican when he saw which way Texas was moving. And he saw the tea party coming earlier than most politicians, and he wrote this book, "Fed Up," which was full of a lot of the same rhetoric that we've seen from tea party leaders, even though it directly contradicted a lot of his record. You know, because he's really a massive-government-stimulus kind of politician. But he's very good at talking the talk, and he does have a little bit of a sense about where the wind is blowing.
OLBERMANN: Well, and that was whole - I mean, the thing that stuck to him - was his attempt to tap dance on secession. 'Cause he never said it. He never came out and said "I'm in favor of it." He just said, "It might be necessary if things continue. We should think about it." He had eight plausible deniability - that's him, isn't it? Plausible deniability -
TAIBBI: Yeah, "let's keep it on the table" sort of thing. Yeah, but, you know, he definitely does keep feet in both camps on almost every issue. But, you know, the reality is - when you actually look at what this guy is - he's really just about taking campaign money and giving out favors to those people. And - and that's really who he is.
OLBERMANN: And by the way, the title of his autobiography is "It's F'ed Up." It's not - Rolling Stone contributor and "Countdown" contributor Matt Taibbi, it's always a pleasure. Thank you, Matt.
TAIBBI: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The rest of the news hour we devote to Occupy and the credibility that only repressive, nearly totalitarian tactics can endow. On display in Denver, in Richmond, in Austin - in Portland, mixed with an extraordinary decision - police posting photos of those they arrested online. But there's breaking news from Nashville, where Occupy has just won a round in - or at least near - court. That's next. This is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Denver - in a city once so liberal it was accused of being a ground for a UN plot to subvert the government by bicycles - mounted policemen, tear gas, and rubber bullets used on Occupy protesters. Occupy Richmond raided overnight. Bulldozers used to destroy personal possessions of the Occupiers there. Occupy Austin, in the heart of liberal territory. At least three dozen arrests, because of an unauthorized food table. The One Percent strikes back.
Live - to Denver, to New York, and with Eliot Spitzer. But Nashville wins a late legal triumph.
And the company Halloween party where the company's job is to steal people's homes from them - employees dressing up as their own victims, perhaps forced to dress up. Details ahead, in "Worst Persons." Ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Hundreds of protesters arrested this weekend, the national count up to as much as 2,963 by one count. Police using pepper spray, mace, even bulldozers to clear protesters and their belongings out of city parks.
In our fourth story tonight - protesters from Denver to Rochester standing their ground, and a federal court today siding with the protesters in Nashville, ordering police there to stop making arrests.
We start in Denver, where hundreds of police reportedly armed with clubs, tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets moved into the Occupy site on Saturday, after they say the crowd became "unruly." The protesters bearing physical evidence of the confrontation, many displaying wounds from rubber bullets and pepper-spray canisters. In all, 20 protesters were arrested.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: It was very peaceful until somebody showed up with a bunch of weapons. Now who is that? Oh, that was you guys.
OLBERMANN: Meanwhile, in Portland, Oregon - protesters facing off against police dressed in riot gear. The officers declared the Pearl District Park closed at midnight, then arrested 25 protesters who refused to leave. The Portland Police Department then took the unprecedented - though, apparently, not illegal - step of posting mug shots and names of arrested protesters on Facebook. No indication whether they had any motivation for doing so beyond shaming the protesters.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams saying that - while he's been supportive of the protests so far - he's not happy with the direction they've taken, then criticizing the movement for, he says, "straying from its core mission."
(Excerpt from video clip) SAM ADAMS: I look forward to the Occupy movement's next phase, next iteration of really finding a way to act on its core mission.
OLBERMANN: Certainly, that will be aided by posting their photos online.
To Nashville, where there were also mass arrests over the weekend. We reported Friday, protesters were standing their ground in defiance of a police order to vacate the park. Over the weekend, troopers arrested about fifty protesters.
Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee filed a lawsuit on behalf of Occupy Nashville protesters who were arrested on Friday, seeking a temporary restraining order against Governor Bill Haslam, writing, "The government chose a metaphorical shotgun to kill a fly."
This afternoon, good news for the protesters. Tennessee officials agreed to stop enforcing curfew and arresting protesters.
In other cities, though, the arrests continue. Rochester, New York - 32 arrested Friday night after the group refused to leave a downtown park there.
In Austin, Texas - 37 protesters arrested last night, more than a dozen met with city and police officials today to discuss the incident. Meanwhile, about a dozen protesters arrested in a public park in Richmond, Virginia, where Occupy members had been camping since October 15th. After police evacuated the area, the remaining belongings - which included, not just tents, but also a makeshift library and a volleyball court - were scooped up by bulldozers and deposited in dump trucks.
And in Kansas, the hotbed of liberalism, 100 protesters marked on Koch Industry headquarters in Wichita on Saturday. The company owned by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch, who are some of the far right's biggest funders.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: Lots of money has been put in our political system to buy votes, and - so I think you go where the money is, which is here - right here.
OLBERMANN: And lastly - to Oakland, where you will remember that, last week, 24-year-old Iraq war veteran Marine Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull after police fired tear-gas canisters into the crowd. He was told over the weekend of the international support for him - still not speaking, he gave a thumbs-up sign.
Hundreds of protesters marching through the streets of Oakland Saturday night to protest police brutality, as officers in riot gear lined the streets and helicopters again hovered overhead.
Let's talk about Denver. And I'm joined from there by Jeannie Hartley who witnessed those "unruly" - that word is in quotes - protesters on Saturday. Thanks for your time tonight.
JEANNIE HARTLEY: Thank you so much, Keith, for having me here. Much appreciated.
OLBERMANN: You're very welcome. Tell me about the scene on Saturday. The protesters were described as "unruly." Are the police being truthful in that statement?
HARTLEY: I have to tell you - to speak, to be honest - I have to tell you what I saw. What I witnessed was not anyone being unruly. What I saw was several police officers chasing - en masse, into the park - running towards a man in a tree - one little guy in a tree. And then, chasing after another man and throwing him down onto the ground and putting him in a chokehold, with officers surrounding him.
I saw tear gas being dispersed. I saw rubber pellets - these pepper-spray pellets being shot into the crowd towards people that, from my vision, were not being unruly. To be fair, I couldn't see everything that was going on everywhere. But - from where I was standing - the people were not being unruly at all. We've had a perfectly peaceful march, a perfectly peaceful rally and it turned into something much worse.
OLBERMANN: Lieutenant Matt Murray was quoted in the Denver Post as saying "We're reacting to what they do. As long as they are legally protesting, we will protect their right to do that. The officers today did a great job of showing restraint."
And yet - something was tweeted today, which I think seems apropos in this, "When figuring out who's looking for a riot, check to see who came dressed for one." Did you have a sense of the police instigation, merely by preparation? I think I may have just made that up on the spot, but I think you know what I'm saying here. That if you - go ahead.
HARTLEY: I think you - that was very well put, just the way you said it, Keith. First of all, it was extraordinary - the amount of police force that were present before anything was, by their definition, I am guessing, unruly - I mean, the governor complained, a week or so before, that we cost the - $365,000 to the city of Denver. It was his decision to release that mass of force to be available in the park. It's my understanding that he's claiming now that the cost was $500,000. They had hundreds of police force, Keith, surrounding a food table. Hundreds of them, in riot gear. This was an unnecessary expense to - to Denver by far.
OLBERMANN: As I just mentioned, protesters in Nashville were successful in the courts. Is there any thought of going to the courts in Denver, or to the state courts in some way?
HARTLEY: Yes, that is actually something that is in the works. We have a legal team - an amazing legal team, I must say. We're also working with the National Lawyers' Guild, and there are things in the works. I can't address that specifically because I'm not an attorney. But I can promise you that efforts are being made towards that end, to be sure.
OLBERMANN: Give me a philosophical answer to this one, if you can, Ms. Hartley. The mess we saw in Oakland, the smaller messes we have seen in New York and elsewhere - how is it that, rather than taking the prudent method of suffering the protests as best they could, everybody involved in a government somewhere, or a police department somewhere or a state level somewhere - seems to think that the best way to make this go away is to provide all of the videotape that any news broadcaster could ever want to show ordinary citizens getting pummeled by police. Has that occurred to you yet - how ridiculous a response this is, purely from a public-relations standpoint?
HARTLEY: Yes, it is. And I also think that, on a grander scale of things - which makes that even more absurd - is that people have taken to the streets because of so many injustices that have been in place for far too long. You know, with the issues of the underwater mortgages and the corporate greed and the student loans - the $100,000 dollar students loans and they graduate from college and there's no jobs in sight - and the cost of the wars, unending costs of precious lives. People are in the streets because of injustice. So, for the police force to inflict more injustice upon us is not going to make us leave the streets. It's going to make more people come into the streets.
OLBERMANN: Well said. Jeannie Hartley from Occupy Denver, great thanks for some of your time tonight.
HARTLEY: Thank you so much, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Then there is New York - where Occupy is buffeted by the seizure of its generators, by the weather, and by reports that the New York police are directing, perhaps even bringing, substance abusers among New York's homeless to Zuccotti Park. Next.
OLBERMANN: On Friday, ace NY1 political anchor Errol Louis told us that the irony of the sudden seizure by the city of Occupy Wall Street's power generators was that they hadn't been used for heating - they had been primarily used to fuel the state-of-the-art remote communications set up in Zuccotti Park.
In our third story on the "Countdown" - when the pollution-altered climate suddenly produced a record snowfall on Saturday, the irony became irrelevant to the preview of Occupy's newest enemy - winter. And the cold may have become secondary to a report of the NYPD actually giving something to Occupy for a change. Across the northeast, from New York City to New Haven to Boston, protesters braved the sleet and snow on Saturday, making it clear they're here to stay.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: It's so worth it. It - the cold, wet - it's nothing compared to the change we're trying to make.
OLBERMANN: On Friday, we told you that NYPD and NYFD officers had swept in to confiscate Occupy's genators - generators. Genators?
Over the weekend, lawyers representing OWS sent a letter to the City's Fire Commissioner demanding the return of the "illegally seized property," saying, "Contrary to the Mayor's public justifications, the seizures were not motivated by health or safety concerns. The City's removal of the generators is nothing more than a pretext for violating the First Amendment rights of the Liberty Park" - that's the name by which Zuccotti was formerly known - "Occupiers by literally freezing them out."
The FDNY's response? A spokesman asking "for time to review the facts, and request." While they were reviewing, at least forty protesters were treated for hypothermia, two hospitalized. Last night, fire officials agreed to give the generators back, but not for use in the park.
Joining me now, a man who has chronicled much of what's happened at Zuccotti Park from the planning stages on - even through this storm over the weekend - Democracy Now reporter Ryan Devereaux. Thanks for coming in, Ryan.
RYAN DEVEREAUX: Thanks for having me, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Clarify what they were using the generators for. Were they to be used for heat? What was the status of those things?
DEVEREAUX: The generators were used for heat. They were used for heat in the medical tent, for example, where they were trying to treat people with hypothermia. They were also used for the media center, where, you know, Occupy Wall Street folks have been broadcasting, sort of, their message and chronicling their experience down there at the plaza. They were used to help prepare food, in the food tent. They were used for all sorts of different things. But I think it's particularly important and relevant - given the number that you just listed there of people that, you know, experienced hypothermia - that these generators, which were used to prevent those sort of circumstances, were confiscated.
OLBERMANN: And there was no lead time between the promulgation of rules, relative to where the generators could be, relative to tents and canvas and all the rest of that? In other words, they said, "You have to keep this much space there," and then no time to make that happen? There was no - there was no intervening time to adjust, as anybody would get with a building violation, for instance?
DEVEREAUX: Right, that's exactly the point that the attorneys made in the letter they sent to the commissioner of the New York City Fire Department over the weekend. This is - this is not the way the department normally goes about these sort of situations. They normally tell you in advance that there is a violation, and then give you time to correct the situation. There was no advanced notice here in this case, in this particular confiscation.
OLBERMANN: A Saturday snowstorm - the last Saturday in October is obviously an unusual thing, and brings up a whole different sort of climate-change conversation we could also have - but it's just a preview of what's obviously ahead if this is just an average New York winter. And this is the question I was asking when I went down earlier in the month - are there additional plans about the weather, or is it essentially toughing it out in Zuccotti Park, with or without electric or other kind of heat?
DEVEREAUX: Well, it depends upon who you speak to. I was down there on Saturday - and one thing I do want to say is, a lot of people have said these protesters are not going - you know, once this is no longer fun, they won't do it anymore. And while they do have fun down there, I can tell you that Saturday was not fun.
OLBERMANN: I would guess.
DEVEREAUX: It was about as miserable as it could be. It was freezing cold. You know, everything that, you know, that people owned was soaking wet. People's tents collapsed. And there were people from out of state who were - they are committed to being there. So, yeah - in terms of how they are going to deal with the winter - I know that there have been some people talking about maybe doing an indoor Occupation, but I think that the consensus is that they are going to try to stick it out in Liberty Square, and there are a bunch of committed people - a bunch of committed folks there - that, I think, are willing to make that happen.
OLBERMANN: Plus, you can do it in shifts. You don't have to stay there, outdoors, seven days a week for the entirety of the winter. All right, let's talk about the report that the police across the city are telling people - the other version, bringing people - with health - mental health, addiction problems, taken to Zuccotti. What do you know about that story?
DEVEREAUX: Well, it's a story that's been floating around the park for weeks now. This is something that people have been talking about. A lot of the folks that are involved in the security operations at the park have been saying that - when they encounter, you know, sort of transient, homeless type of people there in the park - they are hearing reports that the police have been encouraging them to head down to Zuccotti, to "Take it to Zuccotti."
It's very upsetting. Particularly, when you consider that some of the people that are arriving to the park have severe psychiatric problems or drug-addiction problems. Why isn't - if the NYPD is, indeed, suggesting that they go somewhere - why don't they suggest them to go somewhere that has the resources and the professionals with the capability to handle the particular problems that they have.
OLBERMANN: Any answers occur to you to that rhetorical question?
DEVEREAUX: I mean I - it looks very bad.
OLBERMANN: Sabotage would be - provocateur is essentially - involuntary provocateurs or, in another context, human shields, if you will. That's the same mentality to it, anyway.
DEVEREAUX: That's - that's definitely the sense among the protesters, this is a concerted effort at sabotage. Whether or not we will find concrete evidence that that's the case, we'll have to wait and see.
OLBERMANN: Ryan Devereaux, reporter for Democracy Now who's been at Occupy Wall Street since before the beginning. Great thanks, again, for coming in.
DEVEREAUX: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: The premise that Occupy has already won by changing the dialogue, and now the effort by the hysterical right to change it right back again - to the question "Will there be riots?" Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer joins me.
OLBERMANN: Breaking, and unhappy, news out of Oklahoma City, where an Occupy Oklahoma City protester has been found dead in his tent in downtown Oklahoma City his afternoon. That, according to the police department there. According to the police, it appears the man died of natural causes.
The Occupy group of Oklahoma City says he was a homeless man who had identified himself only as "The Poet." And those of who had an additional idea of who he was are awaiting notification of his family before they say anything else. So, apparently a caused - natural - death of a protester for - the first one, apparently, in Oklahoma City. Again, no untoward circumstances believed involved.
Eliot Spitzer's assessment of the end game and all the games in between for the Occupy movement coming up.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date in 1963, American TV host and tastemaker Ed Sullivan was traveling through Britain's London Airport - now Heathrow - when he spotted a crowd of 1500 young boys and girls standing outside the place in the rain. He asked what the commotion was about and was told the Beatles were returning home from Sweden. To which Sullivan replied, "Who the hell are the Beatles?"
And just over three months later they were debuting in America on Sullivan's Sunday-night variety show. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Beatles! Sorry. Ladies and Gentlemen -
"Time Marches On!"
I never said I could do a Sullivan.
We begin with the TMO Adorable Clip of the Day - puppy versus ice. Having never seen anything of the sort before, seven-week-old Bandit is being cautious. Friend or foe? Liquid or solid? Maybe Bandit should call his pal Smokey for some help. He's on the Cain campaign. Either way, the battle seems to end in a draw. Tune in tomorrow, when Bandit goes toe to toe with steam.
In Syria, this strongman is attempting to pull a two-and-a-half-ton train up a hill. You're not impressed? Well, with incline, he claims the train weighs one hundred tons. He's in position, and - pull! Pull! Please make sure you lift with your legs. Train's not moving that quickly. Must be local. He's successful in his attempt and is helped up by fans. Glad. You get the feeling he's gonna feel that in the morning.
Finally, it is Halloween, so let's check in with our WXYZ Action News reporter Kimberly Craig, who's at the Erebus Haunted House in Pontiac - Pontiac, Michigan. As a reporter, even when doing a somewhat lighthearted story, it's important to maintain a sense of composure at all times.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: You're paying attention over here. You know what, if you look - look at that -
(Excerpt from video clip) KIMBERLY CRAIG: You know what? They do not pay me enough -
OLBERMANN: Yes, it was all in good fun - we're here for your brains, your viewer's brains. Unfortunately, one of those monsters was not hired by the haunted house. Ohh! Happy Halloween.
"Time Marches On!"
Eliot Spitzer, on the future of Occupy, and the far right's apocalyptic vision of riots in the streets, or - if no riots in the streets - at least they'll have polls about riots in the street. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: Occupy - he says, has already won. What's next? And the ultimate smear card its opponents are now playing, the idea that it will end in riots. And it was just another Friday.
"Worst Person" story here. The Mayor of Toronto calling 911 and swearing up a storm in dreadful fear of a fictional TV character in a "Xena" costume. Canada reacts to the "Worst Persons" list like nothing I've ever seen before. And the 911 story continues. Next in "Worsts."
OLBERMANN: The next stage for Occupy with Eliot Spitzer.
First, before we get to "Worst Persons," I think I have to thank a few people for the extraordinary response to Friday's edition of this segment. Those people would be - Canada. Well, specifically The Toronto Globe And Mail, The Toronto Star, Torontoist, Toronto Life, The National Post, CTV, The Montreal Gazette, The Winnipeg Free Press, iPolitics.ca, Yahoo!News Canada, and a lot of blogs.
All this, because I named Toronto's Mayor Rob Ford Friday's "Worst Person in the World," after his series of panicky - and reportedly f-bomb-laden - calls to 911 when an actress portraying a satirical news reporter staked him out in the driveway of his own home.
The positive attention this got was only slightly more than if I had discovered Canada. I don't know if this owes to Mayor Ford's unpopularity, or the traditional courteousness of the Canadian people, who were just sending a kind of collective "Thank you" note via media.
So, you're very welcome. And thanks, especially, to all of you in Canada who liked my slight Canadian accent. I went to school with a lot of hockey players and they were all real guys too. Or "O.C." as some of you say. Okay, Blue Jays!
Thus, here are Countdown's top three nominees for tonight's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze - to Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto! I know a good thing when I see it! Supporters of the Mayor are apparently now claiming that the tape of his three calls to 911 over the ambush interview by "Marg Delahunty" would vindicate him, that - while Mayor McPanic did unleash the f-bombs - he didn't call anybody "bitches," and he was calling largely because his daughter was scared and screaming and you can hear that on the tape.
Which raises a simple question - as Mayor of the city, presumably having some influence over Toronto's neatly-uniformed police department, why doesn't he order the tape of the call released?
The runner-up? Another mayor - Chris Myers of Medford, New Jersey. Hello again, Mayor Myers. Show the photo, thank you. This is not the first time we've seen this photo.
A so-called "rent boy" in California says the mayor paid him five hundred dollars, but reneged on promises of a car and a recording studio in exchange for sex, a year ago this month. Mayor Myers has given a series of increasingly bizarre quasi-denials that the photo was him, wasn't him or that the anonymous rent boy was - or wasn't - his rent boy.
"I can't comment on something I don't know. This person hasn't come forward. Unfortunately, this is a story on rumors and allegations. These claims are ridiculous. I believe I've been wronged by stories pinned on anonymous reports."
I didn't do it! As God as my - I'm sorry I lapsed into Belushi. Myers says he will not resign. May not be his choice. Medford Township Council has scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, ostensibly to talk about the Mayor's pet project. No, no, no - this is a business development. The meeting is expected to devolve into a conversation about rent boys.
But our winners? The law firm of Steven J. Baum of Buffalo, New York. You may have already seen these photos, they were sent by an appalled employee of Steven J. Baum of Buffalo, New York, to a columnist at The New York Times. They're from the company's 2010 Halloween Party.
Steven J. Baum, of Buffalo, New York, is the state's largest foreclosure mill. It represents banks and mortgage servicers in their efforts to foreclose on homeowners and throw them out. It has been accused of trickery to try to evict people with steady incomes who were up-to-date on their mortgages.
So, naturally, for Halloween, Steven J. Baum encouraged its employees - all of whom would presumably live in terror of becoming the next victims of their scumbag bosses - to dress up for Halloween as homeless people, carrying bottles of booze, wearing signs that mock the excuse of those who've been illegally evicted: "I was never served."
One of the pictures shows a coffin that depicts a lawyer who had filed a class action suit against the Steven J. Baum company. Another shows part of the Steven J. Baum Company offices decorated to make them look like a row of foreclosed homes.
So, this is what they dress up for as Halloween? We're gonna play that game are we? It's a long game, Steven J. Baum, 220 Northpointe Pkwy, Suite G, Amherst, New York. Or, if you're on Long Island, 900 Merchants Concourse, Suite 412, Westbury, New York.
It's a long game, Steven J. Baum, and there are many costumes to be worn. Being a foreclosure-mill law firm is bad enough. Adding visual abuse of your victims on Halloween - poor choice.
The law firm of Steven J. Baum, scumbags - today's "Worst Persons in the World."
OLBERMANN: Senator Ed Muskie noted during the 1970 midterms that, "There are only two kinds of politics - the politics of fear and the politics of trust."
In our number-one story, it should come as no surprise that Fox News works almost exclusively in the former. But what does come as a surprise is how Fox not only ignores the trust of America at large, but misused it to mold their fears. Fox News has come out again against the Occupy Wall Street protests painting them as a "far-left conspiracy" run by the standard liberal straw men George Soros and the invisible foe ACORN.
So, the results of the latest Fox News poll should probably come as no surprise. When asked, "How concerned are you that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations will eventually turn into street riots," 47 percent of respondents expressed some level of concern. Obviously, Roger Ailes said, "That's not high enough." The question itself, of course, almost previews the next line of attack.
But, on the heels of four polls last week that show a majority of Americans are in favor of the protesters - and certainly their rights to protest - it does point to the larger dilemma. Right now, the Occupy Movement has an extraordinary amount of energy and support, and how now to mobilize it into social change?
Here, to perhaps lay out a blueprint on that for moving forward - the former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer. It's good to see you, sir.
ELIOT SPITZER: Keith, thank you for having me on again.
OLBERMANN: This poll - the idea that you could just seriously ask people, "When is it going to come to riots in the street?" Let's, sort of, lay out what they have next in line after the anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-Jewish - what else was it - George Soros-funded, revivification of - ACORN sticks - things did not stick?
SPITZER: It's also just the phrasing of the question. Everybody who's ever used a poll - crafted one - knows you phrase a question to get a pre-determined answer - "Are you worried, at all that, maybe, eventually something bad will happen?" - where people - of course, people are going to say, "Yeah, I'm a little worried about that."
But, as you rightly pointed out, the public supports Occupy Wall Street - the mission, the purpose, how they're articulating what they are doing. This is, almost exclusively, a peaceful, well-thought out protest by people who care. That's why the public's with them.
OLBERMANN: You have written now that it has - many people have made a point similar to this, but I think you made it more strongly than others have, and want to know why, in particular - that they have already - there is already a victory to declare.
SPITZER: Oh, absolutely.
OLBERMANN: Changing the dialogue. How do you sustain that when temperatures are not sustained -
SPITZER: It's going - inverse correlation with the temperature.
OLBERMANN: It's sustained - it's a symbol that makes it sustainable, but the symbol involves people staying there.
SPITZER: Look, first of all, the frustration at the so-called pundits - and thoughtful people on major editorial pages saying all they're doing is showing up. Wait a minute. They - being the Occupy Wall Street folks - have done more to change what we're talking about than all of the politicians in Washington who pretend to be progressives or liberal. All of them put together - maybe except Elizabeth Warren - they've done nothing that comes close to what this group of students and thoughtful young kids has done. So, that's why my hat goes off to them.
And I - what next? It is hard. It's going to be cold. So, here are a couple of simple things - One, every college kid in America goes home over Thanksgiving. Announce the day before Thanksgiving, when kids are getting home - huge rallies, show the support on college campuses which - from my sort of experiential information - is huge. Get big-name musicians - think back to the '60s. You know, I hate to say that you and I could do that - Pete Seeger, get Bruce out there.
OLBERMANN: He's already down there -
SPITZER: Get them to sing in every spot the day before Thanksgiving - huge rallies to make our, sort of, opening statement as we go into the next chapter.
The other thing I would do and say - You know what? Maybe we are going to take two weeks off. But, during that time, get the Robert Reichs, the Joe Stiglitzes, Paul Krugmans - the really thoughtful, smart folks to come up with a couple ideas.
Here - here is what I think is the clencher. Come January - every governor, every mayor gives a state of the state, a state of the city - leverage off them. The entire media is at every state capitol, at every city hall. Have a rally with ten thousand folks. Go to Albany, where we have a governor - hate to say it - in New York, who is opposing the millionaire's tax, say "Governor One Percent, we're showing up and we're gonna steal your story. You can be inside the chamber giving a typical speech. We're gonna be there talking about real people."
Have a hundred thousand people in Washington the day of the State of the Union. Make those markers - when we supposedly define the agenda - mass, huge numbers with musicians, with smart people - Bruce, Krugman, whomever it may be - you know.
And, let me just add, they don't need advice from me. They have done an amazing job.
OLBERMANN: You will recall, perhaps, the name Henry Root - or was that Ruth? - who was one of the assistant prosecutors when they eliminated the special prosecutor during Watergate. And the recollections of the night that they fired Archibald Cox was of his office being flooded by telegrams, most of which said "Stay in your office." And it didn't mean he could do anything, staying in his office, but the presence of the symbol can't be overrated here, can it?
SPITZER: Absolutely not. And you need a symbol like that. And that's why Zuccotti Park - Liberty Park - has become so powerful. Especially - I mean, let's face it, what the NYPD and others are doing has, I think, been - we need to dig deeper and find out what's going on - certainly, I hate to say it, but it's helped Occupy Wall Street.
OLBERMANN: Every last time.
SPITZER: It has made every person say, "Wait a minute, these are basically good individuals who are peaceful, who are doing what they think is important for our country and we agree with them - why are they being arrested?"
OLBERMANN: Right, and what - having been governor, you would know - what governor would ever allow rubber bullets to be used on unarmed protesters?
SPITZER: Or the governor of New York trying to kick them out of state parks - it just shouldn't be happening in New York.
OLBERMANN: Not good PR. And you wonder if, perhaps, they aren't secretly in support of Occupy. Former governor of New York Eliot Spitzer, thanks as ever. Excellent, excellent points to make.
That's "Countdown" for this, the 294th day since the Republicans took control of the House, 294 days without them having passed one jobs bill of any kind.
The season premiere of "Vanguard: Arming the Mexican Cartels" is next.
I'm Keith Olbermann. Thanks, and congratulations on getting though another day of this crap. Good night and good luck.