'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday, November 18th, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: Bloomberg insists #Occupy failed yesterday in NY; his raid was proven correct; Nation Editor @RichardKimNYC joins me
#ShowPlug 2: Arrest count: 253, incl. my guest NYC councilman @JumaaneWilliams. NYPD warning churches it's not safe to house protestors
#ShowPlug 3: Worst video of police brutality vs #Occupy arises: Guardian's @AdamGabbatt on Oakland PD beating of Kayvan Sabehgi
#ShowPlug 4: Investigators say White House shooter has NO connection to #OccupyDC so Fox reports...he DOES. Plans for #OccupyCongress made
#ShowPlug 5: We're reprising our interview with 84-year old pepper-spray victim Dorli Rainey before she addresses #OccupySeattle tomorrow
#ShowPlug 6: Waterloo for ACORN video fraud James O'Keefe. Politico's @KenVogel on the internal rebellion by his staff; backers bailing
#ShowPlug Last: who out there sees giant doctors telling them Obamacare forces them to call the IRS before they see patients? Guess?
watch whole playlist
#5 'Cracking Down', Richard Kim, Jumaane Williams
# Bonus: promo
#4 'Oakland Outrage', Adam Gabbatt
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Time Marches On!
#3 'To Catch A Schmuck', Ken Vogel
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#2 Worst Persons: Josh Byrnes (R-IA), liars at FOX News, Rep. Michele Bachmann
#1 'Dorli's Story', rerun
printable PDF transcript
On the show: Ken Vogel, Maysoon Zayid, Richard Kim, Jumaane Williams
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Mayor Bloomberg crashes and burns again. Occupy Wall Street and its twenty thousand or more participants -- that was not a success.
(Excerpt from audio clip) MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Just an opportunity for a bunch of unions to complain or to protest.
OLBERMANN: And he still thinks he was right to raid the camp.
(Excerpt from audio clip) BLOOMBERG: One of the surest signs that we did the right thing is that no one in city -- as far as I know -- is calling for return of the tarps, tents and encampment of Zuccotti Park.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: All day, all week! Occupy Wall Street!
OLBERMANN: An official count -- 252 arrested. "I have just been handcuffed and arrested by the NYPD," tweeted Councilman Jumaane Williams, "practicing civil disobedience with Occupy Wall Street and the 99 percent." Our guest, Councilman Jumaane Williams.
New York's undercover effort to undermine. Plainclothes police visit two churches housing some protesters. They're counting heads and telling an associate pastor they didn't want anything to happen to her church, and there was a risk to letting Occupy stay there.
Perhaps the worst Occupy police brutality video yet surfaces.
(Excerpt from video clip) NEIL RIVAS: Hey! Stop! Stop! Stop, stop, stop!
OLBERMANN: Kayvan Sabehgi, Iraq vet, beaten, by Oakland police, on November 2nd. Beaten so badly, they ruptured his spleen.
D.C. police announce the man who fired at the White House had no connection to Occupy. Naturally, Fox News reports --
(Excerpt from video clip) CARLSON: It looks like this White House shooting suspect may have tried to blend in with the Occupy protestors in D.C.
OLBERMANN: And to counter all that, we will replay our visit with the hero of Occupy Seattle, Dorli Rainey.
(Excerpt from video clip) DORLI RAINEY: I'm feeling great. I'm so energized. It's amazing what a little pepper spray will do for you.
OLBERMANN: Also tonight, little Jimmy O'Keefe gets his.
(Excerpt from video clip) JIM O'KEEFE: I actually work on Wall Street. I just came down to see what this is all about here.
OLBERMANN: The report that his sting operation has been stung by infighting. He and two colleagues, all suing each other. And, Michele is seeing crazy stuff again.
(Excerpt from video clip) BACHMANN: One man stood up, he was over seven feet tall. He was a physician in the community. And he said --
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: To serve men -- it's a cookbook.
(Excerpt from video clip) BACHMANN: "I had a little lady in my office, she was on Medicare, and because of 'Obamacare' I had call the IRS."
OLBERMANN: All that and more, now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Don't get on that ship.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Friday, November 18th, 354 days until the 2012 presidential election. Tens of thousands take to the streets of New York City, more than 250 arrests and today Mayor Michael Bloomberg dismissing the entire thing as just a bunch of whiny union members having nothing whatsoever to do with the Occupy movement.
Our fifth story on the "Countdown" -- even as Bloomberg attempts to minimize the protest, his police force now reportedly using covert tactics to try to keep track of protesters seeking refuge in churches after he evicted them from Zuccotti Park. The mayor, today, claiming the protest actually had very little to do with the Occupy Movement:
(Excerpt from audio clip) BLOOMBERG: It really wasn't the protesters that have been in Zuccotti Park or that you see around the country. This was just an opportunity for a bunch of unions to complain or to protest or whatever they want to do. I think some of them should step back and -- particularly municipal unions -- and realize that their salaries come from this city being able to attract companies and investors and people that pay taxes.
OLBERMANN: Rationalization is a hell of a drug. Even as he publicly dismisses the protest, the administration seemed intent on keeping journalists from covering it. A spokesmen saying -- as if this was something to be proud of -- "Only five of the 26 arrested reporters yesterday actually have valid NYPD-issued press credentials." Only five of them were illegally arrested? Well, that's no problem then.
Meanwhile, NYPD officers using other questionable methods to track protestors. The New York Times reporting that -- at a church on Manhattan's Upper West Side hosting several dozen displaced protesters -- two plainclothes officers stopped by and asked if they could use the bathroom. Instead, they then walked down the aisle counting protesters.
The church's senior pastor telling the Times, "It is disconcerting that they would actually enter the sanctuary. Here we had offered hospitality and safety, which is our business as a church. It just felt invasive."
A police spokesmen, though, saying the officers just needed to use the facilities."Two plainclothes officers entered the location and walked downstairs to use the bathroom. On the way out, they were asked to identify themselves and they did. Not exactly clandestine conduct." The executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union telling The Times it could be trespass, though. A second church was reportedly similarly visited.
Meantime, another legal authority -- a retired New York state Supreme Court judge acting as an legal observer yesterday -- saying officers used excessive force when they closed the park and didn't let protesters in or out. Judge Karen Smith watched a police officer respond to a crying, somewhat hysterical woman who was trying to get into the park to find her daughter.
(Excerpt from video clip) KAREN SMITH: As I'm standing there, some African-American woman goes up to a police officer and says, "I need to get in. My daughter's there. I want to know if she is okay." And he said, "Move on, lady," and he kept pushing -- they kept pushing with their sticks, pushing back, and she was crying. And all of a sudden -- out of nowhere -- he throws her to the ground and starts hitting her in the head.
And I walk over and I say, "Cuff her if she's done something but you don't need to do that." And he said "Lady, do you want to get arrested?" And I said, "Do you see my hat? I'm here as a legal observer." He said, "Do you want to get arrested," and he pushed me up against the wall.
OLBERMANN: Even with the crackdowns, organizers vowing to press on to create political chance. A coalition of labor and progressive groups announcing plans now to occupy Congress next month. SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, who herself was arrested in last night's protest, telling The Washington Post they will bus thousands to Capitol Hill, December 5th through the 9th. Tomorrow, more marches planned -- including a day of re-occupation in Oakland, after reports of the eviction of that camp was part of a coordinated strategy.
The San Francisco Bay Guardian reporting today that, "The Police Executive Research Forum, an international non-governmental organization with ties to law enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been coordinating conference calls with major metropolitan mayors and police chiefs to advise them on policing matters and discussing response to the Occupy movement."
More, on a brutal attack in Oakland -- it happened more than two weeks ago. Video just surfaced today. Coming up.
Also, an extraordinary photograph from Portland of a pepper-spray incident there.
But let's start here in New York with Richard Kim, the executive editor of The Nation magazine. Thanks for coming in.
RICHARD KIM: Hi, Keith. Great to be here.
OLBERMANN: What do you make of the Bloomberg comments today? I mean, is he really that out of touch or is he trying to de-legitimize the protest? Or -- as I suggested there -- is it just a rationalization? Without a rationalization, it is a long day for Mike Bloomberg.
KIM: Well, first of all, there is a lot of scorn and condescension in Mayor Bloomberg's address there and --
OLBERMANN: In his life actually.
KIM: These are the nurses who care for New York City's sick, and teachers who care for the children, and sanitation workers who pick up the garbage -- so, he might show a little more respect to union members. But the other thing there is that it really betrays his total lack of understanding of what Occupy is about.
Since Day One, labor as been a very powerful force. They are the ones who shipped pizzas there to keep the Occupiers fed on September 18th, 19th. So, the fact that union members turned out 35,000 people -- hey, that's not news. The difference here is that unions are marching under the 99% banner, and that's what is new about Occupy Wall Street. And that's what Mayor Bloomberg just doesn't get. And he wants to, kind of, play this divide-and-conquer game, but it's not going to work.
OLBERMANN: Evidently, not based on what happened last night.
All right, so the police are now arresting credentialed journalists -- but only one out of, like, five were credentialed journalists, so that's all right, then. They're batting almost .800 in that scenario. Perhaps using excessive force, in many cases, against the legal observers who were supposed to be -- kind of -- untouchable in that sense, in the middle of a melee. And in this bizarre way, perhaps trespassing -- certainly doing uncomfortable things -- in churches where many of the Occupy protestors are, at least temporarily, staying at night.
Is there likely to be some sort of investigation? The New York City Police Department is not one of the most introspective units in the country. Except when they get pressured, then they get very introspective.
KIM: Well, various city council members have called for an investigation. There absolutely should be one by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, as well as by the City Council. The New York Police Department -- since Day One -- has treated this as if it were A) a terrorist cell or almost in a military-style occupation.
I was down there the night they raided Zuccotti Park. It was almost impossible to get through. They kept credentialed and un-credentialed journalists away. I was pushed six blocks away from Zuccotti Park. They used a sound cannon -- the LRAD, the Long-Range Acoustic Device. This is a military weapon, this was used by the Army in Honduras during the coup there against the democratically-elected president of that country. The NYPD is using this against non-violent, peaceful protesters.
So, why are they acting as if they are the private security guards of the one percent? Instead of keeping public safety -- and there are public safety concerns that are legitimate, and they should do that job. But they shouldn't treat this as if this were a terrorist organization or as if it were a military occupation. And that's the problem I have with their tactics.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, there is two speeds in the NYPD at the moment -- there's zero and there's 11.
OLBERMANN: This other story here, from that newspaper in the Bay area in San Francisco. The Police Executive Research Forum giving weight to these stories that -- Mayor Quan gave this away in Oakland -- that there was a call on which 18 cities got together. Supposedly, the head of the -- the mayor of Portland was at the head of this. Do we know how much the Department of Homeland Security actually has been involved in responding to Occupy? Because, at first, that was a wild rumor, and now it seems to have some substance to it.
KIM: There is an unnamed Justice Department source that says that Homeland Security and the FBI helped coordinate some of this. There are actually two sets of calls here -- there's the National Association of Mayors, and they held two conference calls, which Jean Quan was on, Antonio Villaraigosa of LA was on. And then there is this police group of executives, they also had two separate sets of calls. So, you know, the thing there is -- let's release a transcript. If you have nothing to hide, if you didn't coordinate this, if you didn't develop these strong-arm tactics on these calls, release the transcript. What do you have to be afraid of?
OLBERMANN: And of course, the final note -- the LRAD cannons are being used against people who are accused of making too much noise in a residential neighborhood. Which is right out of -- right out of either Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" or Orwell itself.
Richard Kim, the executive editor of The Nation. Great thanks for coming in. Have a good weekend.
KIM: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: One of those arrested last night was, of course, New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams. He has been active in the movement since it started two months ago. Last night, he joined about 80 people on the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge, where the police did not want them to go. And shortly thereafter he sent this tweet out to his followers, saying that he had been handcuffed and arrested, kept in jail for six hours -- which is not nearly the record for New York City Council members this week -- thankfully came out in time and got out on time to join us tonight.
Councilman Williams, thanks for your time.
JUMAANE WILLIAMS: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: Okay, give me your assessment on this. How did the police behave overall last night? Did they back it off a little bit yesterday?
WILLIAMS: Overall they handled -- the ones who where arrested on the bridge, I think -- fairly civilly, maybe in response to what happened to my colleague, whom I was with when he was arrested. Might have been -- maybe they learned a lesson, at least for a day, we'll see how it goes on going forward.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, there has not really seemed to have been very much public relations acumen on the part of the city in dealing with this. Each step they've taken has magnified and doubled and trebled this process. Did you get that sense there -- being out in the crowd last night -- that a lot of people were there because Bloomberg ran this raid on Zuccotti Park on Tuesday night -- Monday night rather?
WILLIAMS: I thank Bloomberg. As an organizer myself, he's been the great organizer when it comes to this. Everything he's done, I think, has been terrible for him, but great for the movement. I was there, as well, when they did the army-style tactics there, and -- if they spent half as much resources actually addressing the concerns of Occupy Wall Street, instead of putting -- spending money on the police, who themselves are the 99 percent and who go in there -- we would get a lot -- a lot more done, actually.
OLBERMANN: Right, if that amount of investigation was done on Wall Street -- as opposed to sending people in to enforce very-poorly-known occupancy rules about public/private spaces -- we would have seen a cleaned-up Wall Street. There would have been no need for this, right?
WILLIAMS: I mean, it was incredible thing. You have -- it reminded me of a dictator -- you had army -style going there on peaceful, sleeping protesters. You have press being kept out and arrested and elected officials being arrested. Now, we've supported violent protests in other countries and we never asked was Tahrir Square private or was it public, we asked whether it was a just cause. And I don't understand why it is not the same for this.
OLBERMANN: In this city has it become such -- such a built-in factor -- that the police are not to be questioned -- that they are automatically justified in looking at any situation like it's potential terrorism. That's the --
WILLIAMS: Unfortunately. And we've had many hearings in the city council. It's really just police word. A few months ago, actually, I was arrested -- pretty much "walking while black" with a friend of mine. We did get some kind of level of justice, but not nearly enough. And that's one of the concerns that we have here.
There is no oversight for the police department, except the police department. And we need the mayor and the commissioner to really step up when it comes to that kind of leadership. And they really haven't. And we need the governor to step up when it comes to that type of leadership, when it comes to the drastic concerns.
The mayor nor the governor are supporting the millionaire's tax. If they would do something like that, perhaps, the people who are frustrated will say, "Hey, they are at least trying to do something," but at the same time they are doing nothing. They are using these strong-arm tactics to crush movements.
OLBERMANN: Do you have a sense that Occupy Wall Street can help force the addressing of those particular issues?
WILLIAMS: I believe they already have. The discussion has heightened because of Occupy Wall Street. So, I'm very proud of them. And I can't understand why people complain about the lack of the message -- the message from the beginning has been economic disparity. And that has reached around the globe. And it's up to people like myself, the mayor, and governor to hear them and to craft some policy that can address those concerns.
OLBERMANN: New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, great thanks. I'm glad you did not spend 17 hours, like Councilman Rodriguez, did in jail. And have a good weekend.
WILLIAMS: You too. Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Of all the video yet taken in two months of Occupy movements around the country, none has been more disturbing. Sixteen nights after police in Oakland beat a Iraq vet hard enough rupture his spleen, the first video of the attack has just come to light. The latest of that, next on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Until today, the brutal beating of a second Iraq vet at Occupy Oakland had been viewed only through still pictures. Now the video is out of the violation of Kayvan Sabehgi.
When he tried to sting Occupy Wall Street nobody cared. Turns out now he's got bigger problem -- a revolt against him from inside his own organization.
Tomorrow, after she came back from being pepper sprayed by police, Dorli Rainey addresses Occupy Seattle. And tonight, we will replay our visit with her from the day after the incident.
And seven-foot tall doctors forced by "Obamacare" to call the IRS before they can treat a patient? Yeah, you already know who thinks she heard that. "Worst Persons" ahead.
OLBERMANN: This story was disturbing but it was hard to visualize. An Iraq vet at Occupy Oakland talking to a line of cops, posing no threat, when they suddenly start shouting at him to move. When he doesn't move fast enough, they beat him so profoundly he winds up hospitalized with a ruptured spleen.
In our fourth story -- it was hard to visualize because there were only still images of the assault until today. The video -- 16 days old -- only emerged today on the site of The Guardian with a story written by Adam Gabbatt, who joins us in just a moment. Kayvan Sabehgi standing alone, speaking to cops. The voice you'll hear at the end, yelling "stop," is that of cameraman Neil Rivas.
(Excerpt from video clip) POLICE OFFICER: Move! Move! Move! Get out of here! Did you hear me? Get out of here! Get down on the ground! Get down of the ground!
(Excerpt from video clip) NEIL RIVAS: Hey! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Let him go!
OLBERMANN: Also filming that night? Local TV station KTVU, showing Sabeghi right after that beating.
(Excerpt from video clip) SABEGHI: I'm an Iraq war vet. I had two tours in Iraq. I had two tours in Iraq. One tour in Afghanistan.
OLBERMANN: Sabeghi was one of at least two veterans injured in Oakland. The other was Scott Olsen, who -- of course -- suffered a fractured skull a week before, when he was hit by a tear-gas canister and is now improving in the hospital.
There is now a new still image awaiting similar video. That is 20-year-old Elizabeth Nichols getting a full blast of pepper spray yesterday at Occupy Portland in an extraordinary photo taken Randy L. Rasmussen of the Oregonian Newspaper. A protest spokesman says she vomited, had to get her eyes washed out -- of course -- but was otherwise okay.
Back to Oakland. Let's bring in Adam Gabbatt of The Guardian, covering Occupy from coast to coast, who was with us last night about New York and now about this in Oakland. Thank you kindly.
ADAM GABBATT: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: How is Kayvan Sabehgi?
GABBATT: Kayvan is out of hospital. He had a -- it was an operation -- or a procedure, more correctly -- to repair the damage to his spleen, and he was looking forward to returning to work, I've seen him report. But Kayvan -- like a lot of people involved in these protests, he is not in it for himself or for the fame -- so he doesn't want too much media attention, in terms of speaking himself. So, when I tried to get through to him today, I could don't so, but it's good to know he is recovering and apparently has gone back to work.
OLBERMANN: The violence that we saw here, and obviously -- is it fair to say he put himself in position for something that to happen, but did not expect the, sort of, level of brutality that resulted?
GABBATT: I think that's fair to say. I spoke to him in his hospital bed, the morning after this had happened, and he told me he just wanted to get home. He had been involved in the protest. Things were actually kicking off in quite a big way near there. He was walking away from that, trying to get home. This is two blocks from the main scene, and I think he was frustrated and tired, and he was just saying to the police, "I would like to actually just pass through." They were ordering him back. He didn't know where he could go. So, you just see him speaking there. But clearly, he doesn't do anything to provoke that kind of attack.
OLBERMANN: No. Nobody could really, just using -- just having no arms whatsoever or other weapons of any kind. The other thing it doesn't show -- because, obviously the man was filming it -- there were threats of violence against the cameraman, as well?
GABBATT: Neil Rivas is the man that shared it with The Guardian, and he said he was the only journalist there at the scene. We saw the KTVU footage, but that was after Kayvan was arrested. So, he was just filming as it happened, and -- when Kayvan was taken down to the floor -- both Kayvan and Neil have said further blows were dispensed as he was on the floor. Neil actually had a gun pointed at him, whether it was a non-lethal weapon I'm not entirely sure, I don't think he was sure either.
OLBERMANN: It doesn't matter when it's pointed at you, does it?
GABBATT: Exactly, when it's pointed at you from a distance of a few meters. And he said he could see the officer's finger on the trigger and he shouted at him to get away. And then you can hear -- in some clips of the video -- Neil shouting, "I'm filming this, I'm filming this," and -- luckily -- he wasn't fired on.
OLBERMANN: It's hard to say about legal definitions, but -- I mean, intuitively, what we saw here looks like, after -- at least maybe nowhere past the shoving of Sebehgi out of the way -- after that point, it seems a commonplace layman's opinion would be, "That's unjustifiable force." Is there any indication -- I mean, obviously, if it's in the city of Oakland, you are going to have to take number on this -- but is there an indication that the city of Oakland is investigating this?
GABBATT: The city of Oakland police force is investigating it -- they're looking into the incident. Although they have been quite hard to get hold of for a number of weeks. Actually, when I first started reporting about Scott Olsen it was the same. But a spokeswomen did say they are investigating the incident. I since -- as soon as I got the footage I've shared it with her, and said, "Will the police be using this footage as part of the investigation and can you name the police officer?" I haven't gotten a reply to that yet, so we will see. But an investigation is technically underway by police.
OLBERMANN: Do you have any sense -- this precedes Occupy Oakland, the problems with the police being out of control in that city -- is there any sense of any success in getting them back under control?
GABBATT: I'm not sure. I think it's gonna take a lot more than a, kind of, simple investigation into this. You wonder whether -- does this actually need a proper external body to come in and examine what's being going on there? And one of the things that's caused the confusion is so many different police agencies are involved there.
GABBATT: I think estimates are about 17 --
GABBATT: So, how do you know which agencies there -- and clearly, there should be some system that says, "These guys did this. These guys did this." -- but at the moment, no one really seems to know that, which is clearly a failing in itself.
OLBERMANN: Goodness. Adam Gabbitt of The Guardian, with us again tonight with another extraordinary story. Great thanks for coming in.
GABBATT: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: Occupy's success underscored by the degree to which its opponents will use their propaganda machine to attack it. Investigators say the crazed man that wanted to assassinate the president a week ago had no connection at all to Occupy DC. So naturally, Fox News and Michelle Malkin announce he had a connection to Occupy DC. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: Little Jimmy O'Keefe gets what they used to call "his comeuppance." The revolt against the revolting, next.
First, the "Sanity Break," in case you've ever wondered where the idea came from that a lot of Vitamin C could ward off or arrest the common cold. On this date in 1970, the galleys of a new book by Dr. Linus Pauling were leaked to the media, in which the two-time Nobel-winner claimed our accepted understanding of vitamin dosing was all wrong, and massive doses of Vitamin C could fend off the cold. Forty-one years later, still no proof.
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: Monkey wrestles puppy.
Looks like we're starting with a clip from Fox News. I'm sorry, I'm being told this is actually a monkey wrestling a puppy. Do you have a license for that monkey? The puppy seems to have the monkey pinned. But no, in a stunning reverse, the monkey pulls around on him and we have a match. Ultimately, the monkey was disqualified for performance-enhancing bananas. And you hate to see that happen to such a pure sport.
VIDEO: Regis Philbin takes a spill on a scooter.
Finally, on the eve of his last ever show, Regis Philbin appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman" last night. After the interview, Regis rode off on a scooter into the sunset. The sunset was only a few feet away. Down goes Philbin! You feel bad for Regis, almost makes you want to kiss him. Fortunately, the day before, Letterman took care of that as well. All I ever got from Dave is a handshake.
"Time Marches On!"
All right, which of all the people in the United States said this: "One man stood up, he was over seven feet tall. He was a physician in the community. And he said, 'I had a little lady in my office and because of 'Obamacare,' I had to call the IRS and I had to get a number to put on a form before I could see her.'" Yeah, I know, the "seven feet tall" part of the hallucination gives it away, doesn't it? Michele Bachmann. "Worst Persons" ahead.
OLBERMANN: "Dumont brings you 'Tom Corbett, Space Cadet'" will not be seen tonight, so we can instead bring you "Countdown" -- the first news hour on cable to seriously cover Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement. The longest continuously-running 8 PM news hour on cable, unless you consider Fox -- "news." We're live here each night at 8 PM Eastern. We call it "our little social-media platform."
When you try to make a career out of screwing people, and training colleagues to do the same, sooner or later one of your trainees is bound to return the favor.
In our third story on the "Countdown" -- infamous ACORN video doctor-er-er James O'Keefe's tiny house of cards begins crashing down around him as O'Keefe's associates turn on O'Keefe. Little Jimmy was last seen trying and failing to occupy the Occupation on Wall Street, and "To Catch a Journalist." That, as we told you about last week, was most memorable for this moment when his target -- the Columbia University Journalism Dean Sree Sreenivasan -- turned the tables on him.
(Excerpt from video clip) SREE SREENIVASAN: Why aren't you dressed like you were in some of your other videos?
OLBERMANN: This week, an O'Keefe associate involved in the NPR sting which led to the resignation of CEO Vivian Schiller, told the Daily Beast that he had designed a "very thoroughly researched and impeccably executed project, that was by no means limited to NPR. James wanted it to be a hit job." Another associate who worked with O'Keefe on the "To Catch a Journalist" project backed out last month, claiming she was being treated disrespectfully. I'm thinking another costume. O'Keefe's lawyer's response, "These are personal attacks that are just garbage. They're not even newsworthy." That's never been a disqualifier for or about O'Keefe.
According to Politico, O'Keefe and his group, Project Veritas, have also run into trouble on the fund-raising front, now trying to raise cash through small donations since few major funders want anything to do with these botched attempts at journalism. Politico also reports -- while O'Keefe told Politico that Project Veritas "relies more on lots of small donors than on a couple of big donors" -- in its August 2010 application to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status, the group indicated it would focus "on major donors who express interest in our work."
But all, perhaps, is not lost for O'Keefe. One man still in his corner, according to Politico -- Eric O'Keefe, a conservative operative not related to James but who is, in fact, tied to the oil billionaire Koch brothers.
Joining me now, the man who has been covering this story for Politico -- its chief investigative reporter, Ken Vogel. Ken, good evening.
KEN VOGEL: Hey, nice to be with you.
OLBERMANN: So, this fiasco -- where he was laughed out of the office by Dean and the journalism school of Columbia -- that we showed was that before this internal stuff or after it, or is it just concurrent and symbolic of it?
VOGEL: It was actually as it was going on. This woman who we interviewed, Nadia Naffe, she was supposed to collaborate with him on this "To Catch a Journalist" project. She backed out, and what you see are the results. He was left kind of holding the bag and doing a lot of this stuff himself.
As you saw in this video, he is recognizable, and his tactics have long been frowned upon by the journalism establishment -- what with the selective editing and the ambush interviews and the purposeful misrepresentation -- so, when he actually gets face-to-face with someone who represents the journalism community and he is laughed at, I guess there is probably some symbolism there.
OLBERMANN: It's frowned on by journalism, that's one thing. But it wouldn't necessarily be frowned on by the people who, you would think, naturally support what he is doing -- at least the ends. But why the lack of financial support? Is that a rejection by the right of his methods? Or the rejection of the sloppiness of this methods? Or -- what is going on there?
VOGEL: Yes, there's a little bit of both, Keith. But there is also something else. And that's just a general leeriness by the conservative movement -- and the big money that's behind the conservative movement -- of investing in tactics or strategies or groups that are unknown. That's why you see all of the big groups -- like Heritage and Cato and the American Enterprise Institute -- continue to rake in tens of millions of dollars a year, and there's not a whole lot of room for start-ups.
So, O'Keefe -- it's arguable that, after the ACORN sting, he had a lot of good will if he were able to build a big organization around him, with employees who were supportive of him, and a more thorough vetting process that could flag potential problem areas and help him strategize more-effective stings -- that there would have been the potential for him to avoid some of these controversies. However, now that you have these controversies, it makes the big money in conservative movement even more leery of him.
OLBERMANN: Was the proverbial shark jumped here with the ill-fated appearance as a telephone repairman in Senator Landrieu's office? Is that where the thing started to sour, when it looked the odds were maybe 50-50 that he would get either good video or become hugely embarrassed and potentially arrested?
VOGEL: Well, that was certainly a huge embarrassment for him, and it's one that continues to limit him to this day. He is on probation, he has to file these requests for travel any time he wants to leave the state of New Jersey -- where he lives with his parents -- overnight. So, that continues to haunt him.
But then, let's not forget that -- a few months after that -- a colleague of his blew the whistle on this CNN sting, where he was attempting to set up this CNN reporter who wanted to interview him for part of a documentary series about young conservatives with a rather lewd and offensive plot. This was aborted at the last minute only because, according to some of his critics, one of his now-former employees blew the whistle on him.
Nonetheless, it's tough to say that he has fully jumped the shark, because he has had these, sort of, spectacular successes of the ACORN sting and NPR sting -- bracketed by these really embarrassing failures, as well as these, kind of, duds that we've seen with "To Catch a Journalist" and the Occupy thing. So who knows, he could be back with an even more spectacularly-effective take down of a liberal organization in the coming weeks or months.
OLBERMANN: Who is the Eric O'Keefe fella, and why is there still that sort-of-tentative connection to the Koch brothers there?
VOGEL: Yeah, this is a guy who has served -- he worked for Americans for Prosperity, the big Koch-funded group. He also has -- is associated with the State Policy Network and the Franklin Center, which is this conservative journalism nonprofit, and these are affiliated with the Koch network of groups, and O'Keefe also continues to speak to the Koch groups, so there is this connection there.
And I think that there's still potential, there's still some thought in the conservative movement that "Hey, this guy -- he's beloved by some young conservatives, and he has brought this, sort of, jolt of enthusiasm and these new techniques to the conservative movement." And so there is some thought that, perhaps, this guy can be a vehicle for successful activism still.
OLBERMANN: And if they give him enough money maybe he won't have to live with the 'rents anymore.
Politico's Ken Vogel, great thanks. Have a good weekend.
VOGEL: Thank you, Keith. You too.
OLBERMANN: Dorli Rainey revisited, coming up on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: We wanted to show you our interview with Dorli Rainey again. We'll do so next.
First -- because we see these people popping up again and again, too, and this is the place to hit them, like Wac-A-Mole -- here are "Countdown's" nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze? To State Representative Josh Byrnes of Iowa, Republican. You will recall that Governor Rick Perry put out a campaign ad yesterday, in which he showed a truncated clip of the President saying "we've been a little bit lazy."
Perry, in a bald-faced lie, then appears to say that the President called the American people lazy. In fact -- as the full videotape shows -- Mr. Obama was calling the last few Presidents lazy, about soliciting foreign business investment in this country. Despite the flagrancy of Perry's lie, some of the dumber Republicans are still running with the "lazy" crap.
Which brings us back to Mr. Byrnes of Iowa, who managed to tie Perry's lie to another top Republican lie -- which is that the unemployed are such by their own choice. "I might have to partially agree with President Obama on this one. I don't think Americans, on a whole" -- or as a whole -- "are lazy, but we have some pockets of Americans that appear lazy. Ironically, the president has helped enable some of these pockets by doing things like extending unemployment benefits. There are jobs out there, and I think the problem is that some people think some of these jobs are beneath them. When you are unemployed I don't think there should be any job 'below' you."
I might have to partially agree with lying Iowa State Representative Byrnes on this one. I'm sure many unemployed Americans feel these jobs are beneath them. Like being a lying Republican Iowa State Representative.
The runners-up? Bret Baier, Gretchen Carlson and Michele Malkin of the political whorehouse that is Fox News.
Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez has been charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama a week ago. He allegedly fired an assault rifle at the White House, hitting it twice. The president wasn't there. After the incident last Friday, police and Secret Service combed the neighborhood around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, looking for the shooter. One of the places they checked was the Occupy D.C. camp, because -- you know, it was two blocks away from the White House and there were people there.
After Ortega-Hernandez's arrest, investigators told reporters that they, to quote the Washington Post, "found no connection between him and the Occupy protesters." Naturally to Fox, that means they did.
Baier, who is the supposed straight newscaster on the propaganda channel said, "Ortega-Hernandez reportedly spent time with the Occupy D.C. protesters." The Fox Nation website posted a headline: "Man Linked to 'Occupy' Protest Charged With Attempted Assassination Of Obama." The headline is still on the site, tonight.
And then Carlson, the morning show host -- after the investigation proved there was no link between Occupy and Ortega-Hernandez -- decided to challenge Malkin in a contest to see which one of them is dumbest.
(Excerpt from video clip) CARLSON: It looks like this White House shooting suspect may have tried to blend in with the Occupy protesters in D.C. when he came from out west. So, I pose this question to you this morning -- what would have happened if a tea party person had tried to do that?
(Excerpt from video clip) MALKIN: Well, I think it's pretty predictable what would have happened. I've talked about this tendency before to 'blame Righty.'"
OLBERMANN: Isn't that clever? Only took you six years to think that one up? Here's the real problem -- his family says Ortega-Hernandez was convinced President Obama was "the Anti-Christ." Now, does that sound more like Occupy or the tea party? Besides which, why is Fox trying to smear a man who wanted to assassinate President Obama? Fox News has been encouraging that for four years now.
But our winner? Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. She revealed on "Fixed" News that she should be nominated because all the other would-be Republican presidents have had gaffes but she hasn't -- other than getting Elvis Presley's birthday wrong. Actually, in addition to wishing Elvis a happy birthday on the anniversary of his death, she mistook John Wayne for John Wayne Gacy, got the state in which the first shots of our Revolutionary war were fired wrong and -- based solely on what one woman told her -- she concluded that the HPV anti-cancer vaccine causes mental retardation.
And now, she is apparently seeing giant physicians who are beholden to her former employers, the Internal Revenue Service. Ms. Bachmann's latest visit from the spirit world was recounted in Webster City, Iowa.
(Excerpt from video clip) BACHMANN: One man stood up, he was over seven feet tall. He was a physician in the community. And he said, "I had a little lady in my office, she was on Medicare and because of 'Obamacare,' I had to call the IRS and I had to get a number to put on a form before I could see her."
OLBERMANN: Nothing about health care reform involves the IRS. Nothing in pre-reform health care involves the IRS. So, we have to ask if Dr. Lurch knew what he was talking about, or if he even existed. Or -- at seven feet -- if he was the giant rabbit from the Jimmy Stewart picture "Harvey." Or maybe he was one of those seven-foot-tall Kanamits from that Twilight Zone.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann -- "Don't get on that ship! 'Obamacare' it's -- it's a cookbook!" -- today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: In our number-one story on the "Countdown" -- on this program two nights ago, I had the privilege of speaking with Dorli Rainey, the 84-year-old Seattle activist, who -- along with a pregnant woman and a priest -- had been pepper sprayed by police at an Occupy protest on Tuesday night. Her case got nationwide attention. Mayor Mike McGinn of Seattle even called to offer her a personal apology.
Saturday, she will address Occupy Seattle protesters, hundreds of whom marched again yesterday. She tells us she plans to call on officials to reign in police brutality and the cost of war. Just some of the topics she so eloquently addressed in her extraordinary visit with us this past Wednesday.
Let's go to Seattle, where Occupy protesters were pepper sprayed last night. Among them, political activist and Occupy Seattle supporter Dorli Rainey. It's a great pleasure to have you on the program tonight.
DORLI RAINEY: Thank you, Keith. It is a pleasure to be here.
OLBERMANN: Now, before we get into last night, we have seen the pictures, so the obvious question is -- how are you feeling today?
RAINEY: I am feeling great. I feel so energized. It's amazing what a little pepper spray will do for you.
OLBERMANN: It seems to have that effect on people who know they are in the right. How did you get involved in all that last night? Can you tell us?
RAINEY: Well, first of all, I have been involved at all of these actions -- civil rights, the women's rights, and now this. So, this is a natural progression for me. And I was in D.C. with the October -- the October 2011 group -- from the 6th through the 10th of October, which was exhilarating to hear these great speakers that we had there. When I came back, I was totally overcharged to start working here.
So, yesterday -- I was on my way to one of these boring transportation meetings when I got off my bus to change to another one, I heard tons of helicopters overhead. You could not hear yourself think. And I thought, "Well, it's probably Occupy Seattle is doing a -- an action there to help out Occupy Wall Street." And I decided to go up there and check it out.
And sure enough, right in front of the Nordstrom store at the big intersection was -- first of all, an army of police officers, bicycles, cars, lights, et cetera -- and the people were in the center of that intersection blocking traffic all around. A lot of my friends were there, and my friends consist of all age groups, all colors.
RAINEY: No matter what some of the media say, that they are rats and crazy and druggies, et cetera. That is just not so. So, I stood out there with my friends, and we were just deciding that we had stayed there long enough and we might go on. Well, we're not a secret society, and when somebody says mic check, everybody can hear it, and the cops also knew that we were on the verge of leaving. Just at that moment, the bike patrol came up and shoved bicycles into the crowd moving them to the center, and simultaneously they let go of the pepper spray. And in the pictures, you can see where the pepper spray came all over.
So, I got pepper sprayed and shoved and thanks heavens there was a wonderful, young Iraq veteran who stood next to me, and just he grabbed me as I stumbled with people who were pushing -- people couldn't see where they were going -- the cops kept pushing with the bicycles, and the space we were in got smaller and smaller, so we were really pinned in. And that young man stabilized me. Otherwise, I would have been on the ground, trampled. And this really is not a good picture to think about.
So, after that, then some people helped me to go back to the bus and I went home. But the great thing is that I ride these buses an awful lot, and some of the people -- I see them at least once or twice a week on the bus, "Hello, how are you?" And they said, "What happened to you?" And I had no mirror, so I must have looked a fright. And the bus driver said, "Hey, what happened to you?" I said, "I got pepper sprayed by Seattle's finest." And the other people piped up and said, "That's terrible."
And the wonderful thing that happened was this bus full of people started talking about Occupy. And they had never seen a real person that they could identify with who got pepper sprayed. And it became a really wonderful educational opportunity for me to convert a busload full of people to our way of thinking.
OLBERMANN: Is that your hope for what this is going to do for America? That, more than anything else, it's going to educate people for what they are up against?
RAINEY: We have to do that, and the time is of the essence. We are seeing the FCC now trying to take away the free internet. I remember Goebbels. I remember the time -- I grew up over there. And I remember the shrinking of the print media. We had one newspaper. It was called Völkischer Beobachter -- The People's Observer. And it was the same from North Germany down to South Austria, same propaganda: "We're winning the war. We're sinking the U-boats and we're into Scotland." So -- we were doing so well, it's amazing how long the war lasted after we were winning it already. And I see the same thing happening here.
We have, really, no more free media that will bring you the issues instead of just the soft, fluff entertainment, the repeated stuff about some actress somewhere being pregnant or not pregnant or wanting to go get married and not. This should be on the entertainment pages, but not on the mainstream news media.
So, we have -- we have such incredible issues here, right here in our town. We live 20 miles from ground zero of the Bangor missile base. And in order to get any attention from any media, we go there and we occupy the street going into the missile base. And we get arrested there and nobody cares, nobody says anything, except the people who want to drive in and out of the base and earn their living there -- they don't much like us.
But we have -- one of my heroes was a Catholic nun who spread her blood on a missile silo in Colorado and got incarcerated. And she did an action in Tennessee and got incarcerated. She -- her name was Jackie Hudson. She recently died. And a lot of it was because of the mistreatment in the prison system in Tennessee. She used to say, "Whatever you do, take one more step out of your comfort zone." And that is what I do. I take a step out of my comfort zone.
It was so easy to say, "Well, I'm going to retire, I'm going to sit around, watch television or eat bon-bons." But somebody has got to keep them awake and let them know what is really going on in this world. Whether it's J.P. Morgan doing the financing plan for our ill-fated tunnel, which is coming up, which the city council -- some member even admitted they never read the environmental-impact statement, because it is boring.
RAINEY: Well, I read the whole dang thing and my eyeballs are still pink from reading it. And nobody talks about these things. They are not in the media. And the Chamber of Commerce pushes things like our tunnel, because they earn big profits when they start developing the properties around there when the tunnel -- when the viaduct is done. And the taxpayers are on line for this. And so -- I am an issues person, I always have been.
RAINEY: So, is what you wanted to hear? Do you have any questions?
OLBERMANN: No, you have answered all of my questions. And you are one of my heroes now. Dorli Rainey --political activist, Occupy Seattle supporter and one of those punk kids out there on the streets -- an honor to have you on the program. Keep going one step outside of your comfort zone and we'll try to do the same thing here.
RAINEY: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Thank you.
There again, the inimitable Dorli Rainey and she can be seen in person, this Saturday -- tomorrow -- at the Occupy Seattle Protest, kicking off the third month of the movement.
That's "Countdown." I'm Keith Olbermann. Congratulations on getting through another day of this crap. Good night.