'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: New National Polling: 59% of Americans agree w/ #OWS; 68% support surtax on millionaires. Message resonates as protest grows
#ShowPlug 2: @Markos on the GOP's #OWS tone-deafness at its 83rd debate; NY1's @ErrolLouis on arrest of Naomi Wolf + NYC protests
#ShowPlug 3: Wall Street fights back with $: threatening no donations to Dems; reform could cost LA $58M. w/ Dean Baker of @Beat_The_Press
#ShowPlug 4: Lights, Camera, #OWS: Batman scenes w/ OWS? Real World casting @ OWS? Sexist "Hot Chicks Of OWS"? w/ @MikeyMusto
#ShowPlug 5: Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas: winner, for 9th straight GOP debate: President Obama. w/ @NiaWaPo Malika-Henderson
#ShowPlug Last: Worsts: WA Rep tries to keep paper from reporting her secret town hall, + what happens the books Billo sends to the troops!
watch whole playlist
#5 'GOP vs. OWS', Markos Moulitsas
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#5 'GOP vs. OWS', Errol Louis
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Bonus: promo
#4 'Revenge of the Banks', Dean Baker
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Grate Debate', Nia-Malika Henderson
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#2 Worst Persons: Melissa Brookstone, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Bill O'Reilly
#1 'Lights, Camera, Occupy', Michael Musto
printable PDF transcript
Topics: Election 2012, GOP Primary, Occupy Together, Occupy Wall Street
Categories: From the Show, Show Transcripts
Guests: Dean Baker, Errol Louis
Contributors: Markos Moulitsas, Nia-Malika Henderson
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? National support. New poll, 59 percent of Americans agree with Occupy Wall Street - meaning the GOP candidates are dead in the water.
(Excerpt from video clip) ANDERSON COOPER: Two weeks ago you said, "Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself." That was two weeks ago. The movement has grown. Do you still say that?
(Excerpt from video clip) HERMAN CAIN: Yes, I do still say that. And here's why.
OLBERMANN: The movement, on the move.
(Excerpt from video clip) HERMAN CAIN: Yes, I do still say that. And here's why.
OLBERMANN: The movement, on the move.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: Where is Cuomo? Protecting the one percent!
OLBERMANN: Protesting a governor, a prominent author and feminist gets arrested for walking on a sidewalk on which she had every legal right to walk.
(Excerpt from video clip) POLICE OFFICER: Since you have refused to leave this sidewalk, I am now ordering your arrest for disorderly conduct.
OLBERMANN: The arrest of Naomi Wolf. Wall Street strikes back against sympathetic politicians. Threatening the Democrats with no donations, threatening to cost Los Angeles $58 million. Fear and loathing in Las Vegas.
(Excerpt from video clip) MITT ROMNEY: Would you please - would you please wait? Are you just going to keep talking? Or are you going to let me finish with my - what I have to say.
OLBERMANN: Cain battered. His "9-9-9" plan would raise taxes on 84 percent of American households. And battered before and after the debate. Before. Would you do what the Israelis did and trade everybody in Gitmo for one captured American soldier?
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: I could see myself authorizing that kind of transfer.
OLBERMANN: But after.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: If I said that, I spoke in error. Maybe I didn't understand the question.
OLBERMANN: And "Worsts" - the Washington tea party congresswoman who holds a town hall and tries to keep it a secret. And if you were a soldier in Afghanistan and somebody shipped you 20 copies of his book, what would you do? That's right, burn them! All that and more, now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) THE TRAMMPS: Burn, baby, burn.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Wednesday, October 19th, 384 days until the 2012 presidential election.
They cheered Rick Perry's execution record. They booed a gay soldier serving in Iraq. So no one should have been surprised last night when the crowd at the GOP presidential debate number 3,426 applauded the claim that Wall Street and the big banks were not to blame for the recession.
The fifth story on the "Countdown" - Occupy Wall Street dampened by the rain at its origin point of Zuccotti Park, another curious arrest by the NYPD and further proof that whatever the GOP candidates and the GOP audience said last night about Occupy Wall Street, a majority of the voting public disagrees. We reported a New York City poll to that effect Monday, a New York state poll yesterday.
Tonight, a National Journal poll that asked adults across the country, "Do you agree with the Occupy Wall Street protesters?" Fifty-nine percent said yes. Thirty-one percent said no. On a key issue for the president, a 5 percent surtax on millionaires to help pay for his jobs bill, better than two-thirds said they support. Less than one-third said no. The "No's" had it outside of the debate site at the Sands Expo and Convention Center - Occupy Las Vegas protesters chanting loud enough to drown out a CNN host who had mocked them on her first night on the air.
(Excerpt from video clip) ERIN BURNETT: We are minutes away from tonight's debate, as you can see the countdown clock that we'll put up. And you also can probably hear the protesters.
OLBERMANN: Yes, yes, we can hear them now. We can also hear the cheers when Herman Cain doubled down on his criticism of Occupy Wall Street. CNN's Anderson Cooper was the debate moderator.
(Excerpt from video clip) COOPER: Two weeks ago, you said, "Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself." That was two weeks ago. The movement has grown. Do you still say that?
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: Yes, I do still say that. And here's why - they might be frustrated with Wall Street and the bankers, but they are directing their anger at the wrong place.
OLBERMANN: Wall Street's not to blame for the recession. The White House is to blame, specifically President Obama. Even if the economic disaster started well before President Obama took office. Cain's rival, Mitt Romney - now there's a phrase: Cain's rival, Mitt Romney - seemed to agree that we should all forget about the Bush years.
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: We could spend our time talking about what happened three years ago and what the cause was of our collapse. But let's talk about what's happened over the last three years.
OLBERMANN: No, no, no. By your logic, you can only look at today's headlines, not yesterday's, never in the past, never, never, never. It took libertarian representative Ron Paul to strike a populist note.
(Excerpt from video clip) RON PAUL: The middle class got stuck. They got stuck. They lost their jobs, and they lost their houses. If you had to give money out, you should have given it to the people who were losing their mortgages, not to the banks.
OLBERMANN: Occupy Wall Street would probably agree with that, though not much more of Mr. Paul's program. Presidential tease - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie - weighed in also on a YouTube video posted by his office. Christie expressed a modicum of understanding for the protesters. Very small modicum.
(Excerpt from video clip) CHRIS CHRISTIE: I understand why they're angry, because you look at what's happening down in Washington, D.C. It should disgust all of us.
OLBERMANN: Yep, Washington's to blame again. And at the same time the debate was under way, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were protesting themselves against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a Game Changers Awards Gala sponsored by The Huffington Post. The protesters rejecting Cuomo's refusal to extend the state tax on millionaires.
When police told them they were blocking the street illegally, feminist author Naomi Wolf tried to intervene, telling the protesters that the law assured them that they could walk on the street, so long as they did not block access to the event. An NYPD supervisor did not like that. And after telling Ms. Wolf she was creating a disturbance, here come the handcuffs.
(Excerpt from video clip) POLICE OFFICER: I'm asking you a question. Are you staying or are you getting arrested?
(Excerpt from video clip) NAOMI WOLF: Am I violating the law?
(Excerpt from video clip) POLICE OFFICER: You're violating the law. You just got a lawful order. Leave. Leave. Leave. Leave.
OLBERMANN: Ah, New York's finest. It's a somewhat mocking term sometimes. Wolf was arrested for "refusing a lawful order." She was later released. The guys in the white shirt, it's mocking. The guys in the blue, it's meant sincerely. Inside, Governor Cuomo was presented with a 2011 Game Changer of the Year award. Although in 2011, that award might go down to Occupy Wall Street. While down in Zuccotti Park itself, the actor and activist Alec Baldwin spent two hours talking to protesters and answering a few questions.
(Excerpt from video clip) ALEC BALDWIN: I think most people want change in this country, but they don't want the country to go down the tubes. They don't want the country to become England.
OLBERMANN: Oh, you're gonna hear it from England. England is rainy and gray. That's not England. That's Zuccotti Park today, where reviews of the weather and its potential impact on the protests were mixed.
(Excerpt from video clip) RAY KACHEL: Once it's, like, this wet and it gets even colder - 'cause right now we've had a little of each - once both hit, it's going to be really tough to sustain, especially any overnight presence here, and I don't know how much that would hurt the overall encampment.
(Excerpt from video clip) DANIEL WEDLOCK: I will stay in the rain. I will stay in the snow. I know it's October now. November is going to come. December is gonna come, it's gonna get cold, if we're still here, I'm still here.
OLBERMANN: Still there at Occupy Des Moines and wearing leg shackles outside the state capital to protest the arrest of 32 demonstrators who had refused to leave the capital grounds. While in Los Angeles, Occupy LA plans to leave the streets for now and protest instead at freeway overpasses and bridges for both morning and evening rush hours to guarantee a captive audience, at the very least, on the freeways of LA But shock, shock, shock, the GOP doesn't get it.
I'm joined by Daily Kos founder and publisher, "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas. Markos, good evening.
MARKOS MOULITSAS: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The audience at last night's debate. How out of touch do you have to be in Nevada with horrific unemployment and terrible economic conditions? How out of touch do you have to be to root for the Wall Street bankers and the banks and the insurance agencies and the mortgage companies and all of the rest in the middle of this recession?
MOULITSAS: Yeah, I think part of it is they don't understand that the debate, the national debate, has actually shifted. I mean, what was the last time that you had liberals setting the national agenda in the terms of the debate? I can't - I can't even remember when that last was. So here you have a discussion about economic inequality, about Wall Street excesses and corruption, and the public - and you mentioned that poll earlier. But the public is actually really embracing this message and agree with it. And you have the Republican Party that, again, is dominated by fringe. And they, I don't think, realize just how angry people are at Wall Street and just how at odds they are with the popular prevalent sentiment.
OLBERMANN: You mentioned it, here it is again - the National Journal poll was 59 percent of American adults agreeing with Occupy Wall Street. Can that send a message to individual Republicans, or are they really such hostages to the banks and the moneyed interests - as we like to call them - that even if they understood the truth, they couldn't dare open them because, you know, the banks are holding relatives hostage or whatever it is, whatever the hold is they have over the Republican Party, in particular.
MOULITSAS: Yeah, I don't have any faith in Republicans actually bowing to public pressure. I mean, it's not even public pressure, because on issues like immigration - where the vast majority of Republicans favor immigration reform - Republican politicians will not move on that issue. And this is the same thing, where they are beholden to a very tiny special interest, but one that has a lot of money and one that actually is probably the biggest source of Republican lawmakers. So they are not going to bow to public pressure. The question is - when they start actually getting hit electorally with these issues - if Democrats are smart, they will embrace this, then that might change a little bit. And you are already seeing a lot of these Republicans starting to show a little bit of sympathy towards the protesters. Where in the past, it was all derogatory. Now they are sort of saying, "Well, maybe they have a smidgen of a hint of a point."
OLBERMANN: Where is the Democratic support for the protesters? Because there has been some commendation for their energy and for their point of view, and there's been "Good to see democracy in action" and the rest of that. For the most part, though, even Democrats have still been laying back. What exactly do you suppose it is they are waiting for?
MOULITSAS: You know, to me, this is a sort of a grassroots, bottom-ups movement. I don't want the party co-opting it. So I am actually kind of satisfied with the sort of vague, like, "You know what? These guys are on the right path. They have a point, and then we should do something about it." I don't want them to co-opt it. I want them to show that they actually believe in that messages and hear it by starting to talk - and strike - a more-populist tone in the rhetoric, and start pushing legislation that starts trying to reverse some of these inequalities.
OLBERMANN: There is a very good diary up on your site right now about the idea that there has already been an Occupy Wall Street victory. In particular, the idea that the amount of media attention to the term "unemployment" has exploded in the last two weeks. Is that - is that really the first kind of flag being planted in the ground by this group?
MOULITSAS: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, just think back a month ago. Everybody - all of the media - wanted to talk about was deficit, something that nobody outside of Washington, D.C., really cares about, or thinks is an important critical issue facing the country. So, suddenly you have a discussion that went from deficits and debt ceilings and things like that to actual things that matter to people - which is jobs and unemployment and inequality.
That right there is a sign that this movement - that has been so derided for having no message and having no demands - hasn't needed those things. Because you know what? The message of that movement is pretty self-evident and people get it. You don't need to sit there and beat them over the head with it. They understand it because they are living that in their everyday lives.
OLBERMANN: And now it's showing up in the media, and therefore it actually did happen. There is more on the Daily Kos. The publisher and founder thereof, "Countdown" contributor, Markos Moulitsas, always a pleasure, sir. Thank you.
MOULITSAS: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: For more on Occupy Wall Street and the NYPD and the events here and the Wolf arrest, I am joined by Errol Louis, local anchor with NY1 News, host of the network's "Inside City Hall" and co-editor of the book "Deadline Artists." Good to see you again, sir.
ERROL LOUIS: Good to see you.
OLBERMANN: The Naomi Wolf arrest for refusing to obey a lawful order and one that Ms. Wolf was explaining and explained in her book was unlawful, who is running PR for the NYPD, and how much is he getting under the table from Occupy Wall Street?
LOUIS: Well, the NYPD appears to be continuing their role as one of the better organizers of Occupy Wall Street. They give them some of the best and most interesting videos that go viral, and that sort of make the case or at least acquaint people with a lot of the ins and outs of how you do a protest. And look, it's a very interesting and sort of ambiguous question about when can you use the sidewalk.
I mean, I tend to default as a New Yorker to, "If a guy with a gun tells you to do something, you generally do it." Maybe you can revisit it in a safer location. But not many people will stand up to a cop. And there is such a thing as a lawful order. And so, I don't know if she's gonna take this into court and sort of battle it out. But that seems to be what happened.
OLBERMANN: It seems to some degree, though, arbitrary or - certainly - an exaggeration of what needed to be done there, and a lot of the violence that we have seen and, obviously, those flash points - with the pepper spray, with the arrests on Brooklyn Bridge, with the beating up of the gentleman we had on last night, the homeless man who was cold cocked - is there any idea whether or not, or any news that you might have, that the department has met to any degree to reassess its game plan towards this?
Because it is, whether - we are always being facetious by saying they are getting money under the table from the organizers - but they really couldn't be doing a better job for Occupy Wall Street, and against their own interests and against their own credibility in the city if they were on somebody else's payroll.
LOUIS: Well, I know the commissioner, Ray Kelly, a little bit. I've interviewed him a number of times and I know that they drill. They are very professional organization. They drill all the time. They are very self-reflective. They take their command staff - the guys in the white shirts - they take them to meetings and they review videotape and so forth. I know the commissioner can't be happy about this. Nobody in the command staff can be happy about what has been happening. But to be fair about it, this is the point of a demonstration, right? Is to put people in an uncomfortable, if not impossible, situation and have the thing play out and that's what you are demonstrating. You are demonstrating that law and order as it's traditionally enforced, and the sense of the social structure and the needs and demands of these protesters are not compatible. The best way to illustrate that is to - are these, you know, repeatedly staged situations, and whichever side acts wrongly sort of loses that particular confrontation.
OLBERMANN: What about then when it comes time to punish those guys who have gone over the line such as Inspector Bologna - the man with the pepper spray, who basically is the founding father of Occupy Wall Street?That's what put it on the map nationally, that one video tape. Truly, truly that is.
LOUIS: That's true.
OLBERMANN: The decision was, he is going to lose 10 days of pay - whether it's 10 days vacation or 10 days regular is unclear at this point. But he's guilty of violating departmental guidelines. Is that viewed as sufficient, or are they afraid to do more because they would somehow be empowering the protesters even more? Or is this the union involved? Because you and I know, as New Yorkers, in terms of strength in this country - the organized groups are mafia, Baseball Players' Association, New York City Police Department union, right? So is it the union, or is it some sort of attempt not to say, okay, this guy did wrong, but we are not going to give you the credit, we are not going to give you the satisfaction of saying this guy did wrong?
LOUIS: I don't know if it's the union in any direct sense. I doubt it frankly. When you are at the level he is at, you are pretty much - you are management at that point.
LOUIS: On the other hand, I think, you know - look, you don't want to set precedence. There's 50,000 people in the NYPD. You don't want people to feel like, "If we are taking the initiative and trying to handle one of these deliberately, sort of, semi-impossible situations," that they are going to come down on you like a ton of bricks. But look, much of this is being determined, I think, politically, so if there is an uproar about the 10 vacation days then, maybe, there will be something different that happens. If there is not an uproar - and that remains to be seen, it was really just announced today - we may just move on. For a lot of people, and I think I put myself in this category, the pepper spray was one thing. Smashing the guy on the face on television is a kind of a different situation. There has been really no discipline that's been suggested.
OLBERMANN: That's because they are still trying to arrest the guy for bringing his face down on to the officer's rolled-up fist. Last question, with the weather turning badly today - it seems trivial if you are watching at home, it has nothing to do with the New York weather - is that the mayor's secret weapon, that he expects this will all end once the frost starts on the pumpkin, as they say?
LOUIS: Well, it's interesting, a lot of opponents of Occupy Wall Street who, of course, never predicted it would happen and call it an unruly mob with no rules, now claim to have very specific knowledge about what it's going to take to get them out of there. And they say the weather, when it hits this temperature and so forth and so on. I don't think any of that is true. I don't know, and I wasn't expecting them to start this. So, I wouldn't make any predictions on what it's going to take to stop them. I think a lot of people are going inside to recharge. There are people who come and clean their laundry for them at no charge.
LOUIS: There are shelters that have opened their doors to them so they can stay on a night like tonight, stay nice and dry. So I don't think this is necessarily a sign of weakness. It might be an opportunity to recharge and rethink their next steps.
OLBERMANN: And also, nothing says everybody has to be there all night, every night. You might go once a week and it still continues throughout the week.
LOUIS: That's right, we have had a number of mild winters here, too. So, you never know.
OLBERMANN: This is the first month of good weather, as you know, all year. So I wouldn't bet on a mild winter. Meanwhile, we'll get to the local sports - the Rangers and the Knicks after this - Errol Louis, the host of "Inside City Hall" on NY1. Thanks for coming in.
LOUIS: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: After initial flat-footedness, the moneyed interests are fighting back. First, the smear campaign against the protesters. Now, the cash campaign against the politicians who aren't attacking the protesters. That's next.
OLBERMANN: Wall Street's idea of how to stop Occupy Wall Street? Deny donations to the president and the Democrats. See, that's not how this works.
Justifiable blowback from women protesters, and a lot of men - the "Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street," in a blatantly sexist way, it is a sure sign the movement has arrived.
Is it possible that the winner of the Republican debate was the guy who yelled at all the other candidates? Can you give out seven "honorable mentions" in a seven-person field?
Speaking of which, you know his scam, where he'll send a copy of one of his crap books to the troops if you buy, say, two copies of his crap book? Guess what we just found out some of the troops are doing with those books, in Afghanistan? "Worst Persons" ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Big banks complaining they're being unfairly targeted by politicians eager to seize on Occupy Wall Street movement's energy. Now bankers are threatening to make it very expensive for politicians to support the protests.
Our fourth story tonight - Wall Street donors saying they will not support Democrats who side with OWS. At the same time, local governments sympathetic to the movement are realizing that going after banks as protesters have urged may prove extremely costly.
As if a reminder of the financial might of the banks, Morgan Stanley today reporting a profit of $2.2 billion for the third quarter of this year. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs - long the object of protesters' ire - reporting a decline for the same quarter. That is, it should be noted, only its second losses since it went public more than one decade ago. Bankers now flexing their financial muscle elsewhere threatening to bury Democrats if they don't stop picking on them.
Anthony Scaramucci, managing partner of a New York investment firm, donated to Obama in 2008, but is now fund-raising for Romney. He tells Politico, "Most Wall Street guys, they feel like they're going to be burned in effigy." No jokes.
2008, then-candidate Obama got more Wall Street donations than John McCain did. But this year, things are different. Mitt Romney, formerly, of course, of the money industry is now outpacing President Obama. Romney nearly doubling the president's haul from the finance, insurance and real-estate sectors this year. President Obama seems to have been taking notice of this. At the Martin Luther King Memorial dedication on Sunday, he said the civil rights leader would not have painted all of Wall Street with just one brush.
(Excerpt from video clip) BARACK OBAMA: I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there.
OLBERMANN: You sure? At the local level, it is also proving costly for city and state governments to be sympathetic to protesters. LA, for example, has been more than welcoming to them - more than any other city, perhaps - allowing protesters to stay in an urban encampment despite a law that normally prohibits sleeping overnight in parks.
Mayor Villaraigosa even handed out ponchos to rain-soaked protesters, and last week lawmakers asked city analysts to expand a plan to punish misbehaving banks. But now a major roadblock to that - analysts found that penalizing the banks could cost the city upwards of $58 million, and some politicians, who previously supported the protesters, now say it's simply too expensive to accede to their demands and actually rein in those banks.
Joining me now economist Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, and author of "The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive." Mr. Baker, thanks for your time tonight.
DEAN BAKER: Thanks a lot for having me on.
OLBERMANN: It's so simple that we sometimes forget this. The biggest advantage that Wall Street has in this is money because - in cash or in coin or in check or just by threat - it's useful everywhere including the pressuring of people. Correct?
BAKER: Absolutely. I mean obviously, politicians look to their campaign contributions, politicians of both parties. And, as you just pointed out, President Obama got more money from Wall Street than John McCain did. So this is a big, big deal. And, you know, if the president is going to continue to support protesters, if he's actually gonna push an agenda that does hurt Wall Street, he's not going to get campaign contributions from them. No doubt about it.
OLBERMANN: Analyze the Los Angeles situation for me. I am not sure I get what the $58 million loss would entail.
BAKER: Well, the argument here is that if they were to take into account corporate behavior - banks' behavior - then they would end up paying more for bond issues, for other financial transactions. I don't know enough about the specifics to say whether or not that's true. But I will say there seems to be an implicit assumption they are getting the lowest-cost financial services now. And I think that's very questionable.
You had, just to give you an example here - Steve Rattner, who was President Obama's car czar originally - he ended up paying $10 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission in a settlement where it was claimed that he, in a sense, had paid off state officials to get control of their pension funds. Now if that were true, clearly he wasn't the lowest-cost person. So, I don't know that we could presume that Los Angeles is now getting the lowest-cost services, that they would actually be paying more if this law were put into effect.
OLBERMANN: Is there a suspicion, then, that's being deliberately misunderstood so that some politicians can get out from this support for what they might have thought was a transient movement in Occupy?
BAKER: Well, I think one has to look at it closely. Again, a lot of these things do require closer examinations. And I have to say, I just don't know enough about the specifics of Los Angeles' finances to say one way or another. But I think it would be a very heroic assumption to assume they are always getting the lowest-cost services today.
OLBERMANN: What do you think is at the heart of the Wall Street reaction? Is this business or is this is a personal pique and hurt? Because in my career and my business, the biggest prima donnas - the guys always to take it the most personally - are the ones who are supposed to be the cold, calculating, bean-counting businessmen who don't care what you say about them as long as you write their name on a check. Are they offended or are they threatened?
BAKER: Well, I think at the moment they are offended because, you know, thus far - better or worse - President Obama has been very business-friendly, very Wall Street-friendly. Now, if this goes in the direction where you actually see things that change the way Wall Street does business - a financial speculation tax, break up the big banks - then it's going to be very much in their pocketbooks. But to date, President Obama has not supported those measures.
OLBERMANN: Would the president really be getting the support of Wall Street if he had a different point of view, even if he came out tomorrow and said, "We are going to shut down Occupy Wall Street, go home. Everybody go home. Everything's been solved."
BAKER: Well, I think that's possible. I mean, there's a lot of aspects. You joke about this, but it's real. A lot of aspects of the Republican candidates I think a lot of people on Wall Street find scary. So if President Obama says, "Look, I am willing to look out for your interests every bit as much as the Republicans and I am sane and these guys aren't," he will get support from Wall Street. I don't think there is any doubt about that.
OLBERMANN: How frightening a prospect, how realistic a prospect, do you think that is?
BAKER: Well, I probably would - if I had to place a bet - I think he is gonna, at the end of the day, be more likely to side with the Wall Street people than the Occupy Wall Street people, better or worse. I think that's the case.
OLBERMANN: Wow. He does that at the peril of his re-election in another way. Dean Baker, the author of "The End of Loser Liberalism." Great, thanks for your insight, sir.
BAKER: Thanks for having me on.
OLBERMANN: In a weird, tiny way, it's kind of a sign of how quickly Occupy Wall Street has occupied a spot in the public collective mind. Surfing the crowd to cast a new series of "The Real World"? Filming a scene in a Batman movie in the protest? And some putz putting out a sexist video of "The Hot Chicks of OWS"? The cultural foothold, ahead.
OLBERMANN: And just think, only 241 Republican debates to go. By which time they will have nominated Lincoln's corpse. That's next.
First, the "Sanity Break." And on this date in 1903 was born Tor Johansson. A wrestler, he came to this country in his 30s and branched out into films, where - as 6'3," 400-pound, bald-headed Tor Johnson - he became a cult hero in everything from a Shirley Temple TV series, to an Abbott and Costello film, to recurring roles as a zombie, and a lab assistant and a zombie lab assistant, in a series of Ed Wood pictures. Perhaps his most famous line came from Wood's "Bride Of The Monster": "Time For Go To Bed!"
"Time For Go To Bed!" Sorry, "Time Marches On!"
We begin in the world of science, or as the GOP calls it, theory. This amazing display of quantum levitation is brought to you by the Superconductivity Group School of Physics and Astronomy at Tel Aviv University - Safety School. Through a process called quantum trapping, this small disc is locked in place using a constant stream of liquid nitrogen. That's right, it's a mini hover board. Not futuristic enough for you? How about we get this thing orbiting around a table? Wee! Now if you could just get Michael J. Fox on top of it in a red vest, you really have something.
The TMO Way-Too-Adorable Clip - two red pandas at a zoo in Japan putting the PDA in panda. Even as voyeuristic zoo-goers look on, they continue their romantic, lip-locked embrace. Sure, experts say they're probably just cleaning food off of each other's faces. But really, isn't that the way great love affairs always start? Cleaning food off her face, have to remember that one.
Finally, our continuing series - "When Animals Go Shopping." Today, a bear cub in an Alaskan grocery store. This brown bear wandered into the store and headed straight for the produce section, and - after searching and searching for the perfect tomato - the cub was finally captured and removed from the store. Like that.
Reached for comment, the bear cub said, "I have no comment. I'm a bear."
"Time Marches On!"
Did anybody win the Republican debate last night besides President Obama? Or is this like a season of "Survivor," only everybody gets voted off the island with six episodes to go? Next.
OLBERMANN: "Countdown," as of next Monday - the longest continuously running 8:00 P.M. program on cable news. It is live weeknights here at 8:00 P.M. Eastern, 5:00 Pacific. Our primary replays are at 11:00 P.M. Eastern and 11:00 P.M. Pacific. We call it "our little survivor."
It's doubtful any one of them will end up as president of the United States. But the remaining cast members on the "Un-Real World" sure seem destined for the kind of fame to which only the Snookis and Kardashians of this world could previously aspire.
Debate Nine in what is, right now, a schedule of 22 Republican debates. Soon to feature a ballroom-dancing component and possibly a segment where you have to remember the lyrics to some song. Last night's Las Vegas tour stop quickly shifted to attack mode after the ceremonial bashing of the guy who went into the lead after the last leader bombed at the last debate, attention returned to the two men in the middle, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK PERRY: Those people who hire illegals ought to be penalized. Admit that you lose all of your standing from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year.
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: I don't think I've ever hired an illegal in my life and so I'm afraid - I'm looking forward to finding your facts on that. Because that -
(Excerpt from video clip) PERRY: I'll tell you what the facts are - you had them work -
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: Rick, I'm speaking, I'm speaking, I'm speaking. You get 30 seconds, this is the way the rules work here is that I get 60 seconds and then you get 30 seconds to respond, right? Anderson!
(Excerpt from video clip) PERRY: And they want to hear you say you knew you had illegals working -
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: Would you please wait? Are you just going keep talking?
(Excerpt from video clip) PERRY: Yes, sir.
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: Or are you going to let me finish what I have to say? This has been a tough couple of debates for Rick and I understand that so you're gonna get testy. We hired a lawn company to mow our lawn and they had illegal immigrants that were working there, and when that was pointed out to us, we let them go. We went to them -
(Excerpt from video clip) PERRY: A year later?
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking, and I suggest that if you want to become president of the United States, you gotta let both people speak, so for instance, let me speak.
OLBERMANN: Hit him, hit him, hit him! When you're looking at Anderson Cooper to save you, how are you going to stand up to al-Qaida? Outside of Perry and Romney, the roughest back and forth was once again between Herman Cain and Herman Cain. Before the debate he was asked about a scenario akin to the one the Israelis just played out - releasing a lot prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the release of one captured American serviceman.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOLF BLITZER: There was one American soldier who had been held for years, and the demand was al-Qaida or some other terrorist group - "You've got to free everyone at Guantanamo Bay, several hundred prisoners at Guantanamo Bay." Could you see yourself as president authorizing that kind of transfer?
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: I could see myself authorizing that kind of transfer.
OLBERMANN: Only in the afternoon. At night, six hours later -
(Excerpt from video clip) COOPER: You did suggest that you would be willing to possibly entertain the idea of exchanging one American soldier for everybody currently held in Guantanamo if al-Qaida demanded that, if they were holding one American soldier for years.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: If I said that I spoke in error. Maybe I didn't understand the question. If I did say that I would not do that.
OLBERMANN: Joining me to wade through the madness from last night, national political reporter for The Washington Post, "Countdown" contributor Nia-Malika Henderson. Thanks for your time tonight, Nia.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: It's great to be here.
OLBERMANN: Other than the president of the United States, did anybody win?
HENDERSON: You know, it's hard to see who won last night because I think in some ways, the Mitt Romney that so many people don't like actually emerged last night. And this was the Mitt Romney who is a little bossy, who's a little hall monitor-like, who's the guy who wants to remind everybody that he went to Harvard. I think that's who emerged last night. And, you know, sometimes you'll ask Republican strategies - strategists - what's so wrong with Mitt Romney, and they will say the problem with Mitt Romney is that he's Mitt Romney. And I think, in some ways last night, you saw that. This really aggressive tone that he took with Rick Perry. Rick Perry at times looked like he wanted to really deck him.
HENDERSON: And, yeah, I think it was the first debate where we saw that everyone really piled on Mitt Romney, and you saw him taking it from all sides. I think Santorum, in some ways, landed the biggest, you know, lumps on Mitt Romney, and Rick Perry, in some ways, gained his footing. But I think still he's got a problem with immigration, at least in this party.
OLBERMANN: The initial analysis of the Romney/Perry cat fight and the booing in it was that - that was Perry being booed for not letting Romney finish. I don't know why that was. Is there any real sense of who the booing was directed at? Could it have been - in a show of rare insight by one of these audiences - directed towards both of them?
HENDERSON: Well, that could be. But it's Nevada. Nevada is a Mormon-heavy state. If you think about the Republican caucuses in 2008, they are about 25 percent Mormon. So, I think it was very much a pro-Mormon crowd, a pro-Mitt Romney crowd. And so I think that's why you saw - Rick Perry, it looked like he got booed the most. And even when he was making his closing arguments there - saying we need - we needed - the party needed - someone who was bold to stand up against Barack Obama, no one clapped at all. So it looked like this was a real pro-Romney crowd, and they were probably booing Rick Perry, I think, in those instances.
OLBERMANN: What happened to the old Gaylord Parkinson line, that's so often mis-credited to Reagan, "That thou shall not speak ill of another Republican?" Is that wiped off of the books now?
HENDERSON: Yeah, clearly. You saw Newt Gingrich at the end really talking about that, saying, "Hey guys, this didn't serve our purposes at all to sit up here for, you know - 90 minutes, two hours or whatever it was - and bicker."
You know, the point that Mitt Romney had going into a lot of these debates was to not train his fire on any of the other Republicans, but really focus on Barack Obama, but last night it was just - he was getting it from all sides, he was dishing it from all sides. Some people thought, in some ways, he might have been punching down by engaging with Santorum - and then he took on even Newt Gingrich, over past support of the individual mandates. So, rough night for Mitt Romney, and it's hard to see how anyone came out the winner here.
OLBERMANN: What's gonna happen - any guess on what's going to happen in the polls with Mr. Cain after the "9-9-9" breakdown, suggesting it would raise taxes on 84 percent on American households, and he had this - that disastrous flip about Gitmo?
HENDERSON: Yeah, it's hard to see how he stays afloat after this performance and all of the policies or the analysis that has come out about "9-9-9." He has in this way, you know - when he's confronted with this analysis, his response has always been, "Well, everyone else is wrong, and I am right. They haven't done the math. You need to get on, you know, do your math on the back of an envelope or something." So, that's been his comeback.
Hard to see how that remains, and when you look at - sure he's ahead in the polls, but if you look at these early states, he's got no ground game there. He's got a million dollars, I think, cash on hand. He said that maybe he raised about $2 million over these last two weeks, but it's hard to see how he survives this. And so, the conventional wisdom has been that - at some point - everybody's got to coalesce around Mitt Romney, but at the same time everybody is still looking for the anti-Romney.
OLBERMANN: Last question, Nia, it's kind of a meta one. How in the world are any of these candidates - to say nothing of the viewers and the voters - to going to last through 13 more Republican debates?
HENDERSON: Yeah, not only how are they going to last? How are we going to last through 13 more debates? I mean that was - it was great television, I think, last night, you know, where you saw the fisticuffs - well, the almost-fisticuffs - between Perry and Romney. But I got to tell you, in writing about this stuff, it's getting a little hard to write about this stuff from week to week as the same themes are coming up, and there hasn't necessarily been a lot of movement, in terms of what is actually happening and in terms of their policies.
And I will say this, I think the loser last night was really the American people. There wasn't a lot of talk about Americans and the real problems that they are confronting. If you look at the phrase "middle class," it was used twice last night in the debate, and I think that was a real losing point for a lot of these candidates - not really confronting what's going on America.
OLBERMANN: You might very well think so. I could not possibly comment. "Countdown" contributor Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post. Again great, thanks, Nia.
HENDERSON: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: We have found the perfect tea party congresswoman. She holds a town hall. It's invitation only. And her press flack calls the local newspaper insisting that it should not report that it's going to happen. "Worst Persons" ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Who is this caped crusader? Why that's Occupy Wall Street Man. A sudden collision between pop culture and the protest, as filmmakers look to join the party. Not her. She's trying to keep people out. The Congresswoman, who not only tried to make a congressional town hall invitation only, but also tried to talk the local newspaper out of announcing it beforehand. "Worsts" next, this is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Occupy Wall Street and the cultural zeitgeist - from a role in the next Batman movie to "The Hot Chicks of OWS"? Next.
First - because kicking them right in the zeitgeist is what I'm supposed to be doing every night - here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze? Melissa Brookstone, of the dying tea party nation. We think this is not just an attempt to be outrageous and get the group back some of the spotlight it once enjoyed in the old days. It's hard to be sure.
Miss Brookstone emailed the group's members a statement, saying "The nation's small businesses should now go on strike because of the globalist, socialist agenda, class warfare against our constitutional republic's heritage," explaining that "President Obama has seized what amount to dictatorial powers" - seriously - that "Since all members in government have committed treason," because of their support for Occupy - "I, an American small business owner, part of the class that produces the vast majority of real, wealth-producing jobs in this country, hereby resolve that I will not hire a single person until this war against business and my country is stopped."
Brookstone's hysteria would probably have won the honors tonight except for one small detail that clearly has not occurred to her or her fellow tea party fellow travelers. If they do convince small businesses not to hire any new employees just to spite President Obama, and the country does not instantly collapse, she will have personally disproved her own group's founding principle - that only small businesses create jobs. Nice work, Sparky.
Our runner-up? Tea party freshman Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler of the state of Washington. She conducted a town hall in Centralia, Washington on Monday, and tried to keep it a secret from her constituents.
Her communications director admits he called the local newspaper last week to ask them to not publish a notice about the Congresswoman's town hall in her own district. He said Herrera Beutler's event was invitation only. This was so true that one couple called the congresswoman's office and was told no town hall was scheduled.
In May, Herrera Beutler held a true town hall and got fricasseed by the voters angry over the Republican budget that would have crippled Medicare. Communications Director Casey Bowman said that the decision to keep a Congresswoman's public appearance private was to prevent people from coming in and saying "whatever's on their minds." He added, "When word gets in the paper, you get a certain set of people."
Yes! They're called citizens! It's one thing to be tone-deaf during your one term, Congresswoman. It's another to be intentionally deaf to the voters by sticking your fingers in your ears.
Nevertheless, our winner? Bill O. the Clown. If you've never seen it, the last five minutes of his show are spent hawking crap with his name on it. Jackets, doormats, loofahs. Okay, I made up the loofahs. But mostly, crap books he wrote. His crap books. One of the scammiest and scummiest ways he sells them is a promise that for every $26 you spend at his store, he'll send a free copy of one of his crap books to a soldier on the front lines, fighting for freedom. Ahem.
From an online Tumblr called "Everqueer," maintained by a serving soldier in Afghanistan, this entry - a shipment of one of O'Reilly's dumber books arrived at a forward base - "Some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book (SPOILER ALERT: George Washington - Patriot; George Soros - Pinhead) instead of anything soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan might need, like, say, food or soap. Just burned the whole lot of them on my Commander's orders."
Stand back when you do that, soldier! The bull crap will come flying out of that thing like shrapnel. The soldier explains it was not simply political, although he did photograph it, "All waste is burned on the base and in town, wood and paper goes in that barrel. I was getting rid of a bunch of cardboard boxes and the books were in the burn pile."
Bill O. the Clown, the troops burn his books for warmth - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: Occupy Wall Street finally making its mark where it counts the most - popular culture. Well, least. Number-one story on the "Countdown" - from the real world of Zuccotti Park to MTV's "The Real World." Not content with planting carefully cast pinheaded young adults in homes in sunny San Diego or funky New Orleans. See what happens next, producers Bunim/Murray have posted a notice on Craigslist, "Part of Occupy Wall Street? 'Real World' 27 wants you."
You just have to be between 20 and 24, have ripped abs, a serious narcissism complex and probably have gotten involved in Occupy because you wondered in Zuccotti Park by accident and - like that poor Massachusetts family in the corn maze the other day - you couldn't figure out how to get out.
The caped crusader may also be looking for some Occupy action. The Los Angeles Times, among others, reporting that director Christopher Nolan may use Zuccotti Park as a background for his latest Batman epic. They expect to be in New York by the end of the month. Suggestion - bring the biggest craft services table in film history.
And feminists hope we will not see more of this. Yes - in the spirit of the trashy "Girls Gone Wild" videos, but a little bit more artistic - "The Hot Chicks" - not that I know for sure - "The Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street". From activists to sex objects, it's all in the editing.
Michael Musto, columnist with The Village Voice, author of the book "Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back." No one else could possibly comprehend all of the angles offered by this topic, and so Michael joins us now. Good evening, my friend.
MICHAEL MUSTO: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Are you surprised that it's taken, like, a month and a couple of days for reality show producers to try to exploit this? I mean it has been a month and a couple of days.
MUSTO: I am surprised actually "Real World" is still on. I am going to protest that. But I am not surprised because TV producers, except for this show, are always really behind. But now everybody is jumping on this. I mean "Hoarders" wants activists who pile up their flyers and "Real Housewives" is looking for a rich, protesting, married woman who wants to redistribute her wealth. It's crazy. But the protesters have really good agents. They're saying no to everything.
OLBERMANN: What would Occupy "Real World" premise be? I mean - people come in, they say intelligent things to their housemates, and then some guy with muscles pepper sprays everybody and is defended by larger numbers of the public?
MUSTO: I think it would be five activists share an apartment, but they're never home because they're always out protesting, but the camera lingers on the apartment. It's really boring. Then Snooki wanders over as a guest star, looks for somebody to get drugs from or beat up or talk literature to. Nobody is there. Z, Z, Z, Z, Z. Stick with the sitcom.
OLBERMANN: Batman and Occupy Wall Street. Are the production values high enough for Hollywood in Zuccotti Park?
MUSTO: Oh, it's gorgeous, yeah.
OLBERMANN: How is this going to work? It seems like it's a contrary to all that's going on there.
MUSTO: Well, basically - first of all, it's gorgeous - it's like a Hollywood backdrop, it's like Studio 54 with a mission. But also, the protesters are the extras in this case because, you know - basically Christopher Nolan is going to use them as free extras in the background to keep the budget down. And I think a lot of directors are gonna kind of horn in. Anybody who needs a crowd scene. Madonna could probably work them into that Wallace Simpson movie. And, by the way, how happy are we that Madonna is behind the camera for a change? That's off topic.
OLBERMANN: That's fine. We appreciate those little drop-ins for those of us who aren't paying attention to the rest of the world. What is - can't you stop it if people are using you for backdrops in movies? I thought almost everything - you had to have a contract for almost everybody who appeared in a film, even in the background.
MUSTO: You can sue if you didn't sign a release. I've done that so many times and I've made so much money from doing that. Basically, I think the marchers will run away when they see Christian Bale. He is so scary.
OLBERMANN: There it is. The Occupy movement, obviously, this is opposed to corporate greed. So here are Hollywood and TV showing up? I mean, somebody is not hearing the other person in this equation, right?
MUSTO: Well, fighting corporate greed - like everything else in our society - is marketable. Remember in the '60s, there were all those movies about "Oh, we hate capitalism and we hate authority." Hollywood made a bundle off of them. Also, irony is another thing that's very rich right now. The New York Times today actually had a blog by two different people together saying there is too much hype around Occupy Wall Street. Publicity about how there is too much publicity.
OLBERMANN: After, of course all the qualms about, "There was no media attention," including comments that I made and the - after the Times originally dismissed the whole thing as garbage.
MUSTO: You and I were the only ones who even noticed this thing for the first week.
OLBERMANN: When we see the entertainment monolith move in the direction like a great glacier - a fast-moving one towards an object - everything piles in. We've got now a movie, an exploitation video and a TV show. Is there a musical in this?
MUSTO: Oh, sure. We Hate Corporate Greed: The Musical - $150 a ticket, champagne served on the aisle at intermission. Or, I don't know - a comic book? A loofah? A book called "Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back?"
OLBERMANN: Oh, very nice.
MUSTO: Anything. Bring it on.
OLBERMANN: How about this? Book of Mammon. And we could get Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells to just switch over after they - okay, I'll leave that to you. Michael Musto of The Village Voice and "Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back." Always a pleasure, sir. Thanks.
MUSTO: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for Wednesday, 384 days until the 2012 presidential election. I'm Keith Olbermann. Give yourself a round of applause, for getting through another day of this crap. Good night and good luck.