'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, October 20th, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: Moammar Gadaffi is still dead. #OWS is still the lead: Officer Bologna claims HE's the victim, he wasn't aiming spray at women
#ShowPlug 2: #OWS Investigating anti-semitism charges & their origin; dealing w/ neighbors, long-term planning. Guest:Rep. Jerrold Nadler
#ShowPlug 3: Michael Moore says he was going to quit doc films but #OWS has helped inspire him. Our guest: @MMFlint Michael Moore
#ShowPlug 4: + Michael on original issues: turns out POTUS behind Romney in Wall Street donations but for DNC, ahead of ALL GOP combined
#ShowPlug 5: GOP blamed Obama for Gadafi alive, blame him for Gadafi dead + Rubio lied about parents' exit from Cuba, w/ @BPShow Bill Press
#ShowPlug 6: Another one bites the dust: Cain explains 999 is really 999+, also that "everybody knows" gay is a choice. @RyanLizza joins me
#ShowPlug Last: Worsts: AP proves racism in So. Carolina Voter ID law; Republican Strategist applauds the article, and the law.
watch whole playlist
#5 'Occupy Wall Street', Rep. Jerrold Nadler
#5 'Occupy Wall Street', Michael Moore
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#4 'Paying Dividends?', Michael Moore
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Time Marches On!
#3 'No Credit', Bill Press
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#2 Worst Persons: Linda Thompson (D-PA), Sen. Jim DeMint, Wesley Donehue
#1 'Republican Follies', Ryan Lizza
printable PDF transcript
Categories: Show Transcripts
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
The Inspector who did that, insists he didn't intend to spray any women, acted with best intentions and complains, he is shell-shocked by the public response. The real victim here at Occupy Wall Street - Anthony Bologna. Policing itself.
Occupy again condemns "hate speech, discrimination, or violence of any kind." And says, "We are beginning to launch a legal investigation into charges of anti-Semitism leveled publicly in certain right-wing media outlets, and we will be investigating the sources of these claims with vigor."
In Des Moines, 32 arraigned and taking it very seriously.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOE FAGAN: I plead guilty to trespassing for being on the wrong side of some dotted line someplace. But I know in my heart that what I did was the right thing to do.
OLBERMANN: Occupy Wall Street, Day 34. Its future, its neighbors - with Congressman Jerrold Nadler. Its inspiration for filmmakers like Michael Moore, with Michael Moore. Moammar Gadhafi is still dead, and apparently killed by a Yankees fan. It is high, it is far, it is gone.
But not gone fast enough, soon enough, or whatever enough, for the Republicans.
(Excerpt from video clip) MARCO RUBIO: I criticize the President for - he did the right things, he just took too long to do it and didn't do enough of it.
OLBERMANN: And the Herman Cain Self-Destruction Tour continues. Nobody, he says, is born gay.
(Excerpt from video clip) HERMAN CAIN: We know that's not the case. I was born black - this doesn't wash off. I hate to burst your bubble.
OLBERMANN: And his "9-9-9" plan - raising taxes on 84 percent of American households? It has a secret extra facet that he won't tell anybody about yet. 9-9-9, eleventy billion? All that and more now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) MIKE MYERS: One hundred billion dollars!
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Thursday, October 20th, 383 days until the 2012 presidential election. Moammar Gadhafi is dead. Somehow it did not happen the way the Republicans wanted it do. We'll have their reaction and the latest, later in this news hour.
But the fifth story on the "Countdown" - Occupy Wall Street, the organization - dealing with the neighbors, saying "So long" to the drum circles, drawing up a decision-making structure and launching its own legal investigation into the right-wing smear that it somehow tolerates anti-Semitism, which it does not. All that - and the future of what's become a worldwide movement - in a few moments, with my guest, filmmaker and activist Michael Moore.
Starting in Zuccotti Park where, for the second time this week, representatives of the Teamsters Union urged protesters to join their picket line in front of Sotheby's Auction House. A handful did. While another faction marched outside of New York's Museum of Modern Art. Occupy Museums, declaring "It wants to take temples of cultural elitism back from the one percent." Steady, more people in those museums support this. Don't chase away your fans. And still another group of protesters marched outside the New York offices of Wal-Mart.
As diffuse as that sounds, Occupy Wall Street is trying to bring structure to its chaos - proposing a council comprised of "All working groups and caucuses, to make Occupy Wall Street more transparent, more accountable and functional." And striking a deal with the group that's been annoying the neighbors, especially at night - the drummers. They have reportedly agreed to move a couple of miles north, from Zuccotti Park to Manhattan's Union Square, in return for a little spare change - $8,000 worth - $8,000 for drum kits smashed or stolen two days ago. That may help improve relations with the neighbors.
As for relations with the public at large, Occupy Wall Street is taking seriously charges from conservative media and right-wing pundits that it tolerates anti-Semitism - a topic we debunked here on Tuesday - and that the group's press officer Bill Buster says that's now the subject of an internal legal investigation.
And - in case there are any doubts - Buster also released a statement today reading in part, "OWS does not condone or allow hate speech, discrimination or violence of any kind and condemns any such speech or behavior within its camps... Persons engaging in any discriminatory behavior are asked to leave the camps, and if needed, are escorted out of the camps by law enforcement."
Law enforcement of a different sense has not been always kind to Occupy Wall Street. While many street cops obviously sympathize with the movements, supervisors have been involved in some of the worst violence against demonstrators. The most notorious case in New York - Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, pepper spraying four women during a march on September 24th.
He's now reportedly told a local news website he has been "tortured" since the incident, complaining of threats to himself and his family and insisting that, "I did not intend to spray the women and acted with best intentions."
Bologna says he was trying to spray male protesters who were lying on the ground, trying to trip several cops. His explanation did not seem to impress the NYPD, which has fined him two weeks' pay. The Manhattan District Attorney is also investigating. No shock there. But a surprise here - a leading Congressional Republican says he agrees with the premise of the movement. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin telling a reporter this -
(Excerpt from video clip) PAUL RYAN: I don't disparage anybody who wants to air their grievances, petition their government. I'm not exactly sure what it is they are calling for. But if there's frustration aimed at crony capitalism and corporate welfare, at bailing out connected corporations, I agree with them.
OLBERMANN: By the way, Jack LaLanne there thinks he just got in a jab at President Obama.
Elsewhere in the Occupy movement, Occupy Vancouver, Canada became Occupy Bush for a day - you should excuse the expression - protesting George W. Bush's appearance at an economic summit there. Former President Clinton also scheduled to speak there. Ticket prices about $600 a person. At least four arrests in Minneapolis where Occupy Minnesota staged a camp-out protest against foreclosures outside a U.S. bank branch. The protesters refused to move after they were warned they would be arrested for blocking traffic.
In Oakland California, no problems with the authorities, in fact, Mayor Jean Quan marched in an Occupy protest last Saturday and says she understands free speech is "messy." Occupy also welcome, so far anyway, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Protesters camped outside Old City Hall have been told there are no local laws nor ordinances that prevent them from doing just that. Just don't damage the property or break any of the laws.
A different situation in Des Moines, 35 protesters arrested for refusing to leave the state Capitol's grounds in court. So far, four have pled guilty, including one protester named Joe Fagan who pled guilty with a conscience.
(Excerpt from video clip) FAGAN: I plead guilty to trespassing for being in the wrong side of some dotted line someplace. But I know in my heart that what I did was the right thing to do.
OLBERMANN: Joining me now here, the Congressman whose district includes Zuccotti Park, who's been outspoken in his support for Occupy Wall Street's constitutional right to - let me quote you - "Speak, protest and petition the government for redress of grievances" - Congressman Jerrold Nadler, the Democrat from New York. Good to see you, sir.
JERROLD NADLER: Good to be here.
OLBERMANN: Amid the potential for world change here, is perhaps - in an odd way - the lead issue right now this issue of the neighbors and how they are getting along with the folks in Zuccotti Park? Is it going well? Have you heard complaints?
NADLER: Well, there have been complaints from the beginning. It's inevitable. And I have taken a position from the beginning that we have to have a modus vivendi, that we want to protect the rights of the protesters to protest.
I think what they've done is very important for this country. They have succeeded, to a large extent, to change the debate from austerity, and how to reduce deficits, to pointing out that all of the benefits of the economy of economic progress in the last 20 years have gone to one percent of the population, that our big problem is joblessness. They've helped change the debate.
At the same time, people have a right - in the buildings surrounding the park - to sleep at night, not to have to walk through all kinds of problems. And we've - local elected officials and community-board people - have been working with the Occupy Wall Street people to try to develop a code of conduct, and to - to try to make sure that there can be a modus vivendni. Because we must protect both the right to protest and the right of the neighbors to leave in peace.
OLBERMANN: After the attempt at the clean-up last week, when the owner backed off at the last moment, the mayor hinted at negotiations. To your knowledge - other than the ones you have been involved in, in that kind of lower level, if you will - did the mayor, the owners, did they ever negotiate with Occupy? Is there some sort of long-term -
NADLER: I don't know that. There've been negotiations among elected officials - including the borough president, myself, some other local legislators and the community-board people - with the Occupy Wall Street people.
OLBERMANN: Let me ask you one more procedural question, because it's one I get, 34 days in - Zuccotti Park is public space, privately owned. What exactly is its status, and because of this odd, sort of - two places, you know, you can't be in two places at once - except in Zuccotti Park - what do the protesters' rights actually become then?
NADLER: Well it is public space, and because it was - as a condition of getting permission to do something there -
OLBERMANN: Zoning variance or something?
NADLER: Zoning variance or something - they had to maintain this as a public space at their - at their expense, in perpetuity. Actually their predecessor - I think they bought it and they got it - and it had to be open 24 hours a day. Now frankly, deals that were negotiated 15 years later can close at midnight or 1:00 A.M. But this can't. And the real-estate board thinks it should change. Maybe it should but certainly not in the context of this, of now - so that it would look like it was just an attempt to shut down these protests.
OLBERMANN: Well thanks for clarifying that. Let me get to a little bit more about what you are talking about - the importance of this. Did you expect, given the way things had turned in this country, almost any recent interval - five years, 10 years, two years - that something like this would not only occur but really take root quickly and become a part of the American consciousness as quickly as it has become?
NADLER: Well, I certainly expected that, at some point, there would be demonstrations of some sort. If you look at the history of the Depression, this takes after the Bonus March of 1931 - or '32, rather. There has to be at some point, because the situation is getting too onerous and not reflected adequately in the political system. So I didn't know what form it would take - or where it would take - but I expected that you would get some sort of demonstration somewhere.
OLBERMANN: Protesters and others involved in Occupy Wall Street have been almost deliberately trying to keep separate from the political system at this point. That may change. It may have to change as time goes by. But short of it changing, do you think they can actually influence anything that goes in Washington?
NADLER: Well I think they already have. As I said -
OLBERMANN: The talk certainly?
NADLER: I think they have changed the consciousness in the country, and helped change the entire debate from - only the debate about how to cut the budget and how to impose more austerity - to actually dealing with our really immediate problem, which is how to get down the 25 percent unemployment and underemployment rate, and how to deal with the fact that the progress in our economy over the last 20 years has all gone to one percent of the population, or two percent.
OLBERMANN: It is amazing - there was a study that was done on this - the terms "jobs, unemployment, occupy, and Wall Street" in the last two weeks have been used in the major television newscasts at something like 20 times the frequency they were in the preceding two weeks.
NADLER: Well, I think that they've accomplished that already. And I think that one characteristic, which has been commented on, of the Occupy Wall Street group has been its organizational lack of structure and that they didn't want a structure. But they are going to have to develop a structure, so that they can enforce an agreement to have no bongo drumming at midnight, if nothing else. And then they can decide whether they want to use that structure to make statements on behalf of a majority of the people or not.
OLBERMANN: Indeed. Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, of that district. Great, thanks for coming in.
NADLER: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: My next guest has been rallying against Wall Street and big finance for most of his public life. He's also rallied protesters in Zuccotti Park. Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore has made several trips to protest central. His film,"Capitalism, a Love Story" is a devastating indictment of the financial system that made Occupy Wall Street necessary, and his final peroration in that film could have served as its inspiration.
(Excerpt from video clip) MICHAEL MOORE: Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it, and replace it with something that is good for all people. And that something is called democracy... Crimes have been committed in this building. I am here to make a citizen's arrest. Please come down and step away from the building. Do not be afraid. Federal prison is a nice place... You know, I can't really do this any more, unless those of you who are watching this in the theater want to join me. I hope you will. And please, speed it up.
OLBERMANN: And with me now, filmmaker and activist Michael Moore. Good to see you, sir.
MOORE: Oh, thank you for having me.
OLBERMANN: Let me start there - never mind what it's done for the country, what has Occupy Wall Street done for you, Michael Moore?
MOORE: I was watching the end of my last film there. Right now, I was thinking, "This has created the end of the film that I wanted."
MOORE: That my appeal at the end of the movie was - that it wasn't - I was no longer going to be, you know, one of the few people out there. I have been saying this for over 20 years, since my first film - about corporate America, about Wall Street - and that, I'll join in if everybody else will get up off of the sofa, but I am not going to be the poster boy on Fox News any more and let them go after me every day, alone. There is going to have to be a million of me - or I'll be a million, or we will all be part of millions - and so they've written the, sort of, the end of the film. And, now a new thing has begun. So, this is all, I am very - I am very happy these days, because I think this is all positive motion in the right direction.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, when the polls come out and it says it's 57 percent of the country supports their point of view - that's not just a million people or people watching your film or whatever other number - that's 57 percent of the country saying, "No, you were right all along," or, at least, "We finally, figured out you were right all along."
MOORE: Right, and this is a movement that's just barely a month old.
MOORE: And 57 percent of the public is already - and as the Congressman said before me here, it has changed the conversation.
OLBERMANN: It certainly has.
MOORE: I can't even - when he said that - "We are not talking about the debt ceiling any more" - that's right. Boy, that's like - that seems like years ago. That is so off the map. They tried to make that the real top agenda item. But the real agenda item is what everyone is going through - the lack of jobs, the reduced income, reduced sick days, no health insurance, on and on and on.
These are all, now, going to be the issues for the next year, in the upcoming presidential election, and I am not worried about whether there is an organization or any of this, because - this is going to happen so organically, it already is, in hundreds of cities around the country - people are just going to rise up, and people who are watching us right now should really - don't wait around for, you know, Occupy Dubuque to come to you. You are Occupy Dubuque.
OLBERMANN: Exactly. You don't have to write in for membership. You don't have to collect box tops. You don't have to get a stamp. You don't have to get a permit. You don't have to get a license.
MOORE: No, there's no meetings you have to go to in the basement of the Unitarian church. There's no - there's nothing you have to do except - you're a citizen, and just get out of the house and be with other citizens, and we are going to - we are going to change the direction of this country, and it's going to happen fast.
OLBERMANN: By the way, you just flashed me back to my childhood in the basements of Unitarian churches. They are, though, trying - they are discussing if they need to have a super-structure for this thing. Is there a danger in it being any more formalized than it is right now?
MOORE: Yes. I don't think it should. I encouraged them. I just came from there.
MOORE: Ten minutes ago. I'm down there a lot. I put my two cents in. I have encouraged them that, don't fall for the trap that the mainstream media wants because they are demanding, "Who is the spokesperson here?" I tell them, "You are all the spokespeople." "Who is the leader here?" You're all - we're all - we, all of us, are the leaders.
And don't let this be a single-issue thing. Like, "Let's increase taxes on the rich." Well, yes, that's a good idea, and we should do that. Or, "Let's bring back Glass-Steagall." Yes, that's a good idea. But don't - don't let the framework of this movement be determined by what the media needs. Let it be what the people want. And there's all kinds of people down there wanting all kinds of things. And that's great. That's what it should be. And it should not lock on to any single issue.
OLBERMANN: Before we go to a break, and then continue on a couple of other topics, you said you weren't really going to do any more of this unless you were somehow inspired by other people. Does that mean there is a new film coming?
MOORE: I - I, um - honestly, I didn't think this would happen this soon. So, I was going to take a few years off, and I just wrote a book and was going to do a couple of other things. So yes, I am true to my word, and, yes, there is going to be another film - not on - not on Occupy Wall Street, but on the next thing that I want to do, to put out there, things that are not being covered. Is that broad enough?
OLBERMANN: Yes, that leaves you many different options in case the decision has not been made. Besides which, the makers of the next "Batman" movie have already decided to incorporate Occupy Wall Street, so you would be replicating the Batman people.
The stuff behind Occupy Wall Street obviously continues, uninterrupted. The Republicans attacking the millionaires' surcharge and the vice president doing a wonderful job of defending it. The president is now ahead of all Republicans combined in fundraising on Wall Street. Let's pick this up there after we have the quick break. We'll be back.
OLBERMANN: Turns out President Obama isn't trailing Mitt Romney in money raised from the financial sector. He leads all Republican contenders combined. The problem that poses for Occupy Wall Street and democracy, when we continue with Michael Moore.
Moammar Gadhafi is still dead. And Senator Marco Rubio is crediting France, rather than the president, making Rubio, I guess, a fan of those French "cheese-eating surrender monkeys."
Herman Cain's self-destruction tour continues, with the claim that gay is a choice. So, when he says that, he's not bashing gays. Plus, the word that the "9-9-9" plan has a secret fourth digit, a bonus number that he hasn't told anybody about yet.
And - not only going after abortion rights, but trying to make it illegal to talk about abortion over the Internet - the Senator from the 15th century makes it back to "Worst Persons," ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: One of our stories last night focused on one of Wall Street's responses to Occupy Wall Street - threaten Democrats who supported the movement with having their financial-sector donations cut off. We gave you the latest data - that while then-candidate Barack Obama got more dough from Wall Street than John McCain did in 2008, this year he's trailing Mitt Romney.
In our fourth story - new numbers from The Washington Post blowing that meme right out of the cash tub, and invoking fears that the President might listen way too much to the financiers. As we told you yesterday, the president has collected $3.9 million from the financial sector, which is a little over half of what Mitt Romney has collected from the financial sector. However - when you include the money from the financial sector raised by Obama for the Democratic National Committee - his total haul jumps to $15.6 million. Not just more than Romney, more than all of the GOP candidates combined. Back with Michael Moore. Does that statistic mean that Occupy Wall Street and those who support them should not rely on the president for anything?
MOORE: I don't think we do rely on him for this. In fact, at the General Assembly meeting last night, or the night before, this was discussed. And I think the general feeling that was voted on by the people there is that - we hold both the Democrats and Republicans responsible for this, and that - well, many people - we expect the Democrats to be better, we expect them to be a party of working people and traditionally, that's - you know, I see Franklin Roosevelt on your wall behind you there - that's, I think a lot of us maybe wish that he had come into office like Franklin Roosevelt. He didn't.
MOORE: And so they all feed at the same trough, and all this money has to be taken out - has to be taken out of the politics, has to be taken out of this - these politicians, by and large, are bought and paid for by the same people. And we're kidding ourselves to think that some are, you know, slightly better than others simply because - well, they do nicer things. And they do do nicer things, but ultimately - we're not going to fix the problem until we fix this particular part of the problem.
And, you know, I was thinking, it's like, well - what could President Obama do to, you know - and I am not, you know - look, the first month he came into office, he announced he was putting Larry Summers and Tim Geithner in charge. That was not only just a red flag, that was like telling everyone, "Sorry, sorry chumps."
OLBERMANN: A white flag was what it was.
MOORE: A white flag and "We are business as usual here." But you know what? If I were running for Congress next year - and by the way, I am not making an announcement -
OLBERMANN: Pitter-pat over here, yes.
MOORE: Although I do have fantasies of joining Al Franken some day. Just, I don't know - if not in the Senate, at least for a comedy routine. But if I were running for Congress next year - to get elected right now in this climate, to go out there and say, "I will not accept a single dime from Wall Street."
OLBERMANN: Yeah, Good luck.
MOORE: You know, but -
OLBERMANN: But how would you -
MOORE: How would you run your campaign?
MOORE: Whatever you are going to lose, dollars-wise, from that, you're gonna gain vote-wise. Once your constituents - you can do this on a local level. Harder, maybe, nationally - but on a local level, you can say to the people in your neighborhoods, "I will not take this money. I will not be bought by them. I will not be owned by them. I am going to do what's best for you." And mean it by showing it, by not taking a single dime of their money - I think that individual could get elected.
OLBERMANN: But ultimately - and you touched on it - I would suppose that, if either of us had the answer, we were running down to Occupy Wall Street or to Washington and doing it. But how - you raised that point - we have to get the money out of the process. How in the world do we begin to do that, let alone complete it?
MOORE: Well - see - right. The Catch-22 of this is - is that the people who have to pass the laws to take the money out are the people taking the money.
MOORE: But let me give you a good example of how this happened almost 100 years ago. Women couldn't vote. The only way they were going to get to vote is if men - and only men - voted to give it to them. Right? Not a single woman could vote to get women the vote. All right? But it happened, didn't it?
OLBERMANN: It did.
MOORE: So, this can happen, too. But these politicians, they are going to do - they want to stay in office. So ultimately, no matter how much money they get from X, Y, or Z, they need those votes. And if they get a sense that the people out there are not going to vote for anybody who is in the pocket of Wall Street, they are going to - they will flip the other way. They'll say, "You know what, we can do without this 10 grand, this 20 grand, you know, whatever we are taking from Citibank or the Citibank employees, because we are got to get a lot more votes by telling people we are not doing Citibank's bidding."
OLBERMANN: All right, the short-term stuff. I mentioned the - and obviously you pointed this out, Jerrold Nadler pointed this out - that OWS has put unemployment back in the forefront, where it's supposed to be. And the president and the vice president are trying to get the Jobs Bill passed one piece at a time. They are working on - and the vice president addressed this yesterday - The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, which has the surtax on millionaires. And the vice president went out. Here is the tape. I'm gonna want to ask you a question.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOE BIDEN: Are you going to put 400,000 schoolteachers back in classrooms? Are you going to put 18,000 cops back in the street and 7,000 firefighters back in the firehouses? Or, are you going to save people with average incomes of one million dollars a one-half of one percent increase in tax on every dollar they make over a million?
OLBERMANN: I understand, and always have, why Mitt Romney opposes that - because he's a millionaire. And many millionaires don't oppose it, but I understand why they do that. I don't approve of it, but I understand it. But once again, my favorite question - why do people who will never be millionaires in 12 lifetimes oppose that increase of that tax?
MOORE: Oh, you mean the average Americans?
MOORE: Oh, I'll tell you why. Because - you and I grew up in the same country here, and we grew up with the myth of Horatio Alger - that in America, anybody can make it. Anyone can be president, anyone can be a millionaire. And we are fed this, I mean, from the time we are little kids. And there is a certain altruism behind it - that what it wants to say is - is that we're all equals.
MOORE: And we all have an equal shot.
OLBERMANN: The opportunity is there.
MOORE: Yes. The reality though - and especially these days - is something far, far, far different. And I think less and less people are buying that. I don't think those out-of-work teachers, or nurses, or firemen and women - I don't think people buy that as much any more. I think you are going to see a shift. This is incredible when you think about it. We are not even 12 months away from last November's election, where the shift went the other way. I can't believe that, in less than 12 months time, that shift has gone the opposite - I mean the opposite - way.
And President Obama and the Democrats should get on board the train. Don't try and co-opt it, it's not yours. You know, the engine of that train are the people who are at all the Occupy movements, and who believe in - the 57 percent of the American public who believe in this Occupy movement. That's where the engine is. So, get on board or get out of the way. That's the message.
OLBERMANN: Michael Moore - look, one time you are going to have to come back and we talk about "Here Comes Trouble," your new book, actually talk about the book.
MOORE: I know. I'm on a book tour and never talk about my book, which is okay. I know you love to read on Friday nights.
MOORE: So, yes, I'll do that with you.
OLBERMANN: All right. Excellent. We'll see you then. In the interim, Gadhafi is dead, but apparently not dead enough, nor quickly enough, for the Republicans. The "We Can Complain About Anything" crowd does so, ahead.
OLBERMANN: Moammar Gadhafi is dead, but evidently not dead enough for Republicans' liking, or something. Details next.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date in 1882 was born the Hungarian film actor Arisztid Olt. He had to flee during political problem there, first to Germany - where he played Chingachgook in "The Last Of The Mohicans" - then to the U.S., where he got his first break in a 1927 stage adaptation of the Bram Stoker classic "Dracula." By then, Arisztid Olt had changed his name again, to something to honor his hometown of Lugos - Bela Lugosi.
"Time Marches On!"
We begin with the dog's life. This is Dagfinn. Dagfinn has found a stick. But Dagfinn can't - damn trees - can't seem to bring it home. D'oh. "Try using more force," his buddy tells him. That's what humans would do. Third time's a charm? No. Finally, Dagfinn gets some help from his human friend. Humans, dog's best friend.
Then to Bakersfield, California, where KBAK anchor Leyla Santiago is getting ready to interview the legendary actor and the great singer and activist Harry Belafonte.
(Excerpt from video clip) LEYLA SANTIAGO: Harry Belafonte joining us live this morning from New York. Hey, good morning, Harry. Harry, wake up. Harry, wake up, wake up.
OLBERMANN: They sound related. Well I guess it was a little early in the Day-O for Harry. Turns out it was actually a technical issue and Mr. Belafonte was meditating before his interview. But where else could we get use the Day-O joke?
"Time Marches On!"
I feel great shame. Fortunately, much tonight from the folks who feel none. Gadhafi was alive - that was Obama's fault. Gadhafi is dead - that, too turns out to be Obama's fault. Next.
OLBERMANN: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed today, eight months after coalition air strikes began there. Meanwhile - here, the dictator's death immediately set off a political battle. Guess what?
In our third story tonight - Republicans doing everything they can to avoid giving the president credit for Gadhafi's elimination. Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican of Florida on Fox today calling it a victory for the French and British militaries.
(Excerpt from video clip) MARCO RUBIO: Ultimately, this is about the freedom and liberty of the Libyan people. But let's give credit where credit is due - it's the French and British that led on this fight and probably even led on the strike that led to Gadhafi's capture or, you know, to his death.
OLBERMANN: After congratulating the French and British for their role in the mission, he criticizes the president for his.
(Excerpt from video clip) RUBIO: He did the right things, he just took too long and didn't do enough. We have a lot of people dead, a lot of young men who - instead of entering the workforce and helping rebuild Libya - have to go into rehab and recovery from their war wounds.
OLBERMANN: It wasn't the 40-year-long rule of a tyrant that left Libya in ruins with its young people injured and unemployed, it was President Obama.
By the way, late this afternoon Senator Rubio's creditability on everything sank. It was revealed he had embellished the story of his parent's exodus from Cuba - the polite word is "embellished," the real word is, he lied about it. We'll get to that in a moment.
First, meanwhile - also on Fox - Senator John McCain, the old friend of Mr. Moammar Gadhafi, using logic similar to Rubio's, as in - not at all logical - giving the French and British the credit for the mission's success, and the president the blame for how long it took.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOHN MCCAIN: Let me say, I congratulate the British and the French for their leadership and I appreciate the job the United States did in support. But this could have been over a lot earlier if we'd used United States air assets in the most-effective fashion.
OLBERMANN: Rick Perry, meanwhile, not even mentioning the president's role. He released a statement saying simple, "The death of Moammar el-Gadhafi is good news for the people of Libya. It should bring the end of the conflict there, and help them move closer to elections and a real democracy." We're next.
Mitt Romney, who previously accused the president of "leading from behind" - now having expressed support for the mission while avoiding questions about the president's role in it.
(Excerpt from video clip) MITT ROMNEY: Gadhafi, a terrible tyrant that killed his own people and murdered Americans and others in the tragedy in Lockerbie. The world is a better place with Gadhafi gone.
(Excerpt from video clip) REPORTER: Does the president deserve a measure of credit for that? Do you think?
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: Sure.
OLBERMANN: It's unclear whether that "sure" was even a response to the question. Politico reporting that - when he was again asked whether the president deserved credit - Romney said, "Yes, yes, absolutely," as he "darted out a back door."
Finally, Michelle Bachmann, who had repeatedly called the Libyan mission flawed - then again she also revealed at the last debate she had no idea that Libya was a country in Africa - she, today, taking the opportunity to give herself credit, praising Gadhafi's death and saying, "Hopefully, today will also bring to an end our military involvement there, something I opposed from its beginning."
Joining me from Washington, Bill Press, the host of "The Bill Press Show" and author of "Toxic Talk." Bill, good evening.
BILL PRESS: Hi, Keith. You know, you gotta admire these guys. They've been on every side of this issue, right? We should not have gone in, in the first place, we should have gone in sooner and we should not have been leading from behind and - when it's finally over - the British and French get the credit.
OLBERMANN: You can ratchet it up one more notch because, of course, McCain is complaining - McCain, again, old friend of Moammar Gadhafi - two years ago he went and saw him and said "What an interesting time with an interesting man."
He criticized Obama for taking eight months for this entire process - the completion of a mission - when wars started under Bush a decade ago are still in progress. It is rank hypocrisy from - I have to say this now, I don't think it has ever really dawned on me before - I think John McCain qualifies as the worst loser among our also-rans in presidential elections since 1900, probably.
PRESS: I know. You know, what's going on here, right, of course, is - everybody saluted McCain. He was the tough guy, right? He was the guy, he had the military experience.
PRESS: We couldn't trust Obama because he had not served in the military and he was going to be soft on terror, and it turns out that McCain and Cheney and Bush were the patsies when it comes to the war on terror and Obama is the killer. In fact, Keith, one reporter at the White House press briefing today suggested that Obama should have to give back his Nobel Peace Prize because he has killed too many people.
And so, you know, what it is - McCain, he is genetically incapable of really giving, and all of the Republicans - Obama any credit. When you look at the record, right? You look at Osama Bin Laden, you look at Moammar Gadhafi, you look at Anwar al-Awlaki. Obama has killed 1900 terrorist activists, right - terrorists in Pakistan - and Bush killed 52. Look at the record.
OLBERMANN: Well, that's because President Bush was a compassionate man, that what that was all about.
PRESS: Incompetent, I think, is the word.
OLBERMANN: We can argue about the premise of this being to the president's credit, or it being to his discredit, but what would happen if that point that you raised - about those statistics, about that performance - if Obama emphasized that in his campaign - that he's the leader of the nation and the military and the intelligence while these men were caught? What would the Republicans do then? Other than several of them would explode from the sheer irony of the thing?
PRESS: Well - look, I think it's perfectly legitimate for President Obama to talk about his record. That's what people do when they are running for re-election. And he's gonna to talk about his record on the economy. I think that's going to be the number-one issue. But he's going to talk about his record on foreign policy, and I don't think you can deny it. And I think you're right, I think Republican heads will explode on this.
And, you know, Keith, if you look at the difference, right? I think Obama can point this out - between the war in Iraq and this operation in Libya. Right? Iraq - almost entirely a U.S. operation, cost us trillions of dollars, over 5,000 Americans killed, still in there, eight years later - and then look at Libya, right? Where we went in in the beginning, but we were in cooperation with our allies, it was under the U.N. flag, NATO operations - countries - joined us in paying for it. Not one boot on the ground, not one life lost, and it's over in seven months. Now, you got Bush's way of making war or Obama's way of making war. I think it's a pretty good case for Obama to make.
OLBERMANN: I mentioned lastly - off topic - Marco Rubio's exaggeration problem. Flatly, The Washington Post caught him in a huge lie this afternoon. He's always said his parents fled Castro. It turned out the immigration records show - prove - that they moved here in 1956, while Castro was in exile in Mexico. That's basically all Rubio had. Can he still be the fair-haired token of the GOP at this point?
PRESS: You know, I gotta tell you - I always thought Marco Rubio was too good to be true. It turns out that he is, right? He is a - he is a phony. And, you know what he rode? He rode this wave - this virulent wave - of anti-maniacal, anti-Castro hatred in Miami, all the way to the U.S. Senate. And I think this lie - and you're right, it's a flat-out lie - he didn't come here because Castro took over. His parents came here - like a lot of other rich Cubans - to Miami, to live the good life before Castro took over. I think this destroys his chances for being a VP on the ticket. And I think it could really hurt, if not destroy, his chances of getting re-elected in Florida.
OLBERMANN: I think you are right. He is off by three years, it's not like a question of months and interpretation.
PRESS: No. Right.
OLBERMANN: Bill Press of "The Bill Press Show" and his book, "Toxic Talk." Great, thanks, Bill.
PRESS: You are a good man. Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The gloves come off for Mitt Romney in an ad against Rick Perry. The wheels come off for Herman Cain. He has a secret extra part to "9-9-9" which he has yet to reveal. Forty-two? Ahead.
OLBERMANN: Did you know that - not only is being gay a choice - but everybody knows it's a choice. So says Herman Cain. Plus, he has a secret plan to save us from his "9-9-9" plan.
First, the "Worsts" - "The Associated Press" explains how South Carolina's new ID law discriminates against African-Americans. This South Carolina Republican strategist greets the story with Twitter applause. He winds up explaining that the real race wars in this country are in Democratic primaries. Next on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Did you know Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan has a secret bonus number? He'll tell you what it is, but apparently not until after you elect him. Coming up.
First, because - like Mr. Cain - no matter how deluded these following folks are, they too will never become president, here are "Countdown's" nominees for today's top three "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze to Harrisburg, PA, Mayor Linda Thompson, who literally doesn't have a prayer.
Last June - or rather, this June - facing a 300 million dollar debt crisis, Mayor Thompson announced she had a solution - a three-day prayer fast. "Things that are above and beyond my control, I need God," she said at the time. "I depend on Him for guidance, spiritual guidance. That's why it's really no struggle for me to join this fast and prayer."
Pennsylvania's capital city has now filed for bankruptcy. Remarkably, it did not simply rain dollar bills, even after the prayer and fast.
The runner-up? The incredibly dense senator from South Carolina, Jim DeMint. He has tagged an ordinary piece of Senate legislation with an extraordinary amendment that doesn't just defund "Planned Parenthood," or permit federally-funded hospitals to refuse to save the lives of women at risk due to threatening pregnancies. This one would make it illegal for a doctor and a woman patient to discuss abortion in a video-conference over the Internet. Seriously. Think of the implications for women in rural areas, or those who are bedridden, or need a specialist in another city. It's not just anti-choice, it's anti-freedom of speech.
I don't know what country Jim DeMint thinks he's living in, but it clearly is not America.
But our winner? Wesley Donehue, political strategist for the South Carolina State Senate Republican Caucus, and racist.
The Associated Press put out a story yesterday about the new voter ID law there, that would have the worst impact on black voters, and address the virtually non-existent problem of people voting who should not. This is the great Republican paranoia, which is actually an excuse to charge people who can't afford it a fee to get an ID of some kind, before they can vote. It's a modern poll tax, as Jim Crow as anything real Jim Crow ever was.
And Donehue, defended it on Twitter. "Nice! @jimdavenport_ap proves EXACTLY why we need Voter ID in SC." Mr. Donehue promptly got fricasseed on Twitter, appropriately enough, for praising the article's conclusion that the law - and the people behind it - are guilty of racial discrimination.
And watch this sequence of follow-up, brain-dead assumptions in other tweets:
"@jimdavenport_ap says that nearly half of Benedict College students don't have state ids.
@jimdavenport_ap fails to mention that nearly 1/2 of Benedict students are from another state.
So @jimdavenport_ap has proved that a bunch of non-South Carolinians are voting in SC elections. Did they vote in other states too? Fraud!"
You follow that? Because the number of students at a school with no ID are close to the number of students at the same school who are from out of state, all the ones with no ID must be from out of state!
Let me apply Davenport's Cro-Magnon logic to a different topic. There are 12 inches in a foot. One foot is a ruler. Queen Mary was a ruler. Queen Mary was also a ship. Ships sail the sea. There are fish in the sea. Fish have fins. The Fins fought the Russians. The Russians are red. Fire engines are always rushin'. Therefore, fire engines are red.
Donehue, nearly crushed by the incoming tweetage, finally gave up. "It's been fun arguing with all you liberals, but I have to get back to work now." Later he added: "For the record, some of the most racist people I know are Democrats. The real race wars happen in Democrat primaries."
That's an actual leading Republican in South Carolina. I wonder if he lives indoors. Wesley Donehue, South Carolina State Senate Republican Caucus political strategist - and now you know where clichés like "Cletus, the Slack-Jawed Yokel" come from - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: Robert E. Lee is supposed to have said, of the parade of incompetent union generals the North vested with supreme power on the field against him, "I'm afraid they are going to keep making these changes until they get someone I don't understand." In our number-one story in the "Countdown" - in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, I don't know who plays Lee, but the role of the lead Northern general has been preformed successfully by Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, and now Herman Cain. And I'm afraid they are going to keep making these changes until they get someone I don't understand and who doesn't destroy himself. Mr. Cain on homosexuality on CNN:
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: I think it's a sin because of my biblical beliefs and, although people don't agree with me, I happen to think that it is a choice.
(Excerpt from video clip) PIERS MORGAN: Do you believe that?
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: I believe that.
(Excerpt from video clip) MORGAN: You believe people - seriously, you think people get to a certain age and go, "I think I want to be homosexual."
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: Let me turn it around to you, what does science show? You show me evidence other than opinion, and you might cause me to reconsider that.
OLBERMANN: Worse yet, perhaps, Mr. Cain thinks that attitude of his is enlightened - and not prejudiced or harmful.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: That being said, I respect their right to make that choice. You don't see me bashing them or anything like that. I respect the right to make that choice. I don't have to agree with it, that's all I am saying.
OLBERMANN: The host then compared it to a person deciding his own race.
(Excerpt from video clip) MORGAN: It would be like a gay person saying, "Herman, you made a choice to be black."
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: We know that's not the case. You know I was born black.
(Excerpt from video clip) MORGAN: Yes, maybe if they said that, you would find it offensive.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: Piers, this doesn't wash off. I hate to burst your bubble.
OLBERMANN: Speaking of bubbles - Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan. Independent economists say it will raise taxes on 84 percent of Americans household, especially poorer ones, so Cain explains he simply hasn't told us the whole "9-9-9" plan from outer space.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: We do want to help those that are doing all they can to help themselves, but they might need a little bit of help. But we've already made provisions for that. But I just haven't told the public and my opponents about it yet.
OLBERMANN: It's a secret. Joining me now, Ryan Lizza, the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker magazine. Good evening, Ryan.
RYAN LIZZA: Hey Keith. How are you?
OLBERMANN: Let's start with "Plan 9-9-9 from Outer Space," on Bela Lugosi's birthday. It's been pointed out that Mr. Cain really doesn't have much detail on this. But, has any politician succeeded with a secret plan since Richard Nixon said "If you'll like me, I know how to end the war in Vietnam. I'm just not gonna tell you about it up front."
LIZZA: No, and this is the - the is the second time Cain has come out with - or told us - that he's got something in the works, but that it's a secret. He's got two Fed nominees that he has, but he won't tell the public who they are.
I mean in a sense, this is all sort of unfair, though. Right, Keith? I mean, Herman Cain is not running for president. He's running for a Fox show and for increased speaking fees. And so, the poor guy finds himself like, you know - like the proverbial puppy that caught the car. All of the sudden he's the front-runner in this race and he is having to answer serious questions, his plan is getting serious scrutiny. And we are watching someone who jumped into this race for reasons completely other than, you know - than being the leader of the free world - suddenly get treated like a serious candidate. I frankly doubt that Herman Cain ever thought he would be in this position.
OLBERMANN: Explain that - because a lot of people would think that's a conclusion, but it's based on some really hard, fundamental evidence, like - he doesn't really have campaign organizations in key states. Right?
LIZZA: Yeah. You know, some of his campaign staffers have left, they've been talking to a lot of reporters about what it was like in the Cain world. And right, he has no staff - or very, very skeletal staff - in the key, early states. He hasn't filed to be on the ballot in some key states. Right? You know, this is a process where you are supposed to win delegates. You have to be on the ballot to actually - you know, to actually run. And he hasn't really been campaigning. He's been on the - on the speaking circuit. He hasn't been campaigning in these early states, the people don't really know him.
So now, he is - at least according to some polls - the front-runner, maybe things are changing. maybe he is trying to build an organization, professionalize the staff a little bit more, actually put some flesh on this ridiculous "9-9-9" plan that all of us in the press - you know, legitimately, we have a responsibility to cover this thing seriously, the guy is the front-runner in the race. But I don't think he - or any of us - ever believed he would be in this position and, frankly, a few weeks from now, I don't think we will be talking about Cain any longer.
OLBERMANN: One detail, apparently, got out of the secret part of the plan. It was reported on Fox that he wants to have opportunity zones in which he would eliminate the minimum wage. How well - I mean, business will love that - but how well, with the general public, will the idea of eliminating the minimum wage in any part of this country actually work?
LIZZA: I mean, look - considering that the last 10 years, the people at the bottom of the income scale have fared the worst, it's a really bad idea. So, I don't really see that getting past Congress, either.
But again it's - you know, it's almost like the joke's on us, Keith, because this is someone who is - all of the political attention right now is in vetting and having serious critiques and actually taking seriously his ideas which - it seems like, you know, he came up with late one night at a bar and wrote on a cocktail napkin.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, it's the price of tuna. Washington correspondent for The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza. Thanks, Ryan.
LIZZA: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for Thursday, 383 days until the 2012 presidential election. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.