'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, October 24th, 2011
Special bonus podcast and YouTube (Late Show with David Letterman)
#ShowPlug 1: 1st Crack In The Ice: DA, Police in Albany NY resist pressure by Governor Cuomo, Mayor, to arrest #OccupyAlbany
#Show Plug2: DA David Soares joins me. 130 arrests at #OccupyChicago - @NurseJanIAm Jan Rodolfo recojnts events. #OWS buys pizza for cops
#ShowPlug 3: Latest Right Wing Smear: Occupy a front group for the Islamic Brotherhood. No, I'm not kidding. W/ @GregMitch of @TheNation
#ShowPlug 4: Hot off the presses. Not 6 weeks in, and #Occupy already has a book. Author @Will_Bunch on "The Battle Of The Brooklyn Bridge"
#ShowPlug 5: Perry flirts with birthers, Bachmann flirts with Blanche Dubois Health Care. @NiaWaPo Malika-Henderson on GOP '12 race
#ShowPlug 6 Worsts: NJ mayor says male prostitute has photos of him cause somebody slipped into hotel room + took them while he was asleep
#ShowPlug Last: + In a campaign of endless gaffes, Herman Cain gives us his greatest: What he reveals he doesn't know about our government
watch whole playlist
#5 'Occupy Wall Street', David Soares
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#5 'Occupy Wall Street', Jan Rodolfo
#4 'Smearing Occupy', Greg Mitchell
#3 'View from the Bridge', Will Bunch
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Time Marches On!
#2 Worst Persons: Chris Myers, FOX & Friends, Herman Cain
#1 'GOP Circus', Nia-Malika Henderson
printable PDF transcript
Categories: Show Transcripts
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
The first crack - police in Albany, New York refuse to arrest Occupy protesters, ignoring pressure from New York State Governor Cuomo, and the city's mayor. Downstate, pizza for the police. Occupy Wall Street gets savvy with the photo-ops. And the anchovies. Anger in Chicago, 130 arrested.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: The Occupation is not leaving!
OLBERMANN: Including nurses, held overnight.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: Why would you arrest us? We're fighting for your pension.
OLBERMANN: Eleven more arrested in Cincinnati, but no arrests after domestic terrorism in Portland, Maine. A driver circles Occupy Maine - calling them communists, telling them to get jobs 00 then he throws a chemical bomb into the protest camp. And the ultimate endorsement at Occupy Wall Street - Pete Seeger.
(Excerpt from video clip) PETE SEEGER: I could be happy spending my days/On a river that flows both ways.
OLBERMANN: The newest smear: Occupy Wall Street is a front group for - the Muslim Brotherhood. Who says so? This cretin does:
(Excerpt from video clip) TOM TRENTO: Be aware, we have Islamic, Sharia-compliant involvement now in these Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Orlando, Occupy events.
OLBERMANN: His proof? There was an Arab-American lawyer volunteering at Occupy Orlando. Like I said - the guy's a cretin. Speaking of which, the GOP 2012 Daily Comedy Hour. She says, "Repeal health-care reform, replace it with charity hospitals." He says he's not sure if President Obama was born here. But our winner - he says he would sign a constitutional amendment to ban abortion.
(Excerpt from video clip) HERMAN CAIN: Yes. Yes I feel that strongly about it. You know, if we can get the necessary support and it comes to my desk, I'll sign it. That's all I can do. I will sign it.
OLBERMANN: If you ever took social studies in middle school, you're already laughing, right? Hermie there, he never took social studies. We'll explain an amazing gaffe from a man that says he wants to be president, ahead. All that and more, now on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Monday, October 24th, 379 days until the 2012 President election.
A weekend of arrests saw Occupy protesters jailed for trespass and other, mostly minor, offenses around the country, with one major exception - New York state's capital of Albany. There, city and state police chose not to arrest hundreds of protesters camping near in a park near the State Capitol Building and City Hall. A very different case in Dallas today, where protesters were hauled off to jail for blocking a bank entrance.
The fifth story on the "Countdown" - Occupy protesters, starting in Zuccotti Park, have repeatedly expressed their support for the police, often chanting, "We're fighting for your pensions, too," with many protesters adding that street cops themselves have often expressed support for the movement.
In Albany on Saturday morning, no verbal support from police. No arrests either. A local paper, The Times Union, is reporting that state police were prepared to make mass arrests to protesters for trespassing in a city-owned park, until city police refused to make arrests for trespassing, reportedly in part because they feared a backlash from protesters in Albany and elsewhere.
This, despite further reports of pressure from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings to make those arrests. We'll sort this out, hopefully in a few moments, with David Soares, the Albany county District Attorney.
In Chicago, protesters affiliated with the National Nurses United Union marched today to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office to protest the arrest of 130 Occupy demonstrators yesterday morning for refusing to leave Grant Park. Police tore down the protesters' medical tent in the park and arrested medics and two nurses, including Jan Rodolfo, Midwest Director for The National Nurses Union. Jan Rodolfo will be our guest a little later in the news hour.
As we reported at the start, there were more violent arrests in Dallas today - at least 23 Occupy protesters, dragged to jail after having blocked a Chase Bank branch.
In New York, the shears were out in Zuccotti park, and the clippers. Protesters were asked to come down in their suits and get a haircut. The mass snipping symbolizing the hair cut banks should take in profits, in order to write down loans for homeowners facing foreclosure. After the trimming, the marchers headed to the Wall Street bull - the bull on Wall Street, not the bull of Wall Street - for a pizza party with police. Demonstrator Daniel Thorson admitted the desperate dark truth - this was a photo op.
(Excerpt from video clip) DANIEL THORSON: It was kind of just a spectacle to attract attention and, you know, just have some fun.
OLBERMANN: But as Occupy Wall Street later tweeted :"NYPD motorcycles, all officers have left. No arrests, professional and courteous treatment of marchers. Pizzas still MIA... "
They should have ordered them Friday night - when the legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, age 92, joined the crowd in Zuccotti Park, along with Woody Guthrie's folk-singer son, Arlo.
And while last week's poll showed strong support for Occupy Wall Street across the country, adults in the latest CNN poll appear to be split on the movement. Not so the people whose actions led to the movement - Wall Street brokers and bankers.
According to CNN's poll, just 32 percent of adults have a favorable view of Occupy Wall Street. A previous poll showed 57 percent favorably. Twenty-nine percent unfavorable in the CNN poll, 26 percent said they've never heard of it. Thirteen percent said they've heard of it, but have no opinion.
Same can't be said for Wall Street bankers and brokers. Eighty-two percent agreed, as a group, that the protesters were intelligent. Eighty percent said they were greedy, 77 percent overpaid. Excuse me, these are descriptions of bankers and brokers. A measly 24 percent thought they might be community-minded. Not shown, 11 percent believed they were better investment than hog futures.
Elsewhere around the Occupy movement, a chemical bomb in a Gatorade bottle was thrown at the Occupy Maine protesters in a Portland park on Sunday morning. At least one protester temporarily lost hearing in her left ear. No other injuries reported.
Witnesses claim a silver car circled the area before the attack, while the people in the car shouted "Get a job!" and "You communists!"
In Philadelphia, at least 15 protesters arrested Sunday when they refused to move from the camp in front of the police administration building.
In Cincinnati, 11 protesters arrested yesterday and charged with criminal trespass for refusing to leave the city's famed Fountain Square.
In Cleveland, another 10 arrests when protesters linked arms in Public Square. City officials said they needed the square cleared for the annual Winterfest. It's October 24th.
In Oakland, protesters marched Saturday in defiance of an undated city eviction notice.
And in Sydney, Australia, at least 40 more arrested before dawn Sunday, after they blocked a plaza in the city's central business district.
All this as a Long Island, New York couple has applied to the New York patent office, in hopes of trade marking the name Occupy Wall Street. According to the Smoking Gun website, the couple hopes to slap that name on "bumper stickers, shirts, beach bags, foot wear, umbrellas and hobo bags." And MTV has announced to film a "True Life" special: "I Am Occupying Wall Street in Zuccotti Park."
Let's start in Albany, New York tonight and the story of the arrest that did not happen Saturday morning. I'm joined by Albany County District Attorney David Soares. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
DAVID SOARES: Thank you for having me, Keith.
OLBERMANN: You reportedly spoke with police officials over the weekend over your concerns regarding prosecutions of peaceful protesters. Is that report correct? And if so, what were your concerns?
SOARES: That report is correct and, quite frankly, the concern was law enforcement, locally, sparking greater interest and sparking, quite frankly, a fuse that we wouldn't be able to control. And therefore, we decided to apply a different strategy, which was to engage the protesters, maintain open lines of communication and hope for the best. And thus far, the protests have been taking place in Albany, things have been fine. And the relationships couldn't be better.
OLBERMANN: Is that the same report - from the Albany paper - of pressure to make arrests, from the mayor's office and the governor's office, is that report correct, to your knowledge?
SOARES: There's words to that effect, as far as pressure being put on local law enforcement. However, I can say - from the perspective of the District Attorney's office - I received no calls and there were no pressures being put on me. However, I do understand that there had been some pressure. From where that pressure was coming from, I can't speak to that.
OLBERMANN: But the police held off for tactical reasons? Is that fair to say? They had a separate set of reasons beyond yours?
SOARES: Well, I had reached out to our local chief and, of course - the local police department here, the Albany police department has been - they have been working very aggressively at improving their relationships with the community. And they have, and they were concerned that this directive would have, of course, compromised all of the efforts they had been making in that regard. And during that - the course of that conversation - I did inform them that we would decline to prosecutor any of the cases that would be - any of the arrests, based upon the fact that - unless there were injuries to police officers, or damages to property, then the people should be allowed to protest and exercise their First Amendment right.
OLBERMANN: On the whole, Mr. Soares, was this an instance of common sense overcoming pressure, or was that too simplistic?
SOARES: Well, that may be too simplistic, but, you know - in Albany,New York, we're accustomed to dealing with protests and protesters all the time. We also have several universities, colleges nearby and our concern was - if we, in fact, you know, began to arrest people, and the media was capturing images of grandparents or children being hauled off to jail, this might spark more people onto the streets.
And, of course, that hasn't happened. The protesters have been fine. We have been maintaining a great dialogue with the organizers and - for the most part - a lot of credit should go to the organizers for maintaining a wonderful protest, and there has been no violence. There's been no reports of any kind of mishap, and we're fine with it.
OLBERMANN: Is there - do you look at - afar, from your vantage point - at other cities and other places where this process has not played out this smoothly, and it seems that, perhaps, that kind of judgment has not been applied, people have gone solely by the book rather than understanding what the book is for?
SOARES: Absolutely. And I think that - I think their law enforcement in those communities understand, too, the risks associated with engaging protesters and engaging in this process. And I think that - behind the scenes - law enforcement will tell you that this would not be the approach that they would take, if given the choice. And here in Albany, there was discussions prior to the event, and I believe that we - we've made the correct choice, and we're receiving the benefits of that, so to speak.
OLBERMANN: The Albany county District Attorney, David Soares. Congratulations on making news for not making news, and thanks for some of your time tonight.
SOARES: Thank you, sir.
OLBERMANN: A different story entirely in Chicago, police cracked down on Occupy protesters in Grant Park Sunday, arresting at least 130 of them. Among those arrested, two nurses from the National Nurses United Union, including its Midwest director Jan Rodolfo who joins us now from Chicago. Thank you for doing so.
JAN RODOLFO: Thank you for bringing the voice of nurses to the country, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Tell me the story - why you were arrested, and how you were treated after you were arrested?
RODOLFO: We set up a medical station in Grant Park. We had been there the week before and watched the arrests happen and felt that it was important that there be basic medical care available to protesters. And so, we felt that it was necessary to be there, and nurses rallied to our cry to have nurses volunteer to come out and provide medical care.
OLBERMANN: And the arrests happened how?
RODOLFO: The arrests happened when the 11:00 PM park curfew was reached. Police began making a final announcement that people had to clear the park, and made clear to us that they - that if we refused to remove the medical tent and take all of the medical supplies out - that they would dismantle the tent and that there would be arrests. And we feel - much like medics in a combat-type situation - that the moment where things get tense, or where the danger increases, or there is a possibility of arrest is really when we need to be there more than ever. Where there's a possibility of people needing that medical care. So, we were not willing to deny protesters the right to medical care.
OLBERMANN: So, whatever you think of the protests personally, you weren't there as a protester, per se? You were there as a nurse and so were your colleagues? Correct?
RODOLFO: Right, we were there as nurses, though we do support the Occupy movement and Occupy Chicago wholeheartedly, very inspired by them.
OLBERMANN: Do you plan to go back?
RODOLFO: Absolutely. I think we feel a stronger resolve after this, and really believe that Occupy Chicago and the Occupy movement represent the possibility of changing the whole narrative in the country. And actually, we believe that the 99 percent out there are suffering, and we see it all the time, at the bedside as nurses. And we see this as a best chance to actually change that narrative.
OLBERMANN: You heard that Albany story with the district attorney of Albany county who explained why - no matter what the pressure might have been to make those arrests and such - it made no sense to him, and it seemed to be just a fundamental violation not just of the letter of the law but the spirit of the law. It seems that every time a community or police department hasn't assessed things in that way, they've only managed to give more credibility and inspire more people to join this movement. It's almost - are you in the position of almost rooting for the police in Chicago to do the wrong thing and arrest everybody again?
RODOLFO: No, but I really do think that - that the Occupy movement is galvanizing so many people out there who are suffering and who have felt no hope up until now. They are suffering, at home alone, feeling that it's their fault that they can't afford their student loans or that they've lost their job or they're facing a foreclosure. When the police crack down on protesters, I believe it does cause the whole country to rally in the defense of protesters.
OLBERMANN: As with Mayor Bloomberg in New York, Mayor Emmanuel of Chicago has said the city has - he used the term "balancing act" - and "has to enforce the law as well as respect people's First Amendment rights." I quoted him directly there. Do you think at your arrest and the other ones yesterday were balanced or showed respect for the First Amendment?
RODOLFO: Absolutely not. Rahm Emanuel apparently believes that First Amendment rights end at 11:00 PM in the city of Chicago. We think that constitutional rights extend 24/7 and that people should have the right to protest and raise their voices and to reflect the anger and suffering that are out there across the country. Other mayors - in Albany, as you mentioned - have figured out a way to do it. And It's time for Rahm Emanuel to let there be a long-term encampment in Chicago.
OLBERMANN: Jan Rodolfo of the Registered Nurse and Midwest director of National Nurses United, great, thanks for your time.
OLBERMANN: In its rush to serve its corporate masters, the far right will claim anything. Last week, as you may recall, Occupy was racist and anti-Semitic. Today, turns out it's a front for an Islamic terrorist group. Because some putz in Orlando says it is. Details next.
OLBERMANN: Remember this guy? Joe Miller is back from his Alaskan obscurity to push the latest smear against Occupy Wall Street. It's a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. And it's anti-Semitic. And it's racist. So they only like, who - the guys in the tea party?
Day 38, there's already a book on Occupy. Well, a Kindle book. Well, a Kindle "single." Will Bunch joins me about "The Battle of the Brooklyn Bridge."
Grasping at the last straw, Rick Perry flirts with birthers and crackpot Bible salesmen. And the Republican mayor who explains that he didn't give the male prostitute this photo, somebody sneaked into his hotel room and took it while he was sleeping - "Worst Persons" ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Last week, Occupy Wall Street was a haven for anti-Semites and it was full of racists. In our fourth story tonight - when those didn't stick, the right wing pulled out a far-more-familiar smear, this time by calling it a front group for radical Islamists. Starting in Occupy Orlando, where conservative activist Tom Trento is claiming that the peaceful movement is, in fact, backed by violent fundamentalists.
(Excerpt from video clip) TOM TRENTO: Be aware we have Islamic, Sharia-compliant involvement now in these Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Orlando, Occupy events. Serious, serious transition in a bad direction.
OLBERMANN: His evidence of things Sharia-compliant involvement is the presence of a Muslim-American lawyer named Shayan Elahi. Mr. Elahi is a legal observer for the movement, also the affirmative-action chair for the local Democratic Party. When he asked Trento to stop harassing protesters, Trento responded with characteristic venom.
(Excerpt from video clip) SHAYAN ELAHI: Go ahead, just don't push things into people's faces.
(Excerpt from video clip) TRENTO: We can do whatever we want.
(Excerpt from video clip) ELAHI: Well, don't push into people's faces. We're going to tell the cops.
(Excerpt from video clip) TRENTO: Tell them what you want, you know? Get lost. Get lost. Get lost. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
OLBERMANN: The guy's name is Tom Trento, and he's a jackass. Elahi telling The Florida Independent that - after the incident - he was simply "volunteering [his] legal services as another just another proud American and a member of the movement." The idea that a Muslim American could be a patriotic volunteer is apparently enough to send the right-wing blogosphere into convulsions, more so than usual.
The Tea Party Tribune - I think they took over for the World Herald Telegraph Tribune - ran this headline: "JIHAD ALERT: Is the Muslim Brotherhood directing Occupy Orlando?" Answer is no.
Town Hall, another major right-wing blog with no conscience has this one, "The latest edition to Occupy Wall Street? Radical Islamist group CAIR." The answer to that is no.
And then there's Glenn Beck's The Blaze, which I'm beginning to believe is a parody website like The Onion. It offered this insightful analysis: "They say one can a lot about people by the company they keep... What does the Council for American Islamic Relations endorse of Occupy Wall Street ... tell us about ... the Occupy protesters?" That you should remember that things with the word Islamic in it are not necessarily bad. No, no, I'm sorry, I got it - that I should buy more gold.
One Muslim leader involved in the protest here in New York said Friday this kind of racism is one of the reasons his group became involved in the movement.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: We also are suffering, suffering racism and discrimination. Islam-bashing is on the increase.
OLBERMANN: Joining me now, Greg Mitchell, who maintains The Nation's Occupy U.S.A. blog. Good to see you, Greg.
GREG MITCHELL: Happy to be here.
OLBERMANN: Did this Trento dream this up all by himself? It seems like it's bigger than his ability to handle it. Or is there somebody behind it who pushed this thing out? How did it get started?
MITCHELL: Well, I'm not sure it was Breitbart, but there's certainly plenty of candidates on the right to do that. This has been, as you pointed out, this has been an escalating campaign.
We had The New York Post today claiming that shootings were up all over New York ever since the Occupiers took root there, and the police have been diverted to other duties. So, we can expect this. I don't think it's particularly sticking so far. You mentioned the CNN poll. There is Pugh poll today, which also showed favorable view of Occupy and contrasting it to an unfavorable view of the tea party. So, I think a lot of these people are getting desperate for anything.
OLBERMANN: I was going to say, because we moved so quickly from - "Oh, it's anti-Semitism and racism," which was like last Thursday when that, sort of, came out - to now, this - this, it appears over the weekend. It was picked up, by the way - we just sort of surfed the top, kind of, responses, although all the right-wing nuts went on this on radio today. They're good at smears. They're good at propaganda. They're good at managing and massaging a message. These are such wild claims, so thinly sourced, and they seem to come and go fairly quickly. Does that underscore the relative popularity of this movement, and how it must have just destroyed the right wing's world view? There's no chance this could succeed from the right wing's point of view.
MITCHELL: Well, I think it's too big. I think it's different. It's been hard to - to paint this as a minority kind of movement. There are too many people involved - too many people potentially - and that's the problem. They're - as big as the protests have been, they could escalate. You know, we've got the Marines now, joining with their official site, and a very active group. We've seen police groups. Obviously, the nurses - a very moving and very large group involved - all of the labor support.
So, they've really only touched the tip of the iceberg so far. And I think that's really what the right wing is afraid of, is that there is something to this 99 percent. They're not going to get 99 percent out there, but they might get 59 percent or 69 percent.
OLBERMANN: Is there anything else? We've run through anti-Semitism, racism, their secret Islamic brotherhood, sisterhood, fraternity - whatever it is. All of these things have already come and, to some degree, gone. Is there anything else in the pipeline that we're aware of? Are there any other broad smears, or something like - they caused the Boston Red Sox collapse, or something else in here that we don't know about?
MITCHELL: Maybe they are affecting the front-runners in the GOP race. They're sabotaging each of these really strong candidates that have come along. So, I don't know.
You know, I think you're just going to see a lot more of this - or, each possible issue, each possible smear they can throw at them. And I think what people have to remember is that this is a real national movement - forget even the global components - a national movement. So yes, you're always going to have some extremists around the fringe of any large group, any large march, any large guys - it's going to be easy to get - to stick a microphone in someone's face and get a whacky quote. Always been true, always will be true.
But, besides the big encampment in New York, there's encampments all over the country. And it's really not only unfair but morally wrong to paint the whole movement with a couple of whackos that you can find.
OLBERMANN: Do you think there is any kind of recall on the part of those people who would have been hearing these claims on right-wing radio, or somewhere else in the right-wing blogosphere, that this is - their response when accusations were made about racism and other flaws within the tea party -
OLBERMANN: Was to say, "Well, even if that's true it's just a few of them." Is anybody remembering that was their defense that they are now using as the reason to paint everybody with the same brush?
OLBERMANN: Well, the other thing I would point out is that - you know, in polls of actual tea party people, they were finding a lot of extremist views, including 50 percent birthers, you know, 50 - half of them saying that Obama was born - wasn't really an American. That was not the fringe, that was mainstream tea party. So, there is a little difference there, in terms of, you know, the center and the extreme.
OLBERMANN: Agreed, but it's still the same - their defense last year has become something to ignore this year.
MITCHELL: Right. Right. Yes, absolutely.
OLBERMANN: I am sure that didn't register at all with any of them. It's a complicated idea, like three plus five equals - I can't remember.
Greg Mitchell, who runs the Occupy U.S.A. blog at The Nation, good to see you.
MITCHELL: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Not six weeks in, and there's already a book about the movement. Fittingly, it's an eBook, and also fittingly, it costs less than a dollar - since you don't have a spare dollar. Next, on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Even after the pepper spraying of four defenseless women in downtown New York on September 24, Occupy Wall Street did not come to the forefront of discussion until October 1st. That's when New York police arrested 700 protesters, who they seem to have baited into an off-limits area of the Brooklyn Bridge. In our third story on "Countdown" - four women sprayed is a viral video. Seven hundred people arrested is a national television news story, and worthy of a name and - 23 days later - an eBook, "The Battle of the Brooklyn Bridge." Author Will Bunch joins me in a second.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: The whole world is watching!
OLBERMANN: If police thought the crackdown would stifle protests, they badly miscalculated. The scene on the bridge helped to elevate what had been - to some degree - an idiosyncratic, local affair into a national and global movement. Let's bring in Will Bunch, senior writer for The Philadelphia Daily News and author of "October, 2011: The Battle for the Brooklyn Bride." Good evening, Will.
WILL BUNCH: Hey, Keith. Boy, things have really changed for Occupy Wall Street since the first time we talked, haven't they?
OLBERMANN: Yes, just a little bit.
BUNCH: Just a little bit, yeah.
OLBERMANN: I want to get to the eBook, or the Kindle single, or whatever - however - it's ninety-nine cents, and you get some of the money. I'll get to that in a minute. But 23 days later, do you think you already have a sense of where this event fits historically?
BUNCH: Well absolutely, it was a turning point. I mean, as you said, it was - the pepper spray video was getting some attention, but when 700 people got arrested, it was too big to ignore. You know, it was interesting - listening to the first half of the show. I mean, you really set up some of the themes of the book, the way that the police in Albany have, kind of, learned from the mistakes that the NYPD made on the bridge that day.
I mean, you know - the NYPD thought they could break the protest, essentially, by holding people - sitting there high on top the bridge for four or five hours - and sending them to jails across the city. They thought people won't go back and protest. Instead, this, like, electrified the whole nation. This is why - this is where you saw Occupy Boise and Occupy Duluth and all these groups around the country sprang up, after the electrifying news about what happened on October 1st.
OLBERMANN: Your point about the Albany arrests obviously - or non-arrests - is ,I think, tremendously significant. But, from the New York point of view, even after Brooklyn Bridge - they already screwed up on the pepper spray, both pepper spray incidents. They screwed up on everything, basically, except the day they were going to shut down the medical tent and Jesse Jackson joined them, locking arms, and then they went, "Okay, we're backing off."
Have they still not learned that they are - as much as the cause, itself - the amplifiers of the Occupy movement in New York? The police department in New York, have they not learned that yet?
BUNCH: No, I don't think they've learned at all. You know, this is something that goes back to the protests of 1960s, they called it "heightening the contradictions." And basically, the police have come to stand as a symbol of everything the protesters are against. I mean, the police have become kind of the stand-in for the one percent and the elites that they seem to be protecting.
And, you know, they've given the protesters a powerful symbol and, I think, a visible, tangible symbol that people can react viscerally to. People reacted very viscerally to the pepper spray, and then they reacted to what they saw on the bridge.
OLBERMANN: Tell me what you've written - what are you providing that the readers would not know already from radio or television or magazines or blogs or YouTube or tweets, or maybe even being there?
BUNCH: Well, the one thing that's really important - and the reason why I wanted to write this eBook - is because I don't think people across America - we're getting a really good picture of who these protesters are. You know, we've seen - like you said earlier in the show - the right wing trying to define these protesters either as dirty, smelly hippies, or having some ties to the Nazis or Sharia law or - all these crazy things. When the truth is, these are - in NPR-speak - people like you. They're everyday people.
You know, the first wave of protesters who took to the streets on September 17th? Yes, these people were kind of idealistic, revolutionary dreamers to some point. And those people are going to be the vanguard of something like this. But, you know, after the first week or two, the people who were coming out were everyday people who saw this as a vessel to voice their frustrations.
And so, the book introduces you to some of these people - like Jack Smith, a retired lawyer who has wanted to do something for social justice. Or Eric Heart, the assistant props manager at the public theater in New York, who was taking part in his first protest and found himself, you know, in a holding cell in a precinct in Brooklyn.
All of these people, Keith - once they got arrested, nobody was dissuaded from the movement. In fact, people's passions for this movement, for Occupy Wall Street, burned much brighter after they were arrested. It was just a major, you know, miscalculation, screw-up by the NYPD.
OLBERMANN: All right, take 30 seconds and explain to the audience how they buy it.
BUNCH: Well, you go to Amazon.com. They're called Kindle Singles - they're Kindle books - they're shorter than a conventional book, but longer than a magazine article. This one's 14,000 words and - like you said - it's ninety-nine cents, and I priced it that way because I wanted the 99 percenters to be able to afford the book at ninety-nine cents. You can get Kindle apps for a regular PC or a Mac. You can read it on a Mac, you an read it on a smartphone, you can read it on an iPad. You don't have to have a Kindle device. Anybody can download a different application for Kindle and they can read this book.
OLBERMANN: Excellent. Good work. Will Bunch, author of the new e-single on Kindle, "The Battle of the Brooklyn Bridge" - just ninety-nine cents at an Internet near you. Thank you, Will.
BUNCH: Oh, thank you, Keith. I appreciate it.
OLBERMANN: Bachmann flirts with an American Charles Dickens might have railed against, Perry flirts with the birthers, while Cain flirts with giving real evidence that he isn't from this country, and flatly doesn't know anything about its form of government. Just another day with the GOP, ahead.
OLBERMANN: "Countdown" as of tonight, the longest continuously running 8 PM program on cable news. Unless you think Fox is news. We are live weeknights here at 8 PM Eastern, 5 Pacific. Our primary replays are at 11 PM Eastern and 11 PM Pacific.
A special programming note tonight, I'm a guest tonight on "The Late Show with David Letterman," on CBS. 11:35 PM Eastern and Pacific, and 10:35 Central. We will talk stuff including Occupy Wall Street. Selma Hayek is the main guest, Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro and Jane's Addiction appear and blow the lid of the joint.
Newt Gingrich suggests the Republicans should start knowing things. Might be a little late on that. Next.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date in 1929 was born Jim Brosnan, relief pitching ace of the surprise 1961 National League champion Cincinnati Reds, but - more importantly - the author of two of the best baseball books: "The Long Season" and "Pennant Race." They were the first honest books ever written by a player, and Brosnan started a sequence in which most of the game's truth-telling pitchers - or authors - have been pitchers. Besides himself there's Jim Bouton, and Larry Colton, and Dirk Hayhurst.
"Time Marches On!"
We begin by checking in on the tanks already beginning to leave Iraq. I'm sorry, I'm being told this is actually a dog dressed as a tank. Tangent the Tank Dog recently took home first prize at his local Pet-Smart's annual Halloween Costume Contest. The runner up was a bulldog dressed as Rush Limbaugh. That resemblance was uncanny, especially since the dog was not wearing a costume.
Marathon, Florida, hello! It's the inaugural Stone-Crab Claw Eating Contest, where two dozen crab aficionados compete to eat 25 crab claws as quickly as possible. Contestants are allowed to share their strategies with one another, but generally they tend to be somewhat shell-fish.
The winner, local resident Douglas Austin, finishes off the 25 claws in just over 16 minutes. For his victory, Mr. Austin is awarded a two-night stay at a Key West hotel, a sunset cruise, dinner for two. Next year they're going to switch it up and the crabs get to eat the people.
Finally, we end, as we always do, with a bungee-jumping car. To celebrate the launch of its newest model, the Sonic, Chevrolet attached the car to a bungee cord and is gonna push it off of a ten-story structure. What could go wrong here? It's the same way they launched - the Ford unveiled - the Model-T in 1908.
The car is at the edge, the ramp is tilted, and - from way downtown, bang! And in case something were to have gone wrong, the event organizers placed a few inches of water in a kiddie pool at the bottom. And it's a tremendous trick, except there's only one problem - does anybody know how we cut this thing down now?
"Time Marches On!"
What would make a 38-year old mother of four give up the comforts of her life and loving family in Florida to join Occupy Wall Street? Naturally, explains Fox News, she's an unfit mother having a mid-life crisis who stopped having sex with her husband. "Worst Persons" coming up.
OLBERMANN: Just in tonight - it's official! News Corp. has finally revealed the results of its shareholders board of directors vote last Friday. Analysts thought a ten percent vote against James Murdoch or his father or the board slate would be a symbol of astonishing rejection. News Corp. says now that 35 percent of stockholders voted against James Murdoch being retained, and 13 percent of them voted against the retention of Rupert Murdoch himself. Obviously, they will be retained.
And ahead tonight - in a campaign full of startling gaffes, the latest one might be his greatest one, in swearing support for an anti-abortion amendment. What Herman Cain revealed he does not know about the Constitution. "Worst persons" next. This is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Rick Perry can't decide whether or not he's a birther. That's next.
First, because jerks like these are born and not made, here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze to Mayor Chris Myers of Medford, New Jersey. That's one photograph of him and this, allegedly, is another photograph of him.
Mayor Myers is, surprisingly enough, a right-wing, family-values Republican, who lost a race for Congress three years ago, and will not confirm that that was him in the new-y blue-ees, or - as The Burlington County Times newspaper reports - that the pictures were part of a little romp with a gay prostitute in California a year ago this month.
They were emailed to the paper from the man who said Myers paid him five hundred dollars and promised him a car and a recording studio. The man also has photos of the Mayor's ID and his township gold badge, and a receipt from the ATM for the cash. Another holier-than-thou hypocritical right winger is not new. The denial by Mayor Myers is: "I've been down that road before ... " - 2,3,4 - "Where a photo has been Photoshopped to look like something it wasn't. This is absolutely crazy. I have no idea who this person is. Obviously we're dealing with a crackpot and someone who is pissed off at me in some way. There are crazy people."
The newspaper also says Myers told them the bag with his ID in it was easily accessible, and somebody could have easily sneaked into his hotel room, and easily photographed his ID cards and gold badge, and easily photographed him while he was easily asleep. Easily.
The runners-up? Dave Briggs, Alisyn Camerota, and Clayton Morris, the hosts of the weekend edition of Fox & Friends on "Fixed News." Yes, they're the B-team to the weekday dingbats, so they're astoundingly bad.
If you haven't heard, there is a 38-year old woman named Stacey Hessler who left her Florida home - with the full support of her husband and her four teenaged kids - to join Occupy Wall Street. The B-team does not like her:
(Excerpt from video clip) MORRIS: I want to reiterate what Ali mentioned, this 38-year-old Hessler, mother of four says, "Military people leave their families all the time, so why should I feel bad? I'm fighting for a better world."
That is more disgusting than any of the filth down there on Wall Street - equating what she's doing with military service. Joe Biden would be embarrassed by that.
(Excerpt from video clip) BRIGGS: Her husband also works for a bank.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAMEROTA: He's a banker. Her husband's a bank.
(Excerpt from video clip) BRIGGS: So, why not just protest at home?
(Excerpt from video clip) CAMEROTA: Maybe she has been.
(Excerpt from video clip) BRIGGS: Right, maybe that's part of the problem.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAMEROTA: Her husband's a banker, used to work at Bank of America, now works for a local bank in Florida. She's clearly having a mid-life crisis of some sort - to leave your kids. And she said that she doesn't plan to go home. Actually, she's going to stay there for the duration.
(Excerpt from video clip) MORRIS: Oh, good. A role model. Mother of the Year.
OLBERMANN: So - she's disgusting, she's having a midlife crisis, she's denying her husband sex, and she's an unfit mother, because she decided to get involved in something political that she believes in. It's funny, that woman host you saw there, Alyson Camerota, she has three kids - yet, she leaves the house at four in the morning to go work at the political whorehouse that is Fox News, and I don't see anybody suggesting they take her kids away.
But our winner? Good old Herman Cain, your pretend candidate for President of the United States and author of "Plan 9-9-9 from Outer Space."
In an interview with David Brody of CBN, he has come out in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. Not much of a shock. The second half of the sound bite, this is a shock.
(Excerpt from video clip) DAVID BRODY: Are you for some sort of pro-life amendment to the Constitution that in essence would trump Roe v. Wade?
(Excerpt from video clip) HERMAN CAIN: Yes. Yes, I feel that strongly about it. If we can get the necessary support and it comes to my desk, I'll sign it. That's all I can do. I will sign it.
OLBERMANN: No, no you won't. Presidents don't sign constitutional amendments. Kind of thing you might want to know about if you wanted to be President. Herman Cain - who may also support a a constitutional amendment to make his interview make some kind of sense - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: As the GOP crazy train rolls onward, each candidate attempts to separate himself or herself from the pack. Not through bold ideas nor leadership qualities, but with good, old-fashioned - circus talk.
In our number-one story, Rick Perry seems to be leading the way - not only showing his birther colors, but also sharing a stage with two pastors who think Hitler was a hunter sent by God to drive the Jews into Palestine. Both were present on stage at Perry's Response prayer event. Rev. John Hagee - a televangelist whose endorsement was rejected by McCain, John McCain in 2008 - and Pastor Mike Bickle.
But Rick Perry is standing by his men, with a spokesperson saying, "Governor Perry initiated the Response event for the sole purpose of bringing our nation together for the common cause of praying about the challenges confronting us." That's just before the state caught fire. "Those participating did so because of that common cause, and the issue you refer to has nothing to do with the goal and purpose of that event." Mr. Bickle also said Jewish people would eventually end up in prison camps in this country.
Prejudice not enough for Perry, he's also dipped his toe in with the birthers. When asked if he thought President Obama was born in the United States, he answered, "I have no reason to think otherwise." Later revealing the reason for his skepticism - Donald Trump. Perry claims Trump does not believe the president's long-form birth certificate is real. They met awhile ago, and that is all Perry needs to question it.
But Perry's not the only candidate pitching fringe ideas. Over the weekend Michele Bachmann dreamed of a world without health care.
(Excerpt from video clip) MICHELE BACHMANN: We will always have people in this country - through hardship, through no fault of their own - who won't be able to afford health care. That's just the way it is. But usually, what we've had are charitable organizations, or hospitals, who have enough left over so that they can pick up the cost for the indigent who can't afford it. But what we have to do is we have to be a profitable nation that's growing, so that we can pay for those people who can't afford it through no fault of their own.
OLBERMANN: The camera is over here! So the 50 million people without health insurance should rely on charity and the kindness of hospitals for their health. That's a Republican's weakness, relying on - what's the word I'm looking for?
(Excerpt from video clip) NEWT GINGRICH: And I think one of the Republican weaknesses has been that we rely too much on consultants and too much on talking points. And we don't rely enough on actually knowing things. And I think that if you're going to lead the country and change history, you had better know a heck of a lot before you start.
OLBERMANN: Is Newt in jail? All right, this will sound crazy too - right, you are, Newt. At that point, let's bring in Washington Post national political reporter, "Countdown" contributor Nia-Malika Henderson. Nia, thanks for your time tonight.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: It's great to be here Keith.
OLBERMANN: I hate to reduce this to cliches but - with Mr. Perry's birther story and the other issue about the pastors - has he been reduced to grasping at the proverbial straws at this point?
HENDERSON: Well, in some ways, yes. I mean we've seem him plummet in the polls. He was riding high as the front-runner, had pushed Romney into irrelevancy in some ways and was dusting Michele Bachmann, and so now he finds himself in a race where Herman Cain is the leader. Mitt Romney's still at about 25, 23 percent - we don't know if that's a floor or a ceiling for him. So yeah, he is very much grasping at straws here, grasping at the fringe of his party, even Karl Rove accepts this is the fringe of his party, and does him no service to really try to reach out to these folks.
And yet, there he is grasping for Donald Trump's vote in some ways - or Donald Trump's endorsement. And for some reason, in this race, Donald Trump is a much-coveted endorsement. And the last I checked, I don't think he is much of a constituency, but you do see a lot of these candidates running to New York and kissing Donald's ring and in some ways, this interview was just that.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, a couple of words that will answer that - future appearances on Celebrity Apprentice. You just touched on a point I wanted to follow up on - as loud as the birther group was, are they still a force and were they ever large enough to help somebody get a nomination?
HENDERSON: It doesn't seem like they necessarily were a large force. There is a poll out of South Carolina last month, that showed something like 35 percent of the Republican-leaning folks in that poll thought maybe Barack Obama could be from somewhere else - born someplace other than the United States - but you look at that poll and it's not even necessarily a strongly-held belief. It's just a way to express a fact they don't like Barack Obama.
So, it's hard to know where he's going with this, what sort of base - what sort of constituency - he is trying to attract here. And even beyond that, he probably has the people already who might believe that Obama was born someplace else. He probably has, you know - has already attracted those folks. So, he's doubling down with the constituency he already has.
The goal for him, one would think, his strategists would be telling him that the goal for him is to look like a president, look like a commander-in-chief, not necessarily double down on some of these fringe ideas.
OLBERMANN: As to Congresswoman Bachmann - this is kind of the Blanche DuBois health-care strategy? You don't need government. You just rely on the kindness of strangers?
HENDERSON: Right, right.
OLBERMANN: What - What?
HENDERSON: No. It's - it reminds me of the Sharon Angle strategy, this whole idea of - you know, you bring a chicken to the county doctor and you can get your, you know, your foot fixed or whatever it is. I mean, that's a problem that some of these Republicans are going to have.
It is the whole idea - okay, what if we take Obamacare, if that's what you want to call it, what if we take that away? What is in its place? And you see even somebody like Rick Perry having problems with this - challenged by Mitt Romney with the astronomical numbers of uninsured children that he has in his state.
He says, "Well, we've got the finest doctors and surgeons in Texas. So there is access to care." Never mind that a lot of these children don't have insurance to pay for it. So, he's able to pivot in that non-answer by saying, "Oh, we've got a lot of great doctors and hospitals in Texas." But I think they're going to have a problem if it comes to the general - this whole idea of just snatching away this program that a lot of people like and have come to rely on.
OLBERMANN: I have to defend Sharon Angle. It was Sue Lowden had the chicken line, the woman who lost the primary.
HENDERSON: Okay, there you go. I'm sorry.
OLBERMANN: Please don't apologize, except for making me defend Sharon Angle. Last point, what would have driven Newt Gingrich to say what he said about Republican candidates? Is he implying he's the only one who doesn't rely on talking points?
HENDERSON: Well you know, I think in some ways Newt Gingrich has emerged as the guy with a lot of ideas. Obviously, the rap on Newt Gingrich has been - he's got 99 or 100 ideas. Ninety-nine are terrible - and only one of them is worth anything - but he has emerged as a real straight guy in this, and the one who can rise above a lot of the more partisan talk.
And so, I think there is some concern, in the establishment, with Herman Cain's rise, and that's why you see people like Newt Gingrich, who - as much as he tries to be a tea party guy - really is a GOP establishment guy. You see him coming out and Karl Rove coming out to say, "Hey, wait a minute, Herman Cain has got some proving to do in terms of what he knows about the issues."
OLBERMANN: But Newt lives by focus groups himself. "Countdown" contributor Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post. Great, thanks, Nia.
HENDERSON: Great, thank you.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for Monday, 379 days until the 2012 presidential election. I'll see you on Letterman tonight. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night, good luck.