'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: Riot police raid #OccupyOakland, tear gas + rubber bullets. Baltimore, Atlanta threatened next. An Oakland protestor joins us
#ShowPlug 2: NYPD tries to induce arrested #OWS protestors to quit movement.#OWS Attorney @YettaKurland on Devil's Bargain
#ShowPlug 3: #OccupyBoston goes mainstream: GOP tries to blame Elizabeth Warren for arrests. @Markos Moulitsas is my guest
#ShowPlug 4: David Letterman of @Late_Show does what other entertainers won't: praises #OWS. Highlights of my visit + his comments
#ShowPlug 5: The truth is out there: New Cigarette Smoking Man stars in unfathomable Herman Cain ad. @MaysoonZayid tries to analyze
#ShowPlugLast: Worsts: more hypocrisy from the political whorehouse that is Fox News; & No, you just can't tweet about killing a politician.
watch whole playlist
#5 'Occupy Under Assault', Fatima Mojadiddy
#5 'Let's Make a Deal', Yetta Kurland
#4 'Occupy The Senate', Markos Moulitsas
#3 'Occupy The Late Show'
Current.com: part 1, part 2 (excerpts)
# Time Marches On!
#2 Worst Persons: Tony La Russa, Roger Ailes, Orlando Jones
#1 'GOP Circus', Maysoon Zayid
printable PDF transcript
Categories: Show Transcripts
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: This is completely ridiculous. I was broadsided. This is police violence right here.
OLBERMANN: Bloodshed in Oakland. Hundreds of cops raid Occupy Oakland in the middle of the night. The police chief admits to the violence.
(Excerpt from video clip) HOWARD JORDAN: During this operation there was use of force. We fired - or used tear gas - in one particular incident. There were also beanbag rounds that were fired.
OLBERMANN: Next up Occupy Baltimore. And Occupy Atlanta, where the mayor revokes his executive order permitting protesters to stay because, he claims, they had an unapproved diesel generator last Saturday, and he needs to prevent a crisis.
(Excerpt from video clip) TIM FRANZEN: Revoking it at the last minute if anything is going to create a crisis. That's gonna be the thing that created crisis. And you know what we had on Saturday? We didn't have a crisis.
OLBERMANN: And Occupy Wall Street and the devil's bargain reportedly offered to half the arrested - "we'll dismiss the charges, but that deal is off if you're arrested again in the next six months." In other words, protest again, and you'll go to jail.
Occupy and the Massachusetts Senate Race. "I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do," says Elizabeth Warren. "I support what they do." So the Republicans blame her for the police action against Occupy Boston. Taking a stand.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: Occupy Wall Street. They're down there - I love this. I love people causing trouble. I love it when stuff doesn't go the way it's supposed to go, and largely this is the only way we get change anymore in this country.
OLBERMANN: "Worsts": Sorry, you can't tweet that liberals should kill Sarah Palin, even if you think it was a joke. And Herman Cain goes up in smoke.
(Excerpt from video clip) MARK BLOCK: Mark Block here. Since January I've had the privilege of being the Chief of Staff to Herman Cain.
OLBERMANN: What the hell?
(Excerpt from video clip) CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN: Life is like a box of chocolates.
OLBERMANN: The truth is out there - now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) BLOCK: We've run a campaign like nobody's ever seen.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Tuesday, October 25th, 378 days until the 2012 presidential election. Occupy protesters under assault in Oakland, California. Under pressure in Baltimore and Atlanta. The Baltimore camp declared illegal by the mayor's office. The Atlanta camp edging towards a possible confrontation with police. While Occupy protesters in New York have been offered a strange deal to make their arrest for disorderly conduct go away - along with the protest perhaps.
Fifth story on the "Countdown" - just nine days ago, Mayor Jean Quan marched with Occupy Oakland. Overnight though, she sent hundreds of police in riot gear to raid its protest-camp headquarters.
The claim? It had become unsanitary, unsafe, with fire hazards; that police and firemen had been denied access; that people had been hurt, that Occupy Oakland was, "clear - that it was clear there was escalating violence."
That was certainly true this morning around half past four Pacific time - Oakland police, joined by reinforcements from at least ten other police agencies, moved in on the Occupy protesters. Police fired tear gas and non-lethal beanbag rounds, reportedly after protesters threw bottles at them. Also, reports of rubber bullets being used. This footage shot by the first guest on this program, Fatima Mojadiddy. We will hear from her shortly.
At least 85 people were arrested mostly for unlawful assembly and "illegal lodging." The massive police presence and use of tear gas stunned several of the protesters.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: Yeah, it was extremely frightening. I mean, it looked like something out of a - you know, a military war.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER #2: I work in the West Bank in Palestine and I've seen really heavy force. And this is a contender for the weight of the force.
OLBERMANN: After the raid, the city's interim police chief Howard Jordan admitted to the police violence.
(Excerpt from video clip) HOWARD JORDAN: We fired - or used tear gas - in one particular incident. There were also beanbag rounds that were fired. There were no injuries reported at this point to either demonstrators, arrestees or police officers.
OLBERMANN: At least one protester in the hands of police disputed that.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER #3: I was tackled - I was tackled, like a football tackle. This is completely ridiculous. I was broadsided. This is police violence right here.
OLBERMANN: More, and more startling video, from Oakland in a moment.
Occupy Baltimore also at risk tonight now that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has determined that overnight camping - which is to say, occupation of downtown McKeldin Plaza - must end. Even though the city has designated that plaza as a official protest sight. Protesters who refuse to leave have been told they will be evicted for trespass.
In Atlanta, efforts to avert a confrontation underway. A group of 24 clergy meeting tonight with Occupy protesters, in hopes of working out a solution with the city. This, after Mayor Kasim Reed announced on Monday that he was revoking his executive order allowing the occupation, following an unauthorized weekend hip-hop concert and the protesters' use of an equally-unauthorized diesel generator. Protest organizer Tim Franzen said he was prepared to be arrested, but hoped to avoid a crisis caused by the mayor's action.
(Excerpt from video clip) TIM FRANZEN: Revoking it at the last minute - if anything is going to create a crisis, that's gonna be the thing that creates a crisis.
OLBERMANN: Fortunately, a different sort of crisis was averted tonight when a man carrying a loaded AK-47 assault rife was spotted at Occupy Atlanta. The man reportedly told police he supported the protesters' rights to free assembly. Claimed he was making a point about the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution. The protesters, reportedly, were the ones who alerted police to his presence.
And elsewhere in the Occupy movement, a tweet minutes ago from Occupy Nashville. "Get down to the plaza now." - you're seeing Chicago, that's an error - "Rumor is cops are shutting us down around 6:00 PM."
In Chicago - a story we highlighted last night - nurses from the National Nurses United Union joined forces again with Occupy Chicago to protest 130 arrests in the city's Grant Park on Sunday.
In New York, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators marched on New York's Department of Education to support the "Save our Schools" group, opposed to charter schools and other corporate education reforms. Occupy Wall Street also showed New York's Daily News a warehouse stalked with sleeping bags, blankets, heavy coats and other cold-weather gear - preparations for winter occupation in Zuccotti Park.
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg may have other ideas about that. The New York Daily News also reports half of those arrested for disorderly conduct in the city have been offered a deal - charges dismissed unless you are arrested in the following six months for, say, disorderly conduct during a protest, in which case charges are restored - a very clever and, perhaps, subtle way to get people to stop protesting.
Let's go first to Oakland. Fatima Mojadiddy was at the Occupy Oakland site at the Frank Ogawa Plaza when police moved in with tear gas this morning, and she's been good enough to join us tonight. Thank you for your time.
FATIMA MOJADIDDY: Thank you for having us.
OLBERMANN: Where were you, what did you see last night?
MOJADIDDY: I was in the plaza. I came - I got the text at 3:00 AM, so I came back and joined my friends - I've been going there almost every night - and we started walking around the block to see where the police were, and then around - it took awhile for us to see them. We had reports earlier that people had seen them, and then at 4:30 is when - I would say at least 50-plus vehicles starting pulling up, including armored vehicles, many different kinds of police. It wasn't just local police. I even saw Pleasantville police department there - sheriff's department - and they started making formations. They had guns. They had tear gas and they started firing at the camp.
OLBERMANN: They said - police said - admitting to use of all that kind of force - they said that none of that was used until protesters started throwing bottles at them. Do you have any witness account that can either confirm or deny that conclusion by the cops?
MOJADIDDY: I - I, personally, did not witness that. So I can't say that that's true. What I did witness is that police fired right at the camp like - like, at eye level. It wasn't even like up in the air, so people could have gotten hurt from the firing.
OLBERMANN: The mayor of Oakland and others have complained about fire hazards, sanitation, food storage, unsafe structures built in the plaza and noise. To your knowledge, were the complaints legitimate? Were there actual problems at that sort of magnitude that required a complete reversal on her position on Occupy Oakland in a matter of nine days?
MOJADIDDY: We have been feeding hundreds of poor and hungry Americans with very little resources. We've been providing free schooling. We've been doing our own workshops - educational work forums - free child care - so, we're doing the best that we can with very limited resources, rather than spending probably hundreds of thousands of dollars like they did last night.
The city could have better used a fraction of that money to make our kitchen up to code. This is the best that we could do, as ordinary people trying to help people who are suffering in this country. There are college graduates who don't have jobs. I have friends who have Ph.D. that don't have jobs and - they do go hungry. So it's - if they are going to criminalize feeding people in this country, then I don't know what's going to be criminalized next.
OLBERMANN: Last question, the city administrator also said today the plaza's gonna be re-opened. They are going to clean it and it's gonna be open between the hours of 6 AM and 10:00 PM, but no camping or overnight stays will be permitted. Do you know whether or not Occupy Oakland plans to return anyway?
MOJADIDDY: This movement is a mass movement of the people. And I don't think this movement is going away any time soon. We are the 99 percent, and we want economic justice, social justice, environmental justice. We want the so-called "War on Terror" to end.
We feel that - you know, spending $460 billion on the war in Afghanistan while people here don't even have jobs, our schools are getting shut down - is ridiculous. So no, this movement is not going anywhere. They can come in with brute force and crush us, but we will continue to stand for our civil liberties and our right to free speech and for justice.
OLBERMANN: Fatima Mojadiddy, the protester with Occupy Oakland who shot much of the footage you just saw and was present when they raided the camp this morning. Great thanks for your time, and for sharing the video with us.
MOJADIDDY: Thank you. Thank you for giving us coverage and giving us a voice.
OLBERMANN: Of course.
Some 340 Occupy Wall Street protesters can avoid serving time, meanwhile - or probation, or a fine - if they're willing to go along with an unusual offer from Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. The protesters among the 750 or so arrested on disorderly conduct charges, most of them in marches at Brooklyn Bridge on October 1st and a week earlier through downtown Manhattan. The offer - charges dismissed if you stay out of trouble for the following six months. Get arrested again - at an Occupy protest, say - and the original charges would be restored. One protester at Zuccotti Park, who said he'd been arrested at both marches, didn't think many of the protesters would be interested in the offer.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: I highly doubt that anybody would take that, because - for the simple fact - we're here, we were arrested for no reason in the first place. So, who's to say that won't happen again? You know, it's kinda asinine to even offer that.
OLBERMANN: Kinda simple - it sounds that way. Yetta Kurland is an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild group that's been negotiating with prosecutors over the Occupy Wall Street arrests and the protests. Welcome back, thanks for your time again.
YETTA KURLAND: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Is that the deal? Is that described accurately, to your knowledge?
KURLAND: Yes - well, in fact, over 700 individuals were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1st and - there were a couple of points to make about this. First of all, half of them - approximately half of them - were given desk-appearance tickets, while others were given summons. And it seems that - that was a totally indiscriminate decision based solely on what the precinct command was deciding and how they were getting charged.
Now, the District Attorney's Office is offering to offer ACDs to half of those folks, folks who got desk appearance tickets, or DATs. So, I mean - the first thing is that - that's basically routinely what's given anyway. So, even if you haven't seen the footage that's out there on the Internet - about the cops leading these folks, basically, onto the Brooklyn Bridge, and the fact they were using the orange netting and the other very suspicious tactics for the arrests - this is something that they would offer folks anyway. And, the other thing I think you raised in your introduction, was that this has many of the arrestees feeling that it is a chilling effect on their right to continue to protest. So it's concerning.
OLBERMANN: Yeah - the premise of this is not to be nice guys in Cy Vance's office, the premise of this is to get people to essentially say, "I am not going to be involved in this protest for the next six months?" Isn't it?
KURLAND: Well, that's certainly what our clients are saying they feel, in large part. It's obviously a subjective determination, but that's certainly what people feel.
OLBERMANN: This - this leads me into the - what I like to call "The Tom Hayden theory," although he'll take no credit for it. It's probably a Gandhi theory, and he probably got it from somebody 2,000 years ago. But, it was Hayden's proposition that there are four ways for Occupy to go. And the one that sort of resonates, at this point, was that Occupy might lead to larger groups where the protests are in tens of thousands, and that, at some point, civil disobedience - no violence, just sitting in a road and refusing to leave and being dragged off - would result with mass arrests, and then you'd have this whole prospect of clogging the political system, in addition to clogging the court system.
Isn't - whether or not it gets to that point, even if it's what we are talking about now - isn't part of protest arrest? Isn't it, sort of, built into the equation?
KURLAND: Well, I mean, I would even step back one step, and say that our First Amendment rights guarantee that we don't get arrested for the type of conduct that you're seeing here - people actively protesting the government, talking about concerns that they have. The fact that they are arrested really, you know - there are a lot of folks who say - who are blaming the protesters for these problems. If the courts are getting clogged up, they're getting clogged up because these cases aren't being dismissed.
You can draw an interesting parallel with the Republican National Convention back in 2004. There were about 300 folks who were arrested at that time during the - around the Fulton Street area - for similar charges. And those were all summarily - in the interest of justice, which the district attorney's office can do - those charges were dismissed. And that can happen here as well.
So, I mean - we certainly want to say that folks whose charges aren't dismissed have the right to have their day in court and to defend themselves against these charges. Now, some folks might take those ACDs, especially folks who maybe don't live in the New York City area. But I think that there are many people who are going to object to that because - if you look again at the tape, if you look at what was happening on the Brooklyn Bridge - there was certainly mass confusion over what was happening, and where folks were being led or directed and I think a lot of people believe that they were actually following the police's orders to go onto the bridge.
OLBERMANN: In a larger sense - in terms of the police order about where you could protest and where you could not - at one point, because people kept asking me this question - at what point did we all decide that you had to have a permit that designated exactly where you could and could not protest?
I mean, if the police get involved - whether it's a scheduled protest or an unscheduled protest - if the police get involved, because there is an actual threat of violence or property destruction - these are reasonable - you may be against what they're doing, but they are reasonable reasons for the police to be involved in this. But when did we get to this, "Oh no, I'm afraid you violated of Rule 32 of the 'When You Can Protest in America' law?" When did that happen?
KURLAND: The made-up rules. Well, interestingly, in New York City it was right after the Republican National Convention. We were also seeing thousands and thousands of people summarily rounded up. And at that time, they were being held over on the piers on the West Side Highway, in these abandoned bus depots, which is also very questionable.
After, as a result of that - unfortunately - the New York Police Department came out with these parading rules, which, frankly - the executive branch of government should not be passing laws or making rules about how we exercise our First Amendment rights. And, unfortunately, that has been upheld in New York City, so that if 50 people or more want to come together and protest, they are supposedly required to get a permit. Now, obviously, that is not what is guaranteed in the Constitution and we feel - you know, our clients feel - that they have a right to exercise their First Amendment rights, and don't have to get a permit from the police department.
OLBERMANN: So, these rules were designed to round up the Republicans at the convention? I'm deliberately misinterpreting what you said.
KURLAND: It's interesting to see what's happening in Oakland, California, as well - to hear that they're using the same tactics to try to, like, clean out Oakland's Occupy Oakland facilities and then let them back in. They tried to do that, if you remember, a couple of weeks ago here and you know, they're talking about - they're trying to find these angles again to shut down operations.
I really feel what our clients are saying is that they're not going away. This movement is only building. And if they want to sit down and try to come up with some solutions - if they really think that there are rats down at Occupy Wall Street, and frankly, there are rats all over New York City - sit down with us. We still have not had a face-to-face with Brookfield, or anyone, to come up with some solutions for this stuff.
OLBERMANN: By the way, this is just so people don't - this is a local story related to this - because you just brought up - this is a city that's just decided to take the garbage cans out of the subway stations so the rats don't have anything to eat from, rather than to try to remove the rats. So your point is well taken. But I'm fascinated.
The other thing you may want to pay attention to is - Baltimore and Atlanta are now being attacked on camping charges. So that may be the next thing in New York - outdoor camping in the city of New York. I never thought I'd live to see it.
KURLAND: In fact it is -
OLBERMANN: That's their next - that's the next strategy?
KURLAND: Yes, and what's interesting about that is, you know, folks - Lady Gaga fans were camping out in the summer for days on end to get Lady Gaga tickets. Which - nothing against them, they should be able to do that as well - but we can't be indiscriminately imposing these rules.
OLBERMANN: What is - what is a camp, and what is just staying out overnight? If you go on - in line, at a place I used to work where they have a show called "Saturday Night Live" - a line - an outdoor line - would start often as early as Thursday for standby tickets to get in on Saturday. And that was like, "Oh, isn't this nice. Look how loyal the fans are." That's fine. You can't do that anywhere else if you have, like, a roof over your head.
KURLAND: Right, it's called selective enforcement.
OLBERMANN: Excellent. Yetta Kurland of the National Lawyers Guild. Again, great thanks for coming in.
KURLAND: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: One curious re-location - Occupy moves into the Massachusetts Senate race. The Republicans try to pin the arrests at Occupy Boston on the Democratic Senate challenger Elizabeth Warren. And David Letterman makes his opinion on the value of the entire movement crystal clear - next.
OLBERMANN: She says she "created much of the intellectual foundation for what Occupy Wall Street is doing," so Republicans try to inject the arrests at Occupy Boston into her attempt to take the Massachusetts Senate seat back from the infamous Scott Brown.
Most of the entertainment and satire leaders in this country still fence-sitting about Occupy - not him. Highlights of our visit ahead.
The political whorehouse that is Fox News hires a new contributor - the guy they called "a serial liar."
And, you're a cancer-survivor running for President, so naturally you want a campaign ad starring a smoker. Just another day with the GOP, ahead.
OLBERMANN: If influencing politics was a goal of Occupy - mission accomplished, to borrow a phrase.
In our fourth story tonight - Occupy Boston is suddenly in the middle of what is expected to be one of the fiercest battles of 2012 - Elizabeth Warren's bid to unseat Massachusetts' Republican Senator Scott Brown. Warren signals strong support for the Occupy movement, Republicans immediately try to vilify her for it.
Warren goes so far as to claim part credit for the movement. She told The Daily Beast today, "I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do. I support what they do." Whether or not she created the foundation, she clearly has been an influence - featuring prominently in a recent video released in support of the movement.
(Excerpt from video clip) ELIZABETH WARREN: There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You built a factory, and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - keep a big hunk of it, but part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
OLBERMANN: Warren's support for the Occupy movement has Republicans firing up the smear machine. A national Republican senatorial spokesman saying today, "Warren's decision to not only embrace but take credit for this movement is notable, considering the Boston Police Department was recently forced to arrest" - notice the phrasing - "at least 141 of her occupy acolytes." Try saying that four times fast.
Painting the protesters as anarchic deviants might not be even in the best interest of the GOP. New polling finding, again, a growing number of Americans back this movement - compared to others, particularly. A recent Associated Press/GFK poll found that 37 percent of Americans say they support the Wall Street protests. Only 28 percent, by contrast, supporting the tea party.
That is particularly good news for Warren, since she's running against Brown - the pick-up truck driving, centerfold-posing senator who the rode a wave of anger to Congress in 2010 - to the Senate rather - back when the tea party was, you know - relevant.
Joining me now, "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas, founder and publisher of The Daily Kos. Marcos, good evening.
MARKOS MOULITSAS: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Did a national Republican group really just stake out the anti-Occupy position?
MOULITSAS: Yes, they did. I mean, Republicans really don't know what to do in Massachusetts. It's actually kind of funny. I mean, a couple of weeks ago, they were attacking Elizabeth Warren for being a Harvard professor, not realizing in which state Harvard actually is located. I lived in Massachusetts for three years. People are pretty proud of Harvard in Massachusetts. And this is more of the same. They're playing this race as though it's a Mississippi or an Alabama senate race. It's not, it's Massachusetts.
OLBERMANN: Does it say anything though about - or have they not taken enough time to think this through for it to actually mean anything - does it say anything about where they think Occupy is going to be? Because we're talking about a race that will largely play out next year, not right now.
MOULITSAS: Yeah, I think they have a lot of confidence that a year's good enough for them to really turn public opinion against the Occupy people. The difference is really here - is that the Occupy movement - I mean, it has a solid message - a 99 percent message. People are feeling it. This isn't an intellectual argument. And this is what Republicans aren't understanding. That this is not - I know Elizabeth Warren talked about, you know, her providing intellectual underpinnings - but the reason the movement is so successful is because it's an emotional one. This is what people are feeling, what they're experiencing. And the RNC, the Republican Party, they don't understand that.
OLBERMANN: Who gets helped - in Massachusetts particularly, you know, with yourexperience there, and I had experience there, too - who gets helped by the association of Elizabeth Warren with Occupy - Elizabeth Warren or Scott Brown?
MOULITSAS: Oh, Elizabeth Warren, a hundred percent. I mean, the video you just played - I mean, what's amazing about that video - and I don't know if people realize that - is that it's not a campaign video. That was not planned. It wasn't scripted. This was her at a campaign event. Somebody - some random person - taped that with their cell phone camera, or a mini-cam or whatever, and put it up online. And it took off and it became viral. This was not planned by the campaign - and it became viral for the same reason that the Occupy movement has taken off - is because it's striking that very strong emotional chord.
OLBERMANN: Can it - to any degree, large or small - backfire on Elizabeth Warren, because the Occupy people that I've interacted with have bristled - pleasantly, politely but bristled - at the idea that anybody, whether justified or not, gets to claim credit for it, even if it's the intellectual - you know - underpinnings of the operation?
MOULITSAS: Yeah, I mean - obviously, it's not a movement that you can take credit for. But I've got to say - Elizabeth Warren was fighting the good fight against corporate control of our government and our people, you know, years ago. This is - she's been at this for so long. It's the reason she is not head of the Consumer Protection Board, because Republicans were afraid of her being in a position in government where she could actually do something about it. And that's why they did everything they could to keep her out.
So, she's been fighting the good fight long before these people. And, I am not saying she invented the movement. I'm not saying she gave the idea to the movement, but - she's been fighting it at a very high level and she's a real, huge target by Republicans because she's been fighting that fight.
OLBERMANN: Well at least she can get an award at the first "Occupy-ees," or whatever they'd be called.
Last point. If they're going after Occupy as - let's see, it's anti-Semitic, it's a front for some terrorist - Muslim terrorist - group and it was racist. Does that mean that they're going to try to tie Elizabeth Warren to all those groups? Are we going to hear that as well in Massachusetts?
MOULITSAS: Oh, I have no doubt they are going to find video footage of some of the worst - of the dirtiest hippies they can find - and then say that this is her army, or some nonsense like that. But again, what Republicans kind of fail to realize is that - this is Massachusetts we're talking about, this is not Alabama. People in Massachusetts actually are naturally predisposed favorably to that that message. It's doubly so, given the state of the economy and given the state of our government in Washington D.C.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, remember the correct official - Republican Senatorial Committee phrase is "Her Occupy acolytes." So, that's the phrase they're going to run with. The publisher and founder of Daily Kos, "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas. As always, great thanks.
MOULITSAS: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: While a lot of politicians are hanging back on the subject of Occupy Wall Street and the new modern protest movement, while even most comedians and satirists are still telling giggly jokes about the hippies, one American talk show host states the reality that others won't. "I love these people causing trouble." What else David Letterman said, next on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Most of the laughter on national television about Occupy has been the nervous kind. America's comedians and satirists - whether or not they're associated with the left - have been quiet. Too quiet.
In our third story in the "Countdown" - though some entertainers see risk in taking an actual position on something like Occupy, others see the opportunity to enlighten and inform even as they entertain, which is what happened when I had the pleasure, once again, to be a guest on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
(Excerpt from video clip) DAVID LETTERMAN: Something exciting is happening in our town, and I guess certain other towns around the country.
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: Many of them. Over 1,100 cities -
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: Occupy Wall Street. They're down there - I love this. I love people causing trouble. I love it when stuff doesn't go the way it's supposed to go, and - and, largely, this is the only way we get change anymore in this country. But as I've said a billion times now, if you take a look at some of the great cultural social issues in this country in the last 67 years have begun via protest.
OLBERMANN: Although Letterman doesn't plan the show the way others do, the rough idea was we were going to talk about the Republican presidential race, Obama's re-election chances, Moammar Gadhafi, other international events, the World Series and some Occupy. Some turned out to be the entirety of the second six-minute segment of my interview.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: Have you been down to the plaza?
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: I have - I went down there.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: And how were you received?
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: I just sort of walked through and talked to people.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: Right.
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: There was no - it was very nice because there was no - I mean, a small crowd - a small crowd always gathers, wherever I go, to chase me.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: Look at the size of that head. See, I would like to go down there, but I know I would be beaten.
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: You are the two percent. You personally -
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: Could happen. But there's no -
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: Actually, I don't think you would be. I don't think you would be. I mean if you -
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: I'm very sympathetic.
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: But anybody who walks in there, I think, gets a hearing. And only if you - you know, if you've been in a position where you've, sort of, mocked them for some reason. Okay. So anyway, moving onto the GOP -
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: They don't like the idea that famous guys with dough are sucking up to them?
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: No, I think anybody who understands what the problem is - they don't care how much dough you have. That's one of the big misconceptions about it. It's not anti-money thing, it's not even an anti-capitalism thing. It's a don't - after you have capitalism, don't let the people with all the money put their thumb on the scale and get all the benefits.
OLBERMANN: So, here is most of the rest of American entertainment only laughing at, only dismissing, only mocking what is - at least - an unusual resurgence of the ultimately American concept of protest in the streets, while Dave Letterman bemoans the fact that he probably can't do what he'd like to do, which is to go see it for himself. And this was when the interview became a place for Letterman - who never gets the credit he deserves for the extraordinary clarity he applies to politics and culture - to bemoan man's inhumanity to man. One man's inhumanity, to begin with.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: Now, here's something that is polarizing - and I guess meant to be polarizing - Rush Limbaugh referred to those people down there as "human debris." How do you - how can you be a human and call people who are uncertain - and, in some cases have been left out - how can you call them "debris"?
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: Well, I would consider the source on that, first off. Because, frankly, the man does know his human debris.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: Well, he had his house staff running to Guatemala to get painkillers.
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: On a - they had a shuttle bus.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: So, that's not human debris?
OLBERMANN: It was the late movie critic Gene Siskel who once observed that he could like or love any film, but the films and filmmakers he felt grateful to were the ones that not only entertained but educated. Siskel used to say that "A movie that actually showed how an industry worked or how an interesting job was done, that was the best kind."
As we finished, Dave Letterman proved once again that he's one of the - that's one of the premises of his program. Amid the entertainment and punch lines, there are reminders about what this country has stood for, and stood up against, in its great past.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: I mean, we both remember the Vietnam War, and for my money - and the history will support this - the reason that ended, not a minute too soon, was because people were protesting.
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: Agreed.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: And the same with civil rights and with women's rights.
OLBERMANN: David Letterman, one of the few entertainers who takes the responsibility of nightly or weekly television comedy seriously. Cancer-surviving, allegedly-running-for-president guy puts out an ad with a creepy guy smoking a butt in the ad - yeah. Ahead.
OLBERMANN: "Countdown" - 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 at 11 PM Eastern and 11 PM Pacific. We call it "our little guest lecture."
The Herman Cain pretend candidacy produces the weirdest campaign video ever.
First, the "Sanity Break." And on this day - yeah, I know, the Bill Buckner play, blah blah blah, million dollars for the baseball, blah, blah, blah, I wouldn't pay 35 grand for it, I wasn't the underbidder, blah, blah, blah.
On this date in 1891 was born Father Charles Coughlin, the pro-fascist, anti-Semitic broadcaster whose radio programs in the Thirties drew audiences as large as a third of the country before he was forced off the air in 1940. Almost as a warning to similar traffickers in hate like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. After his radio platform vanished, Father Coughlin remained alive, ever-increasingly forgotten while he still put out pamphlets claiming the Jews were responsible for communism, for another 39 years.
"Time Marches On!"
We begin at the Saint Louis Zoo, where these two chimps are taking "monkey see, monkey do" to a whole new level. Aw, this is how it starts, right? This is it, and then next thing you know it's "Planet of the Apes" and "You damn dirty apes, get your hands off me" and Charlton Heston comes back to life and scares the hell out of all of us. And - like the Republicans of the animal kingdom here - one does one and no, matter how silly it is, the other guy does the exact same thing. If you think this is impressive, wait till you see them do "Stayin' Alive."
In sports - sort of. Being one of twenty pitchers on an Arizona Fall League double-A team - or double - Arizona Fall League team - leaves you with a lot of free time in the bullpen. Reliever Miles Mikolas decided to use his free time to have a little reptilian snack.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Dude, he knows it's gonna happen.
OLBERMANN: Poor Rango, never saw it coming. By the way was that - he actually ate a Mountain Dew? It was something else? We've already gone to the other video.
It's Rubik's Cubes, the guys solving it - he's juggling it. Great, he's solving one - took him a minute to do it. All right smart ass, that's enough.
"Time Marches On!"
Herman Cain's alleged campaign may have been stubbed out like a spent cigarette. And Rick Perry admits he doesn't give a crap. Ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Who is this guy? What is he doing in Herman Cain's new campaign video? And is he also the Cigarette-Smoking Man from "The X-Files?" First, the "Worsts." You can't joke about killing political figures in public. You just can't. Ahead.
OLBERMANN: Rick Perry asks to see President Obama's college transcript. Rick Perry's grade-point average was 2.50, and his major was animal science.
First - because without this little island of sarcasm, these animals would roam free and unfettered - here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze - to manager Tony La Russa of the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost Game Five - him in the middle - of the World Series last night and now trail three games to two, to the Texas Rangers.
When his relief pitching moves blew last night's game, LaRussa revealed afterwards that he twice had phoned his bullpen and asked for his closer Jason Motte to warm up to come into the game. The first time, his bullpen crew got reliever Marc Rzepczynski ready. The second time, they warmed up not Motte, but pitcher Lance Lynn. After the game, La Russa blamed noise in the stadium - that he was misheard.
Which doesn't explain why - after it happened one time - the next time he didn't say "Repeat what I just said to you," or why nobody on the bench ever checked to see if the right reliever was warming up. La Russa is lying.
The runner-up - to Roger Ailes. He is the mastermind of the political whorehouse that is Fox News. Remember South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford? The old "hiking on the old Appalachian Trail" lothario?
On June 24th, 2009, Greta Van Susteren said, on the channel, of Sanford, "It's lying. I mean, misled is a nice word, but the guy lied. He lied to his constituents. He lied to his staff. He lied to his wife, not on just one occasion. It's multiple - I mean, he's a serial liar."
On June 28th Fox's Brit Hume called Sanford, " ... a laughingstock."
On July 4th, Fox contributor Judith Miller said, of Sanford, "clearly the man is having a nervous breakdown."
Roger Ailes has now announced the hiring of Fox's latest political contributor - former Governor Mark Sanford, or - as they called him at Fox - the "laughingstock, serial liar, 'having a nervous breakdown' guy."
But our winner? Orlando Jones, comedian, best known as a TV pitchman for 7-UP. Funny guy - not recently.
His tweet Saturday - from his account, TheOrlandoJones: "Libyan Rebels kill Gaddafi [sic], if American liberals want respect they better stop listening to Aretha & kill Sarah Palin."
Nope, not acceptable. When this was pointed out to him by one of Palin's understandably-mortified fans he tweeted "I regret to inform you that jokes do not qualify as violent rhetoric. Your angry reaction and response however, does. Keep smiling." Nope, not acceptable.
The Palin fan then compared Jones's tweet to statements that might have inspired the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords: "Actually, I don't think 'It's just a joke' is an apropos response. If my tweets are so upsetting to you please do not read them."
Jones has now issued a formal statement about the Kill-Palin tweet: "My job as an artist is to hold up a mirror to society. I do not decide how people feel or react to that. My tweet hit a nerve. That's good. The fact that is has taken precedent [sic] over the serious issues that face us is not good. That's media outlets vying for attention and ad dollars.
Was it my best line? No. It would be great if those individuals who are genuinely outraged redirected that energy toward the greater good. Any anger directed at me and my right to free speech is an absolute waste of time. I am not a statesman. My comments reflect no political affiliation. It's just me being me, in a world that will never comfortably mix political correctness with artistic expression. For that, I offer no apologies, excuses or wisdom."
Nope, not acceptable. Free speech does not exist in a vacuum. You can be a comedian or a statesman, a conservative or a liberal. If you joke about killing a public figure, it is not just some kind of wonderfully rakish, against-the-grain political incorrectness. It is stupid, short-sighted, irresponsible, and you never know what kind of diseased mind it might provoke.
And no, you're not responsible if you do provoke it. But you should be responsible enough never to run the chance of provoking it.
Orlando Jones - nope, not acceptable - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: At the rate things are going, you half expect Herman Cain to get up during the Republican convention and announce "You got punk'd. We've just been taping a reality show."
In our number-one story - a campaign video that features a dubious-looking guy, using a passive monotone from the Midwest, to urge the election of two-time cancer-survivor Cain, that shows the guy then taking a long, addicted-looking drag on a cigarette, followed by a shot of Cain giving you a spit-eating grin while they play music that sounds like it came out of the movie "Team America."
The man is Cain's Chief of Staff Mark Block. The ad may have been the brainchild of Breitbart minion Chris Burgard. And maybe the music was, in fact, Hulk Hogan's entrance tune.
(Excerpt from video clip) MARK BLOCK: We need you to get involved, because together we can do this. We can take this country back.
OLBERMANN: Mark Block, because William B. Davis - the cigarette guy from "The X-Files" - was unavailable.
So, it turns out, was Newt Gingrich. The Washington Post reports that Newt spent Sunday afternoon at a bar. It wasn't that he was in a bar watching football and ordered sparkling wine that needs diversion. It was the whereabouts of his wife Callista, who was next door to the bar - at Tiffany's. Well, you know, what the hell, what good is an unused line of credit?
But good news, Newt - if Rick Perry wins the nomination and imposes his flat-tax plan, it could save you millions for your next Tiffany's purchase. Who cares that it shifts the burden to the middle class? Not Rick.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOHN HARWOOD: But for those at the top, it is hundreds of thousands - maybe even millions - of dollars for them.
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK PERRY: But I don't care about that.
OLBERMANN: No, no you don't. Perry also doubled down on his birther comments, saying "It's fun to poke at him" - the president - "a little bit and say, 'Hey, how about you, let's see your grades and your birth certificate.'" This from a guy with a 2.5 GPA in college. It's extreme statements like that that win primaries, but lose general elections. A fact pointed out by a man who knows a thing about being too extreme.
(Excerpt from video clip) PAT ROBERTSON: You know, I believe it was Lyndon Johnson that said, "Don't these people realize that if they push me over to an extreme position, that I'll lose the election." Those people in the Republican primary have got to lay off this stuff. They're forcing their leaders - the front-runners - into positions that will mean they lose the general election.
OLBERMANN: When Mr. "Abortion Caused Katrina" says you are too extreme, you may have to leave the planet.
Here to wade into the circus that is the GOP primary, comedienne and "Countdown" contributor Maysoon Zayid. Good to see you.
MAYSOON ZAYID: Good to see you too.
OLBERMANN: I know you've had a lot of time to think about this question. Do you have any - cause nobody seems to have any idea - what is the message Herman Cain is trying to provide in the ad?
ZAYID: I think that, clearly, the message he is trying to provide is - "Do not vote for me." This ad screams, "Do not vote for me. Do not vote for me."
The man is a cancer survivor, God bless him. He should be nowhere near smoke. There shouldn't be people smoking around him, in his campaigns. The only smoke he should be around is medicinal marijuana, nothing else. And the way the guy exhales into the camera reminds me of every creepy jerk that ever blew smoke in my face in the clubs down the shore.
OLBERMANN: Plus, among other things, he's ashen. He looks like he's - you know, he's got about six weeks left, this guy. And the sales job he gives for Herman Cain is like - "Yeah, you'll really benefit from electing him. He's really the best."
What is he - are we sure it's done - as you said, is it done to sort of say, "Hey, back away. This is actually a pretend campaign." I mean, is it possible it's a secret message to people? "Go away. I don't want to be president. I'm just angling for another lobbying job or TV show?"
ZAYID: I think the man is monotone because that's all the passion he can muster, because he's dying from all of that smoke. And it could be - I was thinking maybe it's a jab at Obama. He's like, "Oh, Obama, you are too chicken to smoke in public. I am so bad, I get my campaign adviser to do it for me."
And at this point, here's what's scary - he's still beating Mitt Romney in the polls. Somehow, this clown is beating Mitt Romney in the polls. What does Mitt Romney have to do, mainline heroin into his eyeball to stay relevant?
OLBERMANN: Possibly lighting his hair on fire. "I can only do this trick once, so - " Although, it would last six or eight hours, if you lit his hair on fire, because there's enough of it to go.
About Rick Perry - if he doesn't care about the effects of his tax program, why should anybody else vote for him, for his tax program? Is there a disconnection there?
ZAYID: Well, I think that it's important that it's the first truthful thing I've heard Rick Perry say on his entire campaign - that he doesn't care. And I think that the things he does care about are important - like his hair, and his pray-off with Michele Bachmann that's coming up. But um, I think that - it's not even about being detached. It's about being genuine. And every time I hear this man, I think it's an impersonation of George Bush. Every single time. Being done very, very badly.
OLBERMANN: That's right. He doesn't have the voice down, but he's got some of the stupidity.
OLBERMANN: Newt Gingrich - speaking of stupidity here. And, you know, you can talk optics to death and everything else - but isn't it kind of a simple idea that, after what he went through with Tiffany's, he shouldn't be within 500 yards of a Tiffany's again? And there they found him, while Callista is looking at the bright, shiny objects next door.
ZAYID: I think this was Newt's ultimate test. He needed to know that he could be that close to Tiffany's and resist the urge to go in a purchase another diamond pinky ring. 'Cause people think that Newt's a player, and he's using this credit line for the ladies. No, it's for him. He has an entire collection of these little pinky rings on his stumpy fingers. And his ability to sit there and get drunk on a Sunday afternoon and resist the urge should be commended.
OLBERMANN: And watch football rather than buy bling. That's a real American - he's watching football, not buying bling.
Lastly - and this applies to all - we just heard Pat Robertson, Voice of Reason. Is this - is now - is - truly, is this the moment of the Apocalypse upon us? Is that what we're going to see now? Lighting bolts striking everybody at random, because he made sense - out of all of them.
ZAYID: I mean, Pat Robertson calling you extreme is like the Kardashians calling you slutty. This is a man who said that feminism makes women kill their children, practice witchcraft and become lesbians. If he thinks you're extreme, it's time to do some soul searching.
OLBERMANN: Ah, but - but unlike Pat, you'd find that you have a soul, and just needs some - some remedy. That was my contribution to the whole thing. "Countdown" contributor Maysoon Zayid - many thanks, and you have to get back on the road?
ZAYID: Yeah, I'm going to Canada - Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.
OLBERMANN: Okay, so our - well, I don't know if we have viewers in Toronto, Montreal or - but we should. We wish you the best on the trip.
ZAYID: Okay, thank you.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for Tuesday, 378 days until the 2012 presidential election. I'm Keith Olbermann. Give yourself a round of applause, for getting through another day of this crap. Good night and good luck.