'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan must repent or resign
via YouTube, h/t cathyferkleheimer
#ShowPlug 1: Out-of-control Oakland police send 24-year old two-tour Iraq veteran to ICU with skull fracture, firing gas canister at head
#ShowPlug 2: Keith Shannon of @IAVW roomate of the injured Scott Olsen joins us on the nightmare; full video of coverage from Oakland
#ShowPlug 3: Plus my Special Comment calling on Oakland Mayor @JeanQuan - herself a former victim of Oak PD - to repent or resign
#ShowPlug 4: 52 arrested in Atlanta; now Baltimore threatened. #OWB organizer @Cullenstalin Cullen Nawalkowsky joins me
#ShowPlug 5: POTUS addresses #OWS issue: student loan debt, but not #OWS. Robert @RBReich joins to analyze proposal, OWS involvement
#ShowPlug 6: #OWS and health care reform: they march on St Vincent's Hospital; Dr. Steve Auerbach of @PNHP on the Wall Street/Health link
#ShowPlug 7: Newest right wing "they're really behind #OWS" villain? ACORN. Seriously. @SamSeder joins me
#ShowPlug 8: BOA CEO doesn't get it: warns against "yelling at us." + Billo predicts approval # drop for #OWS. # promptly goes up.
watch whole playlist
#5 Police violence at Occupy Oakland, Keith Shannon
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#5 Occupy Baltimore, Cullen Nawalkowsky
# Special Comment: Oakland Mayor Jean Quan must repent or resign
#4 'Growing Gap', Robert Reich
# Reassignment of NYPD officer Anthony Bologna
#3 'They Care About Healthcare', Dr. Steven Auerbach
#2 Worst Persons: Herman Cain, Gov. Scott Walker, Bill O'Reilly
#1 'Grasping at ACORNs', Sam Seder
printable PDF transcript
Categories: Show Transcripts
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: What happened? What happened?
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER #2: He got hit - he got f---ing shot!
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: What's your name? What's your name? Medic! Medic! Medic!
OLBERMANN: One protester - fractured skull, critical condition, after the second night of police violence at Occupy Oakland. The injured man is Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old Iraq veteran. As help reached him, police fired gas canisters at them.
Police, out of control, in Oakland. And a mayor - herself once a victim of the Oakland PD - is now their chief enabler.
(Excerpt from video clip) JEAN QUAN: The issue is not whether we support the movement, the issue is the safety of the people who are staying overnight.
OLBERMANN: Tonight, my special comment - why Mayor Jean Quan must either repent and repair, or resign.
Occupy Atlanta cleaned out, 52 arrests under the pretense of "failure to obey lawful commands."
Occupy Baltimore threatened tonight.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOE BERT: That doesn't scare us. I mean, if we're going to get maced, beat up, locked up, so be it. Somebody has to stick up for the big picture here.
OLBERMANN: Occupy Wall Street and health care - the march to St. Vincent's Hospital today. Occupy Wall Street and the life mortgages that are student loans. Even the president sits up and takes notice. A bill to cap federal student-loan repayments and forgive the debt five years earlier.
Occupy, Day 40 - with Keith Shannon, the roommate of the Iraq vet critically injured in Oakland. With Baltimore organizer Cullen Nowell-Cowsky. With Dr. Stephen Auerbach of Physicians for a National Health-Care Program. And with economist Robert Reich.
Another day, another smear from the political whorehouse that is Fox News.
(Excerpt from video clip) MEGAN KELLY: It turns out some of this movement may be more organized than many think with ties to the now-defunct community activist group ACORN.
OLBERMANN: And still, the one percent claims victimhood. The CEO of Bank of America, "I, like you, get a little incensed when you think about how much good all of you do, whether it's volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well. You ought to think a little about that before you start yelling at us."
F--- you. All that and more now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Bank of America!
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Wednesday, October 26th, 337 days until the 2012 presidential election.
At this hour, a Marine veteran of the Iraq war lies in Oakland's Highland hospital in critical condition. Scott Olsen, age 24, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War suffered a fractured skull when he was apparently struck in the head last night with a tear-gas canister fired, if not by Oakland police, then by someone from one of the other 18 law-enforcement agencies charged with suppressing an Oakland protest. The vigil is underway for Mr. Olsen now in Oakland as friends await word of his condition.
The fifth story on the "Countdown" - the Occupy movement in this country has been reliably peaceful through its brief existence. Protesters in many cities have reached out to police, proactively, and in many cases they've quoted street cops as saying they support the movement's goals. And, while police violence has been dealt out to Occupy protesters in Boston and New York, there has been nothing even remotely on the scale of what has happened in Oakland in the last 48 hours - especially last night as Occupy marchers tried to return to their camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza, having been cleared out by police with 105 arrests, some 12 hours before.
The violence first broke out around 5:00 PM Pacific time yesterday as police clashed with protesters marching towards the plaza. The San Francisco Gate reporting some protesters tried to fight or throw paint at police, while other protesters tried to make them stop. A few hours later, large crowds near the plaza entrance were warned they would be targeted with "chemical agents" if they refused to disburse. Five tear-gas barrages followed, setting off clashes that went on for hours.
Oakland's Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said, "The gas was necessary to protect our officers." According to The San Jose Mercury News, police say they also used beanbag rounds, so-called flash-bang grenades and rubber bullets. You can see that in this video. Scott Olsen is the man on the ground, a flash-bang grenade thrown from behind the police line lands near him. And, after a brief panic, Mr. Olsen is carried to safety.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: Medic!
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER #2: What happened? What happened?
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: He got hit - he got f---ing shot.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER #2: What's your name? What's your name? What's your name? Medic!
OLBERMANN: In a few moments, I'll talk with Keith Shannon, Scott Olsen's roommate who served three years with him in Iraq. And I'll have a special comment on the culpability of Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, who just last year had been a victim of the out-of-control Oakland PD. But the Occupy suppression was not limited to the Bay Area.
In Atlanta, at least 52 arrests - protesters were charged with violating an ordinance against being in the Woodruff Park after 11 PM. State Senator Vincent Fort was among the arrestees. Some of those arrested insisted they will return to Woodruff Park, Atlanta.
In Albuquerque, more than a dozen arrested after protesters refused to leave their campsite on the University of New Mexico campus. The movement calls itself Unoccupy Albuquerque, given the connotations of the word "occupy" for the city's many Native Americans. Those protesters say they will be back, too.
And in Baltimore, no arrests as yet, but a deadline has expired for protesters to respond to the city's demands for an agreement that would, among other things, restrict nighttime access to downtown McKeldin Square. City spokesman Ryan O'Doherty noting in a statement that, while camping in the square is prohibited, "City government is committed to protecting the free-speech rights of Baltimore citizens, and that is why any citizen is free to peacefully demonstrate at McKeldin Plaza in accordance with establishment guidelines."
Occupy protesters have made it clear their rights to free speech and free assembly should not be subject to "established guidelines." Joe Bert is with Occupy Baltimore.
(Excerpt from video clip) BERT: We don't have any plans of going anywhere. It doesn't scare us. I mean, if we are going to get maced, beat up, locked up, so be it. I mean, somebody has to stick up for the - you know, the big picture here.
OLBERMANN: And city officials in Boston seem to be getting that big picture. After one spasm of police violence on the 11th of this month, city health officials toured Occupy's camp today and pronounced it relatively clean.
The U.S. public seems to get the big picture as well. According to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, 43 percent of adults say they agree with the views of the Occupy movement. Only 27 percent say they do not. The other 30 percent aren't sure. When asked if money and wealth are distributed fairly in America, just 26 percent say yes, and 66 percent say no - just like Occupy Wall Street.
Now, as promised, Keith Shannon, Scott Olsen's roommate, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, joining us now from San Francisco. Thank you for your time tonight on this of all nights, sir. Thank you.
KEITH SHANNON: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: What's the latest on his condition? Stable? Is family present? Do you have a prognosis?
SHANNON: Right now, he's stable but critical. His family is on their way from Wisconsin. They should be in about 11:30 Pacific tomorrow. Right now, he's sedated, on a respirator, with a skull fracture and swelling in his brain and the neurosurgeons are still trying to decide whether or not they need to take him into surgery.
OLBERMANN: I don't mean to put too fine a point on this, but - is it clear whether or not his injuries are life-threatening?
SHANNON: I don't believe they are life-threatening, but we don't know if it's gonna cause permanent brain damage or not.
OLBERMANN: Well, there's something to hold on to, at least, in one small space there of good news. When and how did you hear about this injury last night?
SHANNON: I heard about it this morning. I woke up and there's - I had a lot of messages from some of Scott's family as well as from people at the protest who Scott had told them his roommate's first name and they were able to find me. And so - once I got up, I started looking around, trying to find out where he was and headed to the hospital once I located him.
OLBERMANN: So he - by the time you got there, he was already sedated, I assume?
SHANNON: Yes. Yes.
OLBERMANN: But we should make that clear, cause from the video it's apparent that he's conscious after - after he got hit. So there was some - there was some lucidity there and they chose to put him unconscious to hasten his recovery?
SHANNON: Correct. He walked into the hospital and then they sedated him there.
OLBERMANN: All right. Well, that's good to begin with. Let's talk about the bigger picture. Were you surprised - even after what happened on Monday night - were you surprised that this escalated to what it did last night?
SHANNON: Definitely, I was quite surprised.
OLBERMANN: What happened? I mean, is there - the Oakland PD, obviously, has a reputation for claiming provocation for anything and everything it does. Is there any evidence that the - that the kind of riot gear, canister shooting or throwing police - gigantic presence that was there - was somehow called for? Was it - were these problems instigated by the protesters in any serious way, to your knowledge?
SHANNON: I've been talking to a lot of the protesters who were there - when it happened - and they were just on a peaceful march, and the police officers started pulling them out of the march and arresting some of them, which is the way it started getting slightly out of hand, is when the protesters started throwing paint and water. And - when the protesters tried to march back to their encampment, the police officers opened up with - with rubber bullets, the flash-bangs and the smoke canisters.
OLBERMANN: My understanding is - ear witness reports, I guess would be the description of these people - that those - flash-bang grenades sounds almost like something we might use on a rather raunchy Fourth of July. My understanding is, the impact of those things could be felt two miles away. These are not toys we're talking about.
SHANNON: Right. They're definitely very serious.
OLBERMANN: Tell me about your service with Scott in Iraq. Did your experiences there impact how you see and chose to get involved in this movement?
SHANNON: It definitely did. We both disagreed with the Iraq War, even while we were on tour there. And Scott, especially, has been extremely active with Veterans for Peace as well as Iraq Veterans against the War. So -
OLBERMANN: What would - obviously you haven't spoken to him, and we don't want to put words in his mouth - but do you have an assessment of how he would feel about being, suddenly, a central figure who is internationally known in this effort?
SHANNON: Oh, we talk about it a lot, and I think he would appreciate the fact that this is experience - no matter how bad it is - is being used for something good to put light on what's really going on there.
OLBERMANN: Last question, are you going to continue to get involved further in Occupy protests going forward?
SHANNON: Yes, I am definitely going to invest myself even more than I was before.
OLBERMANN: Keith Shannon, the roommate of Scott Olsen, the Occupy protester who lies in critical condition in a hospital in Oakland tonight, and both members of Iraq Veterans Against War. Our thanks - our best wishes to all of you affected by what happened to him.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, sir.
For the latest from Baltimore, where the Occupy camp in McKeldin Square is at risk of being closed by police, I'm joined by Cullen Nawalkowsky, who's an organizer and member of the Occupy Baltimore media team. Thanks for your time tonight, sir.
CULLEN NAWALKOWSKY: Hello. Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: What - I mean, you just heard that interview, you saw that video from Oakland. That must resonate with you as - not necessarily as something that's going to be duplicated there, but certainly has to be considered among the palette of possibilities of what you may face. How does it make you feel?
NAWALKOWSKY: Um, well - ! - after the outpouring of support that I've seen, the letter that I just saw from labor organizers from AFSCME to the AFL-CIO, to fired officers, to teachers' unions, to the FOP itself - offering their support and their - their advice to the mayor, to not attempt a similar path. I'm pretty confident that we'll be able to pursue this peacefully and continue what we're doing.
OLBERMANN: Let's hope so. All right, tell me about Occupy Baltimore. Did you meet with city officials today? Is there likely to be police action against the park tonight? What's the status?
NAWALKOWSKY: The legal teams did attempt to contact the city today. They contacted the offices of both the mayor and Parks and Recreation. However, neither office were able to formally respond, and both offices - at the moment that I last checked - had declined on meeting with the General Assembly.
OLBERMANN: The city's reportedly offered to let Occupy stay put, so long as the protesters stay in the square during the day, and only keep two people overnight in the square. What's the reaction been to that supposed offer?
NAWALKOWSKY: There are two problems with that. One - it's not feasible, considering the type of operation that's going on, considering that we have media, food - we have certain resources that we need to protect, and we need to assure the security of those items as well as the security of the participants. So, in that sense, it's not feasible. It's also not feasible in the sense that - it's quite tone-deaf, it's out of touch - because even before Occupy Baltimore came there, there were people staying in that park.
OLBERMANN: Why is that park so important, in terms of its role in Occupy Baltimore?
NAWALKOWSKY: The location really illustrates a sort of confluence of corruption. It's right in, sort of, the intersection of the financial and development districts. Right on that corner, you see Bank of America, you see Wells Fargo, T. Rowe Price - a number of financial institutions very close by. And it's also right at the sight of the most massive development that has occurred in Baltimore over the past two decades - the Inner Harbor - where a number of flagrant, blatant human rights abuses occur on a constant basis. And this is the place where they've poured all of the money into, at the expense of the West Side and other parts of the city that have just crumbled.
OLBERMANN: If McKeldin Square is cleared - if there's no negotiation, if there's no way to use that space - will Occupy Baltimore be back? Will it try to retake that square? Or what's the future - what lies ahead? Do you know?
NAWALKOWSKY: I think it is important to note that the Occupy movement is not just about a square. And it's not just about a certain physical space. It's very important that we maintain those spaces and we maintain the promise of democracy and assembly. However, the movement transcends any individual location.
OLBERMANN: Last question, it's a big one - The New York Times/CBS poll that indicated that there's still - a 30 percent of the public doesn't have an opinion about the Occupy movement, but the number of people who disagree with it is down to 27 percent. Does this give you some sense that, perhaps, you are not working in an apathetic vacuum out here?
NAWALKOWSKY: I think it's very exciting. I think people have been waking up, and they've been waking up for some time, and all that needs to happen is - the word needs to get out more, and people need to be exposed to the facts. Because the facts are on the side of this movement.
OLBERMANN: Cullen Nawalkowsky of Occupy Baltimore. Great thanks, good luck there.
NAWALKOWSKY: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: And now, as promised, a brief special comment about the astonishing brutality inflicted on the Occupy Oakland protesters over the last 48 hours.
Jean Quan has spent more than 20 years in service to the people of the Bay Area. She started with grassroots work to improve Oakland's' schools, save its music programs, incorporate the history of the area's minority communities, save the libraries, save the zoos, save the museums, save the arts, push back against the tides of pollution and deregulation and - even in the summer of 2010 - to take part, as a member of the city council, in the protests against the jury verdict after a transit-police officer had shot and killed an unarmed black man the year before.
And in the last two nights Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland has betrayed all of that. There is no excuse. There is no justification. There is no rationalization for being the mayor who may have begun the great march backward in this country to the days when mayors like Sam Yorty of Los Angeles and Hugh Addonizio of Newark and Richard Daley of Chicago stood back as their police incited, bullied, overreacted and brutally assaulted protesters at the height of the civil rights and Vietnam movements. Those protests began non-violently, positively - with singing and marches and cooperation with the authorities.
But the police - like the police in Oakland, California, this week - they injected the violence, and it escalated and echoed and soon there wasn't just one Iraq vet in a hospital with a fractured skull, but there were dead men and women on the streets of this country, and no one in this country wants to see that again today.
The mayor of any city is not out on the front lines with the cops, and not everything they do can be lain at the mayor's feet, but if, one night, a group of peaceable protesters exercising the rights given to them under the Constitution - and not rights made up by the cops for the cops, like "lawful command" and "imminent threat" - if they are attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets, and the mayor's only comments are to commend the police chief for a "generally peaceful resolution to a situation," and, after that, claim "Democracy is messy," after the unprovoked actions of those police horrify a nation - she is endorsing, and assuming for herself the responsibility for, whatever havoc the out-of-control police officers have wrought.
If this country were not poised on a vital, urgent and massive change - in which, no longer, will we permit governments to aid and abet class warfare by the rich - Jean Quan's story would be recognized as something of a tragedy.
But right now, there is only time to note that - in July, 2010, when she attended as a "peace keeper" the protest of the police murder of Oscar Grant - Oakland police responded by opening an investigation on her and threatening to file charges against her. Fifteen months ago, Mayor Jean Quan was bullied by the Oakland Police Department, and tonight - she is the bully.
Mayor Quan is left with two choices. She can dismiss the acting Police Chief Howard Jordan, and use her mayoral powers to authorize Occupy Oakland to protest again without harassment. Or - having betrayed all she supported and all of those who supported her - she must resign.
OLBERMANN: He never says the words "Occupy Wall Street," but the President actually, today, addresses one of its key issues - relief for those with crushing federal student loans. Robert Reich joins me.
The Wall Street protesters themselves, today, address another concern - health care. A march to a New York hospital, squeezed shut by the for-profit system.
This is a Fox News minion. He and the anchor-models back in the studio are selling the Occupy smear of the day - Occupy is actually run by ACORN. Even though they reported last week that ACORN doesn't exist any more. Tomorrow, they'll report Occupy is actually run by Goldstein.
And this is Bryan Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America. And he has won the Marie Antoinette Award. He told his staffers, "I, like you, get a little incensed when you think about how much good all you do... You ought to think a little about that before you start yelling at us." The next few months will be very surprising to Mr. Moynihan. That's next - this is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: The rich have not just gotten richer - they've gotten three times richer. As a new report focuses the raw data - and the subsequent raw power - the president of the United States addresses a key issue for Occupy without ever mentioning Occupy.
In our fourth story tonight - President Obama, moving today to reduce the staggering amount of student-loan debt that hamstrings so many, even before they can get jobs.
The wealth thing first. A new Congressional Budget Office report today - between 1979 and 2007, the country's wealthiest one percent saw their incomes nearly triple, while at the same time middle-class incomes barely budged. But, despite evidence that wealth disparity keeps increasing, some at the top are now arguing they've been unfairly singled out here.
Bank of America's CEO Brian Moynihan - whose $10 million salary and - puts him as squarely amongst the richest one percent - telling his employees that he thinks Wall Street bankers are really just a bunch of misunderstood do-gooders.
He said, "I, like you, get a little incensed when you think about how much good all of you do, whether it's volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well." He addressed the ungrateful protesters by adding, "You ought to think a little about that before you start yelling at us."
President Obama, while not exactly yelling, indicating that he does identify with the 99 percent - announcing a plan today at the University of Colorado to cap federal student-loan repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income and forgive the debt they're in after 20 years, instead of after 25. He also told the students he sympathizes with their situation, because he and the first lady have been there.
(Excerpt from video clip) BARACK OBAMA: Look, obviously, we were lucky to have gotten a great education. We were able to land good jobs with a steady income. But it still took us almost 10 years to finally pay off all of our student debt. Keep in mind - college isn't just one of the best investments you can make in your future, it's one of the best investments America can make in our future - so, we want you in school. We want you in school. But we shouldn't saddle you with debt when you're starting off.
OLBERMANN: Joining us now, the economist Robert Reich, former labor secretary, author of "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future." Thanks for your time, sir.
ROBERT REICH: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The loan plan - no vote in Congress. How does he do that, and what impact do you expect this will have?
REICH: Well, the president is trying a number of options that are basically steps in the right direction - not very large. The student-loan plan that he unveiled today is a step in the right direction. It does allow students to consolidate their loans and also, as you said, to put a cap on the kind of - the paybacks they have to make in any given year. That's a huge help to students.
But it is a step in - it's a small step in - the right direction, because there's still a huge load of student debt. And a lot of students can't even get jobs these days. What he did yesterday in terms of housing - again, a step in the right direction. But without legislation, without Republicans willing to cooperate on anything, he's not really going to be able to do very much.
OLBERMANN: To that end, you wrote that "Obama should demand the Glass-Steagall Act be resurrected and the big banks be broken up." Is there any chance he might decide - however, perhaps. quixotic that might be at the moment - that, given the energy the Occupy movement would provide him and some political cover, at least, at the far left - that he should at least attempt that?
REICH: Well, it's not just the Occupy movement. It's also the fact that the Volcker Rule - which was basically supposed to keep commercial and investment banking separate - has been, basically, whittled to death by Wall Street, in terms of their lobbyists over the last year. And what came out a couple of days ago was a 300-page piece of - just, kind of, moronic prose.
If you got a chance to read it - I actually struggled through it for several hours - it's just exemptions and loopholes for Wall Street. And if that's the way Wall Street is going to react to regulation, then I think the president does have to step up and say, "We've got to go back to Glass-Steagall. We've also got to break up the big banks because look what you have rendered. Look what the big banks have done. Look what the suffering is of Americans."
And I think, also - although the Occupy movement, Keith, is still a very small tip of an iceberg - there is a big iceberg of discontent, of anger, of stress. People look at CEOs' salaries, that are now 300 times - 350 times - the salary of the average worker. They look at the profits that are being raked in by big corporations and by Wall Street and they say, "Wait a minute. What happened to us? We are getting on the short end of the stick. Our incomes are going down. We're underwater. One out of four of us who has a mortgage are underwater. We're losing our jobs." This economy was supposed to be for everybody.
OLBERMANN: And we saw what the Congressional office came out with - about the trebling of the top one percent's income since 1979, as opposed to almost no change for everybody else. But your point, about the reaction in Wall Street, there is another part of this story - the Bank of America CEO, who claims that it's the bankers are being unfairly attacked, right after it was revealed his company was engaged in dealings you've argued are illegal under the new financial regulations.
I know Marie Antoinette never said "Let them eat cake," but how foolish does Brian Moynihan have to be - and how representative is he - to have said, "Think a little about that before you start yelling us."
REICH: Well look, these people - Jamie Diamond, other CEOs on Wall Street - they live in a very insular world. I mean, I don't think they - they, frankly, know what is going on in the rest of the country. I don't think they have any sense of the degree of anger and upset and stress that most Americans have experienced since the bubble burst, and since Wall Street's excesses became the center focus of everybody's attention.
I - you know, the bailout of Wall Street also began - a lot of us forget - also began the tea party movement. Americans - you know, it's not that the tea party and Occupiers are the same, they're very different - but there is a - there's a common thread of - of, kind of - we're fed up. You know, this economy is working for a small, narrow group at the top, and not for all of us. There're ways of getting the economy back, Keith. I mean, the economy is supposed to work for us, not the other way around.
OLBERMANN: The president never mentioned Occupy Wall Street. Did he have to? Have his actions - this week and of late - been inspired by or impelled by or just speeded up by Occupy?
REICH: I don't think he has to mention it. I do think, though, that it has to be in his head. You know, I was in Washington a couple of weeks ago, and - I have to go there every once in a while - and, Keith, the interesting thing is - Occupy Wall Street has already had a huge success, because the tenor of debate in Washington among Republicans and Democrats and other people I met with - people were talking about inequality. They were talking about wealth and income going to the top. They were talking about the fact that so many Americans see the power of money in politics, and are so disillusioned with politics, because there is so much money coming from the top in politics.
You know, this is the kind of talk that I haven't witnessed in years in Washington. And so, I say to people who are on the streets and people who are being gassed in Oakland, California - and around the country - I say, "Look, you're already having an effect."
REICH: Be patient. Keep at it.
OLBERMANN: The economist and former secretary of labor, the author of "Aftershock," Robert Reich. As always, many thanks, sir.
REICH: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: That's the movement and student-loan debt and the like. The movement and health-care reform, and next - breaking news about more punishment for the officer whose pepper spraying of four defenseless women made Occupy an international story.
OLBERMANN: The New York Police Department officer whose indiscriminate use of pepper spray helped to lift Occupy Wall Street from local curiosity to national and international cause has been kicked upstairs. Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna has been reassigned from a Manhattan precinct to Borough Command in Staten Island.
Nothing against Staten Island - he's from there - but transferring you there is how police here fire somebody without actually firing them. Moreover, Bologna has already been named a special-projects coordinator there, which is as ancillary as it sounds. If you somehow have forgotten what happened on September 24, perhaps this will refresh your memory.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTER: I was sprayed!
OLBERMANN: Inspector Bologna, a 57-year-old, 29-year veteran of the NYPD, was docked ten vacation days, or the equivalent in salary. Seemingly, the extent of his punishment, but then he reportedly made comments to an obscure website about how he wasn't trying to hit the women with the spray, only some men lying in the street trying to trip officers that you couldn't see in the video - or, apparently, live either. And that if he had to do it all over again - he'd do it the same way. And now he can try to during Occupy Snug Harbor, Staten Island.
Still ahead here, Fox News reveals that Occupy is being run by ACORN. Even though last month, Fox News revealed that ACORN doesn't exist anymore.
OLBERMANN: This just in from our producer/reporter Erica Ferrari in Manhattan - significant police presence reported now at Zuccotti Park. That does not necessarily augur bad problems, it's just ahead of a 9:00 PM Eastern march that Occupy Wall Street is going to take - and schedule at kind of the last minute - in support of, and in solidarity with, Occupy Oakland and the critically-injured Marine protester Scott Olsen. So, there is a significant presence downtown in Manhattan, but no signs of any trouble. We'll keep you posted if things change.
Meantime, the lack of a specific set of demands from the Occupy movement has been an under-publicized benefit contained within it - the protests' range is, thus, anything but finite.
In our third story on the "Countdown" - today, Occupy Wall Street focused on health care. A march to the headquarters of Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, then to WellCare Health Plans - the Medicaid fraud people - and finally to St. Vincent's Hospital. This was a charity facility, the kind Michele Bachmann just said we needed to have to take over for all government medical aid. It was founded in 1849. It closed last year because its owners demanded it make money, and it couldn't, because of - you know, the charity part.
(Excerpt from video clip) PROTESTERS: Health care for the 99 percent! Health care for the 99 percent! What do we need? Health care! When do we need it? Now! What do we need? Health care! When do we need it? Now!
OLBERMANN: A member of the protest group, Dr. Kenneth Weinberg, spoke to reporters.
(Excerpt from video clip) KENNETH WEINBERG: I'm a New York physician, and every day that I go to work, I see the outrage - the horrors - of what happens to people because they don't have health care. They can't get their prescriptions filled. They can't get follow up. They can't get procedures done. And I've been seeing it for so many years and it just sickens me.
OLBERMANN: I'm joined here now by Dr. Stephen Auerbach a member of Physicians for a National Health Program, who spent a couple of days in Zuccotti Park this week. And we thank you for coming up.
STEPHEN AUERBACH: Well, thank you for having me.
OLBERMANN: Explain the cause and effect - we'll start with this point - the cause and effect between Wall Street and things like St. Vincent's Hospital being shut down.
AUERBACH: Sure. Well, we have such a fragmented system - or, I should say, non-system - of care in the United States. So, hospitals - we have a whole bunch of hospitals all the way up the East Side of Manhattan. Now, with the closure of St. Vincent's, there's no hospital on the West Side below 57th Street.
So, we have this fragmented system where the wrong hospitals shut down. They were a great service - community hospital, and the problem, as you were saying is - it's now "Profit, profit, profit." Companies have to make this quarter-on-quarter profit to meet Wall Street expectations.
If we had a single-payer, universal health care - Medicare for all, as it were - then what would be happening is everybody would be paying in, and you'd have a universal insurance pool - an all-American insurance pool - that would be covering everybody. It's been analyzed by the GAO, by the CBO, by the Commonwealth Fund, and everybody agrees it's - economically, it makes the most sense, policy-wise, it makes the most sense. The only problem has been the power of the corporations.
OLBERMANN: And that, obviously, raises the question that was so prominent in 2009 and early 2010, which is: do the drug companies and the insurances companies - the health-care cartel - do they have too-firm a grip on this part of an economy which is - they see their lifeblood - for us ever to shake that grip loose?
OLBERMANN: Well, never say never. We're still fighting the good fight. In fact, we - polls have shown - mainstream, regular polls: Washington Post, CNN, The New York Times - show 60, 65 percent of the American people would support single-payer Medicare for all. A recent study - academic, peer-review, professional study - published showed 59 percent of American physicians would support it. We're as tired of the for-profit health care - insurance companies, the fragmentation, the paperwork, the duplication. People go on insurance, people go off insurance - the churn, "What is it today? I've got 50 different forms." It makes no sense.
AUERBACH: And no other country in the world does this, except for the United States.
OLBERMANN: So why - why is Physicians for National Health Program - or Health-Care Program - why are you associated with Occupy Wall Street? My understanding was - from what I've seen on CNN and places like that - that they're a bunch of dirty hippies down there. You appear to own a tie, sir. What are you doing - what is your organization associating yourself for these folks for?
AUERBACH: Well, you know, if you actually go there and walk through, you'll see folks from all walks of life - young and old, professional, business suits - and, let's face it, inequality kills. Poverty kills. Wage stagnation kills. It makes us, in the U.S. - us sick. So, of course, physicians are supportive of Occupy Wall Street.
You know, it is really is the same issues of economic inequality and disparity - stagnation for the most of us - and, frankly, the broken, corrupted political system. So, it's really all of the same issues for the Occupy Wall Street, 99 percent as those of us fighting for real health care reform have been fighting for all along.
OLBERMANN: Do you - have you interacted a lot with the - you know, leaders is a difficult - they get very offended by the term leaders - but have you occupied with a lot of people in the forefront of this? What's your experience been like?
AUERBACH: Sure. We've absolutely worked with the process that they've had. So, we've been at various meetings, there's different work groups. We - our March today was consensed by the whole group, by the New York General Assembly, as part of their official - such as it is - march for today. You know, we're all in this together. It really is the same fight all together. It's the inequality, the wage stagnation, the income stagnation for the most of us and - you know, in health care, we refer to this as health disparities -
AUERBACH: - as the social factors that cause problems for health care. So, people are more likely to get sick when there is poverty. They're more likely to get sick when there is inequality and they're less likely to be able to get the care. So, of course we're for it.
OLBERMANN: Poverty kills.
OLBERMANN: Dr. Stephen Auerbach, of the Physicians for a National Health-Care Program, many thanks for coming in.
AUERBACH: My pleasure. Thank you for having us.
OLBERMANN: Fortunately, Fox News knows the truth about Occupy Wall Street. "It's secretly run by ACORN," explains news actress Megan Kelly, and "Ninety percent of Americans hate it," explains Bill O'Reilly, who has his fingers on the pulse of the nation. Well, he has his fingers on somebody, anyway. Ahead.
OLBERMANN: Last month, Fox News reported that ACORN had long since gone out of business. Today, it is claiming that ACORN is pulling the strings at Occupy Wall Street.
First, the "Worsts." He explains that 90 percent of Americans hate Occupy because protesters criticized John Stossel and Geraldo Rivera. Because that's what this is about - Geraldo Rivera.
OLBERMANN: You know who the right says is behind Occupy today? ACORN! I think it's sweet that they share power with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Nazis, the Communists, the anti-Semites, and the racists, don't you? Next.
First - because these next clowns only hear the sounds of those words, they don't know what they mean, or when they are them - here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze - right on cue - to pretend Republican candidate Herman Cain. Cain stepped back from comments made at a tea party rally that Cain attended yesterday. A man named Apostle Claver announced "It's the Democratic party that's the racists." Cain's campaign said "Our campaign is all about promoting civil dialogue." Well, that's a change apparently.
Six years ago Cain wrote, "Congressional Democrats do not want all Americans to drink from the same retirement fountains. They insinuate that we are not smart enough to ride in the front of the retirement bus with them. At least with separate water fountains, blacks and whites each had water to drink."
Plus, there was this remark during the campaign that, again quoting, "African-Americans have been brainwashed into voting Democratic." Which, if true, is no problem for Mr. Cain, because - as they say - no brain - no brain, no pain.
The runner-up? Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. The recall effort begins in 20 days. Unfortunately, it turns out that on November 15th, a loophole opens in the election laws of Wisconsin. The personal donation limit of ten thousand dollars to a gubernatorial campaign will not in effect for the following sixty days.
Wisconsin GOP's chair summed it up, "We can accept unlimited money for a 60-day time period, so you're gonna see a lot of positive, wonderful ads about what's going on in Wisconsin." Courtesy of personal donations by Charles Koch, David Koch, their imaginary sister Cherry Koch, their fitness-expert cousin Diet Koch, their failed entrepreneur nephew New Koch.
But our winner? Bill O. the Clown. Frankly, I'm glad to see this. He's been in a terrific slump lately. But there's nothing like the march of progress to inspire him to new levels of stupidity. Specifically, Occupy Wall Street.
"I'm an independent, all right?" Lemme stop you right there, goober. You're not an independent, you're a puppet. You have a job, and it's at the political whorehouse that is Fox News. "I looked at this group in the beginning and gave them a shot and wanted to know what they were all about. Once they started to attack our personnel here, including John Stossel and Geraldo and all that, I said, "You know what? I don't want any part of these people."
Because the measure of any societal change in American history has always been - how it treats a talking mustache who exceeded his hipness shelf life by 35 years. And a lunatic who once said on the air that "if the world was dying of thirst," of course you should "raise the price of water."
"I guarantee you that ninety percent - ninety percent of independent Americans, Juan - are saying the same thing: 'We don't like them. We don't trust them. We think they're radicals and if anybody throws in with them we are going to vote against that anybody.' That's what's going on, Juan."
Juan - Juan Williams - actually awoke from his salary-induced slumber to point out that all polling so far showed Americans, in fact, agreed with the Occupy protesters. In one case, the number was nearly 60 percent. "Wait until you see the new poll on it, okay? It ain't gonna be that sixty. It's going to be down to forty or thirty five, and the more loons like you saw over the weekend - and they will."
Because, in addition to thinking he has his own cops - in fact, they were his wife's cops - Bill also thinks he controls the polls. And also traffic lights, and the weather. "Because they continue to get themselves in the media, they've got to do this stuff. The media's tired of this story now!"
O'Reilly recorded those comments about 5 PM Eastern yesterday, 6 PM - just before one of the network newscasts led with Occupy Wall Street, and 12 hours before the police skull-cracking in Oakland made all the morning-news chat shows - and the day before The New York Times poll found only 27 percent disagreeing with Occupy. Nice prediction, Sparky. Bill O. the Clown - today's "Worst Person In The World."
OLBERMANN: First, the protesters were drugged-up hippies. Then they were anti-Semitic. Then, yesterday, they were part of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In our number-one story - now, the right wing has grasped at its next straw. The Occupy movement is actually being organized by the most vile of community organizations - ACORN. In an article on Fox News.com's front page titled: "Exclusive: ACORN Playing Behind Scenes Role in Occupy Movement" - the article points to the involvement of a group called New York Communities for Change, headed by former ACORN New York Director Jon Kest.
It claims the NYCC is paying homeless people to attend the protests, as well as raising money for the protests while claiming they are collecting money for the United Federation of Teachers. They're even able to get quotes from unnamed NYCC employees - oh, this must be real! - "What people don't understand is that ACORN is behind this. And yes, we're still ACORN, there is a still a national ACORN."
ACORN does not exist anymore. Between James O'Keefe's "not-pimp" videos and Fox's subsequent slander and hatchet jobs, its survival was impossible. And another thing, how behind the scenes is this supposed involvement? The article sites a piece that Mr. Kest wrote for The Huffington Post titled "Why We're Joining Occupy Wall Street" - he's trying to keep it a secret? The article was on posted September 30th - it was already day 14 of Occupy. It's also not exclusive to Fox News.com, and maybe the reporter could have saved himself some time by watching that "Fox and Friends" gaggle over two weeks ago.
(Excerpt from video clip) REPORTER: It's interesting - a number of labor unions have thrown their support behind these anarchist Occupy Wall Street people -
(Excerpt from video clip) REPORTER #2: Workers United, Transport Workers Union, and the Working Families Party - which was, in part, helped to be created by ACORN, the ACORN of the past.
(Excerpt from video clip) REPORTER #3: Some evidence, even, an ACORN offshoot is behind it.
OLBERMANN: It's really sad to see what Teller is doing these says, isn't it? But that's what Fox News does. Find a group to scare its audience, mention it on the air, then have a phony reporter write about it and report it again as news.
Let's turn now to Sam Seder, host of the nationally-syndicated radio show "Ring of Fire," as well as the web-radio program "Majority Report." Good to see you, Sam.
SAM SEDER: Nice to see you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Who do you have in the pool about who it's going to be tomorrow? And I think Goldstein is way too easy. We've already referenced - Goldstein is behind Occupy. So, who else could it be?
SEDER: Well, it could be anybody at this point. In fact, when I knew I was coming on, I thought - "Oh - oh, well of course, it's going to be Chairman Mao." But, I went to the - to fox.com. That was yesterday. Literally, they had said that it was the Red Army that was actually behind it.
OLBERMANN: Oh, Jesus.
SEDER: They can't seem to stick to one bogeyman here - and so, it's back to ACORN - or, actually ACORN's office. It's not actually ACORN. We're talking about the undulating office that sends out all of the ACORN vibes - sort of, like, they shoot back into time. Send it through the office. It's fairly complicated, that's why they get the exclusive.
OLBERMANN: And you have to get - You have to get a theremin to make that sound.
SEDER: That's right.
OLBERMANN: You pointed something out - that I like to note - that the conspiracy theories have not been given a lot of time to breathe. There's a new one every day. Why are they not - is it just "Throw it against the wall," and if it doesn't immediately stick, they drop it, or is, perhaps, the point that you just throw them all out there and everybody gets to pick whatever is their favorite phobia: Islamophobiacs can grab the Muslim Brotherhood and the people who hate Obama can grab ACORN and, you know, the sports fans can say, it's really - what the next one's gonna be is - the locked-out NBA players are responsible for this.
SEDER: Right, of course. Well, you know - I don't know. That's a good question. I tend to think they're just freaking out, and they can't find anything that will stick. I mean, they have, actually - I saw a piece by a right-winger, I think it was today or yesterday - saying that Obama, actually, in 2000 was in an Occupy Chicago protest - or an "Occupy Chicago-like" protest - 11 years ago, sort of - you know, what they're doing here is - they're playing with the time-space continuum.
OLBERMANN: Right, exactly.
SEDER: And somewhere in the middle, I guess, is the truth. But you're right - every day it seems like they come out with another, sort of, fake story. It's the Muslim Brotherhood, it's - you know, undoubtedly it will be Soros next - is buying them pizza, I guess. Who knows?
OLBERMANN: Seventy million pizzas.
SEDER: Maybe, maybe it's -
OLBERMANN: Seventy million Nazi-sympathizer pizzas from Greece or wherever -
SEDER: Pizza cartel.
OLBERMANN: But - but why - I guess I know the answer to this one - but why do they need this? Why can't they - I mean presumably, they have people at home who are sitting there going "Up with the rich and down with the - me." Why can't they just argue it on the points, and make that stuff up, rather than come up with a bogeyman in the background?
SEDER: I think it's - there's a couple of reasons. I think there's - because there's no hierarchy there, and it's clearly a grassroots - there's really no way to tie it in to any - any institution that they have already, sort of, created a bogeyman out of.
And so, I think that - combined with the fact that their message is resonating - I mean, it's resonating to the extent that you even had Eric Cantor last week actually say the words "income disparity." I mean - I never thought in my lifetime I would ever hear the number two - arguably the number one - Republican in the House saying the words "income disparity."
And so - and, of course, his response was that we need to cut taxes, but - on the rich for it.
OLBERMANN: He was in favor of it.
SEDER: Exactly, of course. But - he was in favor of increasing it - but, he did say the words. And I think that's what's freaking them out. It's connecting with the American public.
OLBERMANN: Also, once again, my mirror theory applies here - that everything that is accused - the Republicans are accused of - the Republicans must thus accuse back.
So, liberals find out that Dick Armey and those groups and the Koch brothers have been funding the tea party. Therefore, the conservatives have to make up somebody. There's got to be somebody else who's doing this to blame because - you know, it's a game of tag.
SEDER: Right. Well, I mean - you know, this is, again - what Fox does, what the right does - is to create these, sort of, identity politics. And the thing that they're having the trouble with is that thepeople down in - you know, what is formerly known as Zuccotti Park - are all different types of people. And it's resonating with people across the - the political spectrum. It's resonating with people - you know, across the 99 percent of the country. And so, I think they're having trouble going to their normal game plan and they're freaking out.
OLBERMANN: Sam Seder of "Ring of Fire" and "Majority Report," also the evil genius actually behind Occupy Wall Street.
SEDER: That's right.
OLBERMANN: Him and Professor Moriarty.
SEDER: You have the exclusive.
OLBERMANN: That's it. Great, thanks - thanks for confessing. Please see the - the sin taker on the outside.
That's "Countdown" for Wednesday, 377 days until the 2012 presidential election. I'm Keith Olbermann. Give yourself a round of applause for getting through yet another day of this crap. Good night and good luck.