'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday, November 11th, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: Mayor @JeanQuan looks to shut down #OccupyOakland again over unconnected shooting w/Alternet's @JoshHol land
#ShowPlug 2: #OccpySLC #OccupyBurlington #OccupyStLouis all threatened. + #Occupy and vets w/Jose Vasquez, Exec Dir of @IAVW
#ShowPlug 3: Herman's 15 minutes up; replaced by 15% support by women. @Craig_Crawford on GOP's next flavor of the month
#ShowPlug 4: Turdblossom Returns: Karl Rove uses disproved lies in attack ads against Elizabeth Warren, others, w/ The Nation's @AriBerman
#ShowPlug 5:SHOCKING video of James O'Keefe and his Acorn-sized brain PWNED at Columbia J-School + then he can't operate the door
#ShowPlug Last: And Thurber at his most bitter, Self-Help-Book-Hating best. "How To Adjust Yourself To Your Work"
watch whole playlist
#5 'Occupy Must Go', Joshua Holland
#5 'Occupy Vets Day', Jose Vasquez
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#4 'The Rise of Newt', Craig Crawford
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Roving Facts', Ari Berman
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#2 Worst Persons: Rep. Lee Terry, Sen. Jim DeMint, James O’Keefe
#1 Fridays with Thurber: How To Adjust Yourself To Your Work
printable PDF transcript
Categories: Show Transcripts
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Here we go again on the flip-flop, merry-go-round of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. After she and the police falsely try to pin a shooting in a dangerous downtown area on Occupy Oakland.
(Excerpt from video clip) JEAN QUAN: I'm calling on the campers to please leave voluntarily tonight.
OLBERMANN: The excuse in Burlington, Vermont? A suicide inside the Occupy camp.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Our responsibility is to keep the public safe, and when you have the discharge of a firearm in a public place like this, you know, it gives good cause to be concerned.
OLBERMANN: So, discharge of a firearm in a public place - does that mean you have to shut down the entire country? But Occupy Santa Clara gets a camping permit. Occupy in general gets unlikely support from the general.
(Excerpt from video clip) COLIN POWELL: Demonstrating like this is as American as apple pie.
OLBERMANN: And on Veterans' Day - Occupy and the vets.
(Excerpt from video clip) SHAMAR THOMAS: You are the people who are awake. You are the people who have the minds to understand what's really going on. We need to continue to protest and continue to do it peacefully.
OLBERMANN: And check out Jay-Z's new Occupy Wall Street T-shirts. You know what percentage of his profits go to Occupy Wall Street? Zero percent! Nice!
As his support by women drops to 15 percent, Herman Cain makes another mistake.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Did you hear the latest news today? Anita Hill is gonna -
(Excerpt from video clip) HERMAN CAIN: is she going to endorse me?
OLBERMANN: And Rick Perry makes another mistake.
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK PERRY: Hey, I was up late last night watching "Dancing with the Stars."
(Excerpt from video clip) DAVID LETTERMAN: Oh, I see. That explains it.
OLBERMANN: Is he in summer stock in Austin or something? Sadly, he is not in jail or something. It's Karl Rove attack-ad season.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: At Occupy Wall Street, protesters attack police, do drugs and trash public parks. They support radical redistribution of wealth and violence. But Warren boasts, "I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do. I support what they do."
OLBERMANN: Fridays with Thurber - "How to Adjust Yourself to Your Work."
And "Worsts" - little Jimmy O'Keefe is back with the scandal of the journalist who used an F-bomb! And little Jimmy just got owned.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Why didn't you dress like you were in some of your other videos?
OLBERMANN: And then he got stuck trying to get out the exit door. All that and more - now on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Friday, November 11th, 361 days until the 2012 presidential election.
Occupy camps under pressure to pack up and go after bodies were found in tents in two cities and a shooting claimed a victim near a third. None of the incidents, apparently, have anything to do with the protests. As Occupy protesters in New York March with veterans on Veterans Day to a concert with Joan Baez.
Fifth story on the "Countdown" - Occupy protesters facing a stark choice. Strike your camp or face arrest and, perhaps, the threat of police violence. The pressure especially strong in Oakland following a fatal shooting that may have been a fight gone bad near the Occupy camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza last night. Protesters insisting the violence had nothing to do with the Occupy movement, but local business interests and many city council members want the protesters to finally go. And so, now, does Oakland mayor, Jean Quan.
(Excerpt from video clip) QUAN: I'm calling on the campers to please leave voluntarily tonight.
OLBERMANN: Probably would be a good idea if she left voluntarily - her office. The Oakland police also calling for Occupy to leave. Writing in an open letter, "With last night's homicide, in broad daylight ... Frank Ogawa Plaza is no longer safe. Please leave peacefully, with your hands held high, so we can get police officers" - heads, correctly - heads held high - "So we can get police officers back to work fighting crime in Oakland neighborhoods."
An attempt to remove the camp by force on October 25th resulted in more than 100 arrests and a fractured skull from a tear-gas canister for Iraq war veteran and protester Scott Olsen.
Elsewhere in the Occupy movement - in Salt Lake City, the camp at Pioneer Park has been ordered closed by sunset Saturday. This, after a man died overnight in a camp tent apparently from a toxic mix of carbon dioxide poisoning and drugs. Police Chief Chris Burbank told reporters, "We can no longer have individuals camping on our streets."
In Burlington, Vermont - the Occupy camp will likely be closed for good after a suicide Thursday and confrontations that followed between protesters and police.
In St. Louis - Occupy told protesters - or, police told Occupy protesters - they had until 3:00 pm to remove their tents, until 10:00 pm to leave their camp in Kiener Plaza. Those who stay will face eviction and possibly arrest. Many protesters say they are staying, while their attorneys seek a federal restraining order to stop the eviction.
But in Santa Rosa, California - a completely different outcome. Occupy protesters there striking a deal with the city council for camping permits to allow them to stay in their tents on the City Hall lawn. One protester telling reporters:
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: This right here is my home and I'm here to stay.
OLBERMANN: For more - as Occupy Oakland approaches what could be another violent confrontation with police - we're joined by Josh Holland, senior writer and editor with AlterNet. Josh, thanks again for your time tonight.
JOSH HOLLAND: Thanks for having me, Keith.
OLBERMANN: What's going on tonight? Do we know? Are people taking the latest deadline - in fact, the latest reversal of stance from the mayor - seriously?
HOLLAND: I think they are. The eviction of Oakland - the sense among the campers - is that this is a matter of when, not if. By all signs indicate there is going to be another eviction and there is going to be a deal - a good deal of violence involved.
OLBERMANN: Do you have a sense of that, in terms of proportion - or the nature of the thing - relative to the last one?
HOLLAND: I feel the campers have really dug in and dedicated themselves to remaining, so I think this is going to be a very ugly clash.
OLBERMANN: The shooting - do Oakland police believe that it has any connection to Occupy? Is it being used as an excuse? Are you convinced that it doesn't? 'Cause there was a woman who has been, at least, at Occupy Oakland who said that was her cousin and he had stayed with her in her tent at Occupy Oakland.
HOLLAND: It's entirely possible that he had stayed there a couple of nights before. I spoke with three eyewitnesses, who said that the fight started outside the camp, kind of moved through the camp and then this tragedy happened on the far end of the camp.
You know, this is the 101st homicide in Oakland this year. It's a real tragedy. I spoke to people out there who are saying that another young man had been shot to death just catty-corner from the incident last night, and, you know - there were no news vans, there were no helicopters overhead. So, I think this is being used as a premise by City Hall officials to evict the camp, but these problems run deep in the community. There are social problems that aren't going to be addressed by, you know, evicting the Occupation.
OLBERMANN: Is there a sense - give us a sense, because I don't think everybody knows the geography of downtown Oakland - about just what kind of area we are talking about and how unlikely it is that there would be a shooting that had no connection to that camp so close to the camp, or how likely it might be.
HOLLAND: Again, this is the fifth - this is the city with the fifth-highest violent crime rate in the United States. It is in downtown Oakland, it's not a residential area. There are mostly office buildings around. But, you know - again, we've heard that these things happen all the time. Somebody told me yesterday that if this had taken place in West Oakland, the body would still be sitting there for hours after the fact.
So, you know - or take, for example, the incident in Burlington, Vermont, a tragic suicide by a veteran. There was a report out just ten days ago that found that a veteran attempts to commit suicide every 80 minutes on average. There were 1868 suicide attempts among veterans in 2009 alone.
So, again, these problems aren't going to be swept under the carpet if we get rid of the Occupations, and I think that they - you know, one of the things that makes them prone to this kind of demagoguery, by people who want to oust them - is that they are open to the marginalized among society, the people that, you know, most of us tend to ignore.
OLBERMANN: We're going to address the situation - the plight of the veterans and, particularly, their inter-relationship with Occupy in just a moment - but let me ask you one more question. Is there any sense of what's happening to Mayor Quan? Has she managed to succeed in pissing off Occupy Oakland and everybody on the left and pissing off the business community and pissing off everybody in the middle? 'Cause it seems like she's held every conceivable position on this entire issue of Occupy Oakland so far in the last two months.
HOLLAND: I think that's a very good summary. She's being buffeted from the left for the violence of these crackdowns. You know, they're not playing well in a very progressive community. And members of the business community, local residents, are equally furious at her for letting the Occupiers retake the plaza. So, she has managed to handle this in such a way that just about everybody is harboring real grievances towards her.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, we suggested here quite a while ago - she needed to resign after the first one. And I think now it's a question of basic competency. Josh Holland, senior writer and editor at AlterNet, great thanks again. Have a good weekend.
HOLLAND: Thanks, Keith, you, too.
OLBERMANN: Here in New York, Occupy Wall Street observed Veterans' Day with a march from Zuccotti Park to nearby Foley Square for a concert - for a rally - for the 99 percent. Organizers calling it "Honor the Dead, Fight Like Hell for the Living."
Marine Sergeant Shamar Thomas - famous for defending Occupy protesters from New York police in Times Square last month - was among the veterans who spoke today:
(Excerpt from video clip) THOMAS: I want to start it by saying, again, happy Veterans' Day to all of the veterans, but I want you guys to understand that - what is going on right now, you are the people who are awake. You are the people who have the minds to understand what really is going on. And so, we need to continue to preach the word.
OLBERMANN: Among the singers who preached and performed, somebody who has been preaching the word about peace and non-violence since the early 1960's - this time using a song by the Rolling Stones - Joan Baez.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOAN BAEZ: Let's drink to the hardworking people / Let's drink to the salt of the earth / Let's drink to the hardworking people / Let's drink to the salt of the earth.
OLBERMANN: And, while he is far from his roots among the salt of the earth in the Bronx, a very senior veteran - former Secretary of State, General Collin Powell - had some kind words, unexpected ones perhaps, for the Occupy movement. While noting he was concerned when demonstrations turn into violence and didn't begrudge anybody who has earned a good salary:
(Excerpt from video clip) POWELL: Demonstrating like this is as American as apple pie... We need our political system to start reflecting this anger back into - "How do we fix it. How do we get the economy going again?"
OLBERMANN: Well, that would be a start. For more on America's veterans and the Occupy movement, I'm joined by Army veteran Jose Vasquez, executive director of Iraq Veterans against the War. Thanks for coming in, sir.
JOSE VASQUEZ: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: How did you get involved in this and what do you see as its connection with Veterans Against the War?
VASQUEZ: Well, our national office is right down the street from Zuccotti Park - we're on Fulton Street - so we went down there. I really got involved once the unions called for a big rally in Foley Square and I really saw that it was resonating with working-class people across the country.
OLBERMANN: Given the - and our guest from Oakland, Josh Holland, referenced that horrific number about attempted suicide by a vet every 80 minutes - given that and the horrific readjustment problems, particularly facing vets from Iraq and Afghanistan, do you see an overlap of interest with Occupy and a chance to have Occupy - essentially - sponsor your message in this resonation that it has managed to achieve in two months?
VASQUEZ: Well, part of the message of the Occupy movement is homelessness and unemployment. And that's no secret, for veterans across the country are dealing with that issue. Many veterans are, you know, looking for jobs as we speak. President Obama has a jobs bill that he's trying to push through, and we are ensuring that the veteran's voices are at the 99 percent - part of the 99 percent message. As well, we see veterans that are just turning out and camping in different places around the country.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, so much of it - as with the rest of this movement, whatever might be planned and whatever might be organized and phone calls made and people should get involved - so much of it seems to be so organic. I'm thinking, again, about the gentlemen we heard again - again on the scene, Sergeant Shamar Thomas, and his original role in this - of simply expressing his outrage at tactics that he recognized from his tours are duty were being used on the streets of Times Square a month ago, totally out of proportion with what he was seeing. Did his position in this - or the roles of the other vets who served, who come into this organically - surprise you?
VASQUEZ: I'm not surprised. I think that a lot of veterans took an oath to serve the country, and they know that peacefully assembling is part of what the Constitution protects for us, and we take a lot pride in that. I had the pleasure of meeting Sergeant Thomas. He's a great guy. He's come from a long line of military people.
OLBERMANN: Yes, he has.
VASQUEZ: I think that people like him, and other folks around the country, are just packing their bags and showing up at different Occupies and finding each other.
OLBERMANN: What is it about - and I'm sure you know this history better than I do - about the role of veterans in this country when they come home? And the - everybody in the country is willing to support a veteran while he's in uniform - and certainly when he's - before he's a veteran and he's still in the field - and yet, if you speak to truths about this society and how it's treating veterans, or people who have never been near the military - there is some sort of friction to that. Like, "No, you've done your job. Your job was to carry a gun."
How does - the history of protest in this country is filled with veterans' groups that protested at various key points in American history. The start of the Depression - the Bonus Army was made up of people who had been promised bonuses that weren't being paid, who desperately needed the money, veterans of the first World War who were not getting their money and were starving to death without that money. The role of veterans on Veterans' Day, in terms of peaceful protest in this country - speak to that if you would.
VASQUEZ: I think getting involved in different movements as veterans is just an extension of the civic duties that we took on when we volunteered to serve. And, you know, General Smedley Butler was a highly-decorated soldier in his time. He went and spoke to the people in the Bonus Army. He called them great Americans, and what they were doing was patriotic. So, I think that veterans getting involved in the Occupy movement is just a tradition of veterans being involved, standing up for the people, and you know, I think - it's a way for us to bridge the gap to other folks who might look at Occupy movements and not see their issues there. Getting veterans involved really adds a level of credibility. And it's a powerful voice.
OLBERMANN: And especially - you bring a point that's just so ignored these days - volunteers, that you signed up for this. Many motives for people to join the military, but to volunteer is the universal for everybody, and that sense of service does not stop when you return home.
VASQUEZ: That's right. Yeah. I think that what the Occupy movement is showing is just anger across the country. Veterans feel that anger. Veterans are dealing with, you know - suicide, unemployment, homelessness, and it's - people are fed up.
OLBERMANN: Jose Vasquez, the executive director of Iraq Veterans against the War. Thanks for your time and, of course, thanks for your service.
VASQUEZ: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Happy Veterans' Day.
We want to congratulate Herman Cain for lasting four days after the first on-the-record revelation of his sexual-harassment past. He's now third in the polls behind Gingrich. And he's making Anita Hill jokes, next.
OLBERMANN: Took four days, but Herman Cain has now plummeted to third in the Republican polls. He's behind Newt Gingrich and falling fast.
If you can't win election on merits or popularity, do what Karl Rove does - take money from corporations and spread every goddamned lie you can think about a Democrat. The balding pile of baboon feces attacks Elizabeth Warren.
The guy the media took seriously for some reason about ACORN - watch him get shrunk at Columbia's journalism school.
And "Fridays with Thurber," back with his unbridled hatred of self-help books. "How to Adjust Yourself to Your Work," ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Somewhere tonight, Newt Gingrich is saying, "I knew it would happen! I knew it would happen!" as he furiously rubs his ego.
In our fourth story tonight - new polls showing support for Herman Cain and Rick Perry flagging while Gingrich surges. Mitt Romney, meanwhile - the Republicans' favorite fallback plan - still unable to move the needle. A new CBS poll shows Gingrich at 15 percent, tied with Romney, only three points behind Cain this week after Gingrich predicted the race would come down to him and Romney. Today, still seeming to like his own chances:
(Excerpt from video clip) NEWT GINGRICH: The real meaning of the poll is - when the front runner's at 18 and next two are tied at 15 - it is a wide-open race.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Mr. Math! A McClatchy/Marist poll showing Gingrich actually passing Cain to take second place with 19 percent of the vote, just four behind Romney. Cain may be lagging, in part, because of a no-so-surprising drop in his support among women. His backing from conservative women down nearly half since last month - to 15 percent. He likely won't win them back with tone-deaf comments like this one about Anita Hill.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Did you hear the latest news today? Anita is going to -
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: Is she going to endorse me?
OLBERMANN: Spent today apologizing for that gaffe with his press rep explaining it was a joke, just like the knee slapper about putting up that electric fence along the U.S.-Mexican border.
Meanwhile, the joint news conference his accusers were reportedly planning might not happen after all. The lawyer for Karen Kraushaar, the second woman who went public, telling NPR she is having trouble convincing the others to take part.
The only GOP candidate having, perhaps, a worse week than Herman Cain is Rick Perry. We're seeing his poll numbers fall into single-digit, Michele Bachmann/Rick Santorum territory following his "Oops" heard 'round the world. Perry trying to do damage control by making the rounds of yesterday's morning shows, explaining that he'd stepped in it, then stepping in it all over again with a "Top 10 List" performance on "David Letterman" - reminiscent of his bizarre New Hampshire speech from a week ago.
(Excerpt from video clip) PERRY: I thought the debate was tonight.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: I see - well, there you go. That happens to everybody. It was a mix-up, ladies and gentlemen. Sure. Number six?
(Excerpt from video clip) PERRY: Hey, listen - you try concentrating with Mitt Romney smiling at you. That is one handsome dude.
OLBERMANN: Joining me now - Craig Crawford, political blogger, author of "Politics and Life." Good evening, Craig.
CRAIG CRAWFORD: Happy 11-11-11!
OLBERMANN: Indeed. Mr. Cain -
CRAWFORD: It's a date even Rick Perry can remember.
OLBERMANN: There's three numbers in there. There's 11, 11 and uh - uh - Mr. Cain, first. Yes, his campaign boasted about record contributions this week and how they followed the allegations. Is that necessarily the logical fallacy? Did the one thing cause the other? Or is there a time lag to consider on donations?
CRAWFORD: Certainly, and they've been doing a lot of advertising on the web for that. One thing about Herman Cain and the sex harassment charges - he's really appealing to a lot of people who think that doesn't exist, it's something liberals made up. A lot - I think one reason he's getting in trouble with women is - he doesn't take this issue seriously. He dismisses it. He jokes about it. I think he can still defend himself and also say, "Hey, it is a real thing and it's serious and we should fight against it." But he doesn't do that.
OLBERMANN: To Governor Perry - am I wrong in thinking that the "Top 10 List" did not help last night? I mean, it was over the top, almost in the way the speech was in New Hampshire. I thought it was like "Amateur Night" at the Chuckle Hut, plus that variable of "What's wrong with him now?"
CRAWFORD: You know, Keith, these performances are so bad - that New Hampshire speech, his debate and that weird appearance on "Letterman" - that, if I were his spokesperson, I think the campaign would be better off by saying, "Oh, it's okay, he was just drunk." Because if he was sober - if he was sober in these appearances - that's actually worse.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, there was just something transcendent about that. I believe Admiral Stockdale had spoken to him from beyond the grave saying, "I don't know what he's doing here!" I mean, really, it's getting almost to the Stockdale level of things, isn't it?
CRAWFORD: It certainly is. I don't know what it is. I don't know if he's trying to have a personality and this is the best he can do or what. Or if he wants to audition for his own late-night talk show or something. But at times, I don't even think he's serious about his campaign. He's just playing. He is, after all, the governor of Texas, and that's something to fall back on.
OLBERMANN: True. And speaking of falling back, Newt Gingrich, as I said, has been expecting this to happen for 20 years, at least. Is he just the last guy standing, or another passing fancy, or - what is the deal with his prominence in the polling this week? There's only so many names on the list and you to have pick one.
CRAWFORD: Yeah, I mean, this flavor-of-the month routine - I mean, there are only so many sugary flavors left. They may have to eat their vegetables and support Romney in the end.
Romney is like this - the Romney machine - is like this big cruise ship just chugging across the sea and all these other little speed boats just racing around it until they run out of fuel, and we're now down to Gingrich. I mean, one thing about Gingrich now, connecting to the Cain story, is this now will re-surface his issues with women - I mean, having his own affair in the '90s, when he was blasting Bill Clinton for adultery. That'll all come back. And the evangelicals who think they like him now have to rethink that.
OLBERMANN: And the Missus on her hospital bed during her cancer treatments.
OLBERMANN: There's one report today - and I don't know how serious he is about this - but Nate Silver, who usually relies on statistics, is reporting that Sarah Palin might be reconsidering and she might have a chance. Are either of those things plausible to you?
CRAWFORD: What makes it implausible to me is the filing deadlines. It's kind of a legal technicality, but a serious one, to get on the ballots on these early states. These ballot deadlines - filing deadlines are passing. Now, she's a big enough name - most of these states have petition drive avenues, she could go that route - but it would be an uphill battle. She would certainly get a lot of media attention, I suppose.
But again, I think the Republicans are just running out of alternatives. The Anything-but-Romney movement is - the Anybody-but-Romney movement is getting close to the point where it has to be somebody and not just anybody.
OLBERMANN: Do they have super delegates in the Republican process, as the Democrats did three years ago?
CRAWFORD: Not near the impact that we saw in the Democrats. You'd have to have a much closer race for that to kick in.
OLBERMANN: Okay, all right, just checking. Just had that sudden flashback came through.
CRAWFORD: That's a painful flash back.
OLBERMANN Sorry, I didn't mean to ruin your weekend on Friday. Craig Crawford, the author of -
CRAWFORD: And I'm in Florida, too!
OLBERMANN: Author of "The Politics of Life," now available at craigcrawford.com. Thank you, Craig. Have a good weekend, anyway.
CRAWFORD: Good to talk to you.
OLBERMANN: Karl Rove versus Elizabeth Warren and Karl Rove versus Occupy Wall Street. You can't separate the good guys from the bad guys in that picture, can you? Coming up.
OLBERMANN: America's vampire rolls out his line of 2011-2012 "lies and slime" ads. One of them so slimy and lie-filled it has already been pulled by one of the networks that was carrying it. That's next.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date a hundred years ago - the previous 11/11/11, Saturday, November 11th, 1911 - saw Kansas City measure a record high temperature for the date of 76 degrees late in the morning. Then a cold front called "The Great Blue Norther" hit the Midwest, and before midnight it was 11 degrees in Kansas City. It dropped 65 degrees in 14 hours.
Springfield, Missouri, went from a record high of 80 to 40 degrees with 40 mile-an-hour winds in two hours. By midnight it was at a record low of 13 degrees. Oklahoma City also had record highs and lows on the same day - 83 and 17.
The extreme temperature change unleashed November tornadoes in the upper Mississippi Valley - nine of them in Michigan - and an Ohio blizzard. And in Janesville, Wisconsin, an F-4 tornado, followed by a blizzard!
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: Angry cat strikes cobra pose
Beginning on the Internets - two cats size each other up. The white one thinks, "Yeah I could take this guy, unless something bizarre happens like he - turns into a cobra!" That is the scariest cobra I've seen since Johnny Lawrence. "Sweep the leg!" Eventually someone came by and played a flute and the cobra went back into his cat basket. "What the hell is this cat doing?"
VIDEO: (No clip available)
Dateline - South Africa, where this hippo just enjoyed a nice swim. And like any other hippo, she decides to head back to her house. That's right, she's a pet hippo. Jessica the Hippo has free rein of the house. So, naturally, she goes right to the kitchen for a snack - and she ate the woman in the hat there, too, whole. Looks like she's a hungry, hungry hippo. When she's finished eating, she waddles back outside, because - at end of the day - she's just too "hippo" for the room.
VIDEO: (No clip available)
Finally, we end - as we always do - with extreme surfing. That dot right in the middle of the giant wave is Garrett McNamara and that giant wave is the tallest ever surfed. Hang ten, dude. Or ninety, I should say - as in a ninety-foot wave. Services will be Thursday. This amazing feat took place off the coast of Portugal. They're saying it's the biggest wave since a 2007 Jets-Patriots game, the wave that made it around Gillette stadium over four times. Might be a different kind of wave.
"Time Marches On!"
Wait 'til you see what the head of the journalism school atColumbia University did to right-wing, failed-punk James O'Keefe - ahead.
OLBERMANN: DuMont's "Okay, Mother," starring with Dennis James, will not be seen tonight so we can instead bring you "Countdown" - the longest continuously-running 8:00 pm news hour on cable unless you consider Fox - "news." Our primary replays are at 11:00 pm Eastern and 11:00 pm Pacific. We call it "our little tontine."
In Republican circles, it is never the person with the facts or the most logic who wins the argument. It is the guy with the loudest voice. In our third story on the "Countdown" - the master of the philosophy, Karl Rove. His political action committee, Crossroads GPS, has released its new ads. All of them loud, each more factually incorrect than the one the preceded it.
On Tuesday, Crossroads released the ad called "Two Presidents," which compared President Obama's and President Clinton's stances on raising taxes. The problem is that the Clinton soundbite they picked had been in an ad in early October, and was shown then to have been selectively edited to make it appear as if the president was against President Obama's tax plan.
Rove then set his sights on Tim Kaine, who is running for the Senate from Virginia. The ad suggests the former governor supported $39 million for office upgrades for politicians and another $1.9 million to study ants in Africa. Both of those statements had been debunked in September of 2010. Doesn't he have any new smears? These are all part of a $1.8 million ad buy this week by Crossroads, $4.4 million spent over the last two weeks. The most egregious attack contained a two-for-one deal - smearing Elizabeth Warren and the Occupy movement simultaneously.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Fourteen million Americans out of work, but instead of focusing on jobs, Elizabeth Warren sides with extreme-left protests. At Occupy Wall Street, protesters attack police, do drugs and trash public parks. They support radical redistribution of wealth - and violence. By Warren boasts, "I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do. I support what they do." Intellectual foundation for what? We need jobs, not intellectual theories and radical protests.
OLBERMANN: For the sake of brevity, we'll focus on what was not a lie there. There is someone named Elizabeth Warren and there is also an Occupy Wall Street movement at the moment. The bigger question is - with recent polling showing 60 percent of Americans agree with the tenets of the Occupy movement - wouldn't putting the two together help Elizabeth Warren?
Joining me now to address that and other questions - Ari Berman, contributor to The Nation magazine, and author of "Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics." Thanks coming in.
ARI BERMAN: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: The ad - is that actually going to wind up helping Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts?
BERMAN: It very well could, Keith. Because if the election in Massachusetts becomes about the ideology of Karl Rove versus the ideology of Elizabeth Warren, that's a bet that, I think, Elizabeth Warren would like to take.
OLBERMANN: The Warren identity and persona is as threatening to the right as anybody on the left. And it's odd, because - as well-respected as she is on the left - I don't think she'd be ranked by people on the left as one of the top-three people left of center. What is it about her that so terrifies Karl Rove and people with him?
BERMAN: Her brand of progressive populism is very, very resonant right now. Remember, she took on Wall Street before it was cool. She's not afraid of the banks. She's not beholden to the banks. And she's running for the Senate precisely because she wants to take them on. So, that makes her very dangerous to corporate interests in both parties - particularly the Republican Party right now, because they're bankrolled by those very people. And so, they've seen Elizabeth Warren as a threat all along. They saw her as a threat when she was at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and they see her as a threat now, when she's running for Senate.
OLBERMANN: We're going to talk about - and then something occurred after we, sort of, decided to talk about this - the number of disproved and already-disproved facts in this and now, over the transom as they say, comes the news that one of the Crossroads GPS ads against Jon Tester - a senator in Montana - has been taken off the Cablevision Optimum cable service, because it falsely accuses him of supporting tougher rules for farm dust.
They tried to attack him, and he's a rancher who has been against any regulations - not that there are going to be any regulation against dust, that's a right-wing boogieman, very paranoid on their part - but they tried to smear Tester, the rancher who was defending against dust rules, as if he was in support of dust rules. They're not even checking how good the lies are anymore?
BERMAN: It's like the truth does not apply. We've known for a long time the truth doesn't apply to Karl Rove, but now they're really, really stretching it. And they're airing more and more outlandish attack ads and they're finally starting to get called out on it.
Now, Rove's feeling probably is "It won't matter, right?" People will see these ads, believe them and it won't matter if he gets called out on them. But it starts to hurt his credibility here, if people start realizing what's going on. And with Elizabeth Warren thing, I think there's a significant chance that it could backfire - both in terms of it being inaccurate, but also rallying people to her cause. Because we saw, for example, after that ad ran - a ton of people flooded the Elizabeth Warren website, made a lot of donations and it helped her profile, it didn't hurt her at all.
OLBERMANN: What's going on against Tim Kaine, who's one of the other objects of this? Because Virginia, obviously, is a far more teeter-totter kind of state, and that, you would think - lies would go very far with the conservatives and perhaps the rightward-leaning middle-of-the-roaders in Virginia.
BERMAN: They're replaying a line they used in the 2010 election, which is that Tim Kaine supported Obama's failed stimulus. And, of course - leave aside the fact that it saved almost 3 million jobs. But what they're saying is he used it to repair the capitol - not noting that, for example, the stimulus money there was actually bonds to help state governments rebuild buildings. So, it was a perfectly legitimate use of money, but they're making it look like pork-barrel spending on a wasted, failed stimulus.
OLBERMANN: Is Rove sticking to the Senate and some key House races, or might he get involved in the presidential election as well with these pieces of televised crap?
BERMAN: He'll probably do both, but they've already said they're going to spend $150 million on the Senate and they're going to spend $150 million on other races and they're going to go where they can get the most bang for their buck. Right now, that's in the Senate races and these House races, to try to set the narrative early on.
OLBERMANN: It will be interesting to see if anybody else calls them on it, as in the Tester ad. It's really extraordinary, the more I think about it, that they actually pulled the thing off the air, which says something to the - to the dignity of broadcasting? That's not possible.
The author of "Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics," Ari Berman. Again, great thanks. Have a good weekend.
BERMAN: Thanks, Keith. You, too.
OLBERMANN: One Senator voted against a tax break for companies hiring military veterans, just one. He is defending his lone vote, saying this was just another giveaway to a special interest group. "Worst Persons" next on "Countdown." See if you can guess who it is.
OLBERMANN: Thurber at his most wonderfully bitter, one of his many attacks on self-help books: "How to Adjust Yourself to Your Work."
First, the "Worsts" - the infamous James O'Keefe reduced to a small puddle of O'Keefe-ness at Columbia's journalism school. We'll show you his "Wicked Witch of the West" moment, next.
OLBERMANN: James Thurber with eternal advice: "How to Adjust Yourself to Your Work." That's next.
First - because this is the place for us to spotlight those who have not adjusted to reality - here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The runner-up? Congressman Lee Terry, of the Nebraska 2nd. Congressman Terry has proposed the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011, which was heard by the House subcommittee on Communications and Technology. That sounds great! Increased transparency about the mobile carriers' labyrinthine billing practices and hidden fees and 73-year contracts? And from a Republican no less? Hmm! No, that's not what it's about, is it?
Congressman Terry's Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 would repeal a 20-year-old ban on robocalls and other pre-recorded announcements to cell phones, which would open - conceivably - the way to telemarketers. The rationale is that rates are so much lower now that everybody can afford the incoming charges for unwanted calls to your cell and, anyway, you'd have to opt-in to the system.
Actually, the way the bill is written you'd be automatically opted in unless you gave written disapproval to your cell provider. And actually, Nebraska Congressman Lee Terry is just whoring himself out on behalf of the big telecoms.
The runner-up? Speaking of which - good old Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina and of course, of a different dimension. The Senate voted 94-1 to pass an amendment to grant employers tax breaks of up to $9,600 for giving a job to a military veteran. Guess who the one was? "I'll probably be accused of not supporting veterans by the politicians pandering for their votes, but I'm not going to be intimidated to vote for something that may make sense politically but is inherently unfair."
DeMint actually argued that it is inherently unfair to give veterans an inside track on jobs. Why does Jim DeMint hate the troops?
But our winner? Little Jimmy O'Keefe, last seen trotting around Occupy Wall Street in what businessmen wore in 1995 - when colored shirts with white collars had not yet become Halloween costumes - in hopes that somebody would bean him or something. The man who doctored the infamous ACORN videos has been owned.
O'Keefe has discovered that a Columbia professor and Pulitzer-prize winning reporter named Dale Maharidge had used both the s-word and an f-bomb in an email! Seriously! This is a big deal to O'Keefe, apparently. Big enough for him to launch a series called "To Catch a Journalist." Well, to fail to launch to catch a journalist.
Little Jimmy went to Columbia to confront J-School Dean of students Sree Sreenivasan over the s-word and the f-bomb. It didn't go too well. If you have a sense - as you watch this - that O'Keefe is getting shorter, the longer the video this goes on, it ain't your TV, you're right.
(Excerpt from video clip)JIMMY O'KEEFE: You have an official status at the university.
(Excerpt from video clip)SREE SREENIVASAN: But of all people, why'd you pick me?
(Excerpt from video clip)O'KEEFE: Because you're sitting here in the office.
(Excerpt from video clip)SREENIVASAN: Well, that's now. No, no, no, but why did you pick me on Facebook? I don't understand.
(Excerpt from video clip)O'KEEFE: You're the Dean of Student Affairs. We're trying to get your comment and we're gonna get the comments from a lot of people here today.
(Excerpt from video clip)SREENIVASAN: Why didn't you dress like you were in some of your other videos?
(Excerpt from video clip) O'KEEFE: Uh, I'm a chameleon and I adopt many different roles. So, I appreciate your time. You obviously have no response. You stand behind profanity-laced emails?
(Excerpt from video clip)SREENIVASAN: I don't defend everything all my colleagues do and I don't read or get involved with everybody. But I would have loved to see you in your other outfit. What else do you wear?
(Excerpt from video clip)O'KEEFE: Many different costumes. So, this is great.
(Excerpt from video clip)SREENIVASAN: This is great?
(Excerpt from video clip)O'KEEFE: You stand behind Dale Maharidge's profanity-laced -
(Excerpt from video clip)SREENIVASAN: Dale Maharidge is a wonderful journalist and professor who has been teaching here for many years. And I'm a big fan of his.
(Excerpt from video clip)O'KEEFE: And we look forward to releasing the next investigation of "To Catch a Journalist" and more professors here at Columbia University talking about the need to re-elect President Obama. That's very important that journalists do that, re-elect good politicians, not hold them accountable. We look forward to releasing our next video and we appreciate your comments. Thank you.
(Excerpt from video clip)SREENIVASAN: Okay, thank you.
OLBERMANN: His mic isn't plugged into anything. "Why didn't you dress like you were in some of your other videos?" Classic. Turns out, a room full of J-School people and they shut off their cameras before the best part.
"After he was done with me," Dean Sreenivasan writes, "I should have kept rolling, because they get to the exit and find they can't open it. He says 'Have they locked us in?' Turns out they were pulling the door instead of pushing it."
Little Jimmy O'Keefe, starring in "To Catch a Cold" - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: We resume "Fridays with Thurber" with one of the master's specialties. James Thurber hated self-help books, hated them. Hated them so much that in 1937, he put out an entire book condemning them called "Let Your Mind Alone!"
Whence our story comes tonight. As usual, I'm reading from the Library of America, "Thurber Writings and Drawings, edited by Garrison Keillor." Stand back, because here comes a man driven nearly mad by the endless self-helpery of the mid-20th century. Abridged slightly for time - and I hope you'll read the whole thing yourself - "How to Adjust Yourself to Your Work" by James Thurber.
"I find that the inspirational books are frequently disposed - touch, with pontifical cheerfulness or owlish mysticism - on the problem of how to get along in the business world, how to adjust yourself to your employer and to your fellow worker. It seems to me that - in this field - the trainers of the mind, both lady and gentlemen, are at their unhappiest. Let us examine what Mrs. Dorothea Brand, who is reputedly changing the lives of almost as many people as the Oxford Group, has to say on the subject. She presents the case of a man - she calls him "You" - who is on the end of an executive end of an enterprise and feels he should be on a planning end.
'In that case,' she writes, 'your problem is to bring your talents to the attention of your superior officers with as little crowding and bustling as possible. Learn to write clear, short, definitive memoranda and present them to your immediate superior until you are perfectly certain he will never act upon them. In no other circumstances are you justified in going over his head.'
Very well, let us start from Mrs. Brand's so-called 'point of justification' in going over your superior's head and see what happens. Let us suppose that you have presented your favorite memoranda to your immediate superior Mr. Sutvon twice and nothing happened. You are still not perfectly certain that he will never to act upon them. To be sure, he has implied - or perhaps even said in so many words - that he never will, but you think that maybe you have always caught him at the wrong moment, so you get up your memoranda a third time.
Mr. Sutvon - glancing at your paper and noting that it is the same old plan for tearing out the west wall, or speeding the out-of-town truck deliveries, or substituting colored lights for bells - is pretty well convinced that all you do in your working hours is write out memoranda. He figures that you are probably suffering from a mild form of monomania and determines to dispense with your services if you submit any memoranda again.
After waiting a week, and hearing nothing from Mr. Sutvon, you decide - in accordance with Mrs. Brand's suggestion - to go over his head and take the matter up Mr. Leftly. In doing so, you will not be stringing along with me. I advise you not to go over Mr. Sutvon's head to Mr. Leftly. I advise you to quit writing memoranda and get to work!
The Mr. Leftlys of this country have enough to do the way it is - or think they have - and they do not like to have you come to them with matters which should be taken up with the Mr. Sutvons. They are paying the Mr. Sutvons to keep you and your memoranda from suddenly bobbing up in front of them.
In the first place, if you accost the Mr. Leftlys personally, you become somebody else in the organization whose name and occupation they are supposed to know. Already, they know who too many people are.
In the second place, the Mr. Leftlys do not like to encounter unexpected memoranda. It gives them a suspicion that there is a - looseness - somewhere. It destroys their confidence that things are going all right. It shakes their faith in the Mr. Sutvons and the Mr. Bairds, the Mr. Crowfoots and the old Ms. Bendleys, who are supposed to see that every memorandum has been filed away or is being acted on. I know of one young man who is already sending to his particular Mr. Leftly - over Mr. Sutvon's head - memoranda done up in limp, leather covers and tied in ribbon, just to show that he was not only clear, short and definite, but neat.
Mr. Leftly did not even not glance between the leather covers, he simply told Ms. Bendy to turn the thing over to Mr. Sutvon who had already seen it. The young man was let go. He is now a process server. Keep, I say, your clear, short and definite memoranda to yourself! If Mr. Sutvon has said no, he means no. If he has taken no action, no action is going to be taken!
People who are all the time submitting memoranda are put down as jealous, disgruntled and vaguely dangerous. Employers do not want them around. Sooner or later Mr. Sutvon or Mr. Leftly himself sees to it that a printed slip - clear short and definite - is put in their pay envelopes.
In embroidering the theme that imagination can help you with your fellow workers, Ms. Brand also writes, 'When you have seen this, you can work out a code for yourself which will remove many of the irritations and dissatisfactions of your daily work. Have you ever been amused and enlightened by seeing a familiar room from the top of the stepladder? Or, in mirrors set at angles to each other, seeing yourself as objectively for a second or two as anybody in the room? It is that effect you should strive for in imagination.'
Here again, I cannot hold with the dear lady. The nature of imagination, as she describes it, would merely terrify the average man. The idea of bringing such a distorted viewpoint of himself into his relation with his fellow workers would twist his personality laboriously out of shape and, in the end, appall his fellow workers. Men who catch an unfamiliar view of a room from the top of a step ladder are neither amused or enlightened. They have a quick, gasping moment of vertigo which turns rapidly into plain terror.
No man likes to see a familiar thing in unfamiliar angle or in an unfamiliar light. And this goes above all things for his own face. The glimpses that men get of themselves in mirrors set at angles to each other upset them for days. Frequently, they shave in the dark for weeks thereafter. To ask a man to steadily contemplate this thing he has been seeing fleetingly in a mirror and to figure it "as dealing with his fellow workers day to day" is to ask him to abandon his own character and step into another which he both disowns and dislikes! Split personality could easily result.
I don't know why I am reminded at this point of my Aunt Kate Obets, but I am. She was a woman without any imaginative la-di-da, without any working code save that of except direct action, who ran a large dairy farm near Sugar Grove, Ohio, after her husband's death and ran it successfully.
One day, something went wrong with the cream separator and one of her hands came to her and said nobody could fix it, should they send to town for a man.
'No,' shouted my Aunt Kate, 'I'll fix it myself.'
Shouldering her way past a number of dairy workers, farm hands and members of her family, she grasped the cream separator and began monkeying with it. In a short time, she had reduced it to even more pieces than it had been in when she took hold of it. She couldn't fix it. She was just making things worse. At length, she turned on the on lookers and bawled, 'Why doesn't somebody take that goddamned thing away from me?!'
Here was a woman who was as far out of the tradition of inspirationalist conduct as she could be. She admitted failure. She had no code for removing irritations and dissatisfactions. She viewed herself as in a single mirror, directly. She lost her temper. She swore in the presence of subordinates. She confessed complete surrender in the face of a difficult problem. She didn't think of herself as a room seen from the top of a stepladder.
And yet, her workmen and family continued to love and respect her. Somebody finally took the cream separator away from her. Somehow it was fixed. Her failure did not show up in my aunt's character. She was the same as ever.
For true guidance and sound advice in the business world, we find, I think, that the success books are not the place to look, which is pretty much what I thought we would find all along."
"How to Adjust Yourself to your Work" by James Thurber.
That's "Countdown" for Friday. I'm Keith Olbermann. Congratulations, once again, on getting through yet another day of this crap. Good night and good luck.