'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, November 14th, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: #OccupyOakland swept out; Mayor Quan's legal adviser @DanMSiegel quits in protest - he's our special guest on Countdown
#ShowPlug 2: SWAT breaks up #OccupyChapelHill as "anarchists.: Guest: Char. Observer's @KatelynFerral forced to lie on ground for 15 mins
#ShowPlug 3: Libya, Libya, oh have you met Libya, Libya The Tattooed Lady? Herman Cain self-destructs again, this time a la Rick Perry
#ShowPlug 4: Gov. Corbett (R-PA) goes for #PennState political hay asking 'where was law enforcement,' forgetting HE was Attorney General
#ShowPlug 5: Can judge who was volunteer for Sandusky's charity, granted him bail, be removed? @CatherineCrier joins me
#ShowPlug 6: Banned by Lincoln Museum: O'Reilly butchers Lincoln book, cites Oval Office meeting, 44 yrs before there WAS an Oval Office
#ShowPlug Last: @JohnWDean joins me as the man who screwed up Malmedy, Churchill, Marie Antoinette, Nixon + Mao, screws up Lincoln
watch whole playlist
#5 'Occupy Wall St.', Dan Siegel
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#5 'SWAT vs. Squat', Katelyn Ferral
#4 'Grand Old Parody', David Drucker
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Political Football', Catherine Crier
#2 Worst Persons: Rush Limbaugh, Rep. Spencer Bachus, Rep. Allen West
#1 'Falafel-Guy Fail', John Dean
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
printable PDF transcript
On the show: Dan Siegel, John Dean, David Drucker, Katelyn Ferral, Catherine Crier
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Occupy Oakland - dismantled. Police thank protesters for a "peaceful exit." Mayor Quan's chief legal adviser Dan Siegel resigns in protest. Our guest, Dan Siegel.
Occupy Chapel Hill - attacked by a SWAT team.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Ran in, no warning at all and had their assault rifles pulled at us and put a gun in my face.
OLBERMANN: Why a SWAT team? Because the city decided the protesters were anarchists.
The true impact of Herman Cain's accuser?
(Excerpt from video clip) JOHN CLEESE: She turned me into a newt!
OLBERMANN: Gingrich now atop one GOP poll, Cain down to 14 percent in another, and he's made a fool out of himself in a magazine. "The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe, the more manly he is. Because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance. A manly man don't want it piled high with vegetables! He would call that a sissy pizza." Don't tell Mrs. Cain about that.
(Excerpt from video clip) GLORIA CAIN: That's not the person he is. He totally respects women.
OLBERMANN: Exploiting Penn State - Republican Governor Tom Corbett turns it into, literally, a political football.
(Excerpt from video clip) TOM CORBETT: We would have expected law enforcement to have been involved much sooner than it got involved.
OLBERMANN: Funny how he doesn't mention that he was one of the Pennsylvania State attorneys general who ignored the evidence of the horrific crimes of Jerry Sandusky. And how can the judge who let Sandusky out on bail - without even an ankle monitor - have been a volunteer for Sandusky's kids' charity, and not recused herself from the case?
And - don't know much about history. Bill O'Reilly's book on the Lincoln assassination banned by the Lincoln Museum at Ford's Theater.
(Excerpt from video clip) BILL O'REILLY: I want to write a book that everybody's going to read. Not some boring history book, all right? Like a thriller!
OLBERMANN: He succeeded. He succeeded. It's so much not like history, the museum won't sell it, because of the mistakes in it.
All that and more - now, on Countdown.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: As I remember, you had Abraham Lincoln driving to his inauguration in an automobile.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Monday, November 14th, 358 days until the 2012 presidential election.
The Occupy movement on the barricades, but not backing down. Occupy Oakland's camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza closed - dismantled this morning, its tents torn down in riot gear. Occupy Portland's camp closed Sunday. The same day a heavily-armed SWAT team stormed an empty car dealership in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, arresting eight so-called anarchists "loosely associated with the Occupy movement" in police terms. That, coming one day after Occupy camps in Denver, Albany, Salt Lake City, and St. Louis were also closed.
The fifth story on the "Countdown" - Occupy camps may be taken down, but the Occupy movement keeps rising up, planning a National Day of Action with the AFL-CIO and other labor groups for this Thursday, November 17th, when Occupy Wall Street also hopes to stop the New York Stock Exchange from opening on time, substituting a "people's bell" to ring out in place of the Exchange's opening bell.
But we start tonight in Oakland, where riot police mustered in strength near the Occupy camp before dawn. This, following pleas from Mayor Jean Quan that protesters leave of their own accord - and a third eviction notice preceded this. That was delivered on Sunday. Some protesters fled before the raid, some stayed hoping to avoid confrontation.
(Excerpt from video clip) BOB PRICE: I, myself, don't want to get arrested. I do have to work tomorrow. So - but I want to be out here and support and say that people have a right to assemble and to protest what the government's doing.
OLBERMANN: With the amount of official force on hand, protesting may seem futile. Hundreds of police from around the San Francisco Bay area joining their Oakland counterparts for the raid. At least 32 Occupy protesters were arrested. Unlike the first attempt to close the camp, October 25th - there were no reports of violence or injuries on either side.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: They came in, gave no orders. Did what we call "kettling" and basically cordoned off the park. Didn't really - I didn't see any brutality on the part of the police this time.
OLBERMANN: Oakland Mayor Jean Quan surveyed the ruins, once the camp was closed, and then spoke with reporters.
(Excerpt from video clip) JEAN QUAN: I am obviously relieved on behalf of Oakland that this morning's activities ended peacefully, that most of the campers agreed voluntarily to leave peacefully. The encampment became a place where we had repeated violence and - this week - a murder.
OLBERMANN: Oakland police claiming the man shot and killed near the Occupy camp Thursday had been living there, along with one of the suspected shooters. That violence - one of the justifications for closing the camp, along with reports of poor sanitation, increasing street crime, and financial pressure on businesses and the city - justifications that apparently did not add up for Mayor Quan's legal adviser Dan Siegel, who announced on Twitter this morning, "No longer Mayor Quan's legal advisers. Resigned at 2 am. Support Occupy Oakland, not the one percent and its government facilitators."
Attorney Dan Siegel, former legal adviser to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, our guest in just a few moments.
Elsewhere, more than 50 arrests in Portland, Oregon, yesterday, after Mayor Sam Adams ordered the Occupy camp there closed. Portland officials complaining the camp was unhealthy and a magnet for drug abusers and petty thieves.
Another 24 arrests in Albany, New York, Saturday - once the model for interaction between a community and a movement - as protesters refused to leave state-owned land near the capital.
Seventeen more arrests in Denver, where police told protesters they could sleep on the sidewalk, but could not block sidewalks nor camp in Liberty Park.
In Salt Lake City, 19 arrests in Pioneer Park, following a death in an Occupy tent on Friday.
Twenty-seven more arrests in St. Louis after an attempt to win an injunction to stop a planned eviction failed.
And at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this extraordinary scene - a SWAT team, semi-automatic rifles at the ready, storming a shuttered car dealership they claim had been occupied by anarchists. Eight people in the building arrested. One telling reporters there was:
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: No warning at all. And had their assault rifles pulled at us and put a gun in my face and put guns in everybody's faces and screamed at us to get on the ground. I have never had a gun pulled on me like that. That was terrifying.
OLBERMANN: More on that, with a reporter who says she witnessed the scene and was handcuffed and put on the ground by police, even after showing her press pass in a moment.
But let's begin, as promised, in Oakland and Dan Siegel, civil-rights attorney, political activist and former legal adviser to Mayor Jean Quan. Mr. Siegel, thanks for your time tonight.
DAN SIEGEL: Sure. Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Why did you decide to leave that post in the mayor's office?
SIEGEL: You know, I just felt that we had gotten to the point where we weren't on the same page. I think the city should have supported the Occupy movement in Oakland. It really does represent the 99 percent of Oakland residents who are struggling with joblessness, poverty, unemployment, foreclosures, high student loans and so on, and we should be friendly to them, not try to push them out.
I also think it's pointless. This is a tremendous movement, which - as you have described - is building across the country and just trying to bully them or dispossess them is not going to have a positive effect. It will just waste millions of dollars and bring a lot of disrepute on our city.
OLBERMANN: Officials in your city have cited the violence. They have described lawlessness and they say that these things were associated with Occupy, along with sanitation problems and costs, complaints from local businesses - reasons to shut it down. Do they have a point? Were those reasons sufficient to close it down or were they not?
SIEGEL: You know, I do think there's a point, but they were not sufficient. People didn't like looking at the camp - it was kind of disorderly. It was messy. We are used to having homeless people and poor people sleep under bridges someplace, not in the middle of town where people have to look at them and deal with their situations.
I thought the city should have engaged the camp leaders and the camp members. I went to many of the general assemblies. The people who gathered there were very intelligent, thoughtful, considerate people. I think they were amenable to having honest conversations with city leaders about dealing with the problems in the camp. And the city did not do enough to engage them, in my opinion.
OLBERMANN: Can you - can you give a theory on mayor Quan's conduct throughout this series of events over the last two months? Because you said in an interview, earlier, with The Huffington Post, that the mayor may have, to quote you, "Overrun by the opposition." What did you mean by that? And give me your assessment of her.
SIEGEL: Well, you know, Keith, the people in Oakland who were against the camp - and I mean particularly some of the more conservative members of our city council and the chamber of commerce and some folks like that - were just becoming louder and louder and more strident in denouncing Mayor Quan and demanding that the camp be assembled. And, at the same time, I think her closest advisers among city administrators - particularly the city administrator and the police chief - were really pushing her to do it.
At the same time, there are a lot of people in the community who are looking at or trying to look at alternative solutions - whether it's to engage the campers and try to get them to deal with the problems that the city was concerned about or even move them elsewhere - but none of those efforts ultimately had any traction, or had the support of the people in the Occupy movement.
So, I feel Mayor Quan was pushed to do something that is really contrary to her own values and political instincts.
OLBERMANN: The city's claim and the mayor echoed it about the shooting victim and the shooter last week being, to some degree, part of the Occupy camp. Was there any validity to that, or was that a convenient excuse in your opinion?
SIEGEL: You know, I think it was definitely a convenient excuse. This young man who was the victim of the shooting apparently had hung around the camp a little bit for a few days, but he wasn't really engaged as one of the Occupy activists. He got into a dispute with a couple of other young men, and they called the friend who came with a gun and shot him - which was really terrible.
But Keith, when you look at the fact that there have been 100 murders in Oakland this year - mostly among young groups of men of color - and people don't notice those because they're out in East Oakland or West Oakland, where big business people don't have to look at them and are easily ignored.
I'm not suggesting the mayor ignores them - she's been very positive in terms of finding solutions to crime - but this was, unfortunately, an all-too-typical Oakland event and I think it became an excuse for moving on the camp.
OLBERMANN: How very unfortunate. Dan Siegel, civil-rights attorney, political activist and - until this morning - legal adviser to the mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan. Congratulations on your stance on this - no matter how people view the movement, it says something. Very few people would do this now for any cause today. Great thanks for that. Great thanks for coming on.
SIEGEL: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: For more, now, on Sunday's guns-drawn SWAT team raid on a group of alleged Occupy-associated anarchists at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I am joined by Katelyn Ferral with The News & Observer. Thanks for your time tonight.
KATELYN FERRAL: You're welcome.
OLBERMANN: What did you expect when this sent you out to cover this?
FERRAL: Well, I was told that some protesters in the area had broken into an abandoned building - or a vacant building - and had taken it over. And so, I was just told to go down there and talk to the people and see what was going on. So -
OLBERMANN: What was going on? What did you see when you got there and how did the police treat you?
FERRAL: Well, there weren't any police there when I got there. I got there and there were people standing outside, a couple of people inside the building. People were just talking in groups. There were some people cleaning, just gathering. Police were not there when I got there initially.
OLBERMANN: And what happened? Under what circumstances did they show up, and what happened then?
FERRAL: Sure. Well, I was inside the building for a little while and then I started to walk outside. And I saw all of this - I had heard that police were gathering down the street. And so, I walked outside and - all of the sudden - they came rushing around the corner, around a neighboring building down the street, and then they were around with their guns and they were in a tactical team squad fashion and pretty much just rushed the crowd, told everyone to get on the ground.
And I had a camera in my hand at the time and I was wearing my press badge, so I was taking pictures of everything as it was happening. Eventually, they told me to get on the ground, too, and stop taking photos.
OLBERMANN: How long were you on the ground?
FERRAL: I was on the ground for about 15 minutes, I guess, at that point. I had showed them my press badge and told them I was a member of the media. They told me to get on the ground and spread my arms out. And so, I listened and did that and stopped taking pictures. So, I was on the ground for about 15 minutes or so. And they started handcuffing everyone around me. There was an officer standing over me, and then they cuffed me as well.
OLBERMANN: What happened after that? Were you arraigned? Were you just taken out of the scene? Or how did you - how does it happen that you are not cuffed now, I guess, is what I am asking.
FERRAL: Sure. So, I was detained and cuffed, but I wasn't actually arrested, because I was found outside of the building at the time. So, they cuffed me and about a dozen other people and they lined us up along a ledge and we were just sitting there with our hands cuffed behind our backs. And then they picked out people who they found inside the building - who were actually breaking and entering - and they put them on a bus and sent them to jail and they let me go, because they said I was outside of the building at the time.
OLBERMANN: Those people who were supposedly occupying that car dealership, they have been described as "associated" with the Occupy Wall Street movement and also - this nice, sort of, 19th-century touch - they have been described as "anarchists." You were there. Do you know? Do either one of those descriptions fit the truth?
FERRAL: A little bit of both. There were some individuals in the group I am told were anarchists. Some of the individuals also did - were involved with the Occupy Chapel Hill movement, which was - the encampment is just a couple of blocks away in downtown Chapel Hill - but I have been told that the people that took over that abandoned - or that vacant car dealership did not represent Occupy Chapel Hill. They were two distinct, different things and there were some overlapping members, but that did not - the dealership incident was not representative of what Occupy Chapel Hill was about.
OLBERMANN: Has there been any reaction to this SWAT team showing up in the middle of the town, other than your own reaction to it or our reaction to it from a distance?
FERRAL: Sure. I'm not generally sure about a community-wide reaction, but the mayor and the police chief held a press conference today and it was pretty tense at some points. There were protesters there and they hissed at the mayor and shouted questions at them, interrupted the press conference while it was going on. And I think the people who are anarchists in town and people - and also people who are associated with Occupy Chapel Hill are really upset. They have told me they are very upset with the way police handled this. And it's an incident we don't see very often here in Chapel Hill.
OLBERMANN: I would guess not. Katelyn Ferral, Chapel Hill reporter for The News & Observer of North Carolina. Great thanks for your time tonight.
FERRAL: Yeah, you're welcome, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Herman Cain is asked, "So you agreed with President Obama on Libya?" He replies, "Libya?" There follows 8 agonizing seconds of silence - that would be prior to the subsequent 9 seconds of silence, and the admission, "I got all of this stuff swirling around in my head." Cain's Rick Perry moment this afternoon, that's next. This is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: The Cain-wreck continues. He collapses to 14 percent. When asked about Libya, he goes into full Rick Perry vapor lock mode. And there's videotape.
The Penn State nightmare - it was politics-free, at least. And then the governor complained about law enforcement being so slow to act, even though he was attorney general when the evidence reached critical mass.
Last year, he said it was outrageous that he'd accused of being a member of a white supremacist motorcycle gang. Now, because it's convenient, he boasts he was, too, member of a white supremacist motorcycle gang.
What's wrong with writing in his new Lincoln book that the president met General Grant in the Oval Office in 1865? Well, there wasn't an Oval Office until 1909. Close enough for Fox!
OLBERMANN: Newt Gingrich surging to the top of the Republican field as Herman Cain battles not only harassment charges, but also a day in which it turned out he is comfortable talking about quote "sissy pizza," but not about Libya.
In our fourth story on the "Countdown" - Mr. Cain has a "Rick Perry moment." The biggest beneficiary of his stumbles appears to be Newt Gingrich. New numbers from Public Policy Polling showing Gingrich in the lead with 28 percent, followed by Cain at 25 percent and Romney at 18 percent. A new CNN poll shows Romney ahead, but leading Gingrich by just two points, with Cain down to 14. And then came the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board and a question about Libya. Libya? Libya, the tattooed lady?
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: Okay, Libya - President Obama support the uprising? Correct? President Obama called for the removal of Gadhafi? I just want to make sure we are talking about the same thing before I say, "Yes, I agree." Or, "No, I didn't agree." Um - I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reasons. Um - No, that's a different one. Um - I have got to go back. Let's see. Ah - I've got all of this stuff twirling around in my head.
OLBERMANN: Check please! Cain's campaign now saying he was working on 4 hours of sleep and "didn't say anything wrong or accurate. It just took him a while to recall the specifics of Libya." He thought you meant the ball club. It also claims he was taken out of context, which is nonsense. The paper posted the whole five agonizing minutes. Didn't take him quite as long to remember how he feels about torture at the Republican debate Saturday night, responding to a question about water boarding.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: Yes, I would return to that policy. I don't see it as torture. I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique.
OLBERMANN: Get them to tell you about Libya! Cain's own interrogation techniques back in the spotlight with the boyfriend of his accuser, Sharon Bialek, coming forward to corroborate her harassment story.
(Excerpt from video clip) DR. VICTOR ZUCKERMAN: I can confirm that when she returned, she was upset. She said that something had happened and that Mr. Cain had touched her in an inappropriate manner.
OLBERMANN: Gloria Cain, Herman Cain's wife of 43 years, defending her husband in an interview running today with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren.
(Excerpt from video clip) GLORIA CAIN: I know that's the not person he is. He totally respects women. He would have to have a split personality to do the things that she said.
OLBERMANN: Split toppings, did you say? Cain's comments last month to GQ magazine coming out today - they didn't help. They are about pizza. "The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe, the more manly he is. Because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance. A manly man don't want it piled high with vegetables. He would call that a sissy pizza."
Joining me now - and perhaps thinking he is in the middle of a very long and bad dream - David Drucker, staff writer for Roll Call. David, thank you for your time tonight.
DAVID DRUCKER: Good to be here, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Are those polls first sign that Cain might be done, and that the Libya tape is, maybe, going to be the last straw?
DRUCKER: Well, I think it shows he is definitely going in the wrong direction. I am only hesitant to call somebody done - because every time we think somebody is done, they are not. So, on the one hand, anything's recoverable depending upon how your opponents do, almost anything. On the other hand, he is having a rough couple of weeks. It's not abating. And I think, today - the Libya video is particularly damaging, simply because when you haven't been in an elected office, when you don't have experience with national security and foreign policy, you are going to be held to a higher standard than somebody who has. Had he been involved in these issues for years, he could maybe stumble and people would say, "Okay, he made a mistake. Clearly, we know he knows these things." But that isn't the case. And the manner in which you see the video unfold - if it gets a lot of coverage, a lot of play - it's a problem. If it only gets a little bit of coverage and it doesn't take hold the way Perry's gaffe on national television in that debate did, maybe he still can move forward here and he's got a chance to recover.
OLBERMANN: About Mr. Gingrich - the new front-runner, at least in the Public Policy poll, and close to it in the other one that I mentioned - is he the new front-runner because he's the one who hasn't been the front-runner yet? It is just - is it just his turn?
DRUCKER: Well, he's definitely the new not-Romney and I think there are a couple of things about Newt. First of all - of all of the candidates in the field - he may be the most knowledgeable, have the most experience over the course of a career in public policy of all kinds. And he clearly has a lot of good will among Republican primary voters. Now, I have been hearing for months from voters - whether it's over Twitter or otherwise - that, "Wow, Newt really impressed me. Do you think he could win? Newt was really interesting. He was really direct. He did a great job. Do you think he can win?" And all along, my thinking has been he is not electable in a general election against Barack Obama, most likely.
But clearly, Republicans are looking for somebody that they can believe in and feel emotionally connected to in addition to the policy. And Newt has that. They've rifled through Michele Bachman, Governor Perry and Herman Cain and now he is getting a look. Now, I think that he deserves the accolades he is getting from voters in the Republican field. What we are going to find out next, though, is - can he take a punch?
Because now that he is viable, his opponents, and others, are going to bring up all of the interesting things about him from his past that will then cause people to question whether he should still be up there. And if he can go through that - as every front-runner must go through that - then he is a player. If not, then maybe he drops like other people.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, breakfast at Tiffany's with somebody else's wife. Through all of this, each time the lead changes hands, Mitt Romney rises a couple of points. The people around him - as you pointed out - they basically shoot themselves once every three or four weeks and he can't get any traction going. Is there tone deafness because he proposes things like privatizing the Veteran's Health Administration on Veteran's Day, or is it that they just don't like him?
DRUCKER: I think the problem with Mitt Romney is that - if you talk to a Republican voter - their head will say, "I should vote for the guy. He understands the economy. He is not going raise taxes. He's got experience from the private sector." And their heart goes, "Eh," and kind of shrugs their shoulders. There is that and the fact that they don't know if they can trust him to be as conservative as they are.
But as we see, Keith, over presidential cycles - sometimes the nominee isn't somebody that everybody fell in love with. John McCain, although there was a lot there to like and a lot there to respect, Republicans never really fell in love with him or trusted him. But he was the guy that simply was able to rise just high enough and win just the right races at the right time to be the nominee. Romney could be that guy, but he could yet not.
The only thing - I'll say this about Romney, he has going for him - is just about everything Republicans don't like about him, they already know and have factored into what they think of him.
OLBERMANN: Attrition is his best friend. David Drucker, Roll Call. Great thanks tonight, David.
DRUCKER: Any time. Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Trying to score political points off the Penn State scandal. The state's Republican governor asks, "Where was the law?" Evidently thinking nobody remembers that he was the attorney general for the six years ending this past January, coming up.
OLBERMANN: The governor of Pennsylvania tries to make political hay out of the Penn State child-rape scandal. He blames those who didn't do anything, not mention that he was one of the state's attorneys general who didn't do anything.
First, the "Sanity Report." Two notes. This thing - I just found out about Movember, in which men grow mustaches to bring awareness to issues like prostate cancer. So, there you go.
Secondly, yesterday - November 13th - was the centennial of one of the all-time great human beings, John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil - first baseman, then manager - of the Kansas City Monarchs of baseball's Negro Leagues, the man who discovered Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Ernie Banks, the first African-American coach in major league history, the force behind the founding of the Negro League's museum, the unquestioned star of the Ken Burns baseball documentary, a man who should himself be in baseball's Hall of Fame. He died in 2006, healthy and happy and spreading both until the last few months of his life. And he was born on November 13th, 1911.
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: Boy attempts world-record "no blinking" streak
We begin with some record breaking. This young man has attempted to go the longest without blinking. Record breaking doesn't get much more exciting than this. I'd be on high alert, too, if my air conditioner had a mustache like that. What's going on there? There it is, right over his shoulder. Probably inspired by Movember. Next thing you know, it'll be a goatee, then a beard, then they take - all right, well, anyway, the kid has his eyes open. I think I have seen him blink several times. Well, there is one other thing he has open, probably - his schedule.
VIDEO: Kids on a playground discover the meaning of "Spin me like a top."
To the playground, where this fast-spinning piece of equipment is just waiting for someone brave enough to test it. The challenger steps up and - boom! goes the dynamite. Lesson learned. Well, maybe not. Get the distance on that? That may have been a record by itself. This is how the Wright Brothers got their start. Well, not exactly.
VIDEO: Chinese senior citizens cover Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance."
Finally, we end - as we always do - with Chinese senior citizens covering a Lady Gaga tune. These retired seniors are performing their version of the song "Bad Romance" on China's Hunan TV. Apparently, their interpretation of it has something to do with living in a giant dollhouse. "The Mitch Miller Show" has really changed.
It's very satisfying, but you know you are not going to be able to get away with the Lady Gaga joke.
"Time Marches On!"
Now, politics has made the Penn State nightmare even worse. Pennsylvania's governor tries to score points why asking why law enforcement was so slow. Forgetting that until January 18th of this year, he was the attorney general. That, and the amazing truth that the judge who let the accused pedophile out on bail used to volunteer for the man's charity for kids, next.
OLBERMANN: "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, 11:00 pm Pacific. We are live each night at 8:00 pm.
A governor, a judge, and the repeated failure of the legal system - now multiplied by somebody trying to score political points off the damn thing. In our third story on the "Countdown" - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett now pointing fingers in the Penn State scandal, even though his involvement in not prosecuting itself goes back years. And the judge who freed the alleged perpetrator on bail turns out to be connected to the man's charity organization.
Jerry Sandusky has so far been indicted charged with 40 counts of child sexual abuse. The grand jury alleges Sandusky's abuse of boys began in 1994. He says tonight he's innocent of all charges. But Corbett - who served as the state's attorney general from 1995 to '97, and again for 6 years before his current post started in January - implied his awareness began much later and that others dropped the ball.
(Excerpt from video clip) CORBETT: We would have expected law enforcement to have been involved much sooner than it got involve involved. And as you know from newspaper reports, our office - as attorney general - became involved, not in a case related to the university, but in a case from a next-door county - Clinton County - and a school there where Mr. Sandusky was helping out as a coach.
OLBERMANN: Never explained why that made a difference. When asked today why he did not act sooner, the governor replied:
(Excerpt from video clip) CORBETT: That's what I can't tell you, because it's part of the investigation. We have been investigating it. That's clear by the -
OLBERMANN: As for District Judge Leslie Dutchcot of Center County, Pennsylvania - home of Penn State - she failed to recuse herself from the case, even though she had volunteered for the charity through which Sandusky is alleged to have found his victims. Prosecutors requested half a million dollars bail for Sandusky and a leg monitor. Dutchcot freed Sandusky on $100,000 bail, which would only have to be paid if he skipped town and did not require him to wear a monitor.
It's a pleasure to talk once again, unfortunately under these circumstances, with former Federal Circuit Judge Catherine Crier, author of the new book "Patriot Acts: What Americans Must Do To Save the Republic." It's good to talk to you again, Catherine.
CATHERINE CRIER: Hey, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The judge, first. Not only did Leslie Dutchcot not reveal her connection to the defendant, but the news media whiffed on this, too. This was reported by the anti-establishment sports website Deadspin. It seems like the official and the unofficial judicial safeguards really fell by the wayside here.
CRIER: Well, the list is growing longer and longer - of school officials, government officials, you know, lots of people - that may have turned a blind eye and are acting in a somewhat irresponsible fashion, even now that news has broken.
Obviously - the judge first. Given the media attention on this, given all of the officials at various levels who have not done their job, for her not to make the courtroom aware of her affiliation - whether she thought it was innocuous or not - is inappropriate. And not to recuse herself - because the standard is not just actual impropriety: "I know someone too well, so I've got to recuse myself." - it's the appearance of impropriety and there is obviously that appearance. So, I find it extraordinary that she would preside and then literally give him an unsecured bond - no ankle monitor, no house arrest - and the guy is off and running.
OLBERMANN: Can she be forcibly removed from this case in some way? Could another judge come in and at least slap the ankle monitor on this man?
CRIER: Well, the prosecutor can certainly does for a recusal hearing. But the standard, I assume - in Pennsylvania is as it is much around the country - and that's an abuse of discretion. Has the judge abused her discretion in making the ruling if, in fact, she decides not to recuse? It's a very broad standard.
But if, in fact, you can demonstrate that there is a direct association and not just - "Gee, I showed up and volunteered once a year at something or other and I didn't know Sandusky" - then I think she would be out. It's a tough standard, but she shouldn't wait for that. This is the kind of thing that you step away from, because of an appearance of impropriety.
OLBERMANN: What happens now? She has scrubbed the reference to her having been a volunteer for this organization from her website. To me, that would not seem to argue her case very well. Am I adding too much importance to that action?
CRIER: You and I, politics - it's the cover-up, stupid! We can go back decades. Yeah, any time you start looking like you are scrubbing the record, then it's a real problem.
Frankly, I would extend that to the conversations we are hearing from the governor, from officials within law enforcement - because, as a civil attorney for the victims in this case, I would, if I were there, I would be checking really carefully the cops' investigation back in '98 and, in fact, events, it's my understanding, that possibly occurred in 95, '96. I want to know what the DA had in the files at that time, because governmental immunity is pretty hard to breach. But if you can show gross negligence, gross misconduct, on the part of public officials - you can breach that wall. And we might have - not only lawsuits against the charity, lawsuits against the university - but there may be government officials that are in the radar.
OLBERMANN: Not to suggest that's the case with Governor Corbett?
CRIER: Not with anybody.
OLBERMANN: Why is - why would Governor Corbett - until January, Attorney General Corbett - make a big deal about how the various government police and legal entities did not act fast enough and then he's asked then, "Why didn't you act sooner?" He replies, "That's what I can't tell you, because it's part of the investigation. We've been investigating it." That's awfully convenient thing for him to be able to say. It allows him to make political points off of this, but not answer the question about why he didn't do anything about it?
CRIER: Well, there are plenty times of legitimate times when it's appropriate for a law-enforcement official to say, "Can't talk about it. Really, really can't." But I think the public will be waiting for an explanation and it needs to be forthcoming.
When I made those remarks about government officials - I know nothing that would implicate DAs or cops, certainly up the ladder - but if I were representing the victim, going forward with civil litigation, I tell you what, I would be in there demanding those records, because there is a very incestuous - hate to use the term - environment all throughout the community, a lot of very high-profile, high-powered people, I suspect, knew more than what's indicated about what was going on.
OLBERMANN: The author of "Patriot Acts: What Americans Must Do To Save the Republic," former Federal District Judge Catherine Crier. Thanks once again. Good to talk to you.
CRIER: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: From this awful history to a different meaning of the same phrase. Why did the Lincoln Museum at Ford's Theater refuse to sell Bill O'Reilly's new book, "Killing Lincoln"? Because of all the factual mistakes in it, including one in which he missed a date by 44 years! John Dean joins me for that.
OLBERMANN: He claims conspirator Mary Surratt was forced to wear a hood when not at her trial. She was never hooded. He writes that his hero, General Grant, was in the Oval Office in 1865. Oval Office wouldn't be built for another 44 years. And he claims that the Secretary of War was behind the plot to kill the president. That has been laughed at by scholars for decades. Bill-o's book on the assassination of Lincoln may actually be less factual than even his own TV show! First, the "Worsts" - how the senior Republican on the House Financial Services Committee managed to turn our 2008 economic panic into his personal profit. Next.
OLBERMANN: Bill O'Reilly don't know much about history. Why the official Lincoln Museum at Ford's Theater will not sell his error-filled book about the Lincoln assassination. John Dean joins me.
First, the other "Worst Persons," and an update on a past nominee - the Texas judge caught on video sadistically whipping his physically challenged then-teenage daughter. He has been barred from seeing her.
With the hope that others on these lists meet similar fates, here are "Countdown's" top-three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze? To comedian Rush Limbaugh. Today, we were treated to under-reported flaws of Limbaugh's fact-free propaganda festivals - how stunningly out-of-date he is.
Eight days ago, the head of the company that was to build the now-tabled Keystone XL pipeline admitted that he had padded the number of jobs that even he claimed the project would create. What was once 20,000 jobs, then 13,000, was now - by his count - 6,500. Russ Girling admitted that the jobs were counted on a one person, one-year basis. Sixty-five hundred construction jobs lasting two years thus miraculously became 13,000 jobs. So, even the pipeline company has admitted it's no more than 6,500 jobs, if even that. What does Limbaugh say this afternoon?
(Excerpt from video clip) RUSH LIMBAUGH: Obama has put off a decision that would create tens of thousands of American jobs - the Keystone pipeline.
OLBERMANN: You mean tens, tens of American jobs.
Our runner up? Congressman Spencer Bachus of Alabama. He's now the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. And does he know how to serve himself some finance! "Sixty Minutes" reported last night that - in mid-September 2008, when Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed Chair Bernanke held their panic-room meeting with lawmakers about the cratering of the economy - Bachus kept his cool. He didn't pull a McCain and cancel on "Letterman." No, no, he went to his stockbroker and made 200 separate stock trades - all of them betting on option funds that would be more valuable if the market dropped. "Sixty Minutes" said Bachus made a $28,000 profit from his one-day insider training - trading, rather.
But our winner? Good, old Florida Congressman Allen West, goddamn liar. Last year, NBC News reported that West he once been a member of an otherwise all-white motorcycle gang. West lashed out at NBC, denied the charge utterly, denied it to The New York Times, denied it to "Hotline." "This most recent, desperate, insidious attack - where Lisa Myers did her piece, where they tried to associate me with the Outlaw motorcycle club - if she did her research, she'd know that the Outlaws do not accept blacks, Jews or gays."
Just this past September, West complained to NPR, "If you go back to what I had to endure in my campaign in 2010 - where people were accusing me of being a member of an all-white motorcycle gang, being a drug dealer, also being involved in prostitution." That was then, this is now.
Now, when it's useful for a compulsive liar like Allen West to admit that he was in that gang, because he could use the yes answer to permit him to play the race card. This was last Friday, on a conservative radio show in North Dakota, and the question was about the Herman Cain sexual assault and harassment charges:
(Excerpt from video clip) SCOTT HENNEN: Is it an attack on a black conservative because he is a black conservative?
(Excerpt from video clip) ALLEN WEST: Oh, come on. I mean, you know - I was the only black member of a white supremacist motorcycle gang - so liberals and there are certain others, I would say, even within our party, that are not comfortable with strong, black conservative voices.
OLBERMANN: So, West denied being the only black member of a white supremacist motorcycle gang. Now, he boasts about being the only black member of a white supremacist motorcycle gang?! Must be easy to have no principles at all! Sheesh! Congressman Allen West, liar. Today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: The great comedians Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding once performed a priceless sketch in which Goulding - as Alfred E. Nelson, the author of an 1,100 page "History of the United States" - admits he is an 8th-grade dropout who has written the book from memory. As the interviewer, Elliott, points Nelson's more-excruciating mistakes - putting Nelson's claim that the Civil War started in 1911, and he adds, quote, "You have Abraham Lincoln drive to go his inauguration in an automobile."
In our number one-story, there are some differences between the fictional Alfred E. Nelson's "The History of the United States" and Bill O'Reilly's new book "Killing Lincoln." Nelson, for instance, confesses, "It's a shabby piece of work. I'm one of the firsts to admit it." O'Reilly had to have the shabbiness of his laughable attempt at history pointed out to him. That has now happened.
The historians at the official Lincoln Museum at Ford's Theater have refused to sell the book, because its pages are bursting with disastrous, factual errors. Perhaps the most obvious and mind boggling of them, the mention of Lincoln meeting Ulysses S. Grant in the Oval office, which wasn't built until 1909.
O'Reilly also claims Dr. Samuel Mudd's farm, where Booth hid out, was a 500-acre estate. It was actually 217 acres. After Lee surrendered to Grant on April 19th, 1865, O'Reilly wrote, "The two warriors will never meet again." Until they met the next day.
He claims the show "Our American Cousin" had been shown eight previous times at Ford's Theater. It was actually seven. He wrote how the Booth bore a hole outside of Lincoln's box so he could see inside. In fact, the hole was bored by the theater so Lincoln's guards could check in without disturbing the president.
There are even incorrect names. John Ford's chief carpenter at the theater is Gifford, not Clifford. And he describes how one of Booth's coconspirators, Lewis Powell, spoke with an Alabama drawl, which is rather remarkable, since he came from Florida. There are also grammatical errors such as Bill-o's writing "He furls his brow" instead of "furrows."
But even the facts that the book gets wrong, it does not get wrong consistently. On page 104, O'Reilly writes about Ford's Theater, "After it was burned to the ground in 1863, owner John Ford rebuilt it." Page 159, "When Ford's Athenaeum was destroyed by fire in 1862." Geez, at least be consistent with the years of your made-up fact. In fact, it burned down in 1862.
This is the man who claimed on the air that Nixon had never met Mao Zedong. He thought that Mary Antoinette was married to Louis XIV not Louis XVI. He claimed no prisoners had died at Abu Grayb. He said no oil had spilled during Hurricane Katrina, suggested that Churchill committed torture and war crimes and - worst of all - that U.S. troops slaughtered German SS troops who had surrendered to them at Malmedy in World War II, when it was the Germans who had killed the American prisoners at Malmedy. O'Reilly is, reportedly, now headed to Thailand to work on his next book on the legendary Vietnamese leader, Napoleon.
Joining me on that note, Nixon White House counsel, "Countdown" contributor John Dean. Good to see you, John.
JOHN DEAN: Good to see you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: If you go in to writing a book saying, as he did, "I don't want a boring history book, I want a thriller." This is what you get, right? Superman tracks Lincoln's killer through Mars or something?
DEAN: Yes, and I can't tell you how delighted I am to be here, instead of the "Countdown" puppets. It sounded like it might be something for them.
OLBERMANN: I mentioned the small details. And I remember, once, I did a book review of a guy who claimed that the Polo Grounds baseball stadium in New York overlooked the Hudson River, when it overlooked the Harlem. And after I did this - and 20 or 30 other items like that, small, little details in a biography that I knew were wrong - and the guy just lambasted me and said, "Why are those details so essential? You are just nitpicking." Why are those details so essential? You've written enough to know this.
DEAN: Well, typically, one documents a book like this. There are something like almost seventeen thousand Lincoln books - and that's seventeen thousand, not hundred. We don't need another Lincoln book. He has no original research, it's hard to figure out why he's even dealing with any details, and I can't imagine 325 pages on Lincoln from Bill O'Reilly telling us anything that we need to know. So, I don't know. I can't explain that. You know, I have done Bill's show a couple of times, and he once told me how to sell a best seller. And it wasn't to get everything wrong in it.
OLBERMANN: But, I mean, but - my argument was that, if these little details are wrong - and they are things that I would know off of the top of my head - how do I know about all of the exclusive stuff in the book, or the quotes. Isn't that where, sort of, the dominoes begin to fall over? If you don't get the small, easily-found details right - people are going to start assuming you got the big details completely wrong, too.
DEAN: As you know, I have been writing for conservatives for a few years.
DEAN: There is a trend in conservative writing that's called "intellectual dishonesty." And it's a troubling trend and he seems to be within the trend. And so, he is just being totally consistent.
OLBERMANN: But he would have heard what you said and went, "Intellectual, thank you very much." There are also - in addition to small details - there are big-picture clunks. The rumor that Edwin Stanton, who was Lincoln's Secretary of War, was somehow behind the assassination.
DEAN: A really old canard.
OLBERMANN: Right, that was - I was not a kid anymore - maybe I was, maybe 1970 or so - where they debunked that. As you said, there are no notes and no sources in this book. Could - is it possible that, like, Bob and Ray's fictional character, he wrote it from memory?
DEAN: Very possible. Or another possibility is - he didn't write it.
OLBERMANN: Well, there there is a co-author. There is that. Ironically, there is - I mean, you said 17,000 books - there is a fairly recent book that was on this topic that was everything O'Reilly said he wanted to do, which was dramatic and not like a history book and thrilling and yet completely factual - the James Swanson book from about four years ago, "Manhunt." You don't have to fudge the facts to make it good writing. Do you?
DEAN: No, we actually gave that book to a couple of people as a gift, because it's a good read. And he has added nothing to the Lincoln library, so to speak.
OLBERMANN: But you must have - having spent as much time as you did in it - I would assume you would have a, sort of, personal joy at the premise of the Oval Office, which has just celebrated its 100th anniversary two years ago, being placed back in the Civil War era.
DEAN: Absolutely. You know, I thought of the Oval Office being built in the image of the man who designed it.
OLBERMANN: For Taft?
DEAN: A very oval William Howard Taft.
OLBERMANN: Easy way to remember it.
DEAN: Very easy way. Yes, exactly. How can you forget it? How can you get that confused?
OLBERMANN: Well, apparently -
DEAN: He's only off 44 years, though, Keith.
OLBERMANN: That's my point. It's a nice, close window. He almost got it right. Is that - of these that you've heard - is that your favorite of the mistakes?
DEAN: That's the leading right now. I read the article - the woman who really pierced it, took a look - and I stopped counting at about, really, 12 serious errors.
DEAN: He says there are four. You know, I am a serious author. I do a lot of work and it's kind of an insult of those of us who try to really show some scholarship in our work. And I was thinking, "What would I do if this happened?" I would get an errata sheet out so fast in the books and rather - he's trying defend it. So this is silliness.
OLBERMANN: The word you just said just encouraged me. You said, "Errata sheet." He is going to think you said something about erotica. The author, historian and "Countdown" contributor John Dean, you put that thought in O'Reilly's head. Thanks a lot! It's good to see you, sir.
DEAN: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown," for this, this 314th day since the Republicans took control of the House. Three hundred fourteen days without them having passed one jobs bill of any kind.
I am Keith Olbermann. Congratulations on surviving another day of this crap. Good night and good luck.