'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Why Occupy Wall Street needs Michael Bloomberg
via YouTube, h/t cathyferkleheimer
#ShowPlug 1: 200 Arrested, incl 6 reporters, 1 city Councilman, in #OWS. W/ Witnesses @NewYorkCreator (Ryan Hoffman) & @JoshHarkinson
#ShowPlug 2: Judge permits protestors & tents back in, Bloomberg ignores, gets own judge. Occupy volunteer lawyer @YettaKurland w/latest
#ShowPlug 3: The nationwide wave of #Occupy raids? See a pattern here? And silence from Pres. Obama? @MMFlint Michael Moore on all that
#ShowPlug 4: My Special Comment on the Bloombergs of history, on whose stupidity we can always rely, to help preserve democracy
#ShowPlug 5: The video and audio return of Gabby Giffords: the ABC piece was encouraging; her message to constituents - astounding
#ShowPlug Last: Here's my Daily Kos diary previewing the Bloomberg/OWS Special Comment: bit.ly/vZhs8f
watch whole playlist
#5 Breaking news on NYPD raid of OWS
#5 Breaking news on NYPD raid of OWS, Ryan Hoffman & Josh Harkinson
#4 Breaking news on NYPD raid of OWS, Yetta Kurland
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#3 'Moore From OWS?', Michael Moore
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Special Comment: Why Occupy Wall Street needs Michael Bloomberg
#1 'Reclaiming Her Voice'
printable PDF transcript
On the show: Michael Moore, Yetta Kurland, Josh Harkinson, Ryan Hoffman
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
The overnight raid at Occupy Wall Street. The NYPD riots.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #1: What's your name?
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #2: Daniel.
OLBERMANN: Two hundred arrested, at least half a dozen journalists and a New York City councilman bloodied and incarcerated.
(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: We are the 99 percent! We are the 99 percent!
(Excerpt from video clip) MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now, they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.
OLBERMANN: But when Occupy gets a restraining order guaranteeing their rights to bring their tents and sleeping bags back, Mayor Bloomberg ignores it until a judge conveniently reverses it.
(Excerpt from video clip) GROUP: Banks got bailed out! We got kicked out!
OLBERMANN: The city of New York versus Occupy, the city of New York versus the Constitution of the United States. With witnesses Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones and Ryan Hoffman of Occupy Wall Street. With Occupy attorney Yetta Kurland. With Michael Moore. And with my special comment - Michael Bloomberg, Occupy, and how democracy is protected by the endless stupidity of those who would destroy it.
(Excerpt from video clip) BLOOMBERG: Make no mistake, the final decision to act was mine and mine alone.
OLBERMANN: And the words are few but they grow in number and ring with clarity - Gabby Giffords is back.
(Excerpt from video clip) DIANE SAWYER: So you think to yourself, "I'll go back to Congress if I get better?"
(Excerpt from video clip) GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: Yes, yes, yes. Yes.
(Excerpt from video clip) SAWYER: And that's where you are right now?
(Excerpt from video clip) GIFFORDS: Yes, yes, yes. There is a lot to say. I will speak better. I want to get back to work. Representing Arizona is my honor.
OLBERMANN: All that and my special comment on Occupy now on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Tuesday, November 15th, 357 days until the 2012 presidential election. And this is a special edition of "Countdown."
At this hour, Occupy Wall Street protesters are heading back into Zuccotti Park - minus their tents, their sleeping bags, their kitchen gear, computers, media center and generators - all with First Amendment rights bloodied but unbowed, courtesy New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Many with more physical bruises, courtesy the NYPD.
The fifth story on the "Countdown" - Occupy Wall Street cleared from Zuccotti Park overnight in a massive police action and then fighting in court for their right to keep camping there - winning the first round, losing on appeal, yet going forward. The police crack downtown beginning about 1:00 am Eastern Time, an action The New York Times reports was kept secret from all but a few high-ranking officers. Hundreds of police arriving with this message for the more than 200 protesters asleep in their tents.
(Excerpt from video clip) POLICE OFFICER: Camping, the erection of tents and structures and the storage of personal belongings are prohibited in Zuccotti Park.
OLBERMANN: Demonstrators had little time to collect that personal property, some say as few as 10 minutes. The NYPD then moving in to clear them out and passing on this message from City Hall.
(Excerpt from video clip) ALEX HALL: We will be able to come back but without tents. In these cold winter months, they want us to stay here without our tents, without our protection.
OLBERMANN: At least 200 arrests reported, more than 140 inside the park, the others on nearby streets. Among those arrested - at least half a dozen journalists and New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, who reportedly suffered a head injury at the hands of the police. The councilman only got out of the hoosegow tonight. He issued a statement that, itself, promises to extend his part of the story into tomorrow.
Early this morning he writes, "I was arrested by the NYPD near Zuccotti Park. I had rushed down to the area when I heard that the Occupation was being evicted, in order to observe as a representative of my community. I committed no offense. I appreciate all of the support people have shown today. And tomorrow at noon on the steps of City Hall, I will be speaking more on today's events."
Turned out of Zuccotti, Occupy Wall Street marched to Foley Square - Manhatthan's courthouse district - where state Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings issued a temporary restraining order against the eviction, an order that should have allowed Occupy Wall Street to return to Zuccotti and remake their camp. Mayor Bloomberg, however, had other ideas - claiming he had intended to let the protesters return by 8:00 am, but was forced to change those plans in order to appeal Justice Billings' restraining order, keeping them out while the city appealed the restraining order and offering this remarkable justification for the mass eviction:
(Excerpt from video clip) BLOOMBERG: Unfortunately, the park was becoming a place where people came - not to protest - but rather to break laws and, in some cases, to harm others. The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out, but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others.
OLBERMANN: New York's mayor also insisting the protesters were removed peacefully.
(Excerpt from video clip) BLOOMBERG: There were certainly no serious injuries that we are aware of. People that lay down on the ground, you know, may have banged themselves.
OLBERMANN: I think the last time that excuse was offered by a public official might have come from Bull Connor of Birmingham, Alabama. And Mr. Mayor, on behalf of the city of New York, you can go bang yourself, too. Bloomberg also explaining why reporters and camera crews were kept far from the activity:
(Excerpt from video clip) BLOOMBERG: The police department routinely keeps members off to the press off to the side when they are in the middle of a police action. It's to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect the members of the press.
OLBERMANN: Protesters waiting for the results of the city's appeal were disappointed. Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman ruling that their attorneys, "have not demonstrated that the rules adopted by the owners of the property concededly after the demonstrations began are not reasonable time, place and manner restrictions permitted under the First Amendment."
In short, Brookfield Properties - which owns Zuccotti, in a public-private partnership with the city - can make up its own rules for how the property can be used, have the city enforce them and change them whenever they like, regardless of the protesters' constitutional rights. Support for Occupy Wall Street came from all over. From Occupy Boston:
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: They just show up at 2:00 in the morning and just start arresting people. That's terrible.
OLBERMANN: More practical was the support from Occupy D.C., which tweeted a photo of its members today occupying the Washington offices of the owners of Zuccotti Park, Brookfield Properties.
Support, also, from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka who sent in a statement that read in part, "The Occupy Wall Street movement has been committed to peaceful, nonviolent action from its inception. And it will keep spreading, no matter what elected officials tell police to do. But that doesn't mean these raids are acceptable. In fact, they are inexcusable." As for Occupy Wall Street itself?
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: They tried to evict us from the park, but you can't evict an idea. We're gonna keep going and we're not take this as an end, but an opportunity for a new beginning to start anew.
OLBERMANN: Joining me now, two witnesses to the events this morning at Zuccotti Park. Josh Harkinson, reporter with Mother Jones magazine, thanks for coming in, Josh. And Ryan Hoffman, who will be familiar to our audience as well, as a protester with Occupy Wall Street and coauthor of the Occupy Wall Street declaration. Good to see you, sir.
RYAN HOFFMAN: Good to see you.
OLBERMANN: Where were you when the police arrived at Zuccotti Park and how did you get the word that the NYPD was massing?
HOFFMAN: I was actually at home when I received the text message at about 1:00 am. I jumped out of my bed and hopped in a cab and went down to Zuccotti Park immediately, where the police had already set up barricades around the park as well as setting up barricades along all different streets.
HOFFMAN: A block up.
OLBERMANN: And you Josh, what got you there? And were you surprised by how much force was there by the time you got there?
JOSH HARKINSON: Well, I heard my phone exploding in the middle of the night. And I thought somebody had died, but it was actually Occupy Wall Street getting evicted. And so, I jumped in a subway and got there as soon as I can - could. I think it was a half hour, maybe, and I met the same barricades and you know, I am a member of the media and they still wouldn't let me in.
OLBERMANN: Apparently, being a member of the media had very little to do with it - to paraphrase May West - last night, with six arrests of members of the media. How come - how close did you come to being arrested?
HARKINSON: Very, very close. You know, basically, I snuck into the park after everybody else had been told to leave, which required climbing under and over barricades and just sort of watching for when the police weren't looking and acting like I deserved to be there. I just kind of walked across the street casually and there were all these top-brass police officers who were, you know, just hanging out. And I stood there and witnessed some of the final and, I think, possibly most troubling arrests. And so, you know, that's what I saw and that's how I got there.
OLBERMANN: All right, you used the word "troubling." Describe what you saw that was particularly troubling.
HARKINSON: Well, I was troubled by the fact that these protesters were very peaceful in how they were responding to the police. And yet, when the police moved in, they just doused them with pepper spray just, you know, just across the board. And I didn't really see any reason for that.
OLBERMANN: To your knowledge, Ryan, were there warnings about individual uses of force and pepper spray and all the rest of that? Was there adequate time even to pack up anything personal and get it out of there?
OLBERMANN: How much time do you think the average protester got?
HOFFMAN: I would say 10 minutes is being generous.
OLBERMANN: Were there any warnings relative to the use of pepper spray?
HOFFMAN: Not that I am aware of, but that doesn't mean that there weren't.
OLBERMANN: Do you think that there was any incitement in terms of the police? That they had any reason be as forceful as they were, or was part of the force part of the reason they were there?
HOFFMAN: I'll put it this way - I was on Broadway and we were standing there trying to see what was going on. And a few minutes later, there was a rush - a police-officer line of about 10 deep with riot shields - and they pushed us under a scaffolding, and they were headbutting protesters with their helmets in their back and hitting them with their batons when they weren't moving fast enough. Now, you're talking about a crowd of people that is packed in close together - shoulder to shoulder - there is nowhere to go and this, I guess, line of police officers got the order to rush and they forcefully shoved us into each other. And it was very upsetting to see, because a lot of people felt like they were getting crushed. A lot of people could not breathe. I saw people getting trampled, kicked. It was not pretty.
OLBERMANN: Give me a read on that same thing, Josh. 'Cause in Oakland, they had 700 police and - having been through that already - the protesters said, "All right, we're going." And there was no attempt to, you know, "And take this punishment with you as you leave." It sort of seems as - if everybody had simply filed out of Zuccotti Park in alphabetical order - there still would have been violence last night on the part of the police.
HARKINSON: It's hard to say, but, I mean, I think that's possible. You know, like what I said, you know, what I witnessed was a peaceful protest and then, you know, after I was forced - I was dragged out of the park physically. I was there, and there was this man who was pulled out of the park on a stretcher and he was wearing an oxygen mask, which couldn't have been good. And I tried to go take a photograph of him - along with some other members of the press - and I was approaching the ambulance, a police officer - I was wearing a satchel, and he grabbed the strap of my satchel and swung me around and I just didn't see a reason for that.
OLBERMANN: Ryan, one of the things that was made such a big deal about last night were all - what happened to the possessions, what happened to the Occupy Wall Street library of 5,500 books or more and they are all - according to the city New York - safe and sound in a sanitation garage on 57th street? So, it's all right, then?
HOFFMAN: I will believe that when I see it. Right now, the Occupy Wall Street library has five books. So, we've got a thousandth of our books back.
HOFFMAN: That's not the only thing that was taken.
OLBERMANN: Yeah? Go ahead.
HOFFMAN: The entire medical tent was dismantled while patients were still inside, shredded. I mean what would happen if someone was leaning up against one of the sides of the tent? They could have had a more serious injury inside the medical tent. I mean there were patients' records inside there. There was equipment that was donated, expensive equipment, that I don't know the whereabouts of now. And if it's in the sanitation department, we haven't seen it yet. Tons of clothes - just taken. And there was - I mean, if that's going to happen, 10 minutes is unacceptable.
OLBERMANN: Ray Kelly, the police commissioner, on the local news tonight about an hour ago - "There will be four entrances to Zuccotti Park, Brookfield employees, or people they hire, enforcing the rules about no lying down, no tarps, few personal possessions." What does that do to the movement? What does that do to the Occupation?
HOFFMAN: Well, I will tell you something, they wanted to take our generators, so we got bicycle generators. They wanted to take our electricity. We found other ways. We will find another way to get around this. This isn't gonna stop us. This is just gonna make us more creative. It's just raising the net a little bit higher to play tennis. That's all.
OLBERMANN: It has been suggested that, given how quickly - and we're gonna get into the this with Yetta Kurland - how quickly the movement was ready to go to court to get the restraining order which it got, that there is a lot more organization than everybody is letting on. That there are in fact Plan Bs and Cs and Ds down the road. Without revealing anything you wouldn't want to reveal, do you know that to be the case?
HOFFMAN: Absolutely. I think that the semblance of the general assembly leads people to believe we are disorganized. But the sort of organization and existence of working groups that are there to tackle specific problems such as an eviction, such as to have to a plan of what we're going to do if this happens, what we are going to do if that happens. We have Plans A, B, C, D, E, all the way down to Z, I think. So that - I have to give an incredible amount of credit to the National Lawyers Guild, they had this ready to go right away and they got us into court right away.
OLBERMANN: Ryan, give me - sum up what yesterday meant in terms of that - in terms of the entire event. I'm sorry, Josh. You do that for me.
HARKINSON: Well, the meaning of the event - I mean, you know, I think that there are different schools of thought on this, but, ultimately, I think this will make the movement stronger, because, you know, there was a lot of - there are a lot of things that people were dealing with in the park, logistically. There were social frictions in the park. You know - the sanitation issues, just the logistics of camping there, and this has been a huge and unifying event for the movement.
OLBERMANN: I would think so.
HARKINSON: And it's really brought these, sort of, factions of the movement together. And I think that it's also potentially going to bring more people in to some of the actions that they're organizing down the road, like this big November 17th protest coming up.
OLBERMANN: Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones, Ryan Hoffman of Occupy Wall Street, great work last night on Twitter and here tonight. Great thanks for coming in.
HOFFMAN: Thanks so much, Keith.
HARKINSON: My pleasure.
OLBERMANN: The legal status after today's confused court rulings, the trend of raids against Occupy nationwide, the prospect that the president had a passive hand in all this, Michael Moore on what's next and my special comment. The pusillanimous ignorance of mental midgets like Mike Bloomberg is one of the great safe guards of our democracy, all ahead tonight on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: The judge tells the mayor, "The protesters must be led back in with their sleeping bags and their tents," the mayor ignores the judge, the mayor then gets another judge to rule his way. One of Occupy's lawyers joins me to explain the legal prestidigitation.
Eighteen mayors on a conference call about what to do about Occupy. So says Oakland's embattled Jean Quan. Not long after, at least half a dozen protests are rolled up. I'll ask Michael Moore who's responsible. Mr. Moore will invoke the name of a well-known current president and the division of Homeland Security.
The videotape was encouraging. The audiotape is astounding. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords returns to the public eye. All that, and my special comment on Bloomberg and the Occupy raid, coming up on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: When is a tent just a tent and when is it a vehicle for a freedom of speech?
In our fourth story on the "Countdown" - a judge upholds Mayor Bloomberg's decision to rid Zuccotti Park of Occupy protesters after officials ignore orders from another judge to allow occupiers back into their camp. Late this afternoon, New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman - yes, he picked that picture - denied the protesters' emergency appeal to return to the park, ruling that protesters "have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park." Lawyers for the protesters say their First Amendment rights have, indeed, been violated and their fight will not end here.
Joining me now, one of those fighting on behalf of the protesters, Yetta Kurland, attorney with the National Lawyers Guild. Good to see you again.
YETTA KURLAND: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Okay, you got a TRO at the crack of the dawn this morning, letting the protesters back in - with tents, with sleeping bags, with their possessions - and the mayor just ignored it. He claimed it needed clarification. In legal terms, what the hell was that?
KURLAND: Very good question. We got the order signed at about 6:30 this morning. We served it on, not only the city, the NYPD, but also Brookfield Properties by 7:50 am and still, by 10:00 am, we were not being allowed to bring folks back into the park. And we went, in fact, down to Zuccotti Park and tried to serve it on a number of police officers, who literally walked away from us and refused to accept service of a court order by a New York state Supreme Court judge.
OLBERMANN: Did the city, then, go judge shopping or did they lean on somebody? What is the next legal step, in terms of this unfortunate judge who said, "Well, yeah, it is a little unfortunate that you guys changed the rules in the middle of the game but that doesn't affect the larger issue of whether they get to bring camping gear in."
KURLAND: Yeah, I mean, we don't know what happened behind closed doors. I do know that it has been a long day with a lot of ups and downs. We were certainly very delighted to get the order this morning by Judge Billings, clearly directing the city to recognize the First Amendment rights of the protesters to allow them back into the city - into the park, excuse me - along with their belongings.
The decision this afternoon was certainly disheartening and - frankly, you know - listen, some decisions are good decisions. Some decisions are bad decisions. In my opinion, the decision by Judge Stallman was not a good decision. I am not sure he understood the finer nuances of the argument regarding First Amendment issues. He seemed to, kind of, skip a track and get preoccupied with this claim by the city that their conduct was mostly because of public-safety issues.
OLBERMANN: Sometime after this all began - on the 17th of September - Brookfield Properties issued new guidelines that prohibited, among other things, "camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures, the placement of tarps or sleeping bags or other covering on the property." Those were not in the restrictions of the use of that public space that's been public space since at least the opening of the World Trade Center 40 years ago. Did the judge this afternoon essentially say - they can change those rules, they can retroactively input those rules, no matter what effects they might have on freedom of speech or anybody else's constitutional rights? Is that what he ruled?
KURLAND: You know, it's a confusing decision. He first said it's undisputed that it is a traditional public space.
KURLAND: But then went on to say that, in fact, they couldn't bring tents and structures onto the premises, and again - I am not sure that he understood the arguments and I am not sure that he understood the broader, arching issue of what it means to Occupy. And that, kind of, the 21st century is moving into a new type of social movement.
OLBERMANN: I quoted Police Commissioner Kelly from a broadcast about two hours ago - maybe only an hour and a half ago now - who said that there would be Brookfield employees, presumably guards, at four entrances to Zuccotti Park, who would check everybody. And they have already done this - checked people's bags, checked people's persons. You'll notice Police Commissioner Kelly is not being checked for anything there. He's just standing around gloating over what happened. But - they are going to search people going into a public space. I'm confused and I don't think it's just because I didn't go to law school. I'm confused by that idea.
KURLAND: Very confusing. And who is giving them what directions? What happens to tourists who the happen to have backpacks? Again, we are talking about selective enforcement, some very concerning issues in terms of enforcement of that. So, we will see what happens. As our clients often say, "You cannot evict an idea."
And I think that, you know - although we were disappointed by the decision by Stallman, there are a lot of options moving forward. It's been an absolute pleasure. It's great to hear the support from the Occupiers for the work of the National Lawyers Guild. But, in fact, we feel very privileged and very honored to be able to represent these folks who are working at Occupy Wall Street.
OLBERMANN: The final number may vary on this - there's at least four, probably six, maybe more journalists - Associated Press, New York Daily News, New York Times, all of them - somebody was arrested from each organization this morning while covering the protest with valid press credentials. The mayors claimed the actions against the media were to protect members of the press. Have we just seen, sort of, the ultimate violation of freedom of the press? He arrested reporters in the middle of what he believed was a legal action on his part as mayor?
KURLAND: Yeah. And then said that he did it to make the journalists safe. I mean, another issue is - as you reported earlier - Ydanis Rodriguez, a New York City council member. Where is the mayor saying that he is upset that his own council member has been arrested wrongfully and bloodied in that process? It calls into question what the motivations are here.
But again, you know, there were some setbacks today. But I think that it is unquestionable that this movement will continue. And that the folks aren't going away. And again, the thing that I've said every time I've done this show, is that we have repeatedly offered the city to sit down - if there really are any types of public health concerns, any other types of concerns - we have always been available to address those issues, but - but appearing at 1:00 in the morning with mass evictions, reports that I was hearing of bulldozers with their blades down, going down Broadway with 35 riot-gear cops? This is not the way to do that.
OLBERMANN: You will get a lot of things, perhaps, in the courts relative to Michael Bloomberg. But there are few things you will get if he doesn't want them - a meeting and an apology.
Yetta Kurland of the National Lawyers Guild, one of the volunteers for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Thanks again, Yetta.
KURLAND: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Albany, Oakland, Portland, New York and others - and Philadelphia and other cities threatened. Detect a pattern here in the last week? Michael Moore does, especially with the president conveniently on his way to Australia. Michael? And then my special comment.
OLBERMANN: The use of unnecessary violence against Occupy protesters across the country has been approved. Who approved it? Where is the president on all of this? Michael Moore wants to know. His comments and my special comment on what happened last night.
And then the good news. Her speech is limited, repetitive, but it's still improving on a daily basis. And more importantly, you can tell there is still all of Gabby Giffords intact in there. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: "Countdown," the first news hour on cable to seriously cover Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement. The longest continuously-running 8:00 pm news hour on cable, unless you consider Fox - "news." We're live each night at 8:00 pm.
And in our third story tonight - Michael Moore has been visiting Zuccotti Park since the Occupy movement first began there in September. He has also been to some of the other sites across the country that has seen similar police raids in the last 48 to 72 hours - Occupy Oakland and Occupy Portland. For now, he is occupying right here.
Michael Moore, author of the new book, "Here Comes Trouble." Thank you for coming in, sir.
MICHAEL MOORE: Thank you for having me on this very important day.
OLBERMANN: Bloomberg got his court order - no tents, no sleeping bags. You're not involved with them per se, but you're involved with them in a larger sense. What should the Occupiers do tonight?
MOORE: Well, it doesn't really matter much what I say. I think that there's -
OLBERMANN: No - advice.
MOORE: Well, there's hundreds of people gathering right now in lower Manhattan. My first piece of advice, of course, is to always remain peaceful and non-violent. Our strength comes in our numbers and in our different value system that we have, which is one that does not include violence. So, that's my first hope. Secondly, you know - this movement is really driven by young people. And they don't suffer fools, like you and I have learned that we have to as we get older.
OLBERMANN: Yeah. It's true.
MOORE: We learn, you know - all of that. But at that age, uh-uh. So I am - I will anxiously await their direction as to what to do, because I know - first of all, everybody knew this night, this day, would come.
MOORE: And so don't think that there hasn't been a Plan B and Plan C and Plan D already afoot here. I mean, just the fact that that Occupy Wall Street was in court at 7:30 this morning -
MOORE: - to get the temporary restraining order in our favor against Bloomberg. That, I think, shocked a lot of people that, "Hey, what happened to all these dirty hippies?"
OLBERMANN: The marijuana smokers sleeping in all day. Free love!
MOORE: They're in court at 7:30. You know, by 9:00 am, we have a restraining order. So. there is quite an operation afoot here with, all of the various elements involved. And you are going to see - this is only going to increase the movement. Not only here in New York, but across the country.
OLBERMANN: But you tweeted, "Phase Two of this massive, nonviolent majority movement will now commence. Wall Street will wish they had left it alone in the park." What is Phase Two?
MOORE: Well, if I told you, I would have to have you run for mayor.
OLBERMANN: Oh, Lord!
MOORE: No. I - there is - I think people will begin to see, there will be various calls for rallies, demonstrations. But there will be other occupations. The thing is is that, eventually, you know - within the next few hours, or tomorrow - they are going to have to reopen the park, as the judge has said it has to be open to the public. Well, the public is going to come back to the park.
MOORE: And that includes the protesters. And just as it happened in Oakland - when they moved everybody out of Oakland two, three weeks ago - everybody came back. And they had a massive movement this weekend, which I think - I don't know if you have touched on this here on your show - but, you know, this has been coordinated by the federal government.
OLBERMANN: I wanted to ask you about that. Is that - because Oakland has rolled up, Albany was rolled up, Portland was rolled up, New York has been rolled up.
MOORE: And all in the same way.
OLBERMANN: And poor Jean Quan, the mayor of Oakland - who is like a weather vane in a windstorm out there - admitting she was on a conference call with 18 mayors. This is a plan. Whose plan is it? And who do we assign responsibility to?
MOORE: Well, there was just a piece that came out from The Minneapolis Examiner a couple hours ago, where they quote a justice official in the Obama Justice Department who did not want to be identified, but he said that the federal government has been providing logistical and tactical advice and support.
They said that it's up to the local law enforcement officers or agencies as to what, you know, what to do. But Homeland Security and the Justice Department have been coordinating the, sort of, advice and strategy and tactics of this so that - because you have seen all of the tactics of the police have been the same in every city in terms of how they have done this in the last 48 hours. So, this is not some coincidence. This was planned. And I think that the question really has to be asked of the federal government, and of the Obama administration - why?
MOORE: Why? Why are you participating in this, against a non-violent, mass movement of people who are upset at what Wall Street and the banks have done to their lives?
OLBERMANN: Conveniently, the president can't be asked that question, because he was en route to Australia. On the plane - Air Force One - the Associated Press quoted the press secretary. And this is their story - they don't have direct quotes from the press secretary - but he said, in essence, "The president hopes the right balance can be reached between protecting freedom of assembly and speech," - Okay - "with the need to uphold order and safeguard public health and safety."
Because, obviously, the bubonic plague in all the Occupy protests was beginning to get to be a problem when we lost the entire state of Minnesota, or whatever he thinks happened. And, they added this in the story, "The administration's position is that each municipality has to make its own decisions about how to handle the issues." So, Mr. Obama is basically saying - what? - through his press secretary here? "You are on your own?"
MOORE: Yes. But he is also saying - he wants it both ways.
MOORE: You know, his administration is obviously helping them to stymie this movement, because - look, no politician, regardless of what party they are in, wants the people to suddenly be in charge.
MOORE: For the power to shift from those who are the elected officials to the people who elected them - which is actually the way it's supposed to be - that's a frightening thought.
OLBERMANN: Very much so.
MOORE: So, I can understand why they are inclined to do that. They are no different than any other politician, but because of all of, you know, my support of President Obama - I expect more of him. And I don't expect his Justice Department and his Homeland Security Department to be helping to coordinate the destruction of this movement, because - first of all, you can't destroy it. So stop, because the majority of Americans want taxes raised on the rich. The majority of Americans don't believe you didn't go far enough on health care. You know, you go down the whole list and the majority is very much behind the principles of the Occupy movement.
OLBERMANN: And the practicalities of it. There is a poll this afternoon - New York State Public Opinion Poll - 58 percent of New York State residents - that's from Albany to Zuccotti Park, A to Z - say that, no matter how they feel about what's being protested, the protesters have the right to continue to protest and they have the right to stay overnight in public parks. So, not just the, "Well, they're against Wall Street," or "They are communists," but just the idea they have the right to be there is overwhelmingly supported in the state in which this is now most recently happened.
MOORE: That is correct. And I believe that you would find that in most states across the country.
OLBERMANN: I think you are right.
MOORE: Because - because people are just happy that somebody has started this. Somebody has gotten up and, again - thank God that it's been young people that have said, "You have stolen our future and we want it back and we are not going to settle for anything less."
OLBERMANN: Just before the raid, the editors of Adbusters - which is the magazine that basically was behind the organization of the Occupy movement - suggested it might be time for the protesters to "declare victory and scale back before winter sets in." A) Is that a victory, therefore? And B) Did they just - did the actions last night just revitalize a movement that was maybe thinking of hibernation for a little while?
MOORE: I think it has completely revitalized it. And I think you're gonna see more of this in the coming weeks. It's odd - this magazine that you refer to is in Canada - it's odd for Canadians to be worrying about the winter. I don't know quite know where they're coming from.
OLBERMANN: They are worried us about us worrying about the winter.
MOORE: Oh, I see. See, that's very Canadian.
OLBERMANN: Isn't it?
MOORE: They're worried. They're very kind.
OLBERMANN: "They're not used to it down there."
MOORE: Well, they don't need to worry. I - I think that you're going to see actions throughout the winter. I think you are going to see various kinds of actions. This is going to take many forms, in part, because there is no, quote "organization" or leader of this. That means anybody watching this at home tonight, anybody here who is in their living room. You are sitting in Dubuque, you know, you can start this movement. You can have - you can start Occupy Dubuque. You have our permission.
OLBERMANN: No copyright.
MOORE: There's no permission to get. And that may mean something different in Dubuque than what it means in Des Moines. So, there you go.
OLBERMANN: Michael Moore. The book is titled "Here Comes Trouble," which is a prophetic title right now on another subject. Thanks for coming in. Safe travels.
MOORE: Thank you. Thank you so much, Keith.
OLBERMANN: My special comment on the man who has made "Occupy" twice the movement and twice the story it was only yesterday - our hero, Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Next!
OLBERMANN: Adlibbed, the sentences are nearly all one or two words only. Read, the inflections are a little off, the pronunciations, too. But Congresswoman Gabby Giffords has just proved that she is still Gabby Giffords and the fluidity of the words may be the only barrier left. The extraordinary audio message to her constituents.
First, my special comment on Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the raid against Occupy Wall Street and the limitless stupidity of the establishment. That's next. This is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: The remarkable recovery of, and the message to her constituents from, Gabby Giffords coming up.
First, as promised, a special comment on the events of Monday night at Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park:
For the entirety of the life of our nation, democracy has been protected - not merely by the strenuous efforts of those of us who cherish it, but mostly, and most profoundly, by the limitless stupidity of those who would ration it, keep it for themselves and themselves alone, or destroy it.
The protests that ended the war in Vietnam reached critical mass only in 1970, when Governor James Rhodes of Ohio pounded on a desk at a news conference and called the student protesters at Kent State University un-American. They were not un-American, they were unarmed. And the next day, four were shot and killed by the National Guard and 10 days later, two more were killed at Jackson State.
Those protests had themselves only gone mainstream 20 months earlier, when Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago overreacted with mindlessness and sadism to the massing of demonstrators outside the 1968 Democratic convention and the whole world watched.
A century of the institutionalized, codified, legalized, pseudo-slavery that followed the real thing was fatally stricken only Governor George Wallace of Alabama used his inaugural address to promise, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Within two years came the marches on Selma and the atrocities at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. And ten weeks after the first violence, the president had proposed the Voting Rights Act to Congress.
The mounting paranoia of three decades of scapegoating of - and fear mongering about - liberals, only ended when its last white knight self-destructed on the national stage of televised hearings, when Joe McCarthy questioned the loyalty of the US military and - towards one junior attorney - he revealed the depths of his cruelty and megalomania. And he revealed that - at long last - he, indeed, had no shame.
Pick any moment in our history - our history as a country founded by and invigorated by and re-invigorated by protests - and you will find men like George Wallace and Joe McCarthy and Jim Rhodes and Richard Daley. Go back further - to men like the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company or the officials who sent the police to the Haymarket Square and the troops to the Pullman town or John Brown or George Grenville, the British politician who had a bright idea about the American colonies, an idea called the Stamp Act.
American freedom has not flourished in spite of these morons of history, it has flourished because of them - because they overreacted, because they under-thought, overreached, under-understood. We owe them our traditions of protest. We owe them our freedoms. We owe them our very independence. None of them ever understood that - around these parts anyway - suppression always creates the opposite of the effect desired.
Such a man is Michael Rubens Bloomberg, mayor of New York City and - as of today - the most valuable, the most essential, the most irreplaceable man inside the Occupy movement.
Who else but a cliché like Bloomberg could take a protest beginning to grow a little stale around the edges and vault it back in the headlines, complete with mortifying scenes of police dressed as storm troopers, carrying military weapons, using figurative bazookas to kill figurative mosquitoes?
Who else but an archetype like Bloomberg could claim a group of protesters was making too much noise in a residential area and then choose to try to disperse them by bringing out LRAD audio cannons, machines that send painful waves of sound indiscriminately over the very same residential area?
Who else but a cartoon like Bloomberg could have become rich creating a multi-billion-dollar media and news company and then authorize illegally preventing reporters from witnessing police actions he claimed were utterly legal, and then authorize the arrests of four reporters at a church?
Who else but a human platitude like Bloomberg could have just gotten back from Jerusalem - and the dedication of a ten-million-dollar medical facility for which he generously paid - and then enabled the image of policemen seizing 5,500 books from the Occupy Wall Street library, and throwing them in a Dumpster as if the cops were book burners?
Who else but a hypocrite like Bloomberg could have overridden - by a backroom deal with the New York City Council - the results of two separate referendums, limiting those in his office to just two terms as mayor, so he could serve a third term? And then had police arrest, beat up and incarcerate a member of the New York City Council?
Who else but a putz like Bloomberg could have insisted protesters were not above the rule of law and yet - when the courts ruled he could not seize the protesters' tents and sleeping bags, nor kick them out of Zuccotti park, nor keep them from returning with their tents and sleeping bags - who else could have stalled for hours until he could find another judge to give him the ruling he insisted upon?
Who else but the epitome of tone-deafness that is Bloomberg could have better illustrated the fundamental issue of Occupy, when he puts the entire weight of the most people-driven city in the history of the Earth behind already-crushingly rich and their efforts to grab themselves still more advantages from those people and he, himself, is the 12th richest man in America?
Who else but a publicity addict like Bloomberg could have enabled the arrest of 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge and yet, two months later, frozen 20 square miles of New York City in gridlock traffic over two days, so somebody could film another goddamned Batman movie on the 59th Street Bridge? Leading to the inescapable conclusion that - if you want to tie up a little traffic during a protest for equality and freedom from corporate domination on a bridge in New York City - you will be arrested. But - if you want to tie up all of the traffic during a goddamned movie shoot for the financial benefit of corporate domination - the city of New York will embrace you and give you tax breaks.
Michael Bloomberg - no such a figure, no such a living, breathing embodiment of all that is wrong and all that is stupid in the establishment in this country could be ordered up from the works of fiction, or the casting calls of that goddamned Batman movie they filmed the weekend before he ordered the raid on Occupy Wall Street.
Obviously, Mayor Bloomberg, you should resign and your little bully of a police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, should go with you. You have overstepped all reasonable interpretations of your rights and responsibilities and you have made Americans and people around the world realize that you are simply smaller, more embarrassing versions of the tin-pot tyrants who have fallen around the globe in the past year.
But - as some of us first thought you might be, back on that fateful afternoon that sadistic cops pepper-sprayed four women who had already been trapped inside a police overreaction, and as we thought again the following weekend during the arrests on Brooklyn Bridge - Michael Bloomberg, you have now, indeed, become the symbol of the Occupy movement. You are ready to take your historic place with Mayor Daley and Governor Wallace and Senator McCarthy and Prime Minister Grenville and every other idiot who has made the fateful and fatal mistake of thinking that - just because he had power and money - that this was a nation in which everything has a price tag on it.
We need you, Michael Bloomberg. We need you to keep making these mistakes - tone-deaf, sensibility-offending, world-changing mistakes - like the pepper spray and the Brooklyn Bridge and the paramilitary assault on Occupy Wall Street last night.
Hell, Mike, the freedoms of this wonderful and transcendent nation - corrupted by the endless greed of you and the other dozen richest people in it, and the corporations who nevertheless have still managed to own you somehow - these freedoms will not be restored to us in just the next two years. I am endorsing you for a fourth term! Your nation needs you, Mr. Mayor! Occupy needs you!
Bloomberg now! Bloomberg tomorrow! Bloomberg forever!
OLBERMANN: It has been 311 days since Jared Loughner opened fire in Tucson, wounding Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. A lot of work, a lot of frustration, has gone on behind the scenes.
But in our number-one story - the remarkable and uplifting words of Gabby Giffords, spoken for the first time in public. On January 8th, the congresswoman was meeting with members of her constituency, as you know, outside a supermarket, when a crazed gunman approached her and shot her point blank in the head.
Nineteen people were shot that day, six of them died. Some news outlets have reported that Gabby Giffords, herself, had died. But she survived and battled back beginning with a simple act of grasping her husband's hand. Then came larger victories. Her ability to speak returned. She was able to stand up and walk. And, in her most public triumph, she returned to Capitol Hill during the summer to cast her vote in favor of the debt-ceiling agreement.
In an interview with Diane Sawyer, we saw not only how far she had progressed physically in the ten months since the shooting, but perhaps - most remarkably - how she has not lost her eternal optimism.
(Excerpt from video clip) SAWYER: Do you ever get angry at what happened to you?
(Excerpt from video clip) GIFFORDS: No, no, no.
(Excerpt from video clip) SAWYER: No.
(Excerpt from video clip) GIFFORDS: No. Life, life.
(Excerpt from video clip) SAWYER: And so, you think to yourself, "I'll go back to Congress if I get better"?
(Excerpt from video clip) GIFFORDS: Yes, yes, yes. Yes.
OLBERMANN: As further proof of her dedication to return to Congress, perhaps - late Monday night, Gabby Giffords released a minute-long recorded message to her constituents. Her words are slow and deliberate. The inflections, the volume control are inconsistent, but her mind and her resolve are as strong as ever.
(Excerpt from video clip) GIFFORDS: Hello. This is Gabby Giffords. I miss you. I miss Tucson, the mountains, blue skies, even the heat. I'm getting stronger. I'm getting better. It's been a hard year for all of us. Thinking about that day makes me sad. Six people died, six innocent people, so many people hurt. There is a lot to say. I will speak better. I want to get back to work. Representing Arizona is my honor. My staff is there to help you. They keep me informed on your behalf. I miss you. I miss home. I will see you real soon. Thank you.
OLBERMANN: The world's leading brain-injury therapist, who has worked with Gabby, says she has improved even since all that was recorded. And frankly - right now, if most members of Congress made a radio address to their constituents that was that well read, they would be complimenting themselves on doing a good job. Welcome back, Gabby Giffords.
That's "Countdown." I am Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.