'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: Seattle PD pepper-sprays priest, expectant mother, 84-year old Dorli Rainey at #OccupySeattle - Ms. Rainey joins me, live
#ShowPlug 2: #OccupyCal regroups for more activity on campus; 3500 hear Robert @RBReich speak; he joins us. #OWS big plans for tomorrow
#ShowPlug 3: NYC Councilman @Yadanis Rodriguez beaten up, arrested @ #OWS detained for 17 hours, finally out, joins us here
#ShowPlug 4: Karl Rove asks "Who gave you the right to Occupy America?" Karl's never heard of The Constitution, clearly.
#ShowPlug 5: CPC braces for SuperCommittee gutting of safety net; hears data on vanishing middle class; Co-Chair @RepRaulGrijalva joins me
#ShowPlug Last: Cain's new gaffe: "How do you say 'delicious' in Cuban?" Gingrich hypocrisy on Freddie Mac. GOP follies w/ @Markos
watch whole playlist
#5 'Occupy Wall Street'
#5 'Pepper Spray Victim', Dorli Rainey
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Bonus: promo (and explanation of Robert Reich's absence)
#4 'Unlawful Arrest?', Ydanis Rodriguez
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Losing The Middle', Raul Grijalva
#2 Worst Persons: Bill O'Reilly, Rep. Hal Rogers, Gloria Cain
#1 'None Of The Above', Markos Moulitsas
printable PDF transcript
On the show: Ydanis Rodriguez, Dorli Rainey, Markos Moulitsas, Raul Grijalva
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Soulless in Seattle? So, a priest, a pregnant mother, and an 84-year-old woman walk into a protest and - unfortunately, it's no joke, they get pepper sprayed at Occupy. The cops say, "Don't worry," pepper spray "is not age-specific. No more dangerous to someone who is 10 or someone who is 80." Our guest, 84-year-old pepper spray victim Dorli Rainey. Occupy Wall Street regroups.
(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: Take down the barricade!
OLBERMANN: Plans to shut down Wall Street itself in the morning, to occupy the subways in the afternoon, to occupy Courthouse Square at night.
(Excerpt from video clip) GABRIEL MARANTZ: Tomorrow is a very big day. It's a day of international action.
OLBERMANN: But it was the NYPD which did the occupying to a New York City councilman.
(Excerpt from video clip) YDANIS RODRIGUEZ: I went down to the park to observe the situation. Unfortunately, I was assaulted by a police officer.
OLBERMANN: And then denied counsel and detained for 17 hours! Our guest, New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez. Occupy Cal goes back on campus and 3,500 people listen to former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
(Excerpt from video clip) ROBERT REICH: The days of apathy are over, folks!
OLBERMANN: Our guest - Robert Reich. As middle-class neighborhoods vanish, and the Republicans threaten to renege on the Super Committee deal, the Congressional Progressive Caucus hears startling news from a top economist.
(Excerpt from video clip) JEFFERY SACHS: The median male earning in the United States peaked in 1973.
OLBERMANN: Our guest - CPC co-chair Congressman Raul Grijalva.
You mean, "Oops" don't you? Just say "oops" and get out. Newt Gingrich caught in hypocrisy astounding even if you're a newt.
(Excerpt from video clip) NEWT GINGRICH: If you want to put people in jail, I want to second what Michelle said, you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. In Barney Frank's case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at Freddie Mac.
OLBERMANN: Freddie Mac? It now proves Freddie Mac paid Gingrich's company $1.6 million. Just say "oops" and get out!
(Excerpt from video clip) GINGRICH: It wasn't paid to me.
OLBERMANN: And more Cain brain-drain pain. He claims he offered Henry Kissinger Secretary of State and then says that was a joke. And then says, "I'm not supposed to know anything about foreign policy." Or as Letterman put it:
(Excerpt from video clip) DAVID LETTERMAN: Here now is what happened to Herman Cain's brain, watch.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: So, you agree with President Obama on Libya or not?
(Excerpt from video clip) HERMAN CAIN: Okay, Libya.
OLBERMANN: All of that and more now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: Got all of this stuff twirling around in my head.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Wednesday November 16th, 356 days until the 2012 presidential election.
Occupy Wall Street showing resilience, Occupy protesters elsewhere showing elsewhere theirs, too. Especially 84-year-old Dorli Rainey, pepper sprayed by Seattle police last night in a crowd that also included a pregnant woman and a priest.
The fifth story on the "Countdown" - Occupy Wall Street regrouping after Tuesday morning's shutdown of their camp at Zuccotti Park, preparing for an International Day of Action tomorrow - with protests planned in many Occupy cities, including New York, LA, Portland, London and Madrid, after protesters in Baltimore tried to occupy Bush's brain - Karl Rove.
Starting tonight in Seattle - this is Dorli Rainey, 84-year-old activist, self-described "old lady in combat boots." She was hit with pepper spray last night when she stopped to check out an Occupy Seattle protest. Occupy Seattle reporting that a priest and a pregnant woman also pepper sprayed after protesters, blocking downtown streets, were attacked by the police. There were six arrests. Dorli was not one of them.
Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel tried to defend the action saying pepper spray "is not age specific. No more dangerous to someone who is 10 or someone who is 80." Dangerous to someone who is a fetus? Activist Dorli Rainey will be our guest in just a few moments.
At Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, a spray of blather - not pepper spray - from Karl Rove interrupted abruptly, when Occupy protesters called for a mic check before reminding Rove of his credentials - architect of Occupy Iraq and Occupy Afghanistan. Karl didn't like that.
(Excerpt from video clip) KARL ROVE: Who gave you the right to Occupy America? Nobody!
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: We're already in America!
(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: We are the 99 percent! We are the 99 percent!
(Excerpt from video clip) ROVE: No, you're not. You wanna keep jumping up and yelling that you're the 99 percent? How presumptuous and arrogant can you think you are?
OLBERMANN: "No, you are not!" Karl! Did you say all that? What a guy! By the way, the answer to the first question, Karl - who gave them the right to occupy America? The Constitution. I know you've never read it, but there's some good stuff in there.
Zuccotti Park looking sadly empty this morning - just police, security guards and handful of demonstrators to start with. While other Occupy protesters lined up at a sanitation garage to retrieve what was left of their property after police and sanitation workers had carted it off. The Zuccotti library, once at least 4,000 books, maybe 5,500, reduced to a few boxes in this picture. Perhaps New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg could add them to his library. He might use them to look up something he's never seen before, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Documents that seem to have been read in Boston where a judge today granted Occupy a temporary restraining order that would keep the city from closing down the camp at Dewey Square without first getting a court order. While in Philadelphia, the Occupy camp at Dilworth Plaza has received different sort of order, an eviction notice to clear the grounds so a renovation project can start there. Back at Zuccotti, Occupy Wall Street protesters putting yesterday's crackdown behind them and preparing for major protests tomorrow.
(Excerpt from video clip) KEITH HAPIP: Obviously, when you're looking at the park it is a little bit empty. So, of course, you're gonna think, "Oh, no. It's over." No, absolutely not. We have the Internet. And we'll use it. So, I mea, it's far from over.
(Excerpt from video clip) MARANTZ: The presence is smaller today. A lot of people are sleeping, and a lot of people are preparing for tomorrow. Tomorrow is a very big day. It's a Day of International Action on November 17th.
OLBERMANN: That includes plans to shut down streets in and around downtown Los Angeles and to march from the Occupy camp at London's St. Paul's Cathedral, which is also facing eviction.
And while Occupy Oakland's camp is closed, Iraq war veteran and Occupy activist Scott Olsen is on the way back, releasing his first photo since he was hit with a police tear-gas canister last month.
Also this statement, "I'm feeling a lot better with a long road in front of me. After my freedom of speech was quite literally taken from me. My speech is coming back, but I've got a lot of work to do with rehab. Thank you for all your support, it has meant the world to me. You'll be hearing more from in the near future and, soon enough, we'll see you in our streets!"
Every time you might think you had seen the worst of the establishment's response to Occupy, somebody somewhere is willing to bet you you have not.
Let's go to Seattle, where Occupy protesters were pepper sprayed last night. Among them, political activist and Occupy Seattle supporter Dorli Rainey. It's a great pleasure to have you on the program tonight.
DORLI RAINEY: Thank you, Keith. It is a pleasure to be here.
OLBERMANN: Now, before we get into last night, we have seen the pictures, so the obvious question is - how are you feeling today?
RAINEY: I am feeling great. I feel so energized. It's amazing what a little pepper spray will do for you.
OLBERMANN: It seems to have that effect on people who know they are in the right. How did you get involved in all that last night? Can you tell us?
RAINEY: Well, first of all, I have been involved at all of these actions - civil rights, the women's rights, and now this. So, this is a natural progression for me. And I was in D.C. with the October - the October 2011 group - from the 6th through the 10th of October, which was exhilarating to hear these great speakers that we had there. When I came back, I was totally overcharged to start working here.
So, yesterday - I was on my way to one of these boring transportation meetings when I got off my bus to change to another one, I heard tons of helicopters overhead. You could not hear yourself think. And I thought, "Well, it's probably Occupy Seattle is doing a - an action there to help out Occupy Wall Street." And I decided to go up there and check it out.
And sure enough, right in front of the Nordstrom store at the big intersection was - first of all, an army of police officers, bicycles, cars, lights, et cetera - and the people were in the center of that intersection blocking traffic all around. A lot of my friends were there. And my friends consist of all age groups, all colors.
RAINEY: No matter what some of the media say, that they are rats and crazy and druggies, et cetera. That is just not so. So, I stood out there with my friends, and we were just deciding that we had stayed there long enough and we might go on. Well, we're not a secret society, and when somebody says mic check, everybody can hear it, and the cops also knew that we were on the verge of leaving. Just at that moment, the bike patrol came up and shoved bicycles into the crowd moving them to the center, and simultaneously they let go of the pepper spray. And in the pictures, you can see where the pepper spray came all over.
So, I got pepper sprayed and shoved and thanks heavens there was a wonderful, young Iraq veteran who stood next to me, and just he grabbed me as I stumbled with people who were pushing - people couldn't see where they were going - the cops kept pushing with the bicycles, and the space we were in got smaller and smaller, so we were really pinned in. And that young man stabilized me. Otherwise, I would have been on the ground, trampled. And this really is not a good picture to think about.
So, after that, then some people helped me to go back to the bus and I went home. But the great thing is that I ride these buses an awful lot, and some of the people - I see them at least once or twice a week on the bus, "Hello, how are you?" And they said, "What happened to you?" And I had no mirror, so I must have looked a fright. And the bus driver said, "Hey, what happened to you?" I said, "I got pepper sprayed by Seattle's finest." And the other people piped up and said, "That's terrible."
And the wonderful thing that happened is this bus full of people started talking about Occupy. And they had never seen a real person that they could identify with who got pepper sprayed. And it became a really wonderful educational opportunity for me to convert a busload full of people to our way of thinking.
OLBERMANN: Is that your hope for what this is going to do for America? That, more than anything else, it's going to educate people for what they are up against?
RAINEY: We have to do that, and the time is of the essence. We are seeing the FCC trying to take away the free internet. I remember Goebbels. I remember the time - I grew up over there. And I remember the shrinking of the print media. We had one newspaper. It was called Völkischer Beobachter - The People's Observer. And it was the same from North Germany down to South Austria, same propaganda: "We're winning the war. We're sinking the U-boats and we're into Scotland." So - we were doing so well, it's amazing how long the war lasted after we were winning it already. And I see the same thing happening here.
We have, really, no more free media that will bring you the issues instead of just the soft, fluff entertainment, the repeated stuff about some actress somewhere being pregnant or not pregnant or wanting to go get married and not. This should be on the entertainment pages, but not on the mainstream news media.
So, we have such incredible issues here, right here in our town. We live 20 miles from ground zero of the Bangor missile base. And in order to get any attention from any media, we go there and we occupy the street going into the missile base. And we get arrested there and nobody cares, nobody says anything, except the people who want to drive in and out of the base and earn their living there - they don't much like us.
But we have - one of my heroes was a Catholic nun who spread her blood on a missile silo in Colorado and got incarcerated. And she did an action in Tennessee and got incarcerated. She - her name was Jackie Hudson. She recently died. And a lot of it was because of the mistreatment in the prison system in Tennessee. She used to say, "Whatever you do, take one more step out of your comfort zone." And that is what I do. I take a step out of my comfort zone.
It was so easy to say, "Well, I'm going to retire, I'm going to sit around, watch television or eat bon-bons." But somebody has got to keep them awake and let them know what is really going on in this world. Whether it's J.P. Morgan doing the financing plan for our ill-fated tunnel, which is coming up, which the city council - some member even admitted they never read the environmental-impact statement, because it is boring.
RAINEY: Well, I read the whole dang thing and my eyeballs are still pink from reading it. And nobody talks about these things. They are not in the media. And the Chamber of Commerce pushes things like our tunnel, because they earn big profits when they start developing the properties around there when the tunnel - when the viaduct is done. And the taxpayers are on line for this. And so - I am an issues person, I always have been.
RAINEY: So, is what you wanted to hear? Do you have any questions?
OLBERMANN: No, you have answered all of my questions. And you are one of my heroes now. Dorli Rainey - political activist, Occupy Seattle supporter and one of those punk kids out there on the streets - an honor to have you on the program. Keep going one step outside of your comfort zone and we'll try to do the same thing here.
RAINEY: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Thank you. We'll be back. How does a New York City councilmen not only wind up bruised and bloody and arrested at Occupy Wall Street, but then detained for 17 hours without access to his lawyer and the mayor pretends nothing untoward has happened? Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez joins me next. This is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: First, my apologies to former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, whom we were to interview tonight about his address to Occupy Cal. I think even he would agree there was no way we should have interrupted Dorli Rainey.
It's not just why was the city councilman roughed up and arrested at Occupy Wall Street? It's why was he roughed up and arrested at Occupy Wall Street, then denied a lawyer, then detained for 17 hours? He joins me next.
The disappearing middle class, it's not just a figure of speech anymore. The middle-class neighborhoods are vanishing. CPC co-chair Raul Grijalva joins me.
For three years, Newt Gingrich has insisted that any politician with a connection to Freddie Mac should give back the money or go to jail or something. Now, it turns out Freddie Mac paid him $1.6 million over eight years to act as a historian on housing or something.
And now his wife has an uncomfortable pause. Unfortunately, that's when asked if he would make a good president. But he can still top it. Today's quote from Miami's Little Havana, "How do you say 'delicious' in Cuban?" Oh, boy.
OLBERMANN: There's an old Charles Addams' cartoon in which an octopus is shown climbing out from under a manhole cover, grabbing a pedestrian, who is then seen trying to batter it with his umbrella. The caption read, "It doesn't take much to draw a crowd in New York."
In our fourth story - you would think the arrest of a New York City councilman at Occupy Wall Street and his injury at the hands of the police and his detention for 17 hours without access to a lawyer might draw - if not a crowd - at least a comment from the mayor who ordered the raid that resulted in his arrest. Nearly 48 hours later and Mayor Michael Bloomberg is still silent.
Councilman Rodriguez says late Monday night, he heard that police were planning the raid, so he decided to go to the park to act as an observer. He was still two blocks away when an officer grabbed him from behind, threw him to the ground and pushed his face into the ground, he says.
(Excerpt from video clip) RODRIGUEZ: I was walking in the street, on the sidewalk, and this police officer - 7188 - started hitting my back (indistinct) ... as one of those few opponents that we have in the NYPD department.
OLBERMANN: Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was then held 17 hours without access to a lawyer. Yesterday, he held a news conference, flanked by other governmental officials and still bearing the evidence of his violent altercation - cuts and bruises on his face and arms.
(Excerpt from video clip) LETITIA JAMES: Throughout my 20 years of public service, no elected official has been held in detention for longer than three hours. His rights were violated. The Constitution was suspended today from Zuccotti to here at 100 Centre Street. And there needs to be a full and complete investigation.
OLBERMANN: And joining me now, New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez. Well, thanks for coming in. I'm glad you were available this evening, rather than still in jail. My goodness! How on earth did this happen?
RODRIGUEZ: First of all, thank you for inviting me to this program.
OLBERMANN: Of course.
RODRIGUEZ: It is so unfortunate that, still today, there were people out in the court, waiting to come out from the system. And I mean this - this should not happen, and it is so sad that Mayor Bloomberg made this decision when trying to shut this Occupy down from the park.
OLBERMANN: Nothing from him, even though a member of the city council was arrested? Nothing from the police commissioner, even though a member of the city council is still bearing the visible scars of an altercation with the cops? Nothing? You have heard nothing from them?
RODRIGUEZ: Nothing at all. I know that the speaker of Queens, they made a phone call from yesterday to the mayor, deputy mayor, to the Commissioner Kelly. And I also was shocked on what happened, not only to me, but the more than 200, including nine members of the media.
RODRIGUEZ: In the same car, when I was taken to the NYPD headquarters, there were two reporters that they do freelance for the city press. And The New York Times, they also went through the same situation of being arrested without planning to be arrested.
OLBERMANN: Where do you go with this from here? Do you know? Is it legal action? Is it a hearing? How do you proceed?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, first of all, I'm here and also understanding that what happened to me didn't have to happen, not because I'm a council member, but also because I'm a citizen who is protected by the First Amendment. I only went to the park to observe the situation, and suddenly I end up being in jail without having the legal right of having - speaking to my attorney. Even when I asked to speak to a supervisor of the NYPD, no one - it was not granted. As someone - as an elected official also, having been trying to work with the NYPD - it is so frustrating.
OLBERMANN: Where are average New Yorkers on this, do you think? So far, as near as we can tell, Occupy Wall Street filled up a public space, marched in a couple of streets, blocked a little bit of traffic. The NYPD has, in response, arrested about a thousand people, often with violence that was rarely necessary. They bulldozed the camp in the middle of the night. They brought paramilitary weapons out against members of the public, including huge sound devices, when the complaint was these people were making too much noise. And they arrested about 10 or 12 - the number varies - journalists who had New York City-issued police-press credentials. And they hit and arrested and detained a city councilman. Where is the outrage in the city about how the city is treating its residents, its journalists, its city council members?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, I believe that New Yorkers are frustrated. Especially because this movement is not only the movement of college students. This movement - the Occupy movement, the 99 percent - is a movement of the working class and the middle class that is tired, that is fed up on - on being affected every year when we have to make the decision about cutting the budget, it is only on the working class and middle class.
So, I believe this movement will continue growing. I believe that this movement is a movement for jobs, for affordable housing, for quality education. I represent one of those communities where the average income is 25 percent in the northern Manhattan area. So for me, my responsibility to support the Occupy movement is based on the need that I see every day in my community.
It's because I feel that - here in New York City, as a typical city that we have in this great nation - there is a gap between the rich and the poor. And I believe it is our responsibility to bring all of the sectors together. And that's the voice this movement has given us.
RODRIGUEZ: It's the voice of the voiceless.
OLBERMANN: Having been born in Inwood, myself - and my folks are all from the Bronx and I have lived here most of my adult life - the potholes are as bad as it as ever been. Mass transit is getting worse and it costs more every week. The city bends over backwards for businesses, especially high-profile businesses like films and other places like that, taxes go up on residents every hour and a half, it feels like, and now this mayor pulls - it seems like fascist stunt to knock down protesters.
Somebody says, "Hey, we've had enough. We're not rioting in the streets, we've just had enough." And they bring to bear an extraordinary amount of police presence and pressure and threat and people in riot gear. Is there any intelligence on the part on the people who are making these decisions rather than saying, "There's a problem here and we need to address it before it becomes an unmanageable problem"? Are they playing with fire in this city, the people who run it?
RODRIGUEZ: I believe that this mayor is showing, one more time, that he is disconnected from the reality of the average New Yorkers. I believe that he doesn't understand that by trying - by shutting the Occupy from the park - from trying to shutting the park down, he thought that would be the end of the movement.
Tomorrow, thousands of people will be arrested, because they will be participating in a nationwide civil disobedience. Not only those couple of thousand people that already have decided to be arrested in an organized way, in a civil-disobedience manner - it's also thousands and thousands of labor leaders, community activists, religious leaders - in New York City, in many cities in this nation - that they are showing the support to this movement. And that's what this major doesn't understand.
No one will be able to stop this movement unless we come out with answers to a reality that we face in this city. Why we have certain community where family doesn't know what it is quality education in the early childhood. Why we have a community that we don't have affordable housing.
In our district - in the northern Manhattan - from the 175 affordable housing units that the mayor said that he will build, only one building has been built in my district. So, this isn't fair. This mayor is not connected to this reality. Unfortunately, we've been going through this situation, I went through as a council member. But also, Jumaane Williams also went through a similar situation two or three months ago.
And every day, hundreds of New Yorkers are being stopped and frisked - especially in the Latino and African-American community - and we need to put a stop on how certain members of the NYPD, that does not reflect the great work that most of the officers do in the department, they are not respecting the rights, and that's one of the reasons this Occupy movement is getting so much support from all communities across the city.
OLBERMANN: And, perhaps, the mayor will understand this time tomorrow night. Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez of New York, I'm glad it's turned out relatively well. And great thanks for coming in. Appreciate your time.
RODRIGUEZ: Thank you, sir.
OLBERMANN: The head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus on alarming numbers of the shrinking middle class and the shrinking middle-class neighborhoods. And the value of the Occupy movement in correcting that, coming up.
OLBERMANN: A good conspiracy theorist would suggest that the move against Occupy has taken place now so there'd be nobody to protest when the Super Committee starts gutting the safety net next week. I'm a good conspiracy theorist. Ahead, with Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date in 1963, the phone company - there was only the one - began to roll out a new test a product without which cell phones would have been inconceivable. Customers in the towns of Carnegie and Greensburg, Pennsylvania were offered the first-ever touch-tone phones - no dial, no dialing. They cost extra, of course, and in many cases, they required entirely new wiring. And a majority of home telephones would still be the old rotary-dial jobs - well into the 1980s.
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: Parrot and dog re-create "Lady and the Tramp."
We begin with the TMO Adorable Clip of the Day. In a bizarre twist on "Lady and Tramp," this dog and parrot are sharing some pasta. "Polly wants spaghetti!"
From the look on the dog's face, I'm thinking he is thinking about following up the spaghetti with some parrot. "Mmm, Bird!"
If you think this is cute, you should have seen after dinner when they went dancing.
VIDEO: Cat answers the house phone.
From dogs and birds to the world of cats, and this cat is trying to enjoy his day, but the phone - the rotary phone - won't stop ringing. "Fine, I'll get it." You would think having a cat who could answer the phone would be a good thing, but, apparently, he takes terrible messages. The handwriting is just like, you know, cat scratches.
VIDEO: Bank robbery witness in a coonskin cap.
Finally, we check in - as we always do - with Panama City, Florida. Here, we have a news report about an attempted robbery followed by a high-speed chase. Fortunately, there was an eyewitness on the scene.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: He came in "Dukes of Hazzard" - getting it, digging like that, like Dale Jr. and then hooked up and shot forward, and when he hooked up and shot forward, that's when he came and hit.
OLBERMANN: Davie, Davie Crockett, king of the wild frontier.
"Time Marches On!"
The CPC fights back and Newt Gingrich want all politicians in bed with Freddie Mac incarcerated. Except, of course, himself. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: The rich get rich, the poor get poorer. The middle class? It seems to be disappearing - not just economically, but geographically.
In our third story on the "Countdown" - as Occupy underscores the debate over income inequality, and it grows louder in this country, a new study showing that the gap between rich and poor is, indeed, widening.
While some in Congress struggle to focus attention on then need to create jobs to try to stem the growing financial disaster, on Capitol Hill - the Congressional Deficit-Reduction Super Committee is racing to complete a plan to gut a trillion dollars from the federal deficit for next week's deadline. But the Congressional Progressive Caucus says the committee is not addressing the real problem.
Today, that caucus held its own hearings in at an tempt to shift focus from taxes and cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security to job creation.
(Excerpt from video clip) SACHS: The median male earnings in the United States peaked in 1973. The employment and manufacturing peaked in 1979. And we have lost 9 million jobs in manufacturing from that peak. This is a structural crisis. It requires a structural transformation.
OLBERMANN: Also today, a new study from Stanford, supporting this need for job creation to bridge the growing gap between rich and poor. "Rising income inequality," the study says, "has left a higher share of families in neighborhoods that are mostly low-income or mostly affluent" - nothing in between.
Specifically, one-third of American families live in areas of either affluence or poverty, up from just 15 percent just four decades ago. Only 44 percent now living in neighborhoods defined as middle income. It was 65 percent in 1970. Why does that matter?
According to the study, "The increasing isolation of the affluent from the low and moderate-income families means that a significant portion of society's resources are concentrated in a smaller and smaller portion of neighborhoods."
Joining me now, after those hearings - the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona. Always a pleasure, sir. Thanks for your time tonight.
RAUL GRIJALVA: Thank you, Keith. I appreciate it.
OLBERMANN: What do these new statistics mean? What does it mean? It suggests a kind of stratifying of where people live, relative to how much money they make. But what are the other implications here?
GRIJALVA: For our society, the implications are frightening - that we are now heading in a direction, Keith, in which we will have a permanent underclass. A group - large portions of the American people - that will feel that there is no opportunity for them to aspire to be middle class, to aspire to move their lives on. And if we continue to gut the support programs and the investment programs of this nation - education, the support programs like Social Security and Medicare - we continue to gut those programs, then that picture becomes dimmer and dimmer as we go on.
Our hearing was about bringing experts economists to talk about the reality in America. And one after the other - including the Millionaire Patriot Organization that was present as well - indicated that we must create jobs, we must have a fair tax system, and the rich have to pay their share, that they have not been paying for a decade plus. It was a simple way to tell the Super Committee - there is an alternative out there, don't be afraid of it.
The American people are expecting something big. If we come back - the Super Committee comes back - with just cuts, or comes back with less than - than a - a real plan for job creation - I think the disappointment will not be that they didn't cut enough, the disappointment among the American people will be a huge backlash, "You didn't do anything and you didn't create opportunity or jobs."
OLBERMANN: You spoke out yesterday against the decision to oust Occupy in Zuccotti Park. Why is it so important that the demonstrators have that protest, have that right to do it, and why is it especially important at this moment in our history?
GRIJALVA: I have said a couple of times - and I think I have heard you repeat it - the light that the occupiers have shone on the whole issue of this economy and this whole society has been the issue of fairness - whether it is the wage disparity, whether it's the income disparity, whether it is the concentration of wealth and power in one small section of our society, they have made people think about that and they've made that the issue.
And so, their space there is not just symbolism. Not only do they have the right to be there, but the discomfort they are creating for Wall Street, the discomfort they are creating for the mayor, pales to the discomfort we see out in America. People losing their homes, 25 million people out of work, or wanting to work full-time, kids can't go to school anymore, because they can't afford it, and our poverty rate continues to soar. That's the real discomfort in America.
And by the Occupiers pointing out fairness and creating some discomfort for the elite - whether it's in New York, whether it's the economic or political elite of New York - is nothing compared to the reality out in America.
OLBERMANN: I don't want to sound like I'm under-emphasizing any of this, but this is the first time we have spoken in a while, and I can't finish this interview without asking you about the TV special the other night on another member of your Arizona House delegation, Gabby Giffords.
GRIJALVA: Oh, yeah.
OLBERMANN: Especially the audio tape. I was overwhelmed in a very positive way with how good she sounded. Give me your impressions of how far she's gotten and how she is.
GRIJALVA: It was uplifting. It was affirming. And when Gabby said, you know - "I want to go back to work," I said it all along, that she is going to join us again in Congress and work. And so, I believe her. Anybody shouldn't doubt her word. And it's not - this is about real grit. This is about real courage. And so, it has been an uplifting moment for all of us. And those of us who have the pleasure of knowing her or just feel that we - it's an affirmation that, you know, the human spirit is what it is. And it's personified in what she has gone through and what she will accomplish when it is all over.
OLBERMANN: And it's very useful now at this point, too, because it reminds you that you can change the circumstances, almost no matter what they are.
GRIJALVA: Absolutely. Absolutely.
OLBERMANN: Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Always a great pleasure to have you, sir. Thanks again.
GRIJALVA: My pleasure, thank you.
OLBERMANN: Bill O'Reilly defends his fact-free history of the Lincoln assassination by blaming Al Franken. "Worst Persons," coming up.
OLBERMANN: Newt Gingrich has been obsessed for three years with politicians who took money from, or acted on behalf of, Freddie Mac, demanded Obama give his Freddie Mac money back. He said Chris Dodd and Barney Frank should go to jail for passing legislation that helped Freddie Mac. Today, we learned that over eight years, Newt Gingrich got $1.6 million from Freddie Mac. Markos Moulitsas on that.
And if your wife makes that face when she is asked if you'd make a good president, you are not going to get to find out if you would make a good president, are you? The "Worsts" first - on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Quote: "How do you say 'delicious' in Cuban?" Herman Cain's daily gaffe-irmation, next.
First, because, sadly, this is as close as these miscreants will get to affirmation or gaffe-ermation - here are "Countdown's" top-three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze - to Bill-o the clown. We told you Monday about the decision by the Lincoln Museum in Ford's Theater to not sell his new book "Killing Lincoln," because most of seems to have been made up. Bill-o went on a show and tried to lie his way out of the disaster.
First, he called Senator Al Franken a liar - which is interesting, since Franken's got nothing to do with this. The last time O'Reilly tried to do anything with Franken and sued him, the judge literally laughed O'Reilly out of court. Then Bill-o added, "Now we have attacks on my new book 'Killing Lincoln,' the Washington Post saying the bookstore at Ford's Theater in Washington where Lincoln was assassinated is refusing to sell the book. That's not true." Bill, by the way, seemed to be drunk on the air when he read this.
He then read an email from the head of the shop at Ford's Theater saying the book had been available there for weeks. What he did was conflate that the bookstore in the basement was also part of the museum. The museum will not sell his book because, historically, it is a piece of crap that says Lincoln met Ulysses S. Grant in the Oval Office in 1865 even though the Oval Office wasn't built 'til 1909.
Where they are selling it is in the gift shop at Ford's Theater, where it is available along with the Dangle-Legs Lincoln, an official Ford's Theater plush wild turkey, Lincoln logs, the "A. Lincoln Cookbook" and a t-shirt showing Lincoln listening to an iPod. And Bill O'Reilly's book, in which Lincoln wins a Peabody Award while meeting with General Douglas MacArthur and listening to his iPad!
Our runner up? Congressman Hal Rogers, Republican of Kentucky, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The GOP majority on that committee has just tacked onto a spending bill the unraveling of proposed tightening of federal school-lunch programs by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a result of which, this would be considered a vegetable. Correct. The tomato paste on pizza, say Republicans, must be considered a vegetable.
Inexplicably, the Republicans seem to be kowtowing to the people who make frozen pizzas for schools, but they're dressing it up as their dedication to "prevent overly burdensome and costly regulations." "Jimmy, eat your vegetables, your spinach and your beans and pizza."
And the winner - speaking of pizza, or as her husband called it "sissy pizza," vegetable pizza - Gloria Cain, wife of Herman. He may have trotted her out, after all, to do an interview with Greta Van Susteren, on the political whorehouse that is Fox News, and she may have said all of the right things, but the eyes don't lie.
(Excerpt from video clip) GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Would he be a good president?
(Excerpt from video clip) GLORIA CAIN: I think he would. I think he'd be a great president.
(Excerpt from video clip) VAN SUSTEREN: You just think he would?
(Excerpt from video clip) GLORIA CAIN: Yeah.
OLBERMANN: And that, kids is where that phrase "damning him with faint praise" comes from. Gloria "Do you think it's a good pizza?" "Yes." "Just yes?" "Uh-huh?" Cain - today's "Worst Person in the World"!
OLBERMANN: Every time a GOP candidate emerges as the front-runner, something happens that knocks them right back down: Michele Bachmann and her husband's "Pray away the gay" counseling; Rick Perry and his inability to remember what was behind his mental Door Number Three, and - in our number-one story, here we go again - Herman Cain continues to try and dig out after someone hit his pause button during the response to a question on Libya.
And today, after three years of proposing jail for any politician associated with Freddie Mac, it turns out Newt Gingrich has been paid handsomely by - Freddie Mac. Gingrich has managed to float his way to the top of recent polling, mostly by process of elimination. His descent probably began today when it was revealed that he had received at least $1.6 billion as a consultant for Freddie Mac between 1999 and 2008. Or did he?!
(Excerpt from video clip) GINGRICH: First of all, it wasn't paid to me. Gingrich Group was a consulting firm that had lots of people doing things and we offered strategic advice.
OLBERMANN: So, some other Gingrich. But even if it were him, he didn't see a problem with that.
(Excerpt from audio clip) GINGRICH: As Speaker, I had a different role in life. As a former Speaker, I'm a private citizen and I'm allowed to offer strategic advice.
OLBERMANN: So it wasn't him, it was his consulting group, but if it had been him, it would be okay, because he was a private citizen. Most likely, they paid him because - as a former Speaker - he has connections to people on Capitol Hill and would be able to lobby for them for favorable treatment. That seems fine. It's not as if anyone has to go to jail for that.
(Excerpt from video clip) GINGRICH: If you want to put people in jail, I want to second what Michelle said - you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. And let's look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment, and the politicians who put this country in trouble. In Barney Frank's case - go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at Freddie Mac.
OLBERMANN: Meanwhile, the Cain train is still trying to get back on tracks after his disastrous meeting with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board where he could not seem to remember anything about Libya. However, whatever he lacks knowledge on Libya, he clearly had been thoroughly briefed on Iran.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: If you look at the topography of Iran, where are you going to strike? It's very mountainous.
OLBERMANN: Apparently, he doesn't know that our armies are not lead by Genghis Khan and we now have the ability to fly over mountains and stuff. He really needs help with foreign policy. Maybe he can get himself an expert to help him avoid embarrassing himself - amodern day Henry Kissinger?
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: Dr. Kissinger turned my offer down to be Secretary of State.
OLBERMANN: Cain later said he was joking about offering the job to Kissinger, who will be 89 during the next inauguration. Fortunately for Mr. Cain, he has the best staff in the business and they crafted the perfect response to any further questions about his flubs.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #1: Mr. Cain, do you think the Libya comments reinforced the idea that you don't have a thorough understanding of foreign policy?
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #2: Let him walk through.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: Nein, nein, nein.
OLBERMANN: Perhaps he should stick with "Nein, nein, nein" for everything. He might have avoided more situations like the one just today in Miami's Little Havana.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: How do you say "delicious" in Cuban?
OLBERMANN: Yeah, it's Spanish. It's not Cuban. Cuba is a country, they speak Spanish in Cuba. Sometimes, I wonder what's going on inside that head. Luckily, the folks over at "The Late Show" were able to give us a brief inside look at the mind of Herman Cain:
(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: Here, now, is what happened to Herman Cain's brain. Watch.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: So, you agreed with President Obama on Libya or not?
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: Okay, Libya.
OLBERMANN: Joining me now, "Countdown" contributor, founder of Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas. Good to see you in person, sir.
MARKOS MOULITSAS: It's great to be here in person.
OLBERMANN: I'll start with Mr. Cain. He seems to be glorying in his ignorance here. On top of everything else that we just showed, he is now insisting that he is not supposed to know anything about foreign matters. Seriously?
MOULITSAS: Yeah, we've spent the last election just going on and on about how Obama wouldn't be ready to lead, because that call at 3:00 in the morning would put the nation in peril. We've got a guy here who doesn't know anything about Libya, which was the only foreign policy story of the entire summer, practically. We were at war and he can't even talk about that.
OLBERMANN: Gingrich, meanwhile, has obviously - obviously has become the front-runner in one poll, meaning he must drop.
MOULITSAS: Oh, he will drop.
OLBERMANN: But I'm just say, it's now his turn. It was his turn to be leader, to be number one. So, now he's had 48 hours and he is ready to drop. "Politicians associated with Freddie Mac should go to jail" - Chris Dodd, Barney Frank. He's associated with Freddie Mac to the tune of $1.6 million. That's, like, two credit lines at Tiffany. So, how come he didn't just volunteer and go to jail today?
MOULITSAS: I think he would do us all a favor if he did do that. It's - it's - to me, it's amazing that you have a politician who - who knows he's involved in this stuff, and goes out and talking complete nonsense to his Republican Party base, knowing that they don't care, that they'll look over anything. If I were him, I would have bragged about it. I would talk about all of the money I made. Because, really, that's what these guys pretend that they really believe in, right? So, brag about it. Don't talk about people going to jail. Say, "Those people who made out like I did? These are the people who should be president."
OLBERMANN: Right, because he's trying to get the support of people who believe - to quote myself, sorry about that - from last night, that this country exists where everything has a price tag on it. That's what they're looking for. Why is - why - he seems to be, for some reason, trying to get away with something that they are willing to let him get away with. Is that the problem of the Republican field, that they will not embrace the turd-ness of their supporters? "No, we're good with that. You want to beat up on some minority group? You want to make money where you shouldn't have? No, we're good with that. That's what we're here for."
MOULITSAS: Maybe they just don't quite understand just how crazy their base is. They just can't believe it. I mean, is that really possible?
OLBERMANN: Underestimating the insanity of the American Republican Party.
MOULITSAS: And Cain's the only one, I think, that really doesn't - which is why he continues to embrace the craziness. And the fact that he is ignorant.
OLBERMANN: "How do you say 'delicious' in Cuban?"
MOULITSAS: Yeah, I wanted to shoot myself in the head after hearing that. That's unbelievable. This guy is running for president and people still think he is credible. That's the amazing part.
OLBERMANN: The end of this - if we assume the beginning of the self-destruction of Newt, after the self-destruction of Perry, after the self-destruction of Bachmann, after the self-destruction of - if Romney were ever actually -
MOULITSAS: And Donald Trump. Don't forget Donald Trump.
OLBERMANN: Oh, God. I tried to. Does this end up back where we started? Is it Romney, eventually, because there'll be nobody else there? Or is somebody gonna jump in? What's gonna happen at this point?
MOULITSAS: You wonder if there will be a merry-go-round, where they start going around in circles and maybe Michele Bachmann gets a second shot at it. Because they really do not want Mitt Romney, because - no matter what happens to everybody else - Romney is still stuck in those high 20s, low 30s. He's not moving anywhere. It's a question of who else is gonna take that mantle. And to me, my worst nightmare - to be honest - is that that not-Romney really never gels, nobody really stands forward, and then Mitt Romney wins the nomination by default.
OLBERMANN: Why is that your worst nightmare, because he's reasonable?
MOULITSAS: He's - he's - if you look at the polling right now, he clearly polls best against Obama. Obama beats him most places that matter, but he polls best. And he's not - he doesn't have the obvious flaws. You can talk about all his flip-flopping and lack of character and all that, but that's not as dramatic as talking about Cains or Bachmanns or Donald Trumps or all of those guys.
OLBERMANN: And speaking - I don't speak Cuban. The founder and publisher of Daily Kos, "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas. A pleasure, again, to see you in the flesh, sir.
MOULITSAS: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: All right, that's it. We're out of time. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.