'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: After McConnell bashes Boehner, GOP caves on Payroll Tax Cut Extension. Was Cantor trying to steal Speakership?
#ShowPlug 2: @AndrewKroll on nuts & bolts; @Markos on fallout of epic self-injury for Boehner and Republicans
#ShowPlug 3: Justice Dept actually gets $ for victims. $335M for minorities soaked by BOA mortgages. Matt @MTaibbi joins me
#ShowPlug 4: Conservative blogger accuses James O'Keefe of sexual harrassment + worse, implying forced drugging. Civil suit may be next
#ShowPlug 5: The Fake GOP Beefcake Calendar, and Rick Perry trying to Pray Away The Stupids. @MikeyMusto joins me
#ShowPlug Last: George 'Macaca' Allen in video trouble again, and FedEx actually makes the Long Toss Delivery case even worse...
watch whole playlist
#5 'Caveman', Andy Kroll
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#5 'Caveman', Markos Moulitsas
#4 'Playing With House Money', Matt Taibbi
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Criminal Intent?', Chris Harris
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#2 Worst Persons: dumb carjacker, George Allen, Matthew Thornton III
#1 'Turning Up The Heat', Michael Musto
printable PDF transcript
On the show: Matt Taibbi, Markos Moulitsas, Chris Harris, Andy Kroll, Michael Musto
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Payroll-tax-cut extension deal looming as the Republicans abandon John Boehner.
(Excerpt from video clip) VAN HOLLEN: Senator McConnell has, in fact, joined with the other Republican senators on calling on the speaker of the House to pass the Senate compromise bill. That's the bottom line.
OLBERMANN: Then Republican congressmen started calling on him. And his remark from early in the day proved ironic beyond words.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOHN BOEHNER: Sometimes, it's hard to do the right thing.
OLBERMANN: As the Republican surrender happens, the next question - did Eric Cantor set up Boehner in hopes of grabbing the speaker's chair from him?
Not just another settlement. Why Bank of America's nine-figure deal with the Justice Department for charging higher mortgage rates and fees to 200,000 blacks and Hispanics might actually mean something.
(Excerpt from video clip) ERIC HOLDER: The settlement provides $335 million in compensation to victims of Countrywide's discrimination.
OLBERMANN: Matt Taibbi joins us.
Serious charges against James O'Keefe. A woman blogger says he demanded she stay at a barn on his parents' property. Implies he may have drugged her. "I found it hard to move and control my muscles."
The GOP 2012, the fun just never stops:
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK PERRY: I prayed right before I walked over here that I wouldn't make any mistakes that my friends in the media would be able to put on television.
OLBERMANN: You mean besides that one? Plus, the most disturbing fake political calendar of all time.
George Allen in video trouble again:
(Excerpt from video clip) GEORGE ALLEN: Oh, God, torturous. Great spontaneity, take three!
OLBERMANN: And the FedEx guy follow-up.
(Excerpt from audio clip) MAN: We have resolved the issue and the customer is satisfied.
OLBERMANN: Satisfied? So? We're not satisfied.
(Excerpt from video clip) THORNTON: Many of you want to know what is happening to the employee.
OLBERMANN: You bet your ass, Bub. We want to know, because this man represents everything that's wrong with this country.
All that and more, now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) BRAD PITT: What's in the box?
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Thursday, December 22nd, 320 days until the 2012 presidential election.
Well, now he finally has a good reason to start crying. In our fifth story on the "Countdown" - Speaker John Boehner caves in. It's a cave big enough to go spelunking in.
The pressure from 160 million Americans whose taxes he was about to raise, that he could withstand. It was the pressure from other Republicans - first Mitch McConnell, then Olympia Snowe, then two freshman GOP congressmen on the record in his own House - that did Boehner in today.
The two-month extension of the payroll-tax cut proceeds. Boehner gets nothing more than a promise that Senate Democrats will negotiate about a year-long extension.
Listen to this whole sound bite. The truth leaks past the bullspit at the end:
(Excerpt from video clip) BOEHNER: Senator Reid and I have reached an agreement on payroll-tax relief on behalf of the American people. You know, sometimes it's hard to do the right thing. And sometimes it's politically difficult to do the right thing. But, you know, when everybody called for a one-year extension of the payroll-tax deduction, when everybody wanted a full year of extended unemployment benefits, we were here fighting for the right things. It may not have been the politically - the smartest thing in the world.
OLBERMANN: As for the Senate's take on the deal, Democratic leader Reid issued the statement, "I am grateful that the voices of reason have prevailed and Speaker Boehner has agreed to pass the Senate's bipartisan compromise. I look forward to appointing members of my caucus to continue negotiations towards a year-long agreement. Two months is not a long time, and I expect the negotiators to work expeditiously to forge year-long extensions of these critical policies."
Similar thoughts tonight from the president. His statement read, "When Congress returns, I urge them to keep working to reach an agreement that will extend this tax cut and unemployment insurance for all of 2012 without drama or delay."
One side note about Speaker Boehner's statement tonight, he also used the opportunity to make a claim debunked many times by many authorities, regarding the Keystone XL pipeline.
(Excerpt from video clip) BOEHNER: As you know, this project would create tens of thousands of jobs in our country.
OLBERMANN: No, it won't. One analysis was the pipeline would create 50 permanent jobs, 5-0.
Back to the deal about the deal. It was initiated this morning by Senate Republican Leader McConnell, Democratic Leader Reid agreed. His counterpart in the House made it clear what side she was on.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, writing in part, "The only thing standing between 160 million Americans and a tax increase is House Republicans refusal to act. House Republicans now stand alone."
Indeed, they did. Karl Rove disagreed, The Wall Street Journal editorial board disagreed and then, this afternoon, some House Republicans decided they no longer liked standing alone and they joined the other side.
Two freshman Republicans breaking ranks.
Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin - formerly of MTV's "The Real World" fame - writing, "I'm calling on GOP leadership to immediately bring up the Senate's two-month extension for an up-or-down vote."
And Congressman Rick Crawford of Arkansas noting in a letter to Boehner, "More often than not, an all-or-nothing attitude produces nothing. An all-or-nothing attitude is not what my constituents need now."
President Obama endorsed the compromise as well.
(Excerpt from video clip) BARACK OBAMA: Democrats agree with the Republican leader of the Senate, we should go ahead and get this done. This should not be hard. We all agree it should happen. I believe it's going to happen sooner or later. Why not make it sooner, rather than later?
OLBERMANN: The president also made it clear who was at fault.
(Excerpt from video clip) OBAMA: This is exactly why people get so frustrated with Washington. This isn't a typical Democrat versus Republican issue. This is an issue where an overwhelming number of people in both parties agree. How can we not get that done?
I mean, has this place become so dysfunctional that - even when people agree to things - we can't do it? It doesn't make any sense.
OLBERMANN: And, if at any point over the last few weeks you thought House Republicans weren't taking the matter seriously enough, there is always Boehner's Number Two to dissuade you.
(Excerpt from video clip) ERIC CANTOR: I saw the president doing his Christmas shopping. I saw he brought his dog with him. We are here. He could bring his dog up here. We are pet-friendly.
OLBERMANN: Speaker Boehner would be his dog right now. The speaker said, tonight, the House will vote tomorrow on the measure.
Joining us from Washington, staff reporter from Mother Jones, Andy Kroll. Andy, thanks for your time tonight.
ANDY KROLL: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: Was there one thing that pushed Boehner over the edge today, that everybody had already seen him going over except him?
KROLL: You know, I think that the two statements that you noted - from Rick Crawford in Arkansas and Sean Duffy - I think between those, between The Wall Street Journal editorial ripping the Republican Party, between Karl Rove ripping the Republican Party on national television - I think it was all of these events, you know? It was too many jabs that Boehner was taking to the face. He could not stand up any longer. He had to strike this deal.
OLBERMANN: Louise Slaughter was on this show, night before last - the congresswoman from upstate New York - and said something extraordinary. She said it didn't get any play anywhere else, that she had seen the original version of the House procedural vote on this that would have - that actually, originally stated whether or not the House would "concur" with the Senate version of the tax-payroll-cut extension, and that they changed it out of fear at the last minute before promulgating the thing, that they changed it to "disagree" or some similar word. But she had actually seen the two different documents.
And they changed it, she thought, because if the thing had come to an up-or-down vote in the House, the Republicans would have voted yes, and this thing would have gone away on Wednesday.
Is that, in retrospect, looking like some very accurate reporting by Congresswoman Slaughter?
KROLL: Yeah, it sure sounds like it. What it looked like was a complete breakdown between the Senate and House for one - between Senate Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, and Boehner and Cantor in the House.
But it also looked like Boehner was sort of going it alone, or Boehner and Cantor were trying to make a political statement - you know, "We are here, we are ready to work, you know, bring Bo the dog to Capitol Hill."
But you have got rank-and-file Republicans who are answering their constituents and they are getting an earful. They don't want - they didn't want this brinksmanship. Boehner kept them quiet for - up until today, but clearly, their feelings were not - their allegiances were not with Boehner, you know, for most of this fight.
And it was really the speaker trying to make a name for himself and, instead, you know, having a complete breakdown.
OLBERMANN: I think he did make a name for himself. It just wasn't the one he was planning on.
Did he get anything in this? I mean, a promise to negotiate a year-long long extension doesn't seem like it was much of a concession.
KROLL: The only thing - the only thing that you could say Boehner and the Republicans might have gotten is that the provision that President Obama and the State Department make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline in 60 days, that is still in this final measure.
Now the president himself has said, you know, "You can't force me on this. I am not going to," you know, "go by the 60-day decision."
And the State Department has said, "That is not enough time for us. If you force us, we are going to turn it down."
KROLL: So, even that you really couldn't call a win for Speaker Boehner.
OLBERMANN: Of course, Republicans think it would be if he turns that down and there are these 500 million jobs that they can claim are not being created.
What do we see about the second round of this, as they go towards extending this past two months? What's going to happen there? Is there any early lay of the land?
KROLL: Yeah, so the Republicans and the Democrats in both chambers are going to nominate what are called conferees - basically representatives. We're going to have another small committee, just like that super committee that failed, except this one is going to be hashing out a - hopefully, a year-long payroll-tax-cut deal.
You know what? It could play into Democrats' hands, though.
If they get into this committee, Republicans start, you know, obstructing a year-long tax cut just like they obstructed a two-month tax cut, you know, Democrats can do this same thing again. This is an opportunity for them to bash the heck out of the Republicans, and I think you should watch - when this little committee gets together after the first of the year - watch for Democrats to make these same kind of arguments once again.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, but would even the Republicans, after this, step on this same rake again? I mean, this has done some real damage to them.
KROLL: I don't want to say what Republicans will and won't do. But, you know, you think that that would be the case. You know, President Obama's approval ratings have gone up, Republicans have sunk just this week, just on this fight. I would be shocked if they did it again, but I won't put anything past them.
OLBERMANN: It's Christmas.
Andy Kroll, staff reporter for Mother Jones. As always, thanks for your time, Andy.
KROLL: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Let's shift through the debris of the battlefield with the founder and publisher of Daily Kos, "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas. Good evening, sir.
MARKOS MOULITSAS: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Well, Crawford and Duffy cutting Boehner's legs out from under him - as Andy Kroll just said - that was probably was the final straw. When was the last time that two freshmen Congressmen publicly, on the record, defied a speaker in either party and he kept being the speaker long-term?
MOULITSAS: The guy, yeah, he has had a hard time dealing with this. And I remember, two years ago, saying, "I don't know how Boehner is going to survive, given the fact that he has the institutional Republicans on one hand and this entire new crop of crazy, right-wing, out-of-control freshman he has to deal with." And I think this is a perfect example of that.
So, it's going to be rough for him. He has a rough couple of weeks ahead of him. That's for sure.
OLBERMANN: I posed this question at the very start of the news hour. Let me put it to you now so we get an answer, not just a question - is there any reason to suspect, or any evidence that, Eric Cantor set Boehner up in this, in hopes of creating a change in the speaker's chair that would probably fall to him?
MOULITSAS: I don't have any indication that that's the case.
I know, when you look at the fault lines, it was very much establishment versus anti-establishment. Establishment Republicans were very much in favor of this. They saw the politics of it, saw that they were on the wrong side of it. I mean, when was the last time Republicans were on the wrong side of a tax debate?
I mean, the Democrats are too incompetent to make this stuff work most of the time, and here Republicans one-upping that incompetence and giving the issue to the Democrats.
So, you had these freshmen - even grassroots tea party crowd who - that didn't want this to happen, for whatever reason. And it should never have come this far, because it was inevitable that Boehner cave. Instead, he drug it out, he stood his ground and then he basically conceded in about as public and high-profile a way as possible.
OLBERMANN: And to that one point - were the Republicans just so lulled into sleep by the recent tradition of Democrats folding at crunch time that they didn't see how unwinnable this one would be?
MOULITSAS: Maybe that's the brilliant strategy on the Democratic side.
OLBERMANN: Lull them to sleep for two years.
MOULITSAS: You cave time and time again because, eventually, on Christmas Eve, you are going to get them. And if that was the plan, then kudos to them.
I think, finally, Democrats realized they had the winning hand and - not that they haven't had the winning hand before - but this time, it was a really good hand. And they weren't going to fold on it.
OLBERMANN: And they actually bet more than a penny. Any sense of what Boehner thought the win would be? Because, looking at this in retrospect, it was a calamity from the beginning for him.
MOULITSAS: Yeah, I am not quite sure where that's coming - I mean, all indications were that he had agreed to this agreement last weekend. I mean, nobody thought this was going to be this long, drawn-out drama over this week.
It was clear he had his caucus meeting - what was it, Sunday night or Monday - he had his caucus meeting and he comes out suddenly opposed and McConnell is shocked. Obama was shocked. They all thought they had a deal. They thought was done and they could wrap up, go home for the holidays.
And the fact is - that something in that caucus meeting scared Boehner enough that he decided to fight this and, of course, reality has now scared him into caving. So, the fact that that caucus - that tension in the caucus, that fight in the caucus - has to still be there. It's not going away.
MOULITSAS: So, even though two freshmen bolted on this, the fact is that it was probably those freshman, the bulk of those freshman, that forced him to cave on the agreement to begin with and create this unnecessary drama.
OLBERMANN: I know we have said this before, in terms of the dynamics of both parties - but is there any reason to think this changes either the Republicans' somewhat-founded sense that they were infallible in brinksmanship and the Democrats' willingness to, you know, cave with a winning hand? Do we see any suggestion that either side will temper their previous ways, going forward?
MOULITSAS: I would hope so. I mean, it was clear that Senate Republicans were much smarter about this. They knew from the beginning the politics were bad. They didn't cave. They just agreed to a deal to get it off of the table and move on to the next fight.
And Democrats - Republicans in the House could have done the same thing. They could have agreed to this two-month extension and then fight this battle - if they think it's that politically advantageous - fight this battle in February and March when people are starting to really pay attention in the run-up to the election.
Now is not a good time, given the fact that the Senate had already bailed. They didn't have back up.
So, it's clear that Boehner's tactical smarts have to be in question now. I would - if I were part of his caucus, I would not trust Boehner any more. And that is going to make the House Republicans much more - I think, much more of a wild card moving forward, because we have a speaker that no longer feels he can win these battles because Democrats will inevitably cave. And you have a Democratic caucus that realizes that, "Hey! Maybe winning a battle kinda feels good. Let's try to do some more of this."
OLBERMANN: Being hit in the head time and time again feels good when it stops.
MOULITSAS: It's fun to win.
OLBERMANN: Exactly. The founder and publisher of Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas. Great, thanks, my friend.
MOULITSAS: Have a great Christmas holidays, and New Year's.
OLBERMANN: And to you too, sir.
For once, the Justice Department has gotten money from a crooked mortgage company that will go to the people the mortgage company ripped off. Matt Taibbi on the 335 million dollars that may mean more symbolically even than it does practically.
That's next. This is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Bank of America agrees to 335 million dollars in restitution to blacks and Hispanics. Matt Taibbi on the 200,000 Americans whom they ripped off for mortgages between 2004 and 2008.
Little Jimmy O'Keefe gets a break in criminal court. But the judge recommends the woman plaintiff should file a civil suit for what could be unlawful detention and even forced drugging.
Yes, that's Rick Perry's head on some beefcake model's body. And Vanity Fair has assembled an entire calendar full of such horrifying images.
And the worst FedEx guy ever is off the hook. The company issues a nightmarishly bad YouTube apology. Saying the matter has been resolved and he's not working with customers any more.
That's it? The hell it is!
OLBERMANN: The Justice Department has, for the first time, settled with a corrupt mortgage mill and taken the money - not as fines - but as restitution for the actual victims.
In our fourth story on the "Countdown" - the attorney general announcing a $335 million settlement with Bank of America for racial and ethnic bias. According to Eric Holder, the bank's Countrywide Financial unit overcharged black and Hispanic borrowers before Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008.
(Excerpt from video clip) ERIC HOLDER: This settlement will compensate the more than 200,000 African American and Hispanic borrowers who were victims of discriminatory conduct, including more than 10,000 African American or Hispanic borrowers who - despite the fact that they were qualified for prime loans - were steered into sub-prime loans.
Now, sub-prime borrowers often are subjected to penalties and higher interest rates, and have a greater likelihood of default and foreclosure than those who have prime loans.
OLBERMANN: A Washington Post report called Bank of America's purchase of Countrywide an albatross, triggering billions of dollars in lawsuits, legal battles and settlements.
The bank's chief executive said in a conference call earlier this year, "There aren't many days that I get up and think positively about Countrywide transactions."
Next to Holder stood Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who had aggressively pursued Countrywide. She later spoke to PBS:
(Excerpt from video clip) LISA MADIGAN: The compensation structure was such that you would make more money if you put more people into a poor-quality, higher-priced loan. Was that, if you were African American or Latino, you were three times as likely to be put into a sub-prime loan than if you were a similarly-credit-situated white borrower. The wheels of justice sometimes spin slowly but, luckily, they still spin.
The fraudulent, sub-prime loans that Countrywide issued and others issued, they're really at the heart of the collapse of our economy.
OLBERMANN: Let's turn to Rolling Stone contributing editor, "Countdown" contributor Matt Taibbi. Matt, good evening.
MATT TAIBBI: Good evening.
OLBERMANN: That dollar figure - is that more important as a practical thing or is the fact that it's restitution, rather than just another settlement?
TAIBBI: Well, it's symbolically important, definitely, that the actual victims of the financial crisis in this instance were actually going to get some money. But in general - this is good news, but it's - it's not a world-shaking event, because the individuals responsible are still not going to jail. No individuals are paying fines.
It's a good headline. It's a nice start, but until we see all of the other practitioners of these - of this fraud getting punished, I don't know how significant it is.
OLBERMANN: As a good start, is there some suggestion it might be a turning point for the government, no longer this process from those directly regulating the banking and mortgage industries of just accepting, as we described them once, "legal bribes" in exchange to get the prosecutions canceled against these mortgage pushers?
TAIBBI: Well, I don't know how much of a turning point it can be. It's 200,000 victims for a single company, which tells you there were probably a million or more victims out there from other mortgage companies, and, you know, we don't know - is the government going to go after any of that activity at all?
What this is is a highly symbolic act against the very biggest practitioner, which is a now-defunct company. Whether they will go after active companies is another matter entirely.
OLBERMANN: Two hundred thousand cases in which Hispanic or African American would-be homeowners were targeted. How prevalent was the ethnic, racial element to predatory lending?
TAIBBI: It was huge. I interviewed some black and minority homeowners who were put into sub-prime loans and they thought they had regular, fixed-income mortgages.
You know, people - this was an industry-wide practice where, because the - of the incentives built into the system, the brokers were encouraged to put people into more-dangerous and more-risky loans, even if they qualified for safe ones. And as a result, all across the country, people were put into these very, very risky sub-prime loans.
Also, the banks themselves made more money when they re-sold these securities on the open market to investors and pension funds and insurance companies, so they had the incentive to create these risky sub-prime loans, too. So, all of the incentives were wrong and that's why all of these people were put into these bad loans.
OLBERMANN: What is the government, Matt, have in place now to prevent what BofA just had to pay $335 million for their subsidiary doing?
TAIBBI: Well, this has always been illegal. I mean, you can't - you can't discriminate against somebody, you can't knowingly put somebody in a bad loan when they qualify for a better one, you can't hide the derogatory aspects of a loan that - that you are selling to a person. And that's always been against the law.
That we have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that, ostensibly, is there to protect people from this sort of activity. But, the reality is, there's so many people out there who are getting mortgages and so many brokers out there, there is no way we can actually prevent this stuff from happening. We just have to rely on these companies to behave better and, you know, we just don't know how reliable they are.
OLBERMANN: Once again, we don't.
Rolling Stone contributing editor and "Countdown" contributor, Matt Taibbi. Thank you, Matt.
TAIBBI: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: There is not enough evidence for a criminal complaint. But a woman conservative blogger told a harrowing tale in a New Jersey courtroom about the danger she felt from video doctor James O'Keefe. Details ahead, on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: A New Jersey courtroom heard accusations that a man tried to force a woman to stay overnight with him after possibly drugging her. The man is conservative provocateur James O'Keefe. That's next.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date, over several years, were born four people without whom much of American television would not be possible: Diane Sawyer, the actor Hector Elizondo, "Match Game" host Gene Rayburn, and actress Barbara Billingsley, whose fame from "Leave It To Beaver" would eventually be succeeded by her impeccable cameo in the movie "Airplane" and the line "Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don't want no help, chump don't get no help!"
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: Santa charity run through the streets of Paris.
We begin - as we always do - with more than a thousand Santas running through the streets of Paris.
Trying to get in shape before the big night, they are competing in the annual Santa charity run. Not only did the Santas burn off those cookie calories from last year, they also raised more than $5,000 for charity.
And they made it to the finish line without Rudolph's nose to guide them.
VIDEO: The annual Santa Skiing and Riding Day in Windham, NY.
To Windham, New York. Santas don't only run, they ski. How else do you think Santa gets to all those houses in - well, Windham, New York?
It's the annual Skiing and Riding Santa Day, where over 200 Santas ride the lift to mid-mountain and begin their merry run down the slopes. Dashing through the - oh, a snowboard? Seriously?
The Santas raised more than $2,000 for a local charity, and then went back to the ski lodge to change into their New Year's Baby outfits for that publicity photo-op stunt for the Albany-area ski resorts.
VIDEO: The world's largest ball of mistletoe attracts kissing couples in New York City.
Finally, completing our very special Christmas edition of "Time Marches On," a giant ball of mistletoe right here in New York City.
Look out below! Merry Christmas, I got you some mono.
All of the kissing is for a good cause, with one dollar going to charity for each kiss.
Unfortunately, one couple was kissing for too long, Mayor Bloomberg claimed they were Occupy Wall Street fornicators and he sent in the cops and they paved the whole thing over. None were injured.
"Time Marches On!"
Remember George Allen's "macaca" moment? More trouble for him with the video and the Internet.
And the man of the infamous video-doctoring - James O'Keefe - in court, facing serious accusations today by a woman. A messy civil suit may be looming. Next.
OLBERMANN: "The Rumpus Room with Johnny Olson" will not be seen tonight on Dumont, so we can instead bring you "Countdown," the longest continuously-running 8PM news hour on cable. Unless you consider Fox - "news." We're live each night at 8 Eastern. Every night is a "Best Of 'Countdown'" night.
James O'Keefe - activist, pseudo-journalist, and convicted felon infamous for his ambush-style, selectively-edited interviews - faces a possible civil sexual-harassment suit.
In our third story on the "Countdown" - O'Keefe appeared in court Wednesday, where a criminal judge recommended that the plaintiff in this case - conservative blogger Nadia Naffe - proceed with a civil claim against O'Keefe.
Naffe recounted the series of bizarre events that began October 2nd, after O'Keefe picked her up at the train station and she arrived at the home of O'Keefe's parents in New Jersey.
After refusing to be involved with O'Keefe's upcoming hidden-camera sting about Occupy Wall Street called - or part of his "To Catch A Journalist" series, Naffe asked to be brought to the nearest train station. O'Keefe refused, instead urging her to stay overnight in a barn on his parent's property. That's when she threatened to call the police.
She recounted in testimony that, at one point during the night, "I found it hard to move and control my muscles," saying, "It was his intent to persuade me to spend the night in the barn."
Finally relenting to her requests, O'Keefe and a friend piled her into the car, where she passed out, before eventually arriving at Pennsylvania Station to board a train to Boston. Naffe says she later discovered that a wireless mouse and underpants had been stolen from her luggage.
Naffe turned down an offer of money from O'Keefe, she says, several days later.
Which is when, she says, he began a consistently brutal campaign of emotional harassment. For weeks, she says she received intimidating phone calls and messages from O'Keefe before he rolled out a crusade to tarnish her character, posting a video about her on his site, Project Veritas, calling her "filthy" and "dirty."
"He made me out to be a tramp," she testified. "He used other people to torment me."
For more on this let's turn to Chris Harris, reporter for The Record of Bergen County, with insight of what he saw in the courtroom with James O'Keefe. Thanks for your time tonight, sir.
CHRIS HARRIS: No problem, Keith.
OLBERMANN: During the testimony from Ms. Naffe, she said, "I found it hard to control my muscles, it was his intent to persuade me to spend the night in the barn."
Was your inference, as she was recounted her version of the night, that she was suggesting her consciousness had somehow been altered by O'Keefe or by somebody else?
HARRIS: That was certainly the impression that I think a lot of people were left with. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it seemed, sort of, the obvious conclusion, maybe. But she didn't come straight out and say that.
HARRIS: She just sort of, you know, beat around the bush.
OLBERMANN: He's on - O'Keefe that is - federal parole after he was charged with felony for attempting to maliciously interfere with Senator Landrieu's office telephone system in New Orleans. Did he seem, especially in that context, fazed at all by what was going on in the courtroom?
HARRIS: No, no, no. It just seemed like, you know, he was just literally looking like he was waiting for a bus. He could have been at the DMV. Literally, he was cool as a cucumber, just sitting there with his iPhone, you know, sitting through hours of adjournments and family-court-type cases. And then his case came up and that's when everyone, sort of, realized why there reporters - well, why I was there.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, did - did the judge explain why he didn't get the criminal-case proceeding because regardless of, I suppose, regardless of the actual facts in this, the allegations certainly were not milquetoast. They certainly were not offered up in genteel terms. Why is there no criminal case?
HARRIS: I think it's a jurisdictional thing. Ultimately, there was not enough evidence to show that O'Keefe actually made - the harassment stems from Westwood, the borough where he lives with his parents and where this criminal court hearing went down. But yeah, ultimately, he couldn't prove all that stemmed or originated in his jurisdiction. So therefore, he couldn't, you know, the charges wouldn't stick in his court.
OLBERMANN: One line that really jumped out of your story for me about the judge. The judge, to quote your article, "could not find evidence showing the harassment originated in Westwood," as you just said and dismissed Naffe's complaint, adding that she could still pursue a civil claim against O'Keefe. The judge made a point of telling her she could sue him in civil court?
HARRIS: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think he was giving her - telling her what all of her options were as far as where she could go. I mean, he said, you know, basically, it was dead. The criminal procedure - proceeding was dead, but otherwise, you know, it could continue on, as a civil matter, yeah.
OLBERMANN: I would imagine you have spent more time in courtrooms, particularly that kind, than I have. Is that kind of instruction to or advice - it wasn't instruction, it was advice - to a plaintiff in a case that he was dismissing, is that a little unusual? Could it constitute a hint?
HARRIS: I guess it depends upon the judge, ultimately. I have been in courtrooms - all over the country, actually - and it really, ultimately, comes down to the judge and his or her courtroom and what they want to do.
OLBERMANN: Was there any reaction from this blogger, Nadia Naffe, on the way out of it?
HARRIS: Other than she didn't want to talk to a reporter, no. As she stormed off into the police department, which is actually in the same building - it's a small town - and she sort of, you know, eyed at her lawyer, "Come here," because I was trying to talk to him. But she wouldn't talk.
O'Keefe wouldn't talk to reporters, which was kind of disappointing, but yeah. It was quite a hearing.
OLBERMANN: I was going to say - you must see a lot of mundane things and a lot of strange things, but never quite strange in this way.
HARRIS: Yeah. No. No, this was definitely - it was kind of bizarre because no one, you know, people kept asking me, "Why are you here?" Even some of the lawyers were asking me, "Why are you here? Why are you here?"
They didn't understand who this guy was or - you know, so they probably walked next to him in the grocery store and don't even know who James O'Keefe is.
OLBERMANN: Not to draw any undue comparisons, but I believe it was the same thing they said to Woodward and Bernstein.
Chris Harris of Northjersey.com, the website of the Record of Bergen and the affiliated papers of Jersey. Great thanks for your time, Chris.
HARRIS: Thank you very much, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Somehow, FedEx makes it worse. The apology that will make you feel like the goods haven't been delivered. "Worst Persons," coming up.
OLBERMANN: Romney and Gingrich argue over kitchens. They should be getting together to fight the Vanity Fair Republican Candidates' Beefcake Calendar.
And how could you make that video of the FedEx guy throwing the computer monitor over the fence worse? Wait'll you hear the FedEx vice president's YouTube apology. "Worst Persons," next on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Donald Trump explains he'd take a lot of votes away from President Obama because he gets along well with African Americans so well.
And Vanity Fair creates the most disturbing, fake, political beefcake calendar of all time.
But first, because these folk are all-too-real, here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze? To the unnamed, failed carjacker in Golden, Colorado - that's the police artist's sketch. He's not a very faint-looking guy.
He approached a woman leaving a gas station there Tuesday night, demanding her purse and the keys to her car. He jumped into the 2004 Audi sedan, gunned the engine and nothing happened.
The 2004 Audi sedan was a stick and he didn't know how to drive a stick.
Our runner-up? George Allen, the former senator from Virginia, now trying to get the seat back. You may recall that Mr. Allen was undone by his lack of understanding of the process by which videotape gets on to the Internet.
(Excerpt from video clip) GEORGE ALLEN: This fellow over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca or whatever his name is, he's with my opponent, he's following us around everywhere.
OLBERMANN: That was August 2006, and Allen spent the rest of the campaign claiming he didn't know that macaca was a racial epithet. It's five years later, and George Allen still doesn't know about the Internet and video. This is from a live web chat yesterday.
(Excerpt from video clip) ALLEN: Thank you all and have a good evening and a wonderful Christmas holiday season.
OLBERMANN: So initially, Mr. Allen understands that, just in case - play the video - that just in case you're still on, you need to be quiet. For 20 seconds, usually a safe length of time - he says nothing. Of course, his staff does nothing. Nobody pushes the "end" button, or turns the mike off, or anything. So, what follows isn't quite Macaca Two, but it'll do:
(Excerpt from video clip) ALLEN: All right, did that one take or not?
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: It took. They were having server problems -
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: The live stream was -
(Excerpt from video clip) ALLEN: Reindeers in the server? Elves? Oh, God. Torturous. Certain great spontaneity, take three!
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: It's very nerve-wracking.
(Excerpt from video clip) ALLEN: How do you reckon it was for me? Let's do this tomorrow!
OLBERMANN: All live on the Internet. George should make his staff carry a tarpaulin they can throw over him when they don't want him accidentally caught on camera.
That, of course, the bad news for George Allen. The good news was that the online carrier has, of course, a record of the number of participants in the Allen web chat, and it turns out the maximum reached was 35.
But our winner? Matthew Thornton the Third, senior vice president for U.S. operations at FedEx.
You have, by now, seen this - the FedEx delivery heard 'round the world. The guy who dumped the computer monitor over the fence, when he never bothered to check if the recipient was home, which he was.
This is Southern California. Based on the tree roots, I am thinking this is Beverly Hills, maybe the Valley. No, the grass is too green. It's been watered recently. That's Beverly Hills.
Anyway, today, this Mr. Thornton the Third posted one of the more hilarious corporate double-speak non-apology apologies in the history of mankind. Here are edited highlights:
(Excerpt from video clip) THORTON: On behalf of all of us at FedEx, please accept my apology. I am upset and embarrassed for our customer's poor experience.
OLBERMANN: Let me just interrupt here to mention that this is not a Kenan Thompson "Saturday Night Live" sketch. Please go on, Mr. Thornton.
(Excerpt from video clip) THORTON: This goes directly against all FedEx values. It's just not who we are. We were determined to make this right. And I am very pleased that we were able to meet with our customer, who has accepted our apology. We have resolved the issue and the customer is satisfied.
OLBERMANN: Bolshoi! The customer may be satisfied but the rest of us are not. We want details. We want to know who this guy is. We want to know how you fired him, and what his name is, so none of us hires him by accident.
(Excerpt from video clip) THORTON: Many of you want to know what is happening to the employee. We take this matter very seriously. While we consider employee information private, I can assure you we are working within our disciplinary policy and the employee is not working with customers.
OLBERMANN: Look, Bub, this isn't resolved. Disciplined? We don't want him disciplined. We want him on live television, all channels at once, begging us to forgive him because he's everything that's wrong with America today - lack of personal responsibility and laziness and stupidity and guys wearing shorts and corporations so dumbing down their employees that the employees have deteriorated from no "longer personally invested in their job," to "not giving a rat's ass about their own performance," and the arrogance of anybody in a uniform, even a FedEx uniform, and doing things so stupid, in public, that they provide excuses for putting security cameras everywhere!
This guy is the Ugly American. And we want his name and address. And we want the right to have one of us - selected in a lottery, a dollar a chance, for charity - we want one of us the right to have - go up to him and rip his FedEx logo off his hoodie and break his glasses by throwing them over a gate! We want this guy court-martialed out of FedEx.
Those are our demands, Mr. Thornton the Third.
Matthew Thornton the Third, Senior Vice President for US Operations at FedEx - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: When people ask me what I want for Christmas, I reply, "Nothing. The Republicans have already given me enough."
Our number-one story in the "Countdown" - the only thing that could top Rick Perry trying to pray away the stupid, or the return of Mark Foley, would be if there was a beefcake calendar featuring Republicans.
What? There is one? With these Republican would-be nominees, every day is Christmas.
Of all the GOP presidential candidates, Rick Perry remains the gift that keeps on giving. His disastrous debate performances and seemingly unstable speeches made him the star of the primaries. But being the thinker he is, Mr. Perry has come up with a solution to his gaffe problem.
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK PERRY: I prayed right before I walked over here that I wouldn't make any mistakes that my friends in the media would be able to put on television.
OLBERMANN: Uh, I don't think it worked. As many mistakes as Perry makes, at least he never had to resign in shame, like Mark Foley. Not yet, anyway.
Mr. Foley decided that it would be fun to suggest what he would give as a gift to the GOP presidential candidates. And no, I don't believe he sent it via instant messages to any pages: "That, in the spirit of the holidays, Romney accidentally drinks spiked egg nog and admits it. That, in his new role as a Catholic, Newt Gingrich abstains from lecturing the baby Jesus that Bethlehem was an invented location. That someone tells Bachmann that Hanukkah isn't special bread you make French toast with."
Speaking of embarrassing Republicans, Donald Trump decided to open his mouth again. Surprisingly, he thinks he would make a great third-party candidate - or perhaps fourth, now, with the old governor running - because, as he said before, he has a great relationship with the black people.
(Excerpt from video clip) DONALD TRUMP: I think I'd do great with the African American vote. I just have a great relationship with African Americans and African American voters.
OLBERMANN: Thankfully, Mr. Trump was not included in a Republican beefcake calendar created by Vanity Fair. But some of the people who were - wait, what is this missing? This doesn't seem right. (MUSIC BY BARRY WHITE BEGINS TO PLAY IN THE STUDIO) Okay, better - the calendar features at least the heads of current front-runner Newt Gingrich, Eric Cantor - apparently accomplished painter Eric Cantor - John of Orange before today's compromise, although that's something of a compromise right there. Oh no - Rick Perry.
And, of course, no beefcake calendar would be complete without a shirtless governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie.
Who else could we bring in to talk about this right now than the one and only Michael Musto, author of "Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back." Michael, thanks for your time tonight.
MICHAEL MUSTO: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: I think the music is still playing. Either that or I'm having another one of my episodes.
MUSTO: It's making me hot. Is it Barry White?
OLBERMANN: Yes, it is Barry White. Good - you win.
MUSTO: Oh, baby, hubba-hubba.
OLBERMANN: So, we have Cantor painting, Romney is slipping a girl some money in another one of the pages. Ron Paul is lying down in a forest. And there is Chris Christie. Do you have a photo that, say, stands out in your mind above the rest?
MUSTO: I think the one of John Boehner. Is that how you pronounce it? Because he is looking down at his own lack of a "Boehner."
Also, the one of Rick Santorum, to me, is mildly reminiscent of the denizens of a soignee New York club that was called "The Mine Shaft."
OLBERMANN: Oh, no.
MUSTO: Also, the one of Herman Cain I like, because it was obviously taken by one of the 35 women he didn't harass. And I like the piece of pizza there, with the olives. He obviously already gave them the pepperoni.
OLBERMANN: There's Gingrich again. Twelve months to go - or 12 months in a year - there is only the limited number of pictures they can include. Are we missing somebody, or is there some Republican politician they omitted that should be the feature for next year?
MUSTO: I think Michele Bachmann.
MUSTO: But, you know, if you look at the picture of Rick Perry that actually is Michele Bachmann.
MUSTO: But, if you notice, they kept his crotch area, because it only takes one finger to cover it up.
MUSTO: Look at it.
OLBERMANN: All right, well -
MUSTO: All right, don't.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, okay.
MUSTO: Not without a vomit bag.
OLBERMANN: The one non-active politician in here and - non-office seeker or holder - is - is Grover Norquist. Did the Vanity Fair people not - there is the Norquist shot - did they not branch out enough? Because - if you are going to go for non-elected officers and just Republicans and conservatives - you could put all of the people in Fox News on here? Couldn't you?
MUSTO: I don't think they had the prop budget for all that loofah, and besides, all the Fox News hosts have already done nude spreads somewhere in their cell phones.
I would like to see, actually, the Christian broadcasting hosts get down on their knees, naked, and look like they enjoy it for a change. Or how about a calendar of, like, polar bears from the Animal Planet instead of all these closet-y bears - look at them. Bipolar, closet-y bears.
OLBERMANN: Bipolar, very nice.
MUSTO: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: You have, actually, some experience with these kinds of photo shoots because - I don't know, is this publicly known, that you modeled as Lindsay Lohan modeling as Marilyn Monroe?
MUSTO: I hope so, because it was on the cover of the Village Voice.
OLBERMANN: All right, but I'm just - what's going through the - Lord. Okay, I think we should call the year at an end now. What's going through - what is going through the -
MUSTO: It's the end of civilization.
OLBERMANN: Yes, it's the end of - just call off eternity.
MUSTO: That one's hot, though.
OLBERMANN: Yes, here's the music again.
MUSTO: I am getting mildly aroused by myself. I am getting a "Boehner."
OLBERMANN: Yes, here's the music. When you - when you are being photographed in that - that level of attire, what is going through your mind, if anything?
MUSTO: Not much, but I actually was thinking, "Did Hedda Hopper have to do this to stay relevant?" And I looked it up. And she did. She did a spread as Lindsay Lohan as Marilyn.
OLBERMANN: Hedda Hopper?
MUSTO: She even took the hat off. But Keith, after awhile, it becomes addictive. And I started thinking of more things to take off. And for months after, I was chasing photographers - "Do you want to see me as Lindsay Lohan as Marilyn? Hello, hello?" It's fun.
OLBERMANN: One other topic here, about Perry saying that - praying that he doesn't make another gaffe. That doesn't work. Do we have an alternative suggestion for him, besides "pray away the gaffe?"
MUSTO: How about, maybe, researching, rehearsing and trying to be good, like the old-fashioned thing? I am praying away Rick Perry, I'm praying away the gay haters. Actually, if he exists, he disproves the existence of God. So, how can there be a God if there is a Rick Perry?
OLBERMANN: Mark Foley is back. We heard those gift ideas for the GOP presidential candidates. Turn the tables. Take a few seconds. What would you like to give the former, troubled Congressman on this holiday?
MUSTO: As I recall, he has a fondness for pages. So, maybe the book that Newt Gingrich is reading in his naked shot? I am sure it's a "marital manual."
I don't know, I'm sure Mark would probably like a gift certificate to Walgreen's for some jelly beans and a romance novel. I think what he actually deserves is a job at the Friars Club because - I hate to say this but, much like my own jokes, his jokes are rather repugnant but they're kind of funny. He is hilarious.
OLBERMANN: The one and only Michael Musto of La Dolce Musto, here appearing as Hedda Hopper. Merry Christmas, Hedda.
MUSTO: Barry White, do I hear you? Take me home.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for this - See you, Mike - the 348th day since John Boehner and the Republicans took the House, 348 days in which the Republicans haven't passed a jobs bill of any kind. I'm Keith Olbermann.
This is our last new show of the year. We'll be bringing you "Best Of 'Countdown'" each night from tomorrow through Monday, January 2nd, and then back - live, live, live - on Tuesday, January 3rd.
Congratulations on getting through another year of this crap. Good night and good luck.