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Friday, November 18, 2011

Keith Olbermann on Occupy Seattle: Octogenarian activist Dorli Rainey on being pepper-sprayed by Seattle police, importance of activism

Occupy Seattle: Octogenarian activist Dorli Rainey on being pepper-sprayed by Seattle police, importance of activism

Eighty-four-year-old activist Dorli Rainey tells Keith about her experience getting pepper-sprayed by the police during an Occupy Seattle demonstration and the need to take action and spread the word of the Occupy movement. She cites the advice of the late Catholic nun and activist Jackie Hudson to “take one more step out of your comfort zone” as an inspiration, saying, “It would be so easy to say, ‘Well I’m going to retire, I’m going to sit around, watch television or eat bonbons,’ but somebody’s got to keep ’em awake and let ’em know what is really going on in this world.”

KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will be 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.”SHOW TRANSCRIPT

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