Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lawrence O'Donnell Blasts GOP Torture Monger

Let’s give him a big ‘thank you’.

US torture Political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell is known for his strong opinions and occasional passionate outbursts. In 2004, he repeatedly shouted down [wing-nut delinked] Swift Boat Veterans spokesman John O'Neill with cries of "liar," leading conservative blogger Michelle Malkin to describe him as "unhinged."

Now O'Donnell has repeated the performance by confronting Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush, staunch defender of "enhanced interrogation," and author of Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack.

During an appearance Friday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Thiessen began by telling host Joe Scarborough, "Barack Obama has eliminated the CIA's interrogation program, which is the single most successful and important intelligence program in the war on terror and possibly in the history of the CIA. ... You've got to think back to the period after 9/11. We didn't even know who hit us. ... This program is why we did not have another 9/11."

O'Donnell wasn't buying it, however. He told Thiessen, "You actually published a book that says that the president of the United States ... 'is inviting the next attack.' Isn't it true that the president you worked for invited the first attack by having no idea what was going on with al Qaeda?"

By this point, Scarborough had already begun attempting to cut O'Donnell off, repeatedly saying, "Lawrence, that's ridiculous," but O'Donnell continued inexorably.

"You just admitted that when you were hit on 9/11, you just said, 'We didn't know who hit us,'" O'Donnell stated. "You were told who was going to hit you before we were hit on 9/11, and your administration invited the first attack -- for which you should live in shame!"

As Thiessen attempted to respond by counting up the number of terrorist incidents under the Clinton administration and O'Donnell continued to talk over him, Scarborough finally jumped in to say, "We're going to break, right now ... and I'm going to be interviewing Marc by myself."

When the show resumed, Scarborough could be heard saying to Mika Brzezinski, "...if you don't balance the meds just right, crazy Lawrence..."

This time Thiessen was allowed to make his argument that we were "caught blind" by the Christmas bomber because we no longer have the ability to torture terrorists. "The Obama administration has thrown that out and gone back to the pre-9/11 approach," he concluded.

Given just 30 seconds to respond, O'Donnell asked Thiessen, "I'm wondering about your own personal experience with torture. I know you grew up in the richest zip code in America, on the Upper East Side. You went to the only boarding school in Connecticut that I know of that has a golf course ... and, of course, like all the torture-mongers in the White House, the Cheney family included, you never served a day in the military. ... With that background, what is it that gives you an expertise in torture? What makes you love it so much?"

"I actually met with the actual interrogators," Thiessen replied. "That's my expertise."...

Inserted from <Raw Story>

Thiessen lied when he said we didn’t know who hit us.  When Thiessen tried to list Clinton’s shortcomings when confronted with the Bush/GOP failure responsible for the catastrophe, Thiessen was using deferment.  This is a criminal thinking error I teach prisoners and former prisoners to avoid.  Rather that face up to it, Thiessen deferred by changing the subject.  Of course the ‘interrogators’, actually torturers, believe what they did was worthwhile.  Without that belief, how could they sleep at night?  Thiessen thus based his so-called expertise on the least reliable possible source.

Scarborough should be ashamed for trying to allow Thiessen to parrot his GOP lies unopposed, and his ‘balance the meds’ comment was despicable.  I will be calling MSNBC later today to complain.  If you care to join me, their number is (212) 664-4444.

Keith Olbermann also debunked Thiessen’s bogus claims, and discussed the incident with Lawrence O’Donnell.


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Obama killing too many terrorists?  Whatever he’s drinking, it must be mighty strong!

Why is the GOP so intense in their support for torture?  Here’s why:

republicanreich A New York Times / CBS poll confirms the findings from other polls that I reported here yesterday:  The public approves of Barack Obama’s handling of “the threat of terrorism” far more than it approves his performance on any other issue.

But the new poll asked a couple of question that the earlier polls I linked to did not, and the results are kind of startling.

“How likely do you think it is that there will be another terrorist attack in the United States in the next few months?” — not next few years, next few months.  58% say very or somewhat likely.

“What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?” 1% say “terrorism.” One percent!

If my math is right, 57% of the respondents — presumably a representative cross-section of the American people — expect a terrorist attack here in the next few months but do not think it’s the most important problem we have to deal with. I suppose they expect to happen somewhere else, not where they live.

Yet, as I noted yesterday, Obama’s political standing depends rests heavily on public approval of the way he’s handling terrorism. If he didn’t have high marks in that department, he might very well be even lower than the 46% overall approval that this Times / CBS poll gives him… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <AlterNet>

Since Karl Rove took over GOP strategy, attacking strength and falsely portraying it as weakness has been their standard ploy, and it’s been quite effective. For example, John Kerry was a war hero running against GW ChickenHawk, who used GHWB’s influence to get into the Air Guard, opted out of foreign deployment, and even ducked out of that commitment.  Rove attacked Kerry’s strength with the Swift Boat lies, and they worked well enough for Diebold creativity in Ohio to enable Bush’s second theft of the White House.  What the GOP is doing now in their quest for totalitarian power is no different.  The good news is that Lawrence O’Donnell heroically refused to let Thiessen propagate their lies unchallenged.


Jack Jodell said...

Ya gotta love that fightin' Irishman O'Donnell for calling out deluded paranoid liars like Thiessen right to his face! I saw the exchange, and I applaud O'Donnell for a job well done.

O'Donnell may be passionate, but he arrives at his positions via facts, logic, and reason. He is also very conscientious. The same cannot be said for idiots like Malkin and Thiessen. I would trust O'Donnell with my life. The other two I wouldn't trust to get me a can of soda properly.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Once again O'Donnell and Obermann ("The Fightin' O's") have exposed the hypocrisy, lies, and incompetence that saturated the previous administration. And it is sad to see a once admirable (though I didn't often agree with them) half of our venerable two party system be taken over by a lunatic fringe where extremism has become their norm.

A sidebar....did anybody catch Lawrence O'Donnell, budding thespian, in an episode of BIG LOVE a few weeks ago? He was in the scene in DC as a Republican operative giving advice to Bill Hendricksen (Bill Paxton) on his run for the state senate in Utah.

Maybe Lawrence, an adviser for THE WEST WING, is going the way of James Carville, Ben Stein, and Fred Thompson.

Jerry Critter said...

I love the way O'Donnell takes them on. We need to hear more from him.

Lisa G. said...

O'Donnell did a great job of dispatching Theissen. The Repubs aren't part of the intelligence community so all they have is speculation and conjecture on their side so they use it to make shit up.

And GWB didn't 'opt out' of going overseas; Daddy made SURE he didn't. The man isn't talented enough to use a pencil, much less fly a plane. I'm sure he had someone else at the controls at all times and was just riding along.

TomCat said...

I can't say I know him that well, Jack, but I loved this performance.

I did not see that, Hugh. If he does, I wish he'd move to Nevada.

That we do, Jerry.

Lisa, they were NEVER part of the intelligence community. ;-)

TOM said...

It took a simple line, "At long last sir....." to take the air out of McCarthyism, but by that time so much damage had been done.
It's enough to debate reasonable opposing ideas; it's no wonder liberals are losing their tempers against the lies the conservatives are, and have been trying to manipulate the American people with.

an average patriot said...

You gotta love O'Donnell! That pisses me off that Scarborough who claims to keep them honest quieted the truth and let him spew his crap let alone what he said. That pisses me off, I missed that one!

Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Hmm...part of The Big Lie that's been brewing lately - that "we didn't know who hit us." Please, they knew exactly who it was - good for O'Donnell for calling the liar a liar.

Jerry Critter said...

I have no doubt that "The Big Lie" will catch on with a fair number of people. After all, look at how many still think Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.

Sue said...

I saw Lawrence go at Thiessen on Joes show, I was cheering him on! Until Joe tried to stop him that is.... what a jerk! Lawrence is great and we need more like him now more than ever!

TomCat said...

Tom, I agree. It's hard to remain calm in the face of such malicious slander.

Jim, I know he said it, because I was watching and I heard it.

Of course we did, Bee. Bush was told while the book was still in his hands. Seven years later, OBL remained free and Bush still had not mastered My Pet Goat.

Jerry, those idiots have one thing in common. They watch Faux Noise.

Sue, I wish I could have seen you. Go Girl!!