Tag Archive: Lawrence O’Donnell

Mar 24 2013

Rant of the Week: Lawrence O’Donnell

A Noun, a Verb and a Paycheck

Lost a presidential race? If you failed at selling yourself, try pitching a product!

by Clare Kim, Last Word Blog

Former Republican presidential candidates like to speak out. Bob Dole, for example, spoke out for Viagra. Fred Thompson, for reverse mortgages. And now we have commercial spokesman Rudy Giuliani. [..]

“It is very unlikely that Republican presidential loser Mitt Romney will ever find himself in a position that his finances are so tight that he has to go pitch reverse mortgages on TV,” O’Donnell said. “But Paul Ryan… Marco Rubio… Chris Christie… we have seen your future, and your future is reverse mortgages.”

Rudy Giuliani hawks Lifelock identity theft protection

by Jillian Rayfield, Salon

What’s a mayor to do when he’s no longer mayoring? In the case of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the answer is appear as a paid spokesman for cable news commercial mainstay Lifelock.

Mar 21 2013

They Weren’t Wrong; They Lied

On MSNBC’s the “Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell looked back at many of the voices who where for and against the invasion of Iraq. He said that those who were advocating for the war got it “wrong.” Well, Lawrence O’Donnell got it wrong because Pres. George W. Bush, Vice Pres. Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, at the time National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell weren’t “wrong,” they lied. They lied to Congress, the press, the world and us.

They knew they were lying. They knew there were no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear program, no connection to 9/11, Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda. They exposed a CIA agent and her operation that was tracking Iran’s nuclear program in order to discredit her husband who said there was no evidence of a nuclear program. We will never know what happened to the people who were working with her in that operation.

They have gotten away with the worst war crime of the 21st century and, perhaps, in the history of this country. Shame on them, shame on Congress and the Justice Department for not doing its due diligence and shame on us for not demanding they be held accountable.

I’m not ready to make nice

Dec 23 2012

Rant of the Week: Lawrence O’Donnell

The NRA’s solution to the gun violence in this country is more guns.

NRA’s LaPierre A ‘Lobbyist For Mass Murderers’

   “So today, the NRA announced that it has a solution. Complete solution to gun violence in America, mass murders in America. Their solution is the national school shield program, a police officer with a gun in every school.

   Now, he didn`t announce a national movie theater shield program with a police officer in every movie theater in America. Wayne LaPierre has in fact never spoken one word about 6-year-old Veronica Moser Sullivan, who was murdered in that movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, along with 11 other people, and 58 wounded, 58.

   All of that, death and savagery was delivered from an ammunition delivery system so big it isn`t called a magazine. It`s called a drum. It holds 100 rounds.

   Wayne LaPierre is the lobbyist who made it possible for the mass murderer in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater to be able to shoot and kill and wound so many people without reloading even once.

   The law Senator Dianne Feinstein pushed through Congress in 1994 made large capacity ammunition delivery systems illegal. Wayne LaPierre made them legal 10 years ago. Wayne LaPierre made no public statement whatsoever after the movie theater mass murder.

   After that mass murder, so successfully used the weapon systems that Wayne LaPierre made available to him. Instead, Wayne LaPierre simply sent out a letter, a letter asking for money, asking for contributions to the NRA over and above dues. And as with every solicitation of money Wayne LaPierre has ever made, he lied to every poor fool who fell for it.

   He said in his letter asking for money, quote, “Nothing less than the future of our country and our freedom will be at stake.”

   Wayne LaPierre did not announce today a national shopping mall parking lot shield program, because Wayne LaPierre has no suggestion about how to prevent or even in some way inhibit, maybe just somehow reduce the possibility of what happened to 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was murdered because she chose to stand in a parking lot in Tucson, Arizona, and listen to her Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

   Wayne LaPierre is all for having a police officer protect 9-year-old girls in school, but anywhere else a 9-year-old goes in America, a movie theater, a shopping mall, she is on her own. And we know now, she is on her own against the best equipped mass murderers in the history of the human race.

   That`s right. We`re number one. USA, USA, we`re number one. No country in the world has better equipped mass murderers than the United States of America. And that is thanks to the lifetime work of Wayne LaPierre.

   Every day since 1977, Wayne LaPierre has been making sure that mad men in America can fire any gun they want, and any bullet they want, at any children they want, at any teachers, at police officers, at the president.

   The solution Wayne LaPierre suggested today to stop school shootings has already been tried in many places across America, including Columbine High School, where 13 years ago 12 students and one teacher were shot dead. Columbine High School had an armed sheriff`s deputy at the school that day and every day prior to that. But when the moment came, the deputy could do something to stop the mass murders.

   There was a good guy with a gun in the parking lot in Tucson when the madman there opened fire on Gabby Giffords and the men and women and children in the parking lot. But the good guy with the gun could do nothing to stop what was happening because he realized he could not get off a clean shot. A shot that he couldn`t be sure would not kill one of the innocent bystanders.

   Stuck in the middle of Wayne LaPierre`s speech today was his bottom line. He said that gun and ammunition control advocates, quote, “perpetuates the notion that one more gun ban and one more law imposed on peaceable, lawful people will protect us.”

   So there is Wayne LaPierre saying that he is opposed to anymore laws. Not one more law, not a law banning the 100-round ammunition drum that was used in the Colorado movie theater. Not a law banning the 30-round ammunition magazines used in Sandy Hook Elementary.

   Not a law banning assault weapons. Not a law tightening access to ammunition. Not any kind of law that would make it in any way even slightly more difficult for a mad man to obtain the very best tools in the world for up close mass murder. Not one more law.

   It is now impossible to count how many people Wayne LaPierre owes an apology to. There are all of those who have been killed by weapons that became available after he made sure the assault weapons ban would not be renewed. There are the parents of the dead, the brothers and sisters of the dead, the children of the dead.

   And then there are millions — truly, millions and millions more, because in his most vile fundraising letter before the last presidential election, Wayne LaPierre actually said this about what would happen if Barack Obama was reelected president of the United States. Quote, “The night of November 6th, 2012, you and I will lose more on the election battlefield than our nation has lost in any battle any time, anywhere.”

   There is Wayne LaPierre claiming on election night that he, who of course avoided service in the war of his era, the Vietnam War, that he lost more on election night this year than, quote, “on any battlefield in the history of our nation.” Wayne LaPierre lost more on election night than 1.3 million Americans who have lost their lives in war.

   He lost more than the relatives and the descendents of those 1.3 million Americans. He lost more than all the amputees, double amputees, brain-damaged amputees that our wars have produced.

   How could Wayne LaPierre ever, ever find the words to deliver an adequate apology for that filthy insult to the American war dead, and to those of us who have lost loved ones in war? Those of us who have lost loved ones in the war that Wayne LaPierre personally avoided service in.

   Of course, there are no words. No words. And the apology will never come, and we can now see through that psychotically self-centered statement that Wayne LaPierre made, quote, “I will lose more on the election battlefield than our nation has lost in any battle, any time, anywhere” — we now see that the mind that could shape that sentence is almost, almost as twisted, almost as damaged as the minds of the mass murderers Wayne LaPierre keeps supplied so well in America.”

h/t Diane Sweet at Crooks and Liars for the full transcript

Dec 21 2012

A Conservative Judge Makes the Case for Gun Control

In the light of the Sandy Hook tragedy, stricter gun regulation should be a no brainer. Apparently there are still many who are willing to place the blame on anything but the easy access to an semi-automatic assault rifle with multi-round clips. In the Los Angeles Times, Larry Alan Burns, a federal district judge in San Diego, who recently sentenced Jared Lee Loughner to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in federal prison for his shooting rampage in Tucson, makes the case for new gun control legislation.

Burns is a self-described conservative, appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, and he agrees with the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia vs. Heller, which held that the 2nd Amendment gives Americans the right to own guns for self-defense. He is also a gun owner.

But while sentencing Loughner in November, Burns questioned the need for high-capacity magazines like the one Loughner had in his Glock, and said he regretted how the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to lapse in 2004. On Thursday, reacting to last week’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., Burns publicly called for a new assault weapons ban “with some teeth this time,” in an op-ed published by The Los Angeles Times.

Lawrence O’Donnell reads Judge Burns’ op-ed in its entirety.

A conservative case for an assault weapons ban

If we can’t draw a sensible line on guns, we may as well call the American experiment in democracy a failure.

Dec 02 2012

Rant of the Week: Lawrence O’Donnell

Lawrence O’Donnell Mourns Jordan Davis, Teenager Killed Over Loud Music

Lawrence O’Donnell spoke on his Thursday show about the recent killing of Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old black student who was shot dead by an older white man in Florida last Friday.

Michael Dunn, 45, allegedly shot and killed Davis after arguing with him about the loud music he was playing in his car. He is now invoking Florida’s notorious “Stand Your Ground” law, claiming that he thought he saw a shotgun in Davis’ car. Police found no gun in the car, and Dunn was charged with second-degree murder. The case drew immediate comparisons to the killing of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager who was shot dead by George Zimmerman in 2012.

Nov 29 2012

SCOTUS: Bad Cops Lose

The latest efforts by state authorities to protect the police who abuse their authority has been dealt a blow by the US Supreme Court. From the Chicago Tribune:

The Supreme Court refused on Monday to revive a controversial Illinois law that prohibited audio recordings of police officers acting in public places, a ban that critics said violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Without comment, the court on Monday let stand a May 8 ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that blocked enforcement of the law, which had made it a felony to record audio of conversations unless all parties consented.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 7th Circuit called the law “the broadest of its kind,” and said it likely violated the free speech and free press guarantees in the First Amendment.

MSNBC The Last Word host, Lawrence O’Donnell, commented on the importance of this ruling during his Rewrite” segment:

“After the Rodney King beating, Chicago police decided to use an old anti-eavesdropping law to protect themselves-a law which basically made it a felony to record a conversation unless all parties agree to be recorded,” said O’Donnell, giving part of the back-story. “That, in effect, meant you couldn’t shoot video of Chicago police because, of course, video recording normally includes sound.” [..]

“The good police officers in this country, which is to say most of the police officers in this country, have no problem with the Supreme Court’s decision this week,” said O’Donnell. “Thanks to federal judges appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents, some Chicago cops-the bad ones-have something new to fear, tonight: your video camera.”

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley also commented about the Court’s decision and had some very harsh criticism of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez:

As a native Chicagoan, I remain astonished that citizens have allowed Alvarez to remain in office as she has publicly sought to strip them of their rights and block a tool that has been used repeatedly to show police abuse. For a leading and generally liberal jurisdiction, Chicago has the ignominy and dishonor of leading the effort to fight core civil liberties in this area. [..]

It is otherworldly to see these abuses occurring in two usually progressive jurisdictions of California and Illinois. Alvarez has become the leader of this rogue’s gallery of prosecutors who have strived to jail their own citizens for monitoring police in public. It is, to put it bluntly, a disgrace. While Alvarez failed in her latest bid, she and other prosecutors remain undeterred in their desire to see citizens punished for such videotapes – tapes that have featured prominently in establishing false arrests and police abuse. Before such filming, abuse claims were overwhelmingly rejected with the denials of the officers. Now, there is often undeniable proof – proof that Alvarez and others want barred under the threat of criminal prosecution.

Prof. Turley also points out that the trend to protect bad police is not over:

We have been discussing the continued effort of prosecutors and police to jail citizens who photograph or videotape police in public. For a prior column, click here. Now, in California, another such arrest has been videotaped in California as Daniel J. Saulmon was charged with resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer when the video shows him standing at a distance and not interfering in any way with the arrest.

The officer immediately demanded to know what Saulmon is doing when it is obvious, as Saulmon indicates, that he is filming the scene. Saulmon states that he does not want to speak to the officer when asked for his identification and the officer immediately puts him under arrest. Ironically, the officer then tells him that he doesn’t need any identification since that will be handled at the booking. [..]

Saulmon reportedly spent days in jail. Such jailings serve as a deterrent for abusive police officers since few citizens want to face such incarceration as well as the cost of defending against criminal charges. Even when later thrown out (which often happen to such charges), the message is sent and the officers are rarely disciplined. I have little doubt that this case will be thrown out. The question is whether people in California will demand action to discipline the officer, who swore to charges that are clearly invalid and abusive.

And these cases from Maryland and Massachusetts

In Maryland in July, Anthony Graber got a well-deserved speeding ticket, but his real mistake was posting footage from his motorcycle helmet-cam on YouTube. It showed an irate off-duty, out-of-uniform officer pulling him over with his gun drawn. Prosecutors obtained a grand jury indictment against Graber on felony wiretap charges, which carry a 16-year prison sentence.

In Boston in August, the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unambiguously that the Constitution protects citizen videographers filming in public. In that case, attorney Simon Glik was walking past the Boston Common on Oct. 1, 2007, when he came upon three Boston officers arresting a man. Glik turned on his cellphone camera after hearing a witness say the police were being abusive. An officer told Glik to turn off his camera. When Glik refused, he was arrested for violation of the state wiretap statute, disturbing the peace and, for good measure, aiding in the escape of a prisoner.

The charges were dismissed after a public outcry, but in a later civil rights case, city attorneys fought to deny citizens the right to videotape police. The court rejected Boston’s arguments and found that the police had denied Glik his 1st and 4th Amendment rights.

Score one for the 1st and 4th Amendments.

May 22 2011

Rant of the Week: A “Dramatic” Reading

Thanks to Stephen Colbert, John Lithgow and Lawrence O’Donnell for this rendition of Newt Gingrich’s press release. If only the rest of politics were so entertaining.

May 15 2011

Rant of the Week: Lawrence O’Donnell

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) thinks that the right to health care is slavery and that the police could come to his house to “conscript” him to treat patients. If the right to health care makes doctors, nurses, et al, slaves, then the Constitution which bans slavery, enslaves lawyers. Rand, you really should have read the document that you took an oath to uphold, some libertarian you are.

Mar 06 2011

Rant of the Week: The Funnies

The last segment of this past Friday’s “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell had a collection of comments, cartoons and skits from comedians who put the top news stories into perspective.

The Week in Late Night Laughs

Top comment goes to Robin Williams for his take on Charlie Sheen’s antics:

When he did rehab at home, that’s like a self administered colostomy