Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dave Zirin on "gaseous hop-head" Limbaugh, Administration ignored warnings and more

Good evening. Hope everyone had a good holiday and a great weekend. Let's get things kicked off with Democracy Now!

Navy's Top Attorney Warned Against Administration's Detainee Policies
The New Yorker magazine has revealed that two years before the Abu Ghraib photos were first published, the Navy's general counsel, Alberto Mora, began challenging what he described as the administration's "disastrous and unlawful policy of authorizing cruelty toward terror suspects." Mora warned his superiors at the Pentagon about the consequences of President Bush's decision, in 2002, to circumvent the Geneva conventions. He argued that a refusal to outlaw cruelty toward U.S.-held detainees was an implicit invitation to abuse. Mora also challenged the legal framework that the Bush Administration has constructed to justify an expansion of executive power, in matters ranging from interrogations to wiretapping. He described the novel legal theories granting the President the right to authorize abuse as "unlawful," "dangerous," and "erroneous."

So four years later, we're still dealing with fall out that was predicted but that no one wanted to listen to? Jane Mayer wrote the article and you should read it. She's had a series of strong articles during the last few years and she's frequently a guest on Democracy Now! so I'll assume most of you already know who she is. Here's my take on the article: you had people who wanted to do what they wanted (and give the administration unchecked powers) so the result was they didn't listen because they didn't care. That's the policy of this administration. They want what they want and don't care about the costs. That's how we end up in Iraq. Lies are fine with them, as long as it gets them what they want.

Report: U.S. Used Bogus Call Sign to Hide Secret Flights
The Sunday Times of London is reporting the U.S. military has been operating secretive flights across Europe using a call sign assigned to a civilian airline that they have no legal right to use. This has allowed the U.S. to carry out covert missions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Sunday Times reported one flight apparently transported 45 tons of surplus weapons and ammunition to Rwanda in defiance of a UN embargo. In another case, a plane identified with the CIA practice of "extraordinary rendition" left a US air base just after the arrival of an aircraft using the bogus call sign.

We are the Gansta' Nation. And the real gangster's are in the administration. There's no law they won't break. In fact, Ava and C.I. covered this in their TV review of Bully Boy's press conference last year:

Obviously Bully's the madcap one, so he needs a sidekick who's a little more serious and a lot more prissy. We think they should create a character named Cheney who goes around hiding maps of the Middle East and stroking his stuffed cat that he calls Boo-Boo Kitty WMD. We think Jonathan Winters would be perfection in the role.
Yeah, it's a steal from Laverne & Shirley but imagine the opening credits as they skip down Pennsylvania Avenue singing "Give us any treaty we'll break it . . ."
And think of how humorous it would be if [Timothy] Bottoms had a big "B" on all his outfits. Especially if they dressed him up in military garb! The AWOL Bully in military garb would bring the house down. It would be "high-larious" to use a word none of the kids are saying but What I Like About You tries to convince us they are.

Gansta' Nation. People talk about how America once stood for something. Maybe it did. But we get further and further away from that each day. Bully Boy is a disgrace and it's past time to impeach. He needs to be impeached by Congress and the Senate needs to find him guilty of the charges.

Be sure to head over to Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's take on the above.

Tony asked me to note Dave Zirin's "White Blindness: The Winter Olympics and Defending Bryant Gumbel" (Common Dreams):

The right-wing media hordes, in a mad dash to deflect attention from Dick Cheney's shooting spree, may have found their target of mass distraction: Bryant Gumbel. At the end of his HBO show "Real Sports," Gumbel unleashed a prolonged rant about the utter unwatchability of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. The Winter Games certainly are a worthy target. On ten-hour tape delay, NBC has been force-feeding us highlights of sports that seem concocted on Madison Avenue to sell Mountain Dew. As Gumbel took the Xtreme winter games to task, he said, "So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of Blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention." Immediately, and predictably, the bloviating bigots of the blogosphere started splattering Gumbel's statement all over the web.
This was to be expected. But more striking was the reaction to Gumbel on ESPN Radio's "The Dan Patrick Show." Normally, in the red meat world of sports radio, Dan Patrick seems happy to be veal: no gristle or fat, morally offensive to some, but generally just plain and easily digestible. But Dan blew a gasket on the air, going after Gumbel like he was president of the Willard Scott fan club. He called for Gumbel's job, saying that if Rush Limbaugh was fired from ESPN for making racially insensitive comments, - a firing Dan says he opposed -- then Gumbel should suffer the same fate. Comparing Gumbel to Limbaugh is like comparing apples to an obese drug addict. Gumbel is an award-winning journalist who has had a foot in the world of hard sports commentary for three decades. Limbaugh is a gaseous hop-head who once asked, "Why do all composite criminal photos look like Jesse Jackson?" and telling an African-American caller to his show - who somehow got through the screeners -- to "Take the bone out of your nose." Gumbel hosts a critically lauded show. Limbaugh was a hired by ESPN as a gimmick by their ownership group, Disney, as part of their mission to make America stupider.

But when you actually compare their respective comments, the Dan Patrick argument not only collapses, but becomes intellectually dishonest. Limbaugh, of course, said on ESPN's NFL show that Pro-Bowl Philadelphia Eagle Donavan McNabb was "overrated" because of the "media's social concern" to see a successful Black quarterback. This was exactly the kind of ignorant garbage Disney hired him spew. What the rat shack didn't count on was thousands of phone calls and emails demanding the fat man's Sosa-sized head.