January 6, 2004
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I admired Senator Kennedy's defense of his colleague Tom Daschle, which was posted on BuzzFlash this morning. However, neither the letter from the concerned reader in the midwest nor Sen. Kennedy's statement addressed my primary Daschle-related concern. This has to do with his endorsement of the Bush-Cheney energy bill, which I understand will bring a modest benefit to South Dakota in the form of an ethanol processing facility.
Many writers have addressed the pork barrel elements of this bill in other forums, and indeed I find all the subsidies for George Bush's corporate allies in the legislation extremely objectionable. If this were the only issue, however, I might very well find it in my heart to forgive Sen. Daschle for his choice. After all, one man's pork is another man's bread-and-butter issue.
The problem is that the bill will resurrect the nuclear industry in this country by providing low-interest federal loans and construction grants for six nuclear power plants in the next few years. For those who have not been following the nuclear power issue, the fact is that a stand-off has existed for many years between nuclear power advocates and opponents in which the old facilities have been kept open long after their safe term has expired but no new power plants were being built. Basically, in the face of massive public opposition to nuclear power back in the 1970's (in which I was proud to play a small role) the industry adopted a strategy of trying to squeeze every last watt of electricity that they could out of these glowing, rusted hulks before they were forced to decommission them (which no one knows how to do safely anyway). An especially egregious example is the Indian Point nuclear facility north of New York City near where I grew up, which is the most dangerous nuke in the country. It recently failed yet another safety inspection and has been cited for over 10,000 bad welds.
Now the Bush administration tells us they want to build more dirty fission reactors. Senator Kennedy, this is madness. The most peaceful, progressive nation in the world (Germany) announced not one month ago that they will be closing all of their nuclear facilities and, to demonstrate their commitment, immediately decommissioned the first one (as far as that is even possible). What do the Germans know that we don't know? Why aren't they frightened to remove their mouths from the nuclear nipple?
Well, probably because they know that nuclear power is the most inefficient source of energy in the world. The nuclear fuel cycle, from the time that it is strip-mined at the Black Mountain Navajo reservation in Arizona through the enrichment process to the time it is entombed at some superfund waste site-in-progress, uses up 90% of the energy that it produces. "The peaceful atom" was never intended to be anything more than an apology for our nuclear weapons industry. With the diminution of the nuclear threat following the demise of the Soviet Union, I had expected that this peaceful "fig leaf" for our missile program would also have been discarded. Instead, it is threatening to return, along with a new generation of so-called "tactical" nuclear weapons.
Need I add that ever since the 1970s the primary proponent of nuclear energy in this country has been Lyndon LaRouche, who argued loud and long in his magazine Fusion that fission energy was really just a "bridge" to fusion, that dirty fission reactors would be replaced in the future with clean fission reactors? Except that three decades later there is still no evidence that we can control the nuclear fusion reaction. Is this why we have turned in hopelessness to the abandoned fission technology, because we have discovered that Lyndon LaRouche lied to us and fusion energy is not practical? Are we to follow LaRouche's agenda? Shall we revive a technology which is daily ridiculed on television shows like the Simpsons? I think not.
If you really hold Senator Daschle in such high esteem, I would urge you to exercise your influence on him in convincing him to change his position on the Bush/Cheney energy bill. This country does not need a gigantic new waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada along with six new dirty fission reactors. It needs to follow the example of our gallant ally, Germany.
Subj: Senator Kennedy's Comments Daschle's Leadership
I respectfully disagree with Senator Kennedy. Tom Daschle has been silent on too many important issues and has been more than willing to blindly give his support and our dollars to Bush's Middle Eastern adventurism.
The tax cut that was cut in half, especially the second one, was imprudent in the extreme and should not even have been considered. Our struggling currency, the boggy economy and millions of forgotten American workers can attest to that.
While I have no doubt the assault of the right wing is relentless but the opposition of the Democrats has not been equal to the task at hand.
Too many Democrats vote for the corporations that give them handouts and against the interests of the majority of their constituents.
While I am grateful for the blockage of the four extremist judges, too many dodgy nominees, both judicial and administrative have won Senate approval even during the time that Democrats held a majority. John Ashcroft comes quickly to mind.
Too many Democrats voted for the poison pill Medicare bill. They voted their own short sighted self interest because of weak leadership. There were enough Republicans that voted against that bill that the Democrats could have blocked it, especially if Lieberman and Kerry had bothered to show up that day.
Though I am glad Daschle is trying to repair the damage that bill will cause when implemented, if the past is any indication of the future, I doubt they will able to pass any additional legislation. Republicans have successfully stolen this issue and they are not likely to want to give it back to the Democrats.
I'm truly sorry that incumbent Democrats don't see themselves as many others see them. I think it has allowed our country to suffer far too much avoidable damage.
I agree that progressives all need support each other.
We all need to do our part. The part that incumbent Democrats need to do is to become a more effective opposition to the GOP machine. Much to the joy of the GOP, Democrats have failed to listen to those who point this out.
This information is not meant to harm, but to help.
Subj: Senator Kennedy - Pulling from the Middle
I am passing on to you a letter I emailed to Senator Kennedy in response to his gracious commentary. Question: Do we HAVE a "democratic party" anymore? What are they fighting for? The lack of a fight for universal healthcare by the democratic party leaders says so much.
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Subj: Nominate the FDA for Hypocrite of the Year Award! Anthrax Vaccine Lies, Soldiers are Guinea Pigs
The FDA seems to be good at forcing unsafe vaccines (anthrax and smallpox) and meats (mad-cow) upon the public, and good at keeping safe and cheap prescription drugs away from the public! I.E. re-importing Canadian Meds.
Tuesday the FDA declared the anthrax vaccine "safe and effective" in response to a federal judge's injunction against mandatory vaccinations of what he said was an experimental drug. http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/12/30/fda.anthrax The Anthrax Vaccine is the latest example of using the troops for financial gain.
Without the Anthrax vaccine program, the manufacturers don't profit.
Why is the Anthrax Vaccine dangerous?
Changes were made in the manufacturing process since 1989, including changing the types of filters and fermenters used to create the vaccine.
The changes resulted in a exponential increase in the potency.
In a study performed in 1990, the Dept. of Defense found up to a hundredfold increase in the protective antigen levels in lots produced after the filter change that year.
GAO Testimony http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02181t.pdf
The FDA does not protect the consumer, just the Corporate Profiteer. In the long run, though, it is killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
Your loyal reader,
Subj: I think that's called "Road Kill!"
Warning: this email contains some particularly grisly food for thought... and yes, puns are intended.
I've been reading with some alarm the articles regarding "mad cow" disease. Not wanting to poison my recent bout of healthy optimism with thoughts of the diseased bovine flesh lurking on our grocery shelves in all its shrink-wrapped glistening glory, I've purposely refrained from passing along relevant links about this public health disaster. Until now. And a disaster it is, only we don't know it yet.
The little info-morsel that stuck in my craw enough for me to spit out an "Oh my God, honey, would you listen to this!!" to my Texas-barbeque-loving husband was this:
And just chew on that for a moment: if it takes four years for this disease to incubate, yet most cows are slaughtered at that age (coincidence?), there could potentially be many more diseased by-products out there, either in our food supply OR used as feed for OTHER animals (chickens for example eat feed sprayed with cow bi-products, and other animals eat feed sprayed with powdered milk made from these bi-products.)
Supposedly they've found only ONE diseased cow (puh-leez!). However, coming from the administration that told thousands of New Yorkers that the air around the Twin Towers was safe to BREATHE after 9/11, when it was completely poisoned, I certainly will not take their word that we have no worries about the food we EAT. Fagidaboutit!
And pardon me, pardner.....but isn't an animal that can't stand on its own due to disease or injury the definition of Road Kill? I mean....WHAT disease must a cow suffer to be classified a "downer" cow? Botulism? Salmonella? Chicken pox! And what TYPES of injuries can a cow sustain, when it probably was never allowed out of its milking stalls or life-long cage? It's just too nauseating to.....excuse me just a moment......OK, I'm back.....contemplate.
What's particularly gut-wrenching, if you'll pardon the phrase, besides a few of the lesser after-effects that you would suffer should you partake of diseased cow flesh, is that almost every single television "news" story has focused on the effects this could have on the beef INDUSTRY. No mention of the POPULACE, the CONSUMERS of the food who are the CUSTOMERS of said INDUSTRIES! NO MENTION of what the disease MEANS, what the symptoms are, what to look for, how there is NO CURE for it but death!
NO....just like their warnings to go out shopping and live your life despite Code Orange alert (but be "vigilant!" and watch out for anyone carrying a Farmer's Almanac! http://www.suntimes.com/output/terror/29alm.html), we are encouraged to go out and buy lots of BEEF so the BEEF INDUSTRY wont suffer and thousands supposedly won't lose their jobs, and we must do our Patriotic Duty to keep the BEEF INDUSTRY healthy and profitable so they can give even more money to the Bush election campaign.... so EAT BEEF everyone and blah blah blah!! This despite the administration recalling 10,000 pounds of beef in eight states. (Just ignore that man behind the curtain!) And yes, this also despite the fact that 30 countries, including Japan and China,the biggest importers of US beef, have said: "No thanks, think I'll stick to rice and veggies for now...."
Sorry about that rant. What was I saying? Oh yes.....
Read up on the news that is not being broadcast to the masses: BuzzFlash, as always, the Guardian of Truth, Justice, and the Real American Way, has all the links!!
Happy Healthy New Year to All!
elaine in Petaluma
Disclaimer: I am not, and never have been, a member of a fringe vegetarian militia, nor been a student of Veganomics. I'm not deep into Zen meditation or macrobiotics.("..but as soon as I can I intend to get into narcotics!" -- that's a line from a song folks, just kidding). I'll cook and eat almost anything except for okra, bunny rabbits and tripe in peanut sauce (a specialty at my ex-in-laws house). I love filet mignon, burgers at Mike's or Quinley's, and make a mean meatloaf. My dear departed Dad told me in a dream that Santa Lucia serves my grandmother's meatball recipe in heaven. And I certainly love bovines....we have three huge beef cattle living right in the pasture bordering our yard (and ten sheep). It's just that I don't trust our government when it comes what I eat, breathe, or drink.Now pardon me while I burn my Atkins books and start the new year lite.
Subj: When will we be truly an open society?
I am an avid listener to the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC and CSPAN's Washington Journal on cable TV.
I am very troubled with the habit of both shows' emphasis of evenhanded deference to rightwing opinions and giving short shrift to people expressing open minded opinions and facts. Specifically, a gentleman called Brian Lehrer this morning complaining that the NYC police barricade protestors and New Years Eve revelers into bullpen-like enclosures and they manhandle people. Brian cutoff this man and didn't allow him to explain why the NYC police's actions are abusive and contrary to public policy.
Likewise, when people call-in to CSPAN Washington Journal complaining about specific Bush Administration abuses, the callers are not even acknowledged by the commentator. Yet any crazy pro-Bush statement is welcomed with a thank you for your comment by the commentator.
Look, I realize that CSPAN is owned by the cable companies and that WNYC gets most of its money from corporate sponsors. These media outlets are not "free" and "unbiased."
But what ever happened to the very concept of an "open society" and a "free press?" I contend that the free press is dead. Hopefully BuzzFlash will become bigger than CSPAN and WNYC combined. Maybe then we will get enough of the public to recognize that the current media system is broke and needs to be fixed.
One last point. I was out celebrating a family member's birthday last night and a family friend claimed that the NY Times confirmed that George W Bush won the Florida recount. I corrected this young person and suggested to him to read completely all the articles coming from the NY Times. In fact, in the final paragraph of all these NY Times reports the NY Times acknowledged that Al Gore got more votes in Florida.
When will the "BIG BUSH COVER-UP" end? When will we be truly an open society?
God Bless America.
p.s. Ashcroft, where's the terrorists? Orange Alert? Hogwash! Where's the beef!
Sent to: email@example.com:
Subj: Did my vote EVER count?
Dear Mr. Cronkite:
Per your column of today you advised us to change the system by voting:
"Resolve that when actions of those administrations, Democratic or Republican, occasionally embarrass us, we shall take heart that correction is to be found at the election booth and we shall rejoice in the fact that our government still is the closest to a perfect democracy as has yet been designed." _
However, you seem to be ignoring the fact that our votes are being tampered with. I have never missed an election, but I now truly wonder if my vote ever did count, and until I am guaranteed it will, I may just stay home from the polls. Please see the following:
_Few States Will Upgrade Voting Machine for 2004
"While states wait on Congress to allocate funds set aside by the Help America Vote Act, concerns about the security and reliability of new computer voting machines have led election reform experts to believe Election Day 2006 is a more likely goal... The law authorizes Congress to provide $3.86 billion to the states for reforms. So far, states have received $650 million of the nearly $1.5 billion appropriated in 2003. The remaining $833 million sits in the national treasury awaiting confirmation of four nominees to an election assistance commission, the body that will allocate the rest of funds and provide guidance. But the congressional delay has pushed hefty implementation costs onto the counties, Brace said. 'The counties are caught in a bind,' Brace said. 'The requirements are there, but none of the money has really been provided like what was promised.'" TheAxcess.net
__Theresa LePore Calls Voting Machine Concerns 'A Bunch of Lies'
"Critics warned Monday that computer error or outright fraud easily could alter the outcome of elections conducted on Palm Beach County's electronic voting machines... 'Both a purposeful attack on the computer system or just a computer malfunction will put our whole democratic process in chaos,' Rep. Robert Wexler [D-FL] said. County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore said their analysis was deeply flawed. 'It's just a bunch of lies,' she said. LePore said it would be impossible to rig the machines. Someone would have to break into a secure warehouse and tamper individually with 5,000 machines because they aren't connected." Hey Theresa - you or your staff could just OPEN that "secure" warehouse! That's what happened in Martin and Seminole Counties, where GOP commissioners let GOP operatives criminally alter absentee ballot applications using "secure" office computers. When will Palm Beach Dems dump Terrible Theresa? Sun-Sentinel.com
__Electronic Voting Firm Hacked
"A company developing encryption-based software for secure electronic voting has itself become the victim of a computer break-in, the company's top executive told MSNBC.com. Federal authorities have confirmed that the incident is under investigation. The intrusion into Bellevue-based VoteHere's corporate network occurred in October, said Jim Adler, VoteHere's founder, president and chief executive officer. No suspects have yet been named, but Adler said his company, in cooperation with investigators, had developed substantial information about the source of the intrusion over the past two months. 'We feel that it may have been politically motivated,' Adler said. Adler's revelation came amid a deepening debate over e-voting and its vulnerability to election fraud -- and a controversy over surreptitious methods to get information about how e-voting software works." http://msnbc.msn.com/Default.aspx?id=3825143&p1=0
To you from all your faithful readers.....the best website on the Net....we owe you them most successful year, ever!!!!!!!!!!
Subj: another story on the valerie plame investigation
Here's another story about the Valerie Plame investigation. (Sorry if it's already on your site) It says the Justice Department may decide it wasn't a crime after all. I guess the only way it could unquestionably be a crime would be if it happened during a Democratic administration. Then you can bet the Republicans would be up in arms over it!
Subj: Kerry supporter ready to jump ship.
Hi, thanks to BuzzFlash for being BuzzFlash, you provide a great service to your many readers. I wanted to express an opinion that I hope will be gaining steam soon among likely democratic primary voters. I’ve been pulling for Kerry for a while because I thought he was “electable”and I respect his progressive voting record much more than Howard Dean’s in Vermont. Though I really admire Dean’s willingness to take the gloves off and be a straight shooter, I’ve worried all along that he was just harnessing the liberal rage to inject life into his campaign and would prove to be a Clinton-style centrist in Washington. Braun and Kucinich are really great candidates, but I’m not going to support someone who isn’t a serious candidate this time. It is simply too important. And it is a shame with Kerry, because of all his progressive credentials, he’s been billing himself as a centrist, and is attacking Dean as too liberal for the party. All the while, Dean ran Vermont as a centrist, and Kerry represented Mass as a liberal.
As Dean continues to compile momentum and support, he continues to embrace the activist wing of the party, even though he probably has less in common with them than Kerry, and Kerry keeps appealing to the Zel Miller wing of the party, even though they can take us nowhere. So now seeing Kerry joining “GOP”Joe Lieberman in attacking Dean’s credibility, I am growing increasingly disgusted. It would be great if Kerry could capture the imagination of the party and I think he’d do well against Bush, but he hasn’t. His campaign has been misguided since his foolish endorsement of the Iraq War, and he’s been barking up the wrong tree. I will not support Kerry anymore simply because he is running away from the people, not toward them, and he is choosing Bush over Dean with these attacks when it looks very likely Dean will be the eventual nominee. That, along with his vote for the Iraq war resolution, shows me he doesn’t have the ability to make crucial decisions in the better interest of the American people, or the courage to do it right. It is a true shame, because John Kerry the candidate had so much potential. I guess Molly Ivins was right when she said he didn’t have any “Elvis”.
I’m going to continue to hope Kucinich or Braun gets some late momentum, but in the mean time, I think Dean is a much better option than Bush, and am learning that even if he is a centrist, he might be capable of more independence and critical decision making than most of the candidates, and I could be happy with him even compared to the other democrats. I still need to be won over, but if Dean keeps his momentum and wins the nomination, I’m seeing it as more and more of a good thing. Shame on Kerry, he could give us so much more.
Subj: "Beef. It's NOT for dinner."
That's my idea for the new (phew!) beef industry commercials.
elaine in Petaluma
otherwise noted, all original