March 16, 2004
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Subj: Liars and Crooks
The CBS transcript of Rummy and the immediate threat was very funny, and Tom Friedman has redeemed himself ever-so-slightly. (Most of the time I am inclined to think that he and Christopher Hitchens should take a cottage together so that they can spend long hours staring deeply into one another's eyes, congratulating each other on their superior intellect and moral perspicuity.)
I was telling my husband that I would like to start a website called "liarsandcrooks.com," and he said, "You have to look for a job. You don't have time for all that writing!"
Leslie in Boston
Subj: Bob Kerrey or John Kerry?
A major concern regarding the Kerry campaign came up for me this weekend. During an NPR story a reporter spoke with a WWII vet who said that he could never vote for Sen. John Kerry because Kerry had shot all those innocent men, women, and children in Vietnam. The reporter corrected him, pointing out that he was thinking of Sen. BOB Kerrey (Nebraska), who a couple of years ago had gone through an extensive Mea Culpa about his role in a horrible massacre in Vietnam. The elderly voter was reluctant to accept her correction, wondering if Bob and John were somehow related.
As I listened to the report, I felt a bit sheepish, because I had also had in my mind that it was John Kerry who had been involved in the massacre. My hope for November is "anyone but Bush," so I can say that it doesn't matter to me -- I would be willing to vote for pretty much anyone, even Bob Kerrey, if he could beat Bush.
However, the real shocker came yesterday, when I related this story to my husband, (one of the best-informed persons I and most of our friends know -- an avid reader of political books, newspapers, and magazines). He looked at me surprised, and said that he also thought it was John Kerry who had done the public confession about his role in that massacre.
After seeing an early screening of the documentary "Bush's Brain" about Karl Rove, I can only imagine that Rove is very aware of the potential for exploiting this confusion. The Kerry campaign, with the help of BuzzFlash and others needs to be sure that there is absolutely no confusion about John Kerry's war record, which is stellar and heroic.
A BuzzFlash reader
Best of all...Spain's new leader differentiated between "America" and the "Bush Administration."
Also, the NYTimes continues NOT to report on lawyer Philip Berg's RICO lawsuit on behalf of a 911 widow.
I've written twice about their failure to mention this. Last time an ombudsman (not Daniel Okrent...the other one...Alberto?) wrote me to say that my message was passed on to the news dept.
Subj: As if there was ever any doubt......
......that our media was being deliberately manipulated by this administration for political purposes. Now they are even outsourcing journalistic coverage by hiring actors to ask the questions they want and tell the story they want and pretend that it is news. Apparently unsatisfied that they have an entire cable network which does this now, and though some tv talking heads already eagerly lap up administration copy as it is bottle fed to them, they have apparently elected to cut out the middle man and eliminate any possibility of less than flattering coverage by using actors. They are indeed the Mayberry Machiavellis. They have all the charm, class, subtlety and brains of Goober.
Subj: Spain VOTED
Wingnut talking heads are EXPLODING over the Spanish election results. They ignore that Senor AZNAR, in backing the illegal Iraq attack, antagonized:
1) the 90+% of his population’s expressed opposition,
2) his figurehead king’s unprecedented expressed opposition, and
3) the expressed opposition of the spiritual leader (the Pope) of the majority of his population.
Instead, the wingnuts, always prone to anti-democracy hysterics, are claiming that:
* The voting (i.e., VOTING) results are a victory for terrorism,
* Investments in Spain will depreciate in value by 20%,
* The VOTING results are a victory for European APPEASEMENT, and
* Spain will now join and replace France as a wingnut whippingstock.
The wingnuts barely stifled their contempt of Old-Europe shorty AZNAR before, but now that it is clear he couldn’t even learn from Shrub and Poppy Thwarting-Elections-101, they will heap him on a waste dump with shocking and awesome swiftness.
RE: The Jobless Need Help Now
That's the headline of a L.A. Times editorial on March 15th. It's an important read for several reasons. First, it mentions that "Though the unemployment rate has held steady at 5.6%, the number is deceptive...Economists say the unemployment rate would be more than 7% if those who had stopped looking for a job were included."
Other articles I've read recently mention that it takes several weeks longer to find a new job than it took only two years ago, that many of the new jobs provide only part-time employment, that most of the full-time positions provide no benefit package, or if they do, specifically do not provide health insurance. The old rule of thumb was that for every $10,000 in salary earned, it would take one week to find a job. I have seen nothing to update that scale, but it has surely slipped as more and more upper-end mid-level management and skilled-labor positions have been eliminated.
In the past three years the majority of the jobs available are in the retail sector, primarily at minimum wage. How do you support a family of four on a minimum wage job? You don't. You work more than one job. One woman who was interviewed stated she worked two jobs and her husband worked two jobs. When asked when she found time to spend with her two children, she stated that Sunday was the only day of the week that the family could spend together. That's appalling, and it has become commonplace. How does that relate to "compassionate conservatism" or "family values"?
Parsing through the job statistics for February, between the increases and decreases, I gleaned an interesting nugget: 21,000 state government jobs were filled. That's enlightening. Total job growth in February was 21,000 jobs. In other words, there was NO improvement in private sector hiring in February. That spells recession, which explains why the government is intent on obfuscating the employment data it releases to the public. The administration says the economy is improving, but 7 in 10 voters say they don't see any improvement in their lives.
Second, it mentions: "According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 392,000 unemployed people quit looking for work in January. The overall size of the labor force has actually declined in six of the last eight months...Once people drop out of the labor market, it's difficult to get them back. They increase the burden on social services and may end up in the underground economy —which means they no longer pay many taxes."
The federal budget which was passed last week is rife with cuts in entitlement programs: Medicaid, low-income housing, education, VA benefits. Without the safety net of unemployment benefits and/or health insurance, where will these families turn for help? Instead of adequately funding Medicaid and low-income housing programs -- instead pushing more of the burden off on cash-strapped states -- faith-based charities now receive funding from the federal government, but their charity is extremely limited. Most often they provide funds to cover one month's rent payment or help with a utility bill. They do not truly support a family while a parent beating the pavement looking for a job, and it is unrealistic for the government or anyone else to expect them to take up the slack.
If the labor force has declined in six of the last eight months, simple arithmetic illustrates that the government's current "estimate" of total unemployment is not credible. It's simply a manipulation of the data, in much the same that the purported $395 billion cost for the Medicare drug benefit was realistically upwards of $540 billion.
Third, "Congress should not withhold temporary benefits that, because they come from a dedicated rainy day fund, won't even add to the deficit."
The estimate I saw just last week in another article was $16.5 billion sitting there in a contingency account, earmarked specifically to be drawn down as unemployment benefits. Those funds represent proceeds from the unemployment tax levied on business. The more workers fired or laid off by a business, the higher its unemployment tax rate climbs, but it is never more than 2 percent and, in fact, a deduction against revenue, effectively reducing its bite.
And if displaced workers do not receive unemployment benefits, they necessarily must stand in line for food stamps and Medicaid and other forms of assistance. That's a rob Peter to pay Paul proposition, if you ask me. Yet Tom Delay is vehement in his opposition to extending unemployment benefits, stating that if people want to work they will find work. He has steadily refused attempts to allow voting on any bill to extend benefits and has successfully defeated attempts by Democrats to attach such an amendment to other bills working their way through Congress.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to discern the blatant politics behind the administration's stance -- we all know in our hearts that Delay takes his marching orders directly from the White House. High unemployment figures fly in the face of the President's claim that his tax cuts have helped the economy to recover. If the unemployment benefit rises, it makes Dubya's claims simply incredulous that Americans are getting back to work and the economy is thriving, that the economy is creating new jobs. So in this election year the President's win-at-all-costs attitude toward struggling families is "Let them eat cake."
Subj: Perhaps Bush stumbles verbally because he is listening to a feed
My cousin's son (who is obviously also my cousin) picked me up from the airport in Toronto recently. He is majoring in Theater Production and has therefore been exposed to all aspects of theatrical production, including Sound. My cousin says he thinks that Bush stumbles and stutters and speaks so slowly when he is talking at "unscripted" events to reporters (besides the fact that he doesn't actually know any answers that he can produce himself from his own knowledge) because he is listening to an audio feed and trying to construct his answers at the same time. I imagine this is not surprising to many people out there, but I thought it was interesting that someone with experience in this field noticed this.
A BuzzFlash Reader
This is an interesting item. For months now I have been wondering, a distant relative in the regular army in an elite type fighting group has been far from the middle east , as near as I can figure he has been in northern africa. I thought this was weird as so many in Iraq are reserves. Well, I guess this is an explanation of sorts, but I have heard of some troops being sent to other places around the world that has not really been mentioned on the news.
A BuzzFlash Reader
All morning, Democracy Now and Pacifica having been covering Aristide's return to the Caribbean (Jamaica) in the company of Congressperson Maxine Walters. The conventional media appear to be pretending it isn't even happening. I'd have expected you would be on top of it, at least. Aristide's security chief described in an interview how they were gathered up by American forces with the pretense that Aristide was being taken to a press conference and then jetted out of the country. The military personnel involved did a wardrobe change (putting on baseball caps, etc) to conceal the fact that they were special forces. Great stuff. Surely you can access this news and scoop the non-press.
Subj: The Republican Propaganda Machine
As a resident of New York City I am really concerned. I think that the Republican Party is playing Russian Roulette especially since the bombings in Spain seem to have been carried out by Al Queda . Having the Republican Convention here to coincide with the groundbreaking for the "Freedom Tower" at the WTC site is a stunt only the Republican propaganda machine would pull.
Any Buzz on this would be appreciated.
Subj: Spain as prologue
What happened in Spain was sadly predictable, at least the basic deed and why, if not the details of time and place. Living as I do in a prime target area for terrorism, New York City, I feel vastly less safe than at any time since 9/11. This rogue administration and its fellow-travelling war criminals, which totally failed in protecting my city on 9/11, in becoming complicit with terrorists in excusing Saudis from the security requirements reserved for others, in waging a murderous and unnecessary war in an Arab state under false pretenses and against the will of most of the world, and thus in creating a de facto recruitment drive for volunteers to wage terror against us and our coalition of the willing we pressured to join in our foolish criminality, leaves my city and me and the rest of the world more exposed than ever to the possibility of terrorist attack. Maybe arriving two hours early at airports for those security checks, removing your shoes there, answering a question or two might make you feel safer, but what about the trains and subways we ride, the streets we walk? Ask the Spanish. Our regime did not invent terrorism, but it has shown from its beginning how incompetent and basically indifferent it was to protecting us, and now how capable it is of bringing the threat of greater destruction upon us. They are liars, cheats, frauds, mad men and women with goals, criminals; and our Congress, apparently quite capable of impeaching a President who lied about some sexual nonsense, hardly raises a voice, much less a finger. My God, in November these people, forced upon us by a rogue Supreme Court in cahoots with the Tom DeLays of this country, must go, or sure as hell we and the rest of the world might be on our way to doing so.
Subj: Re: Why can't the Chicago Tribune tell us the whole truth about why Stern is under attack?
As we all know, journalism in this country is in a sorry state. They aren't even trying to get the whole story, as any high school paper writer might think he or she should do. They know that simply by omitting key facts they can often twist a story in the Right direction.
I found this article
by the Chicago Tribune a perfect example (there are so many) and decided to write Mr. Wycliff the paper's "public editor," whatever that is, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: I have never been a Howard Stern fan, but I am a really big fan of the 1st amendment and the rest of the Constitution, and Stern has the balls to fight those who would take away our freedom when they prove to be politically inconvenient.
A BuzzFlash reader
* * *
Subj: Flop of a President
More flip and flop from the flop of a president. Now that it is a known joke line in the Democratic party that he is so stupid he doesn't read (there was a great poster at a Kerry rally - Kerry reads Newspapers), he makes sure he puts in the NYT that he now READS the NEWSPAPER each morning with Laura..... or is that she reads to him.
Subj: PUGS admit they plan to steal FLA again
I have heard several RePUGlican political pundits proudly exclaim on cable news networks that they plan to win Florida the same way they did last time...
Nancy Lynn Nagy (TN)
Subj: Bush White House: Home of the Whopper 3-15-04
March 15, 2004
While Homeland Security Department Searches for Possible Bush Photo Ops, Search for Terrorists is Delayed
While Homeland Security Employees are Busy Following a White House Edict that They Find One Homeland Security Photo Op a Month for Bush...
Time Magazine reported the photo op request:
"Administration sources tell Time that employees at the Department of Homeland Security have been asked to keep their eyes open for opportunities to pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration's efforts to make the nation safer. The goal, they are being told, is to provide Bush with one homeland-security photo-op a month." [Time, 3/22/04]
Today, AP Reports Delays are "Hampering Creation of Terrorist Database in United States."
The Associated Press reported today:
"An ambitious effort to create a central terror suspect database for use by all U.S. federal and local officials has been struggling for months. Attorney General John Ashcroft said in September that the Terrorist Screening Center - "one-stop shopping so that every federal terrorist screener is working off the same page" - would be operational by Dec. 1... [But] Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said recently the goal now is to have the work done by midsummer." [AP, 3/15/04]
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subj: Bring it on Semi-Colin
Colin Powell's challenge of John Kerry to reveal which world leaders have expressed support of his presidential bid is another great opportunity for Kerry to fire another "bring it on" salvo.
Kerry should counter Colin with this, "I'll share the names of my supporters with you if you'll share the sources of your false WMD claims with me."
The once honorable Colin Powell has become just another lap dog for Bush.
Colin has been so neutered by the Neo-Cons he serves that he would be well advised to change his name to Semi-Colin.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Just read the mailbag currently posted and am utterly impressed with the offerings. A goodly number equal or exceed the analysis we get from op-ed columnists including Friedman, Dowd, Shields, Rubin, et.al., and especially the rightward tilt we get from Chris Mathews and even Russert. I hope you listers also send the same comments to your local newspaper's letters section. You are eloquent and articulate and really speak for all of us. Congratulations.
N Pascale in Omaha, NE
Subj: Politics, Of Course
The New York Times got it wrong - we didn't have a primary here in Kansas. We had a caucus on Saturday, and I was there, along with 75 other local Democrats who are eager to get Goober out of the White House. On April 3 we will hold our district caucus, and elect delegates to the national convention. Let all other Democrats (and anyone else who wants Bush out) know that while Kansas may not be considered a " battleground" state, we are in the fight.
By the way, if anyone still believes the world is safer because of Goober's wars, I can answer in one word: MADRID.
To any Spanish readers of BuzzFlash, I offer my profoundest condolences on your national tragedy.
Subj: Who Made Who?
I think there could be a reasonable argument made that if we had went ahead and caught bin Laden instead of getting bogged down in Iraq the Madrid bombing might never have taken place. I also think that may be why the Spanish people voted like they did.
bush and his mafia don't get it.
the reason other world leaders told kerry they would prefer him is because they TRUST him. yes we know if the shoe were on the other foot bush would be telling everyone who said it, that is why THEY DO NOT TRUST HIM. i am proud of john kerry!
Subj: Political Tool for Democrats
Here's an idea. Encourage your Democratic friends to insert some brief political information at the top of all their personal emails. (See above.) It acts like a "Thought for the Day" and permits an email to serve TWO purposes rather than just one. It doesn't cost anything, and no fancy website is needed. This approach takes advantage of the fact that emails are forwarded all over the country. And it's easy to do. Start by inserting a one-column table at the top of a blank email page. Into that table, paste some political information and save the document as a template. For the rest of the day, access that template whenever you're ready to send a new email. Don't change the political information within the table until the next morning; then, when you do, establish a new template in your computer system and delete the old one. Don't worry that some people who receive your emails will see the same information at the top; it's tailored for the day, not the individual.
I use information from a Word document that I've carefully researched and edited. A few months from now, when I get to the end of it, I'll start from the beginning and use the same information again.
Maybe you'll find this idea useful and maybe not.
Subj: Bush/Kerry Trade Talks
Since the White House wants answers, and the American public want answers, maybe we could have a little answer for answer trade. For each question Bush answers, Kerry gives up a country. Just for starters:
1. Can you give us names of men or women you served with in Alabama?
2. How has American involvement in the Iraq war provided increased protection for United States citizens against terrorist attack.
3. The CIA did not say there was a "massive stockpile" of biological weapons in Iraq. You asserted a stockpile existed. Did you overstate the intelligence?
4. The resolution passed by Congress authorized you to commit armed forces only if necessary for self defense against a clear and immediate threat of war, or if the opposing state had weapons of mass destruction. The evidence seems quite clear that you exceeded the limits of the authority granted by Congress, resulting in an extreme cut back of essential U. S. programs and untold death and suffering for thousands of persons. Can you provide any reason why you should not be impeached?
Note; a couple questions stolen from David Corn, The Nation.
Subj: Troubling News Item
The following story has been circulating over seas about the US off-loading some WMDs or equipment to make WMDs. I realize that the sourcing of this story is not very good. However, I think it is very worrisome. I'm not suggesting that you post it, of course, that is your judgement, but I really value your ability to suss out the info that we 'mortals' miss out on. And I don't want to be the only one who has seen this story, sometime closer to October 2004, if you know what I mean.
Anyway, use it as you will.
Subj: The bombing in Madrid, 911 days after 9/11
I am one of the hundreds of thousands of silent readers of your web site, living in Europe, having the benefits of living in a society where you CAN have independent news and views on the TV and radio has it benefits, but BuzzFlash.com has been a great source of US media for me.
I still remember the horrible images of the twin towers collapse, the worse was the smell of fire that covered NY for weeks after that dark day.
Seeing the images of the bombings in Spain, where Al-Qaida franchised terrorists used backpacks and ordinary cell phones as high tech killing material, made me wonder if there was a connection between 9/11 and Madrid? Other than the fact that Al-Qaida wanted to show that they are still alive and can strike the US friendly countries with no mercy for innocent civilians.
The date of the attack is exactly 911 days after the attack against NY and Washington DC. It may be a strange co-incident, but it is worth thinking about, isn't it?
Thank you very much for all your wonderful hard work, hope to see the people of America celebrate the regime change of their own the same way we saw that in Spain, hopefully without the death of hundreds of innocent people.
Subj: Vast Left Wing Conspiracy
There is one crucial difference between the vast right wing conspiracy and the vast left wing conspiracy: the right wing lies.
Subj: Get Rove Now
If this is true all Democrats should begin calling for Rove to step down and Bush to repudiate him. The White House should not be a place where discrediting campaigns begin. Throw this into Bush and Racicot's face. They claim to be changing the tone in Washington and bringing honor back. Well this looks like dead skunk in the middle of the road, smells like it to. Rove needs to be sent packing for this.
Subj: Spain's Elections
As a Spaniard I can tell you that the people of Spain simply made clear to its current leaders that they could not go against the wishes of the population. Spaniards were totally against the illegal invasion of Iraq. 92% participated in manifestations against it, nevertheless, Aznar disregarded the will of the people of Spain and did support Bush and now he got his reply from the people of Spain. The people of Spain are not blind party sheep, they do express their feelings and if not considered at the time...the elections bring their demands to reality. If the people of America are upset (as they should be) for being lied and taken to an illegal invasion which has caused the death and maiming of so many, they should let their leaders know come November, it will also serve as a reminder to all the other leaders of the world. People are not the slaves of their government, but their governments are public servants that are supposed to follow the desire and demands of their people.
A loyal BuzzFlash reader
Subj: What's New on the Menu?
So, now what's new on the right-wing menu? "American Fly" or "Freedom Rice"? We should have a whole meal pretty soon to go with our "Freedom Fries". The G.O.P. is great at devouring the world community. Frankly, it gives me indigestion. I'm ready for a new chef! Chef Kerry?
Subj: cheney in on the act re kerry
cheney now in on the act. he really has his gaul to stonewall the american people since he got in office and now demand kerry tells his sources. what a bunch of crap
a BuzzFlash reader
Subj: CNN "standing down" & other non-coverage of Aristide's exit from CAR
This is journalism? A Washington Post journalist and Amy Goodman with Pacifica Radio are the only journalists on the plane with Aristide flying to Jamaica. Congresswoman Maxine Waters and a delegation have been in CAR where this story began this weekend. The coverage is in Jamaica, UK, Australia, India...but not on CNN (as they were invited and responded that they were "standing down" on this one), or other US outlets. And what does this say about American media and its association with this administration and the citizens it is supposed to serve?
Subj: Re: The General who helped Governor Bush scrub his records issues a classic non-denial denial
It's odd that a newspaper in Spokane Washington is doing a better job of follow through on the Bush AWOL story than the major U.S. newspapers (www.spokesmanreview.com/breaking-news...), but I suppose I'm not surprised.
I learned two interesting things from it. First, orders have been issued to clamp down on all information related to the president's military service. This means that there is more to learn about his disgraceful record than he has released, and that he and his handlers are still very afraid of this issue. Read:
Second, the general who helped Bush scrub his records and was rewarded with a fourth star and command of the entire Air National Guard issued a classic non-denial denial:
RA in LA
I'm just curious whether anyone else remembers that the U.S. was closing in on bin Laden and his chief deputy in Afghanistan during the bombing campaign there two years ago -- a very precision bombing involving few civilian casualties, ahem -- and turned the mission over to the Northern Alliance and various and assorted regional warlords under the supervision of a dozen or so of our special forces. Ah, yes, I believe the rationale was that it would enable the Afghanis to determine their own destiny (or some such horse doo-doo) and that it would prevent further American casualties.
Well, the upshot was that bin Laden and hundreds of hardcore Al Qaeda and Taliban hightailed it posthaste to Pakistan, thanks in part to bribes they paid to fighters among the Northern Alliance (Dostum et al.) and the other groups. I recall that they were even so bold as to charter several planes to make quick work of their escape. Does anyone else remember this? It was a major black eye for the U.S. but was hushed up quickly.
There was some "speculation" at the time -- by those pesky Dems -- that the failure to round up those Al Qaeda and Taliban, who were until that time virtually surrounded, would lead to an outsourcing of their "talent" to various parts of the world. The threat was grave enough that the U.S. scrambled to blockade Pakistani ports to prevent the Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, and bin Laden specifically, from slipping through their new "net" by sea.
Well, it's pretty clear from subsequent bombings in Spain, Turkey, Pakistan, et cetera, that the Al Qaeda and Taliban forces did disburse throughout the world. Instead of standing tall, adding more troops, and continuing to take the fight to them, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and company turned their attention to the little matter of Iraq -- their initial target.
I guess that's what you get for sending a "boyish" boys (aka chickenhawks) to do a man's work.
otherwise noted, all original