June 11, 2004
The opinions expressed in the Mailbag are not necessarily those of BuzzFlash. Read the BuzzFlash FAQ for info on submitting to the Mailbag.
Subject: Flag-draped coffins
This United States has gone to such extremes in honoring a former president after his death, his coffin covered with the flag, photographed over and over again on front pages of newspapers across the country.
Recently there was a huge controversy over photos of the flag-draped coffins of our country's "true fallen heroes," the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Something is terribly wrong with this mindset.......
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Your June 7 reader editorial is RIGHT ON
Gore's speech is definitely worth a great deal. I have only one thing to add: How dare the media not cover Al Gore's speech more significantly, the man is not only a highly regarded and honorable citizen of the USA who has given his life to public service, but he most likely should be president right now! Thanks for your website, I will contribute when I am able.
Subject: Reagan should be on U.S. money...a 3 dollar bill...
It would be appropriate to have Ronald Reagan's face on a $3 Dollar Bill, seeing as his legacy is as phony as a 3 dollar bill.
OK, so the republicans are pushing for Mt. Rushmore for Reagan, changing our currency with his face on it, but pushing for every county in the USA to honor Reagan really takes the cake. Does it remind anyone of Saddam Hussein or any other dictator? Wasn't Saddam's monument all over Iraq? His face was also on their currency! They want Reagan here on anything and everything. Please! Give me a break.
Subject: This week of downplay
What we are downplaying is the condition of this country. I hope, after this is over, Nancy Reagan and Michael J. Fox continue their insistence on stem cell research. Our family has been affected with both Parkinsons and Alzheimers...and those are the two ailments that should be helped by stem cells.
After the insanity of this week, hopefully, too...we can get back to hearings and charge John Ashcroft with contempt of court....in the refusal to produce memos about the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.
This is not about a lapse with an intern, it is about consented abuse by this insane administration, and I certainly believe it was done with the approval of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz...Ashcroft...and yes, Bush.
Ashcroft is a smartass, anyway...but then no one bothered to ask me.
An American Hero is dead
Here is a man who deserves a week of media frenzy, 24/7 tributes, and his visage on Mt. Rushmore.
Ray Charles Dies at 73 (NY Times)
Name Reagan's Accomplishments
Will someone please enumerate the actual accomplishments of the Reagan Administration? After all, he had 8 years to do something. What did he do?
I've tried to find anything that he really did for the "majority" of the people in this country (not the ones that voted for dubya, but the real majority); can't find things. He broke unions so that employers could pay less wages; he reduced medical research and coverage (ironic, ain't it); he deregulated the phone company so that it would "lower" rates. I think that he deregulated airlines and utilities also.
Guess what happened? $10 - $20, he needs to be remembered on a 3-dollar bill to show what a phony "communicator" did to the American public. And when Joe "Wannabe" Republican tries to use the phony bill at the local yuppie club, maybe they won't even notice. By the way, as I write this, news reports say that German researchers have a border Collie that can understand 200 words. Makes him eligible to be president of the U.S., doesn't it? Remember, if dubya wins in 2004, there will be no more "us" in the U.S.
Subject: Too Much Reagan
Tonight's foxnews.com poll asks whether the Reagan coverage: A) Has Been Great, B) Has Been Overdone or C) Has Been Neither of the Above. 75% of the 81,000+ respondents apparently are lovin' all their regularly-scheduled programming preempted for The Amazing Strokefest, but me, I'm wondering who's answering this. Even the most conservative woman I know had enough by yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, reporting she'd switched from TV to listening to music on the radio to get away from the wall-to-wall coverage.
Subject: re: Reagan vs. Bush
Just letting off a little steam, I guess, but Thom Prentice, Austin, TX, wrote a letter/email you published to which I feel absolutely compelled to respond.
I don't know precisely what The Gipper, the Great Communicator, would have done vis a vis bin Laden and all his cohorts. But I do recall The Gipper sending the Marines into Lebanon and allowing them to sit there as targets until some, what, 247 or so, were slaughtered. Upon which, the Great Communicator said "Whoops," and pulled them out of there -- finally. But not until HE showed those Lebanese just how tough HE was (a la the Western cowboy hero?) -- using our Marines as guinea pigs.
I also seem to recall something about his administration (since Heaven knows he couldn't have been involved in anything quite so nefarious) assisting Saddam Hussein's surveillance satellite needs during the Iran-Iraq war, thus contributing in some large sense to our present imbroglio in Iraq. And wasn't there something about Iran-Contra going on in those days, as well, wherein, among other things, his administration was prepared to defy the world and its chicken opinion about laying mines in Nicaraguan harbors? Perhaps that was a lesson from which Dubya learned a bit?
So God only and truly knows what Reagan might have done with regards to Osama bin Laden, but since he was already seemingly in the grip of the Alzheimer's that eventually carried him away to Nirvana, I rather doubt that he could have screwed it up as badly as Wonder Boy and all His Saints.
It's claimed that the liberals have no workable foreign policy, but on reflection, I fail to see how the so-called conservative (read right-wing ideologues) camp has any consistent, coherent, HUMANE policy either.
Unless bush can come up with one million more jobs in the next few months........he will still be the first president since Herbert Hoover to lose jobs!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: GOP really is paying Nader signers
I went to the library the other day and a guy was sitting there saying to a woman, "Do you want to sign a petition to get Ralph Nader on the ballot and help Bush win?" The woman said, "Hell no," but the fact of the matter is that a friend called the Democratic headquarters and asked to volunteer, and she was told that the GOP is actually paying people to get signatures to put Nader on the ballot. So, why don't we try to put Judge Roy Moore on the ballot and let him take some votes from Bush?
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Asinine Stupidity Exposed
Supporting Asscraft's contempt of congress, "Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., said terrorists could train to resist certain interrogation techniques if documents detailing them were made public."
Let's see, how does a "terrorist" - or the 90% innocent Iraqi civilians Duhbya, Rumpsfelt & Asscroft detained and tortured (per the Red Cross) - "train to resist" rabid dogs, or rabid rapist guards or electric shock - just to name a few of our techniques of torture?
It never ceases to amaze how idiot jerks like Kyl willingly and publicly make themselves out to be so supremely stupid in the name of political cover-up.
Agonizing in Arizona
Subject: The Saccharine Memoriam
So, I'm sitting here, reading up on all the pomp and circumstance regarding Reagan's funeral...and I'm starting to get a major sugar overload.
When Nixon died, everybody was there. Ford, Carter, Bush Sr., and Clinton, who was President at the time. Reagan was absent for obvious reasons. Despite the fact that Nixon brought greater shame to the credibility of our government in general, Clinton found moving, respectful, and honorable words to honor a deceased President. The crucial point to the proceedings was that three of the four living Presidents were in attendance to honor a predecessor.
Now, we turn to Reagan's passing and there is something highly conspicuous about what is missing. I haven't seen Carter or Clinton anywhere in sight. I've looked at copious amounts of television coverage, poured through my local newspaper, been to CNN, MSNBC, and FOXNEWS on the internet and have found only one singular item about the absences of Carter and Clinton: Your website.
CLINTON FURIOUS AT REAGAN SNUB (Daily Record)
Granted, it is from the UK and thus, there is a degree of separation from the actual information. However, I really think it needs to be brought to light whether both Carter and Clinton were intentionally left off the invites list.
They dragged in Thatcher, Bush Sr., Gorbachev, Howard Baker, George Schultz, Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, Iraq's new president, Ghazi al-Yawer, the Supreme Court justices, and even a bunch of Boy Scouts.
But they couldn't even invite two former Presidents?
Somebody is playing politics.
Subject: Rude nevertheless
Hey, I am
no Reagan fan, but I will say this. I think about how Nancy Reagan
must have felt when Laura Bush had to open her mouth and state her
opinions, as if anyone cares, about how she is opposed to stem cell
research. Her timing shows that, in spite of that "nice" image the
media forces on us of Laura Bush, the first lady is really quite insensitive
Subject: Fear mongering and cowardice
On the way home from work yesterday I was listening to Sean Hannity. (I listen to Randi Rhodes until I am out of range, then I turn to Hannity to see what the other side is up to). He made a statement about having to defeat liberalism (he really believes in freedom, huh? Denying an opposing point of view is NOT what this country is all about, but I digress). He also said that our way of life, our very civilization is at risk because of terrorism. Really? Chicken Little in an expensive suit.
Certainly, the terrorists can kill our citizens, 3000 in one devastating day. BUT - did our society collapse? Is our way of life gone? Some parts are, to be sure, but that is due to the reaction to, and exploitation of, events by the Bush administration.
The death of 3000 of our fellow citizens, while obviously tragic, in no way threatens our way of life or our civilization. Hundreds of times more people die in this country every year from crime, accidents, disease. And these are things INTERNAL to our society, but our society can withstand the assault and survive. If we can survive internal threats to our way of life we can certainly survive EXTERNAL threats.
Hannity and his ilk on the rabid right are exploiting the fears of the average person with the ludicrous position that the terrorists are a threat to our very existence. That is utter nonsense.
By last count Bush's war of choice has created about 18,000 new members of al Qaeda. How many soldiers did Japan, Germany and Italy have in WWII? MILLIONS - And they WERE trying to destroy our way of life and take over the world. We all know what happened. If we could defeat such a pervasive, dangerous, world-wide threat to our civilization and society back then, how can anyone think a small group of terrorists can destroy our way of life?
Fear mongers, cowards and corrupt ideologues will try to convince you the end is near. DO NOT fall for their bullshit.
Subject: Re: Ashcroft's Contempt for Contempt of Congress
While I was heartened to see petitions from Sen. Ted Kennedy and also the Center for American Progress urging public action to compel Ashcroft to hand over "the memo," I was puzzled as to why these petitions are needed in the first place. Since Ashcroft is clearly in contempt of Congress, couldn't the Congressional panel take whatever action against him is appropriate in such cases?
After looking up the consequence for being in contempt of Congress, it became immediately and dishearteningly apparent as to why Ashcroft remains blissfully unperturbed -- in short, since a contempt of Congress resolution from the affected congressional committee must first be adopted by the House or Senate, Ashcroft knows that being cited for contempt is a toothless threat. Who's going to lead the charge to adopt a contempt citation against him? DeLay? Frist? Hastert? LOL!!! -- not.
This situation brings to mind the words of Al Gore last year:
Well, I'll sign the petitions and hope for the best. (I'm sure I'm already on every list Ashcroft has anyway.)
Subject: Letter to the Mailbag
As the highest authority in the U.S. military's chain of command, George W. Bush is ultimately responsible for the torture and murder of prisoners in Abu Ghraib and other prisons in the Middle East and around the world. He may not have signed the order to commit these crimes -- the bosses in the Pentagon and generals in the field did that either actively or tacitly -- but the White House okayed the order which said that our military was not required to abide by the Geneva Conventions, a series of treaties to which the U.S. is signatory. Bush must have believed that he would have a measure of "plausible deniability" if he merely removed the legal proscriptions against torture, leaving to those below him the task of actually issuing the criminal orders.
The president should require the people below him who are responsible for these war crimes -- upper level appointees in the White House and the Pentagon -- to resign immediately. They should be turned over to the World Court in The Hague for criminal prosecution. (It is easy to see why this presidential administration has objected so vociferously to U.S. citizens being under the jurisdiction of the World Court.) The generals and other officers in that direct chain of command -- from the Pentagon down to the dungeons and tiger cages where the torture and murders occurred -- should face general courts martial. And the proceedings in these courts martial should be open to the public and televised. The lowly enlisted people who were duped into committing these criminal acts should be reprimanded and warned that they will face the full weight of military justice if they are foolish enough to obey illegal orders in the future.
The president himself should be impeached by the House of Representatives, although it is unlikely that the Republican-controlled body will do the right thing. This will leave only the election in November as the sole avenue of redress for the American people. If the election fails to dislodge the offenders, we simply become a criminal nation, or at least a nation lead by people with unresolved criminal charges hanging over their heads.
Although one might imagine it to be axiomatic, the most important reason we do not engage in barbaric behavior toward enemy prisoners is to insure that our soldiers will be treated humanely if they are captured, that is, aside from the fact that the United States has agreed by treaty not to abuse, torture and murder prisoners of war. While we cannot be sure that our troops will be treated well when they are taken prisoner, we can be sure they will be treated badly if we mistreat enemy prisoners under our control.
Either the White House and the Pentagon do not understand why it is important for our military to treat enemy prisoners with the greatest dignity and care, or.... I do not even want to consider the "or."
Another Defeat for the Patriot Act
Al-Hussayen acquitted of using Internet to support terrorism (KGW and AP)
Subject: Words Have Power
A friend recently reminded me that we Democrats need to use strong and positive words when speaking of the coming election i.e.: "When Kerry wins"" and When Kerry is President...." Read between the lines and see how the Republicans use the language to their advantage.
Subject: NPR Qaddafi Jaw-Dropper & "The Rule"
On this morning's (June 11) NPR's Morning Edition, reporter Michelle Kellerman -- informing listeners on the most recent Qaddafi shocker and why the Bush Administration is loathe to consider lifting sanctions against Libya -- stated that the U.S. first needed Libya to forever turn away from "using violence to settle old scores." Wha?
Gee, I wonder if I was the only NPR listener who had not stepped through the looking glass with Ms. Kellerman, the rest of the NPR reporters, writers, producers, anchors and staff? Given, hmmmmm, let's think of a recent example -- how about W. BUSH LAUNCHING A WAR IN IRAQ!!!!????? -- where, just perhaps, the U.S. has arguably "used violence to settle an old score." Yes, how about W. BUSH LAUNCHING A WAR IN IRAQ!!!???
Again, hmmmm, I also wonder to what extent the rest of the world citizenry thinks the current Administration applies one standard to resolve its own international "disputes," versus calling on other countries to follow another standard?
Here's The Rule: Whatever journalists do, they must not, under any circumstances, research, address, discuss, analyze or even comment on how the "man/woman on the street" in Libya, England, Russia, Japan, Sweden, Jordan, Brazil, Canada, Mali, Pakistan, Mexico, & etc. might think that Bush and his Administration act like a bunch of hypocritical blowhards when it comes to "settling old scores."
What do I think? Frankly, that's irrelevant. It's what the other 6 billion people who are not Americans think that I'm somewhat interested in. But, of course, we must all obey The Rule.
Subject: Those being released from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo
Is anyone keeping track of the prisoners who are quietly (secretly is not a word one would use with the Bush Admin...) disappearing from both Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and who knows how many other prisons in Iraq? (Afghanistan is not even mentioned in this regard). If not, in the end there will be lots of accusations and many accused, but no witnesses.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: If it's not pro-war, it's not on country radio
Forwarded by a BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Terrorists who want to influence the election
must be them.
There will no Mailbag on Monday, June 14. Some of us will be out attending two non-presidential, though no less important, funerals. We'll be back on Tuesday, June 15. Have a nice weekend.