August 5, 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: OMB Mid-Session Review
It is very evident that the US is headed for fiscal disaster because there is no sign the red ink from the Bush's "voodoo economics" will not continue to result in record deficits. The economy cannot improve with huge tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate America during his war on terrorism which threatens the value of the dollar and force huge tax increases.
The increase in inflation and price of oil are early signs of trouble ahead. Fiscal irresponsibility is synonymous with the worst kind of abuse of power.
I just want to say thank you for your site. I am laid off at the moment (thanks, W, for the best economy since . . .), so have no funds to contribute to you, but if I had any I would (and will in the future). I have been getting so depressed over the lying, name calling, poor (read biased or incomplete or downright negligent news coverage) I can hardly stand it.The possibility that the computer voting is going to be rigged and that the Republicans will again steal this election just knocks me out, but I come to your site and get lost, sometimes for hours, in its "wonderfulness." You guys are the best. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And go, John Kerry!
Subject: "When In Danger, When In Doubt..."
Gee, BuzzFlash People,I bought a couple of "John Kerry: These Colors Don't Run" bumperstickers a couple of weeks ago. I really don't know what other drivers think, and Albuquerque, NM, is a military town, however, I am observing more "Kerry" stickers.
I may be correct in my observation that for four years "Bush/Cheney" bumperstickers have been prevalent on cars, pickups, and small business trucks as a "Constant Presence" reminder of the (not our) Administration. AND the colors don't fade! I think that that's an important point if the message of Choice is not to fade away. So, here's my bumpersticker thought, after our Orange Alert:
I've got more, such as: "Is WAR a Conservative Value?"
I don't know if you have had time to read "Outsourcing The Defense Budget" by the Center For Public Integrity. Private contractors could be preparing the very budget that awards them billion-dollar defense contracts.
Did you know that the United States ranks 140th out of 163 of the world's democracies in average voter turnout? While almost 75 countries had better than a 70% average turnout in the 1990s, the U.S., arguably the world's greatest democracy, could do no better than 44.9%. This is embarrassing, and it is also very alarming.
As you may know, Common Cause has decided to do something about this problem. Through our Vote for America program, a non-partisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote effort, we are asking everyone to do their part to get friends and family members -- especially those who seldom or never vote -- to go to the polls on Election Day, November 2.
Subject: BuzzFlash - Daily Headlines and Breaking News
Bush Cartel Claims Grave New Terror Warnings for NYC -- And Then Goes and Opens the Statue of Liberty Because It's Safe Now? Our Mind is Spinning with the Brazen Hypocrisy and Cynicism of It All! -- This is all about locking down New York for the upcoming convention. Slow down, unwind, be still. Recall that NYC and WDC are not the only financial centres in the U.S. But they are the only big cities the paranoid in chief will be visiting that don't have military reservations. NYC gets to crack down on the government's dime.
Subject: I am not afraidI am not afraid. But I see my country becoming a nation of cowards, obsessed with constant threats.
So many seem willing to sacrifice our liberties, human
rights, and the Constitution, in order to alleviate their fears, and
yet we are more likely to die in an automobile accident, or as a result
of smoking. Think back to the FTAA protests in Miami when heavily armed
jack-booted policemen severely injured peaceful activists and even journalists,
shooting them in the back with rubber bullets.
Governing with Fear is not a new concept. In the 15th century, Niccolo Machiavelli emphasized the importance of fear over being loved; and Machiavellian now means corrupt government.
Subject: Henry Hyde discovers wmds!
If you click
on this link: http://www.house.gov/hyde/Newsroom.htm it
will take you to Henry Hyde's (Republican, Illinois 6th District) website.
From there, click on "July 2004" newsletter and scroll down. In this
newsletter - paid for by tax dollars -Hyde makes the claim that wmds
were found in Iraq and that there were Al Qaeda / Iraq ties, among other
Subject: Zell Miller News Alert
Re: Zell Miller alert of 8/2/04, you might remind your readers that Zell Miller also introduced a resolution earlier this year to repeal the 17th Amendment (that's the one that gives us the right to ELECT members of the Senate rather than having them APPOINTED by the House of Reps). Apparently Mr. Miller believes that we the people are corrupting our government. (See http://miller.senate.gov/press/2004/04-28-04%2017th%20amendment.html .)
But the piece de resistance is Miller's statement on prison abuse at Abu Ghraib. Rather than decry the abuse itself, Miller condemns the "Hand-Wringers of America" who express their disapproval of such actions:
"I for one, Mr. President, refuse to join in this national Act of Contrition over it."Through some feat of illogic which eludes me, he also uses the abuse fiasco to criticize the integration of females into the military:
"[T]here should also be some serious questioning of having male and female soldiers serving side by side in these kinds of military missions." (For the entire jaw-dropping rant, see http://miller.senate.gov/press/2004/05-13-04prison.html.)Mind you, this guy is the "prize catch" the Republicans plan to feature at their convention.
Subject: Since Ridge is using old information for his alerts... ...will we soon see these? (AP) Tom Ridge upped the Terrorism Alerts to ELEVATED based on reports that several Japanese planes have been sighted heading in the direction of Pearl Harbor? "Our military base there should be on alert!"
(AP) Tom Ridge today placed the city of San Antonio on alert, as reports have come in that Generalissimo Santa Anna has been moving large numbers of troops toward a small pueblo structure there. "The President takes this very seriously, as he is from Texas."
Subject: mailbag 8/3
Interesting how we are all thinking alike... Even (and this is chilling) after it was found out that the Bush info about the terrorist attack....he has made the statement, that even if he knew [then]...how everything was....he would still go into Iraq...so, you see, it did not matter if Saddam had wmd....nothing mattered but his bullheadedness... No soldier's life, no innocent Iraqi family...nothing mattered to George Bush, except having his little war!! Isn't that what we have always known???And to the BuzzFlash reader who was talking about Bush's inability to ride a bike....what the hell....he tried a couch...then he tried a segway...then there was the first bike...and the second bike. Why can they not just admit that Kerry rides a Harley very well, and is just more sane and balanced than Bush. Betsy, you are so right about Joe Lieberman. I think everyone on this site knows that there was only one person of the ten who debated for the dems that I wouldn't vote for. I really did not go for Graham or Sharpton, but they have more respect than Lieberman. I knew when Gore picked him, it was for a special purpose, to show the
world that he was not like Clinton (biggest mistake Gore ever made), and he knew, we all knew. I had heard this when it happened. Lieberman bragged that he was the first Democrat to stand up on the floor of the senate and berate Bill Clinton for his behavior. I kept my mouth shut, and voted, but even if the election had not been stolen...it would have been hard for me. I cannot now, nor have I ever been able, to stand Joe Lieberman. And now, it is just worse. He wants to play on both sides....and after Gore backed Howard Dean, I think that really pissed off Joe...poor idiotic baby!Bob...as to Phil Donahue...he had a great show. I watched it every night he was on, which was not long. As you remember at the time...if you badmouthed Bush...God would smite you dead?...Well, Phil did it in a nice way...much too nice for George. Bush said to someone on his show, that he did not wear the flag on his lapel because he did not back his president.Well, you see, in 2002, that was just not allowed....you had just better go ahead and drink the Kool-aid. I found out the hard way... Everyone on this site knows the story of my family and most friends. I took my one and only democratic friend to see Fahrenheit 9/11 last week, and she was aghast, as everyone is when they see it. But, you know, I have grown...I have a Kerry sticker on my car..and one clipped on my refrigerator...so there! There is the feeling in the air....and these are my kids, that something just stinks, even though they do not want to admit it...it is so obvious, that any half way intelligent person has to see it....or know it!! John Ross....I love the new slogan, "Four More Wars Tour." Actually, if they do not
keep their mouths shut.....Teresa Heinz Kerry will tell them....what a gal!!!
Cheryl Taylor....so sorry for your loss on 9/11, and yes, Lieberman is a republican in Democratic clothing...I have known that since the day he denounced the most brilliant president of our time,William Jefferson Clinton. Lieberman, in his whiney voice, berated the wise man and his behavior...I would guess, that Lieberman has never done anything wrong...except pose as a democrat! I wish he would get the hell out and run on the rep.ticket...he and Zell Miller... And yes, Shorty....Bush is insane. I am convinced after he made the speech saying that even if none of what they thought was true....he would still go into Iraq...so the deaths of the thousands....and the innocents...mean nothing to him. God help us all if this deranged man finds a way to win this election~!!!
Subject: My letter to the editor of the Rocky Mountain News
Here is a letter I wrote in response to this Colorado paper's recent editorial: http://www.rockymountainnews...
Subject: Why am I not allowed to disagree? Why does disagreeing make me unpatriotic?
I work in Harrisburg, PA, the state capital, which happens to be a very conservative, pro-Republican area. While I disagree with the strongly conservative atmosphere that pervades the area, I respect the rights of all who feel that way to, well, feel that way. Why, then, do I face such bitter, scathing rebuttal when I express my opinion? Why am I called unpatriotic? Since when is it unpatriotic to have an opinion that differs from the President? Is that not what our forefathers espoused, the foundation on which this great country was built?
I don't remember anyone calling me unpatriotic as I floated onboard a Guided Missile Destroyer in the Persian Gulf in the mid-to-late 80s. And while I am certainly 100% supportive of our men and women in uniform today, I don't consider it un-American to disagree with our President's vengeful decision to sacrifice so many of our military personnel's lives to avenge Saddam Hussein's attempts to have Bush I assassinated.
I remember when it was okay to talk politics with someone with a different party affiliation from your own. Now one can actually lose a long-time friend or alienate lifelong relatives by telling them that one is a Democrat if they are Republican. I would like to think that Democrats are more tolerant of opposing viewpoints; I fervently hope that we are better than that.
Daniel J. Vavrek
Subject: K of C/Bush
I notice the WP is carrying a piece about Bush being well received by the Knights of Columbus convention in Dallas. You might be aware of the following, should anyone ask: Kof C membership is about 1.5 mil (according to their website). Catholic population in the U.S. is 65.2 mil (U.S. Census), ergo the K of C speaks for less than one per cent of the Catholic population, or to put it another way, they speak only for themselves, mostly older, businessmen, generally republican anyway. Truth be known, "vouchers" scare catholic parents to death...Richard L. Fricker
Subject: A Reason for the Bogus Terror Threats?
I have read a lot about the idea that the recent Bush/Ridge alerts are related to taking attention away Kerry's "victory" swing through the country.
Certainly that could be a motive. It has also occurred to me that they have used the pretext of a terror attack to effectively lock down New York City prior to the Republican convention. They would never be able to do what they are doing without trying to scare everyone.
They have to be very frightened about what could happen when their convention attracts 250,000 to 500,000 protesters. Not that any of them are going to blow the place up but that there will be so many pictures of the huge number of people who do not agree with this President. As events unfold I expect that they will not just be inspecting trucks coming into the city but also stopping people from coming into the city who will not profess allegiance to the President and Vice President (as they did recently in New Mexico). I expect them to try to scare people enough and make it even more difficult to protest.
Subject: Nixon and Bush
I have often referred to Bush's efforts to copy everything that his hero Reagan did. He has even done his best to outdo Reagan regarding the transfer of wealth to the wealthy, the huge defense spending, huge deficits and pulling the plug on protecting the environment, destroying social programs and giving corporate America a free hand without consumer protection. However, I had not gotten around to comparing him to Richard Nixon, the previous worst president in modern history.
In the first chapter of his book, Worse Than Watergate, John Dean describes two similarities between Nixon and Bush. Dean says that, like Nixon, rather than truly becoming the president, Bush plays the role of being president (sometimes well and other times poorly). Note the telling way both men have talked about their jobs. Nixon constantly referred to "the president" doing this or that, as if the president were someone other than himself. Similarly, Bush discusses his job in the third person, as did Nixon: "First of all, a president has got to be the calcium in the backbone." "The job of the president is to unite a nation to achieve big objectives." "A president likes to have a military plan that will be successful." "I'm the commander -- see, I don't have to explain -- I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president." Seldom have other presidents talked this way, for they saw themselves as president.
This tendency to separate self from title is more than a verbal tic, and anything but an act of humility. For both Nixon and Bush it reflects a kind of inoculation and immunization from the impact of their decisions, and a further buffer and rationalization from disclosing those decisions. It is almost as if they are saying that it wasn't them who did it, but rather someone else, that presidential character. At the same time, they give themselves a distance and implied fruitlessness in trying to find out what was really done, a sort of "don't ask me -- I wasn't involved." Big clues from little ones. When a president separates himself from his actions -- his official actions -- it reveals a fear both of being identified with those actions, and of officially taking responsibility but privately shirking it. With George Bush, the fear and dodging is understandable. He and his administration have engaged in some of the most deplorable activities in modern American political history. And they know what they're doing, using secrecy and it handmaidens -- obfuscation, deception, stonewalling, and lying -- to remain unaccountable, when possible, which is merely further evidence of dissonance between the man and his high office. Dick Cheney, on the other hand, appears to find the sort of pleasure in power that medieval warloards did. Never before have we had a pair of rulers -- it is difficult to call them leaders -- like Bush and Cheney, men whose obsession with control of information, and spin, is so strong that they are willing to subvert the democratic process for their own short-term personal political gain. Not since Nixon left the White House have we had such political paranoia. When I first began to compare Nixon and Bush, I assumed that their similarities would be superficial. Unfortunately, they are not. History never exactly repeats itself, but it does some rather good imitations. It is remarkable that Nixon and his past are prologue for the Bush and Cheney presidency. But so it is. And as I show, the echo resonating through time is coming from the lower notes of Nixon's era.
A big thank you to Vicki Stein for pointing out the slanted coverage of the John Kerry rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by the local TV stations.
There are some news organizations that have yet to be corrupted by corporate influence... College Campus Newspapers for one... [See article in subject line.]
Matthew in Michigan
Subject: THE METHODIT IS THE METHOD Have you noticed how the Bush administration will announce that it is going to fix something, and then spokespeople for the administration announce the opposite usually the same day in another public setting? [relief - the Bush fix & pressure - the Bush program cuts]
Laura Flanders in a book tour interview described how Bush Women are used for just that purpose:
the Bushwomen (The Nation)
Subject: Good intelligence is valuable no matter how old it is?Hi BuzzFlash:
Today at lunchtime I was listening to the radio and I heard this quote from Tom Ridge: "Good intelligence is valuable no matter how old it is."
Oh really? Well I hope no one makes the mistake of saying "The British are coming, The British are coming!" or "The Japanese just bombed Pearl Harbor," in his presence, because if that happens we're all in for one hell of a ride.
Carolyn in Tennessee (standing up for America in a red state)
Subject: George Bush's vs John Kerry's resumes
One of your best links over that last few years has been the resume of George W. Bush, and why would anyone hire him? I was thinking a great follow up to this would be the resume of John F. Kerry. It would be great to put them next to each other and then we would see why it is so important to send Bush packing. Keep up the good work.
To the reader who wrote about the arrests of protesters in Springfield, MO, I would suggest you call your local ACLU chapter as they can provide legal help to the protesters. In fact, if any of you find items in the local paper about people being arrested for protesting or being denied access to public events, they should let the ACLU know.
Subject: Don't be spooked.
The latest national terror alert is a hoax. That's right, Sunday's solemn announcement by Tom Ridge that terrorists are poised to attack four key financial sites in Newark, New York City and Washington, D.C. is nothing more than an attempt by the Bush administration to trump the pro-Kerry media buzz generated by last week's Democratic National Convention.
It's one of Karl Rove's oldest tricks. Rove knows that Friday's news is easily forgotten over the weekend, especially if something juicy displaces it early the following week. Like clockwork, he'll break a distracting story on Sunday afternoons or Monday mornings and then let the corporate media repeat it for him all week long, thus overriding last week's memories.
Luckily, though, there's National Public Radio. On Monday morning, NPR's Steve Inskeep interviewed terrorism expert Larry Johnson to get some perspective on Ridge's Sunday afternoon announcement. Johnson called the new alert "irresponsible" and an "over-reaction." And he knows what he's talking about. Johnson is not only a former CIA officer; he's also former Deputy Director of the State Department's Office of Counter-Terrorism.
In the NPR interview, Johnson explained that the evidence Ridge cites as grounds for his new alert is both old and largely irrelevant. According to Johnson, the information is from computer documents that were recently recovered during a counter-terrorism raid and arrest in Pakistan. The information is quite old and indicates nothing more than that, at some time in the past, al-Qaeda had been thinking about targeting the four financial institutions Ridge listed yesterday as likely targets (the Prudential building in Newark, New Jersey, the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup buildings in New York City, and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank buildings in Washington). The documents contained nothing to suggest that al-Qaeda had even investigated the sites, much less moved forward toward making a plan to attack them.
What Ridge did, in other words, is a bit like shouting "Fire!" in a crowded movie house on the grounds that he had just come across an old magazine article about the dangers of theater fires.
You can listen to the NPR interview here: http://www.npr.org/features/feature.php?wfId=3809463
The costs of Ridge's over-reaction will be high. First, local authorities in New York, New Jersey, and Washington will spend tens of thousands--perhaps millions--of dollars on additional security precautions they don't really need. These costs will not be paid by the federal government that issued the exaggerated alert; they will be paid by local taxpayers. Second, real terrorists will be able to watch how local authorities react during high alerts and will gain valuable information about how to defeat local security measures. Third, repeated false alarms from the Department of Homeland Security will cause citizens to become inured to future warnings and alerts. If Tom Ridge and the Bush White House are going to issue terror alerts every time they feel the need to distract public attention from their own incompetence or from the growing strength of the Kerry-Edwards campaign, we're likely to have weekly alerts between now and November. Tom Ridge is squandering the credibility of the Homeland Security Department. If the day ever comes when Americans really need to duck and cover, who's going to listen to little Tommy Ridge, the boy who cried wolf?
the word about this important NPR interview that is sure to get no bounce
in the corporate media. You can start by forwarding this email to everyone
Subject: Terror Alerts/Diversions
There is a fairly simple research project to be done. If I hadn't recently moved across the country with all my stuff still packed, I'd do it myself. But instead I'm asking BuzzFlash either to do it, or to encourage its many viewers to try their hands.
It's simply this: What correlation exists between Tom Ridge's elevation of the color coding of threat and either bad news for the Bush Admin or good news for the Democrats in the preceding week? In other words, can we go beyond the anecdotal hunch by nailing down some statistical facts?
We all know we'll be needing all the facts available over the next three months, and this seems to me to be an essential one, easily worth the one-person day's effort it would take.
I hope you agree.
Good luck to us all!
Subject: Recent DHS Alert
Next thing you know, Tom Ridge will be telling us that Pakistani intelligence has just provided them with computer files showing that terrorists plan to hijack commercial airliners and fly them into the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon, and either the Capitol building or the White House. They can't be sure, but they think the attack might be planned for sometime in September.
Here's the Registration information for that slimeball swift boat group:
Weymouth is speaking at the Ramada Express in Laughlin, Nevada on October 28. Ollie North will speak there on August 29th.
Joey Martin, Chicago
CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THE AUGUST 5, 2004 BUZZFLASH MAILBAG.