The BuzzFlash Mailbag
The opinions expressed in the Mailbag are not
necessarily those of BuzzFlash. Read the BuzzFlash
FAQ for info on submitting to the Mailbag.
Subject: A Roman Phalanx for Democrats
This is no time for Democratic senators and House members to
be mealy-mouthed "accommodators." They will gain nothing
by trying to work with present-day Republicans; the Democrats
would, in fact, gain much more by taking a stand on every issue
we care about. They must not adopt an attitude of, "Well,
we'll go along here and there and fight only on the Big Issues."
That is a recipe for remaining a minority party forever -- and
losing all of the Democratic base in the process.
The Congressional Democrats must fight any judicial appointment
where the nominee is an extremist ideologue. They must not just
fight on the U.S. Supreme Court appointments, because more cases
are tried in federal courts than ever get to the U.S. Supreme
Court. Of course Democrats must fight, and fight hard, on any
U. S. Supreme Court appointments, but they must also fight against
putting ideological judges on the federal bench.
And, Democrats must stand together, like the Roman phalanxes
of old, against privatization of Social Security, or any other
of Bush's plans to "reform" Social Security.
The Republicans want to destroy Social Security, and the Democrats
must not help them do it. If the Republicans want to eliminate
Social Security, they must do it without a single Democratic
Let the Republicans suffer the scars from destroying Social
Security, and let them bear those scars alone -- without any
"cover" from Democrats.
This is not a new concept. In 1993, when President Clinton wanted
to raise taxes on high-income earners in order to bring the
federal budget into balance, not a single Republican voted for
the bill, because they felt it would harm the economy and destroy
the Democrats in the process. It didn't; and in fact, that legislation
was the method by which Clinton generated hugh surpluses during
the last years of his administration. The Republicans thought
they were dooming the Democrats to failure, but the Democrats
were correct then -- and they could be correct now if they refuse
to help the Republicans in their extremist activities.
The Democrats need to stand together as a single unit, and then
they will be at their strongest.
A BuzzFlash Fan
Subject: Social Security Deception
When the scurrilous right talks about Social Security going
broke, what they really mean is that in 2018, when the payroll
tax no longer brings in more than Social Security needs and
the decades of loans to the general revenues from the excess
Social Security tax must be repaid, the government will not
have the money to do it. The money is being spent now, and the
government’s borrowing power will be so overdrawn by the deficits
that it will be impossible to cover the theft from the "lockbox."
That is the real cost and purpose of the Bush tax cuts.
The compassionate conservatives say they want to bankrupt the
government and shut it down. And Social Security is part of
the ploy. Education was first. They cooked up All But Rich Children
Left Behind as a straw man for decapitating public schools.
When the entire public school system is forced to voucher itself
to economically segregated charter schools they will have won.
That leaves most American kids fit only for draft fodder. The
war drains resources like no tomorrow but it is off the books
so we only see it in rising interest costs. Next comes Social
Security. When that is converted to corporate welfare, they
will have won another round. Medicare is next. It will be deemed
too expensive, and just killed. Be ready to provide your own
old age health insurance. And expect private groups to be made
illegal, because they cost the insurers too much discount.
The cure for Social Security's problems are fairly simple. First,
put an end to age discrimination (business, federal and state)
and stop seniors from being pushed out of work by the youth
craze. Their wages are taxed and raise the income base, plus
people delay taking benefits. Second, re-index Social Security
to inflation, not wage growth. Third, remove the wage cap on
Social Security taxes, or at least raise it to $150K and index
it to upper 10% wage growth. Together, these will provide enough
revenue to keep the present system working long term. Maybe
too much. They might provide enough to allow a voluntary partial
private account system with no bridging shortfall. After all,
the biggest revenue deficit Social Security will see is about
20% of costs. It is not that big a problem except when you hear
about it on the right-wing talk show circuit.
Unfortunately, the odds of getting this message across to the
general public are very slim. We have no access to media and
Bush has a disinformation army spouting 24 hours a day on all
available channels. We really should be able to destroy these
guys by naming their lies, but the facts come only from a soapbox
in the desert, while the propaganda screams from a bullhorn
in every room. Progressives really have to get a better way
A BuzzFlash Reader
I will be outside the Capitol Building on January 6th with
Red White and Blue on and a sign saying Investigate "Votergate"
2004. I will also be protesting the Inauguration on January
20th in D.C. I hope others will join me.
Subject: NYT's article on Bush cutting back food program around
Just now on C-Span they read an interesting article about how
Bush said he was cutting back giving food to the poor -- like
$100 million (war is billions a month, but whatever).
…How Christian, Jesus-like is it to cut back on the loaves
and fishes? If you could find and post this article I think
it would be great
Subject: future prosecution
The prosecution of Pinochet, 30 years after his crimes, should
give pause to those in this administration who have played loosely
with the law, and give reassurance to those suffering from it.
We need to document these crimes for the future prosecution
of these criminals.
Subject: inauguration day
i plan to lower my flag to half staff on inauguration day. it
will show that i am in mourning. i should turn it upside down
as well. isn't that a distress signal?
merry christmas and a safe new year. kim,
Subject: How the Corporate/Bush Media Distorts (a.k.a. "lies
about) The News
A lie by any other name is still a lie.
Here's a new one from the Corporate/Bush Media. It is the use
of the word "massacre" ...
mas·sa·cre ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ms-kr)
n. The act or an instance of killing a large number of humans
indiscriminately and cruelly. The slaughter of a large number
of animals. Informal. A severe defeat, as in a sports event.
The media is calling the recent shelling and subsequent loss
of military personnel in the mess tent in Iraq a "massacre."
The word "massacre" has been used to describe indiscriminate
killing of civilians by military. The use of the word to describe
loss of military personnel in a war is Newspeak, or something
like that. Again, a word that evokes emotion is being used,
even though the meaning of the word is inappropriate and misleading
(a.k.a. "a lie").
Previous Corporate/Bush Media Newspeak, among many, was the
use of the word "ambush."
am·bush ( P ) Pronunciation Key (mbsh) n. The act
of lying in wait to attack by surprise. A sudden attack made
from a concealed position. Those hiding in order to attack
by surprise. The hiding place used for this. A hidden peril
Many defensive actions taken by Iraq during the United States
led invasion were referred to as "ambushes." For example,
a military convoy accidentally entered an Iraq Army grouping.
The Iraq Army responded by firing on the convoy. Jessica Lynch,
a passenger in the back seat of a vehicle was injured. You know
the rest. The whole thing was called an "ambush,"
which again is an incorrect and misleading use of the word (a.k.a.
Subject: Bush to Investigate Executive Order
President Bush expressed outrage today over an Executive Order
authorizing torture. Bush said, "We, as compassionate conservatives
and good Christians, are outraged by the Executive Order authorizing
torture. This administration respects life. We will investigate,
but it will take time. Do you think we can just ask members
of the administration who did it? That's simplistic Liberal
thinking. Finding out who did anything in this administration
is Hard Work. Take the Plame investigation. It's been going
on for months and we are no closer than when we started in finding
out what happened. Investigation is Hard Work. Being a President
is Hard Work. My job is Hard Work. War is Hard Work....Hard
I can't be precise about how many times Bush said "Hard
Work." When I left, the words "Hard Work" were
still echoing in the halls.
Your Underground Reporter
[BuzzFlash Note: We presume the preceding is your own spin
as to a possible Bush response. FYI,
Ari Berman suggests in "The Nation" that our prospective
new attorney general may have done the "hard work"
of drafting that executive order.]
This whole thing about 'spreading democracy' in Iraq just doesn't
ring true, as we've all been witness to. As much as is possible
with the big media clampdown on actual facts and information,
that is. It's more in the direction of spreading Dyarchy, which
is when an occupying force allows the 'natives' a small amount
of say in how things are being run, while the Occupiers really
hold all the cards and make the major financial and governmental
decisions. The people have an illusion of say in things, in
other words, but no real power. Sound familiar? Just look around,
it's also happening here...
Steve in Baraboo
[BuzzFlash Note: The online Merriam Webster Dictionary says
"dyarchy" means "a government in which power
is vested in two rulers or authorities." But we liked your
Subject: the sorryeverybody.com phenomenon
While the creative success and net-centric catharsis of the
"sorry everybody" project put a smile on my face after
a terribly disappointing 2004 US election result, it also gave
me reason to feel uneasy about the responsibility that we --
progressives -- feel for the terrible course of action that
our nation has taken under the mis-leadership of George W. Bush
and his neocon advisors. It is one thing to dismiss our responsibility
for this error when one supports Bush on account that he is
giving you a tax-cut (at the expense of the middle-class, poor,
and the future of our nation). The same if one supports him
because one is an ignorant fool who believes the right-wing
propaganda about how the US, always well-intentioned, is a victim
of every other nation and international organization, from Mexico
to the UN, and it is time for payback -- starting with Iraq!
But when the progressive wings begin to ask for something like
forgiveness for a growing list of crimes conducted in our name,
under our flag, then I am afraid that we have lost sight of
our civic responsibilities and that it will be a long time before
we are again hungry enough for democracy to exercise it.
Lest my apprehension about this project be misinterpreted,
I reiterate that it initially brought a smile to my face after
a disheartening election. In addition, I think that the project
helps express to the world that "America" is not a
single-minded hegemon at this moment in history. Quite the contrary,
this is a country at war ... also with itself, in which contradictions
of globalization, too many to enumerate here, have surfaced
with a vengeance.
But to express to the rest of the world our internal opposition
toward the Bush regime there are more ways than simply saying
that we are "sorry." I am sorry, but frankly this
is no longer enough. Maybe it was enough in 2000 when we were
blindsided by Rove and James Baker, and we allowed them to finally
steal our democracy, in order to supposedly avert a "constitutional
crisis." But now we must put our names to our growing bill
for everything that we have broken, for each child we each day
condemn to a life -- long or short -- in terror-ism; for the
child's mother and father; for the sorrows that will flow as
a petrol-drunk civilization turns to control the last reserves
of a limited resource -- at any expense. Sorry is not enough.
Self-reflexion is invaluable.
We must remove the cancer, but also the carcinogens.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Item: Ariel
Sharon rejects Tony Blair's call for a Middle East conference
No, he kinda didn't:
Sharon also ruled out Israeli participation in any multinational
conference that touched on the nation's security. Palestinians
have been pressing for a broader conference to revive stalled
peace moves, but Britain says it wants to focus on building
up Palestinian institutional and security capabilities in anticipation
of an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.
But that's not the conference that Blair is talking about,
(Ha'aretz) - With British Prime Minister Tony Blair en route
to the region Tuesday, Britain backed Israel's decision to absent
itself from a possible Middle East conference on London next
year, saying that the summit had been designed to focus on the
Why is it so necessary for BuzzFlash to consistently portray
Israel in such nefarious terms?
Are we supposed to believe that Israel is the only principal
party in the whole deep wide middle east conflict that is capable
of having any influence on the situation's circumstances?
Are The Jews really all that powerful? I could guess that if
we can kill off the sons of gods then mastering the domination
and control of world media, global finance, and the prospects
for peace in the middle east is a piece of cake.
Let's check our heads every now and then, huh?
Barry from Winfield
[BuzzFlash Note: Our headline seems to have had the wrong emphasis,
but Blair and Sharon are spinning this story, too.
Is it diplomacy?
Ariga.com offers an interesting perspective. Furthermore,
you err in ascribing the antisemitic view that Jews are too
powerful to us at BuzzFlash.]
Subject: It IS OUR money
Look at it this way: Every week of your whole working life,
you have put $100 into a jar to save for your retirement. You
did this for 30 years.
Your neighbor knew where your jar was and regularly helped himself
to your money. Using your money (from the jar), he gave gifts
to his friends, making them wealthy in the process; your neighbor
also took some of your dollars for himself while he was at it.
Your neighbor did put IOUs into your jar, promising to pay you
whatever he had "borrowed," with interest.
Fast forward, it is time for you to retire ... you go to your
jar which is filled with your neighbor's IOUs ... you go to
your neighbor -- who, by now, thanks to your savings, has moved
away and lives in a swankier neighborhood -- and ask him to
make good on his IOUs ... he says he can't, he's out of cash.
You say, "But that was MY money ... I put that in the jar
for MY retirement ... I want my money and I need it now."
Your neighbor says, "Too bad, but I spent it on this mansion
and my new Rolls-Royce."
His kids and the neighbor kids, hearing all the yelling, come
to your former neighbor's aid and tell you to get off his property.
They say that if he honored his IOUs and paid you what he "borrowed"
from you, he wouldn't be able to continue living in his swanky
house and his kids would have to give up their membership in
the swanky country clubs they belong to, courtesy of your money.
The kids -- including the neighbor kids who have also benefited
from YOUR savings dollars and bought expensive toys -- are very
surly, saying it's THEIR money now and it's very selfish of
you to want it back.
Well, that is exactly what the federal government has been doing:
taking OUR Social Security tax dollars and using those dollars
to pay bills and give tax cuts to Bush's rich friends. The Bushites
have been putting IOUs in our "savings jar" called
the Social security trust fund, and the Bushites now are prepared
to refuse to pay us back OUR own money because they have given
it all away to America's richest in the form of tax cuts.
It's OUR money and WE want it back, with interest.
It was NEVER Bush's to give away, and he now has a moral obligation
to get it back from the rich people he gave it to -- and pay
up on his IOUs to the Social Security trust fund.
The Truth? Bush will NEVER give that money -- OUR money -- back
to us, because he WANTS us to be poor and his friends to be
It was OUR money ... it IS OUR money ... we are entitled to
have OUR money back, with interest.
End of story.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Bigotry leads to hate, and hate leads to killing
The evils of this world are racial hatred, religious hatred
and the urge for world domination.
Last night I watched a program about the Battle of the Bulge
in World War II. The suffering of the men in the armies, and
the suffering of the civilian populations, was awful.
And what was it all about, that war?
Well, much of it had its roots in racial bigotry, religious
bigotry, and the urge for world domination.
Now, we can update that a few decades and ask ourselves what
the war in Iraq is all about. There is certainly an undercurrent
of racial bigotry, religious bigotry and the urge for world
domination, isn't there?
Do you think for a minute we would be slaughtering innocent
Iraqi women, children, babies and old men (and innocent young
men, as well) if it wasn't the case that there is much American
bias against people in the Middle East, because they don't look
like us and they don't follow the same religion most of us do?
At what point in this Iraq war did the Iraqi people turn into
"the enemy," an enemy we could torture and slaughter
at will? The Iraqi people, and even the Iraqi leaders, had NOTHING
to do with Sept. 11, and were NO threat to our national security.
But we are killing them daily, anyway.
Hitler understood that the way to get a civilized population
to be willing to slaughter another group of people is to, first,
DEMONIZE the other group, make them into "the enemy,"
make the "civilized" ones think the "others"
are the cause of whatever grievances they have.
More than a year ago, Bush said that with Saddam Hussein in
our custody, the world was a safer place, that America was safer.
No, we are NOT one bit safer. In fact, we are probably less
safe because so many additional people now hate us for the methods
we have used to subdue the Iraqi population.
Whenever we let our leaders make us scorn other people because
they "aren't like us," we do bad things.
Just in this country, Bush has turned us against one another:
he has divided us by race, by religion, by region, by political
views, by profession (hate the trial lawyers!), and by age group.
What is Bush's Social Security "piratization" plan
except one more way to set us against one another? The young
think we are spending THEIR money on the older generation, forgetting
the older generation paid into Social Security all their working
lives; many are still paying taxes on earnings. Furthermore,
seniors pay taxes on even their Social Security income. Everyone's
tax dollars -- even those of seniors -- go into educating children
and into providing Pell grants and student loans.
Fomenting hatred and bigotry and bias is evil, and any leader
who does that should be repudiated.
Bigotry leads to hate, and hate leads to killing.
It was true in the 1930s and '40s, and it is true now.
A Loyal BuzzFlasher
Subject: Is US torture policy gathering information? Are we
having 'Secret Successes' or just sadistic revenge?
The question of whether torture is sometimes justified to save
lives is not so simple. I believe there theoretically may be
rare times it may be justified for the greater good. There is
no evidence that any of those rare times have ever occurred
under the current administration and its more widespread policy
of torture. The administration has never claimed one example
of intelligence gathered under such conditions that has saved
a single American life.
Some (especially those still harboring some old fashioned notion
that public officials might hold the public's interests in higher
regard than political interests) would say that the government
may well know of such cases where torture paid off and just
can't reveal it for security reasons.
There are two arguments against there being any such secret
success in the use of torture as a means of gathering intelligence.
First is the fact that this administration does not seem particularly
worried about national security when it comes to making announcements
of their success. John Ashcroft regularly taints jury pools
by announcements of terrorist arrests (often followed months
later by dropped or severely reduced charges). The administration
is willing to name CIA agents in the field of Weapons of Mass
Destruction (Valerie Plame) if they think it will discredit
their spouse’s anti-administration talk. And don't forget the
time when a terrorist prisoner in Europe who was revealing information
was named and lost much of their usefulness to back some particular
statement that needed political support at the time. So it seems
highly unlikely that the administration is concealing any secret
success due to national security reasons.
The second reason that the administration would not be concealing
any hidden success in the use of torture as military policy
is that they are desperate for news that will justify themselves.
If the administration was willing to stretch the truth enough
to make outright false statements about Iraq to take us to war,
do you think they wouldn't happily push forth any success against
terrorism that would make George Bush seem more like a successful
"war time President" and less like a clueless commander
I feel pretty confident that all the torture used so far has
not produced nearly enough information to outweigh the increase
in hatred against America produced by using Saddam style military
tactics against the same people Saddam used them against.
This use of torture has to stop and George Bush should be forever
known as the man who's "values" were that torture
as official policy was just fine with him.
Following is an example of the policies our administration has
Another memo dated January 21 2004 which discusses a practice
by some interrogators of impersonating FBI agents, mentions
the deputy defense secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, suggesting that
the policy was approved high in the Pentagon.
"This technique, and all of those used in these scenarios,
was approved by the Dep Sec Def," [deputy secretary of
defense, Paul Wolfowitz] reads the memo.
The FBI agents believed that by impersonating agents, military
interrogators were trying to exploit the rapport the agency
had established with some inmates.
The agents believed that such tactics produced no useful intelligence;
they also threatened the FBI's image.
A BuzzFlash Reader and Big
Thanks for posting all the social security stuff..... many
women I know, and me too, have worked forever and will depend
on our social security - we were pretty much the first generation
not dependent on husbands, but in our youth, nobody taught
us about investing for our old age, and anyway, they always
thought we'd get married and not divorced after we put our
husbands through grad school or live in sin - if they cut
it or start fooling with it, we'll end up much worse off than
we anticipated.... Happy holidays!
Subject: I'm Dreaming of a Christ-like Christmas
Who was Jesus but an extremely thoughtful, honest, concerned
and loving man? He suffered in the face of sanctimonious hypocrisy,
spoke out against it, FOR human values, and invited martyrdom
at the hands of the powerful to make his even more powerful
point: that life is too lovely to be lived in enslavement
to vested interests and to the ephemeral passions of pleasure
and property. That life of the mind and the "heart"
builds a far more enduring and rewarding "capital"
of the spirit.
Jesus was a Buddhist before the Buddha. He was a militant
revolutionary before Mohammed. And he was a prophet for us
all in warning of the dangers of superstition and hide-bound,
exclusionary prejudice. He died because of, and to expose,
Love of human potential, the potential of humanity to become
more than it is, better than it is, is the lesson of Christmas
- the lesson of a newborn child. May we learn from and live
up to it.
Subject: Excuses or results?
It is amazing to see how much Republicans value excuses and
how little they value actual results.
For example, during the 1980 Presidential Campaign, Ronald
Reagan stated that the budget deficit was out of control and
claimed that he would balance the budget. However, after eight
years of Reagan leadership, the budget deficit had actually
Did this miserable result lead Republicans to conclude that
Reagan was a complete failure as president? Not at all. Republican
leaders only had to tell their followers that it was the liberals
in congress who were to blame. This excuse was all that the
Republicans needed to conclude that Reagan was, not a miserable
failure, but a national hero.
When Bill Clinton raised taxes, Republican leaders expected
the U.S. economy to crash and burn. They predicted everything
from an economic recession to rising unemployment, high inflation
and a substantial increase in the budget deficit. However,
after eight years of Clinton leadership, the massive Reagan
budget deficit had actually become a substantial budget surplus.
In addition, approximately 22 million new jobs were created.
Did these outstanding results cause Republicans to doubt themselves,
even a little? Not at all. Republican leaders had only to
claim that the economic boom had nothing to do with Clinton.
It was a stock market "bubble." This excuse was
all that the Republicans needed to conclude that Clinton was
nothing but a fortunate con man.
More recently, during the 2000 Presidential Campaign, George
W. Bush claimed that he would pay down the public debt, strengthen
Social Security, and give the people "tax relief."
However, after four years of George W. Bush leadership, the
massive Clinton budget surplus had become once again a massive
budget deficit. In addition, approximately 800,000 jobs had
actually been lost.
Did these miserable results give Republicans reason to pause
and question their beliefs? Not at all. Republican leaders
had only to claim that Bush "hit the trifecta."
This excuse was all the Republicans needed to conclude that
George W. Bush was, not a miserable failure, but another national
Much of the American public has become so completely brainwashed
by the propaganda of the GOP that even overwhelming evidence
of this magnitude, evidence that should absolutely shatter
their belief system, is instead completely dismissed with
such off-the-cuff excuses as "stock market bubble"
or "Bush hit the trifecta."
This behavior certainly doesn't give me much confidence in
the American public nor does it leave much room for optimism
about America's future.