January 20, 2005
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.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: It's A Cold Day In ---- Washington??
Subject: Re: Four
More Years of Bush Makes the World Anxious
Subject: A Pretty Good Day
Well, I woke up this morning just a tad gloomy, but it wasn't long before my outlook improved dramatically. The first thing I heard on TV was a right wing caller, then another, and then another, on C-Span's Washington Journal, defending poor, brilliant Condoleezza Rice against that terrible Barbara Boxer. Well, I've been tempted to call in more than once, but never managed to get through--until today!! So before 8:00 this morning I was able to convey my sentiments to a fairly large audience. I said that while C. Rice is a lovely woman and an accomplished academic, she was a failure as National Security Advisor because she did not bring the intelligence agencies together or in any way heed the warnings of 911. I asked what business or industry would reward such failure with a promotion. I also said that Senator Boxer was one of the few democrats who had the courage to stand up to her and that more dems should be doing that.
Within an hour, I received a call from someone I had worked with who told me she couldn't have said it better herself. Flushed and inspired I immediately sent a BRAVO to Senator Boxer, and the following letter to my senators, Clinton and Schumer, telling them not to vote for her confirmation.
While I was at the computer, I
received a request from the DNC
to help them up their membership
before tomorrow. I sent them the
minimum, and then screamed at them
in bold type that I would not contribute
again unless Howard Dean is the
Chair, because he's the only one
who can speak like a real democrat.
I also signed several petitions
Subject: If the "detainees" at Guantanamo
are so bad, where's all the security?
Guantanamo Bay Linguist Pleads Guilty (NY Jewish Times)
Dear BuzzFlash and its readers:
The following is a copy of an email I mailed to President Bush. I know he will never actually read it, but perhaps they can file it in the complaint file; plus, I just had to send it (anger management).
Subject: Condi Rice -- She said it
Hey Condi, while you're working on "holding
accountable leaders who do not govern democratically"
don't forget your boss, Bush. Nearly half the voters
participating in the 2004 Presidential election voted
against him and his policies. We've already mobilized
around an agenda of liberty, justice, prosperity,
and, yes, democracy. However, you're welcome to join
us. Democracy begins at home.
Subject: "private" inaugural contributions
Corporations are free to give as much as they want
to the Inaugural, unlike elections where they are
prohibited from direct contributions (there are many
indirect ways, of course). The Bush people placed
a top limit of $250,000 to restrain those straining
to add more for this lavish potlatch.
Subject: Bush's "accomplishments"
1. Lied to the American people about Iraq when he knew the truth, leading to the current tragedy.
2. Undid environmental laws it took decades of uphill battles to enact.
3. Inherited a robust economy that he managed to ruin (just like everything else he put his hand to) through his pathetic incompetence.
4. Is leading an attack on labor unions that is only just beginning (my neighbor remains non-union, even after I gave him a printout of union scale wages & benefits, which far exceed what he's getting now).
5. Is conspiring to destroy Social Security using the same vile tactics he used to bad mouth Kerry and lie us into an unnecessary war.
Well, you get the gist. My neighbor then asked: "How do you explain his reelection, then?" I said: "The same way he did it the first time." I was assaulted with a stream of derisive remarks, replete with platitudes and Republican newspeak, right out of their playbook, to which I replied: "You've got the party line down pat; Goebbels would be proud." "Who's that?" he asked. I said: "Never mind, but mark my words, it'll take decades to undo the damage after his sorry ass is gone."
I love ya, Buzz. Keep up the good work until the Thought Police shut you down and haul you away.
Bill Mac Bean
Subject: Having Integrity is Necessary for It to
[BuzzFlash Note: Methinks that Condi "hast protest too much," and drawn into question her "integrity," just as Nixon's "I am not a crook" remark helped people see him as one.]
My epiphany is this: GW doesn't see any of this as
real, except the politics. The war in Iraq, and the
military and civilian suffering associated with it,
are not real. War is a political construct that allows
GW to portray himself as a "war president"
and have fun strutting about in uniform. Torture is
a political construct that allows him to feel Tough
and Manly. The tsunami is an occasion to brag about
his generosity (the generosity of the American people
IS real, but we don't brag, we just do it). Since
everything is a political construct and nothing bad
is real, there's no reason to hold anyone accountable
for anything, and there's no reason to back off his
huge political coronation bash. The coronation IS
real, because it's politics, and politics is all that's
real to GW.
Kudos goes to Barbara Boxer and John Kerry. The Senators were great. It gave me some inspiration to come alive again. I loved every minute of it. B. Boxer should keep up the good work up.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: On the day before the presidential inauguration
But those who have no first-hand experience with
warfare - like our current President -- have no experience
to forget. They are floundering in ignorance. I call
upon ALL who have had first-hand experience with warfare
and bombing and disaster and floods and deprivation
and starvation and destitute conditions to come forth
and speak out! Natural disasters are uncontrolled
events -- while warfare is a manmade, controlled event.
Any political leader who does not grasp the consequences
of his/her initiated acts is obligated to listen to
wiser, experienced persons for the well-being of the
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Letter on Bush inauguration and mandate
Subject: Washington Post's lightweight retraction of its 1A story runs on page A18?
How interesting. The Washington Post finally does the right thing by retracting its 3000-word work of 1A fiction on Jumana Hanna -- and then BURIES SAID RETRACTION INSIDE THE PAPER ON INAUGURATION DAY. Clever! You folks at the Post are obviously hoping the rest of the media is too distracted to make a fuss. Shame on you. Esquire exposed your incompetence, and my guess is that your competitors are finally going to catch on.
A couple points:
1) Since when does a reporter who screwed up as badly as Peter Finn get to reinvestigate and re-present his previously sloppy reporting? This is a flagrant violation of basic journalistic practice. Finn should have handed his sources over to a team of Post reporters and then disappeared.
2) What a lightweight account of your mistakes you've presented in the wake of Esquire's debunking of your work. Your original piece was full of heightened prose and wild detail -- the corpse of Hanna's husband being handed to her through the Baghdad prison gates like "a piece of butcher's meat." Now that you've discovered that the husband is alive, you don't dredge up your colorful prose, do you? Why not?
3) You have accepted no accountability for the way in which the story was exploited by Wolfowitz in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after Finn's original story was published. There is nothing said about the fallout of your incompetent work: that Hanna's tale became part of the Administration's justification for war.
4) You have not fessed up to just how poorly reported
your original piece was. Finn's retraction refers
to all sorts of family and friends of Hanna who he
supposedly interviewed last summer. But a careful
reading of Finn's original piece leaves the strong
impression that he spoke to a mere handful of people
-- that it was essentially a ONE-SOURCE STORY.
Peter J. Martinez
Subject: George Lakoff's Moral Politics
I have been reading you now for six long months. I have learned a lot. But one of the best tips I got from you (I think) was the book "Moral Politics" by George Lakoff. This book has answered more of my questions about the current state of American politics than reading six months of BuzzFlash. Everyone should read this book and it should be a major point of discussion among liberals. This book basically says there are great moral divisions between liberals and conservatives and they will never be swayed by the other side's arguments.
Conservatives believe in the strict father family and liberals believe in the nurturant parent family and those two opposing views of the family are the reason that conservatives think (and vote) the way they do, and liberals think (and vote) the way they do.
This moral metaphor for people's view of the world, when applied to politics, explains everything. It is why the conservatives want to privatize social security (good citizens don't need handouts from the government) and liberals don't even see the problem (of course the government has to take care of its citizens.) Lakoff's moral metaphor also explains why I couldn't comprehend how decent people could even consider voting for George Bush. Those decent conservatives were raised in a strict father family while I, a product of a nurturant parent family, couldn't even believe he was a candidate for president.
I can't recommend this book enough. Lakoff goes on to point out that 40% of Americans are strict father conservatives, and 40% are nurturant parent liberals, with only 20% somewhere in between. All liberals need to read this book so that we can persuade those 20% of the American population who have a little of both types of upbringing in them to move towards the nurturant parent type of government that all liberals believe in and think is better for America and the world. Otherwise, we will be stuck forever with a strict father type of conservative government that basically says "too bad" to anyone who doesn't have the self-discipline to make it rich in America.
READ THIS BOOK.
Rachel Horwitz, a public school librarian
[BuzzFlash Note: We agree and will be offering Moral Politics as a premium next week. Lakoff's wonderful Don't Think of an Elephant (with DVD) is a current premium; it provides a briefer overview of similar concepts.]
Subject: Boxer is condemned on the republican Radio
Subject: Dear Mr. Koppel
What's that? It was all true? Oh well. Remember in the nineties when those goofy Clintons were sure there was a conspiracy of right wing conservatives out to get them? Pretty funny stuff, huh? Oh, wait, that was true as well. Yeah, but remember when the 2000 election was so close and those crazy democrats were claiming the republicans and Bush's brother the governor had suppressed black voters with some nutty felons list and if all the votes in Florida were actually counted Gore would be president? Wait, hey wait, that was true as well.
Yes at one time all these stories and many others were considered to be the stuff of partisan fantasy. Conspiracy quackery if you will. But back in those days we still had a few real journalists who risked job and sometimes life to check into this stuff and dig deep to find out the truth. Those of us who are old enough to have lived through countless scandals since the sixties are well familiar with the tar brush being smeared on those who seek the truth. Often by those in the comfy corporate media jobs like yours, Ted.
I am sure you are insulted by that statement. But Ted I remember how your little show started. The Iranians had taken some hostages at our embassy and your show certainly covered the hell out of that story! Night after night a voice of doom intoned at the start of the show. DAY 123 AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE! Or the next night, DAY 124 AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE! Hardly impartial journalism don't you agree? Poor Jimmy Carter sure didn't need your crisis hyping night after night. I mean, come on Ted, was America really being held hostage or just some embassy staff in Iran? Imagine doing that with, say, the War in Iraq now. Think that could help shape public opinion Ted?
But I am getting off into conspiracy stuff again. It's not like journalists are taking money from the president for favorable coverage. Or that our elected officials are lying us into a war we didn't have to fight. And I am sure all this voter fraud stuff in Ohio is nothing either.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: from MLK...
Subject: right wing mentality
I heard a gentleman on CNN Headline News tell the reporter about special accommodations the Republicans will have for those attendees to the inauguration festivities that do not want to be in contact with, as he termed them, "leftists" who (and I paraphrase) hate America and hate freedom.
Not that this is particularly shocking but it does bring up a point. This person (I didn't recognize the name and frankly, don't care what it is) fomented hatred and an attitude that is much more aligned with dictatorships and ultra-oppressive regimes like Stalin or Maoist China than the freedom he cited. Get a clue: freedom is not stripping one's Constitutional rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, among other privileges we're all entitled to. This strangulation of the rights of the individual is closely associated with many factions of organized religion, mainly evangelical Christianity.
My community is diverse and more tolerant of others than most, thanks to the presence of a major university. However, just a few miles away in the small town I graduated from of about 2,200, one church in particular whose denomination I'll not reveal for respect of privacy (unlike those very people who don't respect mine) holds sway over the town and through the years has become the standard bearer for all who live there. It's not a church dedicated to teaching the lessons of Jesus or anything else inasmuch as an ultra-exclusive club. If anybody wants to play sports at the school, have a successful local business, be on the town council, etc., that person had better be seen at this church.
I know that perhaps the pastor has good intentions, but the attitude from this community, along with thousands of others just like it, is one of exclusivity and knowing the right people and being seen in the right place at the right time.
I hardly claim to be a Biblical scholar, and I have my own beliefs about my spirituality, but I hardly remember anything in the New Testament that encouraged this type of behavior. The same people I see in that building on Sunday were cutthroats and back stabbers the other six days of the week. Not all churchgoers are like this, but one fact remains: a very large percentage of the population is one of following and "belonging." When a church condones and promotes hatred of homosexuals, minorities, ignores the Bible teachings that don't suit its interests and shout out the ones that do, even when they're ridiculously out-of-date, such as the Old Testament, they are creating the mindset that makes it possible for evil people like George W. Bush to proclaim his "Christianity" and be assured that millions of brainwashed minions will believe him and not question his actions just because he walks the walk and knows what to say.
I was thrilled and pleased to see one church run ads that welcomed all people, regardless of race, sex orientation or anything else. It was a clear picture of two churches in this country - one that understands the real message, and one that distorts and foments hate.
I believe that true spirituality lies in myself, how I treat others, on the job and off, a proper awe and sense of wonder about the Creator, whom I think no human being can possibly conceive, much less name drop and use for murder and money, and how much I'm willing to learn and mature as I grow older, taking good examples from all sources, be it the Bible or any other teaching.
I predict that some churches, hopefully more powerful ones in
larger cities, will rise up against the horrifying path organized
Christianity has gone in the last two decades or so. Somebody must
call George W. Bush's bluff and convince the devout Christians out
there that a false idol is making fools out of all of them. Now
if the Democrats would only show some guts.
Subject: Uh Oh. "Plan B" is even scarier
Having read several Mailbag letters (01-18) that said basically the same thing as mine did -- i.e., that dismantling the safety net (as in "Kill the entitlements; they're morally wrong! God HATES them!") is a core goal for the neocons -- I was already depressed enough (though I felt comforted to know that other progressives see the situation at least as clearly as I do). This morning, however, another piece of the puzzle fell into place with a deafening "CLUNK!"
It suddenly occurred to me: 'Plan A' is to try to sell/muscle through a plan to "rescue" Social Security (and other "entitlements," including public education). They've already enlisted the SS administration to spread the word -- like pseudo Paul Reveres -- that the system is verging on bankruptcy. And (does anybody doubt this?) they have more cannons ready to fire. That's just Plan A. I suddenly realized that -- supposing the Democrats and moderate Republicans (an endangered species) really DO stand up to the lynch mob? What if they defeat Dubya's (and the neocons') scheme to gut and eventually kill SS? Do you think they'll say, "Oh, well, maybe next time," and stop there?
This is where Plan B comes in. We've already heard about exploratory operations in Iran. Implication: another "pre-emptive" war. Also, Tom Ridge's enigmatic -- and seemingly gratuitous -- remark that he's surprised terrorists haven't attacked our food supply, since "it's so easy to do" (hey, how come HE'S not in Guantanamo?). Sounds like strategic advice, if not an engraved invitation, to Osama & Co. to pull off another terrorist attack. The result of one or both?
A State of Emergency, including martial law, would be declared. Civil liberties (what's left of them) would disappear entirely. AND -- because of the emergency -- all "entitlement" and other social programs would be "suspended" -- since, because of the huge deficit -- ALL of our national resources must be devoted to the war situation. Grover Norquist would get his wish: domestic government will be small enough to drown in the bathtub. Or in a glass of water.
Please tell me I'm being paranoid (though I don't usually lean that way). I also think this scenario applies to the draft: although Dubya has "pledged" that there will NOT be a draft, in a total war/martial law/state of emergency situation, he'll simply say that "nobody could have anticipated this," and all bets will be off. Maybe we should all study up on medieval history, since we seem to be headed in that direction.
PLEASE TELL ME I'M WAY OFF THE MARK here!!
Subject: bust a gut!
ps............he also said bush is like the guy who will beat the hell out of his wife because his eggs were not cooked right. then go to work and tell people what a great husband he is because he spent two hours giving his wife cooking lessons!
Subject: Inauguration protesters represent the majority!
Subject: PLEASE SAY IT IS NOT TRUE!
Oh my god! That young man Ron Reagan just said we lost 3000 of our own on 9-11 and we have killed far more than 3000 children in Iraq! Please tell me that is not true!
Please tell me it is not true so I can sleep at night! Does President Bush know that?
Subject: Bush is boring! Protesters are much more interesting!
"CANNED CORONATION" VS. COLORFUL, SPONTANEOUS PROTESTS
CONTROL VS. FREEDOM
BORING VS. FASCINATING, REBELLIOUS, TRULY AMERICAN
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