February 10, 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.
Subject: John Edwards
I heard John Edwards' speech Saturday night
on CSPAN. This was the first time since November
2nd that I felt hope for our future. I don't
know if Edwards will be the man in 2008 but
he's the kind we need. If you can get a transcript
of the speech I think your readers will be
encouraged by his words.
Subject: Britney Spears
Nice to see how a good Bush supporter is using trial lawyers to sue for $8 million. Non-stop hypocrisy.
to sue 8 insurance firms for rejecting $10m claim (Economic
[BuzzFlash Note: The figure seems to be $9.8 million. But we're not calling Britney "frivolous." That's a neo-con Republican "frame."]
Here is the key quote from a first-person account of [CNN's Eason] Jordan's remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos:
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: The "Dean scream"
We're about to be bombarded by the "Dean scream" and
the time to fight back is now. As I understand it, this so-called
scream is the result of using a unidirectional mike directly in
front of Dean, which masked the tremendous noise the crowd was
making, which was why Dean was "screaming." Also, as
I understand it, there are several tapes taken from different
vantage points which show the true nature of this event. We should
insist that "responsible" TV news organizations show
these tapes, which I'm pretty darn sure exist. The Democrats should
insist upon it every time they are confronted by the "scream,"
which they certainly will be. The question is, will important
Dems know about this, or will they blow it like they so often
do when asked to comment on basic facts about Social Security.
Subject: US evangelicals involvement in OUR issues
I was incensed to read that the evangelists are getting involved in OUR civil rights issue that is being pursued through OUR legislative processes!!!! Get your long noses out of OUR affairs. Evangelicals who are of the fanatical branches are waaay out of their field when they think that they can bully their ideas on the rest of us. Sorry, that doesn't happen here. We think for ourselves for the most part in our proudly LIBERAL country. I feel really sorry for those, Canadian or American, who think that this is about traditionally sanctioned marriage (something that most historians and anthropologists know is very recent in human history).
The issue on the table is about civil rights and the one thing that Canadians really resent and protest against (in full public view), is having their rights as citizens of Canada, trampled on by anyone. I am not gay, lesbian, or any of the other flavours of gender identity at this point in my life, but I know that everyone, regardless of gender identity, colour, race, sex, religion has the justly accorded right to freely live with all due privileges accorded through our fairly new (it was written and came into effect in 1982) Canadian Charter of Rights.
Many (but less than half) Canadians do not agree with gay marriage, but, to have the American religious fanatics pour money into campaigning here is heretical, anti-democratic and I would say positively illegal. I also know that most Canadians support the right for gays and lesbians to marry and be declared a family. After all, in all human history, family has comprised of a myriad of combinations, nuclear families is a thing created by the Industrial Revolution and proliferated by capitalists when consumerism saw its rise late in the nineteenth century and early twentieth.
So to the American fanatics, I, a staunch Canadian, tell you to keep your religious propaganda out of OUR country! We will not adjust OUR laws to suit your prejudices. BuzzFlash and BuzzFlash readers: thank you for the forum by which I can unleash my anger against the repressiveness of anti-democratic sources. The close-mindedness never ceases to appall me!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Dennis Miller and Netzero
Don't know whether anyone has caught it, but Dennis Miller is
the spokesperson for Netzero. Since I had an account with Netzero
I called and cancelled. Netzero will ask you why you are canceling
your account, just let them know, DENNIS MILLER.
Subject: C. Rice
I was offended to see the wreath Ms. Rice laid at the memorial
she attended yesterday - with the words on the banner, "Sec.
of State, Condoleezza Rice" ...I hope she paid for it out
of her own money! The wreath Canada's representative laid had
a banner which read "CANADA."
Subject: Social Security
The president's proposal to allow personal Social Security accounts has not yet reached beyond the political level since final details and possible consequences of the change have not been identified or debated. We do not yet know the full extent of borrowing required to maintain the fund, the consequences of a death before retirement, purchase of annuities at the time of retirement and other significant issues.
We must remember this is an insurance fund and it should not be made into an investment instrument.
That is why I wonder why the president is holding pep rallies to frighten the public with threats of bankruptcy and total insolvency of Social Security. We went to war in Iraq based on misinformation. Let us not jump into major changes to a successful insurance system based on misinformation.
The country needs a bipartisan debate within the administration
and the Congress. We do not need an emotional debate between senior
citizens and 20 year olds or pep rallies restricted to Bush supporters.
The system supported our parents and it can support us and our
children and grandchildren as it now exists. Just fix it to maintain
solvency. Do not destroy it.
Subject : DEATH DOES NOT BLOW A TRUMPET -- Old Danish Proverb
Death doesn't blow a trumpet and George Bush doesn't attend funerals or even allow our soldiers' coffins coming home to be seen. We should blow that trumpet and have a ceremony honoring the sacrifice of those soldiers and their families.
The Bush Administration claims it is being sensitive to the families. As we would view those flag-draped coffins arriving, we cannot tell who occupies them, we do not invade their privacy, but we can give them the recognition and honor a hero deserves! The British honor their heroes with a ceremony. Tony Blair has never refused to show coffins because he was afraid of the criticism that might be heaped upon him! Our soldiers served and fought for us. We ask one more thing, that we be allowed to honor and respect their achievements! Our soldiers' lives will be forever remembered by the ones who have loved them. Americans can do no less than honor their last act of heroism!
There are almost 1500 deaths of our soldiers now, and thousands have been injured. Networks seem to report the news from Iraq less and less and the headlines are filled with stories that detract, are given more time, and are not as important as Iraq. It makes one wonder, since Bush almost had to eat the words "Mission Accomplished," if monitors, the military, and Allawi, backed by the White House, are inhibiting the news so as not to take away from claims of the election being a "resounding success?"
As we stop to remember those who have fallen, and those who are suffering now, we can only hope since George Bush brought up Franklin D. Roosevelt in his speeches, he is also mindful of the advice Roosevelt gave in a radio address in 1938 when he said: "You cannot organize civilization around the core of militarism and at the same time expect reason to control human destinies!"
The end story has not been written in Iraq, let all those that parrot a "resounding success" keep that in mind!
To end, I'd like to offer a small tribute to our fallen soldiers and their families with a poem I wrote for my own parents 15 years ago:
I KNOW YOU!
I know you,
I can hear you when I listen with the wisdom of my heart
I know you
You're joy and peace,
You never end, you never start.
I see you with a sight transcending both time and space.
Subject: please die sooner rather than later
Well now we know some specifics on how bush will save soc. sec. from its demise in thirty years. Starve the poor and keep them from getting health care...they will die sooner rather than later and save that soc. sec. for people like bush and his family who never had to worry about putting food on the table or living with pain because you can't go to a dentist or a doctor. They will live long, healthy lives with the best medical care you can get and collect that little bit of soc. soc. (pocket change for them)...rent and medicine for others.
Subject: call Dennis Hastert's office
Call Dennis Hastert's office and ask him how he can claim to be a representative of the people in Illinois, and still support a proposed budget that intends to cut the medical benefits of millions of people (a million children in Illinois alone). Let him know he is in trouble if the budget cuts to Medicaid pass. 1-888-508-2974 (the capitol operator)
Subject: god will punish you in hell
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Social Security Planning for Young People
I've been thinking a lot about Social Security and the difficulties that young people may have in planning so far ahead for retirement, both for that of their parents and for their own. However, it's very important that, should the "reform" pass, they begin planning early, so that neither they nor their parents will be caught with insufficient retirement income.
How early? Well, about the age of five, since their ability to obtain scholarships for university will depend on their educational achievement. Children and their parents should begin planning for high school activities early on, so that the child can provide the kind of scores that will obtain the scholarships and grants necessary for university. Parents should remind children entering kindergarten that their parents will be saving for their own retirement and will not be able to pay for any but the most basic educational costs. Parents will have to be very hard-nosed in their approach to educational funding, and will not be able to cease contributions to their own retirement funds to help children who do not receive financial aid. (In planning this, parents might want to have a few "extra" children, as two may not be enough to provide a secure retirement--more on this later--and some children may have to be written off.)
Let's assume that you obtain a university education, using a combination of scholarships, grants and loans, and your parents have to contribute little or nothing to your post-secondary education. Lucky you! But planning for your parents' retirement can't begin too soon. You should also look at the economic condition of your parents' siblings as well, as you may become responsible for any childless aunts and uncles who may have made imprudent investments or spent their lives selling pottery or weavings at craft fairs. And lord protect you from spinster aunts, who may not have made sufficient income to save much money. (I hope you paid attention in high school to the condition of the female characters in Jane Austen's novels. Those situations will be instructive.)
So on graduation from university or professional school, you might want to sit down with your parents and make plans to fund their retirement. Let us assume that your parents are in their mid-40s to early 50s. How close is their mortgage to being paid off? (If they rent, you're in real trouble.) How are their investments doing? You may find that your parents didn't contribute to their 401(k)s for several years while you and your siblings were growing up. The cost of medical insurance went sky-high one year, dad lost his job 3 times, and papa decided to open his own business when you were 11. Now you've really got to get these guys saving! If you're lucky, and dad and papa can both work to retirement age without a major illness or job loss, maybe they can fund a modest retirement for ten or fifteen years. But both of your grandfathers are still alive and grandpa Dan is still running the senior marathon. He could live to 95. So you should start planning to (a) pay off your student loans (b) start your own retirement saving and (c) plan for the day when your parents run out of money.
It may come to pass in the midst or all this that you meet a young woman (it's okay, they always knew you were straight) and decide that she is just the ONE for you. Not so fast. What kind of retirement planning have her parents done? Are there any stray siblings who may become dependents in your middle age? Perhaps her parents didn't do the kind of retirement planning your parents did. Perhaps her sister decided to take up with a motorcycle gang and, at 32, hasn't saved a sou. So your young woman may be wonderful--smart, funny, beautiful--but she's not for you! On you go.
Your parents are finally socking away enough for retirement, your new intended has parents who were equally prudent, you have no stray siblings on either side of the family. Great! But all sorts of things can go wrong, and you'll need to be prepared to deal with them. You got lucky. You haven't divorced, your parents and in-laws all worked to retirement age, none of your siblings had any of the misfortunes that can reduce earning and saving power. But then the bear market hit.
You should have expected it, should have planned for it, but you missed the signs. In fairness, there were only four economists in the world who saw it coming, and three of them saw a bear market coming every third month. But you should have seen it. And you didn't.
So your parents and your in-laws all retired within five years of one another and the stock market just kept going down and down and down. Now your parents had been careful to move their assets from stocks to more conservative investments as they aged--but not careful enough. And their other assets weren't quite as valuable as you'd expected them to be. None of them had really made enough money to do the kind of investing that would have made real money.
Now if they sold their houses, they'd have more cash. But where would they live? Yeah, your assets aren't worth much, since you had a lot of money tied up in the stock market. Three of your siblings have lost their jobs, and your parents and your in-laws are living with you and your four kids.
Subject: Carroll article in Globe
The below was written before the SOTU address and may be dated, but it makes some important points and analogies that deserve wider distribution...
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Re: It's
Dean for Head of the DNC, Because Now There's No One Running Against
Him. Let's Hope He'll Hot Wire the Democrats Into an Opposition
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: NO WAR BUT CLASS WAR!!!
NOW MORE THAN EVER! Dumbya. The petty bourgeoise' petty bourgeois. Snake oil, bible thumping& soulless mercantile platitudes. It's foolish to imagine some sort of widely acceptable compromise with Dumbya about Social Security. Moderates and liberals want to preserve the America F.D.R. built. Dumbya--for whom, I have no respect as a president or as a man--and the ideological movement he leads, although they may use F.D.R.'s image in ads, want to destroy it. [Acknowledgements to Paul Krugman.] IOW--They want to destroy me. Therefore? Why should I give a crap if a meat grinder with their names on it comes along...?
An American Dissident
Subject: BBC: Condi speech usual Bushie: 80% hand picked American
audience, 20% hp French
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: "The Torture Papers"
Subject: dubya's best behavior?
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: "Citizens United"
The following link is from a blogger who went out to see the billboards. None of them are placed as to be visable while walking down the red carpet at the Academy Awards. I believe that Citizens United is involved in such a media push because the signs are not as viable as they have stated. This link also provides a visual on actual placement and the surrounding area. Cinemocracy couldn't even find the third billboard.
Cinemocracy Goes Billboard Hunting (cinemocracy.blogs.com)
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Wanted - 'GeeDubya-ese' Translators
America's First MBA President, making his case for overhauling
the Social Security system, and offering an explanation for why
he ran two failed business.
Subject: Rush Limbaugh Statement on his Talk Show
I suggest you insert this in your regular BuzzFlash news item. This is contradiction to its utmost limit. Thank you. This is priceless! In his own words!!!
SUBJECT: Deep Throat
Rehnquist was then nominated and confirmed for a seat on the
Supreme Court in 1972.
2 + 2 = 4
[BuzzFlash Note: Interesting...others share your suspicions, as evidenced by today's Editor & Publisher survey.]
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