April 1, 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: Out of control judiciary?
In my opinion, the Executive and the Legislative Branches have
absolutely no idea what their function is, and if things keep going
as they are, judge, jury and executioner will be the same person.
DO we want that? Really?
[BuzzFlash Note: Just to nit-pick, the police are part of the Executive Branch ... locally, the Legislative branch might be city council members (those who enact the local laws).]
Subject: Terri and the Pope
As I write this it is apparent that the Pope is leaving this world very soon. While I am not Catholic, I appreciate the impact this one man has had on millions, if not billions, of people. I believe in a power greater than us, and I also believe in the hand of that something greater - call it "the Hand of the Divine," call it angels, call it synchronicity - in our everyday affairs. So, for me, there is an import in the passing of both the Pope and Terri Schiavo, literally within hours of each other. There are those who would consider this a karmic partnership, where two souls agree to enter this world for a purpose, to help the world learn some great lesson.
So, is there something here for all of us, and could it have to do with how we treat those we love when they are leaving this world, and, perhaps more importantly, how we view death itself? The Religious Right has already tried to interpret the pope's medical treatment as he passes as verification that Terri Schiavo's death was nothing short of a barbaric murder. And yet, take a look at the Pope's last hours and you will see a scenario that looks more like what Michael Schiavo tried to give his wife; a quiet, natural death, with compassion and in as much comfort as possible. The Pope has decided the manner of his own death, just as Michael Schiavo has maintained Terri tried to do. And what the Pope decided was not to be in the hospital but at the place he knows as home. Not to be hooked up to machinery but to recognize death as a natural part of this journey on earth. And not to have any extraordinary medical measures taken to prolong his life by sustaining his body unnaturally. There is no talk of hooking up the Pope to ventilators, respirators, or dialysis. In fact, the Pope has reportedly chosen not to be put on life support. So, the talk is of prayer, and of recognizing the inevitable departure of a loved one, who now gets to go Home.
The Religious Right would maintain that the nutrition Terri received was not "extraordinary" measures. And yet, as I write this, a geriatric specialist on the news is explaining that even intravenous hydration may be removed from the pope at this time because the extra fluid would make his passing more uncomfortable by increasing pressure on his heart. In other words, there comes a time in a natural death when the body no longer desires food or water, and forcing it only makes the death more painful.
Does this mean that the Vatican has embraced a "Culture of Death?" Of course not. As in the Buddhist tradition, the goal seems to be for the Pope to have a “conscious death,” not a fearful passing. The Vatican will surround the Pope and call on all the faithful to pray for him as he passes
For me, this is in no way a denial of life; this is the essence of a good death. Death comes to us all, and when it does, there comes a time when recognizing the desirability of a natural death with dignity, love and compassion is only made all the more obvious when seen in comparison to the ghoulish spectacle of a body sustained unnaturally for the gratification of those who are unwilling or unable to let go.
So, to Terri and John Paul – Adios, go to God, and thank you.
Subject: Political Battle in Schiavo Case Rages On (AP/ABC)
DeLay, one of the most powerful politicians in modern history, is proving to be one of the worst in history. Now, he threatens to change the legal system, just because he didn't get his way in the Schiavo case. He has to go for his own abuse of power.
The GOP Need Life Support?
Re the link to the Glenn Harlan Reynolds piece at Salon. "A prominent conservative blogger says Republican leaders have abandoned the traditional principles of small government and federalism -- and warns they may soon come to regret it."
When did they ever adhere to these principles? Not in the 50 plus years I've spent on the planet. They can't abandon something they never had in the first place. All hat, no cattle. To their credit, they apparently have convinced the media, by repeating this canard so frequently that it is accepted as a matter of fact. They most certainly have convinced themselves, in the same manner that alcoholics can convince themselves they don't have a drinking problem.
My district has a long history of electing reactionary yahoos who campaign about the evils of big government but the first order of business once elected, is to make damn sure that Lockheed gets its big fat government contract so all of its employees-constituents who want "small government" can keep their jobs. Big government is no problem as long as the money is going to the defense contractors, not social programs and is done by cutting revenues (taxes) so we can borrow the money to pay the bill.
At one time, these people used to claim they believed in balanced budgets, too. I can only assume, they believed in them only because they felt it would never be done without eliminating social programs. So, what happened when the budget was balanced? The same people couldn't jump into the pool of red ink fast enough and the phrase "balanced budget" was assigned to Frank Luntz' list of forgotten things.
We can also depend on our local radio personality and faux libertarian, Neil Boortz, to torture logic so as to justify spending 60 million dollars of taxpayer money and create a constitutional crisis over consensual sex, while he idolizes a man who can literally throw any one of us in prison, to be tortured without cause or due process.
On the other hand, he is all for the liberty of corporations and if that means getting lung cancer from living on the downwind side of a power plant, then move or stop breathing. It's a free country after all.
"Widespread Republican support for legislation taking an individual case away from state judges and placing it in front of the federal judiciary is another thing." Fortunately, no legislative action was necessary for those five great champions of federalism who sit on the Supreme Court, to take away the State of Florida's right to conduct its own election in 2000. If irony still existed, I would be tempted to say, had these five Supremes been the federalists they claim to be then, we wouldn't be having this discussion now.
I only mention this because Mr. Reynolds seems to think that this ad hoc approach by Republicans is something new.
I'm not even going to get started on how any of this squares with the basic principle of the separation of church and state and our relentless march to theocracy. Public money for faith-based initiatives sounds a lot like being a "little" pregnant to me.
Now DeLay, Rush and Coulter are busy vilifying the judiciary in
the Schiavo case the same way a person could tell a Klan rally that
they have the address of the black man who raped the Imperial Wizard's
daughter. Watching this latest Florida circus convinced me that
many people will die. I would like to think, that these phony federalists
on the high court benches, will reflect on their role in the blood
letting of their fellow judges that almost certainly will follow
but that would require introspection which they are probably even
more averse to than circumspection.
Subject: Culture of Life, Texas Style
Subject: Immoral lib'ruls
Subject: "Frisky" Bush
Bush is clearly ignorant and apparently proud of it. People have
speculated that he is also suffering from some kind of brain problem
and sometimes appears to be on medication. Whether simple ignorance
or a brain problem, either might be an explanation for his recently
Subject: Media "lapdogs?"
Subject: The Greatest Threat Of All: Peak Oil
While the nation is spellbound by nonstop cable news coverage of the Terry Schiavo tragedy and the ill health of the Pope, another calamity is brewing beneath the public's radar, a threat more immediate than terrorism, the solvency of Social Security or Medicare, and the corruption of Tom DeLay.
That threat is the peaking of the world's oil production. Years of waste, ignorance and passivity perpetuated by our government has led us as a society to the point of no return. As oil climbs to $57 a barrel, the effects of a coming energy crisis on the ailing economy are easy to imagine. A spate of articles has appeared in recent days addressing this issue, among them, "The Long Emergency" by James Howard Kunstler in Rolling Stone. A Google search yields a tremendous amount of information on the crisis ahead. Peak Oil was recently discussed in Congress; the presentation made by Representative Roscoe Bartlett was published March 15.
All evidence points to the need to take immediate action, but our mainstream media and our White House are silent on the matter. The energy bill proposed by Dick Cheney is a fraud. Advocacy groups such as Set America Free and the Apollo Alliance have set goals for the mitigation of the impending crisis, however, all their solutions require inspired leadership, a united citizenry, friendly international allies and hundreds of billions of dollars in capital for the purposes of developing alternative energy resources quickly enough.
Unfortunately we have none of the cash or goodwill at the moment. As a society, we have arrived at the crossroads. We can choose to succeed or fail, and if we fail, it will be a disaster of spectacular proportions as crude climbs to $100 a barrel, then $200, transportation systems collapse, food and medicine become scarce, water fails to flow from our faucets and the lights stay off forever.
Bush knows about this phenomenon, he has been briefed repeatedly on Peak Oil since 2000. Still, only lip service has been given to funding R&D of alternative energy. Why the silence?
After the next Black Day on Wall Street, will the neocons blame OPEC or environmentalists or both? Are they planning to use a future stock market crash as the impetus for declaring a state of national emergency and permanent martial law? As the economy tanks like never before, will the Bush cartel draft every young person to join the Army? Will we seize the oil beneath Iran?
Please, BuzzFlash, help get the word out about Peak Oil so there
is at least a chance of enough people becoming alarmed and demanding
action. I have faith in you. Best wishes,
Subject: Addition to Wisconsin voting story
Voters May Soon Need Photo ID's (NY Times)
Subject: Social Security Theory - Good Cop, Bad Cop?
Subject: Don't be fooled by Bush's numbers on Private Accounts
In fact, Bush's plan would allow workers to divert up to 4
percentage points of their payroll taxes. There is a huge
difference in these two terms. Employees now pay 6.2% of their earnings
to the Social Security fund. Under Bush's plan, this 6.2% would
be divided--2.2% to the Social Security fund and 4%
to private accounts. This amount represents 64.5% of the
employee contribution and about 16 times the amount that
the White House wants us to believe. Don't be fooled by Bush.
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