May 3, 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: Cruelty and GOP
Hypocrite SC Rep Altman
Though I am firmly behind you in your efforts to illuminate the dastardly
acts of the reigning Republican party, the tactic you used in your ďThe
GOP Hypocrite of the Week,Ē South Carolina State Rep. John Graham Altman
(April 30, 2005), was wrongheaded and offensive to those of us that
believe all beings deserve protection from the cruelty of man - even
chickens. Though it is absolutely indefensible that Representative Altman
voted against strengthening domestic violence laws, the fact that he
voted to ban cockfighting is actually a good thing. To attack him for
that choice shows a lack of sensitivity on the part of BuzzFlash to
animal suffering. Iím sure your clever writers could have found another
mode of attack. Please, donít punish these folks for doing something
"Disagree" is too mild a word. The US media is touting it as a friendly-sounding 'agree to disagree.' he Italians are outraged, their and Euro media report it as a 'clash'.
Subject: Lying Recruits
Subject: Bush, Civil Service employees and Social Security
Subject: Mr Smith!
--And I was going to ask whether someone could send me any
recent links to Mr Smith references; the movie's been on my
brain for more than a few days now. Cheers!
Subject: Hiding the Pictures of War Victims
1. Conceal Human Costs "... One of the reasons, for the suppression of truth, the fact that the [government] could only win ... support ... if the human cost of its policies was concealed. It seems in practice to have been not so much a matter of workers, as of the intellectuals and formers of public opinion" [a]
2. Don't Give Up. Deny, Distort, Confuse. When the truth "... was available ... The task of the ... government was to destroy, distort, or blanket this knowledge."
"On the face of it, this might have appeared to have been an impossible undertaking.
"[He] had a profound understanding of the possibilities ... He knew that even though the truth might be readily available, the deceiver need not give up."
"... He saw that flat denial on the one hand, and the injection into the pool of information of a corpus of positive falsehood on the other, were sufficient to confuse the issue for the passively uninstructed foreign audience, and to induce acceptance ... by those actively seeking to be deceived ... This technique ... was to be followed by a number of others ... Indeed it can hardly be said to be extinct today."
"... Deception was practiced on a giant scale."
Ans: 1. A former Communist, who had assisted the effort at repression, describing why the Soviet Union worked so hard to deny and conceal human costs from the public.
2. Propaganda efforts by Stalin and Soviet Communist government. Both can be found, among other places, in Harvest of Sorrow, by Russian historian Robert Conquest (Oxford Paperback p. 194, and 308-311)
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: The curious absence of polls
PS How about this tag "Boo-Boo Bush" or "President Boo-Boo." Sort of includes that childish atmosphere that surrounds this guy.
Subject: Please note the date 
In the 1980's ... when guys like Don Rumsfeld were personally shaking hands with Hussein himself,
and turning a blind eye to whatever he may be doing with the weapons we were selling him ... just as long as he "played ball" with the oil. Now that the bodies are being dug up by the score, we are all supposed to be saying, "That awful bastard Hussein! Thank God the Bushes have saved us!"
Please! Aren't we some "good Christians?"
Subject: Reality Has Nothing To Fear from the President
The amazing thing is how little logic/reality/relevance makes its way into the man's talks and responses. I watched this after several hours of walking shelter dogs, so fatigue probably kept me from catching all the contradictions and irrelevancies, but here are the ones I did pick up:
1. Bush does not want to govern based on polls. Kind of an odd thing to say following a speech which almost everyone believes was prompted by dismal poll results. Not to mention that his speech used the phrase "personal accounts" rather than "private accounts" based on focus group results. Last I knew, focus groups were a form of polling.
2. Mr. Bush does not personally think that opposition to his judicial nominees is based on religion. That feeling must not go deep enough to prompt him to pick up a phone and let Senator Frist in on it, or Mr. Frist probably wouldn't have lent his name and prestige to the "Justice Sunday" stage production based on the opposition being solely religion-based.
3. He complains that we have not had an energy policy in "decades." Wouldn't full disclosure require that he admit that "decades" includes both his father's presidency and his own first term?
4. Bolton is a good man for the UN because Bolton is direct and thinks the UN needs to be reformed. Even if you buy the idea that reform of the institution is the primary goal, why is directness the ideal trait for accomplishing that? I'm pretty sure that history shows directness to be effective when you have total control, but diplomacy to be more effective when you have shared control.
5. The fact that Bolton has already been confirmed by the Senate 4 times seems important to the President, but he manages never to address the two most important points about that: (a) the confirmations were for different offices, requiring different skills, and (b) unless the Senate knew about the current allegations against Bolton at the time of prior confirmations, the prior confirmations are completely irrelevant.
6. He thinks that if schools and teachers are teaching kids to read and write, you shouldn't care if we measure. Really? It doesn't matter what's being measured? Just any old kind will do? Makes you wonder how Mr. Bush would like his presidency to be "measured" by how many Europeans think he's the devil's spawn, or how many jobs with multinational corporations have left the United States during his time in office.
7. Private accounts are a good idea because they provide people
with "ownership," and he thinks ordinary people should
enjoy "ownership" the same as the investor class does.
Where do you start with that one? First, I think there might
be a slight difference between "owning" a few hundred
thousand shares of a major energy company and having a few shares
in your private account. Second, if you "own" a lot
of risk, I bet you don't sleep as well as you would if you "owned"
less of it. Third, people in the current Social Security system
already "own" the right to receive future benefits
as prescribed by law.
Hannity did find one problem that I had missed however. It seems that the Republicans have been "negligent" up to now in framing the private (sorry, "personal") account issue. I hadn't seen that until Hannity pointed it out. And I know Hannity's right, because Senator Thune immediately agreed with him.
That's all I have time for. I'm due back in reality in a few minutes and it takes some time to get there from here.
Subject: The "Constitutional Option"
Republicans think that if they state something as fact long enough, it suddenly becomes true and no one will question them. Obviously the press accepts whatever comes out of their mouths, but we know better ;) Thanks for keeping me sane BuzzFlash!
Subject: File of DoD Photos of Soldiers' Coffins
I apologize for the spam, but I wanted to send a link to ... the 363 hi-res photos that were released by the DoD last week, as a result of a FOIA lawsuit ...
Please consider posting the torrent link. No attribution is required, as the photos are in the public domain now, but if you want to add a blurb explaining where these photos came from, the lawsuit was brought by University of Delaware Professor Ralph Begleiter, with the support of the National Security Archive and the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Jenner & Block. Russ Kick from TheMemoryHole.org first brought attention to the whole issue. Here is the NSA page the photos were taken from, which gives the full history of the FOIA lawsuit:
Return of the Fallen
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