July 29, 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.
THIS IS PART 2 OF THE JULY 29, 2005 BUZZFLASH MAILBAG. CLICK HERE FOR PART 1
Subject: Who's Minding the Store?
I noticed the article you posted about the hoopla in Maryland re: yet another Black American being recruited by the Republicans, as are many minorities across the country, including Asians, Native Americans, where they are attempting to siphon off Maryland's Black voters from the Dems, literally using race to takeover a political office ... yet again.
I Repeat: They are Literally Using Race To Take Over a Political Office! ... Using Race! Nothing new for them.
I bet this guy is a very religious conservative Black person, a la Alan Keyes. What heavy hitters they had there! I mean Libby Dole? Karl Rove! It must be part of that nationwide Chess game for Rove in which Democrats still think the Republicans are playing Checkers.
However, another name was very interesting. The name on Elizabeth Dole's list of select bigwigs was Mehlman. I figure he's possibly related to the head of the RNC, Ken Mehlman's brother? Any news of his background, future goals? So, they've got all the big guns out for this small, little-noticed fund-raiser?
Very, very interesting! Just think about it. When do all the Dems join together to do that? I mean with the bigwigs. Very interesting because Nothing is accidental or merely casual with the Republicans. Everything, as we all know, everything is, and has been for decades, planned out in the smallest detail. Long-term planning.
They are better than the old Soviet Union's famous "5 year plan." Republicans have their 10 year plan being forced on America. They are highly obsessive in their planning, even this apparently innocuous fund-raiser in Maryland with Rove and Dole. Now that's a pair! Even Libby has portrayed herself as a "moderate pro-choice" woman, but when is the last time you've seen her talking that way anywhere? She's really a very sweet liar it seems, with southern charm.
This is one of the liberal/Dem/Progressive's big failures! Just think about all this effort going into capturing an office in Maryland for their side! Aggressive. Forward thinking. Boggles the mind. Where is the Democratic machine trying to knock some people out of office, especially those who say they are Dems but vote Republican?
Of course, in Texas we've been used to this stealth "take-over" since way back in the 90's. Only after you're run over do you then realize what happened to your beloved liberal progressive Democratic Lone Star State. A surgical strike, stealth, quick and caught off guard. We all thought too often that Bush was a joke. Hard to believe now, but we mostly thought that. He was so goofy to most common sense Texans. But he wanted people to believe that, and laugh that he wasn't smart, that he was a moderate, that he was a gosh darn humble good guy who loved his Lord with all his heart, loved baseball and loved his mom. And he stayed until the lights were out casually signing autographs for little kids and their parents the whole time at baseball games. Harmless.
When Bush ran for Governor, Ann Richards had a 65% smack-dab huge entire statewide approval rating! Both houses of our legislature were controlled by Democrats (and remained so until Rove/Tom DeLay only recently redistricted both of them to Republican for the first time since we became a state.)
Well, what can we do about all of this? This "take-over" of our country, state by state, county by county? Dean needs to raise the money. But, we need a co-chair person to plan strategy! And we need an aggressive Media/PR person to plan, train and schedule liberals for TV, where most people get their news, sadly. I read about how the conservatives have a person who does just this, including pushing their people on cable and c-span guests all the time. All this is simply too much for one person, even Dean. That's the brilliance of the Republican planning in the past, in that they delegated responsibility in so many areas. Then they aggressively continued to contact local and national stations to put their well-rehearsed people on the air, and in various forums in sound bites.
As fellow Texas liberal, Dallas legend, Stanley Marcus, founder of Neiman Marcus Stores, said, the No. 1 Key to success in any endeavor is going back to the basics: "Who's Minding the Store?"
Subject: Proposed Justice Roberts
First I want to thank all the folks for writing their kind comments in the Mailbag about my Reader Contribution 7/19 "Dear Representatives, What the Hell Are You Thinking?" They touched me and gave me confidence beyond words.
In light of the new enthusiasm for writing your support has wrought, I offer the following letter I just sent to my California Senator after her photo op with presumed-Justice Roberts, and her instruction to the MSM that he "didn't feel like taking questions." Give me a break ...
Senator Feinstein, Kissing Ass is not in my “What Democrats Stand For” handbook
Dear Senator Feinstein:
You have had my vote since your first run for national office. And you’ve been a good representative of my interests, for the most part (although I thought your blaming the gay marriage issue for Kerry’s loss in 2004 to be a bit of a stretch). I didn’t think thousands of gays and lesbians lining up outside city halls to get legal recognition for their relationships was a good idea, fearing a major backlash, but, hey, this is America … though I didn’t choose to stand in line with the rest of them, I felt they certainly should be able to get married if they wanted … we are Americans and should be allowed the same rights and recognition of our relationships as any other citizen … if you don’t like us committing to one another, don’t invite us to dinner … but let us have the same rights as other US citizens.
I first met you through LA’s Stonewall Democratic Club where you spoke asking for our support, which we gladly gave. I cut my teeth on Democratic politics … my grandmother was a (30-year) organizer for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union and had me out walking Democratic precincts to get out the vote when I was about 5 years old. I am a life-long, hard-core Democrat … not because of indoctrination when I was young, but because I was encouraged by my grandmother to think issues through for myself and reach my own conclusions. I chose the ideas of the Democratic party and have never wavered.
I understand your meeting with John Roberts to assess his thinking on the issues he would face as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court … great photo op, by the way … but I caution you to remember that Roberts was one of the people who advised George W. Bush and his brother Jeb about how to handle the 2000 election in Florida, in which the Supreme Court became the ultimate “activist judges” W. so loves to hate, and ripped the election from our hands. He has also stated that Roe v. Wade was “wrongly decided.” As an appeals court judge he is bound by legal precedent. As a Supreme, he gets to set it. Quite frankly, for all his good looks, affable nature and humble demeanor, he scares the hell out of me. Beware of wolves in sheep's’ clothing, especially if they’ll be serving for 30+ years.
The Republicans have made political hay out of interfering in peoples’ privacy, especially in our bedrooms. In fact, I think Republicans are way more concerned about what I do in my bedroom than I am. To me, it’s nobody else’s business. To them, it’s a way to pander to the base … all the while some of them are living vicariously through those they deride. I’m so happy our community provides the totally unimaginative Ken Mehlman with a fantasy life, because Lord knows he’d be hard pressed to come up with one on his own.
Now why would I, an “out” lesbian, be so concerned about Roe v. Wade?
True, I’ve been out (and proud of it) since the early 70’s. Since that time I have never risked pregnancy in my sexual encounters. Except twice. That was when my “brothers” on the police department, after rumors of my lesbianism started to circulate, thought they could give me that “miracle screw” that would turn me straight. Knowing I was lesbian, I didn’t see the need for contraception. However, I didn’t count on being sexually assaulted by married colleagues.
I would be “ratting out” co-workers, and going against the “blue wall of silence” if I reported the assaults, which, as a rookie cop, (especially one of the first females), would have been career suicide. I suppose I thought “it couldn’t happen to me,” but it did. As luck would have it, I got pregnant both times I was assaulted.
If it weren’t for Roe v. Wade, I’d have a couple of unwanted but grown children now, probably needing serious therapy, or be dead in an alley somewhere from an illegal abortion. I might even be a grandmother, perish the thought. I applaud everyone who chooses to have kids, but it’s never been my natural inclination.
Because of Roe, I had choices. The ones I made were right for me, and whether or not I regret those choices is between me and God. But the important point is that I HAD A CHOICE.
I have nieces of child-bearing age, and I worry that they won’t have the same choice to bear or not bear children because of the shift in the balance of power in the Supreme Court if Roberts is confirmed.
I’d like to think that personal ideology doesn’t enter into their legal decisions, but that would be naïve. I know this from my job as a fact-finder/adjudicator of police misconduct complaints … sometimes you just can’t separate your belief system from the decisions you make. My decisions in that respect only affect an individual officer, critical as that decision may be to his/her livelihood. But the Supreme Court interprets the law for all of us.
Many of my fellow progressives believe we should just bite the bullet and not challenge Roberts, saying that if we reject him, Bush will only nominate someone worse. Sure, we could do worse. But don’t we owe it to the current and future generations of women to determine whether we’re confirming someone who will take away their right to choose?
A vast majority of Americans don’t want the Supremes monkeying with Roe v. Wade, according to recent polls. But that doesn’t matter if you’re the Supremes. Al Gore got the majority of votes in 2000, and look where that got him when the Supremes got involved.
Roberts’ wife volunteers for a Catholic anti-abortion organization. I doubt his feelings on the issue differ starkly from hers. Don’t we owe it to the public to at least ask if he thinks he can keep his wife’s (and presumably his) sentiments separate from his legal decisions?
I have other issues to discuss, but I’ll save them for another rant. This is something you can have an impact on today. I always viewed you as a politician with “balls,” if you’ll excuse the term. But I’m starting to get the impression that you, like me, are starting to get a little too “soft” in your close-to-(government-funded, I might add)-retirement years to ask the really tough questions of the president’s nominees. If anyone else were president, I might let this slide … but George W. Bush has showed time and time again his duplicity, incompetence, arrogance and disrespect for our republic and its people.
Barbara Boxer stood with the representatives in Ohio to challenge the certification of Ohio’s vote. She was the only one from the Senate to do so. Do not mistakenly think that this went unnoticed by the nation or the voters of California. To kiss Bush’s ass on any issue is a betrayal of the public trust because we all know there have been precious few good ideas put before the Senate (or the House) that have benefited the majority of Americans.
I know from my political activism that you have to “give a little to get a little,” so I can appreciate your situation in your minority status. But you’ll never get to be the majority by sucking up to the Republicans. It’s disgusting to your base.
I’m not saying that Roberts should not be confirmed. He could be a surprise, not let personal bias impact his legal reasoning, and make moderate rulings. And I agree, we surely could do worse (Priscilla Owen or Charles Pickering come to mind). But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be asked some very probing, difficult questions, so we know what we’re getting, “the devil you know” and all that … if he turns out to be a right-wing shill, at least we’ll have heard it on CSPAN … and then know whom to hold accountable.
So, you see, Senator, I’m not impressed by those who “go along to get along.” That was never mentioned in the Democratic Party 101 classes taught me by my ancestors. I was taught to fight like hell for what you believe in, especially when you felt the government’s approach is wrong, or in this case, disastrous. So I’d forget about that Vice Presidential run unless you can start to show a little more spine when confronted with the brazen, arrogant, and greedy power-mongers in your midst who claim to be representing the American people yet subvert democracy. But enough of Tom DeLay, I’ll save him for my next missive. If you need a refresher course in chutzpah, just ask Barbara Boxer for a few tips. I’m sure she’d be happy to oblige.
Donna J. Wade
Subject: Tony Auth's Islamic Republic Cartoon (sent to the NY Times)
I do realize that Tony Auth's point with his cartoon about the "Islamic Republic" was that Fundamentalists are taking over Iraq.
In the 1990 Constitution of Iraq, illegally thrown out by the U.S. provisional government after the illegal invasion of Iraq, the country was already an Islamic Republic -- with freedom of religion guaranteed (Remember Tariq Aziz, a top Iraq official who was a Christian?) -- and supremacy of Law on the Western pattern (learned by Saddam Hussein in law school in Cairo) over Islamic law.
The Islamic Republic of Iraq, under Saddam, was a far cry from the Fundamentalist-dominated government of Iran, and the point of Auth's cartoon is that it is now headed that way with Shiite control. This certainly seems true.
But, from a factual standpoint, it is even worse. The constitutional template forced on the Iraqis during the Occupation is not for a Republic, but rather for a Federation. The Federation model is a triumph of Conservative ideology and their belief in State's Rights' supremacy. In the case of Iraq, it is a recipe for unraveling of the country into at least three pieces, with the cultural center and historical wellspring of civilization turned into an economic basket case; or more colorfully, a medicant dependent on foreign charity.
Conservatives should be required to provide examples of stable, functional federations. I thought we Liberals were supposed to be the unrealistic air heads.
John F. Williford
Subject: $10.00 Reward
Taking my cue from the Cook County Republican Party's offer of a $10,000 reward for information leading to an indictment and conviction of Mayor Richard M. Daley, I hereby make the following offer:
A $10.00 reward for information leading to an indictment and conviction of pResident George W. Bush, Jr., whose Administration has been buffeted by scandal. (Sorry it's such a small amount, but that's all the piggy bank had in it.)
Please read this article from CommonDreams, because the author, Robert Sargent, is right about how other countries will feel if foreign troops withdraw leaving Iraq to find its own way to democracy. It is very true that we will not point a finger and laugh while saying that the United States is weak, unable to complete a war that is useless and a waste of lives (and loves though it is), nah, nahnah nahnah, na (fingers wiggling in our ears). We will say, 'they did the right thing after doing the wrong thing.' It takes a big person to admit when they are wrong. I learned that in a major way when I was a pre-teen and though the humiliation I personally felt at the time was torture, the good feeling of praise I got for publicly admitting to the class that I was hardheadedly wrong and that the teacher was right was something that I remember the most (early rabble rouser that I was and still am). I am sometimes (hard to imagine I know) wrong, but I do admit it now when I do the thorough research and reach a balanced understanding. I had a very good teacher that year and she taught me that sometimes you have to bite it when you are wrong and that good things happen when you admit that you are wrong. I earned the respect of that particular teacher, as she did mine.
So, to Bush and the elite followers of such claptrap as his admin spews, admit you are wrong, pull the troops and recoup your nation-state's standing amongst the citizens of the world (Bush and the Admin will still be denigrated, but the people of the States will be forgiven and understood in the context of the situation). So do the right thing Georgie boy and give it up. If I could learn this at twelve, certainly you and your fellow cretins can learn this at your age.
Subject: Tom Friedman's Blacklist (sent to NY Times)
I’ve just read where Tom Friedman thinks the State Department should create a quarterly “War of Ideas Report” that will list, among other things, the names of people who subscribe to the idea that there is a connection between the threat of terrorism and Bush’s war in Iraq.
Since over 50% of Americans seem to think there is definite cause & effect here, this list is going to be a dandy. I just wanted to make sure Mr. Friedman had my name, spelled correctly, to add to it.
It’s very disappointing to me that Friedman has chosen to, as he has expressed it so succinctly, “give war a chance.” I used to believe him a man of intelligence and some integrity. No more. He has proven to be just one more crypto-fascist, pseudo-intellectual journalistic hack who has no regard for honorable dissent.
Subject: An Innocent Story?
It appears to be of no immediate consequence that Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's term of service expires in late October of this year.
The story, as reported in 'The State,' a South Carolina newspaper, seems to portray this news as a matter-of-fact situation. Former US Senator Peter Fitzgerald (no relation) was Chicago's Republican Senator in 2001 when he recommended then-federal New York prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald for the job of Chicago's U.S. Attorney. Bush nominated him for the position in September, 2001.
To quote form 'The State' story:
The story reveals that Peter Fitzgerald claims Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment of Republican ex-Governor George Ryan, and on-going investigation of Chicago's City Hall, have "angered powerful politicians in both parties." He continues,
To clarify, Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is the special prosecutor heading up the Plame Leak investigation. In recent weeks, news has leaked that the investigation has led to Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby as being potential sources of the leak. But even newer revelations suggest Fitzgerald's investigation has gone beyond simply attempting to identify and prosecute the leaker of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson's identity.
It seems the pursuit now includes investigating how the White House presented its case, to the American public, for launching a war in Iraq.
Hmmm. As reported in the story, politicos ponder whether Bush will extend the Attorney's term of service come October. I do not believe the story is that simple. The White House has presented a muted tact in addressing the potentially negative outcome of Fitzgerald's investigation. At this point, it would be ludicrous for the White House to launch a smear campaign against Attorney Fitzgerald. That would be too obvious, and might convince more people into believing Rove and Libby, and perhaps the President himself are guilty of treason.
What better way then, to address the issue? Suggest to Patrick Fitzgerald that his term of service might not be extended, (read: no longer have a job) because, as Peter Fitzgerald stated: "... a lot of people, a lot of criminals, may hope that October brings them a new U.S. attorney in Chicago, one perhaps a little bit more malleable and acceptable to influence from leading Republicans and leading Democrats."
Does the phrase, "leading Republicans," include President Bush? Karl Rove? I. Lewis Libby? And why would politicians need to "influence" a U.S. Attorney?
And remember, there was another interesting suggestion from Peter Fitzgerald: that President Bush could seek the counsel of Speaker Dennis Hastert on whether or not Bush should extend Patrick Fitzgerald's term of service as a U.S. Attorney. It seems the White House has fired a nearly undetectable, obviously preemptive shot by planting this seed: if Fitzgerald's term of service is not extended, it will not be President Bush's decision ... it will be Speaker Dennis Hastert's decision.
"Look, ma! No hands!"
So, for now, it seems the message being sent to Attorney Fitzgerald is simply this:, "If you want to keep your job, perhaps you should be, oh, let's say, 'more malleable,' and 'acceptable to influence' from leading Republicans ..."
Need I say more?
Subject: Bolton, the Invisible Man
John Roberts gets nominated to the Supreme Court and shows up in person the next day to kiss every camera lens and Senator's behind in the District of Columbia. So where's John Bolton? Talk shows? Nope. Newshour interviews? Not on your life. They know they can't let him out in public where he'll be seen as the arrogant ass he is.
Subject: Aha! The rats are jumping ship. And the lame ducks are drowning.
Just read a VERY interesting piece in this morning's NYT -- i.e., Bill Frist now SUPPORTS a bill increasing funds for stem-cell research -- even though it means breaking ranks with the lame duck. Good sign for us BuzzReaders, I'd say. We already know (from lots of other examples than the Terri Schiavo case -- when Frist gave his "expert" opinion that she was obviously conscious and tracking her visitors with her eyes. WRONG, as the autopsy -- and common sense -- revealed) that he's (a) as ambitious as Lady MacBeth when it comes to the 2008 presidential election; and (b) like most presidential aspirants (including Hillary Clinton, who's running around trying to create a "center" when what we REALLY need is a direction to move in) he's licked his finger, held it to the wind -- and, oh yeah, read the polls on how Americans feel about stem cell research. (Hey, if even Nancy Reagan favors it, he can't go TOO far wrong, right?)
The most interesting part of the story (to me) is that Frist -- who obviously puts his own ambitions ahead of blind loyalty -- has seen the writing on the wall: i.e., the lame duck -- currently anchored by chains to Rove, Libby, et al. -- is sinking fast, so there's nothing to lose (in a bid for the presidency) by jumping ship. Sorry for all the mixed metaphors, but they're all water-related: rats jumping ship, ship sinking, lame ducks drowning in their own lies ...
Stay tuned: we're in for an interesting few months (at least) here. Remember the old Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." Well, we're THERE now. If even Bill Frist, sycophant and poll watcher that he is, has the courage to jump ship, the ship MUST be sinking. Let's just hope it happens soon.
Barb in Athens, GA
Subject: Dr. Frist
My elderly dog has a kidney problem and I want to get a second opinion. Since Dr. Frist has made clear that he is willing to give diagnoses based on videotape outside of his specialty, I figure that he'd be willing to practice veterinary medicine as well. Do you think I should send him a video of my dog?
Subject: Al Gore: The President Who Was Stolen From America, And The
RFK is the best president we never had. Al Gore was a DLC Republican Light candidate until the election was stolen from him, which radicalized him. Even though that's happened, he's still not RFK.
Subject: Lying Politicans
With all the news we constantly hear about one politician or another lying, I could not resist sending you a quotation I picked up recently. Sounds like their mantra. Or maybe they are kidding themselves, because we just DO NOT believe them.
"Lying is a form of patriotism and is evidence of our innate intelligence. We lie in a creative, imaginative, and inventive way."
D.Cosic--former Yugoslav President (b.1921)
I call it more evidence of a sick mind.