August 5, 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: Osama Threat
just as our chickens***t-in-chief is going on vacation, (AUGUST) we have another threat from the 'bigboys' who trot out the videos from Osama (that's Osama bin Laden, in case anyone in the DC area doesn't remember who HE is) ... at any rate ... I thought the 'global war on terror '... ooops, I think it is 'struggle against extremism' ... uh ... or perhaps it is stuff the room with marshmallows ... or ... peanut butter and jelly sandwiches???? was supposed to be making us safer....
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Where Do the Bombs Come From
Where do the insurgents get all the bombs that they use for blowing up Americans? It would seem to me to be another big mistake by Bush's war planners. When we were marching full speed ahead to Baghdad, why didn't we confiscate all these bombs? I remember reading that the army didn't have time to stop and secure all of Iraq's ammunition depots. Now it would seem we are paying the price in human lives. Obviously these bombs were laying around Iraq somewhere, but we were so busy securing oilfields and dividing up the spoils that we let the insurgents capture enough explosives to blow our soldiers to bits day after day.
[BuzzFlash Note: Kind of makes us wonder if blaming so many explosions and US casualties on "improvised explosive devices" is a way of making us forget that regular bombs were left lying about.]
Subject: Blood Pressure Remedies
Barb in Athens, GA has my sympathy; I quit watching TV news altogether (in the States, that is) because it was becoming harmful to my health.
Barb is right about the scientific definition of the word "theory." My husband does academic (although not strictly scientific) research, and he calls an untested idea a "hypothesis." It's not a "theory" until you can support it with observations. "Intelligent design" can never be a "theory," because God is not subject to measurement. You either believe He exists or you don't.
With regard to your blood pressure, Barb: I find knitting to be very calming, plus you wind up with a useful garment when you get finished. I've also heard that watching fish lowers blood pressure. But turning off the news is probably the best idea; they don't tell us anything we really need to know anyway.
BTW: W was on TV here in Australia last night talking about something, and he said, "We're at war." I thought it was a "struggle" now. Didn't he get the memo?
Subject: Perjury for Palmeiro???
How is it that it has taken two years to try and get to the bottom of PlameGate, an issue of perjury and treason to the national security of America, but it has only taken a few days for Congress to decide that Rafael Palmeiro might have lied about f***ing steroid use and now he might end up under indictment???
I'm curious as to who the "leaders" of this committee are, and why they think this issue is so important to the American public.
I'm so tired of this charade ...
Subject: Something Other than Republicans and Democrats?
As a Democrat that lifted along with MoveOn.Org in the last election, for a candidate I was not excited about, and then having to watch the Democratic Party and its elected politicians roll over and get man-handled on almost every issue, I'm wondering if there are others out there that would like to see a brand new slate of potential candidates running for office.
How about just posting the question on your site, asking how many would like to see some drastic changes in our representatives and senators?
The way the slate looks now, I'm not going to give, lift or vote for the democrats that are available to me in Minnesota. We just lost the one that we had that really had the good of the Commonwealth on his heart, Mark Dayton.
We're really not much better than the Republicans!
Mark Dayton: Senate bows shamefully to powerful gun lobby (Star Tribune)
Robert L. Swanson
Subject: Bush and the ranch
Just saw 2 seconds of Bush at his faux ranch, then Condi stepping out of the helicopter. Why no coverage of her there? ... Do you have any connections who are smack-dab honest enough to say (even off the record) who is there with him all these days? Aren't American taxpayers paying for their partying and hoopla?
A BuzzFlash Reader
[BuzzFlash Note: Personally, we can't picture partying with Condi.]
Subject: Over 1800
I just wanted to remind people that last year at this time (the Democratic Convention, so a few days off), Illinois Senatorial Candidate Barack Obama said, "I think of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters ... that wouldn't be returning ..."
900! That was one year ago. Where and how will this madness end? In less than a week the number increased by about 50 with most of the dead hailing from ONE unit in Ohio. 900 to 1800+.
Hi! That's a number that has DOUBLED in one year's time. I think about this every day. I grieve over this every day. I pray over this every day. What else am I to do? How can we stop this? Surely it cannot be by everyday standard means. They have accomplished their much desired trifecta.
How can we find our way back to being America again?
Me? My family? We're studying foreign languages and looking at countries to move to ... but I don't want to do it. I love America and all it USED to be. How can we work together, besides through rhetoric, to really get any changes to occur? They own the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court and the media. I'm sorry, that's a QUADRAfecta. Please tell me how we are going to peacefully fight that.
Otherwise, you have lost 4 great Americans ... 2 who will NEVER fight for this Administration's bogus war.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Our Fellow Americans: Are We War-Crminals? (forwarded to BuzzFlash)
This is a question we should all contemplate, deeply.
We know, or certainly should know, that the Bush administration conspired to take this nation to war, based on false evidence; a war of aggression, the mother of all war crimes.
We also know that acts of torture, abuse, sexual humiliation and rape were committed by Americans, on prisoners, most of whom had committed no crimes; more war crimes.
We also know that renditions of people to countries which are known to torture people have been carried out and OKed at the highest levels of our government; another war crime. People in our custody have been literally beaten to death.
We also know that officials of this government passed on classified information to the press, resulting in the outing of a CIA officer and her entire front company, causing, God only knows, how much damage to our ability to track and prevent proliferation of WMD.
But here is the thing. Most of us have known this for two years. The rest of you should have known it. Some of you actually voted on George Bush, knowing about the lies, distortions, torture and murder. You are conspirators after-the-fact.
Still, it is never too late to see the error of your ways, and join the American Resistance. Some of you did not vote for George W. Bush. But are you still paying for these atrocities? Are you willing to do anything besides vote?
Voting is just one of your duties as a free, self-governing person, at a time like this. It is your duty to resist a corrupt and dangerous American government. We are the first line of defense against an out-of-control American government, for ourselves and our progeny, but for the rest of the world as well. If we are a free people, a true Democratic Republic, then we are responsible for what our government does, unless we engaged in active dissent, against the actions and policies which we believe are criminal; which are criminal, according to our own Constitution, as well as myriad International laws, which the civilized world has honored for many years.
We must demand impeachment and trial by the Senate of Bush and Cheney. We must withdraw all support, monetary and otherwise, from this government, as long as the legislative refuses to do its job of oversight and the executive continues to commit crime after crime in our names.
We urge as many as possible to join the protests in Washington, D.C. on the weekend of Sept 23 and make it a long weekend of dissent. We want no part of war crimes! We hope you feel the same.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Arent we a "republic, for which it stands?" Not a democracy?
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: "Republican Nemesis"
I found a great article on campaign strategy that would be of interest to BuzzFlash readers, progressives and the Democratic Party called the "Republican Nemesis" by a writer in Red State Texas named James Kroeger. Howard Dean and the DNC would do well to read it:
Democrats gotta communicate better, and this dude has some good ideas and insights!
He's at email@example.com and he's written other good articles as well, tax policy being the specialty.
New Jersey BuzzFlash Fan
I am picturing an administration with tentacles. Suspecting that the administration has something on each person that would speak out against them. Dems and Republicans, why is McCain so quiet, (I have always questioned his mental stability) more so lately.
There has to be a reason so many are quiet.
Also, why do persons still say, we are in Iraq, they attacked us. Do not persons read and or listen to alternative points of view? Cheney stated Iraqis did not attack us.
I contend we need the draft to awaken persons in this country. Yes, the men and women are dying in vain.
Subject: Child Rape at Abu Ghraib Prison
My God, How can this be happening? I'm speechless.
Michael A. Pace
Subject: What 300 Billion in Iraq Could Have Bought
In 1989, the year before the first Gulf War, Iraq's GDP was $63 billion. Consider then, that if we just went to Iraq, tossed out Saddam and then paid every Iraqi 4x's their pre-sanctions salary we'd truly have "Mission Accomplished." And for less money.
Subject: Roberts and Federalist Society Fraud -
The Federalist Society represents itself as standing for original intent of the framers of the constitution, but if we look more closely, we find that they pick and choose where to apply this principle, according to their ideology.
In the latest example, John Roberts doesn't think there is any basis for finding a 'right to privacy' in the constitution that would apply to a woman's reproductive rights.
So why does Roberts want to find a new right in the Constitution for corporations?
Newsday reports that
Is there really a First Amendment right to conceal information about product safety? Is there a First Amendment Right that allows a legal construct - a corporation - to sell unregulated, unsafe products?
Let's check with Tom Hartmann or some constitutional lawyers and find out if the people who proposed and adopted the First Amendment were thinking about what Roberts was advocating.
Is this "modesty and humility"?
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Conservatives Are from Mars / Liberals Are from Venus
CONSERVATIVES ARE FROM MARS/LIBERALS ARE FROM VENUS
With all this talk lately of religious values and the insistance of the religious right that “we need to get God back in the classroom”, it has dawned on me that liberals and conservatives aren’t speaking the same language when it comes to spiritual and moral values. The conservatives have rationalized that the Geneva Convention is “quaint” while at the same time decrying the actions of the “few bad apples” in the military who’ve been caught engaging in it. The liberals flatly condemn torture for everyone, stating that by demeaning other human beings, we are demeaning ourselves. Here we have the crux of the problem in a nutshell. While one side is focused on the expedient, the other side is concerned with moral principles. And in just about any debate, these two sides will almost always approach things from these same two positions. It’s no wonder conservatives and liberals have a hard time finding common ground, especially on topics that involve moral values. And when the topic is moral values, it means something much different to each side. Why is that?
First of all, it helps to remember that, despite cultural and individual differences, we are all moral beings. From the moment we are expelled from the warm, safe confines of the womb, we are each on our own in a frightening, bewildering, mystifying world. From our earliest days, each one of us, apart from temporal survival, is driven to make sense of our existence in terms of how we fit into, not only the social order in which we find ourselves, but also some greater universal scheme.
When we embark upon this journey toward developing into our “moral beinghood”, there normally is no shortage of authority figures telling us what to do. According to Lawrence Kohlberg and his theory of moral development, our growth as moral beings doesn’t relate to intelligence or age, but is more a reasoning process tempered by experience.
Sometime prior to elementary school, we enter Level-One of Kohlberg’s “stages”, which he calls “preconventional morality”. We learn that bad behaviour gets us punished, and good behaviour results in pleasant rewards. We learn what friends are and that they can benefit us if we treat them right. And even though we may understand the difference between right and wrong, we may be more than willing to try to rationalize the rules or to bargain with others in order to get what we want. Solving moral dilemmas is done on a primitive level or done for us. Basically, if someone in authority says that something is good or bad, we accept it as absolute. Or we don’t, and we end up in trouble.
At the next level, usually beginning in the teens, we are mostly willing to accept the idea of rules and responsibility as being necessary for ordering our existance, and we instinctively seek approval of those around us as an indication we are “doing the right thing”. This is Level-Two, called “conventional morality”. We are striving to be “a good person”, and to make “good decisions”. Toward this end, we feel it’s important to obey the law and those in authority, and the extent of what we call “conscience” is doing what we think other people approve of and what will keep us out of trouble.
At each stage of moral development, we are bound to encounter some moral dilemmas which generate questions with no quick and easy answers. We see there are more options and more opportunities to make wrong decisions, and sometimes dire consequences could follow. It’s natural for many people to be drawn to organized religion at these lower stages because having strict rules and guidance is comforting, and it relieves them of the responsibility and risk involved with solving moral dilemmas on their own. But if we accept the challenge of each moral dilemma as it comes, and attempt to deal with the consequences of our choices, we eventually grow, stage by stage.
An interesting feature of Kohlberg’s stages, and it’s significant to this overall discussion, is that a person at one level of moral development will find it virtually impossible to understand where a person from the next level of moral development is coming from. A three-year-old can’t fathom why it’s good to share. A Christian Fundamentalist may not be able comprehend that there may be many serious, complex, and even moral reasons why a woman would decide to have an abortion. And a conservative may think liberals are freaks of nature for worrying about how many trees are left in a forest. There are stages within each level, and we each are able only to grasp the moral rationale at just one stage above the one where we currently find ourselves. But in order to progress through these stages, we must do so one at a time.
It’s possible to get “stuck” permanently at one of the first two levels of moral development if you’ve had a pampered or overly structured existance where you haven’t had to struggle with choices and the consequences of bad decisions, or if you’ve suffered some emotional trauma. Say, for example, there is a young man whose father is very rich and powerful and he gets into trouble with the law, and his dad knows lots of powerful people who are willing to make the problem go away so he won’t have to suffer the consequences of his foolish, selfish behaviour. Since the young man has never had to work through the moral dilemmas in his privileged life, he may never progress beyond Level-One, and if he someday finds himself in a position of great power, he may be morally ill-equipped for the vast responsibilities. Sound like anyone we know?
It’s also possible to manipulate certain groups of people who happen to be susceptible to authority figures because of their current stage of moral development. By using infllammatory rhetoric to exploit their fears and prejudices, by keeping them dependent on authoritarian church leaders who tell them they’ll burn in hell if they don’t do as “scripture” says, it’s possible to prevent these people from ever progressing beyond Level-One or Two. Unscrupulous leaders find this desirable because these people are easily controlled since they shy away from questioning authority for fear of losing their “faith”. What we are seeing in this country right now is a whole segment of society who are willing to deny reality rather than risk destroying a belief system to which they cling as shipwreck victims to a life preserver in fearful, troubling times. And politicians who are only concerned with furthering their own ambitions, are exploiting them.
Finally, there’s Level-Three, “postconventional morality”. By the time you’ve arrived at this level, you’ve been through life’s ringer. You’ve probably made many mistakes, suffered lots of consequences and learned and grown from them, ultimately embracing your fears and bravely asking many tough questions, turning over many rocks seeking answers you’re not entirely sure exist. You embrace goodness for its own sake, not because someone has threatened you with hellfire and damnation or prison. You fully grasp the concept of progressive values and believe in many possible solutions to a single moral dilemma depending on individual circumstances. At this level, you are operating from a position of inner conscience, rather than rules and laws, therefore you may feel that organized religion has become irrelevant to your moral being. (This isn’t to say that there aren’t still many church-goers at this level, but they are far less likely to blindly follow dogma.) You probably have an interest in the general welfare of the rest of humankind, and you may grasp the concept that we’re all connected to each other and to a greater universal consciousness. You feel enriched by diversity, and you see differences as opportunity rather than a threat. You look at a law as being good only as long as it is fair, and doesn’t discriminate against any class of people. You may even believe it’s moral to disobey an unjust law.
Therefore, I tend toward the conclusion that conservatives and liberals are at different levels of moral development. This would explain why many liberals get so feverish over deciding an issue based on whether or not it’s “right and just”, while conservatives will rationalize a decision based on material benefit. Liberals are frustrated because the “rightness” of the issue seems so obvious to them. At the same time, conservatives think liberals are merely being disruptive and unreasonable, but it’s because many conservatives simply are incapable of grasping the rationale of a moral issue being argued at a higher level of moral development.
The responsibility for the current, abysmal state of affairs should fall primarily on the party presently in power. The ones at the very top have, it would appear, gone quite mad with power and ambition, and they seem to have abdicated all moral responsibility. However, the minority party is also to blame, since they’ve gone along with many of the disastrous and deadly schemes of the ruling party, or have just kept silent. They are only now finding the courage to show some moral fiber and stand up for what’s right.
When you factor everything to the lowest common denominator, it all boils down to doing what’s good and right according to that inner moral compass we all possess. You don’t need fancy dialogue or organized religion to be able to apply the Golden Rule to any issue and be able to come up with the right decision. It’s high time those big shots in power were reminded of this.
[BuzzFlash Note: Thought provoking ... but perhaps not fair to lump all the conservatives in the "underdeveloped" moral sense camp. ]
I want to comment on the fact that our President is taking FIVE weeks vacation. Despite the newest and ever increasing casualities of HIS war.
I work for a company that gives me two weeks off a year (and, suprisingly, my job does not involve running a country). So, how is it that they can only live without me for two weeks yet the greatest country in the world is without a leader for over a month?
What about the war that's going on without respite for our men and women? Does it not occur to this moron that right now would not be an appropriate time to get away?
Take your vacation, Mr. President, when our soldiers are home safe and well. Until then, you should be sitting in the White House doing all you can to bring them back.
And then I woke up.
Subject: Re: Inside Politics To: CNN
Bob Novak should be forced to come on CNN and APOLOGIZE to us ... the viewers. CNN is only covering up. Novak did something WORSE than any other commentator including Dan Rather has done ... and you only give him a slap on the wrist??? I will not be watching CNN any more. I will watch MSNBC.
Patricia Bartch Oregon
Subject: Ultimate Revenge of the Nerds
I was listening to some old music the other day (60's, 70's rock) and marveling at music that actually spoke of peace and love. This led to some musings. ... this group of neocons are living out the ultimate revenge of the nerds. Aren't these the same people who still hate the "hippies" and all their "free love, peace, etc."? I guess they haven't gotten over missing Woodstock and all the fun days of our youth. Boy, are they ever getting back at us for leaving them out of the party.
I guess those of us who believe in peace and love are terribly threatening to them, although I have yet to figure out why. As long as they are around, the democrats will be the party of the liberal hippies and they can't get past that. I guess maybe it stems from the fact that we protested the Vietnam war, and they now know we were right. We were too young and innocent then to truly understand the depths of the lies our government was telling us and we were wrong to lay the blame on the soldiers, but we were right that the war was illegal.
Anyhow, just needed to pass some thoughts on to others who might understand. My frustration at what is happening to this country is overwhelming at times. I truly fear for what we have become.
Subject: 273 Lies By Gw Bush
A while back you printed an article of lies GW has said. Could you reprint that?
[BuzzFlash Note: Not sure what you're referring to, but maybe this? http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/03/07/22_lies.html]
Subject: What Happened to Those Armed Freedom Fighters?
Maybe my memory is going with age ... But it seems to me that I remember one point that was always put forth by gun nuts whenever anybody tried to introduce legislation that would make it more difficult for a person to buy that special assault weapon:
"What would we do if our government tries to take away our freedoms?" asked the gunners. "What would we do if the government tried to revoke the Bill of Rights?" asked the armed patriots... ...umm - guys?
I don't know if you have noticed, but our government has passed legislation that has negated a citizen's protections under the Constitution ... and, umm - the government has nullified posse comutatis and the elections have been tampered with and the appointed executive branch has been routinely bypassing the legislative body and also the courts have ruled that the government can take your property away if it chooses to do so. Does this mean that we will soon see you storming the capitol with your private arsenals and putting a stop to the abuses of this government?
I can't hear you ... I can't see you ...
Whaddya mean, you're all under the bed peeing your pants?! Here's your big chance to show all of those smartass liberals that you were right!
Apparently, they haven't noticed anything wrong. Pretty damned convenient, huh? And the lifetime chickens**t award goes to the valiant members of the NRA!
Michael J Fowler
Subject: The Pop Culture Indicator
On his Thursday night show, David Letterman brought up the subject of Osama Bin Laden. During the pre-guest monologue, he recalled "wanted dead or alive" and wondered why Bin Laden is still free. He said it flatly and did not intend it to be funny, and no one laughed. When he finished, the audience applauded for an uncomfortably long amount of time.
Note to President Bush: the needle on the pop culture meter has hit the red warning zone. It's time for you to say something.
Bin Laden has been free since 9/11 longer than the United States fought in World War II. He organized and financed the destruction of two of our embassies in Africa seven years ago. Far from being neutralized or even marginalized, he and Al-Zawahiri continue to release videos and act as inspirations for attacks in Iraq and around the world.
Mr. President, wouldn't it be appropriate for you to tell us how the "hunt" is going? How about a prime time address from the Oval Office, during which you look right into the camera and give us all an update on the search? At the very least, don't you think the families of the thousands murdered on 9/11 deserve this? If you don't think leadership requires it, doesn't basic decency demand it?
Honestly, Mr. President. How about it?
A BuzzFlash Reader