December 9, 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: Look no further than the Bushes
To the writer who felt the need to criticize Clinton on NAFTA ... a little more recent history:
In July 2005, republicans sleazed CAFTA through the House. The House vote was the last hurdle facing CAFTA which would tear down barriers to trade and investment between the US, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The deal was overwhelmingly opposed by House Democrats and they contended that it was wrong to strike a free-trade pact with poor countries lacking protection for worker rights. Ohio Democrat, Dennis Kucinich thundered that CAFTA was for multinational companies who planned to make a profit by shutting plants in the US and moving to places with cheap labor.
Next the jaw-dropper. The CAFTA House vote was to be open 15 minutes and when it began to appear that the republicans would lose, Tom DeLay “unethically” held the vote up long enough for republicans to go out and twist a few republican arms. Two Southeastern republicans had planned to vote against CAFTA, and they were talked into abstaining from the vote. Knowing DeLay, God only knows what these two republicans were threatened with. Well, guess what ... CAFTA passed by two votes! CAFTA is the evil twin to NAFTA and [Bush] wanted it passed so bad he could taste it. So, please don’t tell me about Clinton’s NAFTA that Bush’s daddy pushed and the republicans like Gingrich heralded.
Clinton was a give and take president, and he had to give into NAFTA to get a few of his own priorities through. Clinton was also up against a hostile majority congress. George Bush II did the same thing and he has a rubber stamp congress. Please consider that the congress Clinton had was hell-bent on running him out of DC on a rail. They epitomized the “Politics of Personal Destruction.” ...
[BuzzFlash Note to all readers/writers: Mailbag is a place to comment on the issues and politicians, but not to attack one another. What's the good in that? It's a waste of our time to mimic the shouting matches we hate from the right. We apologize for letting some Clinton bashing language into Mailbag, but we respected that writer's wish to critique NAFTA.]
If Jeltin Joe does replace Rummy, maybe, Joe's replacement will vote like a democrat.
Dave in WV
Subject: Congressional Hearings
I found it interesting that oil executives do not have to swear in before testifying, but hurricane victims do.
New Orleans Evacuees and Activists Testify at Explosive House Hearing on the Role of Race and Class in Government's Response to Hurricane Katrina (Democracy Now)
Subject: Clinton Bush Years (The Selling of America)
The cause of the present and future, is a result of the past. I agree with the reader who lambasted the Clinton Administration; as far as economy, this is a one-sided arrangement.
Though the theory may have had good intentions, the result is having a catastrophic effect. The way China is both undermining the dollar, and buying up the increasing debt, they do not have to use military force to conquer the U.S. How can we sell a U.S.- made item to them, when the living standard and pay is so low?
NAFTA (Not always fair to America) is the same way the mean income is less than in the U.S., so instead of increasing the living standards in the other countries the government is lowering ours. Now we have CAFTA (CUT AMERICA'S FRICKING THROAT AGAIN), which lowers our living standard instead of raising the South American countries'. When is the playing field going to level? Pretty soon we will not be able to purchase anything. Doesn't it seem funny the wages have been cut, but the price of the item made in another country is always the same or higher? A Higher Education use to be a way of increasing your living standard, but when there are no JOBS either Blue or White Collar, it is WORTHLESS!
The solution is obvious, MAKE LOBBYISTS AND ANY BUSINESS-GOVERNMENT CONNECTIONS ILLEGAL; KEEP RELIGION OUT OF POLITICS; AND ALLOW FOR A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE FOR ALL ASPECTS OF GOVERNMENT. IF THIS OR ANY GOVERNMENT DOES NOT FIGHT FOR THE AMERICAN FAMILY, LIKE ANY OTHER BUSINESS, "FIRE THEM." Finally all companies should reinvest back into the American work force instead of offshore accounts, abusing outdated laws, using loopholes and the help of political cronies. It seems like a few enjoy the health and wealth at the expense of others.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: you got it wrong (sent to corporate media)
you media people got it wrong... bush said it first!
New York Times Headline: "Bush Cites Doubt America Can Win War on Terror."
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Bernie Sanders
You had a good one on there with Bernie Sanders. Brother in law from Vermont ... says Sanders is for the people, fights for the people, and signature is the elderly. And he was for Dean too and when, just between Kerry and Edwards, talked him into Edwards, and he said I chose a good candidate. We have been for Edwards since Iowa Caucus and said he was against NAFTA. Gephardt not against NAFTA, way we are or the unions that backed him. He was just better than nothing for the unions. Glad we were not for Gephardt since he and Daschle for bush's bankruptcy bill.
So still for Edwards, and if Biden, Bayh who voted for bankruptcy, or Hillary gets nomination, writing in Sanders who we have always wanted for president too. And remember you having Sanders on about oil companies.
This time in 2008 could you please remind people that Edwards has more experience than bush and Carter, with their one term of governor when they became president. And more experience than Nixon, with his 5 years as congressman when he became president. And more experience than Dean, with his one term as governor when running for president. Kerry and the Democratic Party did not bring this to people's attention in 2004.
Can't believe bush executed all those people in one term. Ryan, at least he would not execute because of DNA proving people on death row were innocent.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Relaxing the Ban on Bringing Scissors and Short Blades Aboard Planes
What's our commander-in-chief up to? He's tipping his hand to those who hate what he is doing to them in their native lands and what's more he's doing these things to them in the name of each and all of us - "We'll drop our guard so, if you're interested in pulling-off another 9/ll, the coast is clear" is what the president is signaling by way of his relaxing the ban on scissors and short blades. He'll then ratchet-up these here chains a notch or two. How to break free? We the people change the world.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Articles about the SCOTUS Decision re student loans and Social Security
These articles are a disgrace, they misstate the impact of this decision.
People on Social Security Disability can still get their loans 100% discharged.
They need to have their doctor submit the application and then for three years they are in 'conditional discharge.' Provided they remain totally disabled, at the end of the 3 years the student loans are GONE. And during that 3 years their SSDI cannot be garnisheed by the DOE.
The plaintiff in this case does happen to be disabled, but that had nothing to do with the case. The very narrow issue was whether the government could take the 15% on loans that had been due longer than 10 years, as they had been.
Basically it changes NOTHING.
These articles have frightened a lot of people and misled them into believing they have no option but to lose 15% of their benefits.
The US media is totally irresponsible. I have seen the same WRONG article in 50 different places.
I have read the opinion from FINDLAW. I also have gone through the loan discharge process myself (I have been totally disabled for over 5 years). Aside from my having come in right after they changed the rules and their procedures were a little rocky for the first few months of the new system, it went smoothly.
Presumably now that he has lost the case, the plaintiff, Mr. Lockhart, will apply for the unconditional discharge which he could have done already, unless he is NOT totally disabled under Social Security rules. In which case, yes, he's stuck paying his student loans back via the offset. Sad, but true--most people can't blow off their student loans till they hit retirement age then claim they don't have enough money to pay them back. If that's not acceptable to the populace the proper procedure is to get Congress to change the law to reflect that.
You have posted the misleading article, please also post these links for the text of the opinion and for the discharge process for SSDI recipients.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: War on Christmas
I grew up in the 50's in a "Christian" household, meaning my sister and I went to Sunday school and my parents went to church on Easter, Christmas Eve and a few other Sundays throughout the year. My Grandmother was deeply religious and worked at her church and also at a religious bookstore. But on Christmas day, we didn't talk about Jesus, we opened presents, drank egg nog, ate candy canes and cooked a big ham. It had absolutely nothing to do with Christianity, but it was the way that many of us grew up celebrating Christmas.
The Grinchy McScrooge gang act as though we have always celebrated Christmas as a deeply Christian holiday that had not a whiff of pagan influence, as in evergreen trees, reindeer, Yule logs, stockings and about ninety percent of what most Americans perceive as Christmas. The NeoCon assault on "traditional" Christmas is about as far from Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men as possible. I credit it to the constant need for the NeoCons to have their base worked up into a frenzy about some inconsequential issue so they don't have time to see what a big pile of crap their leaders are slinging.
Fox News morons Hannity, Gibson and O'Reilly claim that since 80%-90% of Americans identify themselves as "Christian", we should all be forced to say Merry Christmas to everybody we meet. But most of us live on one of the coasts or in an urban area and very likely know people of many faiths. To wish someone Happy Holidays is to honor whatever holiday they celebrate. What could be more appropriate? Radical clerics Falwell, Dobson and Robertson lead a splinter group of Christians that are more like some ancient pagan sect. They refer to themselves as "God-fearing", a phrase which seems the very opposite of what Jesus preached (shouldn't it be God-loving?). They claim God punishes sinners and non-believers (as in Katrina) and seem to believe that God must be constantly appeased by us or he will wreak vengeance upon us. I keep picturing the natives in King Kong leaving Faye Wray there as a sacrifice. I think Jerry Falwell would just love to tie up Janeane Garafolo and offer her up to Jehovah to stay on his good side. It is superstition, not faith.
These God-fearing Christians think they have a right to threaten others with eternal damnation if they don't submit to their angry and jealous deity. I for one can't imagine worshipping a Supreme Being who is more petty and self-centered than I am. That is why, although I am no longer a Christian, I intend to celebrate a traditional Christmas with my family like we always do. We will open presents around our tree, drink eggnog (I'll pass on the candy canes) and sit down to a wonderful meal.
Subject: someone has to have the guts to tell this administration NO
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