December 14, 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: History As Propaganda
President Bush gave another speech (this time in the historic American Revolutionary city of Philadelphia) in his highly acclaimed new TV series explaining, defending, and cajoling his way to a new strategic position on achieving VICTORY in Iraq, and, thereby, raising his poll numbers.
In this Philadelphia speech, he took up, yet again, a favorable comparison both he and Rumsfeld have used before (Bush in May 2005 and Rumsfeld in 2003) of the situation in Iraq with our own American Revolution.
It is a comparison borne of the need to inspire support at home for his actions. What better symbol to rally the homeland behind than to whip up patriotic fervor by tying his entire enterprise in Iraq to our own American Revolution and its patriotic and emotional foundation?
Here are a few problems with Bush's historical comparison:
-- Iraq was not a colonial nation ruled by an absent King, but rather a sovereign country whose leadership was toppled by foreign invasion -- and, if anything, we are more like France in this equation, an outsider supporting one fraction in this conflict over another (although I doubt Bush would want to compare us to France, and, of course, France did not overthrow the King and install a bunch of outsiders in power);
-- there was not a long history of internal opposition to Saddam, no growing civil and militant reaction (no Boston Tea Parties), nothing comparable to our decades long and ever-growing dissatisfaction with the King;
-- there are no homegrown leaders in Iraq even remotely comparable to our founding fathers who actually fought for independence -- there simply are no Iraqi leaders comparable to Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Franklin, and Tom Paine;
-- the violent brand of sectarian religious and tribal hatred in Iraq did not exist in early America;
-- and after liberation from the King, during the course of what Bush calls "many difficult challenges," while Americans hashed out the division of power in America, we had clearly defined political units made up of states which had governors, laws, regulations, statutes -- there is nothing comparable in Iraq, other than loosely organized provinces with no real "state's" rights;
-- the armed revolts of early America (like the Shays Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion) were not terrorist acts a la Iraq, characterized by religious sectarian hatreds, but rather revolts by farmers and small mercantilists against ever increasing taxes imposed by the King.
-- and while there was a degree of Judeo-Christian content present in the drafting of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers made it clear that the new nation would not be ruled and governed by religious law in any shape or form, a marked contrast with the Iraqi Constitution which has as its basic interpretational underpinning, the Koran and its religious judicial basis, Sharia.
Bush, ever unapologetic, uses the American Revolution analogy incorrectly and inaccurately. But because there are a sufficient number of Americans who haven't a clue about either American history or Iraqi history, it has a certain salutary effect on his poll numbers.
And that's the point of this whole TV series he has launched.
Subject: Liberal media
This is just incredible. The AP's story on the CEO of Diebold stepping down identifies O'Dell as a Bush pal, but makes no mention of the fact that Diebold makes voting machines or that O'Dell pledged to give Ohio's electoral votes to Bush. That's like reporting on Jack Ruby's death, identifying him as a bar-owner in Dallas, but not mentioning that he killed Oswald.
US: Bush Pal O'Dell Resigns as Diebold CEO, Chairman (AP/Truthout)
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: QUOTE 2
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: George "Tootie" Bush
Let's see, by George Bush's own admission 30,000 Iraqi citizens have died in his ILLEGAL war. I'd say that's enough for the death penalty for him and all of his gang wouldn't you?
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: any decent cable news show or newspaper would have already written this article
any decent cable news show would have already talked about this scenario:
re torture: make up a scenario where one of our pilots gets shot down and caught by any enemy - they think he knows when next air strike is going to happen - then show how the USA and cheney and bush, et al., make it possible for him to be rendered, waterboarded, tortured, chained to a floor, frozen, etc.
PLEASE LET THE PUBLIC see that if we, the leader of the free world, say it is okay to do this in certain circumstances, or wash our hands of it and fly the prisoner somewhere where this and worse will happen ... we are telling the world that it is just fine to do it to our military.
remember, john mccain, francis gary powers, and all the rest. the crew of the pueblo. so either it is okay to do it to our guys and gals - or not
--write the scenario story for God's sake.
Subject: My head is still spinning over Tookie Williams' execution this a.m.
Yes, I KNEW it was coming. I thought I'd braced myself to hear the news when I woke up to NPR today. But I'm still floored.
As I've told my email pals, if ANYONE deserves the death penalty (and I STILL don't believe in it. Period.) it's Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Condi, Wolfowitz, and others of their ilk. But I wouldn't even agree with sentencing THESE criminals -- who have killed far more people than Tookie Williams was convicted of murdering over 25 years ago (and our current administration, which sanctions deaths of over 2000 "official" -- as in "killed in active combat" -- deaths of our troops, without even bothering to count the "peripheral" deaths of other U.S. troops/reporters/ etc. who were not admitted to the "active combat" category, and thus didn't make the count -- not to mention all the Iraqis (hell, this bunch of predators doesn't even BOTHER to count THEM) Iraqis who have died -- and, yes, I hold this gang (meaning the current administration) responsible for every single one of these unnoted deaths.
However, I STILL wouldn't impose the death penalty on them (Although I WOULD sentence them to life in prison without possibility of parole, a subsistence diet, no cable TV or fitness centers, etc.) I'd also mandate that they serve their sentences cleaning up the environment (while wearing orange jumpsuits and shackles) during the day. At night, they could ... GASP ... read books (well, I guess they give the *ssh*le-in- chief a coloring book and a few crayons).
Not only do I not believe in the death penalty as a deterrent, but I also recognize the fact that the poor/black/other minorities, often represented by lawyers who show up drunk and/or fall asleep in court, do not pursue appeals, etc., end up being executed. (Yes, Timothy McVeigh was a rare exception. But so was O.J. Simpson, who could afford to hire Johnny Cochran and make his hands -- he probably banged them against the wall, or got steroid injections in his wrists -- to enable the line, "If the gloves don't fit, you must acquit." We ALL know that Simpson "did" it -- but he got off scot free. What has HE done to redeem his life? I know: play golf.
Meanwhile, Tookie Williams, who has actually done more with HIS life than I've done with MINE, at least so far, was senselessly (well, to those of us who don't plan to run for President) executed after -- possibly (I hope so) preventing kids from getting involved with gangs.
Sorry for the rant -- but this incident still hurts. Badly.
Barbara Lee (Barb) Blazyk
USC's junior running back Reggie Bush just won the Heisman trophy.
If he goes pro and plays for the Saints, he will be the first man named 'Bush' to do anything good for the city of New Orleans.
A BuzzFlash Reader
As a child during the Viet Nam war, I discovered a a poem by Russian dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Struck by it, I used it as my selection for poetry competitions in my state's high school forensics competitions. Needless to say, I never won!
Cleaning out my parents' house after they passed away, I came upon my copy of this poem. It was laboriously typed, preserved with my other important quotes, books and writings of my youth. Again, I was taken by its sheer beauty, honesty and importance. Sad to say, it is just as applicable now as when it was written, and when I spoke it first.
If only as a thank you to the BuzzFlash staff, I send you this with my gratitude.
"Conversations With An American Writer" by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Subject: The War On Christmas - A Confession
By Poor Richard
First, I must admit that I'm in awe of the superb intelligence both Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson have amassed against me and my former fellow travelers. Gibson, especially, must be singled out for his pit bull-like research for the book, The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Think!
Gibson and O'Reilly have finally revealed the previously secret struggle that Christmas-hating liberals have been waging for nearly 40 years. And I now must confess to being a part of this subversive plot. My only excuse is that as a slow-witted liberal, I didn't possess the keen insight of these brave Christian soldiers -- until now.
Still, even though I know now that our cause was mistaken and evil, my youthful idealism only saw what my communist-atheist handlers wanted me to see. So please allow me to relate why I joined up to fight against what I perceived as an evil Claus.
While most of the facts in his book are indisputably true, Gibson's history of the War on Christmas fails to examine the true underpinnings of our grievances against Santa Claus and his so-called "Merry" regime.
With the advent of industrialization at The North Pole -- which due to a lack of infrastructure in the Polar region began later than in most parts of the world -- the nearly 900-year old "Clausian" style of management began to take on a more exploitative tone.
Polar Elves had for centuries been the main workforce, but as the Elven middle class grew and prospered, they began to leave the harsh, frigid environment of the North Pole and started moving to warmer climates, most notably Las Vegas, where sadly, Elven street gangs have become a serious threat to tourism.
Back at the Pole, an alarming number of foreign Elves were arriving, mostly from third world nations. In addition, ARFTA (Arctic Regions Free Trade Agreement) rules allowed more and more toy making to be done by children in countries like India, China and even the United States, where the true meaning of Christmas was lost decades ago.
When The ELF (Elven Liberation Front) began their insurrection in 1967, liberal knees jerked spasmodically, and with the covert assistance of the anti-Christmas Israeli Secret Service, the American Liberal Cabal (ACLU, New York Times, Unitarians, Berkeley City Council and the other usual suspects) declared formal war on Christmas in 1969.
At this time, our declaration was based on incontrovertible evidence that Santa had stockpiled WMD's (nuclear-tipped ice balls) and had used laughing gas on his own people.
I applaud O'Reilly and Gibson's revelations of our regrettable involvement in World Humanistic Terrorism. But, I have been told by my former comrades that liberals will never end the struggle against Christmas until all the world's children end their blind belief in what liberals consider a much more dangerous red menace: Santa Claus.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Christmas Cheer
Lisa Navarro asks a good question: I, too, would like to know how religious Bill O'Reilly and his ilk really are. He certainly doesn't seem to understand much about the faith he claims to defend. I recommend a large dose of humility and a good Sunday School class.
Marjorie Swanson blew me away with her post about Christmas: You go, girl! Yes, yes, yes!!!
There is enough real evil in the world to keep all people of all faiths busy till the Last Trump; why does the Reich have to wax apoplectic about things that don't matter? The United States of America (for one example) sends people abroad to be tortured, in violation of all our founding principles, and the Reich is shrieking about CHRISTMAS. They are an embarrassment to Christians who take their religion seriously; people of other faiths, or no faith at all, have come to equate the word "Christian" with "lunatic." THIS IS NOT WHAT WE ARE ABOUT. THIS IS NOT WHAT JESUS IS ABOUT. If you want the truth about our religion, read the Bible; it's all there.
For the record, I am a member of a Presbyterian church; I am there every Sunday, and a good many weekdays as well. Nobody is making war on us, or on our Advent and Christmas celebrations. Nobody has torn the wreaths off our doors. Nobody has vandalized our sanctuary decorations. No jackbooted Nazi appears on Sunday mornings taking names. THERE IS NO WAR ON CHRISTMAS. Get over it.
This has turned into quite a rant; thanks, Buzz, for letting me get that off my chest. And to all Buzz readers everywhere: Whatever holiday you celebrate this season, may it be awash in blessings, and may your new year be happy and prosperous.
Subject: Comparing the Iraq War and the Revolutionary War
Our president is correct in that each of the above is/was a war of independence. He's right, too, in his prediction that, just as two centuries ago our own freedom fighters ended the English occupation, Iraq's freedom fighters eventually will prevail over their occupiers. He neglected to tell the public, however that it's America that's the occupier in Iraq, that the people there whom he labels terrorists are Iraq's freedom fighters, and that the only way to stop the bloodshed and get out of this mess is to bring the Troops Home Now. Otherwise our commander in chief did about as well as one can one expect from a puppet on a string.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Please Help Me Determine Why I'm Crazy
Please give me the "correct" answers to these questions.
1. Do you believe the multiple monstrous explosions at the oil terminal in England were an "accident"?
2. Who is behind all the bombings in Beirut? A) Mossad B) CIA & Mossad C) Syria likes to shoot itself in the foot.
3. Why were the peace activists kidnapped in Iraq by rogue terrorists wearing gitmo-orange jump suits?
Curtis H Rhodes
Subject: I Apologize To My Fellow BuzzFlashers
I apologize to my fellow BuzzFlashers for using the republican 'C' word in two of my letters.
Today I received an email from BuzzFlash that calmly and politely explained that the guideline for submissions is 400 words, but mine was over 1500 words.
So logorrhea is MY problem, not yours, and censorship isn't a BuzzFlash trait.
I'll work hard to learn some editing skills.
Subject: The Whine Before Christmas
My uncle was a catholic priest. He was the first person I ever heard say "Let's put christ back into Christmas." This was in the mid-1950's. I always signed my cards to him "Merry Xmas." I was a smart-ass teenager. Later I learned that when his poorest parishioners came to him, he encouraged better family planning - even if it included using "the pill" (this was certainly in the 1960's). I began signing my cards to him "Merry Christmas," because, by that time, I knew that he was a cleric who actually lived the teachings of the "Christian" faith.
This war on Christmas is as phony as it is nasty. And I would venture to guess that the memories Bill O'Reilly "cherishes" of his childhood Christmases include the toys under the tree, the family shopping trips and the packages "tied up with strings" ... If only we could tie him up.
Subject: Man was asked to leave Wal-Mart for insisting cashier say Merry Christmas
It happened today in Oklahoma City. I may faint. When I worked at Wal-Mart I don't recall them telling me what to say, but I wasn't a cashier. In the break room there was a huge load of right-wing stuff. I hate having to defend Wal-Mart for any reason, but this jerk said Merry Christmas to the cashier and when she didn't respond he said, "I said Merry Christmas." She said she wasn't supposed to say it so he called the manager. He said the cashier could say anything she liked, but the store's greeting is Happy Holidays this year. The guy got tacky and got told to leave and not come back. You have to wonder why the hypocrites at American Family Association aren't demanding a boycott of Wal-Mart.
Speak up or they assume you agree!!! ABB
Subject: Brian Williams GWB Interview
Shriek!!! Obviously NBC has been pulled right into the full-out PR campaign (on our tax dollars, Jack and Jill) to bring Bush's pitiful poll numbers up. Brian Williams grabbed the carrot and voila, another highly produced puff piece! And whoopee!!! America, you lucky dogs, you get to see and hear the monkey sing and dance. Apart from Bush's superficial, royal and stubborn demeanor, he seemed different, artificial. I'd say he's definitely on Elavil or some other mood-altering substance. Way too breezy... Way too relaxed... Way too detached... What me worry?.. I love this job... Life's just a bowl of cherries ... A reasonable assumption after reading that he'd been depressed and irritable of late, and that he'd had a slip with the demon rum and that Laura insisted on therapy. A man of unsound mind running the country and a disastrous war who looked to me oblivious of the reality of it all. OMG. Merry Christmas to all.
A BuzzFlash Reader
[BuzzFlash Note: Interesting theory. Remember, Sen. Eagleton was run out of the 1972 vice-presidential race for pretty much the same reason.]
Subject: Just One Question
I have just one question.
Why did Bush Cut-And-Run from Osama?
This is what the Nazis did at the death camps in WWII. I know, my dad was one of the soldiers chasing them.
Prescott Bush's grandson is carrying on a fine family tradition.
Subject: Hadley? Libby? Rove? Whatever
Hadley? Libby? Rove? Whatever Never mind.
At the same moment that the Washington Post is worried that Dan Froomkin's column at washingtonpost.com is somehow confusing readers and undercutting the paper's credibility -- at least with people who work for George W. Bush -- the Post is admitting that one of its reporters misspoke Monday when he suggested that National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley leaked Valerie Plame's identity to Karl Rove.
As we noted earlier today, the Post's Jim VandeHei said in passing on "Hardball" last night that Hadley was one of the people who told Rove of Plame's identity. But in an online chat today, Washington Post reporter Peter Baker says his colleague simply stumbled over his words. "Jim informs me he did misspeak," Baker said in response to a question from a reader. "He meant to say chatter between Rove and [Scooter] Libby, not Hadley. That's the trick with television, it's hard to correct."
Baker said he appreciated the "opportunity to set the record straight." And just in case you're confused, we should be clear that the opportunity came in the virtual pages of washingtonpost.com, which is not the Washington Post, which is the paper where Baker and VandeHei do most of their reporting, except when they're appearing on TV shows like "Hardball" or at washingtonpost.com. Got it?
CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THE DECEMBER 14, 2005 BUZZFLASH MAILBAG
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