December 27, 2005
The BuzzFlash Mailbag
The opinions expressed in the Mailbag are not necessarily those of BuzzFlash. More reader opinion is at "Contributors." You can write to Mailbag at http://www.buzzflash.com/contact/mail.html. Guidelines for submissions are at BuzzFlash FAQ #18.
Subject: A Deficiency of Diplomacy
It has always been a prerogative of the winning candidate in the White House to bestow his supporters with Ambassadorships as a reward for their loyalty. Abler, capable diplomats often had to scamper around picking up the pieces as these Ambassadors create chaos in their ignorance.
An Ambassadorship as a reward for raising money for the man in the White House may be common practice, but is it really the thing to do? Why inflict those who are often little more than wealthy buffoons on the rest of the world? Does not the world think ill enough of us all ready?
Case in point is our current Ambassador to Great Britain, Robert Tuttle. This is a plum post carrying with it chances to rub elbows with all those titled snobs we pretend to disdain. It is also a highly visible post. Mr. Tuttle, a Beverly Hills car dealer and major donor to George Bush's re-election campaign, has been ambassador in London since summer. He seems to have a talent for sticking his foot in his mouth. He vigorously denied media reports that American forces used white phosphorus as a weapon in Iraq, only to be undercut by an admission from the Pentagon the next day.
The US embassy in London was forced to issue a correction to an interview given by the ambassador in which he claimed America would not fly suspected terrorists to Syria.
Other examples are Melvin Sembler, who was Ambassador to Italy until early in 2005. Mr. Sembler and his wife contributed generously and were rewarded with this coveted post. Americans seem to think that other countries can’t read and aren’t aware of the controversies surrounding some of the people we send to their countries. Controversial figures like Mr. Sembler do great harm to an already tarnished image.
America's new crop of diplomats bound for the old continent reads like a Who's Who of Bush' biggest supporters, financial and otherwise. Ronald Spogli, a "Pioneer" and an investment advisor from California, is going to Rome. Craig Stapleton, a "Ranger" married to one of the president's cousins, will be moving to Paris.
Perhaps some day, in some Utopian future, America will be represented by professionally competent people who will engender respect for our nation and our people. Until then, our embassies are simply real estate that has been sold to the highest bidders, or contributors.
Marjorie L. Swanson
Subject: Spying on Americans by the NSA
The apologists for Bush keep insisting that Bush has the need and authority to spy on Americans in the so-called war on terror.
This authority and need would apply to the office, not the individual.
Subject: A little truth about the Gulf Coast
My little brother is having a rough time. He is trying to give up the bottle again, but his job is giving him a fit. He is helping restock Home Depots.
... I [was] talking to him while [I was] in Houston. His eyes kept tearing up, but he was holding on. He said it isn't like what is on the news. He was talking about the ninth ward in particular and said it is like an entire town of 20,000 has just taken up and gone, which it has. He says it is endless destruction in many areas and no one is doing anything. He says it really gets to him when Bush or someone else talks about how things are really improving. He says they aren't. He has been in Harahan, La, but last week he was in Beaumont and says the people there are a lot more upset because they say no one is even discussing their area.
Speak up or they assume you agree!!! ABB
Subject: Citizen's Assembly
According to the LA Times, two California lawmakers will introduce legislation that will let a panel of voters come up with ideas to restructure government. Panel members, having been randomly selected, will convene two weekends a month, receive a monthly stipend of one thousand dollars, and are to reach out to their respective communities for input and ideas. The panel would have one year to come up with its proposals. The two lawmakers are prepared to put their Citizen's Assembly idea directly to the people by way of a state referendum.
Pushing this concept is the New America Foundation, a think tank funded by The Ford Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust, among other organizations. Opposing it, among others, is the head of the California Business Round Table who is quoted by the Times as saying, "The forces of the status-quo will do whatever is required to protect the status quo." No surprise, that.
Could anything be be more dangerous to the status quo than a Citizen's Assembly, because one good example, that's all it's going to take. Flight of fancy?
Not exactly, because the Citizen Assembly has already been tried - last May in British Columbia. Its proposals were put to the voters there but fell short by two percentage points (needed 60, got 58) with a probable second go at it planned for 2008. Should pass easily then, because participating in the Citizen's Assembly appears to have been quite an empowering experience for all those involved. "We started to collectively realize that we could change something," and "this was far more powerful than going to the voting booth, which most people felt was meaningless." Collectively change something? How about changing the world? What are we waiting for?
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Bush's Title Is a Farce
It just irks me to hear Bush addressed as Mr. President, President Bush. I wish people would get it straight, HE WAS APPOINTED NOT ELECTED!! HE WAS APPOINTED BY THE SEVEN BOZOS AS A FAVOR TO OLD MAN BUSH (ANOTHER LOSER WHO WAS APPOINTED TO MOST OF HIS JOBS IN GOVERNMENT) WHEN HE STACKED THE COURT.
I wish you would publish the picture of Bush at Phillips Academy (where he was a legacy, just like Yale) showing him as what he did best besides keg parties as a CHEER LEADER, yes a CHEER LEADER! He was so good he carried it over to Yale, along with the elbow bending.
I dream of impeachment every night so I can hold my head up high again and proclaim I'M AN AMERICAN!
A BuzzFlash Reader
And delivers himself a pretext for air strikes on Iran.
Subject: John Murtha and the Military
In reading your comments today regarding John Murtha's speaking out for those senior military officers who believe Iraq is a goner, I am reminded of my hero, Col. Hackworth, and his opinion of what he called "Perfumed Princes." Murtha, God love him, I think believes that he is helping this country by acting as go-between in this matter, but these spineless creatures, our General Officers, "Perfumed Princes" all, seem to ignore their primary credo, "Duty, Honor, Country" and the fact that their oath, like that of their so-called Commander-In-Chief, is to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," and other than obeying all lawful orders from said Commander-In-Chief, they hazard only their careers, not their lives, by resigning en mass as a matter of principle. Such principled action on their parts would both return them to their honor and shake up this abortion of an administration to the point where Iraq could be seen as the failure it is.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: 2006 Election
Isn’t it amazing how many “toe-the-party-line” Republicans are defecting, now that the 2006 elections loom on the horizon? It’s kind of like how good children can be as Christmas approaches. The question is: “Can they be believed?” and the answer is: “NO!” As soon as the elections are over, they’ll fall back into line and the games will began again.
Unfortunately, the Democratic “Republican Lite” National Committee continues to foist candidates like, John “the Skull and Bones Trojan horse” Kerry, or Hillary “Save the flag, burn the Constitution” Clinton on the Democratic Party. Showing that the DNC has as much disdain for the American people as the RNC.
I advise everyone to watch or read LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.
While vistiting family, politics came up. To stop an argument from getting out of hand I suggested *Lawrence of Arabia,* and how today's world of Arab States came to be. I gave a little info to THAT war, and why of it.
Of course, no one there ever heard of those Arab times, and I received silence. This is a war most don't know about, hence no response. Case Closed!
A BuzzFlash Reader
This really describes an experience I had last Friday at work. Someone in management sent around an email saying "Happy Holidays" etc. A woman sitting near me grumbled, "Why can't they just say Christmas, what's all this politically correct Happy Holidays about? It's Christmas, not 'holidays.'"
After politely pointing out to her that this is New York City, with the 2nd largest population of Jewish people in the world, not to mention a wide spectrum of other religions (we are a diverse population), then perhaps being inclusive is the right thing to do. After all, probably about 1/3 of the people in this firm probably celebrate Hanukah. But the question I really wanted to ask her, not to mention those of her ilk is this: It's been Happy Holidays for a long time now, at least since the beginning of the Clinton administration. Interesting that only now this is annoying her (and so many others). Why? She couldn't answer the question so I answered it for her. She is merely repeating the crap that she's hearing from O'Reilly and the rest of the warriors against the "war on Christmas." She is slowly being brainwashed and doesn't even realize it.
I myself do not place much importance on what people wish me. It's all well-meaning. But that kind of comment burns my butt because this is a person who does not have the capacity to think for herself - as is true with most of them. Who's engaged in this stupid fake war anyway? O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity fans - that's who.
Barbara in NYC
Subject: Great re-use of the "mandate' canard, Ms. Reichman
Ms. Reichman: Did that seem to you a reasonable claim at the time, given the slim percentage he won by (for an incumbent)? Did that seem to you a justifiable claim and fair and accurate use of that term? Or could it be that anyone with a passing association with that word rolled their eyes and absolutely could not believe that simply because Cheney (the day after the election, I believe) et al. used it? YOU ALL IN THE MEDIA WERE TOO FRIGHTENED TO QUESTION IT?
If there's anything more revolting than the way you in the press let him spin naive Americans with that "mandate" b.s. (what, a mandate relative to his popular vote loss in 2000?), it's folks like you regurgitating it to justify any claim to remaining capital this man has left. Saddening and a 100% abdication of your professional journalistic responsibility to American citizens. Are you on the Armstrong Williams payroll too, M'am?
Subject: Domestic Spying
To the American People,
President Bush recently told us, again, that we should trust him. This after it was leaked that he has been spying on Americans for four years, while ignoring the judical oversights required by law. When asked about this at a press conference, Bush mainly expressed outrage that someone had told on him.
Has the rule of law (like the Geneva Convention) become another "quaint" notion for this administration? Am I alone in finding his actions deeply troubling?
I remember listening to a distinguished panel of historians talking about the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The historians discussed how a diverse group of people, the founders of our government, originally could agree on little, except that power WOULD be abused, and that they must somehow "check and balance" power. Their wisdom came from an intense understanding of human nature, and having themselves suffered from abusive power. In our form of government, under the Constitution, if the Exectutive Branch feels they need more power to protect America they ASK for it from the co-equal Legislative Branch, they do not TAKE IT!! What is so profoundly alarming about the unchecked, unmonitored spying on of American citizens is the unlimited possibility (probability?) that this power will be abused.
We should trust Bush? The Founding Fathers would tell us that a healthy mistrust is more in order.
Daniel Patrick Schamle
Subject: Please keep digging
The Bush administration simply cannot answer this one question - if time was of the essence, why didn't they conduct the searches and get the warrants after the fact, something that is allowed under the FISA law? They conducted the searches all right, but they never once sought the retroactive warrants. Why is THAT?
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