January 17, 2006
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.
THIS IS PART 2 OF THE JANUARY 17, 2006 BUZZFLASH MAILBAG. CLICK HERE FOR PART 1
Subject: A Call To Arms
There is a brilliant idea (IMHO) entitled “FILIBUSTER BUSH, IMPEACH ALITO” posted by Paul Rogat Loeb ...
Essentially, Mr. Loeb is suggesting that not only should the Dems filibuster Alito, but that they should use the filibuster as a vehicle to “talk about the Alito nomination in its broadest context.”
This would be the most brilliant move I can imagine. Not only do you prevent Alito from the SCOTUS and send a clear and resounding message to the White House that the end has begun, but at the same time you use it as a platform from which to publicly address the virtually endless crimes, lies, mismanagement and retrogressive policies of this horrible administration. Beginning immediately, for as long as the Democrats can delay the floor debate on Alito, we must flood the phones, faxes and email servers of every Democratic Senator, along with a select group of Republicans and Senator Jeffords, urging adoption of this strategy. There already exists a wealth of material in the possession of the House and Senate Democrats (Rep. Conyers' Herculean efforts come to mind).
In addition we out here in cyberland can easily provide more materials than the Senators' collective staffs can organize and assemble.
This campaign must be conducted on a "war footing." That means that every one of us must devote as much time as we possibly can to phoning Senators, as well as faxing and emailing Paul Rogat Loeb's brilliant article; suggesting other topics and failures of this cabal of incompetents (election fraud, Katrina/Rita, body armor, etc.); spreading the word to our email rings, cross posting on as many websites as possible; organizing the materials we've all squirreled away on our hard drives to forward to the Senate. The first Senators to realize the huge opportunity this is should work frantically to convince their compatriots to join the battle.
It is critical that every Democratic Senator look deep into their souls, muster every ounce of strength and courage and patriotism within them and commit to this greatest duty they will ever have. The staffs of the Senators will have a gargantuan 24x7 job to select, organize and assemble the materials that we want the American public to hear.
The mainstream press/media cannot ignore this story. Clips from CSPAN would be on every newscast. With all the other threats looming on the horizon for the White House and the Republican Party, this is the time and this is the place to launch the pitched battle it will require to take back our country from these usurpers.
If I’m not deluding myself and you think this is a real opportunity, let me hear from you and let’s get started!
Gerald Ganann, The Expatriate Texan (ExpatriateTexan@hotmail.com)
Subject: BUSH SHOOTS WAD, HITS INNOCENT PEOPLE
No, once again using bad intelligence, he's going to fire $2 million-dollar missiles at the wrong houses in Pakistan.
Now, that's real leadership for you. When you can't find a terrorist, kill innocent civilians.
Oops. So sorry. Dead children and all. Can't be helped. Collateral Damage. Must move on. I'm a War President, after all.
The Bush motto -- "What, me worry?"
A simple, brain-damaged man, he explains, "I'm just creating more terrorists, more people who hate America. That way, I can be a War President forever."
Subject: The Cranky Liberal
I have to assume like most of the readers here, you are as sick as I am of all the BS and lies our President is spinning to justify the illegal wire tapping he repeatedly authorized. It's time to make your voice heard (at least as much as that man will ever listen to anyone not named Karl). The folks at Bring It On! have an email campaign underway to send a reminder. Join us and send a copy of the Bill of Rights to the President to remind him of what our Founding Fathers thought of liberty.
The Cranky Liberal
DeLay starts with the disadvantage of a 60 percent unfavorable rating in the district he has represented for 20 years. Tom may have to go back to his pest extermination business. 1/15 -- The Sooner The Better!
This (the suggestion that DeLay return to the "pest control" business he started out in before he started exterminating American democracy, not only through financial corruption, though that's hardly trivial, but his gerrymandering and illegal violations of timeframes for redistricting delivered TX -- big surprise -- to the GOP (which, perhaps, should now stand for "Get Our Pests."
I'm sure you know the old saying, "Physician, heal thyself." Well, it works equally for exterminators. Tom DeLay is a much bigger pest, democracy-wise, than any cockroach he might spray. Let's all make a collective wish that his insecticide misfires and hits the more critical target. (Hint: he only needs to hold the sprayer backwards.)
At least, and at last, "The Hammer" has been nailed. It's about time. I hope this is only the beginning of GOP pest control.
Barbara Lee (Barb) Blazyk
Subject: Soviet State of Georgia
Here in the Soviet State of Georgia, we hear nothing of the desire for impeachment or even the word impeachment used. The Fascists have a firm grip on this state via Diebold. Public radio has been reined in and now has more religious programs than not; anything of value has been rescheduled or dropped; the public radio has been consistently broadcasting right-wing fluff, anti-tree and anti-union messages.
We do have Air America though.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: "We don't think the basic geometry of the areas makes sense"
As regards this article at the NYTimes, I don't yet understand HOW they can bypass the filibuster and subsequent removal of this land from drilling by the signature of a pen from our sitting DICTATOR ... but EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD KNOW HOW THEY MEASURE THESE ACRES FOR DEVELOPMENT ... You see, the "FOOTPRINTS" that are called out in the 389,000 acres are measured in "EXACTLY HOW MUCH OF THE EQUIPMENT PHYSICALLY TOUCHES THE GROUND." Therefore, a gigantic structure the size of a PLATFORM AT SEA, has a footprint that consists of the area of the PILLARS THAT TOUCH THE GROUND, NOT THE ENTIRE STRUCTURE. The pillars might be 12 feet by 12 feet, so that is 144 sq. ft. as measured by law, but that might support a construction of, say, 30,000 sq. ft, so when you begin to add it all up, the equation is not much more than ANOTHER BIG LIE.
I guess these people don't want birds anymore.
Subject: A Democratic Agenda
I’m getting more than a little tired of the Republican talking heads saying that the Democratic Party has no ideas and no agenda for fixing the innumerable problems plaguing our country. Of course we do!!! But we’ve done a miserable job of clearly and concisely articulating just what the hell they are. We have certainly done a lousy job of marketing. Let’s take a look at what good ole’ Newt did with the “Contract with America.” Or even what the Bushies did with his “Victory Plan for Iraq.” They may have been crap, but they were statements of agendas and plans that could be understood. Likewise, we need a brief statement of what we as Democrats stand for; something we can wave at these smug self-righteous, self-aggrandizing right wingers whose only defense for their miserable failed policies is to say we’ve got no alternative.
How bout a few items to flesh out. We democrats envision::::
UNIVERSTAL HEALTHCARE FOR ALL AMERICANS. Sorta like what every other industrial democracy has. Let’s face it, our system is an abysmal failure by all the statistics. We pay more per capita for health care and have worse outcomes than most of our G-7 partners. And there are benefits beyond the obvious one of providing good health care to our citizens, e.g., our international companies will be more competitive. They have been at a disadvantage now because most of their international competitors do not bear the cost of the health care for their employees.
A LIVING WAGE. Let’s make “working poor” an oxymoron. Good lord, why should someone working full time still be living in poverty in this country. We haven’t seen an increase in the minimum wage in a long time, mainly because big business and their Republican shills have no problem with squeezing their workers dry.
A FAIR AND EQUITABLE TAX STRUCTURE. Yep, a progressive tax code. Reduce loopholes for the wealthy. Good grief, as the lion’s share of the Government’s discretionary budget is for national defense, including homeland defense, and since those expenditures are for protection of life and property, doesn’t it stand to reason that those with the most property should be sharing a major load? And let’s forget the elimination of the estate tax. The estate tax was enacted in Teddy Roosevelt’s time to counteract the accumulation of the Nation’s wealth in a few families. Look, we aren’t going to tax your first, what is it now, $5 million of inheritance, and you will still accumulate more after that, but you will be paying some of it in taxes. After all, you didn’t earn it, it was a lucky happenstance of birth! What is interesting is how much George W. Bush stands to gain if the estate tax is eliminated------and he is the most vocal proponent if its elimination. Shoot, we expect our federal officials to recuse themselves from issues in which they have a financial interest----guess that doesn’t apply to our president. Oh, and let’s do some analysis of our corporate tax code. Why should a firm that is outsourcing work to foreign countries or establishing tax shelters in the Canaries get tax advantage over those American firms doing their business on our shores.
AN EXECUTIVE BRANCH WITH LEADERS HIRED FOR COMPETENTENCE AND NOT THEIR CONNECTIONS. AND AN ELIMIATION OF BOUGHT AND PAID FOR LEGISLATION. Let’s get rid of the cronyism that has been the bedrock of this administration. No more “Brownies” or cronies pushed through during legislative recesses. And clearly we need major lobbying and ethics reforms in order not to repeat the recent Republican scandals. Too many of our Republican legislators are more interested in the perks and lobbying dollars than what is of value to their constituents.
AN INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP ROLE THROUGH COOPERATION, COMPROMISE AND EXAMPLE. Let’s control our arrogance, as this administration failed to do when it squandered all the good will after 9/11. “Old Europe” has something to offer. And had we listened to them, perhaps we could have avoided this morass in Iraq. And we need to cooperate at all levels. We can’t blow off the rest of the world in their attempt to control global warming. We can still have a pivotal leadership role, but only if we don’t treat every other country as stepchildren. Oh, and yes, that means we endorse the proposition that we deplore torture and will sign legislation to that effect without penning some caveat.
AVAILABILITY OF THE HIGHEST EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES BASED UPON QUALIFICATIONS AND NOT BASED UPON WEALTH AND CONNECTIONS. We need to promote excellence in our students and not saving slots in our best educational institutions for the progeny of the wealthy and elite, i.e., no more slots in Yale for C-students based only on their family name and wealth. We can only compete globally if we rely on the best and brightest.
A LEADER IN REDUCING THE WORLD'S DEPENDENCE ON FOSSIL FUEL. After all, it ain’t going to be there forever! So, let’s mandate fuel efficiency and find alternate sources of energy.
ENDORSING THE PROPOSITION THAT A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO REPRODUCTIVE CHOICES IS HERS AND HERS ALONE. HOWEVER, WE SHOULD DO ALL WE CAN TO ENSURE THAT ABORTIONS ARE NOT ONLY LEGAL AND SAFE BUT ALSO RARE. This means promoting safe and effective alternative birth control and to make adoption a simpler option.
A SECURE BORDER AND AN ENFORCEABLE IMMIGRATION POLICY. We do need a secure border----how else to ensure that we reduce the possibility that the terrorist, gang member, or criminal will find haven here along side the hard working day laborer. If we need the laborers, fine----let’s control the process.
TOLERANCE FROM THOSE THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM US. Let’s stop the homophobic nonsense masquerading as defense of the traditional family. Gay marriage and the traditional family are not mutually exclusive concepts. The traditional family is not in jeopardy by toleration of those with different orientations. We can coexist.
Think it safe to say that the above recommendations are pretty rudimentary. But what I urge is that some of the more articulate and lettered Democrats put together a paper, one that spells out just what it is that we stand for and what the American people can expect if they give us the support to throw out a Republican party that seems to have been overtaken by greed and avarice.
[BuzzFlash Note: Those who say there is no Democratic agenda are those who have a Republican/neocon agenda. Now that their failure is becoming evident to more people, they argue that Democrats are just like them! Go figure!]
Subject: Another day, another day of shame
I cannot even bring myself to watch the Democrats anymore. What a pathetic performance the questioning of Alito was. Another well staged dog and pony show, choreographed by the brilliant Republican directors. Did you catch those phony tears of Alito's wife? If I were sitting on that committee I would have risen to my feet cheering loudly, clapping and demanding an encore, then demanded that her eyes be tested for lemon juice.
I am sick to death of how cowardly the Democrats we send to Washington are. The future of democracy is at stake and none have the guts to say, Mr. Alito, you have directly lied to this committee, or you lied on your resume, and the Supreme Court is not the place for someone who will say or do anything to get their way. Won’t someone please stand up and be the hero?
If this is not the time to filibuster, then just when is? My god; it seems to me that Alito could fondle an aide on the questioning table while having a chained black slave light his cigar with the Constitution and the Democrats on the committee would say it was a youthful oversight. Not only am I not opposed to triggering the "nuclear option," I am anxious to trigger it and find out once and for all if the people of this country still support the Constitution or would rather switch to a dictatorship. At least we then we would know whether it is worth staying and fighting, or just leaving, and watching the inevitable collapse from afar.
Subject: McCain, Lott and Bayh defend killing innocent Pakistanis
And Lott even said that according to the intelligence it was clearly justified. Right, but it wasn't his family being bombed, and since when can we count on our intelligence? Our intelligence said there were WMD in Iraq and there were none. How many of these bad bombing raids do we put up with? Personally, I wouldn't believe anything the CIA said.
Speak up or they assume you agree!!! ABB
Subject: Fighting the Good Fight ... One Turd at a Time
I haven't posted in the Mailbag for awhile, but rest assured that BuzzFlash and the Mailbag are still a daily addiction! Sometimes, I'm convinced it's the Buzzers who keep me sane.
I did have to share this little gem. Marjorie Swanson mentioned that we all have to fight the good fight, wherever and however we can. Well, this past weekend, I was visiting my elderly parents, and there was a letter to the editor in their local paper that made me laugh out loud. A local teen does community service by picking up litter along a popular walking trail (more power to him!). However, on one recent day, it seems that someone had gone to the trouble of making little paper flags with GeeDuhbya's face on them. This 'walkway blogger' then proceeded to carefully insert a flag into every single pile of dog doo along that trail! Now, that's what I call a grass roots resistance! :D
Sometimes, things seem so dark, but then I read something like that, and I find I can laugh about this horrible situation. This too shall pass....eventually.
Subject: Out of control rightwingers ... out of control country
Yeah, it is true....we have allowed the republicans to take over this country. It is the most worrisome thing in my life. Anyone with two eyes could see it....and even though most republicans know it, they are amused. It is very disgusting....They are without conscience...they are without loyalty and have no sense of honesty....it is a trait I have known about for a long time. It really is sad...that all we can do as members of this society.....is just wonder, and worry. Funny, I knew this would happen....and I think likely most people reading this website knew it....you could just see them in a short span take over the country. The Hammer....is gonna get his...but, that leaves the rest of the republican party, the lying bunch....to use us any way they see fit.....and we have no defense! Our democrats in the party in power ....and not really in power. They have their jobs to worry about...so the minions...get sort of sold down the river. It is the most frightening time of my life...At this point...I see no recovery plan. This town is being taken over by them, too. Prayer will not do it...Soooooo we have to come up with a plan....and I am out of ideas.
Subject: Laura Bush is irritated
"I'm always a little bit irritated when I hear the criticism of abstinence, because abstinence is absolutely 100 percent effective in eradicating a sexually transmitted disease," Bush said.
Why don't we just check and see how effective the Bushes are at teaching abstinence to their own children? Open up the health records of all the kids. We know Jebby hasn't been abstaining, since he was caught having sex in a Tallahassee mall parking lot just before the 2000 election. Ask her if she abstained before marriage, or better yet, ask her if Dubya abstained?
Speak up or they assume you agree!!! ABB
Subject: In Appreciation
... to BuzzFlash for always telling it the way it is and, since the truth frees us all, thereby enabling we the people to change the world. Way to go!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Disenfranchisement (re Mark Crispin Miller's article)
There are MANY items worthy of comment here, but as a (sigh) resident of Georgia, I need to vent about the aptly termed "Jim Crow Law" passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. "Sonny" (who must be well into his 50s by now, but that's still his name).
Recently I had my purse, containing wallet, which contained my GA ID card. I know how much time and trouble it took ME to replace the lost card, since I don't drive (I can't tell my left hand from my right and have no sense of direction. I flunked out of driver ed. in high school after one week!) Yes, I do have a point here.
My point: I live in Athens, where there IS a Dept. of Motor Vehicles Office -- but there are no direct bus connections to reach it. Luckily, I managed to find someone to drive me there. The waiting time at DMV was at least three hours. The cost of card took the last of my available money at the time.
OK, multiply MY difficulties/frustrations by about 100 -- and you'll see what this GA law does to people who live in RURAL areas of GA which have NO DMV offices. Many of them are elderly and poor and without transportation. They would have to travel much farther than I did even to FIND a DMV to get their GA ID cards, IF they could afford one when they got there. This law is unconscionable.
(Now, embarrassed by the outcry, the state is offering the cards for free to people who can't afford to pay for one. But that's not good enough: people who live in rural GA and lack transportation, including bus service, and whose DMV locations are 20 times farther away than mine here in Athens is, the cards are still out of reach.)
Result? Disenfranchisement. All of these people are (relatively speaking) poor, and many are African-American. Can anyone with half a brain not realize what Gov. "Sonny" and his cohorts REALLY have in mind??
This, of course, is Georgia's attempt to pull a Tom DeLay-like caper of "redistricting" to ensure Repukecan control in perpetuity. (Oh, speaking of our ex-''speaker," I have an idea for a bumper sticker: "Justice DeLayed is Justice DeNeyed.")
Barbara Lee (Barb) Blazyk
I know John Shadegg quite well as I worked with him on a not-for-profit. He was a nice guy, but I had no idea he was that radical. His father was a Congressman, and when he ran for office, not knowing his background, I did not think he had the political power, but he scooted in. He immediately became one of Newt's boys and followed him around like a puppy dog.
I think his "success" has gone to his head. Early on I went to a large dinner for him at the Biltmore Hotel and I was shocked how radical his audience was, as was he. Last time I saw him he acted pretty important. That figures, with the Repubs, they all believe they invented God. Just wanted to remind you how he emulated Newt.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Arlen Specter Mentioned Two Remedies for Presidential Abuses of Power
I saw Senator Specter on George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. My jaw did not drop when he said that impeachment is a remedy for presidential abuses of power. My jaw, my head, my butt hit the floor, when he followed up by saying that these days a president would more likely pay a political price for these abuses.
Under that reasoning, why even have the Constitution? Political price is the punishment in countries where the rule of law is re-written by whoever assumes power, specifically where coup d'etat, not constitution, reflects the will of the most powerful people.
We are better than that.
Subject: Thank you BuzzFlash
Thank you, BuzzFlash, for posting Al Gore's speech today on your website. I have never been so fired up in my life, so filled with optimism that the People may finally start acting, getting involved, speaking out more forcefully, to change the downward spiral the country has been going in since Bush arrived to power. I watched Gore speaking on C-Span and he truly inspired me. I wish all our congressmen (and especially the Democrats) would have listened to what he had to say--and the audience reaction. It's happening, people. We're not going to take it anymore. Can you feel it?
Fmr. Vice Pres. Gore Speech on Executive Powers (1/16/2006) (C Span)
Check C-Span for Rebroadcast Times: Al Gore Speaks on Pres. Bush, the limits of executive power, the issue of monitoring domestic communications and the authorization of the use of torture in the war against terrorism.
"A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. ...it is 'We the people' who must now find once again the ability we once had to play an integral role in saving our Constitution." -- Al Gore in a "Martin Luther King" Day Speech That Must be Read. Gore is the Prophet of Democracy, Who is Marginalized by Career Repubs and Dems Alike Because His Priorities are Our Constitution, Not the Political Status Quo. THE Speech of Recent Memory.
A Loyal Buzzer
Subject: We Do Love Ourselves, Don't We?
So, Laura Bush made the news recently! She predicted that we'll have a female president "soon." Isn't that lovely? Yep, read about it in all the papers. Of course, read the article closely and you'll find out that this epiphany of hers came out in an interview about the first elected female leader in Africa, newly-elected Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. You know, I would have thought the news on that would be more important than the musings of the First Stepford Wife, but what do I know, right?
I know, I know, Mrs. Bush is very, very popular with housewives across the country. She just seems so gosh-darned pleasant! I wonder if Rove & Co. took that in consideration when they orchestrated Mrs. Alito's outburst of uncontrollable crying at his hearing. They were quick to point the blame at the big meanie Democrats on the judicial committee who so maliciously wanted to exercise the powers and responsibilities that come with their office. At any rate, I digress.
The point is, Africa has its first elected female state leader. That's a big milestone in the push for women's rights worldwide. We need this sort of progress in the Middle East! As long as we have the sort of leadership that we do over there, we will always have problems with them. But this, in turn, leads us to yet another question...
An African nation elected a female president before us?! How the hell does this happen? This is the United States. We're supposed to be the bestest nation for ever and ever. You're telling me that an African nation elected a woman president first? Holy crap. We have elected nothing but protestant white men ever since George Washington. Oh, wait, John F. Kennedy was Catholic... and assassinated. And now we have Laura Bush floating Condoleezza Rice as President? This is affirmative action at its most cynical and perverse. Condi Rice has shown herself to be as embroiled in the corruption of the contemporary Republican party as anyone, but if she did decide to run for President you'll see her critics being labeled both sexist and racist. You'll hear George W. Bush saying at fundraisers "some people say a black woman can't be President. Some people say that women are unfit for the job, that blacks don't have any place in the highest office of the land. And to those people I say, 'you're wrong.'"
So, if you're like me and think that it is strange how the media covered this issue, consider this: most people who look at the news only pay attention to the headline. A headline that Laura Bush predicts a female U. S. President looks a lot better than "African nation elects a female President before us." And, like the narcisistic nation we are, we much prefer to think of ourselves as the Alpha Nation than to ever, ever acknowledge any of our flaws.
Subject: Gore's MLK Day Speech
Great speech from Al Gore on MLK day.
In addition to the action items he proposed, we need an accountable voting mechanism. A political end to free speech, letters, speeches, books, etc. in a democracy is an informed and secure vote. We need to be able to verify our votes were counted and accurate. An anonymous and unique key should be given to each voter that they can later use to query a secure database to verify their vote was accurate and tallied.
We need to stop the proliferation of black box voting machines until the above items can be verified. Equal access to voting booths must be established. Free access by the press to voting stations needs to be guaranteed. If we the people are to respond to Gore’s challenge, we need what we thought we had, a vote, freedom of assembly, etc. We work and pay taxes for those rights. We are not getting what we are paying for.
Subject: Tell Me What To Think
About two or so weeks ago I was changing the radio dial to a program I like and unfortunately caught the last 30 seconds of the Rush Limbaugh program as he was signing off. Needless to say, half a minute was more than I could stomach, but what he said was so revelatory about his audience.
The show was on a Friday, so he concluded by telling the audience he would keep abreast of the weekend news, and to be sure to tune in on Monday where he would "analyze" the events (uh-huh). He then said, and this is a quote: ". . . and I'll tell you what to think." Can't you just see the dittoheads in suspended animation for the weekend until the loudmouth returns to the air and feeds them their spin for the day? It's telling - Limbaugh, by that line, confirms that he considers his audience a bunch of brainless sheep. That none of those faithful listeners probably gave the comment a second thought only reinforces his opinion of them.
We constantly moan about how the Republicans and Bush in particular get away with so much bulls**t and break so many laws, and the answer is right at our fingertips. Those of us who deplore Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity and others can't crow too loud if we don't hold our Democratic party responsible for their inability or unwillingness to fight King George. Does he hold horrible information over their heads they don't want revealed? Are they afraid to take any independent stance for fear of alienating the swing vote? Or are they just as guilty as he is and only offering sound bite resistance to make it look like they're fighting the good fight? Some really scary thoughts, aren't they?
Subject: Gore's Topic Is Off Base; Off Focus
It is good that Gore stood up against the criminal behaviour of the president, i.e. warrantless wiretapping. Great but it's just a symptom. But he would only be a hero in my eyes if stood up against the TREASONOUS behaviour of Bush and the cabal behind him. I'm talking about the stolen elections. Even more so I'm talking about the total programmed propaganda and murder of over 3,000 people on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent rush into war based on the programmed fear of the American people AND our wimpy-assed representatives.
My God people!! Aren't you scared?? You ought to be. But please get focused! Just stop for a few moments (more like Days), and step out of the maddening propaganda blitz we (you) are experiencing, and see the bigger picture. Our country has been seized by a group of thieves who have a semi-hidden agenda. Look what they planned back in Reagan's terms. It's called the Project for a New American Century, (PNAC). And it's going close to script.
I used to get caught up in all the frenzied news and non consequential skirmishes between the political parties. Then one day I just stepped back and put the pieces together. Didn't read into everything but looked at patterns and there I saw the big picture.
We are screwed unless we take back the ability to get these people out of OUR government. And the only way we're going to do that is with transparent elections that are not controlled by programmed counting machines. You all are just wasting your time on a fight that won't be won unless we do something to fix our elections counting system.
Subject: A Poem for MLK Day
Today in a speech by Al Gore
Subject: Gore's Speech
I just read Gore's speech on the growing power and lack of accountability of the Presidency. It's a good speech and it took courage for him to make it.
He calls for the re-establishment of constitutional principles like checks and balances and respect for individual rights. These are worthy objectives.
But Gore does not discuss how "We The People" are supposed to get the good old Constitution to work again. A special prosecutor would be nice, but it's not going to happen unless the membership of Congress changes drastically. That won't happen, as he points out, because only a small number of seats are really competitive, and the current system precludes the election of anyone but those who have lots of money or can get it.
Isn't it time for progressive Americans to rethink the strategy they've been trusting for too long now -- a mix of media pressure, court decisions, and, sometimes, electoral change? Is lengthy discussion of court decisions really the kind of thing that mobilizes people to stand up for their democratic rights? Surely Gore, of all people, should know that running to the courts doesn't always uphold democracy!
I think there's too much chatter about constitutional provisions, and not enough about principles. Too many references to the words of judges and not enough to the activism of the people. Too much hand-wringing about the hollowness of constitutional guarantees, and not enough strategizing about how to mobilize public support for human rights.
Bush has made it clear that he understands that the Constitution, by itself, is just a bunch of words. Without the willingness of the people to play their democratic role, it can be ignored.
I'm glad Al Gore spoke out. But I wonder where the American people are? Why are they so passive? Why are they so afraid? Why are they not out in their streets in their millions, demanding that their president do what he swore to do, and uphold the Constitution of their republic?
In recent decades, popular mobilizations have overthrown dictatorships in Portugal, Ukraine, the Philippines, Georgia, Argentina, Chile, and many other places. They did it peacefully, using the power of popular mobilization. They did not just sit back and hire a lawyer to argue in court, or watch shouting matches on TV, or whine about how tough life is.
When will Americans stop whining and waiting for some judge to save them, when the only way they can be sure of protecting their democratic rights is to take the initiative themselves.
Bush's contempt for the constitution is plain for all to see. He is defiant, daring Americans to try to stop him from overthrowing their rights and discarding their traditions.
Will Americans dare? Or are they too scared of the terrorists, too excited by the Superbowl, too bored by their cumbersome, antiquated system of government, to do something to save it and the rights it guarantees?
Bush is betting that they are. So far, it looks like he's right.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: New Orleans Mayor Has Lost His Mind
Please read this. My jaw is still on the floor. I thought this was Pat Robertson's patented lunacy.
New Orleans Mayor Says God Mad at U.S. (AP/Yahoo)
Subject: Enablers of the Right Wing: How a Few Dems Would Have Behaved at Lexington and Concord (a Partial Satire)
Start with the knowledge that right-wing conservatives make up no more than 25% of America. Then ask yourself, "How can a small fringe of extremists take power in our great country?" Yes the answer begins with the right-wing media and corporate control, but then you realize that the powers-to-be need a few Benedict Arnolds in their midst. Today, their names include Senators Nelson of Nebraska, Landrieu of Louisiana, Feinstein of California, and Lieberman of Connecticut. Every time these right-wing conservatives are being exposed for what they truly are, these Senate Democrats (and a few House members) bail them out by legitimizing unjustifiable views. These Senators and the media claim that they are centrists; however they are so far to the Right of the Center that most Americans wouldn't recognize them.
King George ruled the colonists with a Tory agenda eerily similar to that of today's GOP. King George believed in a unitary executive where wealth was shifted to the very top, where the executive branch could spy on its citizens, and in a social agenda which imposed right-wing Christianity on the masses. We had a Revolutionary War against right-wing conservatism. Thankfully, we won.
So how would these Senators have acted in the 1770s? Let's see.
Patrick Henry: "Give me liberty or give me death."
Joe Lieberman: "The left wing rhetoric of Mr. Henry is uncalled for and undermines the King's war on terror. Remember, it was the Bostonians who attacked that ship in Boston Harbor a few years ago."
Paul Revere: "The British are coming, the British are coming."
Dianne Feinstein: "Well my husband has a defense contract with the King and we need a strong defense. We should give the king the power to protect us. While I don't agree with all of his views, I will support him and Prince Alito. Sacrifices must be made.
Senator Landrieu: "Paul Revere is a radical liberal. We don't need that kind of rhetoric. I will work with the King and support his tax cuts for the wealthy."
Thomas Jefferson: "The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ."
Senator Nelson: Thomas Jefferson is a communist and a card carrying member of the ACLU. He is a traitor to this nation. He hates Christians.
And so it goes. Americans lose the Revolutionary War. The King passes a Bill of Rights which reads in part,
"Colonists shall make no law respecting any religion other than Right-wing christianity nor allow the free exercise thereof; or permit blasphemy, or have a fair press, or question the King."
"People shall have no right to privacy and may be searched or wiretapped without probable cause, and be held indefinitely for any crime should the King deem them to be an enemy combatant without habeas corpus or a trial.
"The enumeration in the Bill of Rights of any rights shall not be construed to permit others denied to the people."
And Senators Lieberman, Nelson, Feinstein, Landrieu and about fifteen Democratic House members gleefully join a united Republican Party and vote for the bill.
Very truly yours,
Big Dave From Queens
Hope you have noticed. Lately, downed military helicopters and their associated downed occupants are American (as opposed to being US military). Wonder if their deaths are recorded in the count of US troops killed. Which is also rarely reported these days. Nothing too low for a Republican OR a compliant media.
Subject: Keeping the Wrong Company
In California they killed a sick old man today. He was not a good man. He was undoubtedly an abominable man. The Death Penalty is not about this man. The Death Penalty is about us. It is about who we are and what we represent.
We don’t seem to care what the world thinks of us. We will do what we want and they can just live with it. We are the world’s only Super Power and that makes us right.
The problem with all that is that we continue to try to convince the world that we are morally superior to everyone else. We are the greatest, we claim in our continual Mohammed Ali Mode and expect the world to believe us. They see the things we do that give lie to all the high flown rhetoric.
In terms of countries that allow the death penalty we are not in good company. The civilized world watches with revulsion as we execute a 75 year old man who was deaf, blind and in a wheelchair. He was a bad man. An evil man. He killed and to prove we are superior to this man we killed him.
We along with such human rights bastions as China, the Palestinian Authority and the Sudan believe in the death penalty. We should be ashamed. (Link below to get the whole list.)
Other nations have watched in horror as America, once perceived as the moral compass of the world has become an embarrassment to itself. Americans who support the death penalty can always justify this barbaric act. Once again, it is not about them, the often disgusting creatures who do such horrible things. It is about us. It is about who we are as a nation, as a people. If we think that killing sick old men in wheelchairs is the right thing to do then we need to own up to who we are. Claiming to be the good guys when you do such things is hypocritical at best.
You can claim anything you want to claim. The problem is no one believes you. Clarence Ray Allen was put to death by the state of California today. An evil sick old man in a wheelchair. He’s dead. Our shame, our crime lives on.
Marjorie L. Swanson
Subject: At Least Hold Up the Alito Vote Until After the Hearings on Spying
America is in a Constitutional crisis. The Senate and House have acknowledged the seriousness of the spying issue, and therefore the investigation into the matter should take precedence over any other matters at this time.
I fear that once Alito is confirmed (we know he will be), bush will once again drag his feet, withhold documents, ignore subpoenas, and refuse to allow anyone, including himself, to testify under oath.
bush wants Alito on his High Council, because he knows that Alito will look the other way and "reason" why our Constitution and Bill of Rights need to be ignored.
Therefore, the Senate should HOLD UP the vote on Alito until after the hearings and investigation are complete. In addition, however, IF it is proven that bush HAS broken the law for the last FOUR YEARS, he should be impeached, and his nomination of Alito should be null and void, because, in my way of thinking ... bush was acting as a CRIMINAL in his capacity and his "authority" should be stripped on appointments and nominations during this time.
Thanks so much for your tribute to Al Gore. He is the most principled of the lot. He is brilliant, honorable, internationally respected, and, clearly, the only one in our country worthy of the office of the presidency.
Subject: Al Gore Deserves the Wings of Justice Award
I sent you a piece before in hopes that you do publish it. But, if there is anyone deserving of your “Wings Of Justice Award,” it is Al Gore for daring to tell the truth and do so with intelligence. If, as I said in my piece that others start to sound the same, it was because of Gore that they did. I do not know if you know this, but I am going to start praying every day that he does change his mind and does run in 2008. If he does, I will work day and night for his campaign. The others are truly the lesser of who cares. I am almost ready to throw up my hands in sheer disgust at this political process. Leaders like Al Gore are the ones that keep me going. I cried a multitude of tears yesterday and was angry beyond belief that Americans can accept a lawbreaker as their commander in chief. If they are telling me that this is the type of leadership that is best for America, then we deserve to go the way of the Mighty Roman Empire.
[BuzzFlash Note: Al Gore was a Wings of Justice honoree in September, honored for his role in aiding Katrina victims.]
Subject: Al Gore's Speech
Thank you for your excellent article respecting Vice President Gore's speech yesterday. Also, for making it available both as video and transcript. This speech needs the widest circulation and it would be great if BuzzFlash can get the Liberty Coalition, etc. to produce a DVD of the program, including Rep. Barr's introduction, and offer it for sale. I personally would purchase 10 copies from BuzzFlash and send it to friends and family that will not otherwise see it.
It would also be terrific if through contributions enough money could be raised to air it locally around the country and every candidate for office should have a copy to show it in support of their election campaigns, including persons running in the primaries against Democratic incumbents like Feinstein. (I am a Californian who voted for Feinstein each time since 1992 when she first ran and have written to her yesterday that her statement she would vote against Alito but would not filibuster was balderdash and that if she did this I would work hard to prevent her re election.)
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Al Gore Speech (sent to NY Times)
It is disgusting that Al Gore's important speech that was given yesterday is not reported by the Times. And yet time and again the right wing continues the false mantra pointing at The New York Times (and Washington Post) to prove the media has a liberal bias. What balderdash!
Subject: Al Gore and the "Mainstream Media"
Nothing demonstrates the loss of American 1st Amendment rights more than the INTENTIONAL failure of the so-called Mainstream Media to cover what is one of the most significant events of the month. Coupled with de jure torture, rendition camps, unwarranted wiretapping, fundamentalism, this corporate censorship and propaganda machines clearly demonstrate that we live in a corporate-controlled state dictatorship with all the trappings of totalitarian fascism. Murdoch, Moon, Singleton, Scaife et al. are more fatal to democracy than the gangsters and cabals they've put in charge of running the country, the CIA, Area 51 and the military. Only when a Faux News, CNN, MSNBC, UPI, AP, LA Times, Wapo, NYT, or other propaganda outlets with their editors and publishers are removed or eliminated, can we rejoice.
Internet or no internet, 1984 is here. There will never be another truly Democratic Congress or president, let alone the enforcement of human rights or justice, because there can never be democracy, let alone freedom. Never!
Subject: Democratic Inaction
I just visited the DNC website and there is no mention of Al Gore's speech. These people have no backbone, there needs to be a new party that represents the thinking of Al Gore. The Democrats are entrenched in their own greedy self interests and WE the PEOPLE are dumbed down, lied to, offered crumbs behind worthless excuses.
It is time to take back this country and it has been time since the outrage of the 2000 elections....this was a coup. I wonder what a mass exodus from the Democratic Party would do in terms of waking up people like Dianne Feinstein whose bread is buttered by the BushCo ilk.
Where is the outrage from the DNC or the Democratic Establishment to Laura Bush's statement that Americans expect to be spied upon. I for one do not expect to be spied on, however this country is not the country that I base that balanced expectation on....instead it is evolving into a fascist regime, these people have been at it a long time...don't forget the history of Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the Bush family. They have served in many administrations in many controversial situations. They have plotted their course carefully and they are this close to having it all (Arctic Oil, invading Iran, pipelines through Israel) that they are bound to become more scary, do more heinous things, and in all likelihood declare Marshall Law...cancel elections and worse. Don't forget Richard Nixon's cadre had the Rand Corporation investigated the possibility of canceling the 1972 elections because the country was in turmoil....yea VietIraq...Bechtel and boys preceding Halliburton and Co. and if it had not have been for Watergate.... they could have gotten away with it....if things don't change in America soon, these guys will get away with it....and the checks and balances are stacked in their favor as Al Gore so eloquently pointed out yesterday.
Get mad, do something, start a new party, drown your newspaper with editorial email, vote, protest, do something...we are sliding into a place where decline and fall will seem way too simplistic.
Subject: Picky About the Law
Americans needn’t be surprised about George W. Bush picking and choosing the laws he wants to obey. That’s a fact of life in this country. To say that we are a nation of laws is hogwash.
How many people do you see on a daily basis ignoring the speed laws? How often do you ignore them yourself? Don’t like the law, ignore it.
Liberals like me have our undies all in a bundle about George W. and his pals playing fast and loose with the law. Then when someone says that the immigration laws should be enforced, whoops that means they are racist. Quite a little double standard we’ve got going folks.
It would appear that one of the big fights coming up in Washington is going to be over immigration. There will undoubtedly be scores of windbags touting their particular favorite idea and denigrating the intelligence, patriotism, and morality of everyone who disagrees with them. That’s the way things are done in our government these days. That’s also the reason that very little gets done right.
Does it make any sense at all to make a bunch of new laws when no one is enforcing the laws that we already have? Does it make any sense to spend billions of dollars to build a wall along the border? Does anyone with the I.Q. of a Rice Crispy Treat believe that this wall project will cost anything close to what its proponents are saying it will cost?
How about this for a really radical idea? We enforce the laws we have. We make the fines for companies hiring illegal aliens painful. We deport illegal immigrants that come into contact with the law. But we don’t go looking for them. Good lord there are 11 million of them. All the law enforcement personnel in the country aren’t enough to deport 11 million people.
No more day labor sites. No more encouraging of illegal activity by the employer or by the immigrant. This is a nation of immigrants. We have to be sensitive to that. Calling people who don’t agree with you racists is dishonest and untrue. I could care less what color the illegal immigrant is. The key word here is illegal. If we are not going to enforce the laws we have, please don’t allow the knuckleheads in Washington to make any new ones. They only confuse an already confusing issue.
Marjorie L. Swanson
Subject: Mike Dillard on Dems/greens
Right on! We need to bury the Democratic Party, with Demos like Gore and Dean moving to the Green Party and taking their people, their funds, etc. with them.
If it's broken, fix it, but if it's dead, BURY IT!
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to REPLACE the Democratic Party with the Green Party. A third party can only be a spoiler, but we don't have to be content with that.
Lack of coverage of Gore's speech today makes me wonder if we're in Wonderland. The press, apparently, is waiting for orders.
We need to make every MacDonald's, every mall, every train station platform a place where people gather to talk politics. Just get a few friends together and start a conversation that others can hear. They will join you. The Conservatives have their churches, we can invent other places to come together.
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