January 19, 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.
Subject: Outlaw Campaign TV Ads Completely
I read Carville/Begala's ideas on campaign finance reform and toward the end I began to feel a little dizzy. The more loops you make, the more loopholes you get.
Here's my idea: completely ban all television ads related to the campaign. No to MoveOn (sorry, guys) but also no to Swift Boat Veterans For (I can't ever choke out their full name). That's not so radical. But also, no ads for Feingold, no ads for McCain.
But that will violate their First Amendment rights to free speech you say? A few weeks ago a caller on C-Span said 'since when is money free speech?' Amen, brother. When was the last time a tv ad in a campaign represented the SPEECH of a candidate? They represent the marketing of the candidate, the image of the candidate, but rarely, if ever, that candidate's speech. And all of that is brought to you by the marketplace of cash, not the marketplace of ideas.
In addition, let's look at how many ads get pulled by the owners of the medium in question because they don't like the content of the ad. When those cases arise, conservatives argue that the rights of ownership trump the rights of free speech (you can't force MSNBC et al. to run ads about United Church of Christ's gay friendly policies if MSNBC doesn't want to be gay friendly). Precedent can be a two-edged sword.
If campaign ads didn't run on television, it would probably have a downward effect on the number of people who would turn out to vote. Liberals are not supposed to be for suppression of the vote. True, and I'm not advocating the ban for that reason. But I also want the people who are standing in line to vote to be there because they took the time to understand the issues, the candidates, and how their own values are met by the person for whom they'll cast their ballot. Not because an ad with a wolf or a bear scared the pants off them.
It takes a lot of money to run a campaign. Most of that money is for television ads. If there were no tv ads, candidates would work to get their views out in other ways. They'd probably want to debate their opponent every day and twice on Wednesday. We would see what 'grassroots' really means.
And as Carville/Begala point out, currently politicians spend far too much time raising money. Freed from the pressures to raise millions of dollars they might return to things like, oh, I don't know, oversight of the executive branch.
Cigarette advertising is banned because it is not healthy. Neither are campaign ads.
Subject: The Unitary Executive Theory of the Presidency
It’s been said that "You can’t count the day wasted if you’ve learned something."
During the Alito confirmation hearings we found out that Bush's "I can do anything I want" approach to governance has a name: the "Unitary Executive" theory of the presidency.
When Bush breaks the law by spying on your telephone conversations or your E-Mail messages or your Internet viewing preferences, he is exercising his power as the Unitary Executive.
When he signed the anti-torture bill and immediately issued a "signing statement" stating that he was free to break that law, he was exercising Unitary Executive authority.
When he picks up and holds an American citizen (Jose Padilla) incommunicado for years without either charging him or allowing him to talk to a lawyer, he is claiming the right to do so based on the Unitary Executive theory.
In short, as a Unitary Executive, he believes that he answers to no one. Indeed, in Bob Woodward’s book, "BUSH AT WAR," he is quoted as saying, "I'm the commander in chief, see, I don't need to explain, I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting part about being president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." Likewise, in December 2000, the newly elected (?) President said, "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just as long as I'm the dictator."
I’m pretty sure that most Americans would rather waste the day than learn that we have a Unitary Executive as our President.
Back in the 1930s and ‘40s the term we would have used was, Fascist Dictator.
Robert R. Regl
Subject: Constitutional Crisis - The Good News
If George W. Bush is hereby voiding the Constitution, there is some good news in that.Section 8 starts out: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes ..." So I guess that's out the window, too!
Let's see if we can get Al Gore to be the president of Real America.Then we can send our tax money to him to fund things like clean fuels, affordable health care, and peace efforts worldwide.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Alito, the Drone
Not a soul on the face of the earth can divorce their personal feelings and opinions when determining how they would vote on an issue. Can anyone be trusted who professes such a thing?
Is he an automaton, a Mr. Spock, a cyborg, unrelenting in logic, devoid of emotion, or is he just lying? A person of such ilk resembles a Dilbert character, stupefied with duty but possessing no heart.
More than 200 years ago, strict constructionists, not approving of the constitution, believed “if it wasn’t in the constitution” it was forbidden. Of course time and pragmatism opened many eyes and flexibility and inherent rights not specifically spelled out survived such folly. It would be very difficult to comprehend our nation today using a strict interpretation of our founding fathers' dream of rights for all. States rights would be paramount and for our mobile population many of today’s freedoms would be lost or gained from state to state.
The Constitution is a flexible document which has survived these many years and needs not be the instrument of an all powerful government which is the dream of some judges. Judge Alito may be a good man, a good jurist, but he is not human enough for America.
P.S. You should have a section on letters from the common man, not just chosen contributors...read your editions daily...thanks.
[BuzzFlash Note: That's what this Mailbag is. Hope you've also seen some of our dynamite BuzzFlash Reader Contributions, which are archived with Guest Contributions here: http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/.]
Subject: Calls Outside the U.S.
Does anyone know if the calls outside the U.S. that were tapped include calls made to customer call-centers outsourced to foreign countries?
Or what about any phone calls/wi-fi usage that employed satellites (which are technically 'out of the U.S.')?
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: One of Our Last Beacons of Free Speech
It's hard to put into words how grateful I am on a regular basis for EVERYTHING that you are doing to accurately inform and arm your readers and as much of the populace as you are able. However, today, on the Eighteenth of January, 2006, I was particularly grateful as I read the letters of the Mailbag. I was impressed with many of the letters but I was almost in awe of Roger Pike's letter entitled King George, Freedom is Fading, and Linda Wymore's letter. I realize much to my frustration that a LOT of the letters and posts I bang and hammer out in fury on my keyboard are so short of what I actually want to say. Usually these days I'm so furious with the state of affairs with King Bush and his criminal court and their shenanigans and CONTINUED violations of our rights and the rule of law that I can't think straight much of the time. I admit I read your Mailbag on a regular basis because it's refreshing and reassuring to know I'm not alone in my fury, frustrations, and conviction AND because so many of your readers are so well informed, I learn a LOT from them and you.
Every so often in perusing your Mailbag, I read a letter that completely nails on the head how I feel. Such was the case with Linda Wymore's letter and Roger Pike's letter. Both were so well written, spelling out the critical issues with acid clarity, I wanted to stand and cheer and somehow get copies of them in EVERY household in the United States.
Since I have trouble thinking with that kind of clarity these days, let me just say THANK YOU to the authors of those letters, to you, BuzzFlash for printing those letters, and to everyone else who pounds out their thoughts, feelings, and frustrations in our collective effort to TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: RANDI RHODES: ABRAMOFF AT CRAWFORD RANCH 4 TIMES AND WAS ON TRANSITION TEAM
Mounting evidence proves White House lied about relationship with corrupt lobbyist
Subject: David Wyles' Gored By Times
I too was outraged by the Times' neglect of Al Gore's speech. I called the office of Executive Editor Bill Keller, fulminated in a letter to the Public Editor, and dashed off this Letter to the Editor of the Times. I doubt it will be published there.
I find it similarly amazing, galling, unbelievable that the website of the Democratic Party, www.democrats.org, also has no mention of Gore's speech--neither yesterday (Tues.) nor today (Wed). I've called their office a couple of times too--only to leave messages on their answering machines!
Subject: Come on, Laura, I am sure Hillary is up to debating you
I am not first lady, but I am particularly upset that Laura's other half has decided to be king and interpret anything he chooses in any way he chooses and she doesn't mind. Obviously she hasn't the slightest idea that her husband is trying for dictator. I have absolutely no sympathy for this woman. None, Zip, Nada and she is close to making it past her hubby and to the number one person I would like to see back planting bluebonnets at the ranch. She is a ditz.
When did we elect Laura Bush president? (americablog)
Subject: I'd totally forgotten that the "State of the Union" address was coming up
Oh, GREAT! After reading (incrementally, mainly via Buzz and blogs) about the extent to which domestic spying has been going on, unreported by the MSM (which many "insiders" obviously knew about long before the rest of us did) I then learned that we're about to hear another propaganda attack from the *ssh*le-in-chief. Above the law?? -- well, I guess, thanks to the takeover of the Supreme Court (note to Dem senators out there: I will personally keep a tally of those who do NOT oppose Alito's nomination).
As I've told friends (fellow Buzz contributors), I was bitterly disappointed when Al Gore didn't fight harder in 2000, when the election was (as in 2004) stolen. I know he would have lost, but he should have fought anyway. However, he's redeemed himself (at least in MY eyes) by his courageous stand against the slaughter of our Constitutional rights that's happening under our noses today.
Of course, we all know what would happen if he got the nomination for 2008: we'd see endless film clips of the so-called "I invented the Internet" speech. (Just as, if Dean ran, we'd hear clips of the "scream" until we all went deaf.) As for Kerry, he shouldn't even THINK of running again! And everyone knows what I think of "Repukelican Lite" DLC Hillary. (I read an article -- sorry, I don't remember where -- saying that she's considered a shoo-in for the Dem nomination in 2008. Over my dead body!!)
Speaking of dead bodies, I just read Paul Krugman's article on the Medicare situation. I'm too young for Medicare, and I earn less than $100 above the poverty line -- in a GOOD year -- to qualify for Medicaid. If I got seriously sick, I'd either have to cure myself or die. Do we really want to put seniors and those even poorer than I am in that situation?? How did we let the neocons/super-rich/liars/war-mongers hijack our country?? And what can we do to take it back??
Meanwhile, here in Athens, GA, the City Council met to vote on whether our city should be divided (as has already been approved by the state legislature) into two parts (east and west), each of which would be "incorporated" into neighboring Repukelican-dominated counties. The only GA congressional rep I voted for was John Barrow, and he has been a disappointment (as in wimping out). And, yes, I've emailed him several times to tell him so. (No responses thus far.)
Oh, wow. In addition to fighting a rotten cold and trying to figure out how to survive, I've got to brace myself (if that's even possible) for the (gasp, choke) "State of the Union" address. Well, I guess we're all (meaning us Buzzers) boiling in the same pot together, more or less. Meanwhile, Jefferson, Washington, and (yes) even Adams are spinning in their graves so fast that they may trigger an earthquake.
Barbara Lee (Barb) Blazyk
Subject: Dark Times for America
Is America going to the dark side? The US Senate is about to confirm a new justice who supports the idea of giving the president the power of a king at a time when the President is openly breaking the law and asserting the power of a king.
When criminals like Bush get to appoint their own judges, then the future of freedom itself is in jeopardy. We should impeach Bush before we vote in any new justices.
I'm Marc Perkel - And I approved this message!
Subject: Chickenhawks & Swiftboaters
I just read E.J. Dionne's piece about the swiftboating of John Murtha.
We all know what's coming in the countdown to the Nov. 06 election. The right-wing snipers will go after any Democratic veterans from any war, one at a time. Where will they get their information? Illegal wiretaps?
The veterans from the congress and senate should assemble en masse to challenge the swiftboaters and chickenhawks and say "Bulls**t. You take on one vet, you take on us all." McCain should speak up, Kerry and Gore, Max Cleland. All have had their service records viciously attacked.
Republicans like Chuck Hagel and others are reputed war heroes. They should stand up, too. This is a truly bipartisan issue. Maybe the camaraderie of vets will trump politics for once. Former senators like George McGovern and Bob Dole who are no longer running for office should stand side by side to make sure these attacks never happen again. They should also take on the Limbaughs and O'Reillys in the lunatic press.
It's about time that all democrats, even the ones who don't personally agree with Murtha's opinions, stand with him against those chickenhawks who are besmirching his honour. Hell, even Pappy Bush saw combat. What must he really think of Georgie and his swiftboating supporters?
I've been a pacifist all my life, but that doesn't mean I don't honour my father's service in WW2 and both grandfathers in WW1.
Subject: Katrina Death Toll
The BBC reported today that 3,200 are still declared "missing"! You may want to bring this to the attention of the caring, compassionate American people. Would the same "hush, hush" have been applied if it were another American city?!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Surprised by the Democratic Wimps
Why are people surprised by Democrats' lack of action? All our elected officials are owned by the military-industrial corporations. The real fight, which most people are being successfully diverted from, is between the people and the corporations.
Subject: Osama Tapes Are So Convenient
Does anyone else smell a rat regarding the Osama Bin Laden tape? Every time the rethugs are in trouble, Bin Laden releases a tape to Al Jazeera, which takes over the headlines, and allows dirt on the administration to disappear for a few days.
Did anyone ever consider that maybe he is in custody already, and is being coerced into making the tapes? The fact that the tape may be old only makes it seem more likely that it was held by his captors until it was needed to take the spotlight off the corruption.
Fear has always worked for these thugs before, so why not try it again? Let's not fall for it. We've got to keep the pressure on to expose the corruption.
BIN LADEN STILL ALIVE
Al-Jazeera Says It Has New Bin Laden Tape
Subject: When does democracy die? Let me count the ways ...
After reading several articles this morning, I have a few answers to the question I asked above.
(1) Democracy dies every time we let ourselves be duped and cheated out of our duly elected representatives (and that includes the President and Senators as well as the House).
(2) Democracy dies every time we (and our representatives) allow ourselves to be lied into wars on the basis of fake intelligence and outright lies -- and nobody (except for a few, including us) speaks out or acts against this blasphemy.
(3) Democracy dies every time the mainstream media caves and grovels at the feet of the regime that has seized its illegitimate power. (When the truth is not broadcast, it is, in essence, buried in an unmarked grave.)
(4) Democracy dies every time a(n unallocated, in this case) President declares himself a unilateral power, empowered to interpret law as he wishes, without consulting the branches of government that the writers of our Constitution so carefully and thoughtfully mandated (after much internal dissension, I admit -- but at least they LISTENED to one another. And compromised).
(5) Democracy dies when the gap between the wealthy and the poor widens every year, every month, every week, leaving working families and their kids marginalized, no matter how hard they work, while the rich reap ridiculous tax cuts that they don't need at all.
(6) Democracy dies when an administration decides that burning the flag should be made a federal crime, but butchering the Constitution is perfectly legal.
(7) Democracy dies when voting districts are gerrymandered at will, so that permanent control will -- or so they think -- be ensured.
(8) Democracy dies when programs for the poor are cut, eliminating (for all practical purposes) medical care for the needy, including affordable drugs; scholarships for kids who can't otherwise afford to attend college, thereby condemning them to another generation (at least) of poverty.
(9) Democracy dies when greed and lust for power not only encourage ignorance of/indifference to the irreversible impacts of global warming, but refuse to curb the blatant behavior that hastens its progress.
(10) Democracy dies when torture is redefined to the point at which its definition becomes limited to failure of vital organs and/or death.
(11) Democracy dies when women are denied abortion rights, and homosexuals/ bisexuals/transsexuals are denied not only marriage, but in some legislation now underway in various states, the rights to recognized partnerships.
(12) Democracy dies when the opposition party, with certain notable exceptions, lies down and plays dead in response to the GOP's attempt to make their control permanent. (Example: the wimpy -- so far -- response to Alito's nomination. And the rubber-stamping of Roberts as Chief Justice.)
I'll rest my case at 12 points, though I could (believe me!) mention many more, and close with this: We need to grab the shreds of what's left of our Constitution before it's too late. ... I'm depending on YOU to make more practical suggestions.
Barbara Lee (Barb) Blazyk
Subject: Mailbag 1/18/06
The Mailbag of 1/17 was great...and this one was even better. So many I would love to respond to, but I am going to just try a few.
First, Pisces (we share a sign) it was a great laugh...I have heard it before, but it was funnier this time....thank you! To both Roger Pike and R.G. Johnson....both your letters were so good and so informative...so many good thoughts about the election and hope! And everyone who gave the 'Speech" a passing grade ... We seemed to do that the other time...but many things have happened since then. Bush has stepped over the line too much now...and even many in his own party know that. You might not find it from any of your everyday people, but just listen to C-Span's Washington Journal....and you will find that the tide has turned from the people who came on and said, "What was Clinton doing while Gore was speaking...getting another blow job?"....one of only three anti Gore call-ins...that is all they have ... just think about it folks, the only thing the right wing has, the absolute silliest thing ever...One man was cut off, because he wanted to accuse Clinton of wiretapping too...the subject was the Gore speech! This man, this man who travels the world with his anti-poverty foundation....does only good for the world, and makes much money (more than Bush) making speeches....he is contributing! But, you never talk to any Republican...even on line...(BuzzFlash excluded) without their finally coming down to that! It is disgusting...it is the only thing they have, even now....by Kenneth Starr's own final word! Even after 5 years!
Gore has those values, though, at the time, I thought he should have had Clinton campaign with him...everyone was swayed by the constant blather about Clinton's moral lapse! And I am glad to say, the worst was Tom DeLay. I remember well, his laughing after Bush got in and saying, "I cannot stop grinning...we finally have a president who will do the "right thing"...of course, meaning he would do the 'evil, sinful, horrid thing"... and he did...and now DeLay is out of a job...and Bush, with any luck, will be out, too, although we may have to wait 3 more years! Both, Bob Barr and Trent Lott are reticent...Barr, the House Manager who brought Clinton down, and Lott, who laughed at Clinton's request to go after Bin Laden, "He was just wagging the dog!"...Will wonders ever cease? You can't see the grin on my face? Sorry! It is a little early to be counting chickens!
BuzzFlash: You folks are absolutely beautiful. A light in the wilderness.
It is because of this I’d hate to see you disappointed. So, don't get your hopes up, sooner rather than later, one Democrat will leave the reservation – er, plantation -- and join the Republicans in their criticism. Just wait.
I bet it's Biden.
Cheers, and keep up the great work.
Subject: How long will the media let Bush hide the Abramoff meetings?
Remember, there were 196 documented entrances to the White House by male prostitute Jeff Gannon, at hours when there were no press briefings and at times when he was not a member of the "White House Whore Corps."
A BuzzFlash Reader
CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THE JANUARY 19, 2006 BUZZFLASH MAILBAG
|back to top|