January 27, 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: Promo Who to Call Re Filibuster?
Given the extreme nature of our crisis, might you consider breaking format, and putting up near your headline space a permanent "who to call to filibuster" spot, right there as soon as the page is loaded? "Toll free numbers, Capitol switchboard: 866-340-9281; 866-340-9279; 888-355-3588. Talk to Obama, Byrd, etc." (from your own Mailbag with the list of individual offices).
[BuzzFlash Note: Call the leaders, call the defectors, call the moderate republicans like Chafee. Toll free numbers, Capitol switchboard: 866-340-9281; 866-340-9279; 888-355-3588. Reprising, from yesterday's Mailbag, at your request.]
Akaka Daniel (HI) (202) 224-6361
INDEPENDENTS: Jeffords James (VT) (202) 224-5141
Subject: Those Abramoff Pictures
The desperate drive of Bush and co. to bury those pictures of their boy with Abramoff reminded me of Boss Tweed's outrage over Thomas Nast's editorial cartoons: "I don't care so much what the papers write about me -- my constituents can't read, but damn it, they can see pictures."
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Sent to LA Senator Landrieu
Dear Senator Landrieu,
Please reconsider your opposition to Senator Kerry's plan to filibuster Alito's nomination to the SCOTUS. You stated that you have other priorities... what could be more important or long-term that Bush's stacking of the court with Federalist Society judges who parse every issue in political terms? It is more critical than ANY other issue at the moment. I know I am not in your district, but please know that ALL Americans are your constituents in times when just a lone voice can make or scuttle plans of immense consequence, and a knife in the back is a sad thing.
Subject: Impeach Bush
Yesterday morning (Thursday, 1 January 2006), our local WPR (Wisconsin Public Radio -- Ideas Network) had Elizabeth Holtzman as a guest for a one-hour show. The subject was the impeachment of George W. Bush.
One of the things Ms. Holtzman kept emphasizing is that "We the People" NEED to and MUST keep the pressure on our House Representatives to push for impeachment proceedings to take place. Ms. Holtzman went on to say that UNLESS we stand up and speak out and "force the issue," it will NEVER happen because of the current balance of power being in the hands of the Republicans.
Here is a link to an audio archive of the show:
(scroll down to 1/26, Joy Cardin, 8:00 a.m.)
We ALL need to e-mail and/or phone our House Representatives and tell them Bush MUST face impeachment hearings. Also, contact John Conyers to let him know we hear him and we appreciate his efforts with taking the lead in this issue.
The website, www.congress.org is an excellent site to use. You can look up the name of any senator or representative and find links to either send them e-mail or phone them. For maximum effect, DO BOTH!
Do you ever put up a page 3 of letters? When we are in crisis mode, the volume must be staggering, and I, for one, would love to see more. BuzzFlashers are some of the best informed and most intelligent writers in cyberspace. When the information is time-sensitive (as in the Alito filibuster effort), please consider putting up a third or fourth page of letters.
Subject: Questioning Authority
Harris Bierhoff has certainly pointed out some of the evildoings of the Bush people. And the passivity of those who fail to "question" these evildoings.
But the time is long past for mere "questioning." Instead of calling other people names like "sheep," what is Harris Bierhoff proposing?
Americans who want to protect their democratic and human rights will have to get a lot busier than they are now. They can't rely on Congress, the media, or even the internet. They have to take themselves -- their actual bodies -- and start impeding the Bush machine. They'll have to demonstrate, to picket recruitment offices in order to shut them down (not "make a point").
The Ukrainians, the Serbs, the Filipinos, the Argentines, the Georgians -- all these people cared enough about democracy to show up and raise hell day after day until they got it. Are Americans up to that kind of action?
If they're not, Bush has won and they can stop calling him antiquated names like "king" and "emperor" and start calling him what he calls himself: Commander-in-Chief, War Leader, Protector of the American People, Bringer of Democracy, Man of God.
Then the rest of the world's people will have to do something to stop America, because America will have shown it can't stop itself.
Subject: What Democrats
Forget the republicans, we need to oust these career politicians. All the politicians are there for 2 purposes. 1. Shield corporations 2. Getting paid
They in no way represent the people. How can those many college degreed and business experienced people mess up this whole world unless it's on purpose? Come on people, we're being played. If we the people don't wake up, "Survivor" won't be a tv show, it will be the American people on the streets. It happened in Germany cause they didn't believe it could happen. It happened, and it's happening again. Wake up, or be put to sleep!!!
Subject: Emergency Town Meeting on the Bush Program on Domestic Surveillance
This is the text of an important announcement I received this week.
Representative Markey and the Massachusetts ACLU already held one such meeting in Lexington, MA - where the first Patriots gathered on the green on April 19 1775 - in Markey's district on January 4. The auditorium at the National Heritage Museum, capacity nearly 400, was full. Representative Markey, Carol Rose, and Marc Rotenberg showed clips of President Bush's statements about the domestic spying, including his assertion, which we now know to have been a lie, that all searches are conducted with a warrant.
Then Markey projected onto a screen, one by one, 6 or 7 statements about the spying, the background, the law etc., and asked Rose and Rotenberg to comment on each one.
It was effective and informative. No one left early.
Markey's office told me that he had given the whole presentation, which he and his office had organized in one week, to Nancy Pelosi's office so it could be freely copied and used by other Democratic members of the House.
Everyone in New England who can attend the Town Meeting at Faneuil Hall next Monday should do so.
Everyone else should call their Representative, Republicans as well as Democrats, and ask for some kind of public meeting in their own districts to talk about this serious threat to our democracy. As far as I'm concerned, it's not a partisan issue. The framers of the Constitution took great pains to circumscribe executive power. It's not up to George Bush, Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Karl Rove and their ilk to rewrite the Constitution to suit themselves or their fevered and paranoid fears of terrorism. There's no evidence whatsoever that this program has foiled any plots or snared terrorists. And of course, the Bush administration will hide under the blanket of secrecy in the name of national security and never tell us anyway.
Given this administration's demonstrated record of shoot first and not even ask questions later, there's no reason to trust them on this domestic spying. The FBI has even complained being inundated with useless information.
Some of the detainees at Gitmo, all denied any legal recourse, are reported to be close to death from a hunger strike according to the London Times.
Hunger Strikers Close to Death (London Times/Commondreams)
Deported immigrants who were jailed without cause in Brooklyn for months after 9/11 are returning to press a legal case.
A former Army interrogator in Iraq was on Hardball (yes, I do watch occasionally!) last week, talking about abuse of prisoners in Iraq, most of whom were innocent, in his opinion. (And, no, Matthews did not shout him down or dismiss what he had to say.) In the brave new neo-con world, we're all guilty until proven innocent.
Call your Congressman/woman, or Markey's office (202-225-2836) and find out how to have a Town Meeting, great New England format.
Don't let the dark ones take away our democracy.
If the Democrats do not Filibuster Alito, I suggest a "White Feather Week" wherein every BuzzFlash reader sends a White Feather to as many Democrats as he can afford to. This is the traditional sign of cowardice. BuzzFlash can decide if this is a good idea and choose the week. We have to do something to get the attention of congress. If they choose not to Filibuster, then we know that phone calls do not work. They have to be afraid of not getting re-elected. We HAVE to wake them up.
Subject: I'm a "Wet Powder" Democrat!
I'm sick of hearing cowardly Senate Democrats whine about their need to "keep their powder dry" for future struggles. What future? Certainly no sign of a struggle yet - that requires resistance on both parts.
No, the powder's been soaking wet for a while now; it's well past time to fix bayonets and whip out the hatchets for a deadly-earnest last stand. An Alito filibuster has to occur and at least make some waves if the Democratic Party is to be worth its paper plates and hats.
We have to jump on this handful of collaborating DINOs and give them no respite until they get in line or switch parties outright.
Subject: The Alarm Reaction
Fight or flight, that is. It's readily available for defending ourselves against immediate threats, such as a lion attack, fires, floods, earthquakes, starvation, joblessness; but, alas, said reaction usually is missing when the danger to us, while just as real, is from a long-term threat such as global warming. Compounding this problem, the powers that be, by way of their incessant hate and fear mongering, are quite adept at jamming our alarm reactions, leaving us, thereby, defenseless and powerless against the impending doom. Who has time to worry about an end of this century nightmare, when there's more than enough tragedy already, both in Iraq and here at home? And, "if you don't watch-out, Osama bin Laden's going to get you." How to overcome? We the people change the world, that's how.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: How To Describe Republican Conservatives In Sound Bite Form
My favorite musical group of all time is the Beatles. Widely recognized as four of the most talented musicians ever, the Beatles' intelligence is stratospheric. But when you listen to their songs, you hear words and chords that a fourth grade child could compose. The Beatles understood what Democratic hacks have failed to grasp. You can have all the facts, logic, reason, and common sense in the world on your side, but if you can't explain those ideas in simple terms, you will lose elections.
Now any person who follows facts, reason, or the true conscience can turn out to be many things, but a conservative or right winger isn't one of them. So it stands to reason to me that if Democrats could communicate in sound bite form to describe conservatives and republicans, the Republican Party would quickly wither on the vine.
Simplicity doesn't mean we forego detailed discussion and nuances. It simply means that you have to utilize a sound bite language to reach tens of millions of people who don't have the time to study every political issue. So while I'll stipulate that I'm oversimplifying, over generalizing, and using sound bites that won't apply to every Republican every time, I do believe that such a language is vital to electoral success. So here it is.
Economics: Conservatives never cut taxes. They always raise middle class taxes while cutting taxes for millionaires. Cons believe in class warfare, private sector communism, corporations over individuals, big govt abuses, welfare for the rich, more debt, hate the middle class.
Health Care: Cons believe that HMO bureaucrats + insurance companies not patients and doctors should be making medical decisions. They support abuses and fraud and oppose nurses, doctors, and people. They put corporations ahead of people.
Education: Cons hate quality education. They bash teachers, short-change students, seek to divert money from students, support dummy downed standardized tests. They are cruel, narrow minded, fiscally irresponsible.
Foreign Policy: Cons are utter failures, can't keep Americans safe, incompetents, put corporations and cronies over American national security. Cons help terrorists, allowed Bin Laden to get away with 9/11, hate our troops, short-change our military. (EVERY Democrat running for Congress needs to play the quote of Bush saying he didn't care about Bin Laden and link the Republican candidate to that quote.)
Social issues: Cons hate freedom, hate choice, hate liberty, hate due process, love the fetus hate the child. They don't believe in personal responsibility or the right of adults to make consenting choices that don't harm others. Cons have poor family values that harm both men and women; their values hurt children; they are immoral and hypocritical; child abuse and spousal abuse occurs almost exclusively in conservative families. On religion they are frauds who preach Satanism and Anti Jesus creeds, they aren't true Christians (or true Jews, etc...), they hate religious freedom, seek to impose, are just like the Taliban and ayatollahs, crazy, fanatical.
Now, I can discuss details with anybody for days on end. But before you get somebody to eat the cereal, they have to read the box. Yum Yum!!!!
Very truly yours,
Big Dave From Queens
I don't know why we should pay any attention to the State of the Union speech. After all, it's just "a goddamned piece of paper."
Subject: Democrat Wimps
The consensus among every Democrat I know, myself included, is not encouraging. To a person, they are viewed as wimps, afraid of their own shadows and incapable of beating the Republicans at anything. What can you do to argue against this perception when Bush launches an illegal war and we have yet to hear any serious impeachment talk? Yes, we're hearing wiretap controversy, but so far it's been nothing but whining about it, with no word on a federal investigation. Then we have the Abramoff scandal, which will implicate damn near every Republican in D.C. Where are the Democrats, who, for the most part have nothing to do with this episode? Why aren't they all over the country, all over the news and everywhere they can get the face time pointing out the corruption on the other side of the aisle? You can bet if the tables were turned, it'd be all over the place.
Then we have the Alito nomination. Kerry has belatedly called for a filibuster, but will it be too late, and is he the only one apparently listening to us? When Democrats cry out against the Supreme Court being packed with ultra-Conservatives and yet do so little to stop the approval process, it rings hollow and hypocritical. The Republicans have handed their collective butts to the Democrats on a platter, but they cower and whimper instead of sticking the fork in. Unless somebody gets tough quick, we might as well kiss the mid-term elections goodbye. If Democrats can't win now, with all the ammo they have, then they will never succeed, and our country will cease to exist as we now know it.
Subject: Demos Are Done For!
I've been a yellow dog Democrat all my life. But what Gore prophesied about five years ago, "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid," is now painful reality.
Never again will I support or vote for anyone in the Democratic party ever again. It has betrayed its core values by its handling of the Alito filibuster--the most critical time in its entire history in living memory! There will be no picking up the pieces if Alito is confirmed. The Rethugs deserve to "nuke" all its pusillanimous opposition and really, really punish this nation for all the evil it has inflicted and will continue to inflict on itself and the rest of the world. The greatest generation followed by its offspring, the baby boomers, who, without question, are THE MOST HATED! Call me traitor or enemy combatant, but bin Laden couldn't have done a better job!
Subject: Alito Confirmation
I have been trying to contact my senators in Illinois to voice my concerns about the Alito confirmation. The website for contacting senators has conveniently been having technical problems this evening. I wonder why? This is very troubling as I am supportive of a filibuster and I want my senators to know how I feel.
[BuzzFlash Note: We just checked, and Obama's site was okay. It's possible the high volume caused a glitch. Keep trying, or phone/fax.]
Subject: Overwhelming and Scary
I don't know where to begin, but, I'll do my best.
With the latest news of Alito and the (hopeful!) filibustering on the part of Senate Democrats, one thing keeps popping into my mind:
The privatization of America. Or, what this "President" calls an "ownership society." This just strikes me as something this crop of Republicans hopes to succeed at doing: Dismantling the safety net, Social Security, public education, federal aid, right to privacy, separation of powers, widening the gap between the haves and have nots ...
I read my own post and wonder if I'm even making sense because I've never been this overwhelmed over all this bad news. I know that as a citizen and a registered voter, I have not only the right but the duty to contact my U.S. Congress people and express my concerns (and more, or, worse). Yet, I've been disheartened by reading the letters in the Mailbag from people who've done just that and been given the runaround by operators who, judging by these letters, are a buffer between these cosseted congress members and citizens who actually live, work, and love, and...oh, hell, SURVIVE, in the REAL WORLD.
I wonder if anyone out there would agree with this: that this White House has engaged in cronyism to purposely muck up agencies (FEMA comes to mind) so they can make their case with the public and say, "See? Government programs just DON'T WORK!"
Oh, God, I hope I'm wrong, and that the opposite is true: that we, the public, will see the cronyism for what it is---a nasty, nasty trick to malign any government agency designed to originally perform humanitarian works.
I've always prided myself as a hopeful, positive person. But, the more I read and hear (on radio shows such as Randi Rhodes' on Air America), the more my hopefulness and positivity takes a metaphorical beating.
Good grief ... this sounds sappy even to ME. And, I POSTED this!
It really seems as if idealism has died. And, to me, THAT is what this crop of Republicans is REALLY trashing. To insinuate that an idealist is stupid (or worse) is so damned insulting that I feel as if defending my idealism (as weak as it sometimes is these days, because I feel as if it's an exercise in futility) is like shoveling manure against the tide.
Thanks for reading. I hope no one's teeth have rotted from this.
[BuzzFlash Note: We can be dutiful citizens, and keep shoveling; idealism doesn't make us stupid. But we do need to steel ourselves against becoming demoralized. By fighting, we do become stronger.]
Here is the letter I FAXed to my senators and John Kerry. I also adjusted the last bit about voting for them and sent it off to Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy and the Alito 8 listed on Democrats.com. I stole the headline from Op-ed News. Cute, huh?
Subject: Sen. R. Byrd ... W. Virginia ... just gave it up to save his job
Grandfatherly old senator Robert Byrd of W. Virginia, just gave in....at 81, he would rather not lose his job...as to make the world better for us all! A local businessman has decided to run against him in the upcoming election.... and T. Johnson of S. Dak....turned, too ... so why get any more ulcers ... we have been beaten by our own. Kerry is still trying ... but, with Ben Nelson, Tim Johnson and R. Byrd ... it ain't gonna be easy!
P S. At Byrd's age and time spent in the government ... wouldn't he have full pension?
CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THE JANUARY 27, 2006 BUZZFLASH MAILBAG
|back to top|