February 28, 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.
[BuzzFlash Note: Many of today's letters reference our editorial, There is No Choice "C" in the Battle to Restore Democracy to America, and our Saturday email alert. Thanks for your very positive response.]
Subject: Rove, on What the Dems Are Going To Do
In the Drudge Report ... we find Rove predicting the winner of the Democratic Primary for President. I want to point out that that's more or less what they did last time. It was in the GOP's interest to end up with Kerry, a complicated, sort of wishy washy intellectual, who deflected the direct approach Dean was willing and able to take--namely, it's about the f**king war, stupid. The media joined the manipulation with the "Dean Scream" thing, which sunk him in a week. People who are as savvy as Jim Rome still use that scream as a joke (whether Rome is a shill isn't clear to me, since he frequently takes very solid positions on political issues that creep into sports). Rove also talks in the Drudge article about how things look positive in '06, when they look far from positive, to me, at least. What I'm saying is the Drudge Report is setting the stage for the media meme, and underneath things, the computer voting machines are being calibrated, and the Democratic primary is being adjusted so that Hillary Clinton, a weak general election candidate, will win. We have go to get ahold of this somehow.
Hillary will run for White House, says Bush adviser (news.telegraph)
[BuzzFlash Note: We have to agree with you. So, who's your pick for best/worst Republican candidate that would be sure to lose in the general election?]
Subject: John McCain
Think this little theory through. Everyone has noticed that John McCain has been buddying up with Bush an awful lot in the last year or so. Why? Well, this is just a thought I had. Say in September it looks like the House and Senate are going to be lost by the Republicans. Knowing that the minute the Democrats take control, Articles of Impeachment of both Bush and Cheney will be introduced and in all likelihood succeed, even through the trial in the Senate. Knowing this, the Republicans need a safety valve. If both Bush and Cheney are impeached, the Speaker of the House, who would be a Democrat would have to take over as President and he would appoint a Vice President. No way will the Republicans let this happen.
So in my theory I see it this way. If, again in September it looks like the Democrats will succeed in taking over both the House and Senate, Cheney will resign for health reasons. Bush will appoint McCain as Vice President. That way only Bush will resign or be impeached, leaving the Republicans in the White House and with a candidate who will have two years experience before the next election. This is one way to make McCain the popular candidate and to pick, as the Republicans hope, the next President. Just a thought.
Subject: Fighting Back
Your editorial "There is No Choice "C" in the Battle to Restore Democracy to America" hits a raw spot with some (not me) but perhaps not for the reasons you think. Some context and amplification is needed.
A person's politics is a reflection of their values. When a person doesn't vote or doesn't stand up to extremist political philosophies that are beyond the bounds of human decency and common sense reality (communism, fascism, religious fundamentalism, nazism, and right-wing conservatism), that person is saying something about what kind of person he or she is.
The people who criticize those of us (including progressives, liberals, moderates, and reasonable conservatives) who have the moral backbone to stand up to the evil fascism that is today's Republican Party are simply people who feel tremendous guilt for allowing evil monsters like George W Bush to rise to power. Rather than acknowledge their own inner guilt and low self-esteem, the first reaction of these individuals is to criticize the strong voices who speak out against evil.
These critics prefer the path of least resistance and while they are good hearted in nature, their naivety and guilt trump their reason. These are the kinds of people who believe that if you give the schoolyard bully a quarter of your lunch money, then the bully will stop demanding your lunch money. But when somebody finally comes along and tells the bully that you can't have my lunch money and puts the bully in his proper place, these same people are mad at themselves for not having the inner strength to stand up to the bully. Indeed, compromise, moderation, and kindness are noble virtues, but a sagacious, strong-backboned person understands when compromise is possible and when a line in the sand must be drawn.
In an ideal and free America, political debate would be perpetually dominated by progressives, liberals, moderates, and reasonable conservatives. And in that climate we would have our honest principled differences but at the end of the day compromise would be the norm and shrillness would be unnecessary. A truly fair and balanced round table might include a Noam Chomsky, an Al Sharpton, a Barbara Boxer, a Bill Clinton, a John Danforth, and a John McCain but we don't live in that world yet.
But that's the kind of world the critics of strong voices desire. But if they want to see that world become reality, they're going to have to conquer their own inner demons and strongly support those of us who stand up to the evil right-wing bullies who are ruining America. For progressives, liberals, moderates, and reasonable conservatives make up 80% of America; and we must stand together and put the Bill O'Reillys, Ann Coulters, Rush Limbaughs, Sean Hannitys, George Bushes, and Richard Cheneys on the permanent ash heap of history, where they rightfully belong.
Big Dave From Queens
Subject: Viktor Bout, Lord of War, Enter Stage Right
On top of everything else (UAE ties to terrorism, OBL, narcotics and weapons trafficking, etc., etc.) THE warlord himself, Viktor Bout (played by Nicholas Cage in "The Lord of War") now makes an appearance:
[BuzzFlash Note: So, besides terrorists, supplied with guns by guys like Viktor Bout, we need to wonder if having Dubai Ports run our ports might help bring Afghan opium into the US?]
I love BuzzFlash. Got hooked on you on the run up to the Iraq invasion. You were spot on in your coverage. But I do agree a bit with those who complain about recent "shrillness." I believe in kicking ass but NOT talking trash. Do not want to be dragged into the cess pool with Ann Coulter. Stand and fight; but preach it from the mountaintop NOT the gutter. We do not want to BECOME the thing we most despise.
Subject: They Are Not Nice People
If one more weak-kneed, lily-livered, apologist says that the Conservatives are nice people I think my head will explode. They just happen to be “nice” people who want to tear down everything that this country has ever stood for.
How nice is it to think that we have the right to hold people at Guantanamo Bay without charges or trial for years? “Oh but they are bad people,” the people who defend this policy say. If there hasn’t been a trial how do we know? If we are unable to charge them what is the excuse for holding them? Then why have laws?
Then we get the lame excuse that some of the people who have been released have gone back to the Middle East and are now fighting against us. Ya think? If they were held for years when they had done nothing to deserve it do you think they might be just a tad annoyed? Think that even if they didn’t hate the United States before, they just might hate us now?
Nice people don’t think they have the right to force other people to follow their belief system. Pro-life people are not nice people. They are arrogant fanatics who want to make the rest of us do what they think is right. This is not a nice bunch. They are nasty hypocrites. Don’t tell us they are nice people but …
Good people don’t decide that they would rather be safe than free. They don’t decide to cower in fear while the freedoms that generations have fought and died for are discarded. These scaredy cats bring shame to their country. Don’t tell me they are nice people.
Sometimes we, as Liberals, are just too willing to see both sides of every situation. We, because we are willing to live and let live, just don’t seem to fully understand that these people aren’t willing to reciprocate. They are not nice people who just think differently than we do. They are people who would force us to follow their beliefs. Stop toadying to these people. Whatever else they maybe, it ain’t nice.
Marjorie L. Swanson
Subject: Choice D: Show some class
I don't think anyone's upset that BuzzFlash is too angry or cynical. The real issue is this:
We need to sound confident, not whiny. We have the facts on our side. We have the outrage and the people on our side. We could build a media infrastructure to topple the right-wing-dominated message machine.
It's not "deserting the fight for democracy" to ask for college-educated prose -- after all, aren't we standing up to the forces of ignorance and illiteracy?
Let's show some class, show some professionalism, punctuate properly, make it EASY TO READ -- for God's sake, what's with all the all-first-caps headlines going on for paragraphs? It doesn't help the cause to come off as insecure. Your defensive rants sound more whiny than tough, although I admire what you're trying to do.
Let's hit harder and smarter. If you look back at BuzzFlash in 2000, it came across much more respectable.
I want to see a BuzzFlash that's just as furious, just as uncompromising, but with professional writing standards and better-quality rants. Less is more. Sometimes the headlines rave on and on without clearly telling us what the story is.
Be angry, yes -- but do it with professional standards. This is our chance.
Longtime Buzz fan
Subject: Choice C
Well. you know how it is, mostly---you gotta keep drawing a line in the sand for people during these battles. Don't change one damn thing you do, because you are so very right in your rationale about fighting the Sh**heads.
I keep turning people on to Buzz, and have been doing so since you first appeared on the horizon. You guys are truly the proverbial Bees Knees.
Subject: The Novel That Shocked a Nation
On the centennial of the publication of "The Jungle," Upton Sinclair's world-changing novel, Anthony Arthur's adaptation (Book Review Section, Sunday's L.A. Times) of the after word to his book, "Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair," suggests to this reader that the famous muckraker knew from the start that his novel about the Chicago stockyards had the wake-up potential to actually change the world. The big move in that direction was to be the abolition of wage-slavery. This accomplishment, Sinclair believed, would be the equivalent to the ending of chattel slavery, the immediate after-effects of which had to be as much a part of his life then as, say, the Vietnam war is to one's life today. Sinclair must have sensed the wake-up-the-masses potential of a story in which the truth about what goes on in the Chicago stockyards is the setting for a "personal tragedy brought about by the excesses of capitalism -- and of redemption through socialism, which for Sinclair was the religion of humanity." Author Arthur describes Sinclair, while he was writing his masterpiece, as "incessantly" and "with tears and anguish, pouring into the pages all that pain that life had meant to me. Externally the story had to do with a family of stockyard workers, but internally it was the story of my own family," which, according to Arthur, had tasted much poverty, hunger and illness during their lives.
And Sinclair's instincts proved correct as two years after "The Jungle" was published, an aroused public forced Congress to pass the landmark Pure Food and Drug Act. This, despite President Teddy Roosevelt's best shot on behalf of the powers that be to demonize Sinclair, as in T.R.'s famous muckraker's are meddlers speech, in which he said that the man "who in this life consistently refuses to see aught that is lofty, and fixes his eyes with solemn intentness only on that which is vile and debasing" is not merely misguided but "speedily becomes, not a help to society, not an incitement to good, but one of the most potent forces of evil."
Do Teddy-boy's words remind anyone of a certain modern day cowboy wannabe? So is there anything from the life of Upton Sinclair that might be useful to us today as we continue towards his/our goal? One lesson might be that the smashing of one chain, be it chattel slavery, wage-slavery, whatever slavery, won't do it for everyone. Besides, our past advances invariably turn out to be, at best, both temporary and incomplete, courtesy of the powers-that-be, of course, who perpetually make war upon the people.
What kind of war? Well, to mention a few, there are wars of conquest (i.e., the colonization of America), religious wars, class wars, wars against women, gays and lesbians, wars against sex, not to mention the ideological wars. Some of these wars are bloody, others kill more slowly, a little bit at a time. But no matter what type of war, invariably the outcome is the same. The powers that be win and we the people lose.
How to turn this around? We change the world, that's how. Upton Sinclair's sure to be with us. His presence will be felt.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Not Too Cynical and Too Harsh on Bushevism!
While I believe it important to stay on the facts with respect to criticizing the administration & its policies, I enjoy the edginess of your reports. I receive a number of progressive links & newsletters & I see no problem with you injecting BuzzFlash with a little healthy cynicism. I agree that much is at stake in the country today. Bush & Company's runaway train needs to be derailed as soon as possible. Its secrecy & deceptions NEED TO BE EXPOSED for what they are. The United States must return to its former position as a beacon of freedom, democracy & leadership. Cronyism & corporate control of our government must end. Rule by fear & threat of terror must be turned against its perpetrators.
Don't give up the fight!
I'd be happy to purchase a hat, bag or tee shirt (if you had one) etc. but descriptions seem to lack the proper credential - 'union made in USA'.
Subject: No Choice C
Don't worry about those who can't see the forest for the trees. The honest editorials paint a picture that is so foreign to how people (all over the world as well as in the US) conceive of democratic America that they can't face the full truth of the situation.
My hope is that, not only will many see the full truth, but be busily working out a plan for bringing us back to "normal." Your editorials help inform and then perhaps inspire ordinary people to press those with power (like democratic (notice small d) lawmakers and office holders in general) to act before it is too late. I am waiting for leadership to channel my concern into effective action. Even if we haven't reached a stage in which we cannot turn back to our traditional democratic values ... it is already a stage TOO FAR from our ideals. It is time to take steps to turn back.
I always wonder about average Germans ... when they realized the Nazis were too strong to stop. How could they face their inaction up to that time? What could they have done that they did not? What did they do that was effective? Ineffective? What can we do that is effective now?
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: C Choice and Too Shrill and It's Not Nice
I couldn't agree with you more. Remember the song by Judy Collins, "... it isn't nice to block the doorway, it isn't nice to go to jail"? where would the civil rights movement have been without resistance and action?
This is ridiculous. We should self-censor ourselves and pretend what's happening isn't happening just because some people might get upset? Absurd!!! Some people have already given up on democracy and aren't willing to fight for it.
If something is wrong, then it's wrong, and I'm not going to look the other way and pretend it didn't happen.
Subject: Your disgruntled readers have a point
Subject: South Dakota Silver Lining?
The pending abortion ban in South Dakota could have a political silver lining.
Republican success on many issues is attributable to a strategy of stealth, deceit, or incrementalism (or a combination of these). When they try to accomplish a goal in one fell swoop, the public sees what they're really about and whatever the goal is, it typically isn't met.
A full-on assault against Roe should be the last thing they want. The ideal situation for the republican party is for Roe to remain the law of the land, with incremental restrictions along the way that make Roe largely meaningless. This way, they get to have their cake and eat it, too: Abortion would be unavailable for most women, but they'd still have Roe to rally their masses.
What happens if Roe is overturned? As an article in Slate put it some months back, it would turn an angry mobilized base into a bunch of happy campers. (Sorry, I couldn't find the article to provide a link.) At the same time, the majority of Americans who support abortion rights would be awakened to the truth of the republican agenda.
Subject: Constitution and our democracy sentenced to death by lethal injection
Dear Buzzers --
Two thoughts (and outrages) collided in my mind tonight [2/27] as I continued to catch up on my reading of progressive websites. In preface -- and I realize that this is one of the "asides" for which I'm famous: First, I am -- without exception -- opposed to the death penalty for individuals (frankly, I believe that life in prison without parole and without "frills" -- simple food, no TV, no computer access, and a carefully selected "library" filled with books that encourage self-reflection/meditation. Also, visits from spiritual/religious/secular counselors would be permitted) who perpetrate heinous crimes should be encouraged. But no "life sentences" that end in parole after 15 or 20 years. No wonder so many Americans support the death penalty: i.e., if they know, as most do, that a "life sentence" doesn't mean what it's SUPPOSED to mean, of course they'll demand "permanent" punishment. Maybe, for one week each month, we should place the most egregious offenders in solitary confinement, with whatever books that are approved for them to read (including the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, etc.).
After all, it worked for Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), as the last female child in a huge family -- no birth control back then, and now WE seem to be headed in that direction -- was "given" to the convent and literally cemented inside her cell, from which she ended up composing some of the most glorious music I've ever heard. No, not all of OUR criminals serving REAL life sentences (but not executed) will achieve those heights! (Sorry, this is a longer digression than I usually commit.) But I'm serious.
Back to my topic. The lethal "cocktail" that's killing what's left of our Constitution and our democracy is (drug #1) arrogance; (drug #2) lust for power; and (drug #3) the money that (they THINK) gives them the power to strip the rest of us of our rights and freedoms.
This, in essence, IS the death penalty for the entity -- our country -- least deserving of the sentence. As I said above, I oppose the imposition of the death penalty on ANYONE. Seeing it applied to our Constitution and our democracy (even as the neocons claim to be spreading "demockracy" on a global basis -- yeah, just tell that to the Iraqis) being executed while the neocons, their puppets, and the well-satisfied super-rich who contribute and question nothing, disgusts me even more.
Barbara Lee (Barb) Blazyk
Subject: Counting on a Short Attention Span
It would appear that the Republican plan for allowing the UAE to take over not 6, but actually 21 of our ports is to make it go away until all us silly folks forget about it.
They are counting on the short attention span of the majority of Americans. They can make this go away just by slipping it under the radar and hoping we'll all forget about it.
If that isn’t quite enough they can keep up the barrage of accusations that we only oppose the deal because we are racists. We just hate Arabs. If it was a Dutch Company or whatever we wouldn’t care. Bull! No American port should be in the hands of another country. None.
Whatever happened to the people who could do anything? Can’t we do anything for ourselves? Have we be come so incompetent that we can’t even run our own ports? With our short attention span and our incompetence maybe they will be able to confuse and distract us.
I’m betting they’re wrong this time. I’m betting that Americans have heard enough “spin” over the last five years to know when they are being sold out once again. I believe Americans will finally say "enough." We have had enough of our birthright and enough of our country being sold. And when the Republicans begin to sell out to this administration, as they have done so many times before, it’s time to vote for a congress that works for the people, not the corporations.
Marjorie L. Swanson
CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THE FEBRUARY 28, 2006 BUZZFLASH MAILBAG
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