March 9, 2006
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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: The Constitution
Recently a big deal was made about how few people could identify the rights that are guaranteed in the first amendment. Fine.
While that is a great point, can someone point out to me where it says anything about executive orders? I didn't know that the president could make that sort of decision. On March 7th the president issued this:
Executive Order: Responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security with Respect to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
That seems like a strange one. Is he trying to merge the Department of Homeland Security with the Faith-Based Community, which in turn were created by an executive order? Why?
In the wikipedia it says that there isn't anything in the Constitution that allows the President to make any such orders, and that, furthermore, there are no laws on the books in the United States that allow him to make such orders.
If there are so many people who don't know about the first amendment, perhaps it's because the president is so busy creating his own laws with the wave of a magic wand and no oversight, for people to continue to bother to act like they care about what the Constitution has become.
By the way, I did a Google search, and I couldn't find any news outlets that discussed this new order. Correct me if I'm wrong. Either way, Bush so far is the king of the executive order, if you Google Bush/executive order, you will find a staggering array of them, that Bush turned into law without anyone knowing beforehand. One from 2003 allows the government to quarantine people for having SARS. Remember SARS?
[BuzzFlash Note: We wonder if Congress could rein Bush in on this, or if there's too much precedent. Wikipedia also says: "Some orders do have the force of law when made in pursuance of certain Acts of Congress due to those acts giving the President discretionary powers. Other types of executive orders are: national security directives, homeland security presidential directives, and presidential decision directives, both of which deal with national security and defense matters."]
Subject: Scott Ritter on Iran
Scott Ritter was interviewed on CNN (I am in Asia, so Asian edition of CNN ) and stated that the USA is engaging in the same strategy it used to set up the invasion of Iraq: the "threat" of WMD's. Scott further stated that Iran is in compliance with the IAEA, but the USA keeps adding further conditions and inspections, just as it did with Iraq, and thus the Iranian president has some justification in saying that he's being "bullied."
Could it be that Rummy and friends want to move the theater of war next door to Iran, and scoot out of Iraq?
I sure hope not! At least we have no allies on this fraud.
Thanks for all your good work....
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Letter to the South Dakota Gov.
It angers me that the beginning of ending the "right to choose" is happening in the USA. I hope and pray women will vehemently stand up for themselves. It is not like we want to have to have an abortion. I think it would be very difficult and mentally challenging. I do believe in the right to choose due to extenuating circumstances, according to the individual.
Thanks, Irma S., for the link to the governor of South Dakota. I "borrowed" some of your text and added my own.
... I think Gov. Rounds should take in each and every child born to those who didn't want the pregnancy, even the rape victims, and to be responsible for them and raise them. This idea is about as far-fetched as passing an abortion law such as mentioned. Wow, if only men could bear the children, it would be so different. There would be no question as to the validity of making such a law.
Dolores M. Dryden
Subject: The buzzer who wrote of the attack on Iran by Cheney?
Buzz Reader ...
We all feel at times...completely abandoned by the democrats...but I watched something Monday night...that was telling. There was a panel discussing Impeachment on c-span.....it was John Conyers...and John Dean (not Howard, John, the Nixon counsel who wrote the book "Worse than Watergate"...he is really outspoken about Bush and how he has become the worst criminal to ever live in the white house)...I remember Nixon...and Bush is not nearly that good.
Anyway, Conyers told it just like it is. He does not know how they can do it...without an independent counsel...like maybe Patrick Fitzgerald. But, EVERYTHING is republican in DC now....you just watched the very right-wing Supreme Court lay down the law to schools...that they either allow recruiters inside the schools, or they lose their funding money from the government...! If anyone of us needed to know how Alito and Roberts were going to perform....that is a good start. You know what schools the recruiters will go to...the poorest...the state colleges. I have a grandson in University of MO...in Springfield...he is real quiet and sort of a pacifist...if these dimwitted recruiters come in there and have access to him....they will offer him the moon...just exactly like it was in "Fahrenheit 911"...and he will be lost! Conyers said, the fact is...they have no subpoena power...none...so they cannot have any kind of hearings...I am just hoping that all of these who are appearing on my e-mail each night...the different organizations who are calling for impeachment...will stir something up...we have to...this country is going down!
Subject: Anyone surprised that the Exterminator won the primary in Texas??
Dear Buzzers --
I just read this article in today's capitolhillblue.com.
However, I also read that only 17% of Texas voters showed up at the polls yesterday -- and almost all of them were pro-DeLay (as in embedded interests in his success). The "supporters" of his primary rivals simply gave up and stayed home. The fact that an ACCUSED FELON could win this election is really, REALLY scary. If Americans (and I'm talking about voters in other red states, not just Texas here) simply roll over and play dead, what's left of our democracy will die.
I keep having this unwelcome vision of the Repukelicans actually jamming through an amendment to the Constitution (if we still HAVE one by then) allowing Ahhhnold to run for President with DeLay as VP. Just think: the bumper stickers could read "TERMINATOR AND EXTERMINATOR." In the sad state our country has sunken into, it would probably fly. Or at least scurry into dark holes the way cockroaches do. (As you probably know, cockroaches have been predicted to survive long after the human species dies out. That gives DeLay at least 10 million more years to extort and expand his evil schemes.) Since I just gave the Repukes a free bumper sticker suggestion, I'll provide one for the Dems in Texas: how about "PEST CONTROL BEGINS AT HOME"?
Before I close, I want to thank Marie-France Germain for her tribute to my weird sense of humor, which usually (as my junior high school algebra teacher used to say after he made one of his lame jokes)"Well, that went over like a lead balloon." That's how my style goes over here in GA.
A word to Buzz: Again, please DON'T move toward the "middle." The middle ground between extreme right and middle-of-the-road left is essentially...well...NOWHERE.
Barbara Lee (Barb) Blazyk
Subject: Gallup Poll
Despite my lack of confidence in the Democrats fighting against George Bush, I am somewhat albeit very cautiously optimistic about the future, based in part on poll numbers (although I'm quite aware they can change overnight and be easily manipulated) and some interesting behavior exhibited by the Democrats.
It has been a source of much aggravation to watch our Demos seemingly sit on their hands and offer such token resistance to Bush and his horrendous reign. However, we must bear in mind that because we don't have a majority in either the House or Senate, all the fussing and special counsels in the world won't make a damn bit of difference.
Second, the Bush regime is bordering on, if it hasn't already begun, self destruction. The polls tell the tale - even conservative states like Indiana and Texas are showing negative numbers.
This bodes well for the independent swing vote, as they are solidly anti-Bush, although one wonders how anybody could not have a concrete opinion of this maniac.
Democrats on the Hill may very well be privy to information that they are being very tight-lipped about. The Abramoff hearings haven't started, and God hopes they do before the mid-term elections, certain legal proceedings toward impeachment are quietly being conducted, and Republicans are suffering by merely being associated with an imbecile who is trying to be a despot, thus tearing the Republicans apart.
Also, the egomaniacs in D.C. are not going to let one man gain and maintain a horrible imbalance between the Legislative and Executive Branches of government. Judicial is one thing - screwing with Congress is another. It may be a simple plan to keep cool and let the Republicans destroy themselves, and move in quickly to take advantage of a short attention span of the average voter. Another Katrina repeat, which looks likely since the repairs on the New Orleans levees are allegedly half-assed and made with inferior material (typical Republican reaction to a domestic problem) will not help Bush, either.
I hope I'm right and that the Democrats aren't so miserably incompetent they can't regain control from a President and a party that has given them so much to work with. Time will tell.
Subject: South Dakota
So, the really big question is WHY the so-called men of South Dakota are still getting any sex, having meals prepared for them, or any other services in any way, shape or form that women normally provide?
If they want to get violent about it, there are laws to take care of that.
S.D. Governor Signs Abortion Ban Into Law (AP/Yahoo)
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Why I Admire Bill Clinton
CLINTON PRAISE--WITH PLEASURE
GDP--rose from 6300 to11,600
NATIONAL INCOME-5,000 to 8,000 Billion--took 20 years to grow 2500B before Clinton
JOBS CREATED--over 22 million--record by far
AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS--$360 to $478
AVERAGE WEEKLY HOURS WORKED--never hit 35.0--hit that mark 4 times in 80's
UNEMPLOYMENT--from 7.2% down down down to 3.9%
MINIMUM WAGE--$4.25 to $5.15
MINORITIES--did exceedingly well
HOME OWNERSHIP--hit all time high
DEFICIT--290 Billion to whoopee a SURPLUS DEBT----+28%---300% increase over prior 12 years
FEDERAL SPENDING--+28%---80% under Reagan- who da true conservative?
DOW JONES AVERAGE--3,500 to 11,800 all it's history to get to 3500 and Clinton zooms it
NASDAQ--700 to 5,000---all of it's history to get to 700 and Clinton zooms it
VALUES INDEXES-- almost all bad went down--good went up in zoom zoom zoom
FOREIGN AFFAIRS--Peace on Earth good will toward each other---Mark of a true Christian--what has Bush done to Peace on Earth?
POPULARITY---highest poll ratings in history during peacetime in AFRICA, ASIA AND EUROPE even 98.5% in Moscow--left office with highest gallup rating since it was started in 1920's.
STAND UP FOR JUSTICE--evil conservatives spent $110,000,000 on hearings and investigations and caught one very evil man who took a few plane rides to events. Period of shame. Spend $72,000,000 using a 200 acre land purchase as a base for attempting to destroy a government. Conservatives will live with the Black Mark forever.
BOW YOUR HEADS—“Thank you God for sending us a man of Bill Clinton's character, intelligence, knowledge of governance, ability to face up to crises without whimpering, and a great leader of the world. Amen!” THANK YOU GOD FOR THE GOOD TIMES, THE CLINTON YEARS.
Subject: Where We Have Power
I hear lots of bemoaning the failure of our political system to respond to the people. How can a puppet respond to anything other than whoever holds its strings? Our government is as disempowered as are the people because it is corporate-owned. The way to get it back is to weaken the corporations, and we the people have more power economically than we do politically. If we choose to use it (ie general strikes, boycotts, etc.) we will have more influence over the system. Then at least the puppet may be forced to do a different dance, or (gasp!) may get the courage to cut itself loose and come back to the people.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: To Impeach or Not To Impeach
The U.S. Congress has not committed to an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq or Afghanistan. A few members of Congress in the Progressive Caucus are credible anti-war proponents. Even when voting for regime change in Iraq in 1998 during the Clinton Admin., the intention was to allow the U.N. inspections to keep Saddam in check.
People in rural America have lost men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Dallas there are a few people with "Support the Warriors not the War" stickers on their car bumpers, in "Bush Country."
Americans have looked up to a President that looks like a hero by wearing the Navy gear under a sign that says “Mission Accomplished.” Why is the Bush administration “fear message” effective in America to round up American folks every time they stray on their trust in the President? Because American people don't look into the eyes of their President, as Bush said he looked into the eyes of Putin. Americans don't want to be wiretapped in their homes, while the UAE is given a green light to run 6 vital ports of entry into our country. When Bush swaggers in the name of his “Homeland Security” and his “War on Terror,” Americans stand in line to "support the troops."
The intellectual American believes that supporting the troops means bringing the troops home.
If we are able to remove the President and the VP, through impeachment, who then, will run the country? What do we want that leader to stand for? Fighting a smarter war?
President Carter, in a President's Day interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, said we can support the Palestinian people without supporting the terrorists through non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). President Carter also said we must give Hamas a chance. They are disciplined and have not used violent tactics in 18 months against the Israelis.
To impeach the President, we must support a leader who has the creativity and the courage not to swagger before the cameras, but to engage in non-violent dialogue and behavior on the world stage and demonstrate American commitment to non-violence by reducing our Pentagon budget and rebuilding vital social programs destroyed by the Bush administration.
We must elect leaders that are not simply committed to rebuilding Iraq, but rebuilding America, education, job creation, job training, healthcare, social security, environmental security and preserving the environment for future generations and finally, real American freedom, where our President is no longer proud to make a stand on violating privacy and economic security of the American people.
Subject: GOP Priorities
GOP priorities have become increasingly inconsistent with mainstream America. (How far they have fallen away from Lincoln.) From the GOP's failed response to Katrina to the GOP lobbying scandal, the protection of the GOP has become their HIGHEST priority.
We need to start attacking the GOP priorities.
Consider how the GOP has reacted to every scandal and how it follows their hierarchy:
After The GOP is safe from scrutiny (usually by naming the scandal after the Republican involved), the Republican involved is then protected by the official story; which is then protected through denial, deflection, defamation and distortion. Once the GOPmedia is stuck chasing the minutia of the official story, corporate involvement in or benefits from the scandal are easily ignored. Finally, the public will tire of the drama and in the end, the appearance of justice is achieved with a perp-walk and tearful apology by some low-level scapegoat working under the Republican involved.
This tactic is used to protect the GOP's warped ideology and their multitude of scandals.
But notice what's missing.
Education. The environment. The American people. Civil liberties.
And too many more to list and still meet BuzzFlash's 400-word limit.
GOP priorities are simply not American priorities. If we can just focus on the disparity between what the GOP has proven to be their priorities with what Americans consider priorities, only then can we begin to discuss how those priorities are damaging our country.
The GOP believes it is more important than the U.S. Constitution.
Exposing the gross incompetence of the GOP Leadership is more dangerous to the health and security of the American people than ANYTHING else in the whole wide world.
The GOP believes questioning The Word of The GOP is unpatriotic.
The GOP wants to insure that the few who benefit from corporations have more power than the traditional American social programs that serve EVERY AMERICAN.
Lastly, The GOP believes staged martyrdom warrants continued exploitation of the American people.
To answer the question posed by Anita M., "Why is there no progressive TV network?" Anita, we don't need a TV network; WE ARE A NETWORK. Whenever we discuss current events with the GOP-impaired, remind them what the GOP believes is important. And find out if they really agree.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Richardson Wings of Justice Award
I am glad Bill Richardson endorsed paper ballots in New Mexico. For that he certainly should be commended. But, this is only HALF the problem. The Central Tabulators that are used to COUNT those paper ballots have serious flaws and are manufactured by the same companies that make the DRE (electronic) voting machines.
See http://www.equalccw.com/deandemo.html, "The Howard Dean Demo," that was aired live on "Topic A With Tina Brown" CNBC for a full explanation of how easy it is to hack the central tabulators.
Now that paper ballots are in place in New Mexico, the next step is to mandate HAND COUNTING. I urge you and all your readers to support HAND COUNTING and PAPER BALLOTS, which will provide full transparency, auditability, a paper trail and verified recounting.
More information about the central tabulators can be found at The "Who's Counting?" website:
Subject: United Arab Emirates
According to all the news media, i have heard or read, the only questions THE HOUSE OR THE SENATE are asking, is what kind of security the United Arab Emirates is lacking or has? The first question that popped into my head is, I wonder how much $$$$$$$ the Bush and or Cheney families have invested in the United Arab Emirates; like Cheney has in Halliburton: NO-BID CONTRACTS CHEATING THE TAXPAYERS OUT OF BILLIONS. I DO NOT HERE OR READ HARDLY ONE WORD ABOUT EITHER, FROM ANY MEDIA, BAD, BAD??????? Maybe that is why Bush said he would veto any bill against the United Arab Emirates from taking over all those ports. Somebody should look into this idea and report on it, true or not!
Subject: Repug Airheads
I would be ashamed to live in Tommie DeLay's district. People everywhere else in the world, not drinking the airhead repug kool aid, see them as blind sheep unable to think for themselves, hypocrites!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Not a great movie about race relations. It worked hard to perpetuate the race stereotypes that it seemed to be preaching about. I'm sorry, but the character development was poor, and the writing was scattered. Corny, not realistic, not well done.
And if there is one thing that I don't need, it's to be talked to like I'm stupid about racial stereotypes by Hollywood.
Sorry, that movie wasn't good.
Subject: Bush Greets Indian PM With "How, Kemosabe!" (satire/uncoveror.com)
After he called Pakistanis Arabs, how hard is anything else to believe?
Subject: The way the military feel about Bush
I weaseled my way onto a chat room last night that is supposed to have only Military. I was not going to speak...I was there to watch...read what they said, and see if I could get a feel of what they felt about the war in Iraq. I stayed silent...watching...never, ever would I say anything to a person in the Military because I know what they are taught...and how almost wed to the president they are.
One man was being pretty open....saying things that did not sound like he truly believed, he had made some remark about the war...rather than the critical things you usually hear about...Muslims...Arabs....Ragheads...you know what many people who hate them...that have never been in combat...call them. He was not doing that...but made a couple of remarks that made me wonder. I finally asked him what he meant...and he said, It was not what he wanted to do, but he would do it if called by my 'C in C.'...I may be behind, but I had never heard that before. I asked what his 'C in C' was...and he said, Commander In Chief. I understood, then.
As I have said before....having a grandchild who recently went through the training...I remember the jolting things she said, upon her graduation from basic. If I had been in the car alone with her, no one....but, no one would have believed me...we spent two days there....staying the night we got there....after meeting with her, and attending a luncheon that was quite good. The next day was the service...the graduation. There are always things that you see that many would not believe...or hear things that no one would believe...but, they are brainwashed....maybe except for the Henderson boy from Fahrenheit 911, the son of Lila Lipscomb....he doubted it before he went...and took his mom aside that night and told her he was scared. She had always believed strongly in the military for the kids of Flint, Mi....but, when he died....she became very active against the Bush Administration...she finally saw how wrong it was.
Subject: Reclaiming America
You are exactly right...when was Christian America claimed, when was that first time? Never!
America was founded on secularism with separation of church and state. This new reclaiming is phony, just as all of what the neocon-religious right-Christian conservatives reclaim is of their own invention.
They are very vocal in defining and redefining, but that's only because they fill a void created by the silence of the majority. We now need to reclaim America as government by the people, of the people, and for the people...not God..not Christ...not theocracy, but for democracy.
Wake up people...start hollering...because, if we don't, they get it all. It is in one nation under everyone's gods...not just one god...don't let these bastards define who we are...don't let them steal it away. We (all of us) are god...we (all of us) are the USA and don't you forget it! These bastards are totally destructive...they want the Rapture...and my kids don't!
Subject: What Was the Point?
Can someone please explain to me the point of the charade we just witnessed over the last three months, where Democratic members of Congress feigned absolute dismay/bewilderment/outrage that their trust had been abused once again by an over reaching administration, and doggone it--as a result they were gonna rein in this Patriot Act nonsense of which they had abundant examples of abuse!!!
And what did this steely opposition party do; these defenders of constitutional liberties? They rolled once again! Just like every line in the sand ever drawn by current members of the Democratic establishment, it just gets wiped away like it was never there. Like the challenge, "This far and no further" had never been issued.
The Republicans, for their part, know what a feckless bunch of pontificating, vaporous, preeners they are dealing with in the current Democratic Leadership. With a faith stronger than their faith in God and the Lord Jesus, and incidentally with a good deal more proof, Republicans know unequivocally that Democrats will fold.
The question is when rank and file Democrats will learn the same thing and turn these hapless losers out. Time to start handing out the gold watches, with a swift and unceremonious kick in the ass!
We need a new party with new leadership. No one in the current field has distinguished themselves to be a person of principle, courage, and the ability to rally the party and engage in the fight. Simply put, you don't send a capon to a cockfight.
It is clear the current Democratic leadership puts their own comfort, status, and commitment to the status quo above that of their constituents, much less the principles of divided government.
This became painfully clear to me when Paul Wellstone died, and rather than promote someone from the farm team (because the current Democratic Leadership has no interest in building a back bench; might prove a threat to incumbents) we had to reach for a retired has-been in the person of Walter Mondale! Five years later, still no farm team system. Indeed we are confronted with party leadership putting pressure on (potential) candidates like Hackett and Sheehan to drop out, lest they show incumbents up for the stuffed shirts they are.
The primaries are here. If you can't defeat them for re-nomination, refuse to give the party money. With the national party stuck with only $30m on hand, against $210m the Republicans have, the party is desperate for cash, volunteers, etc. I simply refuse to give it to them. I will instead give my money to any upstart Democrat who promises to break with the leadership, and will unflinchingly engage the criminal organization formally known as the RNC.
Remember this simple dictum: When your opponent tells you, "You can't win," Look them straight in the eye and tell them, "Then I have nothing to lose," and bring out the knives.
Make it so bloody for them, that like guerilla warfare, it becomes a war of attrition wherein the aggressor has more to lose than the defender. Will we lose? F*** yeah, but so be it. Let us at least teach our opposition that dirty politics will bring costly, pain-filled retribution.
It is time to dust off your copies of "The Prince," And when it comes to the question of whether it is better to be respected or feared, know that the latter is what ensures the former.
It's time to put the fear of God into Democrats and Republicans alike.
[BuzzFlash Note: These senators voted against renewal: Akaka (D-HI); Bingaman (D-NM); Byrd (D-WV); Feingold (D-WI); Harkin (D-IA); Jeffords (I-VT); Leahy (D-VT); Levin (D-MI); Murray (D-WA); and Wyden (D-OR); Senator Inouye (D-HI) did not vote. In the House, 138 voted against it - two fewer votes than were needed to stop it.]
Dear Buzzers --
I read this book (by Margaret Atwood) years (if not decades) ago. It's bone-chilling -- but I assured myself that it was FICTION and could never become reality, at least not here in America. Well, guess WHAAATTT??? It IS reality, or the neocon/right-wing religious version of it, right here at home these days.
I recommend the book (it's in most libraries and can also be found in many bookstores) to anyone who doubts how close to the end of the road we're coming. What's next? They'll stuff all of us women into burkas and forbid us from working? They'd love to turn us back into child-bearing "factories," decreeing the sanctity of life for the unborn while not giving a sh*t about those who ARE born. The neocon/religious right coalition is rapidly becoming the 21st-century equivalent of Hitler's holocaust.
I'm sure you're all aware of South Dakota's recently passed bill to ban "almost" all abortions. Rape? Incest? You've gotta have the kid anyway. Mental/emotional trauma and the prospect of back-alley abortions aren't threats to the "mother's" life. And we don't know, for sure, whether the 13-year-old incest victim or the victim of rape will actually DIE in childbirth or from a botched abortion or commit suicide -- so force HER to give birth as well. So even the exemption clause for "saving the life of the mother" doesn't REALLY apply.
Putting women in their "places" -- with certain exceptions, of course (e.g., if Condi were to get pregnant by her husb...oops! (actually, she's probably post-menopausal by now), I'm sure she'd be able to fly to some exotic resort for an abortion. As usual, it's the poor who will suffer most from this.
Any society that values a fertilized egg over living, breathing, feeling, sentient human beings is well on its way to realizing the vision of "the future." Well, it was the future when Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid's Tale. Today it's become an ever-encroaching reality.
Great suggestion, Michael. EVERYONE should read this book (though it isn't a "fun" read). It sounds an alarm that we all need to hear before it's too late.
Barbara Lee (Barb) Blazyk
Subject: Abortion bans and other anti-reproductive nonsense
I've had it up to you know where with hypocritical men standing up and railing against abortion and restricting our - men's as well as women's! - autonomy and reproductive rights.
I have on my kitchen bulletin board a picture of President Bush signing the so-called "partial birth abortion" ban. He's surrounded by 6 clapping and grinning congressmen and senators, including Hastert, Hatch, DeWine, the ever sanctimonious Santorum, and 2 other men I don't recognize off hand. Also 6 American flags.
Here's a proposal. Every time a man stands up in public to rail against abortion or to propose or vote for restrictions or bans or to sign legislation he should be asked this question -
"Will you assert right now that you have never been involved in any way with an abortion for a woman in your family or a woman you know - not a girlfriend nor a daughter nor a wife nor a sister nor a niece nor an employee nor a friend. If you refuse to answer this question I will assume your own history is compromised."
I have no confidence that these blowhards will answer honestly. But whenever they lie or refuse to answer, some WOMAN WILL KNOW THE TRUTH!
Maybe, eventually, one of them will be a little embarrassed. Maybe the knowledgeable woman will confront him privately. Maybe if she's alienated and angry enough, maybe one will make a public statement herself. (I'm thinking of the OB-GYN at the FDA, I think it was, who was outspoken about trampling on women's reproductive rights, opposing Plan B and so on. Then from a divorce case it became publicly known that during their marriage he had sodomized his wife against her explicit wishes. He had to resign. Real information exposed the fatal hypocrisy that reams of petitions made no dent in.)
Call them on their trumpeted values.
oh for christ sake! i am sick of hearing how it is inappropriate to criticize bush in a time of war. helloooooooooooooo! i can't think of a more appropriate time! people are getting killed! people should be engaged in this debate! not act like we have a dictator at the helm and we can't speak up!
shorty in memphis
Subject: Pro-birth, Not Pro-life
It seems we very bright liberals have over the past 25 years, from Reagan on, allowed those of Troglodytic ideology to call the shots, semantically speaking. Like the reference, for instance, to the Democrat (a noun) Party, the "L" word (sniggers following), and "Pro-Life." Yep, if you're not Pro-Life, you gotta be Anti-Life. "Pro-Choice" just doesn't quite hack it.
But just consider what hypocritical bunk that godly, soul-wrenching epithet, "Pro-Life," really is. Are any of those saintly Pro-Lifers out there late at night at Dover Air Force Base to show respect and to protest when those flag-draped coffins sneak home from Iraq? Are they clambering against a war that has committed de facto mass murder, with all those collateral child victims of Rummy's cluster bombs? Are they possibly traipsing about the countryside with that shrill Cindy Sheehan as she protests the needless death of her son and of those to follow? Did they storm the White House fence, outraged over the rotting bodies floating about post-Katrina in old New Orleans? Oh, and that minimum-wage business, ungodly stuff that might, just might, a little bit help a struggling family cope - any Pro-Lifers clamoring in support of that Commie concept?
And all the things about the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty that Bush and entourage are rushing to destroy? Quality of water, quality of air, quality of earth and all thereon? Shouldn't our Pro-Lifers be at least a little concerned about preserving our means of existence? Or are they all Rapturistic Armageddonists in pursuit of some divine idiocy? Shades of Reagan's James Watt, the nasty little man who was named as Secretary of the Interior in order to destroy it.
With apologies to Ralph Waldo, maybe some consistencies aren't so foolish. A consistent respect for the real, not the spun, meaning of our language, might go a long way to making all of us truly pro-life well after the baby's born.
Subject: Time To Strike Back at SBC/AT&T/BellSouth
Dear Buzz Readers,
The Titans Of Telecom Face Off (Washington Post)
Your blood not boiling yet? Consider that nearly 10 thousand American workers will lose their jobs in a first round of layoffs on completion of the BellSouth merger. We can hurt these guys! I have been influential in over a dozen complete disconnects from SBC "twisted-pair" service. I long ago switched to Lingo VOIP. You can keep your existing phone number, get cheaper/free long distance and a number of useful high tech features. Most important of all - let SBC know why you are terminating your service. They think they can bribe a few GOP senators and get what they want. It hasn't even occurred to these brainiacs that they need loyal customers to have a business.
Subject: "Doors Don't Slam Open!" - John M. Shanahan
Boy, that smarts! Adding insult to the injuries of the mishandling of Katrina, the Iraq War, and tanking approval ratings, Republicans are using their same old tricks against George and his motley crew to impress their voting electorate, this time by attaching an amendment to kill the Dubai Port deal to a bill that is a “must-pass” for Katrina relief and more funding for Iraq and Afghanistan, “SAVE THE PARTY; SCREW THE PREZ!” Self-interest prevails over loyalty with the 2006 election in sight.
Republicans, at the same time, are trying to steal Senator Schumer’s thunder, since he was the FIRST to oppose Dubai! Schumer’s attachment on blocking the Dubai port measure was attached to the lobbying reform bill. Repugs can’t let that happen so a Senate standstill is temporarily in the works!
The “law” of public sentiment may mean more “rats” will desert the ship, with ENLIGHTENED self-interest, as we get closer to 2006. This may be only the beginning of doors slammed in George’s face.
Subject: Rove's Counterpart on the Left, or the Law of Exact Opposites
What has happened in this country is that an elite minority has taken power. What is 'left' of them is the rest of the country, made up of an extremely diverse populace.
This elite carved out the center, the middle and the balance point in their ingenious framing of reality, dividing us with bigotry and adversity and nearly conquering us. When you want to annihilate something, you need to match it with its Exact Opposite. I use this strong word because this law of physics also applies to behavior.
What this country needs is to match the power and the methods of Karl Rove; we need a crack team of aggressive, ingenious, brave and focused individuals with numbers, facts, laws, dates, times always at the tip of their tongue, as well as someone savvy in knowledge of media and human behavior and advanced progressive psychology. This team needs a spokesperson, someone who will respond quickly and precisely to the movements of this administration, without becoming muddled in intellectual jargon, using phrases with powerful imagery, and most importantly someone with a good sense of humor and a set of brass balls (inner or outer).
The challenge to us at this pivotal time in history is to find a way to quickly unify a diverse populace. We do not have time to educate everyone and explain economics, foreign policy or American History. We have more than enough cold hard facts and discrepancies, all caught on tape, which quickly speak volumes to anyone, even if they are in a hurry between working their 3 jobs. This crack team needs to study the methods of Karl Rove and have a strategy to stand up for every single falsity and illusion and distraction, as well as any unknown methods they may have up their sleeves.
This is hardball folks, and we are playing for the Constitution and Bill Of Rights, as well as the solvency of the country as we know it.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Boycotting 'terrorism'
I am afraid that whatever law the GOP comes up with to deal with the Secret Carlyle Port Trade will be designed to hurt Latin American countries, specifically Venezuela.
Aren't Venezuelan oil companies nationalized? Weren't they nationalized so that the people can keep the profits for their own country's infrastructure as opposed to sending them overseas to fatten some global multi-national corporation?
And aren't other impoverished Latin American countries following Venezuela's lead?
I don't trust Republicans to do anything fair.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Various Things
Mr. DuRocher has my admiration and respect. I, too, am saddened at his giving up the symbols of his military service. I, too, am ashamed of what our country has become under the Bush regime. I thank him for letting us read his letter, because Mr. Bush probably never will. Bush deserves impeachment, and sooner rather than later.
I see on BuzzFlash and elsewhere that Congress is considering a bill to override state laws about food labeling, if the states' labeling requirements are more stringent than the federal government's. This confuses me; I thought all these Republican rightwingers were rabid states'-rights promoters?! Don't the states have the right to their own laws?
Oh, wait - I forgot. These are the REPUBLICANS, The neo-Confederates. The radical neo-conservatives. They don't have any real principles. "States' Rights" is only a formula they trot out when it's politically convenient.
Sorry, Buzz. I must have been having a senior moment; I'm 54 years old, after all. Can't be expected to remember EVERYTHING.
Subject: Bush Failures Website
Over the past several months, a number of other BFers have asked if there are any websites or central sources documenting the Bush Follies. I, too, have wondered about this.
I was made aware of this website that does provide this information and I would like to share it with other BFers.
The site is OneThousandReasons. Here is the URL for the site:
The struggle continues!
Subject: The line-itme veto for George W. Bush? Honey, they’re shrinking our democracy
In another chilling grab for more power, the Bush Administration is asking Congress for a line-item veto. It is hard to imagine a more dangerous outcome, giving a power-hungry Administration the ability to legislate directly from the Oval Office.
This move is another example of an alarming trend toward changing the rules so that the democratic process is inhibited, with the Administration unilaterally enacting illegal policies (e.g., to conduct a secret wiretapping operation) or the Republicans in Congress abusing their majority position to silence the minority, another major facet of this attack on democracy.
In this context, it is extremely important that the public realizes the danger to democracy inherent in a line-item veto. This measure, whether at the state level or the federal level, allows the executive to rewrite legislation by inserting their own budgetary agenda in the face of the democratically enacted budget. The present Administration undoubtedly wants this power to drastically slash the remaining crumbs of social spending, increase subsidies to favored campaign contributors, and build up the military.
At a time when Bush’s popularity is at an all time low (around 34% to 38%) due to low creditability, mismanagement (as exemplified by Katrina and Iraq), and abuse of power; it is striking to see Bush go on the offensive to gain even greater power via the line-item veto. It is vital that progressives articulate their opposition quickly, before this bid for autocracy gains any momentum.
In the years of the Bush Administration and the Republican dominance of both houses of congress, we have seen a significant increase in both executive powers and the power of the dominant party. Both the Administration and Republican loyalists shamelessly change the rules to increase their domination of the legislative process and, in other words, democracy itself.
The media and the Democrats have been fairly mute on the inroads on democratic process while the Republicans have worked to create one-party domination. While the media has voiced occasional comment on these abuses, there is a lack of consistency in their monitoring of this situation. A refreshing exception was the March 6th New York Times editorial that noted, “President Bush ignores the Constitution and the laws of the land, and the cowardly, rigidly partisan majority in Congress helps him out by rewriting the laws he’s broken.”
For example, the Times cites the legislation written in response to the 2004 court ruling that detention camps fall under the laws of the land. In addition, they note the recent response to wiretapping is along the same lines, as are the merely cosmetic changes to the Patriot Act.
Even less visible have been the Republican-imposed changes to longstanding congressional rules, now modified to obliterate the voice of the minority Democrats. For many decades, the majority party in Congress was prevented by deeply-rooted procedures from wielding absolute power. The minority party could always offer amendments to legislation; conflicts between House and Senate versions of a bill were resolved by conference committees that included both parties; legislation required hearings and deliberation before votes were held.
But under the leadership of Speaker Dennis Hastert and former Whip Tom DeLay, such democratic niceties have been tossed overboard. First, they decided to declare 85% of House bills in 2004 to be “emergency” legislation that could not be amended, according to the Boston Globe. Thus, Republicans no longer have to face embarrassing questions about why they voted to give contracts to corporations chartered in offshore tax havens.
Second, Republicans simplified the work of conference committees (until very recently) by simply eliminating Democrats from them (or by admitting only pro-corporate Democrats like Sens. Max Baucus and. John Breaux). The net result is that bills often emerge from conference committees with an even stronger pro-corporate slant. For example, one conference committee produced a watered-down bill on concentration of media-ownership that had been already been rejected by both houses.
Third, the once-hallowed process of holding hearings and conducting serious deliberation on major legislation has been similarly jettisoned. Sometimes conference committees are the vehicle for bypassing the committee hearing process; other times, Republican leaders simply rush legislation to the floor.
Perhaps the most galling example of how the new regime of one-party Republican rule operates was the enactment of the now-notorious Medicare Part D drug benefit. With drug company lobbyists overseeing key sections of the bill in a closed-door conference committee session, the legislation defied the clear wishes of many House Reopublicans. As Robert Kuttner noted in American Prospect, “A majority of House members were sympathetic to amendments allowing drug imports from Canada and empowering the federal government to negotiate wholesale drug prices. But by prohibiting floor amendments, DeLay made sure that the bill passed as written by the leadership, and that members were spared the embarrassment (or accountability) of voting against amendments popular with constituents.”
The final product was a bill of more than 1,000 pages—much of it originating with the conference committee—that members had one day to study. With some Republicans seeking provisions for government-negotiated prices and Canadian imports and other GOP members worrying about the final price-tag (it turned out that a top official had been intimidated into silence on a secret estimate of $100 billion more), DeLay and Hastert were forced to pull out all the stops to win the vote. In the wee hours of Nov. 22, 2003, the Republican leaders kept extending the normal 15-minute voting period until they could round up enough votes. By threatening the loss of committee assignments and wielding promises of increased campaign funding, the leadership finally had lined up a bare majority after a record three hours, at which point the vote was immediately held.
The Medicare drug bill exemplifies how one-party rule distorts virtually every policy initiative—tax breaks, under-pricing of oil leases on public land, de-regulation of mining safety, to name a few—so that it is transparently skewed to benefit the wealthiest 1% and other Republican donors. But fed by these tax breaks for the hyper-wealthy and unprecedented military spending of $462.7 billion sought for fiscal 2007 (not including Iraq and Afghanistan!), the US is facing ever-mounting deficits as far as the eye can see.
Now under pressure from even Republicans to finally show some semblance of “fiscal discipline,” President George W. Bush wants the line-item veto to “ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.” Based on his past record, it is safe to predict that Bush’s veto pen will never touch tax cuts for those least in need of them nor the self-perpetuating war against “terror” in Iraq. Bush will continue to concentrate his cuts on programs like special education and commodity food programs that serve 420,000 elderly each month, as proposed in his new budget.
Progressives, must wake up and recognize the multi-faceted Republican threat to democracy, as Sen. Harry Reid has. Most urgently, we must concentrate our efforts on preventing Bush from obtaining the line-item veto, an autocratic new weapon of mass destruction aimed squarely at programs for our most vulnerable citizens.
Roger Bybee and Carolyn Winter
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