March 15, 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 Lackluster Democrats
I feel betrayed. Senator Russ Feingold proposed censure of George W. Bush on the senate floor yesterday and no one backed him up. We finally get someone who is willing to go up against this republican machine and the rest of the dems are too afraid of bad publicity to stick their necks out. Even the republicans know it's the right thing to do, but they aren't going to get themselves in trouble with the King George. I mean really--what the hell is it going to take to get this guy? I thought Harry Reid had a backbone when he called for the closed door session earlier, but evidently the president and his gang of crooks haven't caused enough damage to our country for him to do it again. If I were there, I would be in their faces every day. I would not care how much the press ridiculed me. My hat goes off to Russ Feingold. He seems to be the only democrat with a spine and a conscience, and in my estimation, he is a TRUE patriot.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Dear Senator Clinton
I wanted to reply to your recent request on behalf of the DSCC for contributions. Ms. Clinton, for the most part I respect your work, and your husband's work before you. I also realize the necessity of electoral strength for the advancement of true equity and progress in this country. Ms. Clinton, this electoral cycle is about much more than short term, "whatever it takes" gains in Congress.
This year’s elections are going to be a referendum on the character of this country, and the very nature of our democracy. I myself am in no position to simplistically berate a dedicated public official such as yourself over issues of an incredibly complex nature; however, I can say that in the world in which I live, at some point, one stands up for what is right, not what is expedient, tactically indicated, or even ‘smart.’ We have long since passed that point in this country, and therefore my energy and money are going to be almost exclusively devoted to those candidates, at whatever level, who show in their behavior the awareness of how incredibly f***ed up this country is at this point in time.
Words won’t cut it, and neither will plays to the middle, homogenized appeals to some mysterious, ethereal ‘real’ America that exists only in the minds of those who never leave the D.C. area. I am very aware of your tireless efforts on behalf of your Senatorial constituency, and your resulting incredible popularity in all parts of New York State; I ask you, then, why is this awareness left at the coat check in Washington, DC?
Again, I do not presume to fully grasp the intricacies of our current political situation; while I attempt to stay relatively well informed, it is axiomatic that one must live politics in order to truly “know” it. But I know people, and I have to say that the public and professional performance of many, if not most, of the Democratic Senators and Representatives is dismaying at best, and disgusting at worst. We need to win, yes, but more than anything else, we need to show some character and courage. I am no tactician (the Democrats have no strategists [!]), but, in my humble opinion, a considered, thoughtful show of strength, regardless of outcome, is far, far preferable to short-term gains at the expense of this nation’s soul. Yes, soul. And, in the end, the result of backing character, quality, and strength will truly be a strategically winning move for the long-term health of our party, and our nation.
I’m just a shlub, an inveterate block-walker, former precinct organizer, county conventioneer, and small-time donor to the DNC and Progressive Majority. You know the drill. I care, Ms. Clinton, as I know you do; I care, perhaps too much, and that is exactly why I cannot support elected representatives that refuse - refuse - to take a stand, regardless of the consequences.
The polls support it, this administration is imploding, yet my party’s representatives cower like beaten dogs. I’m sorry; no, I will not be giving to the DSCC, or the Rahm Emanuel directed DCCC. I understand winning. I also understand losing, and that is what I see emerging this election cycle for the Democratic Party: losers. And that’s a shame, because the quality which distinguishes a winner is not an ineffable condition, or a matter of birthright; it is what you do, and how you do it. How I would love to see my party’s leadership realizing this, in mind, and in action.
Subject: A Country in Need ...
Let me be honest with you, I only vote for Democrats because the alternative is, well, stupid. Don't get me wrong, though, some of the Dems possess just slightly more brain cells then the ding-a-lings of the goose stepping persuasion. Take this censure motion by Russ Feingold. At the present moment Russ is the closest thing to a Democrat that I can stomach right now, but the idea that you're going to get any type of censure motion passed in the barbarian controlled Senate is flippin nuts! Even when it has become readily apparent to anyone with eyeballs that Bush is a conservative-in-name only, the cons still love him. They will support him long after he mounts Condi on the podium during the state of the union, and they'll still over shine that spot on their car where they put their ass-lickin Bush sticker.
But the problem isn't that Feingold is a do-do, the problem is the Democrats that condemn him. The Repubs win with guys like Bush because believe it or not in the ears of the American people they talk a better game than the Dems. The average American can't even spell "censure," no less have any idea what it is, but that doesn't mean that the truth underlying the proposition can go unspoken without notice. The American people want to hear a firm position. Dems attacking Feingold is yet another clear failure that should have been a major victory. A strong liberal Dem stands up and the capitulators put their tail between their legs, wet their pants and bark at the smart dog. They did the same thing to Murtha.
I got news for those Dems that "expect" support from the American people, you're not going to get our votes by default. Just because the Repubs are destroying this country doesn't mean that the average Joe is going to give the Dems the same opportunity. We're not going to sit around and wait for you to grow a backbone. The Dems are only going to get so many chances to look like pussies before they're equated with cowardice. In the minds of many, that threshold has already been surpassed.
Let's face the scary proposition that it is looking more and more like the Repubs are going to be the ones running this country for the foreseeable future DESPITE their massive failures. The reason is clear. Dems have not offered a concise and opposing voice to those presently bankrupting our country. The American people know it, but they also believe that they have nowhere else to turn, and at the moment, they may be right.
So what can we do? Besides getting involved and supporting Liberal candidates wherever they may be, my advice is to give the next Democratic politician walking down the street a swift kick in the ass to show him exactly what this country needs.
The Indy Voice
Subject: Terrorist Alert on the Weekend of 3/9 and 3/10/06
Someone please tell me if there was a terrorist alert...by the administration...the target was supposed to be Sports Venues. However...later they said it would not involve basketball....I am sure I heard this...someone please tell me if they heard it. The next question is how do they know what kind of venues they will even hit...much less the different kinds of sports....thank you..anyone.
Shirley ... St. Louis, MO
[BuzzFlash Note: According to the Associated Press, a threat was posted online but it wasn't corroborated (FBI issues vague March Madness terror alert). Later, CBS criticized ABC for having given the story considerable play. The Homeland Security website doesn't mention the story.]
Subject: What exactly is it with the Democrats? A brain parasite?
John D. Ryan
Subject: FISA Violations
I email my senators from time to time with concerns, more Snowe than Collins. I was going to ask her to investigate FISA violations thoroughly, but ended up writing, since you voted for Alito I know you'll pass. You are useless. She has written me 3 letters over that one email. Today, she writes, "Ultimately, I do believe that we need to reaffirm the checks and balances that are essential to the functioning of our government." Does that sound like she thinks govt. is working?
I saw a picture of her when the committee decided to watch Bush break the law...she looked miserable. Usually, she looks happy and serene. I think some folks are being threatened. There was a letter from Harry Reid over the weekend on I think Firedoglake, "When I investigated organized crime in gambling, I was harassed by the FBI and mobsters. Bomb in my family car." Instead of endlessly going on about lazy MSM and sorry republicans, I think we should entertain the idea that since 1999, we've been taken over. No mention of voter fraud from the democrats? Think about it. It would be to their advantage to keep it alive, since things always work out for repub. win. Why would they avoid the loss of democracy?
Thanks for all you do.
Subject: Senator Feingold Going It Alone in Censoring Our President
What's all the fuss about? This merely proves for the umpty-umpth time that our senators and representatives (with rare exceptions) not only can't be trusted, but that they're in our way. So step aside, politicos. We the people are about to change the world.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Joe Scarborough
Talk show "host" and former rethug Congressman from Florida, Joe Scarborough, embarrassed about being a rethug?
Gosh, if I were him, I'd be embarrassed about the whitewash investigation of his aide, Lori Klausutis', death in his Ft. Walton, Florida office in 2003 of (at first) a fractured skull and (later changed to) heart failure. Nothing fishy there, unlike Demo Gary Condit's aide, Chandra Levy, disappearing and later found dead.
Corporate Mediawhore Justice: Condit got big-time investigated with top billing by the MSM and alleged implication "because he didn't come clean with the prosecution" in her murder until 9/11 came along ... while Scarborough left Congress and got a talk show.
Subject: It's Time To Set a Legal Precedent
There’s no longer any way around it: George W. Bush must go to prison.
So must Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld and the whole sociopathic, vicious gang.
Impeachment, dragged screaming and kicking out of the White House, permanent humiliation is no longer enough. It’s no longer enough for us to disgrace them, then let them serve out their respective terms, and leave them the leisure to rehabilitate themselves into elder statesmen in years to come.
The American people must once and for all show our current and future leaders that there are consequences – personal and inescapable – for lack of conscience, lack of leadership, and lack of compassion for the people who elected them, the people they are pledged to serve.
Therefore, the president of the United States must go to prison.
He cannot be permitted to escape a term in the lockup by resigning, as Nixon did. Even if he resigns – unlikely, since those who think themselves kings must abdicate not resign – he must be charged, tried, and convicted of all his multiple felonies, then sentenced to life, plus the duration of the "War on Terrorism.”
Because if we, the American people, don’t finally show the people who work for us, who were hired by us, and are paid by us that they are accountable to us, Bush and his thugs and those who come after them will keep perpetrating crimes on us over and over and over again, and there will never be any accountability.
Never mind how unlikely it may seem that this can be done now, with all three branches of government under Republican control, and the Democrats in Congress searching high and low for a spine. First, the lock-step is not quite as locked as it seems, and thus the "reality base" may have more support across the aisle than we think; and second, control of Congress is almost certainly going to change in November. That's not just optimistic talk - all the signs are there, in spite of all the "where the hell are the Democrats" articles in the MSM. Perhaps THAT will make the Democrats stand up for themselves and for us. And in any case, consider the consequences if we don't:
Our so-called "leaders" ignore the will and well-being of the people and make us the enemy of the world.
They lie with impunity to keep us fearful, terrified, weak.
They steal our birthright, kill our children, destroy our country.
We must stop them. We must do all legally in our power, and we must start now. Before they stop America forever.
Subject: Line-item-veto power for Bush?
George W. Bush has proposed that he be given line-item-veto authority. He claims that this is merely a common-sense measure whereby he, in his exceptional wisdom, will bring the budget under control and eliminate the deficit. This from the president who has submitted budgets with the largest deficits in history and in addition has asked for and received hundreds of billions of dollars off-budget to prosecute his endless war against Iraq.
When combined with his scheme to eliminate taxes on his rich Republican friends, the result has been an unprecedented explosion of the national debt which is bringing the country to bankruptcy.
It's obvious that a line-item-veto will do nothing to reverse this ruinous trend, so what is his real purpose in asking for it?
In fact it's a naked power-grab that if granted will immensely strengthen his hold on governmental power. With this instrument in hand the President will be in a position to blackmail any Congressman or Senator to do his bidding. Bush and Bush alone will be able to pick and choose those "pork" items that will be supported and those that he will veto. If a Congressman wants a "bridge to nowhere" in his district or hurricane damage reconstruction money, he'll have to support the President's invasion of Iran or his scheme to turn Social Security over to Insurance Corporations and Wall Street Brokerage Houses.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out hundreds of ways this President will use this power to demolish the social progress that America has made over the past 75 years and return us to the age of robber barons and serfs. We are well advised to never forget that a tyrant can always justify, with pious rhetoric, his abuse of those without power.
Robert R. Regl
Subject: Honest Abe Would Be Appalled
“Team of Rivals” is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s remarkable multi-biography of Abraham Lincoln and his three competitors for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination. A decade in the making, Goodwin’s work shows how Lincoln overcame his rivals (William Seward, Salmon Chase and Edward Bates); made them key members of his cabinet; then used his political genius to manage this group toward his ultimate end – preserving the Union and winning the deadliest war in American history.
On finishing Goodwin’s extraordinary biography one can’t help but wonder how Honest Abe, or any of his cabinet, would feel about today’s “Party of Lincoln.”
Compare accounts of the Republican Party in “Team of Rivals” to the sad reality of today’s GOP:
- Based on the founding principle that all men are created equal, Lincoln’s Republican Party was primarily formed to oppose and abolish slavery. Today’s GOP has “a Southern Strategy” and, with knee-jerk response, challenges any attempt at “affirmative action.”
- In their fields, Seward, Bates and Chase – Lincoln’s rivals – were among the most highly regarded men of their day. They ran and managed their respective cabinet posts (State, Justice, and Treasury) with both skill and dedication. Today’s GOP fills cabinet and department posts with heckuvajob toadies and Abramoff cronies whose only job pre-requisite is lap-dog obedience.
- With Lincoln’s encouragement and blessing Salmon Chase created the Internal Revenue Department and, for the first time in U.S. history, levied taxes upon citizens in order to finance a war of necessity (the Civil War) while attempting to control debt. Today’s GOP “starves the beast.” It cuts taxes (especially for the rich) and creates red ink as far as the eye can see. Then it balloons debt further by spending hundreds of billions on a crusade-like war of choice based on a fake threat of WMD.
- In 1862 Lincoln’s Republican Congress passed the Homestead and Morrill Acts. The former gave 160 acres to any citizen who would work his land for five years. The latter established federal land-grant colleges. Today’s GOP denies and delays aid to hurricane victims, and refuses to raise the minimum wage. Today’s G.O.P. advocates education vouchers (code for private school financing) and rejects assistance to public education.
- Abraham Lincoln read voraciously all his life. Books were his passion. He loved poetry and Shakespeare; he consumed all his day’s newspapers – especially those that opposed him. His life-long zeal for self-education translated to brilliant speeches and near-genius political and strategic decision-making. Today’s GOP president, George W. Bush, doesn’t read newspapers or, evidently, much of anything else. He relies on his staff to filter his news; on an ideologically crazed Vice President for his policy positions; and on Karl Rove for wedge-issue driven partisan political strategy.
Honest Abe would be appalled at what has become of his Grand Old Party.
Subject: Senator Russ Feingold
ONE out of 100 senators, with brains and backbone--Senator Russ Feingold. None, right I said none, of his fellow senators is supporting his effort to at least encourage Bush to obey the law. That means he has only us to support him. You can bet your booties we have only him to support us. Let's get to it.
By the way he is of course also being attacked by (?) democratic strategists. Now I am positive I never in my life voted for a strategist. Why do you think the word goes so well with lobbyists? What better place for the lobbyists to place their money? Most effective way to destroy the party we Democrats once had, right?
Subject: Yep, another winner of an editorial. Are you going for the world record??
You guys (sorry, that's how former New Yorkers still talk, even when they live in "y'all"-driven GA) continue to amaze me. As I've said, I got involved -- actively enough to earn my very own FBI file (I consider it an ironic "honor," though an inconvenience at times) have done it again. I've been drawing the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq (and -- what's next? Iran, of course. Syria? Then on to North Korea? And where the BLEEP do they expect to find the troops, not to mention the money, to FIGHT these "pre-emptive wars"??
Oh, I get it: start drafting 10-years-olds out of grade school. No, mental math is NOT one of my strengths, but even I can see that our troops are already stretched to -- maybe beyond -- the breaking point in Iraq. Yes, LBJ was an egomaniac -- although, unlike the current *ssh*le-in- Chief, had a domestic social conscience -- too (something clearly lacking in the current administration).
Pouring endless -- and irreplaceable "resources" (I'm talking about human lives here, not simply the money) -- into a phony war -- soon to be WARS -- designed only to establish our global dominance) will get us into the same "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" (Pete Seeger song) that we found ourselves mired in during Vietnam. I hate to find myself in later middle age, but there IS some truth to what my Grandma always told me: "You learn from experience." Well, at least those of us WILLING to learn do. Bush is around my age; Cheney and Rummy are both older. Apparently (!!) they are NOT willing to learn, and will not only repeat the horrible path of Vietnam -- hey, some of my high school friends' names are on that Wall in D.C., along with the names of several of my students during the final years -- but multiply it by 2, 3, 4 times as we invade several more countries whose fuel resources and lucrative "rebuilding" (how Orwellian is THAT term??) contracts are apparently irresistible, even if we have to draft kids out of kindergarten and post-menopausal women.
Thanks again, Buzz, for pointing out (with less rant) what I've been saying all along. As in, "been there, done that" (as in Vietnam); it's clear that we're heading, at full steam, down the same path to disaster (if we haven't gotten there already).
Barbara Lee (Barb) Blazyk
Subject: Where Was Feingold's Spine in 2000?
I'm deeply disappointed by BuzzFlash's continued touting of Senator Russ Feingold, even going so far as to claim that Feingold now has spine. I'd like to know where BuzzFlash thinks Feingold's spine was in 2000 when he hid in his ivory, cushy Washington tower along with the rest of the cowards on the democratic side of the aisle while Bush ended democracy in America by stealing the 2000 election? Feingold's current censure effort is 5 years too late. Where was Feingold when it would've made a difference in 2000? Nowhere to be found. Why is BuzzFlash failing to remember this ugly truth?
Nancy E. Kuhn
[BuzzFlash Note: He was wrong on that one, as was every senator. Here's his voting record: http://www.vote-smart.org/voting...]
Subject: Feingold in 2008 - A Letter of Appreciation
Thank you for doing your job; performing your duty as a legislator. Too few of your colleagues seem to understand that procedural consistency - despite how it may cross the grain of party or self-interest - is an essential component of fulfilling their oaths to protect the constitution. Conversely, your many overt acts of integrity (e.g. your call to censure the President for his criminality; your stands against the patriot act) continue to impress me, my family, and friends.
And, a letter to Howard Dean re gutless Democrats:
Please note the bold action taken this week by Senator Russ Feingold, and then observe the outpouring of support from the progressive grassroots for his lonely but principled attention to law and procedure. Then look around yourself and see the crowd of equivocating cowards and ne’er-do-well opportunists that constitute the leadership of the Democratic party. We out here in the nation, we see them; and we deeply resent them.
Please - for the good of the country - immediately disassociate yourself from Hillary “Thou Shalt Burn No Flag” Clinton and Joe “Diamond” Biden and forcefully align yourself and the DNC with the likes of Senator Feingold, Representative Conyers, Representative Barbara Lee, and Al Gore. These people, and a bold few others, are not afraid to speak frankly; to identify criminality and oath-breaking; to denounce the unfettered access of powerful pirates to our nation’s wealth and well-being.
I like your recommendation for nationwide attention to Democratic candidates at all levels of government - but I would feel even better about donating to the Democratic party if I could be assured that no DINO neocons or corporate collaborators would be benefiting one bit from my donation. In short, Senator Feingold can expect a donation from me, but the DNC can forget it as long as it coddles Republican moles and cynical political speculators.
Subject: Thank You!
Dear Senator Feingold:
Thank you for your resolution in the Senate to censure the current president. Your accusation that he broke the law with his domestic eavesdropping program hit the mark. Neither of my senators (and CERTAINLY NOT my DeLay-appointed representative) represent me. They are all sycophants for the current corrupt president and administration and the criminal cronies and pimps that own them. You serve as an example to them of how a REAL representative of the citizens of the United States should act. Thank you.
Molly Ivins and Russ Feingold got spine. The invertebrate Democrat party could use a spinal implant. I’m sure Molly and Russ are willing to donate a few embryonic cells.
Lies are lies. Gore came out the other day with some examples of bush’s duplicity, but he back-pedaled by saying, I’m not calling them lies, but “false impressions.” Well I’m not saying “male bovine excrement.” I’m saying bulls**t.
We’re going to lose a true voice and challenge to the bushies because the rest of Feingold’s democratic party have no backbone,
Subject: FEMA Trailers
I live in Nashville and work about 20 miles south of Nashville. What I don't understand is that there are 11,000 FEMA trailers sitting at Hope Airport in Arkansas being unused. But at the same time, almost every day, whether it's on my way to work or on my way home, I see more FEMA trailers heading straight down I-65 south. Why? Are they determined to bankrupt us? I thought that was Osama's goal? Are they bankrupting us so when the Democrats finally get back in power, they'll have to tax us to death for all the spending the Bush administration did? In turn to make the Democrats look bad? Playing politics is the Vicious Circle.
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