June 28, 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: George the Second Makes Final Assault on Amendment I
Yesterday, veins bulging and eyes snapping, George W. Bush leaned across a podium announcing his final assault upon the remaining clause of the First Amendment; the freedom of the press. He began the battle to regulate the press by naming three newspapers, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. Citing the tired phrase “fighting the terrorists,” Mr. Bush justified this push for censorship by saying, “The fact that a newspaper disclosed it makes it harder to win this war on terror.” He was referring to the recently published articles by these newspapers that alerted the public to the fact that, once again, our private bank accounts had been under illegal surveillance by Mr. Bush and his group of terrorist hunters.
A more articulate version was delivered by Dick Cheney, at a fundraiser in Grand Island, Nebraska, when he echoed, “The New York Times has now twice - two separate occasion - disclosed programs; both times they had been asked not to publish these stories by senior administration officials.”
At least one member of Bush’s Republican army, Representative Peter King (R-NY) and Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is calling for an investigation and PROSECUTION of The New York Times.
The White House press secretary Tony Snow, told reporters that “The New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public’s right to know, in some cases, might overwrite somebody’s right to live, and whether, in fact the publications of these could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans.”
This crackdown and prosecution threat is new for the Bush government. In 2003, when members of Bush’s inner circle exposed a covert CIA agent’s name to the press, thus dismantling the covert operation the agent was in charge of, no action was taken. The reporter was not threatened with prosecution and one of Mr. Cheney’s aides, Scooter Libby, accused of giving the information to the press, was publicly supported by the administration to the point of raising money for his defense. In this case, the “fighting the terrorist” argument was not used to defend the need for secrecy.
This double standard has led to questions on the validity of the Bush argument that suppression of the press is necessary for his plan to fight terrorists. Before the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, Mr. Bush personally dismantled the Terrorist Task Force that the previous president had set up after the first attempt on the World Trade Center. He eliminated the cabinet post Mr. Clinton had added to the cabinet and ignored a daily briefing report warning him that al Qaida was determined to strike within the United States again.
None of the steps taken by the Bush government included reinstating and/or strengthening the previous administration’s network to fight terrorism. The broad investigative steps taken by the Bush administration did not include the follow up on the information obtained about the involvement of the Saudi government, who appears to remain unmonitored. Instead it has concentrated on monitoring and tracking United States citizens.
Several months ago, in violation of Amendment Four, citizens first learned that all of their calls and e-mails were being monitored and stored in a data dump to be sifted and catalogued by unknown government agencies. At that time, the Bush administration used the same argument of “fighting terrorism” as an excuse to violate that amendment and also expressed displeasure at the press.
Now, just a few short months later we learn that the rest of our private information is also being sifted and cataloged in violation of our Right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects” and that Mr. Bush is contemplating jailing reporters for essentially keeping the Public of a Democratic society informed.
The New York Times has defended the publishing of this information by saying, “Most Americans seem to support extraordinary measures in defense against this extraordinary threat, but some officials who have been involved in these programs have spoken to the Times about their discomfort OVER THE LEGALITY OF THE GOVERNMENT’S ACTIONS AND THE ADEQUACY OF OVERSIGHT.” (NYT website, executive editor Bill Keller.)
In a letter posted by the Los Angeles Times web site, Editor Dean Barquet states: “We considered very seriously the government’s assertion that these disclosures could cause difficulties for counter terrorism programs ... IN THE END, WE FELT THAT THE LEGITIMATE PUBLIC INTEREST IN THIS PROGRAM OUTWEIGHED THE POTENTIAL COST TO COUNTER TERRORISM EFFORTS.”
The job of the press is to keep us informed. You can not be a democratic country without oversight. With our system of checks and balances out of commission, we only have one monitoring tool left, a free press. Without their voice, we will have handed over the last of our guaranteed rights and we will be a country of silence. And that is the price the Bush administration is demanding to “fight the terrorists.”
Subject: Bush Behaves Like a Spoiled Brat and Needs To Be Disciplined
Recently I was walking through a department store. A father and his small son, about 5 years old, were a few yards ahead of me near one of those displays in the middle of the aisle. The boy was fascinated by a shelf full of those little sparkling melted glass creations in the shape of soldiers and started playing war with them. The man was a few feet from him looking at some shirts on the other side of the aisle. Predictably the boy got excited and, in his energetic exuberance, knocked a number of the fragile pieces off the shelf and they shattered with a light tinkling sound. The father turned at the sound of the breaking glass and the boy then did a very strange thing. In spite of clear evidence to the contrary the boy insisted that he did nothing to cause the shattered glass on the shelf and floor and in fact that the soldiers were already broken when he got there. The father tried to get the boy to fess up, but to no avail and in the end took responsibility himself, found a clerk, apologized and offered to pay for the broken pieces (probably not more than $100). The clerk refused and said that the store would absorb the cost.
I thought of our childish president. He thought it might be fun to play soldier and be a "war president", so he found a helpless country to play war against. Predictably, like the boy, he shattered the country and, like the boy, he denied breaking it and insisted that it was already broken by its evil leader when he got there. He continued playing war and breaking more and more of the country in the childish belief that by doing the same thing over and over a different and improved result would ensue. Some adults tried to convince him that what he was doing wouldn't work, but to no avail - and with the help of a "war congress" he continued smashing and breaking the country, killing extravagantly and spending like a drunken sailor.
Like the broken glass figures on the shelf it's very likely that the country is broken beyond repair and can't be fixed - it will have to find a way, on its own, to start again in a form that makes sense for its people and their culture. The only thing to be done is for adults to take responsibility, discipline the child by removing him from office, apologize to the world for not controlling the brat's behavior and make whatever restitution we can to try to atone for the horrible crimes committed in our name.
It's the duty of responsible adults to discipline an incorrigible brat, sometimes even putting the child away in a correctional facility. Our duty as responsible citizens is to elect good men and women to congress in November who will be willing to do their adult duty by thoroughly exposing the crimes of our brat president and removing him from office. Then we as a nation should get about the business of making amends to the people of Iraq and the world and try to cleanse ourselves of the ignominy adhering to us by our collective complicity in our brat's deadly war games. We may never find absolution, but perhaps we can learn from the wretched experience of the past 5 years and move ahead to become what we once were, a country worthy of the respect of decent men.
Robert R. Regl
Subject: Swiftboating Antidote
The Chickenhawk cowards, fresh from their success in swiftboating a genuine hero, John Kerry, are now turning their venom on another genuine hero, John Murtha. To make matters more galling, none of the swiftboat vermin served a single day of service.
The prime offender, of course, is their leader and the orchestrator of this vile campaign, Chickenhawk, AWOL, Draft dodger, Coward, Deserter, George W. Bush. He should be forced to show the world his DD-214, abstract of military service, which everyone whether reg or reserves, 1 day or 60, gets on discharge. His AWOL, refusal, in writing to serve in Viet Nam, refusal to take an annual physical to hide drug use and subsequent desertion will be exposed. This document is PUBLIC knowledge, and his hiding it or classifying it is a de facto admission of guilt.
Why is there not a clamor for him to produce his DD-214? This will forever smash the lie that he is a man of military leadership and prowess. Let's have a nationwide uprising for the truth. It is the only way that we can get rid of or curb the excesses of this scourge.
[BuzzFlash Note: True. But they did destroy Dan Rather's career over this issue. That has scared off others, don'tcha think?]
It cracks me up! I have been calling him Rush Limpballs for years. Just call me psychic! Could be something else was in the bottle and labeled viagra. Then we have Patrick kennedy. He admitted he had a problem, went to a rehab, apologized and is trying to work through his problem. Ol' Rush still high as a kite, still lying. My southern relatives like ol' Rush, say prescription drugs are different. He ain't no addict. Hahahaha!
A BuzzFlash Reader
P.S. I guess you didn't like the come back for the republicans to the "cut and run." The republicans "stay and slay."
Subject: Limpbaugh's Latest Troubles
Will Rush's Viagra bust lead to any stations yanking him off?
F. J. Calandra
Subject: Senator Russ Feingold -- Almost Right
On Sunday, Feingold, in answer to Tim Russert's question to him on Meet The Press about why not impeachment for Bush, Feingold responded that he believes impeachment would "disrupt" the government. That's a quote. That's why he tried, and failed, the Censure route.
One wonders what Feingold's definition is of a real disruption? Not an illegal war, not the loss of thousands in death and injury in that illegal war, not the violation of Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech, Right to Privacy. Not the warrantless wiretapping, warrantless delving into bank accounts. Not the Unitary Presidency to which he subscribes, which allows him to ignore the laws and concoct his own version through "signings." Not manipulating the truth to disinform the American people about everything from intelligence reports to clear air/clean water.
No, let's wait for a real "disruption"... like the final gasp of the dying Constitution.
Subject: The Voting Machines
We have heard a lot lately, everywhere, about the voting machines and how easy they are to compromise. If everyone does not know by now, they won't. I have made three calls to my elected reps. ... and no one is ever there to answer my question ... so they let me leave a message, and no one ever calls back. End of story. I have always thought (we knew in 2000 and 2004, that it was to elect fundamentalist, right-wing nuts. But, why now ... they don't even discuss a candidate for 2008. This horror creeps into my mind too often. I have this real fear ... that Bush is going to leave Iraq in the mess it is in when he leaves ... after making that remark about that the drawdown might be the job of the next president. Are they gonna fix it where the democrats will win ... no matter who runs ... and then have to clean up the mess? We all know that there is not one respectable candidate that we would put inside that mess, I mean, after the things this administration has done ... who out there will say that they never conspired to do anything to Iraq? I am really a conspiracy theorist!!!!
Shirley ... St. Louis
Subject: Why Our President Won't Admit Global Warming Is Manmade
He can't. Not unless he's willing to switch from capitalism to an economic system that values human need instead of greed, but he's far too ideologically bound even to consider such a change. Which means that, just as he knew that Saddam Hussein didn't have any weapons of mass destruction (but wouldn't acknowledge same because doing so might have interfered with his making war upon Iraq), he must know that global warming is manmade. He can't admit it, though, because in doing so, he'd be committing himself to doing something about it. So what if he's putting the rest of us at risk, what with the North and South Poles being the only habitable places on earth by the end of this century? What the heck? He won't be around.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Minimum Wage
Congress couldn't agree to pass a minimum wage, but could agree to give themselves a $3000.00 raise. Now that's hypocrisy for you. I hope the voters remember this in November! Tax breaks for the rich and corporations but no help for the people who really need it. I'd love to see their wives and children try to survive on a wage of 5.15 an hour for a month or two. Boy would things change in a hurry.
If we as a nation all decided not to pay our taxes to finance these guys, the IRS and the government couldn't put us all in jail. Wouldn't that be fun so see what would happen?
You people are doing a great service to our nation. Keep up the good work.
Subject: Shutting Down the Port
The port shut down is the SMALLEST sea port in the US, not the largest.
[BuzzFlash Note: Thanks for catching that, but the headline is no longer posted. Excerpts from the article: "... shut down part of a major California port"; "The port of Hueneme, 60 miles north of Los Angeles, is the only commercial deep water port between Los Angeles and San Francisco and serves as a point of import and export for automobiles, produce and forest products. It is also the only military deep water port between San Diego and Puget Sound in Washington state." Here's the port's web site.]
By now most have heard about Rush Limbaugh's run-in with US Customs over his possession of Viagra. But before anyone gets critical of Rush, let's examine the total story, have some sympathy, and avoid cruel jokes.
Just because a man - traveling alone - finds the need for an assured erection is no more a reason to cast aspersions on his sex life than the 2 jars of hand lotion and the Cattle Auction pamphlet found in the same suitcase are. There can be many possible rational explanations for this, even if I can't think of one yet.
And where is our Liberal pity for a man whose orgasmic organ might have been atrophied by his previous drug abuse? Could it be that his divorce was more an annulment, due to his inability to consummate the relationship? Perhaps Marta decided that if she wanted oral contact with a vanilla bean and two raisins sitting atop a pile of white mush, she'd rather it be Tapioca pudding. We may never know.
However, from a legal standpoint, Rush seems to be safe. Rush's legal reasoning is firm, if nothing else is. His lawyer said that even if this incident violates the agreement Rush has with the DA, he doubts Rush will ever do Hard Time.
An inside source has said Rush was really quite lucky. "If he had been cavity searched," he said, "they'd have found his Dominican gardener."
Poor Rush tried to gloss over this incident on his show with bravado and bluster. A hopeful sign, I guess, since a stiff upper lip might be the start of a biological rebirth. He missed, though, the best line he could have delivered: "Talent on loan from God, and an erection on loan from Pfizer!"
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subject: Just Talk
I love BuzzFlash, but I have to say, day after day, over and over again you report that this administration does one criminal act after another. It is starting to get very frustrating to me. Something has to be done soon to get our country back. If not for us, but for our children. Is there no one on our side who can figure this out? What the hell is going on? Are we stupid, cowards, or all of the above? We are letting these monsters steal our country away from us. We are wimps, we are cowards, we are disgusting. We are lower then these repubics for allowing them to get away with this.
Joseph N. Caucci
Subject: Canada, US, Mexico Under One Government
This is to the BuzzFlash reader who thinks that the three nations would, or could, ever unite under one governing body. Never, over my dead and cold body, would Canada ever participate in anything so evil. In fact, few Canadians I know, including those who feel that the country of the United States is the ultimate, would desire to be subsumed by the States. We are a free and independent country, as is Mexico, much as it picks the Republican a-holes.
We are sending you our GWB-lite, Stephen Harper, as your next repub president. He should be very happy at the prospect, whereas, we should be very happy at turning back to our social programs that we pay through taxation, but appreciate whenever needed to get us through the rough times.
I am sorry to say, but since I work with the public at large, I find that Canadians have little respect for Americans in general. Unfortunately for us, many are immigrating from as far as Florida, taking our jobs away and furthering the right-wing philosophy of the US. I say, keep Americans out, send us your Hispanic immigrants. They are far more friendly and less demanding.
How does the garment fabricated of fascism suit you Americans? How many world citizens do you feel you must kill in order to feel good and powerful?
A BuzzFlash Reader
[BuzzFlash Note: Our reader was warning against, not advocating for, one big North American country ("SPP and Immigration"). But in our June 28th World Media Watch, there's a related story from the Toronto Star, with this quote: "The two countries will 'have a union in everything but name' in 10 or 15 years, said [ex Ambassador] Cellucci, who thinks tourists shouldn't have to pay duty on goods and supports easy labour mobility between Canada, Mexico and the United States." Pretty disturbing.]
Subject: "Inherit the Wind"
I've been on a classic old movie kick for the past few weeks or so. The other night I rented "Inherit the Wind," which I realize most people have probably seen. It's an oldie but goodie. I saw it when I was younger but I think a lot of it was lost on me. But to watch it now was the most amazing thing. It could have been written yesterday. It's so mind boggling that this went on in the 1930s and is now once again gaining momentum in our country. The religious fascists are here and crazier than ever - and much more powerful. And I believe the same thing is going to happen again if we don't stop these people.
Between the powerful religious right, the Supreme Court (which will probably get even worse in the next couple of years, I fear), I won't be surprised to find teachers in court defending themselves for teaching Darwinism. I won't be surprised to see a bunch of thugs walk right into someone's classroom and arrest them for teaching evolution. It's really an experience to watch this movie now. When Spencer Tracy (my true love) gets Frederic March on that witness stand I think my heart stopped beating for a moment or so - it was so powerful and engrossing.
Many people complained back then that Stanley Kramer was unfair because he portrayed the William Jennings Bryan character (Frederic March) and all of his followers as loonies. Well, it was a completely accurate portrayal and holds true today. People said that the W. J. Bryan character was too over the top. Have any of these people ever listened to James Dobbs, Fred Phelps, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, etc.? These people make Frederic March's character look sane and rational.
I would recommend that you watch this movie again (or if you haven't seen it, by all means watch it for the first time!). It took so much courage for Stanley Kramer to make a movie like this back then (it would take courage to make it today.) The movie reminds me very much of "The Crucible." Same general idea. I don't know if Buzz has ever offered this as a premium - perhaps I missed it, but it is so relevant to today's political climate that you ought to think about it. It's a DVD worth owning.
Barbara in NYC
Subject: Rush Limbaugh
It is deliciously and wickedly funny that the bombastic Rush got caught with a "questionable" bottle of pills.
No matter how you look at this it's sweet karma returning to haunt him.
Did all those years of popping Oxycontin leave him with other problems besides being deaf?
Oh well, now we know he also other problems, such as impotence, which may be a blessing in disguise.
Ailes is to Media what Rove is to Administration. Both of them are At War with everything progressive or Democratic. As long as the DNC welcomes Faux News with a press box at its national convention or anything else Democratic, like the Trojan Horse that it is, the party will play out the Rethug taunt of Sore Loserman again and again.
Subject: Lt. Watada
Opponents of Iraq war rally around Lt. Watada (Seattle Times)
Subject: NO to Line Item Veto
Senator Cantwell points out that the earlier Item Veto Act passed during the Clinton administration was subsequently found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The current bill, with a requirement that Congress must act within ten days to provide an up or down vote on each excision, attempts to get around the division of responsibilities spelled out in the Constitution.
If the basic idea of a clean Item Veto is unconstitutional, it seems to me that turning the process into an impractical dog's breakfast is at best stupid.
I would feel the same in any event, but in the specific instance, having an intellectually and morally impaired ideologue like Mr. Bush at the switch elevates the matter from an inconvenience to a crisis.
This Bill must fail.
Subject: Obama Says Democrats must court Evangelicals (AP/ABC). Send him American Theocracy
This guy is such a disappointment. Everyone should start mailing him copies of American Theocracy. Buy it from BuzzFlash and have it sent to Obama.
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