The BuzzFlash Mailbag
November 26, 2001
Why the Quiet? The Storm Rages!
Today, as on most days lately, I have read the two Daily Rags...both of them little more than collections of press releases and photo ops, the result of a careful crafting of message done in the national interest by the Administration and the Corporations. This is followed by a quick perusal of some of my favorite web sites, mostly independent news and opinion and, by default, mostly foreign.
Can anyone deny that we are being fed our News in small bits, filtered by the "need to know," by those in the know. In any other context we rightly call this Propaganda.
Can anyone now deny that our rights have been curtailed, our Basic Law corrupted by those sworn to uphold it? In any other context we would condemn this as Tyranny.
Can anyone say with any degree of certainty, what the next move of the government will be? Yes, I said "the" government, rather than "our" government, for any government the acts without the consent of the governed is not "ours" and we are merely spectators. Innocent bystanders to the train wreck our Constitution, for the moment not yet its victims. Unless you happen to fit the "Profile"....there are over 1000 people being held "incognito," without attorney-client privileges, under threat of summary military justice. IN THE USA!! This situation has no American context, comparisons to the Nazi Spy Case and the Japanese Interment are specious. A more apt parallel is the Red Scare of 1920's, when Atty. Gen. Mitchell Palmer, as front man to another amiable dolt "chosen" as President, Warren Harding, became defacto Dictator, rounding up citizen and alien alike and shipping them off to the USSR or worse. All this while Big Oil stole the Elk Hills Reserve and a Mellon was running the Treasury Dept! Sounds familiar, eh? At any rate, this is not a description of a Constitutional Republic and in any other context Americans would label it Fascism.
Can anyone tell me if our War on Terrorism will now move to Iraq? Maybe Yemen? Or perhaps the Sudan? I hadn't noticed a Congressional Declaration of War...in fact I recall that one was rejected and a more limited franchise granted, although it seems that this "limited" franchise was enough to drastically alter our Basic Law and lead us into a perpetual state of war. The final triumph of the Military Industrial Complex, they now have the ultimate enemy. Unseen but always threatening, could be anybody, could be your neighbor, could be you...A situation that requires the construction of the Garrison State, our security demands it! Any who oppose it are treasonous, obviously aiding and abetting the enemy, to be tried by secret military tribunal. IN THE USA!! Of course this sort of thing can't happen to an American citizen, born in this country, can it? Let's ask Norm Mineta about that....or take a road trip down the Owens Valley, you can wander through what remains of Manzanar, some old foundations and a small monument visited mainly by Japanese tourists. Don't blink 'cause there aren't many signs and the locals don't wanna talk about it. But only 60 years ago it was open for business, in any other context we would call it a concentration camp, now we call them "detention centers."
Before 9/11 I was just mad, I wasn't gonna "just get over it." Well I am way beyond mad and way beyond just concerned. I am alarmed and deeply troubled by the portents of our fate visible on every front page, spewed 24-7 from the co-opted soap boxes of the Media Whores, lamented and then rationalized by formerly thoughtful men and women.
Why the Quiet?
Hooray for Buzzflash!
Once again you have contributed to my sanity with your interview of Gene Lyons, co-author of "Hunting of the President: The Ten Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton." Mr. Lyons is very similar to Bill Clinton in just the way Lyons describes in his interview: taking complex, multifaceted issues, and not only explaining them coherently, but, as well, in such simple prose that one wonders why one couldn't say or write the same things one's self! (For example, even while supporting the Gore campaign, this reader could barely bring himself to listen to a full Gore speech (which was basically one policy proposal after another), while on the other hand I found myself hanging on to every word of the few Clinton speeches that were broadcast.)
And also, let me take the opportunity to thank SALON for printing Lyon's and Conason's lucid articles back during the dark days (before Buzzflash!) when the media-RW frenzy of one "independent counsel" investigation after another never let up, with a nonstop tag team of R-W commentators, scandalmongers, media "leaks" etc., culminating in the attempt to depose a sitting US president - by the party that had, in 1994, yelled and screamed at the top of their lungs that "democrats were the party of intrusive government agents"!!!! ("Tag-team commentators" = what Buzzflash calls an "organized, multilayered effort.")
["Anything to swing a few (thousands of) votes," don't you know.]
One thing that I could add to Lyon's interview analysis is that, there ARE some elements of truth to the right-wing creed, namely, there comes a point where too much taxation and regulation can seriously hamper, impede, or destroy economic growth and development - strangle the golden goose, so to speak. Fortunately, the "Clinton economy" proved that it IS possible to have increased economic activity while actually doing a better job of preserving our scarce and limited resources, providing better worker benefits, training and security, and even more government oversight and long-term planning, etc.
We even know that Japanese auto manufacturers gained their first real foothold in the American market when tens of thousands of Americans started purchasing more efficient, economical Japanese cars during the 70's energy crisis. (Those were the dark old days of American junk such as Pintos, Vegas, Pacers, and Gremlins, and of a Chrysler corp. that very nearly went into bankruptcy because their quality control was so poor that even loyal Mopar buyers deserted in droves).
Today, as in the 1970's and 1980s, efficiency and economy are still powerful marketing tools, and even American auto manufacturers have started marketing the safety virtues of their autos.
I know this is a long-winded letter, but THE OTHER point I would mention in Mr. Lyon's discussion of the ascendancy of the right-wing in the media is that, economically speaking, it is much easier to profit - make money - from speaking out in one's own (business) self-interest than it is to dedicate time and scarce money to causes that don't generate profit.
And here's a wonderful analysis of the problem:
<< For nearly a decade, most of the issues placed on the political agenda affecting business were initiated NOT by business, but by those who represented constituents hostile to business. Environmental protection, occupational health and safety, consumer protection, price control on energy, affirmative action, product liability, expansion of the welfare state, prohibitions on corporate overseas payments, corporate governance, campaign reform, restrictions on corporate compliance with the Arab boycott of Israel - not a single one of those issues originated with business. To be sure, business was successful in ... influencing many of those areas, making them less threatening than their proponents preferred. But what is critical is that for most of the decade, business was fighting its political battles on terrain set by its opponents. >>
[David Vogel, "How Business Responds to Opposition" APSA papers, 1978-79, as quoted in Jeffrey M. Berry's book, "The Interest Group Society" 1989]
And FINALLY, many of these 1990's-2000 battles between "classic liberalism" and "fundamental conservatism" were already fought out in the person and career of Lyndon B. Johnson. Out of a multitude of sources on those political battles (of an entire century between liberals and conservatives), I would highly suggest these three:
1. Evans, Rowland, and Novak, Robert, "Lyndon B. Johnson, The Exercise of Power: A Political Biography (1966). Yes, THAT Bob Novak! Novak and Evan's 1966 book centers on a journalist's view of the political wranglings of the early Johnson presidency.
#2. "Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism: A Brief Biography with Documents" by Bruce J. Schulman. This short, easy read (260 small pages including chronology and selected speeches) is a must read "gateway" to more extended and in-depth bios., and possibly does an even better job than larger books in examining Johnson's psychological conflicts and ambitions (namely, the dilemma of running as a democrat and liberal with the backing of Texas' arch-conservative energy and business millionaires)
#3. Jack Valenti's "A Very Human President" which details that Johnson KNEW that he was drawing American troops into a morass in the Vietnam war, but realized HE HAD NO CHOICE; to allow the South Vietnam regime to fall would invite a Goldwater victory, to keep the RVN afloat would involve a massive increase in US combat troops, and Johnson KNEW that his military advisors were being overly optimistic when they promised that a few tons of bombs, or even a few thousands tons of bombs, would deter the opposition to the Saigon government.
Only Johnson's schizophrenic two-step allowed him to win and retain office in increasingly conservative Texas - actions that today would be derided as blatant, hypocritical, political opportunism. But above all Johnson believed in the power of politics - forming majority agendas through compromise - and delighted in the art and battle of politics.
Sad to say, without a determined, intelligent street-fighter like Johnson, or a "sheer political talent" like Clinton; or a multi-millionaire candidate with the backing of the Kennedy clan, it will ALWAYS be difficult for democrats to unite the extremely fractious and fratricidal wings of the democratic/liberal party(s). For example NY Sen. Patrick Moynihan derided the Clinton administration as doing "small, little things instead of grand projects," EVEN as Sen. Moynihan sided increasingly with conservatives and the conservative agenda! Likewise, the Nader and Bradley campaigns derided the Clinton-Gore administration as "not doing ENOUGH" for liberal causes, even though the alternative they offered clearly did not have the support of anywhere close to a majority of Americans, and far from furthering the "liberal agenda" actually drove power to the opposite, conservative side.
Thanks to Buzzflash and Gene Lyons for doing their part!
Vice Presidents of the United States
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963)
Citation: Mark O. Hatfield, with the Senate Historical Office. Vice
Presidents of the United States, 1789-1993 (Washington: U.S. Government
Printing Office, 1997), pp. 453-461.
Introduction by Mark O. Hatfield.
Chalk up another one for the Grand Hypocrisy Party.
I was laughing while I watched Paula Jones in her televised interview the other day. Of course she was talking against Clinton again. She displayed her new wedding pictures and pictures of her children. Then she talked about how good her life has become and how anyone who criticized her for displaying herself in Penthouse was "just jealous", and that there were no "nasty" pictures anyway. She claimed any woman would have done the same thing. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, she then told all how thankful she was to God for all the blessings she had. Nice touch, Paula. What a lovely family Thanksgiving tribute. I think it's just full of family values and I hope you will be proud to show those framed pictures to your grandchildren one day.
Love the site, it's what keeps me sane in these trying times....
I caught part of Clint Eastwood's "Magnum Force" over the weekend. I don't know the movie all that well, but what I think was going on was there were a few cops in the city that wanted to be judge and jury on the streets. They felt that the current justice system wasn't working.
I tried to find the script online to get the quote right, but I think it went like something like this: "We're killing the ones the public knows about now, to justify our actions later. So they know we're on their side." I think they were referring to killing politicians and other "terrorists".
The next line was worse: "You're either with us, or against us."
I think that is pretty close, but hopefully someone out there can get it right. But it chilled me, and I'm sure that there is someone out there that has seen this movie, maybe during an impressionable time in their life. I can only wonder what it meant to them.
Clint replies "I think you've misjudged my position." I hope that is what the American people reply as well.
Thanks for all you do, Buzz. In a sea of insanity, you are the lighthouse of hope.
Faux Propaganda network has been using this talking point about Dershowitz (sp) that started with O'Ho-ly grilling Ho-raldo, that Ho-raldo kept putting Dershowitz on his show during the fake impeachment year, and that O'Ho'ly and Faux would keep track of how the ratings would drop EVERY TIME Dershowitz was on. O'Ho-ly slammed Ho-raldo over and over, saying, "Why did you keep putting him on the air????" Lately, on other Faux propaganda shows, whoever the hosts are are saying the verbatim thing. It appears Dersh really gets to the Faux propaganda gang! MORE POWER TO HIM!
I just read Eric Boehlert's new story "The Press vs. Al Gore" in the latest issue of Rolling Stone - if any readers out there thinks their is a liberal bias this story blows that myth clean out of the water. With Cece Connolly, Richard Burke, and Bill Turque's "writing" -- I should say libelling Al Gore at every turn. It is amazing that not only these three, and the editors responsible for checking their stories, still have jobs.
Check out this awesome commentary by NPR's Daniel Schorr about Bush's abuse of Presidential Power. Can you post audio files to BuzzFlash.com? If so, think about posting this, it's great commentary:
Hi. I just wanted to send this letter to the editor.
BuzzFlash is on target in calling Paul Krugman the most incisive town crier. Reading Krugman's New York Times column on how the Bush administration's policies affect the economy should be sufficient to terrify anyone about the current regime.
Bruce S. Ticker
Editor of The Bush Syndrome, www.TheBushSyndrome.com
What happened to simple honesty produced by news sources or opinion personalities?
Can you believe what is printed in national newspapers? How about what you invited into your home through local television stations? Maybe radio talk show hosts are satisfying your craving for political awareness. No matter where your information is being assembled, how can you be sure you are getting the truth?
Most Americans are content to let mainstream media lead them down a path filled with half truths disguised as road signs pointing in political directions that have nothing to do with The Constitution or the freedoms of democracy this great country was built to protect.
"Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear or read." Should this be our motto while trying to inform ourselves on events that occur outside our personal space? The truth keeps hiding somewhere between lies, spin, and a few sound bits voiced by reporters that may not have the desire or resources to search for a truth that has no sides.
Have we let truth be hijacked by laziness? Or is it the lure of money, political power and religious correctness? Right wing, left wing, conservative, liberal, do we not all want the same thing, a place to live in safety where our children can be educated in peace while exploring the joys and benefits of knowledge? If all media would release unbiased facts there would be no need to question what is being force-fed to unaware innocent minds. The information age is just that, information, only with no filters separating facts from fiction.
We as conscious-aware human beings should possess a thirst for truth without explanation, excepting only what can withstand the test of time. Gossip and lies make easy headlines, profit for the publishers, as well as political gain for those on the chosen side for the moment.
I, for one, deserve and demand more than the daily ration of garbage listed under the name of news put out by mainstream media that is spoon feed to the masses and excepted by many as gospel.
Thank you BuzzFlash for using your resources in helping keep honesty exposed daily.
Live here, saw that.
I was lying in bed reading a book when the first explosion happened, I felt the house and bed rise. Interesting feeling, standing out by the back door, screaming at the kids to stay in their room after slamming shut the windows and turning off fans (called sheltering in place). Seeing the sky light up in a magnificent fluorescent orange glow, then flickering lights of flames. Then again.....thought of Kandahar-would the next time be closer? This must be what it's like for them. Trying to find out what was happening...nothing on the emergency radio network, police lines jammed, regular programming on television....the six year old creeping into the kitchen white faced and silent.
About half an hour later the television coverage began, family calls coming, telling everyone we were fine. No damage, except maybe to the little ones' tattered sense of security. They've inherited a dangerous world, all of them everywhere.
Security around the plants is a major issue. Lots of wooded areas, a bayou running through the tank farm and debouching into the channel by Crown and the paper company: no lighting, no traffic, very easy pickings. Last night there were reports that there were 100+ contract workers and only about 34 plant employees on duty. Also, the plant's emergency siren failed to operate (a short weak whoop whoop whoop- then nothing) and none of the other LEPC facilities sounded their alarms. Very poor emergency response. Interestingly, a short while before the explosion there was a very brief power failure which appears to have affected a major part of the eastern metro area. Only a few seconds of black out. "short while" being in the range of more than a couple of minutes, less than half an hour. At the time not worth noticing, but possibly significant because one of the complaints about the way the plants are managed has been that computerized monitoring has increasingly taken the place of trained humans: and where trained humans can't be replaced by computers, "contract" labor does nicely. What happens if a computerized operation gets knocked off line?
This morning there were saying it was a leaky hose coupling that caused the explosions. Sheesh. Looks like the explanation might be scarier than the alternatives. Better be running equipment checks, Plant Guys. And how about using trained and certified humans to do it? Maybe even permanent, unionized employees. Cut into those profits a little, but not as much as if you had fried Channelview and North Pasadena.
A BuzzFlash Reader
This is a story to watch. This is the story of Doctor Wiley, who disappeared while attending a conference at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. His rental car, full of gas and with the keys in the ignition, was discovered one week ago parked on the Hernando-Desoto bridge over the Mississippi River. He has not been seen since.
Interesting that he also happens to be an expert on virus biology. Quote below...
"Wiley is the John L. Loeb Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Harvard's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.
"According to a biography of Wiley released by Harvard, he is "one of the most influential biologists of his generation." His work focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms through which viruses infect cells and the resulting immune responses they elicit.
"He recently had been investigating dangerous viruses including AIDS, Ebola, Herpes Simplex and influenza.
"In 1999, Wiley and another Harvard professor, Dr. Jack Strominger, won the Japan Prize for their discoveries of how the immune system protects humans from infections."
I pulled these stories from the local paper's archives. You'll notice that only in one of them does it mention his study of these diseases. The rest of the stories simply call him a biologist.
Re: "Waiting in the Bushes"
"The more high profile I become - the more vicious and personal the attacks on me get."
Gee, I didn't think anyone could be a narcissistic blowhard AND a big crybaby at the same time. Ever hear the expression "you can dish it out but you can't take it"? Look in the mirror to see who they're talking about.
Oh yeah, and when your pal Bush finishes stuffing the US Constitution into the paper shredder, I'm sure he'll take a few moments out to pin a big medal on your chest for services rendered. Congratulations, Bill!
Those anthrax rednecks who were arrested in 1998 are out of jail now. My husband was listening to public radio and said one of the rednecks interviewed said it would be real easy for him to get any kind of bioweapon of mass destruction into his hands. This right winger also knew it would be blamed on Iraq. See how sneaky the GOP is? I wonder why the media doesn't want to bring that up again. Do they want us to forget the anthrax criminals were right wing?
The ladies and gentlemen of the United States Congress should just pack it in, -- they are no longer relevant.
Gee, was it just seven years ago, in 1994, when the Republicans took over both houses of Congress and then-House Majority Leader Newt Gingrich announced that the United States president was no longer relevant?
How time flies.
And, now, here we are, and another Republican leader, George W. Bush, has just made Congress "no longer relevant."
This president does not need Congress to declare war, wage war, finance war, or decide where this "war" goes next, or when this "war" will end. He can do it all by himself. He will decide what Congress needs to know, when Congress needs to know it - and if Congress needs to know it at all.
So, the ladies and gentlemen of Congress should just go home to their states and districts. Their work is done. They have succeeded in taking the most powerful Congress in recent history and turning that power over to the Executive Branch.
Rest in Peace, Congress.
I wonder if anyone else sees the irony in Thanksgiving 2001 falling on the anniversary of JFK's death?
That year's Thanksgiving was an extremely somber experience. I was just a kid, but I will never forget it. Nor will I forget this one, either.
RE: Flight 93
I have heard these theories, most recently from a guy named Carter on local radio.
None of the credible facts are inconsistent with the most popular "non-conspiracy" explanation: The terrorists took over the plane, turned it toward Washington, and then the plane was retaken by the passengers. Unfortunately, during the struggle, the plane, after several gyrations and turns, went out of control and crashed. Due to the gyrations, parts and pieces fell off the plane before the actual crash and caused other debris fields.
Your printing of the article about the guy locked in the bathroom and reporting white smoke coming off the plane is indicative of your thirst for a conspiracy or story and your lack of respect for facts and the truth. If the guy is locked in the bathroom, how does he know there is smoke coming off the plane? Is that one of those new airplane lavatories that has a window? I doubt it.
An experienced pilot,
Lynne Cheney is a dangerous woman, and a hazard to democracy. She is entitled to her opinions even when they are not in accord with my opinions. But, she becomes dangerous to the system of democracy we have cherished for 200-some years when she uses her bully pulpit as wife of the vice president, and uses her access to power, to thwart freedom of speech for others.
Mrs. Cheney seems to feel competent to define for all Americans what is patriotic behavior and what is not. Unfortunately she seems to have not a shred of self-doubt and assumes that because she thinks something is so, it must therefore be so. Well, she is wrong. Free speech is the most American, most patriotic activity one can engage in. Our Founding Fathers thought so highly of the need for our freedom to speak freely -- without fear of government reprisal -- that they prohibited "abridging the freedom of speech" in the very First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Perhaps, Mrs. Cheney hasn't read the Constitution or, more likely, feels that if only SHE had written it, our country would be in better shape today. Wrong again. Mrs. Cheney is not in charge of us, she is not endowed with any rights the rest of us don't have. She is a citizen of the United States. We are all citizens of the United States. We are all endowed with the same right to speak.
Thank you for your Nov 20 editorial "Up With Dissent."
Apart from the accuracy of their critique, has anyone pointed out the irony that this is the same crowd of watchdogs who seize on any example of campus 'political correctness' as proof of the left's supposed anti-free speech bias? Apparently they can make a 180-degree turn on a dime to criticize those same schools for voicing opinions *they* don't want to hear, without perceiving a contradiction as large as, well, the World Trade Center.
My only complaint is that your editorial does not go far enough. True patriots who love the US - *and* its sometimes discomforting Constitution - must stand up to these flag-waving bully-boys who are using the terrorist attacks as an excuse to silence any opposition to their not-so red white and blue long range plans. Perhaps the Globe could give them a taste of their own medicine by taking a look at exactly who belongs to the "American Council of Trustees and Alumni," along with some of their other, less palatable opinions and associates. I'm sure finding out that more than a few of these characters are deeply tied into ultra-right fringe and/or racist groups would be very 'educational' in its own right.
New York NY
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year (the only members of the deer family, Cervidae, to have females do so), male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid December.
Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, every single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen..... had to be a female.
We should have known this when they were able to find their way.
From the Family Research Council:
"FRC Praises Rep. Walter Jones for Passage of H. Con. Res. 239
"The House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res. 239, sponsored by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) by an overwhelming vote of 297-125 on November 15. The non-binding resolution expresses the sense of Congress that schools should set aside a sufficient period of time for student prayer and quiet reflection on the fight against terrorism. In the aftermath of September 11, numerous resolutions supporting prayer, patriotism, and national unity have been considered in the House and the Senate, all of which are encouraging signs that our elected leaders are responding to the groundswell of support across America for Faith, Family & Freedom. Now that the resolution has passed the House of Representatives, the Senate will have the opportunity to pass a concurrent resolution stating their agreement."
To find out how your Representative voted on H. Con. Res. 239, click the link below:
otherwise noted, all original