The BuzzFlash Mailbag
February 2, 2002 - A Special Weekend Edition of the Mailbag
I sent the following letter to the Los Angeles Times in reaction to Ron Brownstein's claim that America was better served by having a simplistic dumb-a_s as president when Sept. 11 happened – that President Clinton would have been TOO intelligent, too knowledgeable and too able to see ahead to serve our needs at that period!!
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RE: "Clinton's Got Right Stuff, but at Wrong Time" [Jan. 28]
To the Editor:
Does it occur to Ron Brownstein that the Sept. 11 tragedies might not have happened if President Clinton had been at the helm? The angry and forgotten people of the world frequently felt that with Clinton talks could resolve differences, whereas all George W. Bush knows is how to bomb the smithereens out of piles of rocks.
Furthermore, there are knee-jerk, swaggering wiseguys at any local bar who have simplistic answers to every international problem, but I never thought that was a quality we were looking for in a Leader for the Free World. When did such smart-aleck boneheaded-ness become an asset? Why don't we just put some Mafia dons in charge -- they really know how to "explain" the facts of life to anyone who annoys them.
Brownstein had to join the Cave-In crowd who actually believe Bush's high
poll numbers mean he is anything but inadequate. We had better all hope
Bush doesn't start something he can't finish; he may just set the whole
now the bush administration says that a fetus is an unborn child. Why
not just increase prenatal care for women? Here's why: The unfortunate,
truly decent Christian folk who are today looking at the Enron debacle
and asking those who told them Bush was the new
In "White House Buys Anti-Terror Super Bowl Spots" [Jan. 30], AdAge.com (http://www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=33931) writes, "The White House anti-drug advertising program will break two anti-terror ads on the Super Bowl in the biggest single-event government advertising buy in U.S. history."
In other words: unprecedented.
The two advertising spots will cost American taxpayers "over $1.6 million per spot."
I find that shocking, and insupportable.
Three million dollars would have been better spent buying library books for hundreds of thousands of children to enjoy and to learn from.
Mr. Bush talks about the importance of libraries yet cut $19 million from library funds in this year's budget.
begins to appear that our president can "understand" sports
events but cannot really grasp the importance of educating and enriching
the lives of our next generation. I guess the little kids don't drink
beer and scream and shout while sitting in the $60 seats in some stadium.
Pardon me but any one here can provide info on contacts between White House / Admn and Vinson & Elkins on the subject of ENRON? All the references in the media is about contacts between ENRON and White House / Admn.
SPEECH (see article below) SEEMS TO GIVE BOTTOM LINE EXPLANATION AS TO
WHY THE RIGHT WING HATES HIM. One interpretation. The right-wing "plan"
to turn our country into a fascist military state with, among other things,
rigged elections, was likely in motion during father Bush's term. The
right wing must have been stunned to have lost, thinking they had everything
"covered" (and, didn't George W. tell us he wasn't worried on
THIS MEANS for Democrats, or for that matter, Republicans and Independents
and Greens, is that they should not take things for granted! Just because
most will vote, regardless of party affiliation, to restore justice for
working people will not matter as long as we do not face the fact that
we live in a terrorist state in which there is a system of awards
BILL, THANKS FOR HANGING IN THERE IN SPITE OF THE ENDLESS ATTACKS TO TERRORIZE
YOU INTO SILENCE! WHAT YOU ACHIEVED, IN SPITE OF THE ENORMOUS
LET BILL KNOW: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm glad to see Billy Tauzin in the spotlight due to his efforts to stop
Levitt's attempts to stop the accountant/consultant cozy relationship.
That's not all Tauzin has been up to. He was also speaking at seminars
for the wealthy teaching how to evade U.S. taxes by stowing their money
away in overseas tax havens. I invite you to read the following article:
Tauzin was also a great supporter of Bush's efforts to rescind an agreement Clinton had made with overseas banks for full disclosure of hidden accounts. Clinton really wanted to crack down on this because of the billions lost in taxes each year as well as the growing terrorist threats and their hidden assets. Bush dropped this agreement imposed on the Cayman Islands and in essence, provided the means for Kenneth Lay to continue hiding his business accounts. He also did this AFTER the 911 attack at a time when Bush was claiming to crack down on terrorist assets. Hmmmm.
Just had an interesting idea, based on your cutline suggesting we give money to the Lay's if we see them begging. Why not start a campaign for Americans to send their pennies to the Lays? Give Enron's address with the suggestion we each send 1 cent to help the poor Lay's in their time of need. I suspect this effort will attract at least some and maybe a lot of media attention, which would be great for BuzzFlash as the counter-Drudge and certainly make the point about the poor little rich Republicans.
You've already got the medium, just write the words and introduce the campaign.
You know I found nothing in the SOTU speech to give me much hope for a better tomorrow.
there was one thing that incensed me above all else. The residents 4000
hours bit. My Democrat parents taught me to help others and to be concerned
about the welfare of other people when I was just a child. Caring for
other people and doing good for our neighbors and community is what life
should be about.
which 2 years did he help his fellow man?
The New York Times is reporting that Bush proposes that the Military Budget be $451 Billion a year within 5 years. It quotes Democrats as saying they will support this in view of the political risk of not doing so.
What about the risk to the country? What about the risk to the economy?
The only reason for such an expenditure in military terms is world domination and the ability to wage war when and where we want to. We have no enemy that warrants such an expenditure now or in the foreseeable future.
In economic terms we are all aware of what Reagan did, increasing our National Debt by $ 4 Trillion. And as David Stockman pointed out it was more than just to fight the cold war. It was a deliberate policy on the part of Reagan administration ideologues to force the cutting of social programs and to prevent future expenditures on social programs. That it might bankrupt the country, as it came close to doing, was the price they were prepared to pay to satisfy their ideological objectives.
We are seeing this happening all over again. But we have the added problem of ideologues who now seek to dominate the world by any means available and without any restraint. Just as the Reaganites were prepared to risk economic collapse these are prepared to risk World War III. But this is not surprising. Wasn't it Bush the Elder and his advisors who believed we could fight a nuclear war and win it? And aren't many of these same advisors now counseling Bush the Younger?
So in a time of great national crisis when our very system and our very freedom is under attack from within we hear only that it would be politically unwise to "not go along."
I do not know whether the sources quoted in the Times represent your views, I would hope not. But if they don't then you owe it to your constituents to speak out loudly and bravely.
If they do represent your views then God help this country!
I'm cc ing Cliff Stearns a Republican since this is not really a partisan issue. Its an issue of the survival our country and our government and our ideals. Republicans need to speak out too.
Robert E. Reynolds, Orange Park, Fl
Thanks for the link on your site to the yahoo article (2/1). Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw years ago: "Bush is Pro-Life Until Birth".
love your site. Keep up the good work!
is no diplomat, that much is for sure. Do you think he wants to bring
on another world war? Do his fundamentalist Christian beliefs represent
a far greater danger than those of Islamic fundamentalists? After all,
they don't have thousands of nuclear warheads to throw at us. We on the
other hand...well...I hope Dubya isn't trying to bring about Armageddon.
Without so much as a whisper from anyone, my HMO and I both were surprised to find that the co-pay ($5) per office call is now $10. I'm furious. Medicare pays my HMO $550/month and I pay $41 a month and now I get to add another $10 every time I go to the doctor's office. Thanks, George. Don't even think about spending $65 billion on a cockamamie "missile shield." Not a reputable scientist on this planet believes this is remotely possible for the obvious reason: All the evil doers have to do is lob about 50 traffic cones or weather balloons in our direction and our $65 billion dollar missile shield would start mumbling "this does not compute." And another thing - even if somebody could figure out a system that would actually detect incomings as missiles by 2015, I guess those evil-doers would just have to be sure they attacked us before 2015. We have to get rid of this bozo. He's killing us with unemployment, deficits, scams and information control. And those polls are bogus. Nobody I know thinks he's anything but a total idiot. What can we do to get Clinton back?
Subj: Accountants Won't Fight Consulting Ban (washingtonpost.com)
How is one to interpret this new plan (scam) to reassure the public?
Excerpt: "Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers announced plans to split off its $6.7 billion management-consulting business into a separate public entity, an attempt to reassure the public of the independence of the firm's audits."
It seems to me that legally "separating" the consultants who educate on how to hide debts, inflate earnings, avoid taxes, and steal from stockholders, from the auditors who vouch for dishonest financial statements, is not going to eliminate the any of this.
I confess, it's much too complicated for me to understand, but I strongly suspect that when the glare of the spotlight fades, the only change will be that NO ONE will be held accountable or have any legal liability for these frauds in the future. These "professionals" don't earn million dollar salaries for nothing.
When our lawmakers in Congress enact clear and unambiguous laws that put these "white collar" criminals behind bars, then maybe I'll feel reassured! Until then I think I'll keep my money away from Wall Street.
Notice posted at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/01/business/01NORR.html
Television Friday night on PBS, former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay talks
The excerpts, and an interview with Frontline/New York Times correspondent Lowell Bergman, will be featured in the program "Now with Bill Moyers." at 9 p.m. E.T."
of material published through NYT/PBS Frontline special report collaboration
on "Blackout" -
may reference the NYT/PBS companion piece published 2001 May 25 -
"Mr. Lay also had access to the team writing the White House's energy report, which embraces several initiatives and issues dear to Enron.
The report's recommendations include finding ways to give the federal government more power over electricity transmission networks, a longtime goal of the company that was spelled out in a memorandum Mr. Lay discussed during a 30-minute meeting earlier this spring with Mr. Cheney."
A BuzzFlash Reader
Re: bush & co release Clinton papers, withhold own..
By now, all of us on the "informed-liberal" end of the spectrum (those of us who try to read and keep up on latest) realize that there is a HUGE double standard for the treatment Dem. candidates and "liberals" receive from the media, vs. the treatment meted out to conservative candidates, leaders, pols, and icons. Part of this is almost understandable, and understandable or not, it has been going on for a VERY long time.
To begin with, Ronald Reagan was never forced to testify about the Iran-Contra "affair/probe/scandal." President George Bush's (1st) pardon of Caspar Weinberger was an investigative end-run around directly subpoenaing Pres. Reagan. In fact, Weinberger really did deserve the pardon: he and Sec. State Schulz were outspoken OPPONENTS of the Iran-Contra mess, but he got stuck with the rap. Incidentally, WHO WAS the most outspoken proponent of Iran-Contra? Why, the former CIA Director turned Vice President, that's who.
Both Schulz's and Weinberger's notes reveal that Bush Sr. was pushing harder to support the Contras than anyone else at the meetings, which one might expect from a former CIA director, about a covert operation.
Of course when it comes to killing commies (ESPECIALLY south-of-the-border
1/2 step-away-from native-savages-commies), America's conservative and
R-W supporters are MORE THAN HAPPY to invoke a CLOAK OF SECRECY on the
doings of the CIA and executive branch. Its all in the name of "national
security," don't you know. We also know that, during the 1950's,
the JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staffs, the uniformed leaders of the
More recently than even Iran-Contra, was the Bush I efforts to rearm and
supply Iraq's war machine under Saddam Hussein. When Saddam threatened
Kuwait with "retaliation" for alleged Kuwaiti drilling into
Iraqi oil reserves (through modern, lateral-offset drilling techniques),
Bush's Ambassador to Iraq famously said something similar to what Sec.
State James Baker said about Serb death squads in Bosnia: "We Don't
have a dog in that
Which brings us back to the huge double standard, Bush I and II, vs. Clinton
and the releasing of government secrets. NOT ONLY did the Washington Post
and New York Times pretty much give the Bush-Reagan admins a FREE PASS
on rearming Iraq, BUT they also helped conservative muck-throwers try
to throw some of the mud on Clinton! We know that both Chinese and Iraqi
scientists had free reign to study in American Universities and libraries
during that (Bush-Reagan) era, as part of the policies to use Iraq to
counter Iran in the Mid-East, and China to counter the Soviets in the
cold war. If the Chinese did indeed get the plans for the US "W-88"
nuclear warhead (among other nuclear secrets) they almost certainly did
so during the Reagan-Bush administrations. But that little factor wouldn't
stop for a New York second conservatives and right-wingers from laying
the charge of "treason" at the feet if Bill Clinton. And while
Conservatives shout about "foreign
All for now! May America's media moguls not repeat their last round of horrendous reporting and biased accusations.
contacting Russ Lewis, President and CEO of the New York Times, Co. to
tell him that the word is out that William Kennard has been elected to
the Times Board of Directors. Mr. Kennard is Managing Director to the
Carlyle Global Telecommunications and Media Group.
Below is an Email I sent to C-span this morning.
government can freeze the less-than-100-million-dollar assets of people
and organizations around the world because they think those entities may
be linked to terrorism, but they can't freeze the billions of dollars
of assets of the Enron execs who made out like bandits while stiffing
their employees and investors?
[BuzzFlash Note: "More equal than others" makes one wonder which Orwell characters best represent the members of the Bush Administration.]
Today's Justice Department request belatedly "asking" the White House not to destroy Enron-related documents provides convenient cover should it be discovered such destruction has already transpired.
Convenient because the "request" is not an order, because the request was issued long after the FERC convened & months after Enron's collapse, because it suggests a White House attempting to define its own standards for legal and ethical entitlement, to alibi and self-exonerate *any* Enron-related shredding which may have occurred prior to today's request.
Investigators, both Congressional and FBI, as well as journalists, must persist in their *demands* for clear, concise answers to the following:
1. Has *anyone* within this administration destroyed, approved or ordered the destruction of *any* Enron-related documentation at *any* time since assuming office?
If affirmative, what was destroyed, when and under whose orders?
wife just completed her taxes with HR Block. Were you aware that the $300
tax check she got during the summer is being deducted from her refund?
This was news to us. I thought it was a rebate. Even without this little
tidbit I would still be . . .
[BuzzFlash Note: We were aware of that sneaky bit of financial trickery. Unfortunately, we know that many, many people are not and, like you, will be sorely disappointed when they find out. It will be interesting to note how many of the corporate news sources bring this up as we approach April 15th. We're guessing that this is the only place you'll hear about it.]
I'm writing in response to the articles about Vice-President Cheney's withholding of information about the formation of his "energy policy."
I believe that Dick Cheney's energy meeting notes are not the really important issue. His withholding of information may have nothing to do with revealing the facts about the meetings on energy policy, but merely testing the "constitutionality" of "Executive Privilege."
The Vice President has been in and around the Washington political scene a long time, in one administration or another. I think VP Cheney is hoping that the issue might set up a precedent so that he and others in the administration can hold future "secret" meetings (or perhaps held meetings in the past) that involve the public interest. They may not want to divulge the nature and content of those meetings. They probably want a legal precedent so they can hold their meeting with business leaders in secret, that is, beyond public view.
Concerning the facts coming out about the Enron debacle and the present administration's relationship with Ken Lay, the Bush White House may need all the legal "constitutional" help it can get. As I understand it, "executive privilege" is only considered necessary for the affairs of "national security," but doesn't include matters such as "public energy policies." VP Dick Cheney may only be trying to expand the definition of what he can and cannot do as an elected member of the government’s Executive Branch. Not releasing the "energy policy" documents may have nothing to do with his real intentions.
Of course, if the matter of "executive privilege" and "private White House business meetings" reaches as high as the Supreme Court, the decision may be a forgone conclusion, if you can use the "selection" of the President in the last Presidential election as a precedent.
I used to work in the securities industry with Prudential-Bache. I was
a licensed securities dealer and though it has been a while since I was
in the industry I still know the definition of realized (cashed out) capital
losses and gains and unrealized (still in the market and all "on
paper") capital losses and gains.
Executive, Now in Washington, Denies Impropriety at His Unit
Cheney has now telegraphed his strategy for the pending court battle. When the GAO takes the White House to court, the Bush lawyers will argue that the government must not, during a war, be compelled to compromise its authority. Complying with congressional demands is a slippery slope, they will argue, that will eventually devolve into a demand for the public release of military strategy and intelligence information. Remember, this is the administration that plans to run for re-election by saying Republicans do a better job keeping the country safe from terror. It will now use this argument to close the government off from the people.
Regarding the Bush administration's plan to rename a fetus an unborn child, in order to qualify that child for CHIP health care assistance, I have a couple of questions:
1) Does CHIP require the use of Social Security Numbers? If so, and since kids today have to have SSNs almost as soon as they are born in order to qualify as dependents on tax returns, will that mean that unborn children will also require SSNs?
2) Since the proposal is intended to cover these unborn children--in lieu of using waivers to cover the woman instead--does that mean that if a pregnant woman has health care needs that are not directly related to the child she's carrying or do not pose a threat to the life of that child (e.g., a foot injury to the mother), those needs will NOT be covered?
Just curious. I don't see why the government can't solve this problem even faster, by some sort of bypass or acceleration in the law that grants the waivers so that the woman herself is covered by CHIP. If they have the power to make/remake one law, don't they have the power to alter another? They do it all the time.
Note: This issue was never about providing better care for pregnant women.
It was completely and unabashedly about overturning Rove v. Wade. More
subterfuge by the Bush administration as they shove down our throats their
hard right agenda.]
open letter to Mr. Lay
In thinking about the Enron scandal, it hit me like a flash....BUSH IS ENRON! All his life (or ever since he decided to stop being an obnoxious drunk) he's used Enron methods of intimidation, insider trading, cronyism, deceit and thievery to obtain money and power. Now that he's successfully stolen the presidency, why should the behavior of his best buddy, Kenny Boy, surprise us?
Devoted BuzzFlash Reader
The noteworthy thing about this interview w congressman waxman is that he drops the ball on the republican tactic of "accuse first, investigate later." Namely, that people only remember the accusation, never the disposition of same.
Were the democrats as vociferous, perhaps they might have a better leveled playing field. Unfortunately this gentlemanly approach in a gang-war smells "no win" in public opinion.
I can't wait until I get to a computer everyday and log on and find your site to reassure myself that I'm not going crazy. As someone who wants to remain reasonably well-informed, I'm finding it increasingly frustrating and infuriating to turn on so-called "legitimate" news programs, only to be inundated with pro-Bush, pro-war, pro-corporate propaganda.
This is beyond the point of annoying or ridiculous -- it is downright dangerous to our democracy, and I need Buzzflash to remind me that I'm not the only one who thinks this way.
Another question: Who ARE these people the pollsters must be calling? Everyone I know thinks Bush is power-hungry, hypocritical lunatic. They thought that before and they think that now. The only reason they support any part of his administration's plans to fight terrorism is that we don't want him to get us all killed.
I make it a point to call or write to some entity in the mainstream press every day, but I feel sometimes that it's a grain of sand in an ocean of pro-Republican propaganda. Thank you for the job you do in keeping all us informed about what's really going on in this country.
Thank God for Buzzflash!
Speaking of pensions, did you know that people earning over $500,000 pay only about 1% of their salaries into SS & Medicare.
Did you also know that middle class families making 150,000 pay a TOTAL TAX RATE (combining income, SS & Medicare rates) that is about 4% higher than the total tax rate (income, SS & M) of a person making 500,000 and above?
Why is that? Because the very wealthy have the vast majority of their salary exempted from SS and M taxes, yielding a lower total tax rate than many two-income upper middle class families. And unlike income tax, there is no alternative minimum SS tax that applies families making over $500,000 annually.
Correcting this one inequity could make SS solvent. So why don't we make the very wealthy pay AT LEAST AS MUCH % of THEIR INCOME IN FOR SS AS the two-earner upper middle class family making $150.000.
Just another example of the lies about taxes Bushies tell you.
A BuzzFlash Reader
Seeks New Rules On Pensions
Are you believing that this spoiled little rich kid, who never held a real job in his entire life is telling us to change our soft culture? What about all his rich buddies who bought the presidency for him.
otherwise noted, all original