The BuzzFlash Mailbag
June 18, 2002
Dear Dr. Kirwan,
Yesterday's events at OSU were disturbing. What we were seeing was academic aggression toward 1st amendment rights to suit the needs of the conservative agenda. Non-disruptive, non-aggressive protesters attempted to practice peacefully their civil liberties while politely allowing the speaker to do likewise, and yet you threatened the protectors with arrest and expulsion (quietly echoing the views of the ignorant parents in attendance who called these protesters "communists." OSU alumni, I presume?). The icing on the cake was your dictating to the crowd how they should react to the keynote speaker, President Bush. I live one hour from Nuremburg, and I couldn't help but make comparisons to the bygone years of the Third Reich. Put more gently, are you running a university over there or "Wheel of Fortune?"
Recall the commencement address last December at California State University Sacramento. The SacBee editor's comments on the importance of preserving our civil liberties was protested so loudly by a conservative crowd that she couldn't finish her address. The audience was outwardly aggressive and actually prevented the speaker from speaking, yet no one was threatened with arrest or expulsion. Can you imagine? Conservatives being denied their civil liberties while denying a speaker hers? That would be fodder for a month's worth of rant on the Rush Limbaugh Show. I couldn't help but notice that, as with CSUS, there was no threat of expulsion or arrest when President Clinton spoke at your university a few years ago. Are you beginning to see a pattern?
I saw the OSU commencement on the internet and was very disappointed with your banal presentation in general and the university's denying peaceful protesters THEIR civil liberties in particular. I look forward to an improved version of a commencement exercise at the upcoming ceremony at Stanford University.
Meanwhile, despite OSU having lost face and credibility in the academic world, you still have your football team. On that you and the President of the United States can heartily rejoice. (You're the Buckeyes, right?)
We're referring to the CSU Sacramento graduates, and their friends and family members, who hooted and heckled until Sacramento Bee Publisher Janis Besler Heaphy was forced to stop five minutes into a mid-year commencement address at Arco Arena on Saturday. Heaphy apparently incited the crowd by daring to suggest -- in a thoughtful and gracefully written speech -- that Americans must balance civil liberties against security demands in these troubled times. "The Founding Fathers understood that the free exchange of ideas and opinions is fundamental to democracy," she said. Not at Arco Arena, apparently....(more)
A transcript of the actual January 02 CSUS address that wasn't heard. Perhaps you might invite Ms. Heaphy to address your student body and faculty on the value of the Constitution.
Subj: Does Dubya Have a Jerry Ford Problem?
PWM, Livermore, CA
Subj: A Letter to the Washington Post
I could hardly breathe having read the article on Bush's speech at Ohio State. "Basking in adulation?" Was you reporter aware -- like reporters for AP were -- that students were threatened with expulsion and arrests if there was anything BUT "thunderous" applause? How dare you call yourself a serious and objective newspaper? That's it -- never again will I read you even for free online! Enough is enough.
The Ministry of Truth: strikes again. AP has been "noted in the building."
AP totally scrubbed out the threats to arrest and expel protesters, and replaced it with the following:
Rebecca Knight has concisely put together what we Mailbaggers have been saying for a long time in her 6/14 article, The Media's Violation of Public Trust.
We all watched the media throughout the campaigns of Gore and Bush and it was evident they stacked the deck against Gore. We began calling them media whores for just that very reason. The bulk of the media is owned by corporations, of which Bush is their poster boy. That brings us to the 'power of the pen.' We have learned the power depends on who owns the pen.
We witnessed the dirty tricks of the republicans during the campaign and in the Florida recounts. None of that maneuvering was as criminal as the media, who controlled the power of the pen. Criminal? Yes, criminal! The media intentionally slanted its' reporting and turned accurate, factual, journalism back to The Stone Age. What were their crimes? Through being untruthful, unobjective, factless and biased, the media intentionally misled the public. They continue to mislead.
We have an illegitimate president in this country. We also have an illegitimate media!
Now we have Russia going back to multiple war heads, something our so-called missile defense system can not handle. Bush having asserted a right to make preemptive strikes, it is not surprising that Russia is reconsidering its position. Since they know that the current administration is manned with believers in nuclear survivability, in preemptive strikes, and an extreme right-wing ideology they may well be planning their own preemptive capability. They would be fools if they didn't. Bush and his right-wing ideologues are destabilizing the world and moving us closer to a third World War, one that his father and his father's advisors thought was winnable. Thanks to the media and the spineless politicians Bush may well lead us all to disaster.
Robert E. Reynolds, Orange Park Fl
I am always amazed at how a bzillionaire like Bush can push Americans into volunteer work when so many unemployed people have the full time task of seeking a job right now. It is important to find the paying kind of work first before going off on a volunteer venture. Finding a job is a full time job. This is what irritates me about having a president that has been so sheltered all his life that he cannot possibly connect with the needs of the people that he is threatening to arrest if they even criticize him or protest his policies. I guess he is just like dear old Dad who went into the grocery store one day and was amazed at what a price scanner was. Please understand that I have no problem with volunteer work, and I have done it well before Bush came along, but right now I have to find a real job that pays. It was easier to find work under Clinton. I do remember that.
Hypocrisy Unlimited-- On the June 14 Crossfire, another "small government conservative" attempts to gut the Constitution.
Subj: NewsFlash - Are you safer now than you were four years ago?
This one's hilarious! In the New York Times, of all places:
Huh!?! In fact, the whole article is peppered with this kind of insanity:
[Right. How about, "that bitch from Minnesota" - anyone say that?]
[And the issue was....stealing someone else's legislation?]
EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 2001-261
This is from the archive, but I still cannot get over it. It is the Ex Order signed by JEB on Sept 7th, 2001 declaring Florida under Martial Law and it refers to "acts of terrorism" (Section 3). What a timing coincidence! And for Boy George to be in Florida just seems to me to be just too much of coincidence. Wonder when he arrived? I would sure like to see someone connect these dots. Was it also "JEB KNEW TOO"?
Subj: Civics Question for OSU Associate VP
How do you defend your outrageous, crypto-fascist suppression of free speech at the OSU graduation? Do especially generous alumni get to wear pretty brown shirts at the school's functions, in keeping with the university's new reich-friendly policies?
Does the Nazi vernacular disturb you? Perhaps I should use Stalinist metaphors. Do you have a history background? Judging from your actions Friday, I would guess not.
Here's my question to Unansweredquestions.org:
Was Dick Cheney somehow in charge of counterterrorism prior to 9-11?
Recently Frank Rich wrote in the article 'Department of Homeland Insecurity': "On May 8, 2001, the president charged Mr. Cheney with overseeing a "national effort" to coordinate all federal programs for responding to domestic attacks in league with a new Office of National Preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
That day the vice president went on CNN to explain his duty. After noting that "one of our biggest threats as a nation" may include "a terrorist organization overseas," Mr. Cheney said: "We need to look at this whole area, oftentimes referred to as homeland defense. The president's asked me to take on the responsibility of overseeing all of that, reviewing the plans that are out there today."
Did Mr. Cheney take on that responsibility with the same urgency with which he met with Enron executives to develop energy policy? A FEMA spokesman this week said that the Office of National Preparedness was up and running by early last summer; Tom Ridge said on the "Today" show yesterday that the new Homeland Security Department would "continue the work the vice president started back in May of 2001." But when Ari Fleischer was asked to list the vice president's policy portfolio at a press briefing on June 29, 2001, he made no mention of such work, according to the White House transcript. When a reporter then specifically asked him if he could recall what task force Mr. Cheney had been appointed to head "after energy," Mr. Fleischer answered, "No." After Sept. 11, Barton Gellman of The Washington Post reported flatly that the government-wide review that Mr. Bush had entrusted to Mr. Cheney had never taken place."
Why were the weekly White House briefings of the Counter-terrorism Security Group formed by Clinton never resumed under Bush? [see The Counter-Terrorist by Lawrence Wright, New Yorker]
Did this have anything to do with Cheney?
A BuzzFlash Reader
A memo to OSU
I am appalled and angered to read that, only yesterday, Ohio State University prevented its graduates from exercising their First Amendment rights to nonviolently protest the commencement address by George W. Bush.
Rest assured that NONE of my four children will be attending Ohio State University, if I have anything to say about it.
For this year's graduates to be threatened, at the last minute, with expulsion and loss of their diplomas, if they so much as silently stood and turned their backs on the corrupt, illegitimate, incompetent and frightened little man who currently occupies the White House, teaches the lesson that this is a country (and this, their university) that cares NOTHING about their constitutional rights. I would have thought that the administrators of a large, public university such as OSU would have had more understanding of its role in a free, democratic society -- that of a bastion of, rather than an active hindrance to, academic freedom.
But I guess that "free, democratic society" I'm speaking of is simply the one I grew up in -- not the economically-precarious, warmongering empire we've had imposed on us since the theft of the 2000 election (and which your craven, repressive actions seem to welcome).
Michael P. Scott, Santa Rosa, CA
Now that's chutzpah!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subj: Alert Your Readers To Watch
The FBI or CIA should hire this kid!!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Something to keep in mind
From the Defense Daily Network: Defense Industry news, analysis and business information
A BuzzFlash Reader
For all of you out there who saw through the White House's 'dirty-bomb' ploy but who are aware and concerned about the far-more serious threat posed by the Bush Energy Dept. proposal to send WEAPONS-GRADE plutonium from Colorado to South Carolina by truck and rail for 'reprocessing', here's the latest (and none too comforting) news:
And if that weren't alarming enough, here's an update on the British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. (BNFL) shipment of a QUARTER TON of mixed-oxide plutonium fuel (MoX) from Japan to Britain. If you're not familiar with this story, read the Guardian report below and George Monbiot's latest column--guaranteed to make a anti-nuclear activist out of you!. TRANSPORTING 500 LBS OF HIGHLY-RADIOACTIVE ENRICHED PLUTONIUM 18,000 MILES THROUGH SOME VERY DANGEROUS SEAS ON LARGELY UNESCORTED VESSELS IS SHEER MADNESS! ASIDE FROM THE VERY REAL THREAT OF SEIZURE OR SABOTAGE BY TERRORISTS, THINK OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE THAT COULD RESULT IF THE PLUTONIUM-BEARING SHIP SANK OR CAUGHT FIRE (as happened to a BNFL vessel in April)!!!
Check out this Union of Concerned Scientists brief on Mox fuel:
In the context of Bush's suppression of dissent at Ohio State, I thought you might want to post a link to a story about the court case involving a Bush heckler from 1998. Given the range of your coverage, I'm sure you've heard about it. But I don't remember seeing any link to this story. In any event, here's the link:
And here's the story itself:
A BuzzFlash Reader
Reading the articles on the FBI dragging their feet on the investigation of the anthrax attacks leads me to question one revelation.
In one article, it is revealed that someone was frequenting in the Ft. Detrick facility after hours. That was derived from the fact that lab-counters proved that someone was using equipment after hours. There are no capabilities of telling you who was using it.
Most research facilities that deal in sensitive material, chemicals and viruses have computerized card-readers at every entrance point. The card-readers identify each individual who enters the facility by ID number, and time of day or evening. After hours and when the research facility is locked up, there is absolutely no way an individual can gain entrance without striping an ID card through a card-reader. It would be highly irregular if a research facility like Ft. Detrick did not have card-reader security devices at every entry point. If Ft. Detrick has such security devices, is it possible the FBI is strangely quiet about them in their footdragging investigations?
__IRS Scrubs Soft Money Donation Disclosures; Katherine Harris's Reports Mysteriously Disappear
Public Citizen, which tracks the flow of "527" soft money flooding into congressional campaigns, has found serious problems with the way the IRS is administering the disclosure system and specifically pointed to Katherine Harris' mysteriously blank records. "It's not clear if [soft money groups with missing records] failed to file or whether the IRS lost their reports; the IRS can't say with certainty. In other cases, reports on the IRS Web site appear and then mysteriously disappear without explanation. For instance, as of May 31, 2002, the most recent disclosure report for "American Values in Democracy Project, Inc.," [what a sense of irony these people must have] a group chaired by Katherine Harris, Florida's secretary of state, showed nothing but four entirely blank pages." Is Bush's IRS scrubbing reports that would expose Katherine Harris' corruption?
A BuzzFlash Reader
IT HAS STARTED!!!:...In the Tampa Tribune on Saturday June 15, 2002, the Crime Tracker is published in regards to crime reported to the the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, during the period of a week. The crimes are listed by Zip Code. Listed below is one such listing under the ZIP Code 33584.
"Broadway Ave E, Block 10900, homeland security, June 4, 12:50 P. M."
Usually crimes such as assault/battery, traffic crash, residential burglary, etc are listed, now we have HOMELAND SECURITY!
THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE INTERESTED! Are people going to start vanishing?
I am going to make a prediction right now. The next time someone attacks America (and we have been assured that it will certainly happen, there is absolutely no way they can be prevented), the blame will be put entirely on Saddam and Iraq and that will be our invitation to go in there and take him out. I would not be surprised if it happens in the next month or so. I am very frightened by this administration.
Let's get something straight from the 'get-go' -- I've come to loathe Nader and what he did to this country in November 2000. He could have had it all: large rallies, an ego bath AND the love and affection of millions and millions more by urging his supporters (during, say, the last two weeks of the campaign) to throw their weight and votes against W Bush and behind Gore. But, no, his ego would not deign to let the best interests of the citizenry and history take the lead . . .
That said, what's a Democrat to do these days?! On one hand, I am energized and heartened by BuzzFlash's and its readers' (and Bartcop, and MWO, and other pockets of unRight Wing Media) watchdogging of the Moron's Administration. On the other hand, I am utterly dumbfounded by the Democratic "Leadership's" constantly planting big, fat hickey's on The Moron's bum. Some call The Moron "Bunnypants," a not-so-inaccurate moniker recalling his shameless Chickenhawkness.
But, in upon reflection, The Moron does not hesitate hesitate to throw 'round his featherlight weight as if he were a real man, while, in contrast, the Democratic "Leadership" (save for Patrick Leahey, I think) seems all too eager to fall all over itself to give The Moron credibility -- whether it's over his obsession with Saddam (i.e., to vindicate his feckless father's failure to remove Saddam over 10 years ago) or remaining silent when The Moron and his minions play 'Police State' by crushing the voices (or even the backs) of dissent at Ohio State.
So, do I say "Yeah for Tom and Dick!" when they quail in under the threat of Karl Rove's Ministry of Hate, or do I ... hell, what do I do?
BuzzFlash is one of the most important news on the internet that speaks truth.....not paid off by the corporate boys. My hats off to you BuzzFlash...keep on pissin off those lemmings who refuse to think out of the box!
This is THE most ridiculous, and shameless spin I have ever seen from any Politician, ever.
I've been on your e-mail list for alerts only two days and I am soooo grateful I found you! You are a lifeline for someone isolated in right-wing land. Thank you!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Northern Republicans - explain to your constituents why you are part of a movement that says the North was wrong, and Lincoln was an oppressor!
Today's Limbaugh show interviewed Thomas J. DiLorenzo, talking about how the South was really the "right" side in the Civil War, the North and Lincoln were wrong and against State's Rights, how the North winning led to the "big government" we have now, and most importantly (from the show) how Republicans promise to appoint judges who will reverse the North's victory! (BuzzFlash previously posted my column on this, http://www.BuzzFlash.com/contributors/2002/05/15_Lincoln.html.)
With the Limbaugh show is bringing this "Party of the Confederacy" stuff to the Republican mainstream the Democratic Leadership has an opportunity to embarrass Republicans in Northern states, and split the Republicans off into the southern regional party they have really become.
Today and this year is the 30th anniversary of two events in American culture: the Watergate break-in (today) and the release in 1972 of "The Godfather". If one were to merge these two scenarios, we would get what is going on today. But instead of "The Plumbers" and their incompetence, leaving tape on doors, etc., we now have a crack team (pun intended) running our administration, and when the son consolidates his father's power, well....read the papers!
I am quite nervous, as are most of your readers, about the seemingly unchallenged forward movement of the bulldozer. And the VERY FEW VOICES that have surfaced as whistle-blowers, like Ms. Rowley, have been silenced effectively by the corporately-owned media. ("The Daily Show" last Monday offered a perfect, graphic and funny-if-it-weren't-true example of how the "Breaking News" tool is used to counter any actual bad news for the administration.) The only reason Nixon got caught was because of a "deep throat," the ambition of two young newspeople, and the players, like John Dean, who began to tell the facts -- oh yes, and then there were those tapes -- the final smoking gun. There may be no "deep throat" anymore and, as for two young newspeople, any ambition today would drive them NOT to go after such a story if they wanted to keep their corporately-endowed jobs.
Which leaves us the leaks, the Whistleblowers, and the smoking gun. Colleen Rowley did it, but her message was muted by administration tactics. The book "Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth" is scheduled to be released in English next month. If the premise of that book is in fact true, if John O'Neill, head of the FBI's counter-terrorism desk, quit in June 2001 because the Bush administration had blocked any investigation that might lead to Saudi Arabia or the Bin Laden family while they negotiated an oil pipeline with the Taliban, if that's really true there must be others who could verify this, friends or associates of O'Neill (he sounds like the type of person who might have complained to others and must have been asked by many why he quit).
If not, the book, with O'Neill killed in the World Trade Center on 9-11, may only pass as "hearsay." If it's not true, if O'Neill was just a disgruntled agent, even if the two French authors are just writing sensational fiction to sell books, we still have to ask many questions about the incompetence of our intelligence agencies, and the wholesale loss of protection of our Bill of Rights, unless you own a gun. If it is true, then that would be the smoking gun -- the whole scenario would go back to "The Godfather" and the aggressive threat made by the Bush administration to the Taliban (who we now have learned basically was the same as talking to Al-Qaida) of blanketing them with gold or bombs (a paraphrase of the unrefusable offer of "Either your brains or your signature will be on that contract"). If that threat was in fact made, then the response was the Al-Qaida family's surprise "hit" of 9/11.
Does anyone out there know anything? Will anyone ask the questions that need to be asked?
Here's something I haven't seen on the BuzzFlash site -- but I think every BuzzFlash reader would get a big kick out of it!
A BuzzFlash Reader
I suggest that you get your graphics dept busy and use the Howdy Doody concept that I read from one of your contributors. Buffalo Carl or Buffalo Dick and Howdy Doody.
JD Hartgrove, Waco,Texas
In re: Ari's newsbriefing Ari said that the alleged "dirty bomb" plotter could be held "for the duration". Has the US suspended habeas corpus and due process? I'm not a lawyer (just someone who likes to learn about law), but my understanding is that habeas corpus was established as a rule of law in this country to prevent people from being held without counsel or without specific charges -- here's the definition:
So, why isn't the press asking this question: "Has the US suspended habeas corpus? Whatever happened to due process?" I know quite well why the lapdog press isn't asking these questions. We need to ask them loud and clear. I personally have no truck with criminals or Jose Padilla, and I'm not advocating the release of such prisoners. I am simply saying that the rule of law calls for due process, and this seems to be sadly lacking these days as this administration continues to seize power and subvert our Constitution.
Keep up the great work, BuzzFlash!
A dedicated BuzzFlash reader
I just got back from protesting Bu$h's visit to Atlanta. I was able to get within about 100 yards of the church he was speaking at. I got there early; the people attending the event were just starting to show up. Eventually, the cops blocked the street; it was time. As the motorcade sped by 10 feet from me, I saw the president(sic) through the glass of the limo with a really goofy expression on his face. (They need to back off on his medication a little bit.) I was alone on the corner at this point, and he was looking right at me. My sign said:
Connect THESE dots
with red dots outlining the O I L. He HAD to have seen it. (Although it might have been a bit much for him to read by himself.)
While he was speaking in the church, 20-30 other protesters drifted in. Several clean air advocates and a bunch of general anti-Bu$h people, covering all four corners of the closest intersection to the church. As the motorcade pulled out to leave, several of these people gave some sort of odd salute to the motorcade, I think it was only one finger. Again, they were within ten feet of the car. After that, we waited around to make sure all the shiny republicans saw us as they came out. At this point, one of the other protesters shouted "Heil Bushler, Heil Bushler, Heil Bushler".
All in all, a good experience, especially considering that this is the first time I've ever done something like this.
Atlanta is no longer Bu$h country!
For obvious reasons, I think BuzzFlash should refer to "First Amendment Zones" as Anti-First Amendment Zones.
As I understand it, their original purpose was to protect airline passengers from annoying harassment and proselytization at airports. That's not unreasonable.
However, their existence at political events is an insult to the Bill of Rights.
Bill Potts, Roseville, CA
1) As election season rolls around, Ashcroft will announce terrorist threats against polling areas. Strangely, the areas targeted will be predominantly Democratic in voter makeup. This will result in depressed turnout giving the GOP a de facto victory. I don't have to tell you what will happen to any court challenge that reaches the Supreme Court.
2) If that doesn't work, BushCo will just be more straight forward and cancel the election for the "duration of the emergency". Once again, the Court will uphold this move, with Federal troops called out to quell any "threats to the security of the State."
David Allen, High Point, NC
otherwise noted, all original