The BuzzFlash Mailbag
August 21, 2002
Thanks for the "dedicated link" and e-mail distribution of my letter to your community of subscribers. I can't tell you how tickled I am at the possibility of instigating my very own international media flap (if not a downright Firestorm of Controversy). Perhaps we can hope for media perceptions of Reagan Administration evildoing as "old news" old enough to warrant reasonably honest exhumation.
That 4/98 Progressive article you've found certainly lays it all out. I remember a 12/98 edition of NPR's Talk of the Nation devoted to Iraq. A call-in listener identified himself as an activist, then mentioned this curious notion of us good guys supplying Saddam Hussein with the makings for WMDs. I noticed that neither of the in-studio experts (who left host Ray Suarez noticeably perturbed with their unified denunciations of U.S. Iraq policy) chose to issue a denial.
As for that 1999 admission by the CIA which I slipped into parentheses at the end of my letter, I recall Robert Parry's consortiumnews.com reporting that mainstream media all over the country played down the significance by playing up the House committee's relatively unimportant finding that there was no evidence for the CIA's active participation in drug-smuggling (see http://www.consortiumnews.com/1999/061899a.html). As if the real story wasn't the CIA's (and presumably their White House bosses') knowledge of the Contras' dirty dealings and conscientious abetting by helping to maintain secrecy.
In addition, I noticed that our beloved local media organ the Chicago Tribune eventually (5/2/00) reported the story as a "brief," that is, as one of their daily half-dozen trivial notes from miscellaneous locales around the country, this one just happening to originate in the nation's capital. Further (yes, there's more), the Tribune's spin-frenzy even extended to a bit of editorializing in their headline: "House panel refutes CIA drug link report." That word "refutes" means that the panel not only came to a certain conclusion, but we're also to understand that it was the *correct* conclusion.
We report, you decide? Unfortunately, they decide what to report, as well as how to report it.
[BuzzFlash Note: Dan contributed "Did the Reagan Administration Supply Saddam Hussein With Anthrax?" You can find it here: http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/2002/08/17_Anthrax.html.]
I think it's fair to say that Al Gore is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. True, he'll have to earn it, as he did in his race against Bill Bradley in 2000. But he's quite popular, and there's a clear historical record of presidential popular vote winners coming back to crush their less popular opponents. (The so-called "power brokers" and press pundits might want to read up on U.S. history.)
So I thought it would be fun to speculate on potential VP selections. It's never too early, right?
Here's a list of ten VP candidates, in no particular order, along with some pros and cons. I've tried to include some really good candidates that haven't been mentioned before.
1. Joe Lieberman, Senator from Connecticut.
2. Robert Rubin, former Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton.
3. Bill Richardson, former Energy Secretary under President Clinton and current candidate for Governor of New Mexico. (Note: Only eligible if he wins New Mexico election.)
4. Diane Feinstein, Senator from California.
5. Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. Representative from Texas.
6. William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the United States.
7. Defeated Democratic primary candidates (John Kerry, John Edwards, etc.)
8. Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State under President Clinton.
9. Colin Powell, current Secretary of State under President Bush (#2).
10. Jean Carnahan, Senator from Missouri. (Eligible regardless of Missouri election outcome, though more favored if she wins.)
- - - - -
You MUST surely realize that this was PLANNED by Bob Barr; he is no fool.
Barr moved his residence from a "Sure Win" to one where his primary opponent had 77% of his old constituency to Barr's 17%.
Bob Barr has OTHER plans. He can now draw his $15,000/ month House retirement and accept an appointment by Bush to a higher office. Too, because of his contacts, Barr will be courted by many. Can you say "Carlyle Group"?
Don't feel sorry for Bob Barr. This was all planned....
A BuzzFlash Reader
Looks like Bob Barr is out! May the meltdown of Repugnicans continue!
Yay, yay, yay!!!
Nancy in Ferndale WA, who just sent you a contribution for all your good work....
Hooray about Bob Barr! Of course, now what position will Bush appoint him to? Will he run Barr for VP in 2004 or will he just get a cabinet position? You know he will pop up somewhere. However, I'll bet this has those radical Repubs sweating tonight. Hot Dog!
A BuzzFlash Reader
Subj: Lynn Samuels
Sorry to hear that the show was canceled.
Next question. Do we have to wait for the show to be canceled to hear from the talk show hosts across the country that are carrying the message?
I would be interested in reading an interview with Nancy Skinner of WLS Chicago. For those not in the Chicago area, WLS is the carrier of right wing pundits, Rush/Hannity/Drudge/DrLaura but on Sunday afternoons we get 3 hours of pure Bush Bashing from Nancy Skinner and Ski Anderson. I have seen Nancy recently on cable TV talk and she holds her own. On her radio show, she has the audacity to do interview and Q&A with the likes of Greg Palast and Bob Sommersby. Her website often links to BuzzFlash and she is carrying the message faithfully.
The progressives need a counter to the Ann Coulters of the world. What better than a comedian and talk show host who engages in no-holds-barred Bush Bashing!! The Ski and Skinner show is a bright spot during my Sunday afternoon projects and can be captured on webcast.
I am sure that other major metro areas have their own Nancy Skinners. It would be great if Buzz would promote them so the readers could keep the pressure on their employers to keep them. Anyway, it is just a suggestion.
a faithful reader
[BuzzFlash Note: Our very own Gloria Lalumia has a list of progressive radio shows, which you can finder here: http://www.zianet.com/insightanalytical/radio.htm.]
Subj: Pop-Up Ads
Individuals can use a FREEWARE program called NAVISCOPE to block Internet Pop-Ups---and much more! A full list of the program's features and capabilities is available at http://www.naviscope.com/, and of course, it can be downloaded there as well. Although I use it with Windows ME, it's only `officially' available for Windows 95, 98, and NT and Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and Opera. (I haven't tried it with Mozilla). Installation is quite simple.
I have just read with (mild) interest the fact that Donahue's ratings are slipping and MSNBC is apparently concerned that they cannot compete with the more conservative CNN and the absolutely over- the-top crazy morons at Fox. Here's a clue: liberals are probably watching something else on TV if they are watching TV. Maybe they are watching something cool on the Discovery Channel because liberals tend to be vitally interested in things that truly engage the mind and allow us to think for ourselves. Or maybe they are reading a book instead of watching Donahue. Or attending a play. I pride myself on being a liberal...and I have to say that Donahue has espoused some of my favorite causes in the past. But that doesn't mean I am going to put my mental development on hold while I stare at the boob tube for an hour.
Conservatives are, in my opinion, very concerned with getting their ducks all in a row. They need things like O'Reilly to make sure they are all on the same narrow path, beating the same boring drum. They are not very diverse thinkers at all--hence the name. Conservative. Liberals, on the other hand, are vitally concerned with the world around them. They are interested in developing their minds. Sitting for an hour glued to the television listening to someone ELSE try to mold our minds is not exactly an enjoyable activity. We know how to think. We know WHAT to think. Conservatives don't. So they flock to the television to get their daily dose of mind juice.
Buck up MSNBC. Liberals are not going to save your ratings. We do what we do because it is the RIGHT thing to do. Not because it is the popular thing. I like myself the way I am. And so do the rest of the liberals I know. And if you want to fall back on that adage that money talks...then get in line behind the rest of the conservatives. That is what they are all about anyway. Money. Try doing something just because it's the right thing to do.
I am not going through the world with blinders on. I see what Bush and his slimy ilk are up to. I know and understand that they want to blow up the world. Watching it all on television and listening to his minions spout their ideology is not going to help that situation. My vote in November is going to help that situation. I see a quiet revolution shaping up in November. All the conservative polling organizations are trying desperately to put out the news that Bush has incredibly high ratings. Well, he doesn't. This country is sick and tired of his BS and I have a very strong feeling that the Repugs are going to be sitting back on their heels wondering what the hell happened. If they don't steal everything as they did before.
As liberals, we need to be watchful--and be involved--but we don't need to be glued to our television sets to do it. TV is chewing gum for the eyes. We have better things to do with our minds.
I agree with your "link teaser" about the brilliance of Paul Krugman's latest New York Times column. In particular, I was impressed by his first paragraph not only reporting that the VA will no longer actively seek out veterans who need and are entitled to government health-care assistance, but then immediately zeroing in on the nasty implication of saving bucks by conscientiously letting such primal needs go unfulfilled.
My one quibble with the column is Professor Krugman's describing as "inexorably growing" a "gap between the image and the reality of the Bush administration's policies," in specific reference to that compassionately conservative fetish for loudly extolling the virtues of this or that group of ordinary citizens or public-interest institution, while quietly and simultaneously trashing their interests as a matter of policy. If this tendency were in fact growing inexorably, then it would have been far less evident at a substantially earlier point in the administration's history. And yet, it happens that Krugman's own New York Times colleague Frank Rich was already connecting just these sorts of dots more than a year ago (6/9/01), and was already characterizing the pattern in extreme terms. I quote extensively (but hopefully within the bounds of "fair comment") since the column is only available from the NYT archive for a fee:
I mean, let's give credit to this administration for "hitting the ground running," with its broad sociopolitical strategy fully developed and ready for implementation from the get-go.
I am certainly upset to hear that Donahue's ratings are slipping.....I am enjoying the show immensely.....It is the first time I have been able to stand listening to a show because isn't slanted to the right wing.....I have almost given up watching any television anymore......He presents both side of an issue and very much equally .....Last night I watched him interview Studs Terkel...(or maybe Studs interviewed him lol) It was great to watch a man of that age (90) articulate so very well, and such good ideas too.... I hope that your buzz readers will start watching his show and bring up those ratings...it is very much worth watching .....Finally someone who airs our side of issues.....
Before the dances of joy over Bob Barr's dead political career become too impassioned, let me tell you why you should be careful at thinking you are getting what you want. I'm a Georgian, and until redistricting, was a constituent of John Linder.
Bob Barr might have been the worst of the impeachment whackos, but his love for the spotlight, his rampant hypocrisy on everything from personal relationships to the legislation he sponsors, made him an easy example of the corruptness of the GOP. Not only would he do things like sue Bill Clinton for $30 Million for defamation of character while sponsoring a bill that would limit similar lawsuits to $250,000.00, but he could be guaranteed to go on television at the drop of the hat. This type of mental disconnect, though, also made him capable of belonging to no one: he was the only congressman I saw on "Politically Incorrect" last year questioning the USA Patriot Act and the power grab by the executive branch and attorney general. He was far more forceful, earlier, than even the Democrats were. Being nearly libertarian meant he wouldn't be willing to submit to the Bush Family Strangle Hold.
Now let me tell you about John Linder. John Linder is a quiet man, married to the same woman for nearly 40 years, who doesn't rock the boat, and just likes everyone to get along. While Barr's campaign ads insisted "Barr's more gooder," with a show pony next to a Clydesdale; Linder's billboards had him walking in a backyard with a child, saying, "At the end of the day, politics is about the children." (Sappy manipulation that is obviously a lie: if politics were about the children, wouldn't the environment, child care, health care, head start matter More?)
Linder was the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee during the Clinton impeachment. He wasn't foaming at cameras like Bob Barr; he was just an enabler of the propaganda for the process. Which did more damage? A whacko nut like Barr ranting incoherently into microphones, or a quiet manipulator of letters to people across the nation about how sacred and important the Oval Office is, and how that terrible Bill Clinton sullied it? Somehow, I think it's the latter.
An enabler in the world of the Bush Family Cabal is far more dangerous than a crazed blowhard with allegiances to no one. Despite Judicial Watch' s move toward suing Dick Cheney for various oil-related reasons, Barr's lawyer in his Clinton suit is Larry Klayman. And Linder WILL win in November; the area of Georgia he represents is all the worst things about Atlanta suburbs, and about as selfish, secluded, and lily-white as any caricature of the South from the 1950s, only with far more money and their racism kept indoors.
Be careful what you ask for; you just might get it.
I remember listening to Imus back in 70's on WGAR in Cleveland when he was "perpetually pixulated." He was a lot more fun to listen to then.
Now he's just another rageful dry drunk!
otherwise noted, all original