Wednesday, January 05, 2005

But to achieve the overhaul, the administration must "establish an important premise: the current system is heading toward an iceberg," Wehner said.

Re: quote above, who said what?

Plugging Buzzflash one more time, I found this Yahoo story there.

The success of President Bush (news - web sites)'s push to remake Social Security (news - web sites) depends on convincing the public that the system is "heading for an iceberg," according to a White House strategy e-mail that makes the case for cutting benefits promised for the future.
Calling the effort "one of the most important conservative undertakings of modern times," Karl Rove deputy Peter Wehner says in the e-mail that "the Social Security battle is one we can win." Doing so would advance the idea of limited government and could transform the nation's political landscape, he said.
. . .
The e-mail "shows the strategy is to instill panic," said Rep. Charles Rangel (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.
Wehner's e-mail urged cuts in future promised benefits as the best approach to overhaul the system to private investment accounts. Not doing so would cause "short-term economic consequences."

. . .
"This memo shows that some in the Bush administration will resort to the worst kind of scare tactics to undermine Social Security," Rangel said.
Social Security is projected to start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2018, according to Social Security trustees. It can pay full promised benefits until 2042. Then, it can cover about 73 percent of promised benefits. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (
news - web sites) predicts solvency until 2052.
[From Leigh Strope's Associated Press article "E-Mail Advises Bush on Social Security" (

This January 2, 2005 BuzzFlash Editorial marks the second in 20 consecutive editorials BuzzFlash will be publishing through January 20th

Don't think BuzzFlash has given up harping on the corporate media. It's just that we talk about it so much, we sometimes forget to highlight the role of new communication technology in simplifying the news and flow of information down to the sound bite level.
Indeed, several technological developments over the past years have created a "perfect storm" environment for a media that surfs along the crest of the news, devoid of historical context. Furthermore, home entertainment options, cable news, the Internet, cell phones, and the omnipresent television screen have resulted in the merging of entertainment, celebrity news, sensationalism, and politics into one seamless industry. We are flooded with bursts of information that appear to arrive without any historical context.

[Click the link at the top of the editorial to read more.]

To read others in the series, please see

I'm going to highlight the Buzzflash Interviews as well (
Exploring the archives will allow you to discover interviews with a number of people you mention in e-mails. Gloria Steinem, Gore Vidal, Amy Goodman, Matthew Rothschild, Molly Ivins, Margaret Cho, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Laura Flanders, John Dean, Ed Garvey, Bill Moyers, Greg Palast, Janeane Garofalo, Arianna Huffington, Randi Rhodes, Naomi Klein, Joe Conason, Jim Hightower, Bernie Sanders and so many more.

In honor of the hard work highlighting Ohio voting that's been done by both Buzzflash and U.S.
Congressman John Conyers, Jr. we'll spotlight this interview from 2001.

Didn't know Buzzflash did interviews? Again, check out the site (it's a permalink but for those not wanting to scroll around the site,

Must read John Dean column, Jim Haynes As a Stalking Horse In Torturegate: Why President Bush Renominated Him for A Federal Appellate Judgeship :

To understand the nomination of Haynes, it's important to understand some key context. On June 2, 2003, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy (D -VT), wrote to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, concerned about reports and rumors of prisoner abuse and torture.
On June 25, 2003, in his capacity as Defense Department General Counsel, Haynes responded -- assuring the Senator in
an artfully worded letter that the Administration's "policy" was "to comply with all of its legal obligations in its treatment of detainees, and in particular with legal obligations prohibiting torture."
Seeking further specifics, Leahy wrote back to Haynes. But months went by with no response. Meanwhile, on September 29, 2003, Hayes was nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Haynes's confirmation hearing was scheduled for November 19, 2003.
Late at night, on the eve of the hearing, Senator Leahy received a letter -- not from Haynes but a subordinate. "That letter was completely unresponsive to my questions," Senator Leahy said. He also complained that earlier assurances Haynes had given to him and others "were not true." As a result, Senate Democrats tried to put the brakes on Haynes's nomination.

What happened next? Read the column.

Also noteworthy, is Bill Gallagher's latest in The Niagra Falls Reporter:

The president's reaction to the Asian tsunami underscores his insensitivity, isolation and limited understanding of vital demographics in the world that ultimately affect our national interests and security. It also represents a failed opportunity to begin changing how the rest of the world views its richest and most powerful nation.
The administration's reaction to the disaster was befuddled, and its initial offers of aid were embarrassingly inadequate. The episode also points to a rule in the Bush White House. No matter how important an event may be, or how dire the warning is (See: The CIA's Presidential Daily Briefing presented on Aug. 6, 2001, at Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack within the U.S."), Bush's handlers follow this directive: Nothing disturbs the president when he's on vacation. Other than political fund-raisers, he rarely does anything outside his relaxing routine. Even when he takes a work break at the White House, Bush is meticulously programmed and predictable.


And don't miss Baghdad Burning:

The elections are set for the 29th. It's an interesting situation. The different sects and factions just can't seem to agree. Sunni Arabs are going to boycott elections. It's not about religion or fatwas or any of that so much as the principle of holding elections while you are under occupation. People don't really sense that this is the first stepping stone to democracy as western media is implying. Many people sense that this is just the final act of a really bad play. It's the tying of the ribbon on the "democracy parcel" we've been handed. It's being stuck with an occupation government that has been labeled 'legitimate' through elections. We're being bombarded with cute Iraqi commercials of happy Iraqi families preparing to vote. Signs and billboards remind us that the elections are getting closer...Can you just imagine what our history books are going to look like 20 years from now? "The first democratic elections were held in Iraq on January 29, 2005 under the ever-watchful collective eye of the occupation forces, headed by the United States of America. Troops in tanks watched as swarms of warm, fuzzy Iraqis headed for the ballot boxes to select one of the American-approved candidates..."