Monday, December 12, 2005

Re: Responses to CounterPunch, Bob the Bore, and George the Disconnected

December 12, 2005

The last few postings on this blog have received quite a few email responses, more responses than usual. Almost all of them are set forth below.

Lawrence R. Velvel

From: charlie ehlen
Date: Monday, December 05, 2005 6:22 AM
Subject: 3 Dec Counterpunch

Dean Velvel,

Sir, thank you for a most informative article.

I agree with you that the Plame affair and the secret prisons are two separate matters. They are very different, as you state in the article.

I also strongly agree with you that honesty DOES matter. This even more so when applied to judges. A Federal judge and most important, a Supreme Court judge, must be honest. Of course I am old enough, and damn fool enough, to think that our president and vice president should be honest also.

I thank you for your past efforts to bring suit to stop the Viet Nam war. I was a Marine and did a tour in Viet Nam. Another imperial war of choice, just as Iraq is. If only I had known then what I learned later. As they say, hind sight is 20/20.

Maybe someday in our lifetimes we will get some really honest people as judges and leaders in our country. Probably not, but I still have some hope. As another writer put it recently, I am not optimistic, but I am hopeful.

Thank you for your wonderful article. Thank you also for your time reading this reply.

charlie ehlen
Glenmora, LA

From: jerrod montgomery
Date: Sunday, December 04, 2005 10:51 AM
Subject: nothing happening

Dear Mr. Velvel,

I have been reading for years now, about the lies and deceptions of the Bush administration. There were a considerable amount of such articles written before George W. Bush was elected to his second term. In spite of all of these articles, absolutely nothing seems to be happening. Yes, we have the indictment of G. Libby. That is something positive. We also have the percentage of people in America rising, who believe that the Bush administration has been pulling the wool over our eyes. In my opinion, the only way we are going to get out of this mess, is to get rid of Mr. Bush and his cabinet. The process is called impeachment. From what I have read, there are more than enough legal reasons for such a process to begin. To me, all of congress has been an immense disappointment. They have continually allotted billions for this war. You being an expert in the field of law, may have some suggestions as to how to get an impeachment started, and if it is a realistic action.

All I read in the newspapers and on the internet are opinions about how bad Bush is, yet no concrete suggestions as how to get rid of him. <> has been in existence for a number of years, but nothing is happening. Nothing...Nothing...Nothing.

Greeting from Switzerland
C. Jerrod Montgomery

Date: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 4:55 AM
Subject: Iraq, Brains, Lies

Regarding brains - sadly, I am one of the opposite kind of people to Bush and Cheney. I tested at a genius IQ level all throughout school. Had all A's at an elite private girl's school in St. Louis every year. My Father refused to consider paying the airfare back and forth from home to college if it cost much of anything and he really wanted me to attend the same University as my sister so that he could cross the river and live in a small Illinois town, still commute to work and get Illinois instate tuition for both of us. Having been told that my dreams of Princeton or Harvard or Yale were out of the question (I only received a quarter scholarship to one of them - I didn't fit any good profile for receiving scholarships), I stopped caring at all. So I went to SIUE. A terrible school. Where I received all A's. Was nominated for every award available at the school and within the state to represent the Social Sciences at my school and received all but one. Graduated Summa cum Laude during a recession with no contacts because my Father did not allow me to take the unpaid DC internship that I was awarded at the CATO Institute - I had to get a paying job to help pay my expenses every summer of course. Plus, who could afford to live in DC without pay anyway?

I ended up taking a Secretarial job after college. Looking back, I realize that there were many things I could have done to have achieved a far better end result. However, without any experienced adult guiding me toward the possibilities that I did have, I really had a small chance of figuring it out. Especially since most middle class kids whose parents were poor as children themselves really have no clue what getting into a highpower job might take. Pardon my writing skills today, btw. I know this email is a nightmare, but I stopped trying to write a long time ago. No one cared after college because all that matters is that I still can find the mistakes my bosses make. Which I can.

At any rate, I once had ambitions of becoming a presidential speechwriter. I know that seems hard to believe based on reading this email, but I seriously had a gift when I used it regularly. A muse, I used to say, lived in me and wrote my papers for me.

I am nobody. But I know that I can understand in an instant what our current President would need help and time to grasp if he ever could.

Am I a social expert? Do I know how to impress with my clothing, my socially delightful repartee, my confidence and ease? Please. I would be the one needing training in these things. He has it all over me in these things. Though I daresay, I am by far the more diplomatic.

So we choose the frat guys. The popular dumb dumbs. We do it from about third grade on as far as I can tell. What is the surprise that we continue to do this into our old age? We all like the popular, beautiful people. Not the brainiacs, the nerdos, the bookworms - the losers. Being a genius is a drawback if you aren't a mad scientist.


From: john steppling
Date: Saturday, December 03, 2005 11:25 PM
Subject: counterpunch piece

Excellent piece.

I am an american now living in Poland (I teach at the national film school.....though why i am telling you this is perhaps unclear)...

anyway, I have said for years that Cheney (let alone bush, duh) is a moron. Funny to finally hear some others say it. I remember back when I worked in Hollywood I would get irritated when people would apologize for, then simply, actor Arnold --- and say, well, but you know, he's pretty smart! No, he's a true moron....clinically definable. I guess there is just a tendency to impart virutes on our "leaders" and celebrities. Who knows.

So, well done....and the remarks on Alito are quite relevant too --- god, what an era we live in.

Onward, John Steppling

From: Daniel Cassidy
Date: Saturday, December 03, 2005 2:24 PM
Subject: I agree with your analysis but...

Mr. Velvel:

Nice piece. I totally agree with the analysis and underlying politics , except for one strand: academic ability and performance in college as a predicate of future "success."

Doesn't that really beg the question as to what "success" means? Material success? Becoming CEO of Haliburton or President of the World Bank? Wolfowitz and I were in the same class at Cornell. I am a humble professor at a small college. He is King of the Neocons and the Tsar of the World Bank. I have held on to my values and soul. He has lost his. I feel abundantly more successful than Wolfy, the intellectual criminal.

Does success mean that all the "distinguished" Ivy League and Oxford Professors who advocated, promoted and taught racialist faux-science and eugenics were successful? Or how about scientists for hire? Does their brilliance in creating ever more lethal weapons of mass destruction to destroy "lesser" races and nations mean they are successful? If one is a racist or Zionist or American imperialist the answer is yes.

In fact, sad to say many of our colleges - including my own alma maters of Cornell and Columbia -- are producing the Irving Libbys of tomorrow.

Our academic system is as corrupt as our government and culture. It continues to create a sociopath intellectual elite that rivals Germany's "elites" under Nazism. The little red school house is painted with the blood of the poor and dispossessed.

Daniel Cassidy

From: Arthur Poorman
Date: Sunday, December 04, 2005 11:12 AM
Subject: ETC. ETC. and Lies;

Mr. Velvel:

Your article was first rate and I enjoyed very much. It was very insightful and very informative. One realizes these truths by a gut feeling, but can not quite know for sure. Again your article was just excellent.------Arthur

From: Jack Coppersmith
Date: Monday, December 05, 2005 5:58 PM
Subject: Your Woodward article

Dear Dean Velvel,

Like you, I tried to read the first few of Woodward's books and found them a snore. Didn't bother after that, although I read some reviews of the later ones that seemed to confirm my earlier impression. And, from reading some excerpts, the writing about Casey defied believability. Nevertheless this fellow seems to have been able to snow the Washington Post as to his value to their staff, even after his latest hypocrisy. The obvious conclusion as to his fitness to remain an editor or writer or even janitor of the paper seems to be escaping the judgment of his bosses. Which is sad commentary on the state of journalism in this country. The papers which should be the beacons of integrity and honesty seem to have forgotten their past standards and we see the Judith Millers and Woodwards, among others, who are being retained over many years when they shouldn't have been. Hopefully this too shall pass, but in the meantime where do I go where I can trust what I read?

Jack Coppersmith

From: Dirk Sabin
Date: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 12:07 PM
Subject: Counterpunch bit on institutionalized prevarication

Dear Mr. Velvel,

You hit upon likely the defining goal of the neo-conservative, bi-partisan statists: Obliteration of the Separation of Powers and subsequent elevation of the office of the President to that of a Viceroy whose sovereign is not the people but a kind of Corporate-government combine. Putatively in pursuit of the strength and efficiency needed in a dangerous world, these fermenting Imperialists are conducting themselves in a manner that is Counter-Revolutionary and it is high time that they be outed for it.

Unfortunately, until such time as the powers that be run the train off the rails and into the gulch just around the bend, giving the public no choice but to take matters into their own hands, a kind of creeping and uniquely American Have-a-nice-day-Fascism is afoot. Statists of both "parties" are petting and feeding this slobbering oaf of a dog that will ultimately bite us all. The rabid nature of concentrated power is a morbidity that needs no reflection. It is a matter now of when and not if. How bad the debacle will ultimately be is a function of how long the current charade will be allowed to continue by a functionally deaf and blind public who have replaced their political obligations with mere consumerist spectatorship. This government is, in the end, the government this public likely deserves. One can pull punches on the feckless public a bit as a result of the fictional media they watch but, in the end, if the public wanted to understand what is going on, there is enough of an avenue open to them to understand it.

We have given "opinion" primacy over reasoned and informed intelligence (because it largely satisfies a smug and incurious populace) and we have made intelligence and higher sentiments into things to be derided. Creativity has been subsumed by consumerism. Technologically we remain unrivaled but the demise of that last bit of our leadership seems well under way. History and literature are dead subjects, replaced by the cheaper sensations of motion and speed. Computer Games are the new "art". The rise of arena religion reveals the simultaneous hopelessness and narcissism of a public that has lost touch with what has made America the unique thing it has been...until now. Bush and Cheney, two third-rate minds as you ably describe them, personify this sorry state of affairs.

There are enough liberals and conservatives to preserve the spark of the dialectic that is the American Revolution but the jury remains out as to how long and bleak the death-dive we seem hellbent on pursuing will ultimately be. It is interesting to me how extremely polar modes of thinking; the libertarian conservative and the traditional leftist seem to be the only places where fundamental American values are being discussed. I hope the turnaround can be accomplished intelligently and without the major tumult and dislocation that is distinctly possible but my hunch is that there are dark forces that have been allowed to germinate. Not conspiracy mind you, but base and dark broad daylight. It is not now a fantastic notion that we could surrender ourselves from political buffoons to political maniacs. In all too many ways, we are the new Weimar.

There is something in our independent spirit that has perverted us and made the concept of being "number one" paramount. You would think that the mythology of our democratic and republican history would have been strong enough to avert this perversion of the Founders intentions but it has not. Please forgive my cynicism but I am amazed and dis-spirited about how far this farrago has been allowed to progress.

Thank you for this piece.


D.W. Sabin

From: John R. Turner
Date: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 1:08 PM
Subject: Your latest

Dear Mr. Velvel,

I hadn't seen your most recent posting when I stuck this comment on my own web site:

From Richard Cohen of the Washington Post we now have yet one more call for George Bush to transform himself and become somebody he's not. What is wrong with these guys? Why can't they face the truth that Bush is Bush and he's not going to become what they want him to be. In his latest column, Cohen calls on Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld which would be "a sign that this intellectually apathetic president is willing to question his assumptions, challenge his convictions and admit that he has been wrong." Dear Mr. Cohen, do you know what "intellectually apathetic" means? It doesn't suggest an ability to rethink problems or to question assumptions. To do that, one has to become intellectually active and that's not something a person does overnight, particularly not if he's had a slothful mind for his whole life. Our pundits can't get it through their heads that political analysis now does not involve telling the president how to do his job better. Rather, it has become a matter of facing the truth that we're going to have a disastrous president until January 2009 and that we need to find ways to limit the harm he will do to the nation. I myself think that under these circumstance presidential paralysis is the best policy. Others may disagree, but if they do, they can't fall back on thinking they're going to reform George Bush. That's not going to happen. (Posted, 12/6/05)

I suppose these things are becoming so obvious lots of people are beginning to see them. But, somehow, the major journalists don't. I wonder why.


John Turner

From: David M
Date: Saturday, December 03, 2005 11:17 PM
Subject: Iraq, Brains and Lies

Thank you, sir, for a well written, informative commentary which shows wit, style, and guts.

Your points were accurate, on the mark, and the truth.


From: Richard Smith
Date: Saturday, December 03, 2005 2:12 PM
Subject: cp

The lady from Canada had it right. Bush, a moron. Cheney, a dunce.

richard smith

From: Stephanie Kuenn
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Date: Monday, December 05, 2005 1:57 PM
Subject: Re: Bob The Bore And His Immodesty.

Dean Velvel:

What an apt description of "The Brethren." During spring break my freshman year of college, I went to visit my grandparents for a week. I'd been working for my college newspaper and was very caught up in the excitement that a journalism education can inspire in a nineteen-year-old. (Oh, the folly of youth.) I was quite excited to find, between various romance novels and some Larry McMurtry, a copy of "The Brethren" in my grandparents' bookshelves. I was also majoring in history and had an interest in the law, so I thought, what could be better: a book by one of my heroes about a subject I'm very interested in!

Four days later, having only gotten through about half the book, I closed it and thought, wow, I didn't know it was possible to make the Supreme Court boring. I figured that outside of (presumably) one of my grandparents, I had to be about the only person in America to read it -- and I didn't come close to finishing it!

From: Flyer, Mike
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Date: Monday, December 05, 2005 2:36 PM
Subject: RE: Bob The Bore And His Immodesty.

This is very good Larry.

From: Bruens
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Date: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 12:45 PM
Subject: Re: Bob The Bore And His Immodesty

Dear Dean Velvel:

Your carpentry skills are once again shown to be artful here as you hit the nail on the head when you spoke to Mr. Woodward's difficult manner.

He seems to be the model for the character Tom Grunnick in the 1987 movie Broadcast News.

A famous quotation from the movie was when Tom Grunnick spoke about himself, "What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?"

Once again your words are appreciated.


L. Bruens

From: hoybean
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Date: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 5:21 AM
Subject: Re: Problems With And Of George The Disconnected.

Dear Larry,

In an over-simplified "nutshell," here's what I think the problem is. We made a huge mistake by invading Iraq and there is no good way out. The Republican position of striving for victory is much more consistent and better sounding than the inconsistent, incoherent, and unexplainable positions of the other so-called party. Ergo, once the premise is accepted -- and we are where we are -- the Bushies sound more partriotic and logical than the quitters. Does Hillary Clinton have it right? Keep your mouth shut and let the party in power slowly twist in the wind. In essence, the donkeys want to hold Bush accountable for the war, even though they voted for it after they voted against it. The elephants want to move past responsibility for the war and crow about their superior way of winning. What both parties forget is that we are fighting a far different war than what was initially launched. And quite frankly, we may be losers no matter what, so the present debate may be much ado about nuttin.


From: Michael Parenti
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Date: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 3:32 AM
Subject: Re: Bob The Bore And His Immodesty.


You nailed Woodward's ass real good. But one amendment to your remarks. Is he really just bragging when he says he has written 13 best sellers and is regularly quoted on television during presidential debates? Isn't he also lying or certainly deluding himself?He has not been regularly quoted in TV pres debates. I've watched presidential debates closely for over 40 yrs and have absolutely no awareness that RW was ever "regularly" quoted or even */ever /*quoted in any such debate. Altho I may have missed one or two references. And isnt it true that he has at most 5 or 6 best sellers (for what /*they*/ are worth) not 13. So meglamania gives license to refashioning the truth.


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