Subject: Usurpers, Etc.
December 28, 2005
In the last few weeks I have received an unusual number of emails regarding postings on this blog. Almost all of those not previously posted here are set forth below.
Lawrence R. Velvel
From: charlie ehlen
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 5:33 PM
Subject: 26 Dec Counterpunch
I once swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. It was in 1968 and I was enlisting in the Marines. Today, the Constitution is in serious need of being defended. I volunteer to do so.
I will NOT just sit back and let this goddamn little pea brained shit become a dictator! If it means a cell in Gitmo, so be it. I pity the poor guards then. A former Marine and Viet Nam veteran is quite a different animal from the goat herders, poppy growers, and the odd camel jockey they have captive there today. One reply I got today from my article on Counterpunch mentioned that I might end up on some government "watch" list. Big damn deal. I am disabled, a Viet Nam vet, and was a Marine. What the hell can they scare me with? My answer, not one damn thing in this life anymore. Been through too much to be afraid of crap that scurries off under the refrigerator when the lights come on.
As long as we stand up and speak the truth and shine our light on the crap that is happening in OUR country, the cockroaches will just run and hide.
General Smedley Butler said the only reasons for war are to defend our homes and to defend the Bill of Rights. I am ready to fight to defend that Bill of Rights, to my death if need be. If I could go to Viet Nam for the lies back then, I can most certainly defend the Bill of Rights today. And let the gods have pity on those who stand in the way!
Thank you for your article. thank you also for your time reading this reply.
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 4:58 PM
Subject: John Yoo, torture, the law and the truth
Dear Mr. Velvel,
I read your blog today and the reference to John Yoo and his interpretation of the law reminided me of an interview he gave to the Canadian investigative news program, "The Fifth Estate" in November of this year. The program dealt with the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the interpreation of the the laws against torture. The program, and John Yoo's interview in particular, can be found at this site.http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/badapples/interviews_yoo.html
In the interview, he made these comments, among many others." So the torture convention says you cannot engage in torture and it says you shall undertake not to engage in cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. So clearly, the people who drafted the treaty thought they were two different things. And when the Congress, when the Senate adopted the treaty, it only made torture criminal. It did not criminalize cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. So clearly, Congress thought they were different concepts." Also, "We had a national presidential election in the middle, right in the middle of all of the disclosures of this [torture in Abu Ghraib], in the middle of this war. And people could have elected Bush out of office if they thought this was improper and that the costs outweighed the benefits." Clearly, the American people did not have all the information. If the truth were widely known, I can't believe the results would have been the same. David Rakoff, author of Don't Get Too Comfortable, talked about the excesses of the Bush administration during an interview about his book. He said that just when you thought you had reached the bottom of the foulness that they have been involved in, a door opens and drops you down into more and deeper misdeeds. I don't know whether the content of John Yoo's interview on CBC was significantly different that those on U.S. television, but they may be interesting nonetheless.
From: matthew carmody
To: 'Dean Lawrence R. Velvel'
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 1:45 PM
Subject: L'etat c'est moi
Wonderful article on the site. Brings to mind the statement that DeLay made to a waiter when he was told the government made it illegal to smoke in a restaurant: "Hell, I am the government."
Looks like Charlie Ehlen and I are going to have to get into shape to fight these bastards because I don’t see too many representatives in Washington standing on the floor of Congress repeating over and over that this criminal enterprise should be removed in its entirety from the government, not just Bush and Cheney, but everyone complicit in their criminal acts, from Hastert to Gonzalez. I think Gonzalez and Yoo should be investigated by their respective bar associations. Bybee should be impeached for his tortured interpretations of executive power.
But none of this is surprising, given the genesis of the players. Bush comes from a family of war profiteers and war criminals. Cheney was a war criminal for his part in the invasions of Grenada and Panama, not to mention Gulf War I and the use of depleted uranium, a war crime in and of itself. It is surprising that Rehnquist clerked for Jackson given how intelligent and balanced Jackson’s views were, especially his reasoned analysis on the limits of the executive; it certainly doesn’t surprise me that Yoo clerked for Silberman, that despicable ort who engineered the lynching of Clinton and gave us the arrogantly prim Starr Chamber that went on to impeach Clinton.
I must say that I am indebted to these people though, going back to the Reagan days, when they forced me to become more involved and more educated in constitutional matters. Of course, that knowledge now makes me that much angrier at what they are doing to the constitution and at the passivity exhibited by the majority of Americans.
Let’s hope this shift in public perceptions isn’t swayed by the nebulous arguments the apologists are making about "inherent" power and other such bullshit being thrown around to cloud the issues.
Absent a vigorous airing of these latest illegal acts by this administration, I don’t see anything short of a full-blown civil war changing what has happened here. Only this time the sides won’t be nearly as neatly defined since this will be a war based completely on how the constitution is interpreted and the very basics of what it means to be American. No silly side issues unless the fundamentalists decide to get involved using their own wedge issues.
Thanks for keeping me thinking and for renewing the outrage,
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Date: Friday, December 23, 2005 4:57 PM
Just wanted you to know how carefully I read your articles. It was Claude Rains character Captain Louis Renault in the movie "Casablanca" who said, "I'm shocked, shocked to find gambling going on here." A croupier then hands Renault a pile of money. It is, I believe, unnecessary to draw contemporary comparisons.
Humphrey Bogart's character "Rick" was never shocked by anything. On the other hand he was deeply disappointed as only an idealist can be, regardless of his protest to the contrary.
On behalf of the disappointed, once again, I thank you for your informative articles.
If you find any value in this you may print it without my name.
Date: Friday, December 23, 2005 3:56 PM
Subject: Re: Epilogue To 2004-2005. Prologue To 2006.
You've even done their work for them. Great piece! & Happy Holidays!
In plain English (with a little Irish vernacular thrown in): the problem with the legislature these days is that in the game of "political chicken" [ teith(adh) ar cheann, pronounced chihhar ken, to flee or run away first] the GOP Neocon chicken-hawks never chicken out because the Democrats are all yellow (ealodh, pron yealow, [act of] absconding, sneaking off) chickens - with no subpoena power.
Pray for rain. Throw the bums and grafting swells out!
From: Dirk Sabin
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Date: Friday, December 23, 2005 3:51 PM
Subject: Your posting of today "Epilogue"
Dear Dean Velvel,
Your current posting summarizes the debauched state of our "leadership" and their Fourth Estate shills about as well as any out there. Pity that we do not hear more penetrating questions and comments of this nature but with our news journalism being more properly termed as "entertainment", I shall not hold my breath. The government of this Republic has now entered into the realm of the criminal enterprise and the citizenry seems disinterested as to why, or even if it is a problem. It would appear that the forward progress of the Republic, the ongoing American Conversation has finally come to a stop at a fork in the road and is half-heartedly examining its options. Once a living evocation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, both heir to the Declaration of Independence and the Enlightenment, we are now a parody of them...a depauperate Republic. Through our own actions and the natural perversions of life, we have seen our socio-economic habitat become impoverished, opening the door to rogue elements to practice their sordid craft within the context of a stressed political ecology. Conditions for life swing wildly within an environment such as this and opportunism reigns supreme.
Most Americans remain blissfully unaware of what is going on, in broad daylight, under the direction of these dogpatch oligarchs. The mythology of our culture and the fact that the current adult generation grew up in a period that actually encouraged a striving and productive middle class have conspired to create a kind of stubborn consensus trance. We want to believe our nation is good and so must believe that the government is essentially good. Doubting this is too much for most people to consider, even though that is the unspoken responsibility of every citizen. We have a self-professed "conservative" government that is actually revanchist radical toward the monarchical and does virtually everything opposite of its self-professed principles and yet the people do not generally detect the scam. If they do, they doubt themselves or choose to ignore it, hoping it might go away.
The media has failed us, the "leadership" has rebuked us and so the people of the Republic deserve this greatest achievement of the pampered scion Bush: His Grandest and Crowning Life Failure. In times past, when this aimless yet gregarious sociopath stumbled, his family picked him up, dusted him off and sent him on his way with a wad of cash stuffed in his pockets. He became "Born Again" to self-justify and paper over some dim realization of the empty expanse that is his interior. This time, and with this his greatest failure, it will be left to the people to pick up the pieces of one of the largest and most damaging lapses of parenting skills in all history...or at the very least, since the decline of the Roman Empire. Barbara Bush, parroting his sons status as the self-professed STATE, offered her Versailles moment as well when she told the people of New Orleans to "eat cake" because to her, they had actually benefited from losing their homes and possessions in a deadly disaster of a scale not seen before by this nation.
Consensus Trance, bad parenting and a chief executive who really thinks that he is the center of the universe make for a very ugly incident and it is not unlikely that with the Abramoff trial aborning, the Enron prosecution beginning, the failures of Iraq continuing to metasticize and this newest domestic spying investigation to begin in January, the people might just snap out of their haze and come to realize that this Republic is not a spectator sport or consumer product. It is perishable and alive. 2006 will either be an opportunity or another failure to act and so, just as 1856 was an important year leading up into the Civil War, 2006 shall become, in the end, a year that will determine the fate of one of the more remarkable nations in history. We would be better prepared to meet the demands that are to come if we had not abdicated our responsibilities as a citizenry because we seemed to find it so effortless to "create" history. Now, historically and functionally illiterate, despite our advancements, we have virtually nothing within our stores of ammunition to combat this assault on the Republic by opportunists who seem to respond best to the degraded ecology of our system. As an American, I wish us well but as an American with some sense of history, I am not inclined to optimism. 2006 shall be the year we either make or break our future as a force of good in the world. Keep up these trenchant observations because you are performing an important function, you are re-arming the true "arsenal of democracy", the average citizen.
From: Alan Rothenberg
To: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Date: Friday, December 23, 2005 1:52 PM
Subject: RE: Epilogue To 2004-2005. Prologue To 2006
Thanks for breaking your self-imposed pledge of silence.
Happy Holidays (I love saying that since it drives the Right Wing crazy).
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 2:17 PM
re: today's counterpunch.very good, indeed. and you write under the experience of one versed in law. in good conscience as well,
From: Lew Rockwell
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 6:42 PM
Dear Dean Velvel,
what a great essay in Counterpunch!
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 1:34 PM
Subject: Executive Uber Alles
Date: Tuesday, December 27, 2005 12:53 AM
Subject: Usurpers of Freedom
Thanks for being there with your great words. Excellent work !! (Personally, I think we're all just hangin' out and waiting for a more Timocratic society
From: Bill Holmes
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 5:13 P
Subject: typo in your article
Good article, but it starts out with a crucial missing word. You say: is longer just when you obviously meant: is NO longer just
From: Hank McCann
Date: Tuesday, December 27, 2005 1:45 AM
Subject: Usurpers Of Our Freedom
Bravo, BRAVO, BRAVO!!!
From: Wilson Mechanical Corp Wilson
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 2:23 PM
Subject: Re: Epilogue to 2004-2005....& Usurpers of our freedom
Everything you say is well said. I am as disgusted by the behavior of those holding political office as you are. I tend to become profane and vulgar when these subjects are discussed. You hold the decency line better than I do. However I do not want to discuss with you the grocery list of crimes these criminals have and are committing. That is now rather obvious to anyone paying attention to these matters.
Are we not in kind of a hard spot? I mean, the electorate is manipulated by the mass media, due to its expert use of propaganda, to accept the doctrines and views that render them blindly obedient, submissive to authority (any authority), passive, isolated and completely misinformed. In other words, they are conditioned to accept domination (abuses) by government. So, the question becomes, how do we better prevent government abuses? What mistake has been made that allows the current conditions to come into existence? Or, what may be done about all this beyond complaining about it? Is that not the moral/legal dilemma that faces the democrats who are incapable of adequately articulating a solution?
So I have a solution in mind, but I want to run it by you. In the Premble it states the objectives of our government, one of which is to establish justice. Now in so stating this, is it not intended that when any legislative body proceeds to form its convictions in addressing any problem or need of the state, they are to form their convictions substantially consistent with the principle of justice? (law is conviction).
Also, at the same time is it not the case that each citizen is regarded as being "obligated" to obey the laws which may be "enforced" upon them?
Here is my delimma. I and most everyone is willing to submit to the obligation of obedience to the "law" (convictions of others) if those laws are substantially consistence with the real principle of justice (you shall not have what belongs to another nor be deprived of your own) The reason is, that all decent, civil, sane people seek to behave this way anyway, so you're only "compelling" us to do what we would do on our own. However, this "restriction" on what legistlative convictions may be "passed into law" is ignored. So justice is not established.
Something else is. Also, is not being placed in the social condition of compelled obedience to the convictions of others (laws) without any restrictions, the social condition of enslavement? What prevents the "abuse" (enslavement) element is the restriction of having the authority of being only able to compel to be done what is substantially consistent with the real principle of justice. Does not "freedom" mean, to be free to lead ones life by their own convictions, as long as they do not harm others (act substantially consistent with the principle of justice), thus not be ordered around like one does children, or suffer the abusive convictions of others (government)?
If all this makes sense to you, then wouldn't it be a better, saner method of passing laws to be enforced onto the public by having legislative convictions (bills) examined by a supreme court (that is not corrupt) prior to their passage, rather than after? I realize this method would fail if the court itself was corrupt. However, all social institutions require the judgment of the people who are sellected to administer them, and thus are open to err to that degree.
What say you about all this?
My best: PW
From: Jack Stockslager
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 11:59 PM
Subject: The Usurpers of Our Freedoms
Thank you for your well written article about the crisis in our government. I am sad to realize the lies that are made by those in power everyday. We act as if are free but in reality I am afraid in the USA we a living a lie.
From: rosli omar
Date: Tuesday, December 27, 2005 4:09 AM
Subject: Executive uber alles
Dear Dean Velvel,
That was really excellent stuff! Courageous, no punches pulled, and an excellent analysis. Thank heavens there are academics -and a law dean at that - still brave enough to put it straight to dumb Bush and evil Cheney (and pugnacious Rummy?) that the US and the rest of the world might still be safe enough. With a dean like you there's hope yet for the students.
with best wishes,
Rosli Omar phd
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 9:17 PM
Subject: Thank you!
I am an 80 year old alumnus of Boalt Hall where John Yoo is now on the faculty. I am ashamed of my alma mater. In my view, it does not take much in the way of legal reasoning or legal brains to write, in effect: Where US troops are fighting, without a Declaration of War, the Commander in Chief can do anything he pleases to win the "war." By this reasoning, the President could secretly arrest reporters, hold them in a secret place, tell nobody, deny them counsel, and secretly torture them to find out who in the administration was leaking classified information. I assume John Yoo, a California State Employee had to take the affirmative oath to support and defend the Constitution. Is there not objective evidence that he is violating this oath? You say he is Intellectually corrupt. I wish you could write and submit an article to the California Law Review or the Harvard Law Review saying this, and giving the reasons why.
Thank you for speaking out so bluntly in Counterpunch.
Douglas R. Page
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005 10:19 PM
Subject: Counterpunch Article....
Great article.. in my humble opinion, the fact that they are more worried about the "leak" rather than the substance.. therefore the story is True.. or else they would have denied it right there and then.
Of course I could be wrong.
From: Andrew Fischer
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 11:02 AM
Subject: Re The Usurpers of Our Freedoms
I've been waiting for weeks now for one Democrat -- any Democrat! -- to stand up and at least float the "i-word" ( impeachment). They are all so damned gutless it makes me sick.
From: Dennis Joyce
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 9:01 AM
Subject: The Usurpers of Our Freedoms
Dear Dean Velvel,
While I despise Dictator Bush, I despise "citizens" and lawyers even more, for their total lack of a thought process.
We, American citizens, were declared enemies of the state by the Trading with the Enemies Act of 1917 and its follow-on, the Emergency Powers Act of 1933, which amended the 1917 law to include all citizens.
Until our schools provide an indepth course in the legal history of this country, we are destined to have the forgotten lessons continue to bite us on the butt at every step and turn.
From: John McCarthy
Date: Tuesday, December 27, 2005 4:58 PM
Subject: Site For Your Perusal
I very much enjoyed your essay on Bush and the NY Times. The Power of The Press is formidable, especially when it can be convinced of covering up criminal acts. Some would call that conspiracy. I am not sure how much more 'freedom' we can withstand.
From: David L. Adams
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 11:32 AM
Subject: The Usurpers of Our Freedoms
Thank you for your wonderful essay. Please keep writing on this issue. The public doesn't seem to understand how critical the current situation really is. What I find particularly horrifying is the growing body of evidence that suggests that some elements of the government participated in bringing about the events of 9.11. It seems quite possible that we are the victims of an elaborate and deadly scam intended to justify an all controlling police state.
From: Fisher, Scott (RBC Dain)
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 11:37 AM
Thank you for your excellent article regarding executive power. The brazen power grab by Mr Bush and his minions has occurred with hardly any protest from either the Congress or the Judicial branch. Can you explain the incredible abrogation of constitutional responsibilities on the part the Congress and the Courts? It appears to me that the United States is rapidly becoming a police state. Is this a correct view in your opinion or I'm I overeacting?
From: Mina Anderson
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 8:43 A
Subject: Your latest
Are we to continue pretending that foreign terrorists brought about 9/11 when in fact it was the same gang that is causing the rest of the treason mentioned in your Rockwell piece?
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 9:59 AM
Subject: Rot in Congress
This reflects the rot in America. Good piece!
Date: Tuesday, December 27, 2005 10:26 PM
Subject: Re: Executive Uber Alles
Dear Patriot Velvel,
Wow. I am humbled sir.
Thank you so much for your eloquent and impassioned observation of the clear and present danger facing our great nation.
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin are looking down upon you now, and they are well pleased.
Very well pleased.
So am I. You are indeed a rare heart.
Thank you again.
Protecting our traditional American values of truth, justice, and freedom for all