Thursday, January 19, 2006

Re: Most Recent CounterPunches

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2006 3:32 PM
Subject: most recent CP article

Dear Mr. Velvel,

I enjoyed your most recent CPunch article. I just THINK we should all be greatful that the NYT somehow was able to forego the same process when it learned of President Clinton's involvement with "Bimbo eruptions". "Res ipsa loquitur" and all that, wouldn't you agree?

Very truly yours,

Tom Kellum
Houston, Texas


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 4:06 PM
Subject: Democracy where art thou ???

Professor Velvel,

Nothing compared to secrecy with respect to 911 cover up.
Also complete lack of ethics & morality in governance USA.
Respectfully,

John Cameron.
Australia.
Whilst secrecy prevails democracy withers & fails.




----- Original Message -----

Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 11:06 AM
Subject: NYTimes inaction...


Interesting article of yours on counterpunch this weekend.

While I can understand the desire to know the rationale behind the Times'
actions or inactions, your article reminded me of a giant gossip party.
Waaaaay too many guesses and suppositions.

I would have expected someone with a law background to not engage in
speculation to this extent.

When you get more Facts, try writing another one.

Sincerely,
Tom Martin



----- Original Message -----

Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 7:50 AM
Subject: Yes I have read your Article

Dear Mr.Lawrence R. Velvel,

I read your Article about The NYT's Unconscionable Decision to Sit on the NSA Story for a YearBy LAWRENCE R. VELVEL, Its true and Excellent Report. Thank you for that and Please visit http://www.elecgore2008.com and http://www.runalgore.com

Thank You



----- Original Message -----

Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2006 4:26 PM
Subject: Alito etc

Dean Velvel:

I do believe that the neo-con bunch, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Pearl, and the rest are going to pull the world down on our collective heads. This war business must be stopped and put to rest. There were plus or minus 60,000 soldiers killed in each of Korea and Viet Nam and now Afghanistan and Iraq counting upward and onward in human and the peoples capital.

I am generally a constructionist on most matters concerning the Constitution and one of these is this war powers business. The Congress should not turn this authority to declare war over to the President and those who influence him. We are becoming an empire that will crumble under the debt and human toll. I have read the the cost of this war will go over one trillion, for crying out loud. I do not own a calculator with that many digits.. Just the geo-politics of it should be enough to stop this stupidity.

I would also like to say a word about law. The constitution is codified law and you know being a distinguished lawyer although I hope you are an attorney because I believe there is a difference. Most of the constitution is not difficult to read and understand. Congress likes to drive tanks through the commerce clause and the general welfare clause. They have been very effective for a long time. But case law is different. The propagandists and special interest groups would have you believe that case law is law. It is surely not so, though it can be and often looked back upon for guidance. Every case is different but codified law is the law and not case law. Any judge who makes rulings contrary to the will of the people or of a general reading of the constitution should be told to stuff it. I and no one else can be tried on the basis of case law. (or should be) Vitriolic politics will be our downfall. Where are the statesmen?????

We should be trading in commerce instead of fighting. We are on a death spiral toward the mean. That is, when the markets, housing etc. regress to the mean we will all be wondering what happened. It surely will do so because Greenspan has allowed so much money to be created both in printing terms and credit terms. He will be shown to have been a poor fed governor before long. And poor Bernanke, he does not have a clue what is being handed him. They are going to destroy us with that insidious of all taxes, inflation, which is eating away at my (our) sustenance.

I love your articles and you may use my writings if you should perceive them to be worthy. By the way, I spent my professional career as an elementary school principal, half of which was in an inner city school in Houston. I have done my penance. I also have a background in economics but only as a student of it. (Austrian Classical Economics)

Jack O. Ludwick
Tyler, TX 75703



----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, January 13, 2006 5:23 PM
Subject: Alito and the Democrats

"It seems pretty clear that, if they are still serious about trying to defeat a candidate who has made it seem very likely that he will vote in favor of the democracy-destroying constitutional coup d'etat being attempted by Bush, Cheney, Yoo and the rest of those traitors to the American Constitution, then the Democrats had better try Allard Loewenstein's principle that you can't beat somebody with nobody."

Coup d'etat? Traitors to the Constitution? You're getting a little too close to the deep end, aren't you?


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, January 13, 2006 1:06 PM
Subject: Re: The Times' Editorial Page Should Adopt The Position That Alito's Nomination Should Be Filibustered

Dear Dean Velvel:

Excellent article.

I would like to add my two cents of comment to the article, and that is: why is it the people, who are not and will not be pregnant and the people who are not soldiers
and will not send their kids over to War are deciding for the rest of us about Abortion and War......?

Also, it seems to me from the very few times I have watched C-Span and the confirmation hearing, that Judge Alito wants to "play on the two robes" as the saying goes, which means he wants to please the Far Right Conservatives as well as the rest of us regarding abortion., although he might have a "change of heart" since he ruled in the
past. (I am not defending Judge Alito.. he made his bed he should sleep in it..).


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, January 13, 2006 9:02 AM
Subject: The Times' Editorial Page Should Adopt The Position That Alito's Nomination Should Be Filibustered

January 13, 2006, 11 a.m.

Re: The Times’ Editorial Page Should Adopt The Position That Alito’s Nomination Should Be Filibustered And Democrats Should Simultaneously Say They Would Instantly Vote To Confirm Arlen Specter Were He Nominated.
From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com

Dear Colleagues:

As readers know, this blogger not infrequently assails The New York Times for actions he considers journalistically inappropriate or, sometimes, even misconduct. So in fairness I wish to say, oppositely, that The Times’ coverage of and editorials on the Alito nomination have been very good, very good indeed. While I do not agree with everything said in the editorials, the fact remains that the news pages and the editorials regarding the Alito nomination have been excellent. They exemplify why much of the country, especially those of us who are not wacked-out right wingers, rely on The Times for the news and hope for reasonable editorials from it (as opposed to the crap that one gets from the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, a paper whose news pages are, however, excellent -- I especially recommend Jess Bravin to readers).
In addition to The Times’ news columns and editorials being very good, its letters to the editor, as so often, have been very revealing. If they are any measure, it would appear that a whole lot of people are not buying, and are very worried because of, Alito’s refusal to say where he ultimately stands on abortion rights or on the President’s falsely claimed constitutional power to override Congressional law. And at least some of the people who are not buying seem to recognize that the reason Alito won’t say where he stands is that the White House, the right wing nutjobs in the Senate, and Alito himself know that he would almost surely be rejected by the Senate if he did candidly tell people where he stands. There are a lot of people in this country -- and, based on what one is seeing and hearing on TV and is reading in the papers, perhaps even a heavy majority -- who, even though many of them are conservative in general, do not want the right of a woman to obtain an abortion to be destroyed or heavily chipped away, and do not want the President to be an all-powerful king.

As far as I know, there may be one or two Timesmen who sometimes read what is said here. One hopes that they may chance to read this posting and will pass on a suggestion it makes to The Times’ editorialists, who might then adopt it. One also hopes that lay readers may agree with the suggestion and may email (or write) The Times about it.

The suggestion I have in mind is that The Times should adopt an idea put forth here yesterday (i.e., on Thursday, January 12th). That suggestion is that the Democrats, for reasons canvassed yesterday, should at one and the same time filibuster the Alito nomination and announce that they would immediately confirm Arlen Specter were he nominated for the Supreme Court. In such a combination of actions, one thinks, lies the greatest chance of stopping the Alito nomination, for reasons given yesterday. Were The Times to make the suggestion its own, the chances that it would be acted upon by the Democrats, and that we would get a decent Supreme Court nominee instead of someone who bears the marks of possibly being a right winger, would be greatly enhanced I think.

One has been struck by factors indicating that there may indeed be a lot of opposition to Alito out in the country, as it is said. Phone calls made to TV anchors, letters in columns of letters to the editor, and TV interviews in the street have surprised me in this regard. As well, a Times’ editorial reports that, in a recent Harris poll, almost 70 percent of the respondents said "that they would oppose Judge Alito’s confirmation if they thought he would vote against constitutional protection for abortion rights." (This was the reason, The Times correctly continued, that "he was not likely to say at his hearings" that he would not protect abortion rights. In my view he felt he could not give any ultimate answer on abortion rights since, in all probability, he did not want to lie about his views but knew that stating them would cost him the nomination.) And, on a TV program shown from Maine to roughly D.C. on which this blogger appeared on Tuesday night, and which had two very conservative panelists, a straw poll of viewers showed, midway through the program, that 52 percent of the respondents thought Alito was not too conservative to be confirmed and only 48 percent thought he was, but at the end of the program the same poll showed, quite remarkably, that by then 70 percent of the respondents thought that Alito was too conservative to be confirmed and only 30 percent thought he wasn’t. This is only one of those television polls, of course, not any kind of statistically valid sampling. Yet, it seems indicative in light of all the other things one is seeing.
So, as said, there seems to be a lot of concern over Alito out there in the country. A filibuster might well enjoy widespread public support -- enough even to change the mind of the pro-abortion-rights Olympia Snowe about opposing a filibuster -- if it were combined with statements showing reasonableness as evinced by statements that the Democrats would immediately vote to confirm the moderate and reasonable Republican, Arlen Specter.
Perhaps this blogger is deeply misled about the matter, but I think such a combination of actions would be desirable, would be popular, could help the country avoid possible tragedies in the field of abortion rights and executive power, and ought to be adopted by The Times’ editorialists (and the editorialists at other papers, too, one would add). If any Timesman reads this posting and thinks well of the idea, I hope he or she will pass it on to the paper’s editorialists. If any lay readers think well of it, I hope they will take a moment to email The Times editorial page about it.*

*This posting represents the personal views of Lawrence R. Velvel. If you wish to respond to this email/blog, please email your response to me at velvel@mslaw.edu. Your response may be posted on the blog if you have no objection; please tell me if you do object.



----- Original Message -----

Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2006 5:15 AM
Subject: If the Demo's are Still.....

Alito's professional problem is as you recognize....he sees law as a technical intellectual game. A man who has failed to construct within himself an intellectual frame of reference, based on reflection of his own experience, from which to judge the reality in which we live. He depends entirely on the judgments of others whom he feels secure and justified in following. He is an intellectual slave. That is likely why Bush choose him.

In the words of Hannah Arendt: "He was constitutively incapable of exercising the kind of judgment that would make his victims suffering real or apparent to him. It was not the presents of hatred that enabled him to perpetrated genocide, but the absence of the imaginative capacities that would have made the human and moral dimensions of his activities recognizable to him. He failed to exercise his capacity of thinking, of having an internal dialogue with himself, which would have permitted self awareness of the harmful nature of his deeds. This amounted to a failure to use self reflection as a basis of judgment, the faculty that would have required him to exercise his imagination to comtemplate the nature of his deeds from the experiential standpoint of his victims."

The Banality of Evil.

Patrick Wilson



----- Original Message -----

Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 3:44 PM
Subject: Re: Democracy where art thou ???

Prof. Velvel,

Thank you for courteous prompt reply.
Something missing in governance. I have written to various authorities in USA for some years with respect to 911- I have never recd. any satisfactory answers to logical questioning.
I have no objection to posts. In early 1955 I visited Boston (Wool appraiser) Saw friend Olympic swimmer Harvard & attended Count Basie concert.

Sincerely,

John Cameron.
Politician-former member of human race. j.c


----- Original Message -----
From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
To: blackheathbooks
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2006 1:10 AM
Subject: Re: Democracy where art thou ???

January 11, 2006

Dear Mr. Cameron:

I really appreciate receiving your response to my blog. It appears to me that you must have read the blog on Counterpunch rather than on my blogsite (VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com). On the blogsite I say that a response may be posted on the blogsite unless the responder tells me not to. I would like to post your response, and hope you will not register an objection. I shall also take the liberty of putting you on the list of people who automatically receive my blogs; it sounds like some of them may resonate with you.

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence R. Velvel


----- Original Message -----


From: blackheathbooks
To: velvel@mslaw.edu
Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 4:06 PM
Subject: Democracy where art thou ???

Professor Velvel,

Nothing compared to secrecy with respect to 911 cover up.
Also complete lack of ethics & morality in governance USA.
Respectfully,

John Cameron.
Australia.
Whilst secrecy prevails democracy withers & fails.



----- Original Message -----

Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 2:48 PM
Subject: Re: Alito Will Not Answer Fundamental Questions.

The wealthy senator-swells of the Dem party do not have the spine of an clam. There will be no filibuster.

That said: I hope I am wrong.



----- Original Message -----

From: "Lazarus, Edward"

To:
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2006 2:34 PM
Subject: Re: If The Democrats Are Still Serious About Trying To Defeat Alito, They Had Better Adopt Allard Loewenstein's Principle That You Can't Beat Somebody With Nobody


This is very good stuff.



-----Original Message-----

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
To: "Undisclosed-Recipient:;"
Sent: Thu Jan 12 13:18:47 2006
Subject: If The Democrats Are Still Serious About Trying To Defeat Alito, They Had Better Adopt Allard Loewenstein's Principle That You Can't Beat Somebody With Nobody

January 12, 2006, 1:00 p.m.

Re: If The Democrats Are Still Serious About Trying To Defeat Alito, They Had Better Adopt Allard Loewenstein’s Principle That You Can’t Beat Somebody With Nobody, And Had Better Say That They Would Gladly Vote For Arlen Specter Or A Similar Reasonable, Moderate Republican.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel

VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com



Dear Colleagues:

The media is carrying statements that liberal groups are unhappy with the quality of questions asked of Samuel Alito by Democratic Senators. Some Senators have been windbags, of course, which is to be expected. But the real complaint seems to be Senators’ failure to ask (often very obvious) follow-up questions. I would point out that it would be so simple for a Senator to simply say to Alito that, since he will say that he does believe a few things or that some things are settled points (e.g., the one man, one vote rule), one takes his refusal to say whether the commander-in-chief power uniformly or generally cannot override a Congressional statute, or whether it allows the President to unilaterally decide to start a war against Iran or Syria or North Korea, will be taken to mean that he might well approve the legality of such overriding or such a war. This is an extraordinarily dangerous situation, especially since Alito indicated, by bringing up the political question and justiciability doctrines, that a court should not touch the war or perhaps even the wiretapping questions with a fork. Likewise, a Senator could say to Alito that his refusal to say that Roe v. Wade is settled law will be taken to mean that he might well vote to overrule it. These, of course, are not follow-up questions. But they are the kind of brief follow-up statements which any intelligent interlocutor should use when a witness refuses to answer a question one way or the other. And these statements help people to see what is at stake and what might happen if someone is given an office.

This is all so simple that it is astonishing that no Senator has done it as far as I know. And these simple kinds of statements would have been so much more effective than trying to paint Alito as a liar and a bigot. Yes, I know and agree that his claim to have known and to remember nothing about CAP is not believable. Yes, I know it is hard to believe he could not remember the Vanguard business 12 years later. Yes, I know that his decisions have too often disadvantaged the poor, the black, the downtrodden. But nobody is buying that he is a bigot.

In regard to bigotry he reflects what might be called the intellectual hard hat ideas typical during the 1960s and 1970s (and to some extent even
today?) in the kind of community from which he sprung. And that is one reason he was willing to say that Princeton students against the Viet Nam war were acting irresponsibly (a position with which I thoroughly disagree) in contrast with people from his own community twelve miles away. But is he a bigot today? Not bloody likely, and it is self defeating for the Democrats to try to show that he is.

His problem is not bigotry. It is, if anything, something nobody seems to have discussed, although it was pointed out awhile ago by people who knew him at Yale Law School (and in practice, too, I think). It is that he sees the law as a technical intellectual game, not as a matter in which the humanity of a situation must always be borne in mind. I understand the technical intellectual fascination of the law: I and many of my friends love this aspect of it. But one has to be aware that the interests of humanity are at stake. We are not dealing merely with a fascinating intellectual game. But it is his adherence to the fascinating intellectual aspect of the law, and his belief in ideas on only one side of that intellectual game, which, in my judgment, are likely responsible for what apparently is the extensive record of decisions against the less fortunate and the non-affluent.

(It is hard to think right off the bat of a more striking example of how to him law is merely an intellectual game than the fact that, when asked whether an innocent man has a constitutional right not to be executed, he almost exclusively talks about whether this procedure has been followed or that procedure, etc., etc. Though he did say at one point that the constitutional system protects innocent people, or something to that effect, his overwhelming stress is on procedures, and he seems unable to say flat out, or usually even obliquely, that, as the dictates of simple humanity would require, an innocent man has a constitutional right not to be executed.

I should add the related point that, just as he seems to think of law as some form of fascinating intellectual game rather than a field in which humanity is all important, so too one would think, if one only listened to what Alito said in these hearings, that he is a man who has no opinion on anything unless it has previously been decided beyond peradventure by courts, especially the Supreme Court. There are, in fact, lots of lawyers and law students who are so tied up with law that their first and often only answer to any problem is that the Supreme Court says this or that about the problem, without any apparent sense that there are all kinds of ways of looking at a problem wholly aside from the (too often ignorant) rulings of the Supreme Court or lower courts.)

Due to the Democrats general ineptitude in questioning, however, it is widely thought to be very difficult or impossible to defeat Alito, by filibuster or otherwise, at least as matters now stand. So let me make a suggestion that might help people try to change the current calculus. I was on a television show the other night on which the Philadelphia host asked the following question: Isn’t it true that there is nobody whom George Bush could nominate whom the Democrats would approve of? The three persons with the host in Philadelphia all agreed that this is so. Sitting alone in a Boston studio my own answer was this: There probably is nobody Bush could nominate whom the Democrats would approve of. But there are people whom they would find far less objectionable. To this, the response from Philadelphia was, in effect, "Oh, yeah, like who?" My answer was: Well, for one, how about Arlen Specter? This seemed to surprise the people in Philadelphia, maybe even surprise them into the defacto equivalent of having no response.

Now, if memory serves, when explaining why he had tried to get Eugene McCarthy to run for President in an effort to defeat Johnson and stop the Viet Nam debacle, Allard Loewenstein said: "You can’t beat somebody with nobody." So in the circumstances now existing, if those who are against Alito are serious about still trying to stop his nomination -- and they damn well should still be serious because, in my own view, by bringing up the political question and justiciability doctrines he has virtually announced implicitly that he would not rule against a President who unilaterally decided to take us to war against Iran, Syria, North Viet Nam, or whomever -- then the Democrats should say that they would willingly accept Arlen Specter as a nominee and would confirm him to the Supreme Court almost instantly.

Now, in the past I have made clear that my respect for Specter has not been unlimited, something which has been true case since I watched his disgraceful effort to savage Anita Hill at the time of the Thomas hearings.
But the current hearings have shown that he does understand the right to privacy and the need for the powers of Congress to remain with Congress rather than being usurped by the traitors to the Constitution who comprise the Bush, Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, etc., etc.
crowd. Also, Specter’s handling of the Alito hearings has been very courteous and competent. To make clear right off the bat that the Democrats would willingly support Specter would show reasonable and moderate people that it is Bush who has caused the problem by nominating a candidate who is divisive because of right wing views he has expressed, would take away the argument, currently persuasive to many, that the Democrats, especially ones who rightly or wrongly have really ticked off the public by their conduct in these hearings, will not support any individual nominated by Bush, and would show that, far from trying to cripple any and all nominees put forward by Bush, they will happily vote for a moderate, reasonable Republican like Specter, who by rights ought to receive a favorable vote of 100 to zip in the Senate. (Of course, he probably wouldn’t in fact receive a unanimous vote, because the wacked out right wingers who infest this country would go berserk and would probably force some of his colleagues to vote against
him.)

It seems pretty clear that, if they are still serious about trying to defeat a candidate who has made it seem very likely that he will vote in favor of the democracy-destroying constitutional coup d’etat being attempted by Bush, Cheney, Yoo and the rest of those traitors to the American Constitution, then the Democrats had better try Allard Loewenstein’s principle that you can’t beat somebody with nobody. The Democrats better make clear that there are lots of moderate Republicans for whom they would willingly and gladly vote, and that Specter is an immediately available example of this
willingness.*

*This posting represents the personal views of Lawrence R. Velvel. If you wish to respond to this email/blog, please email your response to me at velvel@mslaw.edu. Your response may be posted on the blog if you have no objection; please tell me if you do object.



----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, January 13, 2006 8:42 PM
Subject: Filibuster Nonsense
Re: They Should Filibuster

..Sorry Larry but I have never heard of the Massachusetts School of Law. What is it about Massachusetts that generates cuckoos like you, Kerry, Teddy, Barney....?Get use to it...We are witnessing the demise of the Democratic party. Time to switch sides.

Charlie.


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Monday, January 09, 2006 1:17 PM
Subject: NYT-NSA article..

Awesome article..thanks much for wading thru this mess and bring it down to a couple important points..I emailed the NYT and made the same point about possibly helping Bush to be re-elected..a sickening thought..thanks again..great article..


James Ward
Phoenix,Az


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:22 AM
Subject: Thank You


Dear Dean Velvel,

Just a note to thank you, Sir, for your recent contributions to
Counterpunch.org on Alito, the Dems, and the ongoing "democracy-destroying
constitutional coup d'etat." They are cogent, sensible, and a much-needed
breath of fresh air.

Sincerely,

Paul Kelleher


----- Original Message -----


Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2006 2:25 PM
Subject: RE: If The Democrats Are Still Serious About Trying To Defeat Alito, They Had Better Adopt Allard Loewenstein's Principle That You Can't Beat Somebody With Nobody

Re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. In 2000 when the election was stolen by black-box voting, the United States ceased to exist. It really doesn't matter whom they appoint as a Supreme Court Judge because he/she will not be on the US Supreme Court. He/she will be on the Bush Court.

Game over.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel [mailto:velvel@mslaw.edu]
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2006 1:17 PM
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;Subject: If The Democrats Are Still Serious About Trying To Defeat Alito, They Had Better Adopt Allard Loewenstein's Principle That You Can't Beat Somebody With Nobody

January 12, 2006, 1:00 p.m.
Re: If The Democrats Are Still Serious About Trying To Defeat Alito, They Had Better Adopt Allard Loewenstein’s Principle That You Can’t Beat Somebody With Nobody, And Had Better Say That They Would Gladly Vote For Arlen Specter Or A Similar Reasonable, Moderate Republican.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com

Dear Colleagues:

The media is carrying statements that liberal groups are unhappy with the quality of questions asked of Samuel Alito by Democratic Senators. Some Senators have been windbags, of course, which is to be expected. But the real complaint seems to be Senators’ failure to ask (often very obvious) follow-up questions. I would point out that it would be so simple for a Senator to simply say to Alito that, since he will say that he does believe a few things or that some things are settled points (e.g., the one man, one vote rule), one takes his refusal to say whether the commander-in-chief power uniformly or generally cannot override a Congressional statute, or whether it allows the President to unilaterally decide to start a war against Iran or Syria or North Korea, will be taken to mean that he might well approve the legality of such overriding or such a war. This is an extraordinarily dangerous situation, especially since Alito indicated, by bringing up the political question and justiciability doctrines, that a court should not touch the war or perhaps even the wiretapping questions with a fork. Likewise, a Senator could say to Alito that his refusal to say that Roe v. Wade is settled law will be taken to mean that he might well vote to overrule it. These, of course, are not follow-up questions. But they are the kind of brief follow-up statements which any intelligent interlocutor should use when a witness refuses to answer a question one way or the other. And these statements help people to see what is at stake and what might happen if someone is given an office.

This is all so simple that it is astonishing that no Senator has done it as far as I know. And these simple kinds of statements would have been so much more effective than trying to paint Alito as a liar and a bigot. Yes, I know and agree that his claim to have known and to remember nothing about CAP is not believable. Yes, I know it is hard to believe he could not remember the Vanguard business 12 years later. Yes, I know that his decisions have too often disadvantaged the poor, the black, the downtrodden. But nobody is buying that he is a bigot.

In regard to bigotry he reflects what might be called the intellectual hard hat ideas typical during the 1960s and 1970s (and to some extent even today?) in the kind of community from which he sprung. And that is one reason he was willing to say that Princeton students against the Viet Nam war were acting irresponsibly (a position with which I thoroughly disagree) in contrast with people from his own community twelve miles away. But is he a bigot today? Not bloody likely, and it is self defeating for the Democrats to try to show that he is.

His problem is not bigotry. It is, if anything, something nobody seems to have discussed, although it was pointed out awhile ago by people who knew him at Yale Law School (and in practice, too, I think). It is that he sees the law as a technical intellectual game, not as a matter in which the humanity of a situation must always be borne in mind. I understand the technical intellectual fascination of the law: I and many of my friends love this aspect of it. But one has to be aware that the interests of humanity are at stake. We are not dealing merely with a fascinating intellectual game. But it is his adherence to the fascinating intellectual aspect of the law, and his belief in ideas on only one side of that intellectual game, which, in my judgment, are likely responsible for what apparently is the extensive record of decisions against the less fortunate and the non-affluent.

(It is hard to think right off the bat of a more striking example of how to him law is merely an intellectual game than the fact that, when asked whether an innocent man has a constitutional right not to be executed, he almost exclusively talks about whether this procedure has been followed or that procedure, etc., etc. Though he did say at one point that the constitutional system protects innocent people, or something to that effect, his overwhelming stress is on procedures, and he seems unable to say flat out, or usually even obliquely, that, as the dictates of simple humanity would require, an innocent man has a constitutional right not to be executed.
I should add the related point that, just as he seems to think of law as some form of fascinating intellectual game rather than a field in which humanity is all important, so too one would think, if one only listened to what Alito said in these hearings, that he is a man who has no opinion on anything unless it has previously been decided beyond peradventure by courts, especially the Supreme Court. There are, in fact, lots of lawyers and law students who are so tied up with law that their first and often only answer to any problem is that the Supreme Court says this or that about the problem, without any apparent sense that there are all kinds of ways of looking at a problem wholly aside from the (too often ignorant) rulings of the Supreme Court or lower courts.)

Due to the Democrats general ineptitude in questioning, however, it is widely thought to be very difficult or impossible to defeat Alito, by filibuster or otherwise, at least as matters now stand. So let me make a suggestion that might help people try to change the current calculus. I was on a television show the other night on which the Philadelphia host asked the following question: Isn’t it true that there is nobody whom George Bush could nominate whom the Democrats would approve of? The three persons with the host in Philadelphia all agreed that this is so. Sitting alone in a Boston studio my own answer was this: There probably is nobody Bush could nominate whom the Democrats would approve of. But there are people whom they would find far less objectionable. To this, the response from Philadelphia was, in effect, "Oh, yeah, like who?" My answer was: Well, for one, how about Arlen Specter? This seemed to surprise the people in Philadelphia, maybe even surprise them into the defacto equivalent of having no response.

Now, if memory serves, when explaining why he had tried to get Eugene McCarthy to run for President in an effort to defeat Johnson and stop the Viet Nam debacle, Allard Loewenstein said: "You can’t beat somebody with nobody." So in the circumstances now existing, if those who are against Alito are serious about still trying to stop his nomination -- and they damn well should still be serious because, in my own view, by bringing up the political question and justiciability doctrines he has virtually announced implicitly that he would not rule against a President who unilaterally decided to take us to war against Iran, Syria, North Viet Nam, or whomever -- then the Democrats should say that they would willingly accept Arlen Specter as a nominee and would confirm him to the Supreme Court almost instantly.

Now, in the past I have made clear that my respect for Specter has not been unlimited, something which has been true case since I watched his disgraceful effort to savage Anita Hill at the time of the Thomas hearings. But the current hearings have shown that he does understand the right to privacy and the need for the powers of Congress to remain with Congress rather than being usurped by the traitors to the Constitution who comprise the Bush, Cheney, Addington, Yoo, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, etc., etc. crowd. Also, Specter’s handling of the Alito hearings has been very courteous and competent. To make clear right off the bat that the Democrats would willingly support Specter would show reasonable and moderate people that it is Bush who has caused the problem by nominating a candidate who is divisive because of right wing views he has expressed, would take away the argument, currently persuasive to many, that the Democrats, especially ones who rightly or wrongly have really ticked off the public by their conduct in these hearings, will not support any individual nominated by Bush, and would show that, far from trying to cripple any and all nominees put forward by Bush, they will happily vote for a moderate, reasonable Republican like Specter, who by rights ought to receive a favorable vote of 100 to zip in the Senate. (Of course, he probably wouldn’t in fact receive a unanimous vote, because the wacked out right wingers who infest this country would go berserk and would probably force some of his colleagues to vote against him.)

It seems pretty clear that, if they are still serious about trying to defeat a candidate who has made it seem very likely that he will vote in favor of the democracy-destroying constitutional coup d’etat being attempted by Bush, Cheney, Yoo and the rest of those traitors to the American Constitution, then the Democrats had better try Allard Loewenstein’s principle that you can’t beat somebody with nobody. The Democrats better make clear that there are lots of moderate Republicans for whom they would willingly and gladly vote, and that Specter is an immediately available example of this willingness.*


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 3:01 PM
Subject: Alito and this administraion

Sir,

Firstly, Alito is anathema, and not qualified to be a sitting judge on the Supreme Court , evidenced by his lack of humanity and disregard for the ordinary citizens of America as his record as judge shows. Secondly, thank you for your article of January 7, let us hope that someone of intelligence in the senate reads your article-one can always hope. The gravity brought to bear on some of these issues by people like yourself informs us of the great unwashed that we will no longer be considered as a tin hatted, eyeball rolling fringe element, ridiculed and laughed at for our insistence that there were no WMD-Per Scott Ritter, Hans Blix, and other sources, that the patriot act abrogates our rights, that this administration is incapable of doing anything that resembles responsible government, or that it even gives a shit whether we live or die, in this, or any other country-Per Katrina, and the killing of so many innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their incompetence, and the permitting of that incompetence to continue by the rest of government-Senate, Congress, et al., is beyond my ability to understand. And to show my limited intelligence, in my anger I am compelled to say these motherfuckers need to be frog marched out of the Whitehouse as soon as possible, before they commit their next faux pas in Iran, or country du jour, which, if attacked by us and/or Israel could well destabilize the Middleast and start a series of events that in the long run could possibly trigger the use of nuclear weapons in a world where their proliferation has eroded the fear of their use. My feeling and that of some of my friends, is that we are at a tipping point, not in relation to oil necessarily, but in relation to our irrational responses to perceived threat. If our country insists on going down this road, it can only lead to our diminution, or demise, and I will say it again-This administration must be removed from power as soon as possible, they are extremely dangerous, a very real threat to this country and the world at large.http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/velvel2.html

Regards

Burnie


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 11:58 AM
Subject: congressional coup d'etat

Sir -

As to congress, forget it. The only interest of congress is "self - interest". You will not find one, save Ron Paul, with a complete set of requirements for leadership - brains, spine, guts and balls. These despicable people, masquerading as our "betters", are, in reality, caricatures of leaders that are cheap to buy and sell.

As to El Ultimo, aka God's Direct Communicator, preferably, to this writer, the chimp-in-charge, it is shown daily how easy it is for him to spend other people's money, use other people's children and use an entire nation for selfish, personal ideas. He cares not of right and wrong, fair and unfair, legal or illegal - he is, after all, as chimp-in-charge, above all laws, domestic and international, Geneva and Nuremberg conventions be damned in the process, as well. After all, just who is it that God must ask to countenance his actions?

We have the worst thing a nation can have - a megalomaniac in charge with a rubber stamp legislative body that is selling all but themselves down the river of fire to the pits of Hades. This is not the stuff of which great nations are made. It is simply the stuff that every dictatorship and tyranny have been composed of since the dawn of time.

We have the government we deserve for the ignorant dolts we have become. The ignorant ass that represents himself as El Ultimo is, in the end, a fitting "representative" for America become amerika.

Kirk A. Hayes

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