Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Re: News Rags

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

Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2006 8:28 PM
Subject: news rags

If the grass roots movements really wants to move we need to treat 'the papers' like ass wipe (sorry for the crude expression, but it does have merit) and move from our web info and political organizations into the mainstream television media, ugly thought, I know. We cannot fight Faux (Fox) news with disdain, but have to offer a compelling alternative and reach out to all sectors of society with information and (uck, sic) entertainment that gives them access to news that is truth. If we continue to let our brethren be informed by propaganda then we are at least guilty by omission and outright 'laziness' ; we should at least battle the ignorance on its own turf......where people are most seductively brainwashed -- mainstream television media. I mean, how many disinformed people do you think -- pick up a newspaper -- for christs sake!!
Sorry, but that is what they are doing and if we are going to counter that (which the do) we need to at least have a counter-punch, the written media is not going to change that because we are already there. The people that need to hear the truth are only listening to the tube-reality.

Still Outraged.



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

Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 2:02 PM
Subject: ROCK ON!!

Dean Velvel -- just read your editorial, released by Reuters --- I also cannot believe that the gutless politicians of this country will allow Alito to be appointed ...... TO A LIFETIME position!Loved your article and wish to commend you on your brave stance of truth in the face of so-o-o-o much silence!

Sincerely,

Sue Hughes

-- Love like you've never been hurt ...Work like you don't need the money ...Dance like no one's watching ...Live like there's no tomorrow.

...See ya ...Sue



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

Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 10:16 AM
Subject: Senate Filibuster More Urgent Than Ever

Thanks for this insight into constitutional law and for your support for a filibuster against Alito. Senator Byrd's acquiescence to the faux "inevitability" of Alito's approval came as a surprise and makes me wonder how well he understands the Constitution. Will he also cave in to pressure and support the Patriot Reauthorization Act 2005, which creates a "uniformed national police force" (our own Schutzstaffle) under the direction of 'Homeland Security'? Doubtless, Alito will, if tasked to do so, rule favorably on the new police force and all its attendant powers to torture and detain without charge those who oppose the "President". I am rooting for the filibuster, for if it fails, so ends our republic and our grand experiment with freedom. Hyperbole certainly not intended.



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

Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 10:59 PM
Subject: Thanks so much for your article "Journalistic Schizophrenia"

A letter I sent to Senator Byrd:

Dear Senator,

I've always looked to you for a defense of our Constitution. I've also expected well-reasoned arguments from you as well. But I was flabbergasted when I read that you were going to vote for Alito. Even more unbelieving when I read your reasons. A "decent" guy that respects the constitution? I'm no lawyer but even I can see that Alito is not a true conservative. If anything, he will help rewrite the constitution. You, more than most, must see that as well.Therefore, I find myself in agreement with Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, when he says: " Legislators have never made a difference to executives who have successfully asserted dictatorial power. Not in Germany, not in Iraq, not in the Soviet Union, not anywhere. The Democrats are just peddling bullshit because they have no guts."Unfortunately, this time, I would have to include you in that characterization as well.

Sincerely,

Paul


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

Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 4:17 PM
Subject: Re: Privacy and Security

Dean Velvel:

Thanks. Honestly, I never expected you to respond let alone post anything that I wrote. I expect some of your readers will think I am a fool, but I do appreciate your willingness to present my ideas no matter how poorly expressed. I look forward to reading your blog and responding when I feel the urge...

George


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


Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 12:03 PM
Subject: Privacy and Security

I hope you don't mind, but I would like to pose another issue to you.

I watched AG Gonzales on CSPAN at Georgetown when the students raised the sign with the truism attributed to B Franklin about security and freedom. I have, like many, always thought this was true, but is it? I think that is an interesting question to debate.

The reality of life in our society would indicate otherwise.

We generally have no expectation of privacy in our company communications, we submit to searches at airports (my kids do not know from experience that this has not always been true), people are annoying with their loud cell conversations, drunks can be stopped at checkpoints and, privacy is no shield for illegal acts. I have also not heard any complaints about wiretapping that does not involve domestic persons. It seems that even the most liberal have not questioned the wire tapping of calls that are international in toto. So clearly there are constraints on Privacy and these constraints are subject to changes in our society and the threats we confront.

I doubt that the most radical libertarian would not feel some discomfort getting on a plane in Boston, New York or LA that did not have screening of any sort, but that is the way we used to get on planes all the time prior to the rash of hijackings. Add a Middle Eastern woman in traditional dress and I think most people would feel a certain sense of trepidation. I have been patted down, which I detest, and I have been told that my name or similar name is on a Federal Watch List, which was disconcerting. You don't need to be a little old lady in a wheel chair or a 4 year old to be harassed at the airport, but few people would want the practice stopped while most would rather it be more focused.

I submit that we have already made trade-offs between Security and Liberty and it is necessary to do so. To hold up that sign as gospel is shallow thinking on the part of those students. They ignore the reality that is all around us. I believe that these trade-offs must be subject to rational thought and analysis and not merely for political grandstanding.

Fear may be unpleasant, but evolutionary processes have left our Fear intact for probably good reason.

BTW: While BF denies being the source of the quote (per Wikiquote) the quote generally has "essential" liberties and "temporary" security which qualifies the statement in some respect which I am not smart enought to parse, but ....

Thanks for the response to my previous email.

George

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


Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 3:46 PM
Subject: Journalistic Schizophrenia

Dr. Velvel:

Me thinks the liberal side of the equation in American politics is engaged in eating its own. I agree that Alito will be confirmed, the Dem do not have the votes to stop the process by filibuster and they also know that they would cause more damage to their cause by engaging in one. Is that not what politics is all about, compromise and chosing battles? To attack th ose who are your most likely allies because they will not run off a cliff makes no sense. You demostrate the social and cultural suicidial tendencies that seems to be growing within liberal western society (especially advanced in Europe: decreasing birthrates, unwillingness to de fend one's culture and values in the name of diversity etc. ) that are clearly evident. Guilt I think.

As far the the Times or WSJ is concerned, I think as subscriptions go down they have to be careful about maintaining readership (I know that sounds ignoble, but to ignore the winds of change in print media is a disservice to the organization and shareholders).

Last, I have heard the "dictatorship" comment from many lately. The reference to Germany also seems to follow. These comments result in the author being dismissed as "radical" or "extreme" by most people. The reason is: we have elections and while you might th ink they have been fixed, we still have them, Bush will not be President in a few years and there seems to be a mood of change back towards Dems. Most people just don't see the "dictatorship" comment as anything other than slinging shit out of anger.

You do s ound angry or perhaps petulant is a better word?

I am neither a Liberal or Conservative, but an American hoping my children have a better world than the one my generation (Boomers) will leave them.

George



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

Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:32 PM
Subject: Re: Joseph Ellis' Column On The "Place [of] 9/11 In American History."

Now instead of "Divide and Rule". We have "Scare and Rule'.. what our PRES is doing.. in this country.. Amazing stuff...


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

Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:05 AM
Subject: Joseph Ellis' Column On The "Place [of] 9/11 In American History."



January 31, 2006


Re: Joseph Ellis’ Column On The "Place [of] 9/11 In American History."
From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com

Dear Colleagues:

Appended below is a brilliant op-ed column by Joseph Ellis, published in The New York Times of Saturday, January 28th. One of Ellis’ two purposes was to raise the question of whether 9/11 merits the pride of place given to it by the Bushites in seeking various policies and various forms of expanded executive power. Ellis’ view is that, because the terrorists do not threaten the continued existence of the republic, 9/11 does not rise to the level of several prior events that did. These include the Revolution itself, "the War of 1812, when the national capital was burned to the ground" by the British, the Civil War, "World War II, which represented a totalitarian threat to democracy and capitalism," and the cold war, especially "the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, which made nuclear annihilation a distinct possibility." It is, one thinks, hard to argue with Ellis’ view that these all presented an infinitely more serious threat to the nation than the terrorists do.

In the second part of his brilliant column, Ellis examines the immediate (precedential) response to particular threats, and the subsequent historical view of these precedents for the Patriot Act and wiretapping. His "list of precedents" includes the Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798 (which allowed closing of newspapers and deporting of foreigners), the denial of habeas corpus during the Civil War, the Red Scare of 1919, when the Attorney General "round[ed] up leftist critics in the wake of the Russian Revolution," the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and the McCarthyism of the early 1950s, which included "a witch hunt against potential Communists in government, universities and the film industry." "In retrospect," says Ellis, "none of these domestic responses to perceived national security threats looks justifiable. Every history textbook I know describes them as lamentable, excessive, even embarrassing." They were examples of "succumb[ing]" to "popular fears."

Again, Ellis’ views cannot be argued with (with the lone exception, perhaps, of the initial, April 1861, geographically limited suspension of habeas corpus along, and to stop southern efforts to break, the Philadelphia to Washington railroad line that was bringing Union troops to defend the capital city, which was surrounded on all sides and heavily populated by southern secessionists and was threatened with a potential takeover by the rebels).

In view of the efforts being made by the Administration to use 9/11 and the supposedly never-ending war on terror to change the nature of our government, and to make it a potential Executive dictatorship in the name of national security, it would behoove everyone of decent good will -- which would by definition exclude the right wing wackos, including those who govern us in the Executive today -- to pay close attention to Ellis’ points, which bear strongly on what should or should not be permitted today. The need to consider what Ellis says is only the sharper because of the Democrats’ intellectual (and "operational") incompetence in the Alito matter, and the fact that the secret wiretapping will soon come before both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and will simultaneously be brought again to the attention of the citizenry. Frankly, I would call on all Americans to consider the deep importance of what Ellis has said -- something which, as far as I know, has not been done so far since he published his superb column a few days ago.*

*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.


January 28, 2006

Op-Ed Contributor

Finding a Place for 9/11 in American History
By JOSEPH J. ELLIS

Amherst, Mass.
IN recent weeks, President Bush and his administration have mounted a spirited defense of his Iraq policy, the Patriot Act and, especially, a program to wiretap civilians, often reaching back into American history for precedents to justify these actions. It is clear that the president believes that he is acting to protect the security of the American people. It is equally clear that both his belief and the executive authority he claims to justify its use derive from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

A myriad of contested questions are obviously at issue here — foreign policy questions about the danger posed by Iraq, constitutional questions about the proper limits on executive authority, even political questions about the president's motives in attacking Iraq. But all of those debates are playing out under the shadow of Sept. 11 and the tremendous changes that it prompted in both foreign and domestic policy.

Whether or not we can regard Sept. 11 as history, I would like to raise two historical questions about the terrorist attacks of that horrific day. My goal is not to offer definitive answers but rather to invite a serious debate about whether Sept. 11 deserves the historical significance it has achieved.

My first question: where does Sept. 11 rank in the grand sweep of American history as a threat to national security? By my calculations it does not make the top tier of the list, which requires the threat to pose a serious challenge to the survival of the American republic.
Here is my version of the top tier: the War for Independence, where defeat meant no United States of America; the War of 1812, when the national capital was burned to the ground; the Civil War, which threatened the survival of the Union; World War II, which represented a totalitarian threat to democracy and capitalism; the cold war, most specifically the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, which made nuclear annihilation a distinct possibility.

Sept. 11 does not rise to that level of threat because, while it places lives and lifestyles at risk, it does not threaten the survival of the American republic, even though the terrorists would like us to believe so.

My second question is this: What does history tell us about our earlier responses to traumatic events?

My list of precedents for the Patriot Act and government wiretapping of American citizens would include the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, which allowed the federal government to close newspapers and deport foreigners during the "quasi-war" with France; the denial of habeas corpus during the Civil War, which permitted the pre-emptive arrest of suspected Southern sympathizers; the Red Scare of 1919, which emboldened the attorney general to round up leftist critics in the wake of the Russian Revolution; the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, which was justified on the grounds that their ancestry made them potential threats to national security; the McCarthy scare of the early 1950's, which used cold war anxieties to pursue a witch hunt against putative Communists in government, universities and the film industry.

In retrospect, none of these domestic responses to perceived national security threats looks justifiable. Every history textbook I know describes them as lamentable, excessive, even embarrassing. Some very distinguished American presidents, including John Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, succumbed to quite genuine and widespread popular fears. No historian or biographer has argued that these were their finest hours.
What Patrick Henry once called "the lamp of experience" needs to be brought into the shadowy space in which we have all been living since Sept. 11. My tentative conclusion is that the light it sheds exposes the ghosts and goblins of our traumatized imaginations. It is completely understandable that those who lost loved ones on that date will carry emotional scars for the remainder of their lives. But it defies reason and experience to make Sept. 11 the defining influence on our foreign and domestic policy. History suggests that we have faced greater challenges and triumphed, and that overreaction is a greater danger than complacency.
Joseph J. Ellis is a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College and the author, most recently, of "His Excellency: George Washington."


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


Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:28 PM
Subject: Re: Joseph Ellis' Column On The "Place [of] 9/11 In American History."


Not only is the war on terror qrotesquely disproportionate in terms of the actual threat but claim that only vastly expanded Presidential powers could have prevented the 9/11 attacks is blatantly untrue.

Among the many "threats" the US government refused to respond to in the summer of 2001 was a statement from Al Qaeda itself to Mid-east Broadcasting Corporation on June 22 that a "devastating blow" would be made against the United States in a few weeks. This statement prompted the Airline Industry World News to issue an email alert thousands of subscibers on June 23, 2001 of an imminent attack on the US airline industry by Osama bin Laden.
How come a private airline industry news organization could figure it out so quickly and the entire US government did not have a clue?

Also of interest is the fact that on June 1, 2001 the Pentagon quietly issued orders to all military aircraft crews that they must be prepared to use deadly force to prevent hijackings if terrorists attempted to take control of any United States military aircraft or a private contractor aircraft operating under charter to the Department of Defense.

This order was distributed to NORAD, the CIA, the FBI, and every member of the Bush administration in June of 2001 so any claim that such a "terrorist hijacking" was unexpected is clearly ridiculous.

Bob



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

Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: Joseph Ellis' Column On The "Place [of] 9/11 In American History."


Dean Lawrence R. Velvel:

Joseph Ellis brought dimension to our thinking.

Once again you have the ability to spotlight what is important. I shared your sentiments when I read the "brilliant op ed column by Joseph Ellis, published in The New York Times of Saturday, January 28th." In fact I linked this piece from my website just after I read it.

Thanking so much for spotlighting this wonderful thought provoking newpaper column.

Sincerely,

L. Bruens
-------------- Original message ----------------------

From: "Dean Lawrence R. Velvel"
> January 31, 2006
>
> Re: Joseph Ellis' Column On The "Place [of] 9/11 In American History."
>
> From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
>
> VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com
>
>
>
> Dear Colleagues:
>
> Appended below is a brilliant op ed column by Joseph Ellis, published
> in The New York Times of Saturday, January 28th. One of Ellis' two
> purposes was to raise the question of whether 9/11 merits the pride of
> place given to it by the Bushites in seeking various policies and
> various forms of expanded executive power. Ellis' view is that,
> because the terrorists do not threaten the continued existence of the
> republic, 9/11 does not rise to the level of several prior events that
> did. These include the Revolution itself, "the War of 1812, when the
> national capital was burned to the ground" by the British, the Civil
> War, "World War II, which represented a totalitarian threat to
> democracy and capitalism,"
> and the cold war, especially "the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, which
> made nuclear annihilation a distinct possibility." It is, one thinks,
> hard to argue with Ellis' view that these all presented an infinitely
> more serious threat to the nation than the terrorists do.
>
> In the second part of his brilliant column, Ellis examines the
> immediate
> (precedential) response to particular threats, and the subsequent
> historical view of these precedents for the Patriot Act and
> wiretapping. His "list of precedents" includes the Alien & Sedition
> Acts of 1798 (which allowed closing of newspapers and deporting of
> foreigners), the denial of habeas corpus during the Civil War, the Red
> Scare of 1919, when the Attorney General "round[ed] up leftist critics
> in the wake of the Russian Revolution," the internment of Japanese
> Americans during WWII, and the McCarthyism of the early 1950s, which
> included "a witch hunt against potential Communists in government,
> universities and the film industry." "In retrospect," says Ellis,
> "none of these domestic responses to perceived national security
> threats looks justifiable. Every history textbook I know describes
> them as lamentable, excessive, even embarrassing." They were examples
> of "succumb[ing]" to "popular fears."
>
> Again, Ellis' views cannot be argued with (with the lone exception,
> perhaps, of the initial, April 1861, geographically limited suspension
> of habeas corpus along, and to stop southern efforts to break, the
> Philadelphia to Washington railroad line that was bringing Union
> troops to defend the capital city, which was surrounded on all sides
> and heavily populated by southern secessionists and was threatened
> with a potential takeover by the rebels).
>
> In view of the efforts being made by the Administration to use 9/11
> and the supposedly never-ending war on terror to change the nature of
> our government, and to make it a potential Executive dictatorship in
> the name of national security, it would behoove everyone of decent
> good will -- which would by definition exclude the right wing wackos,
> including those who govern us in the Executive today -- to pay close
> attention to Ellis' points, which bear strongly on what should or
> should not be permitted today. The need to consider what Ellis says is
> only the sharper because of the Democrats' intellectual (and
> "operational") incompetence in the Alito matter, and the fact that the
> secret wiretapping will soon come before both Republicans and
> Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and will simultaneously be
> brought again to the attention of the citizenry. Frankly, I would call
> on all Americans to consider the deep importance of what Ellis has
> said -- something which, as far as I know, has not been done so far
> since he published his superb column a few days ago.*
>
>*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.
>
>
>
>
>
> January 28, 2006
>
> Op-Ed Contributor
>
> Finding a Place for 9/11 in American History By JOSEPH J. ELLIS
>
> Amherst, Mass.
>
> IN recent weeks, President Bush and his administration have mounted a
> spirited defense of his Iraq policy, the Patriot Act and, especially,
> a program to wiretap civilians, often reaching back into American
> history for precedents to justify these actions. It is clear that the
> president believes that he is acting to protect the security of the
> American people. It is equally clear that both his belief and the
> executive authority he claims to justify its use derive from the
> terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
>
> A myriad of contested questions are obviously at issue here - foreign
> policy questions about the danger posed by Iraq, constitutional
> questions about the proper limits on executive authority, even
> political questions about the president's motives in attacking Iraq.
> But all of those debates are playing out under the shadow of Sept. 11
> and the tremendous changes that it prompted in both foreign and
> domestic policy.
>
> Whether or not we can regard Sept. 11 as history, I would like to
> raise two historical questions about the terrorist attacks of that
> horrific day. My goal is not to offer definitive answers but rather to
> invite a serious debate about whether Sept. 11 deserves the historical
> significance it has achieved.
>
> My first question: where does Sept. 11 rank in the grand sweep of
> American history as a threat to national security? By my calculations
> it does not make the top tier of the list, which requires the threat
> to pose a serious challenge to the survival of the American republic.
>
> Here is my version of the top tier: the War for Independence, where
> defeat meant no United States of America; the War of 1812, when the
> national capital was burned to the ground; the Civil War, which
> threatened the survival of the Union; World War II, which represented
> a totalitarian threat to democracy and capitalism; the cold war, most
> specifically the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, which made nuclear
> annihilation a distinct possibility.
>
> Sept. 11 does not rise to that level of threat because, while it
> places lives and lifestyles at risk, it does not threaten the survival
> of the American republic, even though the terrorists would like us to
> believe so.
>
> My second question is this: What does history tell us about our
> earlier responses to traumatic events?
>
> My list of precedents for the Patriot Act and government wiretapping
> of American citizens would include the Alien and Sedition Acts in
> 1798, which allowed the federal government to close newspapers and
> deport foreigners during the "quasi-war" with France; the denial of
> habeas corpus during the Civil War, which permitted the pre-emptive
> arrest of suspected Southern sympathizers; the Red Scare of 1919,
> which emboldened the attorney general to round up leftist critics in
> the wake of the Russian Revolution; the internment of
> Japanese-Americans during World War II, which was justified on the
> grounds that their ancestry made them potential threats to national
> security; the McCarthy scare of the early 1950's, which used cold war
> anxieties to pursue a witch hunt against putative Communists in
> government, universities and the film industry.
>
> In retrospect, none of these domestic responses to perceived national
> security threats looks justifiable. Every history textbook I know
> describes them as lamentable, excessive, even embarrassing. Some very
> distinguished American presidents, including John Adams, Abraham
> Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, succumbed to quite genuine and
> widespread popular fears. No historian or biographer has argued that
> these were their finest hours.
>
> What Patrick Henry once called "the lamp of experience" needs to be
> brought into the shadowy space in which we have all been living since
> Sept. 11. My tentative conclusion is that the light it sheds exposes
> the ghosts and goblins of our traumatized imaginations. It is
> completely understandable that those who lost loved ones on that date
> will carry emotional scars for the remainder of their lives. But it
> defies reason and experience to make Sept. 11 the defining influence
> on our foreign and domestic policy. History suggests that we have
> faced greater challenges and triumphed, and that overreaction is a
> greater danger than complacency.
>
> Joseph J. Ellis is a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College and
> the author, most recently, of "His Excellency: George Washington."




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

From: "Bill Murphy"
To:
Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2006 8:24 AM
Subject: schizophrenia


Velvel:

I don't care much for Bush on the level of competance. I think the
confrontation with Suddam was inevitable. Sooner probably better than latter.
The basis for the confrontation that has taken place is irrelevant. What can
be made out of the situation is what is important. Bush's opponent was not in
any sense worthy. I would just as soon vote for Benedict Arnold. Maybe we
expect too much from those who win elections. Look at Roosevelt. We were as
deep in that depression in 1939 as we were in 1932. Would those who ran
against him have done any better? Look at all the western world's leaders
who made WW11 possible. What would you say now if Germany had been
confronted early enough to prevent WWII. Would you think that action against
a most civilized accomplished nation to have been unfair, unjust,
ill advised? I note an emotional, intense, irrational attitude towards
President Bush. There is plenty of room for criticism for instance what
happened to the party of restricted growth in government, of fiscal
responsibility, of honesty, of efficiency, of reduced dependency on oil,
less legislating done by the courts etc.? Maybe the opposition doesn't want
to be held to these same standards so they harp on irrevelancies. I would
rather vote for someone who says he or she can advance our nation more
effectively not change it into some kind of European tired, worn out, has
been, pessimistic social state.

Your's truly,

Bill Murphy

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