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Irving and the Professor

NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT
Re: Christopher Orlet’s Drawing the Line:

I note that Mr. Orlet has decided that I am a Leftist (though to quote Larry David/Jerry Seinfeld “there’s nothing wrong with that”) because I have said that Austria should not keep Irving in jail.

The noise I hear right now is many of my friends laughing hysterically at his rather absurd conclusion.

But first my bone fides to comment on this issue: I spent over 6 years defending myself against David Irving and, in the course of so doing, proving that he nothing but a liar, racist, anti-Semite, and pathetic figure. Had Mr. Orlet bothered to educate himself about the trial (he could start by reading my recent book History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving or Richard Evans’s Lying About Hitler), he would see that often during the ten-week trial Irving was left looking like the court jester, silly and almost irrelevant.

When the battle was over the press treated him as some sort of has been. That is why I said the Austrian courts should not resurrect him as a so-called martyr for free speech. No one of any stature — except maybe for Sir John Keegan — takes him seriously anymore.

In any case, while Orlet has every right to disagree with me — and there are many people whose opinions I actually value who do think I am wrong about letting him go — his glib conclusion that I am therefore of one political inclination or another shows his own shallow thinking.

In fact, to some degree his modus operandi reminds me of David Irving’s. Irving has a conclusion and bends the facts (or simply invents them) to fit his pre-existing ideas. Orlet seems to have done the same thing. It is hardly a mark of honor.
Deborah E. Lipstadt, Ph.D.
Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia

P.S. Orlet groups me with Noam Chomsky. He might take a look at my earlier book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory in which I devote quite a bit of space to an attack on Noam Chomsky for his support of deniers in the name of free speech. I am no fan of Chomsky’s about whom, I believe, the best that can be said — and this is being generous — is that he is one of God’s fools.

Christopher Orlet replies:
I’m inclined to believe that Prof. Deborah Lipstadt and I agree mainly, like two cats in a gutter. We both agree that David Irving is a liar and a creep, and that most of the countries of the former Third Reich are not ready for absolute freedom of expression and therefore Holocaust denial laws (as well as laws banning the swastika, Mein Kampf, and the Nazi salute), should remain on the books, at least for a little while longer. If we depart company it is because Prof. Lipstadt contradicts herself when she maintains the Holocaust laws are necessary, but that the laws should not apply to Irving. If anyone has explaining to do, it is Prof. Lipstadt.

As to why I identified her as Jewish, it should be obvious: a Jewish intellectual calling for the release of a man clearly guilty of the crime of Holocaust denial in Hitler’s fatherland, is a curiosity, to say the least.

Finally, Prof. Lipstadt chastises me for grouping her with Prof. Noam Chomsky, whom she criticizes in her book Denying the Holocaust. But in fact Prof. Lipstadt aligns herself with Chomsky when they both presume the best way to stop another Holocaust is by ignoring the rants of those who would with tongues of fire ignite another such conflagration.

COMMANDING HEIGHTS
Re: Lawrence Henry’s Aging:

Five nine and a half to 5-5? Reminds me of my Dad, who’s now 73. All my life, he’s claimed to be 5-7. The only thing is, I’m 5-5 and a fraction, and my eyes can see the top of his head when we’re face-to-face. At most, he’s 5-4. What’s really funny about it is that he now REALLY BELIEVES he’s 5-7. So, Mr. Henry, my question to you is: were you actually 5-9.5 at one point, or did you just think you were?
Scott Warren
P.S. In case you’re wondering, our family does NOT question my Dad’s height in his presence. What’s the point? We just roll our eyes.

The aging process is a wonderful thing. As a young man I was robust, powerful. I played all sports including boxing. In my early twenties I joined the Army and trained for the Special Forces. While a paratrooper in Vietnam I was wounded a couple of times, none too seriously. I left the service and went to University and continued to play intramural sports.

Today, in my mid-sixties, I found I can easily recall those snap-neck football hits I gave and got. The sites of which regularly communicate with me via pain receptors. My boxing-broken eye socket is the “ground zero” for not infrequent, spectacular, Technicolor headaches. My knees ache in cold weather and my right hip (AK-47 round) is the source point for winces and a limp for the first half dozen steps I take after sitting.

But I can remember that frozen day, Saturday after Thanksgiving in 1961, when turning the corner with a football tucked under my left arm. There was a 150-pound linebacker between me and the goal. I lowered my head and hit him so hard he grunted. I dislocated that pesky right shoulder that bothers me at night to this day and scored!

My message? The aches and pains fully earned by we “experienced” adults are the reruns of the fun we had in life. “Why just look at this scar under my rib. That was from the time that motorcycle just shot out from under me…” The experience is clear and vivid in my mind’s eye and in my grandson’s awed expression too.

You can do it your way but, I’m skidding into Heaven, hair on fire, bruised and battered, yelling, “WHAT A RIDE!!!”
Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

WOOF WOOF
Re: Enemy Central’s Who Let the Scurrilous Dogs Out?:

“Who Let the Scurrilous Dogs Out?” I got up this morning ugly. Subject of scurrilous dogs ain’t helping much. Somebody has put a lot of time into this piece. It would be very humorous if it weren’t the stinking truth. Dogs will turn on each other over a bone. Being from NH, I am glad that the State of Vermont was mentioned. Plus the damp doghouse in Chappaquiddick. Too bad though. My wife and I have owned several dogs. We often comment that dogs are more trustworthy than humans. Course, all our dogs have been shepherds. We never tried to own a pit, or a bred down mongrel. Come to think of it, we had a shepherd in ‘Nam for a time. He was also a well bred dog. I’m sure glad you didn’t bring shepherds into this exchange, but as long as you are talking about mangy old curs, have at it.
Martin N. Tirrell
Lisbon, New Hampshire

Enemy Central’s marvelous little piece, “Who Let The Scurrilous Dogs Out?” struck a strong note with me. A more rabid bunch of mongrels would be hard to find, unless one decided to ad that truculent British Bulldog, George Galloway. Then again, he recently got down on all fours and acted like a cat licking a bowl of milk, so that’ll never do. In any event, it’s just a shame we can’t put these mutts in a pound and euthanize the lot of them. It would certainly cure the American Body Politic of mange.
Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

YOUR TAX MONEY NOT WORKING
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Reporting the Report:

On Thursday afternoon I sent an e-mail to Don Wycliff, the Chicago Tribune‘s so-called “Public Editor” and to its publisher inquiring as to why there was nothing on the paper’s website about the Barrett Report’s release (all there was was an old article, from NY Times wire services previewing the “controversial” report and investigation). The Trib did run an article in Friday’s newspaper, with much the same stuff as in the NY Times article and the Trib did have an editorial Friday as well. Anyway, here is Mr. Wycliff’s response, which I find laughable and telling of the liberal media’s bias:

Dear Mr. Dyslin:

The Clinton Administration has been out of office for the last five-plus years. Henry Cisneros has been gone even longer. The Bush administration is currently in office and is making and executing policy every day. We are a NEWSpaper, not an OLDSpaper.

The special prosecutor’s investigation and report are of some interest, but are far less urgent than things happening NOW.

I hope that helps you understand the decisionmaking.

Regards,

Don Wycliff

I did respond and asked why even in the 1990s and even 21st century the Tribune found it necessary to publish articles about Watergate and the Nixon administration — 20 to 30 years after it ended. I also wondered if the Tribune would cease running articles on the Bush administration come Jan. 21, 2009. And I asked why the Tribune did in fact have an article Friday and editorial if this was all “OLD” news like he suggests. Haven’t heard back yet.

Thanks for the good work and please try to get information on those 120 redacted pages.
John Dyslin

Please don’t give up on getting the entire report released. If in fact, which much evidence points to, the Clinton administration used the IRS and Justice department to punish or silence political enemies with audits and preventing investigations, the public needs to know and be protected from these two. Hillary Clinton could be our next president. I think this is very serious. If she is elected, this could happen again. It is frightening. This is far far worse than Watergate which is constantly referred to as a horrific chapter of the abuse of the executive abuse in our country’s history. This to me is far far worse. Short of vanishing in the dark of night, too many of their political enemies have been audited and threatened, etc. I don’t understand why our Congress has not protected us from them. PLEASE STAY ON TOP OF THIS.
Cynthia M. Anderson

Here’s one taxpayer who wonders why we the people funded a decade of research, totaling $23 million, to find out more about the scandalous behavior of the Clintons. Surely, the money could’ve been better spent. How much more do we need to now about them?

That said, where are the 120 pages, members of Congress? We paid dearly for each one word and we’re doggone sure entitled to see them. Now.
C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Twenty three million dollars of tax payer money! Ten years! How long are we going to keep spending tax dollars to protect the Clinton Administration? Maybe a heroic leaker can send the redacted pages from the report to the media. Better yet, maybe a really heroic leaker can send the whole report to the media. We paid ten million dollars for it and we deserve to see every single page of it.
Peter Bella

My tax dollars helped pay that $23 million and I want to see all of the report. I don’t expect a Dem to release it. After all, the “golden girl” Hillary is going to be running for President.
Elaine Kyle

Folks, there is no justice in the world. The Clintons seemingly are divinely protected. Now having said that, I would only make the following further comment regarding Hillary Rodham Clinton. HRC is consistent, consistent in that on her best day, she absolutely makes my skin crawl. And I cannot stand to listen to her. I find myself turning off the TV. Otherwise, TV’s could be a huge expense around this house due to the urge to throw a brick through it every time I see her face on the screen. Anyone else have the same reaction?
Jim L.
East Sandwich, Massachusetts

Free the Barrett 120!
Walter E. Wallis
Palo Alto, California

WHERE’S THE BOURBON?
Re: David Holman’s American Progress, Democratic Regress:

I truly wish I had listened to my high school English teacher, George Thompson. When I attended Princeton High School he told me, Bricks, you better learn how to read and write a LOT better than you do or you will suffer later in life. I just wish I could find him now and tell him how right he was.

To my glee I finally am getting better at finding your hidden humor: Ted Kennedy’s name in the same paragraph along with the phrase “expecting …low spirits”; of course “there was no shouting, no cheering, no exuberance.” If you were a drunk and there were low spirits you would not cheer either!

Sorry, could not resist.
Maxwell Bricks
Princeton, New Jersey

I think we have just hit on a method to torture terrorists (and get away with it): Make them listen to repeated recordings of Ted Kennedy bloviating at the confirmation hearings of Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and Sam Alito! How could liberals object??!!
Gordon Paravano
Arizona

SPELLBOUND
Re: Diane Smith’s letter (“Enjoy the Dem Show”) in Reader Mail’s Driven Into the Ground

As a sometime proofreader back when newspapers cared how final copy read, — I would do well to proof my own rantings. Hitting SEND can be perilous. “Hyperhydration,” the word I erroneously used, is a condition resulting from drinking too much water.

“Hyperhydrosis” (Al Gore’s affliction) is excessive perspiration and can be surgically corrected, by somehow short circuiting sweat glands. Although one wonders what happens to all that sweat! The other — (and I am not sure I actually mis-spelled it), it is not “bandy” rooster � it’s “banty” (diminutive for “bantam”).

Too proud for SpellCheck — which doesn’t work anyhow, if you have just used the wrong word!
Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

USA AND CHEVROLET
Re: Bill Reynolds’s letter (under “Losing Drivers”) in Reader Mail’s Driven Into the Ground and Eric Peters’s GM’s Accelerating Death Spiral:

In reading Bill Reynolds’ letter of 1/20 on GM’s problems with his 1980 Pontiac, I was reminded of a similar problem I had with my 1987 Buick Electra T-type sedan. After 55,000 miles, the plastic timing gear disintegrated causing massive engine damage; the gear teeth were literally lying in the pan.

It cost many hundreds of dollars to repair the engine which the mechanics at the local dealer told me was caused by “premature gear failure.” The replacement GM timing gear part was metal.

I wrote the dealership, regional manager, and finally to the Buick Corporation requesting compensation, and was rejected by all because the car was 5000 miles out of warranty. Until then, I had purchased 3 Buicks consecutively. I resolved never again to buy a GM product. I now own a Toyota and a Nissan, and both have been trouble-free.

Perhaps poor customer service should be added to GM’s problems!
David Smith
Pearland, Texas

Your made in America article misses the point. Corporate taxes from GM and Ford go to the U.S. government. Taxes from Toyota eventually go back to Japan. When you buy a Japanese car, you’re writing a check to the country that bombed Pearl Harbor. When you buy a Mercedes, that emblem on the front may as well be a Nazi symbol. Remember that when you’re driving around so smug in your foreign car.
Harry Salzberg
Somerdale, New Jersey

Being right in the middle of GM’s world, I well know the General’s troubles have been a long time coming. A few things not mentioned in the article should be addressed as well.

For a generation now women have been major auto customers, yet local dealership service reps treat them all like “dumb blondes” and that kind of treatment sends them into the consoling arms of Toyota, Volvo, and Honda. Then there are the crushing legacy costs that GM grudgingly negotiated with “Big Labor” in good times but has turned into an incurable hangover the morning after.

The 3rd one, which I cannot take credit for: An astute caller to a local radio show featuring an interview with UAW President Gettlefinger suggested: “Mr. Gettlefinger; why don’t you and your membership buy your own automobile company, pay your union workers what they are demanding, build the product GM is offering, and manage that company based on the many federal mandates while going toe to toe with your current competition and tell me if you can make a profit doing it”.
P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

Unless I’m mistaken, there was a big-boss Chairman or President type at GM some years ago named Roger Smith. As I recall, he was responsible for a lot of cars from the different divisions looking alike and selling poorly, compared to the competition… it looked as if they were all using the same bodies and just changing the nameplate/add-on gingerbread. Awful cars.

Then, despite his terrible tenure, didn’t he retire with something like a $9 million dollar annual retirement package?

God knows, I’m no apologist for unions! But there was plenty of blame elsewhere, too, for the sorry state of GM through the years.
Brandt

The number of product lines and the unwillingness to rationalize the number of them is only a slight problem to GM. Also, contrary to what some think, GM is actually pretty good at quality now (or at least at initial quality).

The biggest problem is that any hourly employee signing on can look forward to wages of $50 – $100,000 year, plus life-time free health coverage, plus lots of vacation time, plus a pension, plus… And for those outlandish earnings some of the hourly employees, at least when I worked at a GM plant early in my engineering career, actually sacrificed their newspaper reading and sleeping for upwards of three to four hours of actual work a day. Half the skilled tradesmen at any time would literally be sleeping, reading newspapers, or playing video games. Some of them never did any work at all, literally. Some of them would only work when on overtime. It was actually in the union contract that newspaper vending machines (but not the Detroit Free Press) would be installed in the plant lobby.

The only way to be fired was to purposely vandalize the work, and that actually happened on a couple of occasions. The unconcealed idleness mixed with the constant paranoia and resentment drummed up by the union leaders created a highly toxic psychology in some individuals. Granted that there were some good employees, who were spurred on by a good work ethic, but I could almost count them on one hand.

Up until then I would only buy American cars. After my experience at that surreal adult daycare center it was apparent that to buy only American was to reward sloth. I’ve since bought one car made by an American company, but only because I thought it the best deal. Otherwise, Hondas made in North America have done nicely.

Eventually the UAW will destroy what is left of GM, hoping for a tax payer bail-out instead of admitting that lavish wages for little or no work makes for a poor business model. Why tax payers earning an honest living should pay for someone else’s absurd fantasy wages and benefits for doing hardly any work is a good question. Unfortunately, any heavily unionized industry (aerospace is a sitting duck) is in line for the same fate once a lean competitor enters the market.
D. Lewis
Nashville, Tennessee

HUMBLED BEGINNINGS
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Race to the Top:

Thanks to Jay Homnick for bringing out this story of hypocrisy on the part of Chuck Schumer. I haven’t read this anywhere else. So I have passed the article around to everyone I know, posted it on the blogs, and to radio talk show hosts.

If the mainstream media is going to carry water for this racist, the rest of us WILL know about it.

Sincerely,
Joyce Romano
Redondo Beach, California

CADDY SHACK
Re: Ben Stein’s Oil, Oil, Oil:

Can we return to the subject of oil and Caddies? Due to the fact that I don’t drink bottled water, yesterday I checked the price on a bottle of chilled bottled water. Ninety Seven Cents. And not a very big bottle. ‘Course it didn’t have lemon in it. And it was refrigerated. I didn’t chase all over town in my old Caddy to nail down a bottom price on a case of lemoned bottled water.

I can usually nail a man’s politics by the car he drives, or doesn’t drive. If he is walking with roman sandals on, with the flair of a 60’s hippy, he usually has an attitude about the United States. His VW is in his driveway up on blocks. His politics is up on blocks too. Probably has an expired Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker on it. (By the way, for all you folks still sporting a tattered Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker — How is that working for you anyway?)

When I see a Caddy or another American vehicle, usually I can count on its driver to use its directionals. If I encounter that person in person, I can usually count on that person to have manners and sport a truly American flair.

Yes, my American car has foreign made parts in it. But the money bag at the end of the day, stays here in America, and benefits America. Toyota takes theirs home to Japan with them.

Now to the bottom. Cain and Able had a problem with jealousy. Folks, it don’t go much further back than this. Jealousy has plagued mankind since Cain and Able. It has driven family battles, and global battles all the like. Everyone wants to be top “dog”. Old as mankind itself.

Now that my daughter is married, and is busy being a mom and wife and life organizer, her mother and I decided we would treat our weary bones to a secondhand Caddy. I admit, it was like new and had not been smoked in. In fact it still had some of that perfume smell that Caddy hides in the leather seats. (Just a front wheel drive, no frame, sheet metal Caddy) 33K-23 to 28 miles a gallon out of a V8 and yada yada yada) But Mista Man didn’t like the arrival of our new steed but the jealous buzz on a lot of folks that had not gotten over the last second hand American Made Car we bought. (Just for the high mileage Toyota owners — 94 Buick Le Sabre — 179K original motor and trans.) I ain’t reached the bottom yet.

Moral of the story is: I am not an apologist for Ben, the oil companies, Coke or Caddies. I am an American. I fought for this country. Still am. I realize that envy, or jealousy, whatever, is the reason for our problems today. I want my America to be strong. I like having gas, oil, water, milk, and washer fluid all in one place. I enjoy polite people. Ain’t nothing home spun about Ben. He is just American. I do my best to keep my money in America. I am trying hard to leave a small legacy for my family. I like American steel. I like American-made airplanes, cars, trucks, and old Farmall tractors, and John Deeres, and Allis Chalmers. I like Fords and GM. Chryslers ain’t too bad either. And American-made Woodmizers. And the list goes on.

Ben, I’m sorry you had to endure flak the other day. I appreciate your writing. I believe your letter was an actual account of an actual trip. Coca Cola is expensive. Nothing but sugar and water. Coke machines even in Vietnam in the 60’s. Thank you for driving an American-made vehicle. Thank you for investing in America. Thank you for taking the time to write for America.
Martin N. Tirrell
Lisbon, New Hampshire

SPEAKING GENERALLY
Re: Ralph Reiland’s Crooks by Any Other Name:

If I mis-remember correctly it was General George Washington that said to the effect that someone elected to high office should face the start of his term with the same enthusiasm that a murderer faces the gallows. Seems right, if they want the job they are automatically disqualified for aberrant psychological reasons. This would seem to demand that Condi Rice be drafted for president for the best of mental health reasons; she does not want the job. Universal use of this qualifier would make us all safer especially if we automatically remove them when they start liking the job.
Craig C. Sarver
Seattle, Washington

DREAM THE DREAM
Re: Iain Murray’s No Future in Kyoto Dreaming:

There is still a lag time from realization that the policy will not work until total disengagement. States and metropolitan areas around the U.S. are still being pushed by NGOs trying to implement Kyoto locally by pushing for projects that would have the alleged effect of reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, except maybe water.

Connecticut and Massachusetts should get some kind of national recognition for their slow growth or no growth policies. Maybe static or negative population growth can be counted as reducing the carbon dioxide from people who would have been living, working and breathing within their borders.
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

A MOMENT OF WEEKNESS
Re: Steve Hornbeck’s Howard Dean Usurped:

[This] is the funniest thing I have read in WEEKS.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Marie Boeck

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