Cheney at BYU

March 28, 2007 | 244 comments
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BYU’s speaker policy: “No speaker will be invited to campus whose expression of personal or political values would demean the principles of BYU and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

So let’s not be surprised when people conclude that the position of BYU is that Cheney’s personal and political values do not demean the principles of the Church.

Frankly, I prefer my bishop’s take on Cheney: for months, he has had a homemade bumper sticker on his car that reads DICK CHENEY DESERVES A FAIR TRIAL.

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244 Responses to Cheney at BYU

  1. AlexG on March 28, 2007 at 10:35 am

    But hey, on the plus side, that could garner a little more respect from the Evangelical Club, sorry, the Republican Party. That’s good news for Mitt Romney, ne c’est pas?

    Seriously, I’ve laughed for the past half hour. Good post title. Although Cheney’s personal and political values DO demean the Church. Remember Wolf Blitzer? What’s your position on same sex couples been able to adopt couple adopt/apply for fertility treatment for a baby? (How dare I to ask that question!)

  2. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Well Adam Greenwood . . . no satire yet on this one?

  3. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Oh, brother. I fully expect that the same set of people who were outraged at narrow minded students at UVSC who protested the Michael Moore invite will be full of spleen that BYU stoops to invite the Vice-President of the United States. I expect that your rationales for the hypocrisy will be inventive, do full credit to your g-factor, and in no way be hampered by what you actually said back then.

  4. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 10:44 am

    It was actually the other way around, Adam Greenwood. Mr. Cheney sort of invited himself (he initiated the discussion), as there were apparently no, or precious few, other universities which would have him.

  5. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Sorry, Guy Murray. Me and some Jewis friends, I mean neocon friends, were too busy torturing innocents for me to respond before you had posted the second comment.

  6. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 10:47 am

    Well . . .Adam Greenwood . . . we do need to make the world safe for (or from?) democracy eh?

  7. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 10:50 am

    I was frankly hoping for a more inventive rationale, Guy Murray. USVC initiated the conversation with Michael Moore but Dick Cheney initiated the conversation with BYU is weak. I’ll give you a mulligan.

  8. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Mulligan accepted Adam Greenwood; but, I’m afraid I’ll need more than one if I truly need to educate you about the differences in status, stature and circumstance of BYU vs. UVSC and Michael Moore v Dick Cheney.

  9. annegb on March 28, 2007 at 11:14 am

    If the vice president was a Democrat, say Al Gore, it’s entirely conceivable and proper that he would be invited to speak at BYU. Your quote, Julie, doesn’t preclude members of either party.

    It’s sad that most Democrats wouldn’t consider reaching out to a Utah college. I’m always a little dismayed that Utah comes in dead last in consideration by national Democrat candidates. It’s true that they won’t get many votes here, but when they completely disregard us, it just seems oh, self-centered isn’t the right word, but it’s all I can think of at the moment. Why, even Republicans don’t like to spend much here. They don’t need to, but still….

    Guy, your logic: Michael Moore = Dick Cheney just doesn’t wash. Michael Moore = Ann Coulter, maybe. If BYU had Ann Coulter, that would be a violation, in my opinion. UVSC should have her to even things out.

    I don’t believe that Cheney’s invitation demeans the church. For instance, if his personal view is that he loves his daughter, how does that make him different from other parents of gay Americans?—including many LDS parents.

    While I personally wish he weren’t the vice president, the fact that he’s controversial doesn’t necessarily make him unworthy to speak at an LDS college. I suspect his speech will be entirely acceptable and civil. This is much ado about nothing. I’m betting he will draw more protests than Michael Moore ever did and that’s just sad.

  10. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Educating me will be a difficult task, Guy Murray, but over the last few months I’ve come to respect your calm judgment and measured arguments. If anyone can do it, its you.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be polishing my resume to Halliburton, Implacable Foe of Democracy ™. I’ll be emphasizing my numerous anti-democratic credentials, including my enthusiasm for ousting the President of Iraq after he had been re-elected with 99.8% of the vote. I will try to conceal my Mormonism on the resume, however: I’ve been horribly embarassed by this Dick Cheney invite, since it seems so unrepresentative of the chattering class pique that I feel church organs should try to embody.

  11. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 11:22 am

    Annegb:

    My logic was not Michael Moore = Dick Cheney. In fact, it is the opposite. Michael Moore as abrasive as you might personally find him is not responsible as an architect of war and torture abroad, and disdain for civil liberties at home. I also do not believe BYU = USVC. The Church does not own, operate and hold out USVC as the crown jewel of its educational system. It is what makes him controversial, i.e., his active support for such abhorrent policies and practices, that makes him unworthy to speak at BYU. I hope he does draw more protests than Michael Moore–as he deserves them.

  12. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Alas, Adam Greenwood. I see I am too late. The dark side has already won. ;-)

  13. Geoff B on March 28, 2007 at 11:44 am

    I’m really offended at Dick Cheney’s comments that seemed to justify gay marriage or at least civil unions because of his lesbian daughter. If there’s anything to protest, that would be pretty high on my list.

  14. Aluwid on March 28, 2007 at 11:45 am

    I really hope the next time there is a Democratic President then I do not become as polarized as so many have become towards the Bush administration. It is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Give it a decade or two when there is no longer a political benefit to oppose Bush’s policies simply for the sake of opposing him and I expect that history will look back at him in a similar way to how it looks at many other war time Presidents. Some of their decisions were unpopular, some mistakes were made that could have been avoided with 20/20 hindsight, yet their actions were based on what they thought was proper to protect the nation and I fully expect that history will see it that way.

    Having the Vice President of the United States of America speak at the commencement for BYU is a great honor to them. I would expect him to do so as the Vice President, not as a Republican. Meaning he would be representing the country, not his party and his words should reflect that fact. The audience should receive him based on that expectation, to do less is demeaning to the office of the Vice Presidency.

    If there is a protest I’d suggest a counter protest where everyone just holds up large signs with the 12th Article of Faith written on them.

  15. Geoff B on March 28, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Sorry, my #13 lacked a link. Here is one.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5817720/

    Cheney’s lack of support for a constitutional amendment against gay marriage definitely demeans the principles of the Church, given the Church’s long-standing support of such a measure. I can’t think of any other issues on which the Church has taken a public stand that Cheney violates. But I don’t agree with Julie’s bishop that Cheney should be put on trial for such a stand, as egregious as it is. There is still free speech in this country, after all.

  16. Randy B. on March 28, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Aluwid, if I saw a large sign with the 12th Article of Faith posted on it, I would read that as a rightful part of the protest (i.e., anti-Cheney), and not the counter-protest.

  17. Bill on March 28, 2007 at 11:55 am

    The only wartime president he will be compared to is Nixon.

  18. annegb on March 28, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Geoff, I don’t support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. I am opposed to most constitutional amendments. I think we can operate within the current constitution the way it is to enforce our values.

    Geoff, most parents of gay children find themselves in a terrible position, especially LDS parents. They love their child, but see that this issue isn’t as easy as it appears on the surface. I believe Dick Cheney finds himself in the unenviable position of abhoring his daughter’s lifestyle while loving her and realizing that she is not Satan incarnate as he might have earlier believed. Condemning for refusing to condemn his child is not fair, nor is it fair to judge his worthiness to speak at BYU based on that.

    Guy, I agree with you, partially–as far as the Michael Moore and comparisons with UVSC stand. I still feel it’s appropriate for the vice president of the US to speak at BYU, regardless of who that person is. It’s respect for the office, not the person.

  19. Aluwid on March 28, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    Given the antics of the usual Bush/Cheney protesters, I can’t see anyone confusing that with the intent of the 12th Article of Faith. It should provide quite a contrast. Unless you plan to only allow BYU students to protest? If not then I don’t think you’ll want to justify much of what will be done.

  20. Russell Arben Fox on March 28, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    “If the vice president was a Democrat, say Al Gore, it’s entirely conceivable and proper that he would be invited to speak at BYU.”

    The track record in support of such a contention is, however, not good. Ronald Reagan has spoken at BYU, George H.W. Bush has spoken at BYU, now Dick Cheney will have spoken at BYU. I am unaware of any even remotely comparable Democratic figure having ever spoken to the BYU student body, though if someone can enlighten me otherwise, I’d be happy to hear it.

    That the Vice President (or rather, his people) would look to BYU is a no-brainer: the odds of it being a friendly audience, or at least far, far friendlier than he would find at just about any other major university in the U.S., are pretty good. I’m not disappointed or embarrassed that he’ll be speaking there; it makes sense. It’s a conservative, establishment Republican kind of place; surely that’s not a shock. (I just hope they’ll be at least a few BYU students amongst the inevitable protesters outside, though I wouldn’t count on it).

  21. annegb on March 28, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Russell, I suspect the fact that that no “remotely comparable Democratic” figure not speaking at BYU has as much to do with the Democratic party dismissing Utah entirely as it has with BYU dismissing them.

    I abhor either position.

    But you know, I’ve written to several presidents and I’ve gotten responses (sometimes only little printed cards, but still) from all but Bill Clinton. I think most politicians, Republican or Democrats, put Utah dead last on their “to-do” lists because we have few electoral votes and they will go straight Republican.

    Your last paragraph completely reflects my feelings. It’s just not that big a deal.

    Oh, that reminds me of a joke I heard by a Christian (not Mormon) comedian. He said people should marry people they don’t love, because when they get upset, it’s not that big a deal.

  22. California Mormon on March 28, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Thank God I will be attending my daughter’s graduation at BYU-Idaho next week where we will hear Elder Henry Eyering, an Apostle of the Lord speak, rather than a political hack and warmonger at Provo.

  23. Randy B. on March 28, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Aluwid, let me try again. If I saw a sign at a protest of Cheny stating that we believe in being subject to the law, I would read that (rightly, I believe) as an indictment of Cheney, not of the other protestors. Given the antics of Bush/Cheney, it would be hard to do otherwise.

  24. Jim F. on March 28, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Aluwid: I really hope the next time there is a Democratic President then I do not become as polarized as so many have become towards the Bush administration. It is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

    I don’t disagree that the polarization has become ridiculous, but it hardly started with Democrats opposing Bush. It started with Republicans opposing Clinton. There is no more ideological animosity toward Bush than there was toward Clinton. Its just coming from a different direction.

    As for Cheney coming to BYU, what’s to say? Were someone coming from another political position also coming, it would make more sense, but as Russell points out, that is not the way we’ve done things in the past. However, even before the announcement of Cheney’s visit there was work on an invitation to Harry Reid in the near future. So, perhaps there will be some balance.

    By the way Russell, a prominent democratic candidate spoke at a BYU forum in the early 70s, but right now I can’t remember who it was. I just remember being surprised.

  25. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Russell,

    Bobby Kennedy spoke at BYU at the Smith Field House to a capacity crowd in 1968, while Ernest Wilkinson of all people was president. See this comment here and here.

  26. DavidH on March 28, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    The last prominent democrat I recall speaking at BYU was Bobby Kennedy. I heard a recording of the speech (cannot find it posted on the internet). Some of the high points, as I recall were:

    1. Kennedy promising Ernest Wilkinson that all democrats would be off campus by the end of the day.

    2. Kennedy saying he had a lot in common with Brigham Young–he knew what it was like to move from place to place, he knew what it was like to have a lot of children, and he knew what it was like to take on Johnson’s army.

  27. Aluwid on March 28, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    “An invitation for Vice President Cheney to speak at BYU’s April commencement was extended by members of the First Presidency of the LDS Church in their capacities as chair and vice chairs of the BYU Board of Trustees,” Jenkins said.

    http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/63676

    Randy, I’m confident that few Mormons will confuse the issue. Holding up scriptures amongst the Anti-Bush protesters would look pretty out of place. If you could control who would be there and what they would do then you could pull it off, but otherwise there will be little that matches the 13th Article of Faith to be seen amongst the angry mass.

  28. Jim F. on March 28, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Guy Murray: Thanks for restoring my memory. It was the late 60s rather than the early 70s and, of course, it was Bobby Kennedy.

  29. Mark N. on March 28, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    … ne c’est pas?

    As a former French missionary, I can’t help but to correct: that should be “n’est-ce pas?”

  30. Randy B. on March 28, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Aluwid, the only confusion will be with those not paying attention. Protesting is a time-honored tradition in this country and is legally protected as core political speech. I suspect the protest, if in fact there is one, will in all likelihood in fact live up to the aspirations of the 13th Article of Faith and be in full compliance with the 12th. That’s more than I can say for this administration, by a long shot.

  31. Aluwid on March 28, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Randy,

    You have quite a warped sense of the 12th and 13th article of faith in my opinion:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/30473968@N00/20868213/

  32. mrshirts on March 28, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    I think that some of these comments are missing what I feel is the main point. The more important problem is that the church is generally viewed as having a strong connection to the far right wing of the Republican party. Regardless of the official stance of neutrality, there is a strong perception of partisan support. By accepting an offer for Cheney to speak at BYU commencement, and creating the appearance of endorsing a specific subset of Republican views, the church only solidifies this perception. This perception causes real challenges for church members doing missionary work, especially in cities (or countries) where Cheney’s partisan views are unpopular.

    This is especially relevant at a time when Mitt Romney is campaigning for the right wing of Republican vote, and faculty members at BYU’s Marriott School attracted national attention for using their professional positions to endorse and fundraise for Republican Mitt’s bid for the White House. It’s just really tone-deaf P.R.

  33. Kaimi Wenger on March 28, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Russell,

    I’m sympathetic, but the reality is that the Democrats have pretty much abandoned Utah, too. There’s that great quote, by Democrat strategist Paul Begala, that the party shouldn’t spend money hiring people in Utah to “wander around and pick their nose.” It gets criticized; but that’s been the position of the national Democratic party for some time now.

  34. Ronan on March 28, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    It’s a conservative, establishment Republican kind of place

    I suppose this is the thing that hurts. The global church’s flagship institution is partisan in a way that is alienating to many of its members. This is not surprising, but that doesn’t make it right. Many of us in the international church find this very difficult. Does no-one care how we feel, or is the Church of Jesus Christ simply a “conservative, establishment (American) Republican” religion? If it is, at least let’s not pretend otherwise. American Mormons benefit from BYU in a way international Mormons never will. Do we really have to have its politics rubbed in our faces also? I’m feeling very second-class today.

  35. Mark N. on March 28, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Given the antics of the usual Bush/Cheney protesters, I can’t see anyone confusing that with the intent of the 12th Article of Faith.

    The counter protester would do well to ask: does Dick Cheney believe in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law? Or is he more prone to claim, with another Dick from the past that “when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.”

    If I were playing “Pyramid” with Donny Osmond and the subject “Dick Cheney’s Attributes” came up on the board, I’m sure that reciting the 13th Article of Faith would be last thing I’d think of in my own attempt to go for the big money.

  36. Randy B. on March 28, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Aluwid, I’d be happy to weigh the harm from the talk of overzealous protestors against the very real damage done by this administration. Frankly, that’s not a close call.

  37. annegb on March 28, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Kaimi, this is what I’m saying.

    mrshirts, I often miss the point, but if it’s what you said, I’m not missing it. I’m saying it doesn’t matter what party he belongs to, he’s the vice president. If the vice president was Hillary Clinton, who I find revolting, I wouldn’t complain. It would be logical.

    I don’t like the right wing leaning of Utah politics, but it’s a fact of life. I live with it every day. That’s old news.

  38. Mark N. on March 28, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    … Protesting is a time-honored tradition in this country and is legally protected as core political speech.

    So long as you only attempt it in the officially designated “free speech zone”, which is by definition out of sight and out of mind.

  39. Nate Oman on March 28, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Of course, Johnson (not Goldwater) carried Utah in 1964, so it was not as though it was a no brainer for a Democratic hopeful to campaign in Utah in 1968. It was a Democratic state in the last election.

    I suspect that BYU would host a Democratic VP if they asked. Afterall, BYU’s administration is nothing if not tickled pink when the outisde world notices its existence. On the other hand, given the amount of political water under the bridge since the McGovern Commission torpedoed the hopes of the national Democratic Party in Utah, I don’t see that a Dem gets much of a bounce on going for Utah. I can hardly blame the Clintonistas for not wanting to pour good money after bad in Utah. The fate of Dems in Utah does not lie with the national Democratic Party (which like the national GOP is mainly a fundraising office these days anway) but rather with the local Democratic Party. The first thing I would do is to take Rocky out behind the barn, give him a glass of whiskey, and shoot him.

  40. Margaret Young on March 28, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    A little more on Bobby Kennedy’s appearance at BYU. (I remember it well.)
    The Viet Nam War was already an embarrassment, and protests were rampant–except at BYU, where Paul Harvey said on air that he had never seen such well-behaved young people, patriots all, who actually stopped for the National Anthem every day.
    Kennedy asked how many in the audience supported the Viet Nam war (or do we call it a conflict?). It appeared to me that EVERY male hand went up. Kennedy then asked (according to my memory), “And how many of you are in favor of the draft?” Again, every hand went up. “How many of you have signed up to go to Viet Nam?” Every hand.
    There was a rather embarrassed pause from Kennedy. I mean, what other campus would have responded like that? Then he continued his speech.
    For me, it is embarrassing in retrospect.
    BTW, there are RUMORS that Obama will make a stop in Utah.

  41. Russell Arben Fox on March 28, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    “Is the Church of Jesus Christ simply a ‘conservative, establishment (American) Republican’ religion?”

    The Church of Jesus Christ has made it pretty clear that they do not consider themselves to be a conservative, establishment Republican religion. Official representatives of that church have more or less officially denounced the claims of certain past GAs who did insist such was the case, and you’ve had sincere efforts by the official church to reach out to and respect representatives of decidedly non-conservative, non-establishment Republican organizations in order to demonstrate such. But for the time being, I would say most of those efforts, at least insofar as the public opinion (amongst both Mormons and non-Mormons) is concerned, are not having much pay off. There is far, far too many obvious ways–the Cheney invite being just one–that BYU, or the Utah Legislature, or any of the other institutions and forums which directly or indirectly reflect the dominant mores of American Mormonism (mores which are, of course, also shared by the majority of general authorities, who grew up in that same American Mormon world after all), demonstrate that allegiance to conservative, establishment Republicanism to pretend otherwise.

    I’m sure this will someday change; it’s changed before, after all. Now personally, my preference for how that change would take place would involve President Hinckley this Sunday giving a powerful sermon about our collective social responsibilities as a polity for the poor, to condemn the idolization of the market, to quote Hugh Nibley on the military-industrial complex and protecting the environment, etc. But I won’t hold my breath.

  42. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Margaret,

    I found it interesting that the news accounts had the BYU turnout for RFK at over capacity. Perhaps that was due to the fact that in 1968 he had achieved rock star political status, even amongst the non-believers at BYU

  43. endlessnegotiation on March 28, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Ronan:

    The church is indeed a “conservative, establishment Republican kind of place.” US tax laws impose the necessity for the farce. Does this surprise you?

  44. mrshirts on March 28, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Re #37. But if Hillary Clinton, as vice president, came to speak at a BYU commencement, nobody would think that it was an implicit endorsement of the Democratic party — because nobody thinks that the church favors the Democratic party. With Cheney, who is not only Republican, but an extremely partisan Republican, it reinforces the perception that Mormons are unthinking Republican partisans. (See #41)

  45. Russell Arben Fox on March 28, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    “The fate of Dems in Utah does not lie with the national Democratic Party (which like the national GOP is mainly a fundraising office these days anway) but rather with the local Democratic Party.”

    We’ve discussed your thesis regarding the McGovern commission before, Nate, and I understand your point. But I still think plenty of explanatory power for the emergence of Utah as a one-party state nonetheless lies with the weird dalliance, the consequences of which will for all I know be permanent, between Mormon cultural leaders (both general authorities and otherwise) and the Goldwater/John Birch/Sagebrush Rebellion right of the 60s and 70s. Blame it on anticommunism, blame it on the hippies, blame it on environmentalism, blame it on the civil rights movement, but somehow or another, the association between Reagan-style liberatarian/small-government/silent majority Republicanism and Mormonism was well in place before the Gipper ever ran for president. The non-Mormons of Salt Lake City and elsewhere predictably responded by swinging even further to the Democratic party, which contributed to subsequent hardening of the Mormon-Republican connection, and so forth.

    To me, one of the interesting things about the Romney candidacy is that over the last thirty years, as this new Republican establishment has formed, the evangelical Christian right has become ever more important as an electoral support to their winning elections, and while most American Mormons felt utterly at home with and equal partners within Reagan’s anticommunist, small-government, family values coalition, it’s not clear yet just how well Mormon Republican bona fides will stand up in primary contests for the new conservative voters of America. For certain, there are lot of people, from Romney himself to numerous general authorities, who appear convinced that Mormons can fit theologically in with the Christian right just as well as Mormons did a generation ago with the Reagan right. But I’m doubtful, for many reasons, myself.

  46. endlessnegotiation on March 28, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    RAB:

    Your #41 represents just a lot of wishful thinking. I have little doubt that the church would publish an “endorsement” in the church new for specific candidates if the law permitted and I have little doubt that that list would be dominated by Republican candidates.

  47. Margaret Young on March 28, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Re #42–the “beyond capacity” crowd for Kennedy also included students from all around Provo, who were being exposed to a LIBERAL. I was actually in middle school, and my whole school attended. Remember, this was before the Marriot Center was built. The SFH is a really small space. It would also go “beyond capacity” during stake conferences.

  48. Nate Oman on March 28, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    endlessnegotiation: You’re historically ignorant if you believe what you say in #46, as the Church’s policy of refusing to endorse political candidates or political parties considerably pre-dates modern tax laws. A better place to find the roots of current Church policies are in the Moses Thatcher case, the B.H. Roberts case, and — most dramatically — in the Smoot Hearings.

    RAB: You are probably right about the connection between Mormonism and the New Right in the 1970s and 1980s. Interestingly, of course, Goldwater lost Utah.

  49. Russell Arben Fox on March 28, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Endless Negotiation, #46: I know it’s wishful thinking. But I can still wish, you know.

    Nate, #48: Right; as Perlstein and some other scholars have documented, the real force of Goldwater’s cultural challenge came in his defeat, not his success.

    Both: Why do you keep trying to change my last name?

  50. bbell on March 28, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    RAF,

    I think the 80% affiliation with the repubs goes deeper then the political re-alignment in the 70′s and 80′s (By the way we may be in process of another re-alignment right now nationally).

    I think its the demographics that are the deeper issue for the way the majority of LDS vote.

    We attend church to frequently, have to many children, and get married to young, to vote in any numbers for the Dems. Monson in BYU’s Political Science department is of the same view

  51. Nate Oman on March 28, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    bbell: I think that you raise an important point. It may be that the causal agent here is something appart from Mormonism, although even if it is about early marriage and large families, why isn’t that Mormon? Not uniquely Mormon, I grant you, but in this case it flows from Mormonism n’est-ce pas?

  52. Geoff B on March 28, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Annegb, #18, my comment #15 was meant tongue in cheek. Of course the politically correct point of view is to see that the vice president is somehow BAD because he supports the war. I was simply pointing out that he has not violated any Church policies that I know of with regard to the war. But by not supporting the constitutional amendment against gay marriage, he actually is going against an official Church policy. But I still don’t think he should be put on trial for it. :)

  53. quandmeme on March 28, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    I’m graduating from BYU law next month but I assume that I will skip Cheney’s speech and just move on with life and the bar exam. But should I go to boo or should I be outside protesting? Should I worry about BYU’s internal embarrassment or the need I feel to ensure that the media reports of this visit do not say we are mindless supporters of the administration. If I hope that there will be some dissent, so I need to get out and be part of it?

  54. John Mansfield on March 28, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    Brother Fox, they seem to think you stole Voldemort’s horcrux.

  55. California Mormon on March 28, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    BTW, I was at BYU when Bobby Kennedy spoke there in 1968. My favorite memory was when RFK asked the BYU students “How many of you support the war in Vietnam?” Audience: cheering.
    RFK: “And how many of you have enlisted?” Audience: dead silence, (along with laughing by myself and other Democrats).

    Also, another prominent Democrat addressed BYU students in the 1960s: President Hugh B. Brown of the First Presidency. My great-uncle, Lyle B. Nicholes, who was a member of the Utah House of Representatives in the 1930s, worked with Pres. Brown to get an anti-polygamy statute on the books which is still looked down upon by several Fundamentalist LDS groups.

  56. Aluwid on March 28, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Comment #55 and #40 are at odds regarding the BYU response to the Vietnam questions by Kennedy. Which one is accurate? I’m betting on #40 given the support for the military among Mormons.

  57. Joe Random on March 28, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Most BYU students who oppose Cheney coming to speak at the school are the same idiots who voted for Bush and Cheney in the first place. They are what we would call fairweather fans. Bush and Cheney are not perfect, but they are a whole lot better than John Kerry and all the problems that he would of created.

  58. William Morris on March 28, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    So what does BYU and the LDS Church get out of this? Isn\’t that what graduation speakers are for — to build cultural and political capital? To appeal to alumni, donors, faculty, administrators, and (sometimes) students.

    What cultural and political capital do they get from VP Cheney (I know the down side, but let\’s assume for a minute that at heart the people involved don\’t really care that it hurts BYU\’s status with liberals, moderates and anti-war citizens of all stripes — many who already have strong feelings against the university and the LDS Church and so can be written off for the most part).

    What\’s the upside here? This is a serious question. I don\’t see it, but before I go spouting off on pr disasters, I\’d like to understand what gains Cheney\’s visit brings.

  59. DavidH on March 28, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    I suspect #55 is right–it is hard to believe that the entirety of the male student body had enlisted in the armed services and were just waiting for the semester to end for their time in the service (and Vietnam) to begin.

    My understanding is Utah has the lowest or among the lowest rates of enlistment in the armed services. http://www.utahpolitics.org/archives/010495.shtml

  60. BYU grad on March 28, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    It would be different if Cheney were just coming to speak at some optional event, like a devotional. But the keynote speaker at commencement? That\’s too much.

    It even goes beyond whether you support Cheney or not. Why a political figure? It\’s the wrong measure of greatness. Put my stake president up there. He\’s a much better example of what students should be striving for.

    There\’s a petition here http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/691512543 against Cheney coming. This BYU signed it. I only wish I could make my name bold and big, like John Hancock, so everyone knows where I stand on this

  61. Gene O\'Grady on March 28, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Please forgive the intrusion of an outsider, but I think it needs to be said in response to the quote from Paul Begala in #33 that he was speaking in opposition to Howard Dean\’s idea (which — from a democratic viewpoint — seems to have been vindicated in the last election) that democrats need to campaign in all fifty states, including Mississippi — and Utah.

  62. Aluwid on March 28, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    DavidH, so you find the thought that none had enlisted to be more accurate?

    The Mormon military stats are interesting, from your link:

    “An Associated Press article (27 December 1999,Salt Lake Tribune) reported that Utah ranks last among all states in the proportion of young men and women signing up for military services (according to military figures). The military recruiters attribute this partially to the state’s healthy economy and high proportion of young people attending college, but primarily to the choice of Utahns to serve as missionaries for the Church. The age group that the military prefers to recruit from is “also the prime age group for Mormon men to go away on church missions. And in a state that is predominately Mormon, most young men turn to the church and away from recruiters.” On the other hand, Utah ranks fourth highest among all states in the proportion of “high-quality” enlistees. ”

    Yet even given this our presence in the military is roughly equal to our overall percentage of the population:

    http://www.strategypage.com/the_war_in_iraq/tactics/200464.asp

    “While most religions are underrepresented in the military, there are some exceptions. The Mormons (Latter Day Saints), represent 1.3 percent of the American population, and 1.1 percent of the troops. Catholics, which are 25 percent of the population, are 22 percent of the troops. The Mormons are recruited energetically by the military. Mormon families emphasize education and clean living for their kids, which makes them ideal candidates for enlisted or officer slots. Because nearly all Mormon men spend two years as missionaries, and many do this in foreign countries (after learning the local language at Mormon schools), Mormons are particularly sought after for intelligence, translation and Special Forces jobs. The largest concentration of reserve Military Intelligence units is located in Utah, a state with a majority Mormon population. If Mormons cannot be enticed into active duty, the armed forces makes it easier for the well educated and multi-lingual Mormons to join these reserve units.”

  63. DavidH on March 28, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Aluwid,

    I suspect a few hands went up to indicate a voluntary enlistment, just as some hands did not go up to show support for the Vietnam war (I know at least two individuals who attended and did not raise their hands in support).

    Not many Mormons enlist. Most have other preferences, like serving missions at that age. I was one of those (the draft ended one year before I served a mission, and I did not enlist). 1.1% of the troops are LDS? But 2% of the US population is LDS–about 6 million out of 300 million. (I do not know where that article comes up with 1.3% of US as LDS–perhaps based on active LDS or self-identifying LDS?)

  64. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    That’s an inspiring story, Margaret Young.

    Nate Oman, BBell:
    I think BBell is probably right. I recall seeing an analysis that showed that marital status and family size was more closely correlated to political affiliation than even religiosity.

  65. Aluwid on March 28, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    DavidH, I’m guessing the 1.3 number is coming from a self-identifying poll such as this one: “A 2000 Gallup Poll found that 56 percent of all Americans consider themselves Protestant, 27 percent Catholic, 2 percent Jewish, 1 percent Orthodox, 1 percent Mormon, and 5 percent “other.”” – http://www.isteve.com/2003_Few_Atheists_In_U.S._Foxholes.htm

    Perhaps the percentage of active Mormons in the military is higher than the percentage of inactive Mormons?

  66. endlessnegotiation on March 28, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Nate Oman:

    Your response demonstates your own historical ignorance as it assumes a static historical environment. The motives for maintaining “political neutrality” a century ago no longer exist. Today the Church has the liberty and strength to be more assertive than it did a centry or even a half-century ago so without the contraints of the tax laws that were implemented about a half-century ago it is highly likely that the Church would be more assertive in the political process. The Church is no longer the 98-pound weakling getting sand kicked in it’s face at the beach. That’s an important historical fact that you seem to ignore in your response. You’ve commented before that you think attorneys should get more training in game theory. Your response in #48 provides further support to that conclusion.

  67. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    I would think that the number of people who would identify themselves as Mormon to a pollster would be about the same that would self-identify as Mormon during military enlistment.

    I would be interested in seeing how those recruitment figures look when controlled for class and IQ. My experience was that when I enlisted the Mormons back home (in a somewhat rural area) were pretty supportive, fellow students at BYU were somewhat puzzled, like I had some weird hobby, and middle-aged, middle-class professionals were supporting but disturbed that a “nice boy” would do that.

  68. m&m on March 28, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Should I worry about BYU’s internal embarrassment or the need I feel to ensure that the media reports of this visit do not say we are mindless supporters of the administration.

    I don’t have an answer for this, but how might the media view a protest against someone the First Presidency invited? Is it possible there is more to think about here than just “BYU’s internal embarrassment”? Should there be concern about embarrassing our leaders? If a prominent and controversial Democrat were to come, would there be more caution about showing respect in spite of differences of opinion? I understand not wanting to be seen as a silent supporter of Cheney by saying or doing nothing, but this doesn’t seem as straightforward to me because our leaders are involved as well. Perception could be skewed on many fronts by the media, could it not?

  69. HP on March 28, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    m&m,
    It is my impression that the First Presidency invited GWB last year and he could not attend. Cheney later approached the First Presidency and suggested that he come this year. Is this not the case? It would seem to deflate the argument that the Cheney invite was entirely a matter of revelation and divine approval.

  70. Doc on March 28, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Julie,
    I agree, Dick Cheney deserves a fair trial. When can we begin impeachment proceedings?

  71. Nate Oman on March 28, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    endless: I disagree with you about the current strength of the Church, which I still think of as something of a 98-pound weakling, church press statements not withstanding. You are right, of course, that things change. Let’s try an experiment: You get the tax code repealed, and I’ll watch the Church’s political behavior.

  72. William Morris on March 28, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    HP:

    Yeah, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. How is a college like BYU going to turn down a sitting vice president who in general (if not in the specifics) matches the moral and political sensibilities of its students and donors? He is still the vice president — even if his political capital is nowhere near where it was.

    I’m sure that UC Santa Cruz or Humboldt State wouldn’t turn down the liberal analog to Cheney.

    I’m still not sure that the net effect will be positive. And that’s what pr is about at institutions whose political polarity is strong, in my opinion — placating the base while making as much gains as possible among moderates and writing off the opposition except in cases where they can serious damage your position with the other two constituencies. Hmmm. Not all that different from presidential politics, I guess.

  73. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Endless Negotiation,

    There’s plenty of reasons the Church would prefer to have a tacit rather than an explicit alignment with conservative politics in this country. For one, politics is messy, requires a lot of analysis of specific issues and arguments, and, frankly, our leaders have better things to do with their time. For another, if the Church’s alignment is only tacit, it allows folks to be agents unto themselves and come to different conclusions politically without defying the church community.

  74. Rumor Monger on March 28, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    I heard from a well-placed source that Dick Cheney is secretly taking the missionary lessons from the 1st Presidency and that he will be baptized at the Tabernacle during his visit.

  75. BRoz on March 28, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Citizens,

    I don’t think how left or right a speaker is not important when you are talking about the vice president of the United States. In my book, he is welcome to speak at BYU because of his position as a vice president of the United States. Have we lost all respect for the office of the president and vice presidency of our country.

    Acts 23: 3
    Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

  76. Jessawhy on March 28, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    But, Adam, religiosity is a measure of how “active” or “practicing” a person is in their religion.
    Is that what you meant to say?

  77. Alison Moore Smith on March 28, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    “No speaker will be invited to campus whose expression of personal or political values would demean the principles of BYU and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    Perhaps this is a minor point–or no point at all–but isn’t there a difference between the stated policy, above and Julie’s paraphrase:

    “…the position of BYU is that Cheney’s personal and political values do not demean the principles of the Church.”

    The policy doesn’t state that speakers won’t HAVE personal or political values that oppose the church, but that their EXPRESSIONS won’t do so. (I’m assuming they are referring to their expressions WHILE SPEAKING AT BYU.) If it were the former, who outside the church could EVER speak? And many IN the church would be excluded as well.

    #52 “But by not supporting the constitutional amendment against gay marriage, he actually is going against an official Church policy.”

    No, there is no church policy requiring anyone to support a constitutional amendment of any kind. Personally, I voted for it, but I got really tired of hearing the cries of apostasy aimed at anyone who dared to question or discuss the merits of the proposed change. Fortunately, they were rare and, as usual, were from predictable sources.

  78. Jessawhy on March 28, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    btw, that was regarding #63, I guess I hadn’t refreshed in a while.

  79. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    As I understand it, religiosity is a better proxy for politics than religious affiliation is. But I’m going off memory here.

  80. MikeInWeHo on March 28, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    re 18 “….the unenviable position of abhoring his daughter’s lifestyle while loving her…”
    I have seen nothing to indicate he abhors her lifestyle at all. On the contrary, I get the sense he’s very comfortable with her relationship and delighted that they’re having a child.

    Hope he shows up with (visibly pregnant) Mary and her partner Heather, and introduces them as a couple. That would be so cool. Does he even realize that his daugher would not be allowed to attend BYU ?

    There are many layers of irony here.

  81. Jessawhy on March 28, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    I agree, but I thought you meant affiliation. They are quite different, especially in context of this conversation (sorry the comment was so late. It took me a while to read the whole thread)

  82. Alison Moore Smith on March 28, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    MikeInWeHo, both the coolness factor and the “irony” of the situation escape me. I suspect such an introduction would, in fact, be an expression that demeaned the church’s position. I also don’t see how allowing Cheney to speak when his daughter’s behavior violates the honor codes is ironic in any way.

  83. BRoz on March 28, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    The position of the LDS Church and BYU is that “We believe in being subject to kings, rulers, kings and magestrates, and in honoring, obeying, and sustaining the law” and that we honor and do not speak evil or the rulers of our nation.

    Now if Vice-president Cheney were not the vice-president then we could debate whether his political philosophy demean the church.

  84. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Excellent point, Jessawhy. If both religiosity and marriage/family structure predict American politics better than affiliiation does, it suggests that the current politics of the American members isn’t as much an artefact of President Benson and certain political stances taken by the church (ERA, frinstance).

  85. Julie M. Smith on March 28, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Re #76:

    Jessawhy,

    If you can imagine BYU inviting, say, a porn star who promises only to talk about uplifting things during their speech, then I suppose your point is valid.

  86. Veritas on March 28, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    “The position of the LDS Church and BYU is that “We believe in being subject to kings, rulers, kings and magestrates, and in honoring, obeying, and sustaining the law” and that we honor and do not speak evil or the rulers of our nation.
    Now if Vice-president Cheney were not the vice-president then we could debate whether his political philosophy demean the church.”

    I find this view very disturbing. We live in a nation where the law and consitution support dissent of our elected leaders so I fail to understand how the quoted article of faith would suggest we should not speak out against Cheney visiting BYU.

  87. Jessawhy on March 28, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Julie, I didn’t write #76, Alison Moore Smith did.
    My comments were on either side of hers, perhaps that clears things up.

  88. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Julie in A.,

    A p*rn star is a notable public figure precisely because of the p*rn. Mr. Cheney is not a notable public figure because of his support of gay marriage. I do not think that anyone will get confused about the church’s stance on marriage because of the invitation.

  89. DKL on March 28, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    If Jesus were alive today, he’d cast his vote for Cheney and beat all of you nay-sayers with a cat-o-nine-tails. If you ask me, they should make Cheney president of the University.

  90. Julie M. Smith on March 28, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Adam, my comment had nothing to do with Cheney’s stance on gay marriage but rather his overall worldview and lack of ethics.

  91. DKL on March 28, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Margaret, the young men raising their hands in response to RFK were probably doing so in the same mindless mode in which they’re asked sustain leaders or extend votes of thanks. Sometimes, I think a leader could say something like, “We’d like to extend a vote of thanks to all those terrorists involved in plots to kill civilians. Please show this by the uplifted hand.” And everyone would raise their hand.

  92. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    DKL: If there is possibly any figure more reviled in the bloggernacle than thee . . . it would have to be Mr. Cheney

  93. Jim F. on March 28, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Guy Murray: Personal attacks are out of line, even on DKL.

  94. paula on March 28, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    There is a very brief mention of RFK’s speech at BYU, here:
    http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/byu/chapter5.htm

    More intriguing are the footnotes, where a complete transcript of the talk is mentioned, along with the questions and answers. The complete text of Kennedy’s speech, including questions and answers, is reprinted in “RFK at BYU: The Day the Fieldhouse Rocked,” SEP, 24 Aug. 1982. Anyone know what SEP would be referring to?

    I’m old enough to remember the Vietnam War, and grew up in Utah. I don’t think that even 20% of the men at BYU would have enlisted. They all would have had student deferments, and then were mostly married and having kids, so would not have the draft hanging over their heads, as an incentive for enlisting.

  95. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    Jim F.

    Actually, that’s a title of honor DKL wears with pride and respect, and which I only utter when kneeling. ;-)

  96. Adam Greenwood on March 28, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Julie in A.,

    I’ve heard of the law of chastity before, but never the law of Cheney. You’re free to think that Mr. Cheney is morally a porn star but you shouldn’t expect that the Church, BYU, or your fellow Saints will rush to adopt that view.

    You also shouldn’t forget Acts 23:5. I don’t think it applies exactly to American circumstances. But it and Article of Faith 12 both suggest that BYU may not just be inviting the man but also the mantle.

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/acts/23/5#5

  97. MikeInWeHo on March 28, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    re: 81 The irony is that Cheney is agreeing to speak at BYU when his daughter would not be allowed to attend there, not the reverse. There’s nothing ironic about them asking him to speak. It’s all too predictable, actually.

  98. gst on March 28, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    MikeInWeHo, that’s why my suggestion for a compromise solution makes sense. Cheney speaks, but his text must be about excoriating the Church for antagonism towards gays. Nobody’s happy!

  99. Justin on March 28, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Re #93:

    SEP stands for Seventh East Press, the independent BYU newspaper that ran from 1981 to 1983.

  100. DKL on March 28, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Jim, Guy knows well that I relish being the most reviled participant in the ‘nacle. I took his comment as a kind recognition of the zeal with which I embrace that calling. Guy’s cool. He’s wrong about politics, of course, but he says the same about me.

  101. Julie M. Smith on March 28, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Adam, you are so totally missing the point of what I am trying to say here. I’m simply refuting #76′s interpretation of the policy such that BYU’s policy allows a morally objectionable person to speak, as long as s/he doesn’t speak about morally objectionable things. Surely you don’t think BYU does and/or should permit morally objectionable speakers?

  102. ed johnson on March 28, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    I’ve always had the impression that having someone speak at commencement is different than just having them speak on campus. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I do see it as somewhat of an endorsement.

  103. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    He’s wrong about politics, of course, but he says the same about me.

    Indeed!

    Justin, Independent, is a carefully chosen adjective ;-). Once upon a time I had a complete set of the 7th East Press. As I recall, and you likely are aware, they only lasted a year or two. Once the University kicked them out of the BYU Bookstore, and frowned upon their existence, they whithered up and died. I wish I still had my collection–it would be priceless today. But, how ironic to invite a personality like Mr. Cheney, and frown on such independent newspapers as the SEP, or any of its progeny.

  104. m&m on March 28, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    It would seem to deflate the argument that the Cheney invite was entirely a matter of revelation and divine approval.

    Reread my comment and you will see that I didn’t say anything about revelation and divine approval. My comment was about considering that there might be other perception-related issues to consider besides simply what the media might think about what we think of Cheney. Our behavior as members is also watched, and not just to see how we feel politically. I think it’s worth at least considering what potential non-political ramifications protesting students and members the day of his speech might cause.

    But since you brought it up…although we can’t know all that went into the decision, do you think it’s possible there might have been some careful consideration and even prayer before making a decision that I’m sure they know was not insignificant because of the political climate? I’d like to think that this wasn’t a willy-nilly decision. And I’m going to trust that it wasn’t. I also see little value in fighting against the decision since it’s already been made, and am not convinced there is value in protesting while he is here. Further, I am concerned that it could be a negative if protesting occurs. I know, I know, it’s the SOP for the day to do so. But I can’t help but wonder if it would be better to let things be and be graceful hosts now that the invitation is apparently set.

    Maybe I should just say that I personally will feel embarrassed to have our leaders extend an invitation and have the members outside protesting. [If your parents invited someone you really despised or at least strongly disagreed with for an important dinner, would you boycott dinner or make a scene to express your discontent, or would you simply be gracious out of respect to your parents? That's a little of what I'm feeling...a desire to respect our leaders' decision and let things be.] There are other ways to communicate one’s point of view that are probably more effective anyway. We can say we don’t agree with Cheney’s position in more respectful ways, IMO (especially considering the circumstances). Just my opinion, of course (but then again, I’m not really the demonstration type).

  105. DavidH on March 28, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    m&m,

    What are some more respectful and effective ways to communicate our disagreement with Cheney’s positions?

    Is it improper, or does it undermine our Church’s leadership to urge that some political balance be shown by inviting a speaker of equivalent stature for another commencement address, but from the opposing party?

  106. Greg Taggart on March 28, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    I understand that Harry Reid spoke at the 2004 J. Ruben Clark Law School graduation in the Provo Tabernacle.

  107. HP on March 28, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    m&m,
    I think that for those so inclined there is a lot of value in protesting his appearance. I also don’t see anything particularly wrong in accepting his invitation, considering the circumstances.

  108. m&m on March 28, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    David, I think letters are a much better way to communicate one’s feelings and suggestions than standing outside protesting.

  109. m&m on March 28, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    HP,
    I’m not saying there might not be value, but might there also be a cost that should be considered? This is my question.

  110. Julie M. Smith on March 28, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    m & m,

    Is it possible our leaders were inspired to extend the invitation so that protesters would be there? I would think that with a Romney candidacy likely, file footage of BYU students protesting on campus would be a useful, powerful, and good antidote to the “all Mormons are mindless sheep” line that will surely be thrown around.

  111. Julie M. Smith on March 28, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    Just in case #109 wasn’t clear, my point is that I think it is possible that both the decision to invite him was inspired AND the decision to protest him is inspired.

    (I don’t think that that is the most likely case, but I do think it is an interesting possibility.)

  112. Margaret Young on March 28, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    DKL–I was on this blog for a total of 2 seconds and had just enough time to read your post about “those willing to extend a vote of thanks.” Thank you for the smile.

  113. m&m on March 28, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Is it possible our leaders were inspired to extend the invitation so that protesters would be there?

    Yes, I suppose it is possible. I was just throwing out those possible questions to consider. And I think they should be considered carefully and — dare I say it — prayerfully, not from a place of anger.

  114. m&m on March 28, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    And, Julie, if you think it might have been an inspired decision, why try to suggest that the First Presidency made a mistake (original post)? Or do you really mean to say that you think they made a mistake?

  115. HP on March 28, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    m&m,
    I honestly don’t see a “cost”. This isn’t meant to be an intimate affair.

    Honestly, this whole thing mostly reminds me of another embattled Vice-President representing another embattled President with an upcoming campaign. Sprio Agnew came to BYU because he knew there would be a receptive audience there. I don’t imagine that the situation is different today.

    For more on Spiro Agnew’s visit, go here

  116. Mark N. on March 28, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    #74 – Have we lost all respect for the office of the president and vice presidency of our country.

    That’s a good question. First people I would ask about their loss of respect for those offices would be Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.

  117. Mark N. on March 28, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    we honor and do not speak evil or the rulers of our nation.

    Since when did citizens elected to office in the United States become rulers over us?

  118. m&m on March 28, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    because he knew there would be a receptive audience

    Hmm…so, will he have a receptive audience? Do you think our leaders would like us to act receptive even if we aren’t? Again, just throwing questions out there. Maybe it’s no big deal either way, but if that’s the case, then maybe his coming isn’t that big of a deal, either. :)

  119. m&m on March 28, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Or, Julie, maybe I’m misunderstanding the purpose of your original post altogether. If so, sorry.

  120. paula on March 28, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    #98, thanks, I actually thought of Seventh East Press, but thought it had come along later than that. I imagine that there’s no way to access those old issues online…

  121. Julie M. Smith on March 28, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    m & m,

    This is what I think. I claim no more authority for it than the firing of my neurons. I think that the 1P approved it because they are gentlemen and felt that it would be a slap in the face to say ‘no’ to the White House. I think that this was the wrong decision; I think that the public opinion of Cheney (regardless of his actual misdeeds or lack thereof) is such that putting the BYU nihil obstat on him was a bad move PR wise.

    While I appreciate the idea of showing respect to the White House and/or the office of the Veep, we teach the Primary kids that sometimes CTRing means that you offend, irritate, and upset people. In this case, the better course would have been to offend, irritate, and upset the White House.

    Just my opinion. Again, I suppose it is possible that this was a deeply inspired decision of the 1P, but I doubt it. And, if it were inspired, that doesn’t mean that anyone shouldn’t protest.

    If I were in the area, I would prayerfully decide whether to attend a protest.

  122. Matt Evans on March 28, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Did anyone else look through the Pew Research paper Greg linked to in Notes From All Over? Under the headline, “Political Landscape More Favorable to Democrats,” Pew lists the following trends as good news for Democrats:

    – 7% fewer Americans now agree “Prayer is an important part of my daily life”
    – 11% fewer Americans now agree they “never doubt the existence of God”
    – 8% fewer Americans now agree that “There are clear guidelines about what’s good or evil that apply to everyone”

    The graph on page 35 shows that the parties have never been as divided by religion. In 1987, Republicans were only 1% more likely to respond favorably to religious questions, now the difference is 16%.

    So Russell, given our revelations concerning the last days, and Pew’s analysis of what’s good for Democrats, you can rest assured your party will be increasingly successful until the Second Coming. : )

    May God bless America.

  123. Julie M. Smith on March 28, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    BYU Democrats have permission for an on-campus protest the day of Cheney’s speech and they also have a killer quote from Voldemort himself:

    http://byudemocrats.org/?page_id=83

  124. m&m on March 28, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    The BYU College Democrats have BEEN APPROVED FOR THE FOLLOWING PROTESTS by the BYU administration!

    I appreciated being informed about this. That helps address some of the questions I presented above. Thanks for the link to the BYU Dem’s site.

  125. m&m on March 28, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    And, Julie, thanks for answering my question.

  126. Alison Moore Smith on March 28, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    #96 MikeInWeHo “The irony is that Cheney is agreeing to speak at BYU when his daughter would not be allowed to attend there, not the reverse.”

    How is that ironic?

    #100 Julie “Surely you don’t think BYU does and/or should permit morally objectionable speakers?”

    I do. As I said, who would be left to speak if no one “morally objectionable” was allowed?

    I suggest that they likely have their limits on HOW morally objectionable the person is, before considering them. So, you could reasonably conclude that t he powers-that-be find Cheney within the morally acceptable threshold or that they have a greatly tolerance for moral objection than you seem to or they have a different standard altogether.

    You could also probably reasonably conclude that most porn stars wouldn’t pass muster…unless they were reformed, repentant, converted, and very thoroughly clothed.

    #74 Mark N “First people I would ask about their loss of respect for those offices would be Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.”

    Oh, I can think of a couple of people I’d ask before them.

    #120 Julie “In this case, the better course would have been to offend, irritate, and upset the White House.”

    Why, when instead they could just offend, irritate, and upset a bunch of you? ;)

  127. Julie M. Smith on March 28, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Alison Moore Smith (and, by the way, sorry for mis-attributing your comment above),

    I’m far less concerned about BYU offending *me* than I am with them offending the on-the-fence member or investigator. (And I’m not offended. Offense is for wusses. I’m mildly irked.)

  128. Russell Arben Fox on March 28, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    “So Russell, given our revelations concerning the last days, and Pew’s analysis of what’s good for Democrats, you can rest assured your party will be increasingly successful until the Second Coming.”

    I’d really be interested, Matt, in any evidence you could present that would suggest I consider the Democrats to be “my” party. Pull yourself out of the two-party mentality, my friend.

  129. HP on March 28, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    “I suggest that they likely have their limits on HOW morally objectionable the person is, before considering them. So, you could reasonably conclude that t he powers-that-be find Cheney within the morally acceptable threshold or that they have a greatly tolerance for moral objection than you seem to or they have a different standard altogether.

    You could also probably reasonably conclude that most porn stars wouldn’t pass muster…unless they were reformed, repentant, converted, and very thoroughly clothed.”

    Why are you applying a double standard here? Do you believe Cheney repentant and converted? Do you believe that engaging in p~rn is less theologically dubious than precipitating a war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands? I am having a hard time following the logic of your moral relativism.

  130. HP on March 28, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    Matt, I find dreadfully little evidence to consider the leaders of the Republican Party divinely inspired. Perhaps you should go the third party route that Russell suggests. I hear Bo Gritz is looking for backers…

  131. Russell Arben Fox on March 28, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Paula at #119 (and others),

    I know the BYU Library has a fairly complete collection of the Student Review, which was published from 1986 until about 1995, depending on how you define “published.” I actually kind of doubt they have much from the last couple of years, but up through 1993 or so, it’s pretty solid, or at least was reported to me as being such. As for the Seventh East Press, someone would have to check with the library. They were a much smaller outfit than we were, putting out fewer issues with less distribution than we had. The library staff would have had to work hard to scoop them up.

  132. gst on March 28, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    Where can I see some of this Cheney porn that everyone is talking about?

  133. Justin on March 28, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    Re #119:

    I’m not aware of any online archives.

    However, the Autumn 1968 issue of Dialogue published a transcript of Kennedy’s speech (pp. 163-67).

    RFK at BYU

    A photo taken following the speech can be seen here.

  134. Guy Murray on March 28, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    Justin,

    Thanks for that link in Dialogue. I just read his speech. I will be very interested to compare and contrast it with the remarks Mr. Cheney will give when he speaks.

  135. David Brosnahan on March 28, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    #85 I find this view very disturbing. We live in a nation where the law and consitution support dissent of our elected leaders so I fail to understand how the quoted article of faith would suggest we should not speak out against Cheney visiting BYU.

    I am defending Cheney’s right to speak and I am in no way telling anyone that they cannot say whatever they want. Alma 30: 7, 11 supports freedom of speech. However, at the same time we should have some respect for our leaders. Maybe you wouldn’t invite Paul to speak at your university because his comment in Acts 23: 3 must demean your ideal of freedom of speech.

    Im just waiting for news to show hundreds of BYU students protesting the vice-president just so they can show that they are soooo open-minded just like the rest of the universities in this country. Anyone remember the Rodin exhibit at the Art Museum and the protests over not displaying some of the nude statues. I distinctly remember recieving a sharp repremanding from Pres. Hinkley over that. Why do we need Cheney to demean the Church when we can do it ourselves just fine thankyou.

  136. Matt Evans on March 28, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    “I’d really be interested, Matt, in any evidence you could present that would suggest I consider the Democrats to be ‘my’ party.”

    Sorry Russell, my quote just sounded better with a possessive pronoun. I should have directed it to someone who does identify as a Democrat.

    So, HP, given what we know about the last days, and Pew’s analysis of what’s good for Dems, you can rest assured your party will see lots of success before the Second Coming. : )

  137. MLU on March 29, 2007 at 12:01 am

    The longer I read this threaad the better I felt about Cheney.

    Though as for that, he was already my favorite Washington politician. Of course, I would also like to do away with direct election of the chief executive–tinkering with that electoral college to get some functional distance from the mob and the choice of leaders–and a rollback of those sunshine laws to disempower lobbyists and special interests so that elected leaders could get back to the backroom and get something done.

    I’m also quite impressed with Haliburton–a company that can get done what it does in the circumstances it operates is, well, a national treasure.

  138. Alison Moore Smith on March 29, 2007 at 12:17 am

    #128 HP “Do you believe that engaging in p~rn is less theologically dubious than precipitating a war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands? I am having a hard time following the logic of your moral relativism.”

    It appears that my “moral relativism” is pretty close to that of our general leaders. I can live with that. I’d guess their “double standard” has something to do with their reasoning that p-rn stars, by definition, do engage in porn. And that the accusation you make toward the vp is, at very least, debatable.

  139. Guy Murray on March 29, 2007 at 12:24 am

    precipitating a war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands

    Alison Moore Smith:

    Please explain what part of this accusation is, at very least, debatable.

  140. Alison Moore Smith on March 29, 2007 at 12:37 am

    HP, “deaths of hundreds of thousands”? Do you have a reference?

    The US count is 3,245 and the total coalition count is 3,503.

    The reported Iraqi deaths (both military and civilian–gee, it’s hard to tell which is which–do those two kids they blew up in the car bomb count as military???) are 23,494. Some anti-war groups estimate total Iraqi casualties at between 60,000-65,000.

  141. Alison Moore Smith on March 29, 2007 at 12:38 am

    Well, guy, there’s the “precipitating” part and then there’s the “deaths of hundreds of thousands” part. Oh, and then the “resulted” part. I do, however, think they guy really is named “Cheney.”

  142. Guy Murray on March 29, 2007 at 12:56 am

    The precipitating part: Are you suggesting that since 9/11, up to and including the March 2003 shock and awe show that Mr. Cheney did not intimately participate in the planning, strategy, execution and function as the chief cheer leader of the Iraq war? Do you have a reference?

    The deaths of hundred’s of thousands part: Differing organizations have differing numbers. Whether its the lower numbers you cite, or the other numbers how many does and/or should it really take to make a difference?

    The resulted part: Regardless of the numbers–you’re suggesting all these dead did not die as a result of the war? Again, do you have a reference?

  143. Maximilian Schell on March 29, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Let’s have a second Nuremburg Tribunal with Bush and Cheney in the defendent’s box, on trial for crimes against humanity and starting useless wars.

  144. Mark N. on March 29, 2007 at 1:14 am

    Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional
    cluster sample survey
    :

    “An excess mortality of nearly 100 000 deaths was reported in Iraq for the period March, 2003–September, 2004, attributed to the invasion of Iraq. Our aim was to update this estimate…

    “We estimate that as of July, 2006, there have been 654,965 (392,979–942,636) excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war, which corresponds to 2·5% of the population in the study area. Of post-invasion deaths, 601,027 (426,369–793,663) were due to violence, the most common cause being gunfire.”

  145. m&m on March 29, 2007 at 1:30 am

    Mark N.
    What about death tolls before 2003?

  146. Julie M. Smith on March 29, 2007 at 1:32 am

    m&m,

    I think they went with 2003 because that’s when the US invaded Iraq. (Or maybe I don’t understand what you are asking?)

  147. Guy Murray on March 29, 2007 at 1:33 am

    Julie,

    I think m&m might be referring to deaths under Saddam

  148. Julie M. Smith on March 29, 2007 at 1:35 am

    Guy,

    Maybe, but I thought the idea of “excess mortality” was that pre-2003 would be a baseline and then any increase in following years would be defined as “excess.” If we assume that Saddam was killing people, then the deaths inflicted by the US are actually higher than indicated because their baseline would reflect unnatural deaths. (Or am I missing something here?)

  149. Guy Murray on March 29, 2007 at 1:42 am

    Julie,

    Ok, I see what you’re saying. I don’t know . . m&m will have to further clarify.

  150. Mark N. on March 29, 2007 at 2:11 am

    There’s all sorts of interesting nuggets in the Lancet survey, if one is willing to read the whole depressing thing:

    “In Iraq, as with other conflicts, civilians bear the consequences of warfare. In the Vietnam war, 3 million civilians died; in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, conflict has been responsible for 3·8 million deaths; and an estimated 200 000 of a total population of 800 000 died in conflict in East Timor.33–35 Recent estimates are that 200 000 people have died in Darfur over the past 31 months.36 We estimate that almost 655 000 people—2·5% of the population in the study area—have died in Iraq. Although such death rates might be common in times of war, the combination of a long duration and tens of millions of people affected has made this the deadliest international conflict of the 21st century, and should be of grave concern to everyone.”

  151. Philocrites on March 29, 2007 at 7:40 am

    Is it standard practice at BYU to give an honorary degree to the commencement speaker?

  152. Seth R. on March 29, 2007 at 8:13 am

    m&m

    Be sure you restrict the mortality rate under Saddam to that experienced during the US-British enforced “no-fly zone.” That is the situation the administration found intolerable and the one we sought to change by the invasion.

    Be sure you don’t muddy the waters with irrelevant genocide statistics from Saddam’s atrocities prior to when the US essentially neutered his military ability to conduct genocide on Kurds and southern Iraqis. Similarly, stats from the Iraq-Iran war are also irrelevant for comparison purposes.

    The Kurds where actually doing VERY well under the no-fly zone prior to 2003. Saddam’s capacity for atrocity had been severely limited already. Not saying Saddam was a nice guy or anything, but be sure to restrict comparison to the correct time period.

  153. Seth R. on March 29, 2007 at 8:13 am

    151,

    I don’t see why not. He meets Honor Code requirements.

  154. Adam Greenwood on March 29, 2007 at 9:27 am

    “Simply refuting #76’s interpretation of the policy such that BYU’s policy allows a morally objectionable person to speak, as long as s/he doesn’t speak about morally objectionable things. Surely you don’t think BYU does and/or should permit morally objectionable speakers?”

    Are you trying to out-Puritan me, Julie S.? Because it seems to me that lots and lots of speakers will have sins and failings that are irrelevant to why they are being asked to speak (unlike your p*rn star). And it seems to me that if you think politics=morality, no politician would be morally unobjectionable, as its unlikely that any politician would do exactly the same thing that you do.

    That Lancet study is garbage.

  155. Julie M. Smith on March 29, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Re #153: I hope you were joking. If not, ____ you.

    (For the humor impaired, that was a reference to Cheney’s outburst on the senate floor.)

    “Are you trying to out-Puritan me, Julie S.? ”

    No, but I can if you want to. How’s your food storage?

  156. HP on March 29, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Matt, sadly, I too am not a Democrat (although I have voted Green in the past). In fact, I am currently without party affiliation and will continue to be so until I find a party that I do not find objectionable.

    m&m/Alison Moore Smith,
    I was indeed referring to the numbers in the Lancet survey (whose inadequacy I have only just now learned about from Adam Greenwood; Adam, please explain your objections). I suppose arguing the morality of the war-mongering politician relative to the p~rn star is incidental (although I still don’t follow your logic). If a p~rn star asked to speak at BYU, BYU could easily turn the p~rn star down (after all, what effect would it have on BYU?). If the sitting VP asks, I doubt the same disregard is applicable. Adam is right to note that the actual morality of a given speaker is irrelevant to whether or not the person is asked to speak (Didn’t Paul Dunn ever speak at a BYU devotional?). Having the sitting VP ask to speak at your commencement is an honor, even if it is only because he thinks it is one of the few places in America that he will get a respectful hearing. I don’t think that our accepting his invitation should be read as a tacit endorsement of his policies or a tacit approval of his morality. Elder Monson broke bread with Erich Honneker (sp?), didn’t he?

  157. Adam Greenwood on March 29, 2007 at 10:40 am

    100%, Julie S. Thats thanks to my good wife, so morally speaking you probably got Puritan points on me there. But did you watch TV last Sunday, or change out of Sunday clothes? Are the rumors about you having a mouth like a sailor true?

    Discouting for Wikipedia’s slight liberal bias, its article is a good entree to the Lancet study controversies. The Lancet study reports a death toll 6 times higher than any other study (10 times higher than studies by other groups), requires that something like 500,000 violent deaths have gone unreported, and is said to have underestimated deaths under Saddam.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancet_surveys_of_mortality_before_and_after_the_2003_invasion_of_Iraq

    Here’s a recent article:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article1469636.ece

  158. bbell on March 29, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Adam,

    I concur with you on the Lancet study. Its been shot down. whenever its numbers are mentioned I simply roll my eyes.

    I of course did change out of my sunday clothes on Sunday, did watch basketball and did go home teaching in shorts and sandals.

  159. HP on March 29, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Thanks, Adam. I had never yet encountered objections to the study. I shall tentatively change my earlier statement to “tens of thousands” as a result.

  160. Frank McIntyre on March 29, 2007 at 11:01 am

    HP,

    “I had never yet encountered objections to the study. ”

    I haven’t spent any time on the Lancet study, but a colleague here in the department does a lot of epidemiology and so publishes in medical journals like JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, etc. He noted that while they were great for medical stuff, when they dove into social science it was often a train wreck. Lancet’s death count paper would probably fall into this category.

  161. Greg Taggart on March 29, 2007 at 11:21 am

    “The Lancet study reports a death toll 6 times higher than any other study (10 times higher than studies by other groups), requires that something like 500,000 violent deaths have gone unreported, and is said to have underestimated deaths under Saddam.”

    Yet our good op-ed writers in the Daily Universe referred to this study (by numbers not by name) as one justification for disinviting Cheney. They also mentioned the dread Haliburton. Everyone understands that it’s the name of a company and not an argument, right? Everyone knows that the GAO reviewed Haliburton’s war contracts, found them legal, and justified by the circumstances, right? And I’m sure that everyone knows that Cheney was the Vice President of the United States and not the CEO of Haliburton when it secured the contracts, that any shares he owned in Haliburton were in a blind trust at the time, that he’s turned any deferred compensation owed him by Haliburton into an annuity that is unaffected by Haliburton’s ups and downs (that is, he doesn’t benefit when Haliburton profits), that he donated something like $6 million to charity–much of it to cancer research and to higher education–from his Haliburton income (I know he’s an “evil” man, but someone has to do such things).

    I agree with other posters on the board: Cheney deserves a fair trial–because he hasn’t received one in this an other venues.

  162. HP on March 29, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Frank, the wikipedia article talks a lot about the statistics involved. It appears there that the primary question has to do with the accuracy of sampling between the three different surveys (Lancet, Iraq Body Count, and the UN count) and with the figures that the Lancet survey used to estimate deaths per thousand prior to the war (the Lancet’s is lower than that used by the other two). There is a lot of discussion pro and con for the methods used by the Lancet study. Could someone who knows statistics (as I do not) take a look at the data there and tell me why some people like the method used and other people don’t? In particular, the Lancet study seems to be approved by epidemologists. Could Frank’s colleague take a look?

  163. HP on March 29, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Whoa, Greg. The GAO report was hardly complimentary regarding the awarding of contracts after the start of the war and there was an awful lot of unaccounted for money in Halliburton’s hands. Furthermore, whether or not Cheney profits during his vice-presidency, is it okay if we are suspicious of his motives regarding what he might do after he leaves public office? After all, he has known the whole time that he is returning to the private sector after this gig. Finally, Cheney has not done an awful lot to clear the smoke surrounding him. Whenever he has been approached for information that would clear his name, he has cited executive privilege and clammed up. While this does not make him guilty, it doesn’t help his public perception either. If Cheney has not received a fair trial in the press, it is, at least partly, his own fault.

  164. bbell on March 29, 2007 at 11:54 am

    HP,

    Where are the prosecutions or indictments of Haliburton exec’s? Where are the prosecuters with Haliburton scalps? Where are the NY Times reporters with Pulitzers for writing the stories that led to the prosecutions? Where is the meat in the sandwich?

    The Haliburton stuff is simply a smear campaign. How do you know he will return to the private sector? He will be of retirement age and has health issues.

    Where are the personal morality scandals? Sexual harrassment? Lying under oath in a deposition? affairs? 800K fines by a federal judge? Supreme Court disbarment? relatives arranging clients pardons?

  165. Greg Taggart on March 29, 2007 at 11:54 am

    I don’t know HP. Is it okay if I slander a man based only on my suspicions? By the way, my summary of the GAO’s findings is a pretty good paraphrase of the executive summary of the report. Please direct me to the report’s less than complimentary findings.

  166. HP on March 29, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    I skipped to the conclusions/results. That’s where I saw it go to this for the relevant report and skip to the conclusions. For further reading, you could also always read Congressman Waxman’s summary of the findings here, but as he is a Democrat, perhaps you don’t trust what he writes as an official civil servant of the US Government (I know I wouldn’t)
    (ps. I don’t know of other options for slandering anyone).

    bbell, I am operating under the assumption that the lack of accountability is not considered “criminal wrongdoing.” Heavens, what kind of multi-million dollar international corporation would they be if they could easily be shown to break the law? You are right in that I don’t know if he will return to the private sector. Maybe he will retire and live of the Halliburton pension. Frank, you are right that I do not know Cheney’s heart. Heck, even though I find his politics more than a little distasteful, I am sure he is a swell guy. I never called him “evil” (not even when my support for his appearing at BYU led Matt Evans to call me a Democrat). For that matter, I wouldn’t say that the fact that he hasn’t been prosecuted should be understood to mean that he won’t. He has enjoyed the benefit of a compliant congress for several years now, one that was starkly partisan and saw no benefit in prying deeply into the current administration. I am a little surprised at your credulity where the VP is concerned, to be frank. I am honestly suspicious of everyone in Washington.

  167. Matt Evans on March 29, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    I read through the entire Wikipedia thread on the Lancet study and found the discrepancy about death certificates most damning.

    The Lancet team conducted random interviews of Iraqi households, asking how many people in their household had been killed since the Iraqi invasion. The interviewers asked to see death certificates 87% of the time, and when they did, 90% of the households produced the death certificate. This means that the interviewers saw death certificates for 78% of the reported dead (87% * 90%). Thus, according to Lancet’s methodology, there are at least 500,000 post-invasion death certificates (78% of 650,000).

    The researchers that have tallied official death certificate records, however, have found fewer than 50,000 death certificates.

  168. bbell on March 29, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    “He has enjoyed the benefit of a compliant congress for several years now, one that was starkly partisan and saw no benefit in prying deeply into the current administration”

    Come on now HP. You think that if the Dems are in control of Congress and Hillary wins in 08 that Waxman is going to run around investigating the Clinton Administration?

    I am enjoying watching you wither under our cross examination……..

  169. Mark IV on March 29, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Right on, Matt E. The Lancet’s conclusions are not supported by its’ own data.

    If 80% of the people who report a fatality can produce a govt. issued death certificate, why not just count death certificates and add 20%? If they did, it would put them in the same ballpark with all the other estimates of fatalities.

    I think that internal contradiction needs to be explained, and so far I haven’t seen a supporter of the study even attempt to address it. Until it is explained, the study simply cannot be taken seriously.

  170. HP on March 29, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Yeah, it is entirely unrealistic to expect any previously socialist bureaucracy to have that kind of efficiency (I am sincere in saying that). I officially (temporarily) renounce the Lancet statistics and hold Cheney only responsible for precipitating a war that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands, in my mind making him worse than a p~rn star. At least, until the Lancet folks explain that.

  171. HP on March 29, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Heck, bbell. I am fairly sure that they will focus on the Bush admin, as the congress during Clinton’s presidency actually spent an awful lot of time doing just that. I didn’t notice any withering, just adjusting for new data. I am really not a partisan hack, you know.

  172. paula on March 29, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    And, back to what this does to the church’s image, as far as political neutrality goes, this is in today’s Salt Lake Trib:
    http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_5545433

  173. m&m on March 29, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    I don’t think that our accepting his invitation should be read as a tacit endorsement of his policies or a tacit approval of his morality.

    I agree.

    I also agree with those who find the Lancet study less than reliable. And I think there is more to consider than counting deaths when wanting to look at the value or lack thereof of the war. I’m not a fan of war, but I think too often the talk about it is too polarized and extreme on one side or the other, and, as such, not really helpful. The problem is, it’s hard to get reliable information in any way because the topic is so charged.

  174. bbell on March 29, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    My email to Walsh at the SL Tribune

    Ms. Walsh,

    I have to say that my response to your opinion piece is…….

    Bell: Salt Lake Tribune in general and you specifically…. Shows true color- blue

    When columnists and newspapers take sides as the SLT has done for 100 years it ceases to be a relevant source of information.

  175. Adam Greenwood on March 29, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Political neutrality means recognizing that the President is the President and the Vice-President is the Vice-President no matter what party they represent. It means not shunning them if you don’t like their politics.

    I did not lose my mind when President Hinckley went to the White House to visit President Clinton and give him copies of his genealogy. I prayed for Clinton during his Presidency just as I pray for the governor of my state, Bill Richardson, Democrat. I don’t think very highly of Bill Richardson but he’s the elected Governor.

  176. HP on March 29, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Oops, I just figured out which Clinton admin you meant, bbell (why yes, I am slow). I don’t know, because I do not believe that Hillary has any chance whatsoever of getting elected. However, I would like Congress to investigate potential corruption in the White House no matter what the party of the President. What on earth is wrong with that?

  177. m&m on March 29, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    I made a comment earlier…did it get eaten?

  178. bbell on March 29, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    HP,

    Address this info on Haliburton no bid contracts. Looks like 95% of H’s contracts are won in the open marketplace. (at least in 2005)

    its hard to argue with this type of data.

    http://www.fedspending.org/fpds/fpds.php?company_name=Halliburton&reptype=r&database=fpds&fiscal_year=2005&detail=0&mustrn=y&datype=T&sortby=r&x=13&y=9

  179. Greg Taggart on March 29, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Well HP, I read the GAO’s conclusions and Waxman’s reports. Sounds like there were problems, most of them the result of a complex situation and misunderstood rules. That said, there’s no condemnation of Haliburton, and more to the point: there is no linkage attempted, let alone established, between Haliburton in Iraq and Cheney as Vice President. NONE.

    So what do we have so far from the professors’s op-ed in the Daily Universe? Their Haliburton charge is bogus, apparently based on wishful speculation. Their citation to the worthless Lancet study on Iraqi deaths is, well, worthless. Do their other charges laid at Cheney’s feet stand up?

  180. Ryan Bell on March 29, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    HP, there’s nothing wrong with holding Cheney accountable for his role in helping start a war that killed tens of thousands of people. The problem is, to determine how he should be held accountable you must first determine 1) how bad the resulting war was, weighed against the good it accomplished and 2) what Dick Cheney knew and intended and expected by playing his role in support of the role.

    I suspect you have a quick answer for number 1, which I won’t bother debating. But it frustrates me when administration-haters (and believe me, I’m no booster) conclusively assume that they have the answer to number 2. Assume for a moment, impossible though it may seem, that Dick Cheney made the best possible decision he could have, with the highest motives, based on the information available to him. Even granting that the war was an utter catastrophe, we would only call him misguided, rather than morally culpable, would we not?

    In other words, for Dick Cheney to be a moral reprobate because of his role in starting the war, the war must not only be a bad thing, but he must also have done it with bad intentions or in bad faith, or without considering the information or consequences. I don’t know that anyone knows this is the case. If you do, please share.

    Sometimes people make bad decisions. Not all bad decisions are sinful ones. Until we know whether Cheney’s acts leading up to the war were made in good faith or bad faith, let’s stop acting like we know he’s a sinner.

  181. m&m on March 29, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Ryan,
    Thanks for your comment. Well said. Better than my comment that disappeared.

  182. jethro on March 29, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    regarding high profile democrats that have spoken at BYU:
    during the time i was around in the 1990s, the highest profile ones who came were Paul Tsongas and Governor Andrus. niether of them spoke at commencement, obviously.

  183. HP on March 29, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    bbell, why should I address that? It has nothing to do with anything. If Halliburton is engaged in shady dealings 5% of the time, that is 5% too much.

    Greg Taggert,
    I didn’t write the Daily Universe Op/Ed so please stop expecting me to address. If you have an issue with their accusations, I suggest you take it up in their lovely Letters to the Ed section. You may fit in.

    Regarding the Halliburton/Cheney thing, please don’t get upset because the report said what I said and not what you thought I said it said. Also, calm down.

    Ryan,
    Ryan, the truth is that I don’t know Cheney’s mind (as I have said above). There is an awful lot of fishy stuff floating around him (not unlike all the fishy stuff that floated (and probably still floats) around the Clintons. I have three options here: assume the best, assume the worst, or aim somewhere in the middle. Generally, I aim somewhere middle to worst in considering the motivations of politicians, so with that as my starting place, Cheney has done precious little to improve my opinion of him and his potential motives.

    Regarding potential motives, I see Cheney (and the Bush admin) as trying to create a win-win. Get rid of a petty tyrant who has shown an affinity for WMDs – good. Easier access to oil – not so good. Establish a western-style democracy in the Middle East – good. Establish a friendly government installed by your friendly neighborhood liberators – not so good. I think that a lot of motivations went into the decision, some of which would pass just war muster and some of which wouldn’t.

    I also don’t see Cheney as solely responsible for the war, just as I wouldn’t see the p~rn star as solely responsible for the p~rnography produced. However, I think he meaningfully contributed to the push for war, that he simply wasn’t interested in looking for other opinions (a guess based on the well-publicized rift between State and Defense Departments at the time), and that he bad-mouthed and maligned those that disagreed. While I have no doubt that he felt that there were selfless reasons for liberating Iraq, I also have no doubt that there were selfish ones. I read on Wonkette today that Jim Lehrer, looking back, couldn’t say if he thought the war was a mistake at the time because he knew enough about it to appreciate its complexity. I agree with Lehrer; at the time I thought it was a bad idea, but I could see the reasons for it and I agreed with some of them. If there is one thing I dislike about the current admin, it is the tendency to take complex issues and make them simple (and to take simple issues and make them complex (at least as far as torture is concerned(please don’t start a torture threadjack))).

    My opinion of Cheney is that he is the jerk who screws you over for your own good, making a tidy profit for himself and friends in the process. That is, I admit, hardly charitable (and I don’t think him evil, just terribly misguided) but I have yet to see a single thing to dissuade me from the idea.

    Regarding his sinfulness, of course he is a sinner. The question is whether he is guilty of the sins he appears to be guilty of. :)

  184. HP on March 29, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Oh, one more thing, I don’t have a quick answer to problem number 1, regarding Cheney’s culpability. There are a number of people dead now, but I have no way of knowing if they would be alive or dead today if there had been no war or if the war had been differently prosecuted. I think that we are dealing with more physical casualties than we would otherwise be dealing with, but I don’t pretend to know. For all I know, Saddam may have actually eventually given WMDs to people dedicated to his overthrow in an effort to get short-lived revenge on the US. Stranger things have happened.

    I really am not a partisan hack. Please stop treating me like one.

  185. HP on March 29, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    Actually, wiser heads than mine have counseled me to bow out. Thank you for engaging and enlightening. Have a nice day.

  186. joshua madson on March 29, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    I think the answer to Ryan Bell’s #2 and others questioning what Cheney knew are good questions, but my problem lies in Cheney’s attitude towards conflict in general. Lest we forget he is the author of the one-percent doctrine. Truth does not matter only possibility.

    As Suskind explained, “Even if there’s just a 1 percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty. It’s not about ‘our analysis,’ as Cheney said. It’s about ‘our response.’ … Justified or not, fact-based or not, ‘our response’ is what matters. As to ‘evidence,’ the bar was set so low that the word itself almost didn’t apply.”

    Certainly not Christian, and in my mind immoral to take human life with such disregard for evidence, truth, or life itself

  187. m&m on March 29, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Thought y’all might be interested in the Church’s official statement on this whole thing. You can find it here, as well as a review of the policy on political neutrality.

    A clip:
    “An invitation by Brigham Young University to the vice president of the United States to be the commencement speaker next month has triggered discussion and some controversy over the issue of political neutrality.
    “Whatever the personal views of individual students or other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the invitation is seen by the university’s board of trustees as one extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States rather than to a partisan political figure.”

  188. m&m on March 29, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    One more link for the official statement….

  189. Julie M. Smith on March 29, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    Ooo, two people beat me to the official statement. I think the statement was good in that it acknowledged the controversy and made clear that BYU doesn’t “endorse” Cheney. I think the statement was somewhat unfortunate in its selective quotation of the Trib editorial and also unfortunate in not seeing the difference between an “on campus speaker” and a “graduation speaker.” I would fully support Cheney (and pretty much anyone save porn stars) being “on campus speakers.”

  190. m&m on March 29, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Actually, I’m only one person. :)

  191. Julie M. Smith on March 29, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    Oh, I thought each m was a separate being . . .

    (Sorry, I’m just being weird. We’re in the middle of moving and I’m tired.)

  192. m&m on March 29, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Well, obviously, I was being a little goofy myself.

    I don’t envy you being in the middle of moving. Ugh.

  193. Jon on March 30, 2007 at 1:09 am

    What are they up to?
    How could an invitation to (or an acceptance of an offer from) our Vice-President, Mr. Dick Cheney, to serve as commencement speaker possibly be characterized as anything close to politically neutral? The thought makes reason stare. To claim that the invitation was \”one extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States rather than to a partisan political figure\” could only satisfy an extremely naive audience.

    I think AlecxG\’s suggestion 191 posts ago — \”on the plus side, [this] could garner a little more respect from the Evangelical Club, sorry, the Republican Party. That’s good news for Mitt Romney, ne c’est pas?\” — has strong explanatory power. Can you think of a better way to send the message to the Club that we are with them and they have nothing to fear. Sure, there are other items of interest to Evangelicals–e.g., the three hours/day Mr. Hannity gets at Church-owned 1160 on the AM dial. But all such matters, commercial or theological, are arguments. This invitation is a demonstration, like inviting someone to dinner at your house.

  194. Jeremiah J. on March 30, 2007 at 4:39 am

    Jon: “How could an invitation to (or an acceptance of an offer from) our Vice-President, Mr. Dick Cheney, to serve as commencement speaker possibly be characterized as anything close to politically neutral?”

    Of course it’s not political neutral in the general everyday sense, but it is completely compatible with the church’s position on political neutrality. The church has had other political figures from both parties speak on campus, even at commencement I imagine. Pres. Hinckley has had friendly and respectful visits with Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan, and a host of other political figures. Those things really don’t have much to do with the neutrality policy, which is rather about church teaching regarding specific candidates and parties, and the use of church resources for political purposes.

    The critical SLTrib piece was really unfortunate, because, among other things, it made neutrality the issue. As the church learned long ago it is impossible for them to be completely neutral in political matters. But what the press release does not seem to recognize is that it is an honor to invite someone for commencement. I’m interested to hear what major political figures have to say and I’d want them all to be at my univeristy to speak, but I don’t know if I want my school to honor all of them or feature them in commencement just because they hold office. The commencement address is not just another invited lecture to be criticially analyzed by an educated and responsible audience (will there be a question and answer period afterward?). It is I suppose that, but it’s also supposed to be a positive, memorable speech by a person who the university is holding up as an example for their graduating seniors. Perhaps BYU has something wildly different than that standard in mind, but that’s the standard which they seem to have followed in the past, and which most universities follow.

  195. john f. on March 30, 2007 at 5:26 am

    re Jon # 192, did you know that democrat politician Harry Reid spoke at my BYU law school graduation in 2004 and that democrat politician Tom Lantos spoke at BYU’s commencement in 2001? http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660207397,00.html

    What do you make of that?

  196. Jeremiah J. on March 30, 2007 at 6:27 am

    john f.: “democrat politician Harry Reid”

    I assume you’re trying to say that Harry Reid is a member of a certain party, not merely that he believes in democracy. In that case the correct adjectival form is ‘Democratic’, not ‘democrat’. This is not just a matter of simple correct usage but of basic civility. In standard references, call political parties and their members by the names they give to themselves, not by distorted, ugly-sounding versions of them. William F. Buckley put it this way:

    “Dear Joe McCarthy used to do that, and received a rebuke from this at-the-time 24-year-old. It has the effect of injecting politics into language, and that should be avoided. Granted there are diffculties, as when one desires to describe a “democratic” politician, and is jolted by possible ambiguity. But English does that to us all the time, and it’s our job to get the correct meaning transmitted without contorting the language.”

  197. john f. on March 30, 2007 at 7:27 am

    Jeremiah, I was trying to be accurate. Reid is a “democrat”; thus he is a “democrat politician”. No disrespect was intended. I was, however, trying to avoid an ambiguity that can arise if one uses “Democratic” as an adjective to describe a politician who is a democrat. I like to think that both democrats and republicans believe in democracy and the democratic system. The democratic system includes all political parties who put candidates forward. To ascribe the term “democratic” to just one political party implies that the other major party doesn’t participate in or doesn’t believe in the democratic system.

    McCarthy, eh?

  198. mrshirts on March 30, 2007 at 7:31 am

    In the statement the church released on the controversy, it says

    “Whatever the personal views of individual students or other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the invitation is seen by the university’s board of trustees as one extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States rather than to a partisan political figure.”

    This, again, seems to miss the point entirely. I have no doubt the board of trustees saw the invitation as extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States, and not to a partisan political figure. This is a completely valid stance.

    The problem is that MANY others don’t see it that way. I expect if you did a poll among U.S. citizens, most of who have no understanding of the church’s official policy of neutrality, a large minority would perceive it as a partisan move. Outside the U.S., this percentage would likely be larger. This hurts the church’s missionary efforts, It’s a public relations perception problem — avoiding the appearance of partisanship, since the church is already widely suspected of it.

  199. john f. on March 30, 2007 at 7:32 am

    Let’s put it this way: republican politicians are not democrats, but they are democratic.

  200. mrshirts on March 30, 2007 at 7:47 am

    Re: #196

    This is an honest mistake, but it does miss the history of the usage of the word. Traditionally, “Democrat Party” is used to imply that the “Democratic Party” is not, in fact, democratic, rather, that it rhymes with “plutocrat”, “autocrat”, etc. This was, indeed, a favorite technique of McCarthy — he appears to have at least popularized it. I don’t think he was trying to accuse anyone of McCarthyism, just point out why it’s particularly annoying.

    Some recent blogs:
    http://pundits.thehill.com/2007/01/30/democrat-the-pejorative-adjective/
    http://mr-verb.blogspot.com/2007/01/democrat-adj-pejorative-for-democratic.html
    http://mediamatters.org/items/200608160005

  201. john f. on March 30, 2007 at 8:14 am

    So, Reid’s a democratic politician then.

  202. john f. on March 30, 2007 at 8:19 am

    (But it is just more accurate — can’t you see that calling only one party the democratic party implicitly states that the other party is not democratic but rather non-democratic, i.e. autocratic or something else?)

  203. Julie M. Smith on March 30, 2007 at 8:20 am

    FYI to m & m: one of your comments got caught in the spam filter (different email?). I set it free.

  204. Beijing on March 30, 2007 at 8:26 am

    John F., I realize based on your comments that you do not hold traditional capitalization in high regard, but that would solve the problem to which you are referring. Republicans are democratic politicians, but only Democrats are Democratic politicians. In speech, you can say “small-d democratic” or “capital-D Democratic” to make the distinction clear.

  205. john f. on March 30, 2007 at 8:36 am

    The media matters news article you linked notes that major news providers, including people like Anderson Cooper of CNN, have been known to use “democrat” as an adjective, even to the extent of saying the “Democrat Party”, something which I would never do because I know the official name of the party is the “Democratic Party”. But what that news article makes clear is that even mainstream and well respected news outlets like CBS, CNN, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, etc. are using, at least sometimes, this terminology.

    Although the intent of the Mediamatters article is to point out that Republicans are distorting language in using “democrat” as an adjective, the point it conveys is actually that a wide range of people are doing it, including news outlets that are known for and proud of their affiliations with the Democratic Party and its politicians. Only writers for the New Yorker seem concerned; predicably, according to Hertzberg of the New Yorker, the root of the usage is a republican conspiracy, orchestrated by Newt Gingrich (even though, apparently, people have been using the term as far back as the Harding Administration).

    Could it be that major news sources use “democrat” as an adjective because it is actually more accurate? Aren’t other people besides democrats “democratic”? Don’t they believe in the democratic process even if they don’t believe that abortion should be legal (or any other social issue that would identify them as republican)? It seems that they are democratic and that language that excludes them by definition is inaccurate.

  206. john f. on March 30, 2007 at 8:41 am

    re 204, excellent point.

    It is also interesting to note that it is in speech that this problem has arisen as reported by the news articles that mrshirts linked. It was the case with the CBS and CNN instances discussed by the Mediamatters article. And even in GWB’s state of the union address, which caused consternation on one of the blogs mrshirts linked because Bush said “Democrat majority”, the printed version had it as “Democratic majority”. In other words, in print, you can see that something is capitalized. It would be cumbersome to say “Democratic, capital-D, majority” every time you want to use “democratic” as an adjective in speech. So a solution has been to say “democrat” as the adjective in speech.

  207. john f. on March 30, 2007 at 8:45 am

    (all of which, I suppose, concedes Jeremiah’s point since my communication here was in print and not verbal. Still, it was without mens rea, or malicious intent, for what Jeremiah imputes to me, and certainly was devoid of McCarthyism — I never had any idea about any of this debate before now.)

  208. Russell Arben Fox on March 30, 2007 at 9:04 am

    I’d be interested in hearing from someone who knows more about rhetoric than I do about the official statement from the church. To me, it reads quite different from any other official church news release I am familiar with. It uses a colloquial, interrogative style throughout: “let’s take a look,” “the reporter’s central point seems to be,” etc. It asks rhetorical questions, and takes an explicitly defensive tone in regards to certain allegations and criticisms. (I am not saying such a tone is wrong; I am just pointing out that it is unusual to see in a church statement, since so far as I recall, such statements usually avoid granting that the criticisms they are responding to have had any negative impact whatsoever.)

    My bet is that this is an “outsourced” statement–one written by a single person, whether a member of the PR division or a BYU faculty member or someone else–rather than one that went through the usual committee. That is, of course, neither here nor there as far as assessing its arguments are concerned. Still, I find it a very interesting document nonetheless.

  209. Jim Cobabe on March 30, 2007 at 9:26 am

    I’d be interested in hearing from someone who knows more about rhetoric than I do about the official statement from the church.

    Church spokesmen have issued such statements of an editorial tone in the past. They are routinely published on the back page of _Church News_ .

    Church web pages “Newsroom” section has a “Commentary” tab that is collection of these statements. Newsroom Commentar The subtitle reads, “Comments from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on news stories, including corrections.”

  210. Locke on March 30, 2007 at 9:27 am

    “No speaker will be invited to campus whose expression of personal or political values would demean the principles of BYU and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    How does Cheney demean the principles at BYU? Now you can disagree with his foreign policy, or conservative ideology, or his intrepretation on the dangers facing the nation. The fact of the matter that the princples that govern his life are directly in line with the church; he is a man that believes in God, he is pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-family, and generally is accepted by a large majority of this church. If a majority of the church can generally conclude that this man is generally good does that mean he is? In this dispensation yes. Now all this talk about Church Rhetric and double standards is nasty and dangerous. The statement above is to keep people away who are directly opposed to church values, the church itself, or have such seedy (mainly immoral) behavior that the candidate would not be deemed praiseworthy. I am sure I will get a heap of counter responses. I keep telling myself that I would never come back to this site but I can’t help it because it’s really the only one that exists of it’s nature.

  211. Last Lemming on March 30, 2007 at 10:23 am

    In all the hubbub over BYU endorsing the right-wing agenda by inviting Vice President Cheney to be its commencement speaker, nobody seems to have noticed that the University of Utah has endorsed Mormonism by inviting First Counselor Monson to be its commencement speaker.

    http://media.www.dailyutahchronicle.com/media/storage/paper244/news/2007/03/30/News/Lds-Authority.To.Address.Graduates-2813973.shtml

  212. Lurkin' Grandma on March 30, 2007 at 10:27 am

    I heard Hubert Humphrey speak at the old Smith Field House in the late 60′s.

  213. hp on March 30, 2007 at 10:33 am

    Locke,
    Go to this site and you will find a wealth of other lds blogs.

    Also, you question has been address umpteen thousand times already on this thread.

    Chupacabra!

  214. Seth R. on March 30, 2007 at 10:49 am

    Locke,

    I wouldn’t hold your breath on that “heap of counter responses.” It might help if your post actually made sense.

    If you’d bother to look at the sidebar of this website, you’d find links to over a dozen other Mormon issues blogs. Times and Seasons is not “the only one that exists of its nature.”

  215. nowhere on March 30, 2007 at 11:45 am

    Just to clarify one thing, “If Jesus were Alive”….

    This is a Mormon Blog. Surely the statement, “And this we testify last of all, that He Lives! He Lives…”

    Jesus is alive today.

    Honoring the Law is well and good, but remember that Jesus honors ALL of the law, not one jot or one tittle shall pass away, not ignoring the parts, treaties and obligations that he found incovenient.

  216. Jeremiah J. on March 30, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    john f.: I understoodd that your usage could have been an honest typo, or an honest error that was not ill-intentioned. I also was not calling you a McCartyite–I thought that since the reference was coming out of Buckley’s mouth it wouldn’t have that effect. It’s not something that drives be nuts, but it is a common error worth mentioning. I still think we disagree, however:

    “To ascribe the term “democratic” to just one political party implies that the other major party doesn’t participate in or doesn’t believe in the democratic system.”

    That may be what some Democrats want to imply, but Democrats and non-Democrats are commonly understood not to be making that implication when they use the preferred terminology. There could be some confusion, but this is common in English and people find a way to get their point across. I don’t have to change Charity’s name a bit every time I refer to her in order to signal that she does not have the pure love of Christ (though I could legitimately make the point that her name is ironic). And I don’t have to change the adjectival form of “Democratic” in order to signal that Republicans can be democratic as well. Political parties give themselves names with positive connotations all the time. The Republican Party is an obvious example (I’d be proud to be called a republican, but it’s factually incorrect that I’m a Republican), but you can look to parties like “Christian Democratic”, “Russian Unity”, etc. etc. East Germany called itself, absurdly, the German Democratic Republic (well, at least it *was* German…), but you don’t have to alter the name in order to signal your non-approval of positive connotations of the name they’ve given themselves. And it seems that everyone understands that just because you call communist East Germany the GDR does not mean you buy into communist propaganda.

    I guess I started what’s called a small “threadjack”. Sorry.

  217. Ugly Mahana on March 30, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Re: # 211

    Looks like the old debate regarding which school is apostate, the one up North founded by Brigham Young, or the one down South named after him, should be alive and well…

  218. Julie M. Smith on March 30, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    “How does Cheney demean the principles at BYU?”

    Leaving aside the promotion of torture, death, carnage, etc., I would have thought a simple F___ you on the Senate floor, or advocating the right of gay couples to adopt, or running the kind of ship where your main man gets convicted of a felony might have something to do with it.

  219. Julie M. Smith on March 30, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    And let me say that even if *I* thought Cheney were a good egg, the fact that the vast majority of Americans *don’t* should be enough to keep him from being a graduation speaker. This isn’t the same as a speaker on campus–this is someone honored and someone that people have to listen to. It isn’t fair to the graduates and their families to bring in anyone that will cause a controversy or be disliked by most of the audience.

  220. Rich on March 30, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Go Julie!

    I find it ridiculous to hear so many of you right-wing-nuts talking about “only 50,000″ dead, as if that were an acceptable number of dead (and quit ignoring the wounded, which is likely to be at least 4 times that). Good grief. And spare me the “Saddam would have killed that many if we hadn’t” speech. Guess who Saddam was killing (with our blessing and our guns and our gas once upon a time)? The very same guys we’re hemorrhaging the US economy and the lives our our precious soldiers to do the very same! What on earth is the justice/sense/reason in that? We took out the only secular government in the middle east and are on the fast track to replace it with Islamic fundamentalist civil war. Yeah, that was a brilliant move! And we’ve proven we’re part of the big double standard in the process. It’s only OK for us, world police, to have “NUKULUR” weapons and use torture. The rest of you aren’t civilized enough to murder to get gain like good old Dick “Kishkumen” Cheney and his band of gadianton robbers who sit in high places and wage war for filthy lucre.

    As to the Church’s so-called political neutrality, get real. Having (with the first presidency’s blessing) that damnable demagogue Sean Hannity crammed down our throats ever afternoon on KSL is a sign of political neutrality?

    Why didn’t the first woman in the history of the country to become Speaker of the House of Reps. get an invite? It’s obvious — she’s of wrong political stripe. She’s one of those TRULY IMMORAL baby-killing, gay-loving, science-minded liberals. Trashing the environment, waging war, oppressing the poor, torture, pardons for white collar executive criminals — those things have nothing to do with morality (and let’s face it, Jesus will clean up our mess anyway).

    I had to laugh at M&M’s naive “just write a letter”. A letter addressed to whom? Some circular-filing “spam”-filtering secretary in the Church office building? LOL. The rest of the world holds our country in contempt because of this warmongering liar and his lap-puppet King George. The Church rightfully risks whatever scorn is thrown its way if they proceed with this poor choice, IMO.

    Count me in with the protesters.

    As for the rest of you Cheney supporters, swallow your pride. You made a mistake when you helped get that liar elected. I know you must feel deep shame. Quit trying to hide it by keeping up the rationalization for the rest of us! We’ll gladly forgive you as soon as you defect from the dark side. ;-)

  221. m&m on March 31, 2007 at 1:40 am

    Another desnews article from today talks a little more about the issue.

    I guess I’ve been called worse things than naive. :)

    Rich, it’s long been known that writing a letter is often a good way to get your voice heard (I personally think it’s sometimes more effective than gathering with a bunch of people in white shirts and posters. That gets you noticed but doesn’t communicate anything specific. But if that’s not your style, that’s great. Have fun protesting. :) )

    Besides, you should notice that I backed down from my concerns about protests once I heard BYU gave them the OK. I am not against protests in general, BTW, although like I said I am not the demonstration type. I had concerns about protesting in this particular situation, lest it be misunderstood. (After all, all the hype is about this move being misunderstood by the public, right? I was concerned about other potential misunderstandings. I’m less so now because of how the Church has handled it all.)

    Of course the church knows that people disagree with its choice. I actually think the way it has handled the issue so directly, is allowing protests (has this ever happened at BYU?), and made it clear that we can all think what we want is really a good thing for the church, IMO.

    p.s. For the record, I never said I was a Cheney supporter, just to make that clear. (I actually am not sure that anyone here actually came out and said they were.) We can support the Church’s decision without supporting Cheney. :)

  222. m&m on March 31, 2007 at 2:45 am

    Looks like another got stuck in the spam filter. Must have been the desnews link?

  223. Matt Evans on March 31, 2007 at 3:13 am

    No, the filter’s trying to recover after choking on Rich’s comment.

  224. Larry on March 31, 2007 at 6:53 am

    Rich,

    Such blatant lack of regard for the truth is deplorable, given that you imply that you know it all.
    “I find it ridiculous to hear so many of you right-wing-nuts talking about “only 50,000″ dead, as if that were an acceptable number of dead (and quit ignoring the wounded, which is likely to be at least 4 times that). Good grief. And spare me the “Saddam would have killed that many if we hadn’t” speech. Guess who Saddam was killing (with our blessing and our guns and our gas once upon a time)? The very same guys we’re hemorrhaging the US economy and the lives our our precious soldiers to do the very same! What on earth is the justice/sense/reason in that? We took out the only secular government in the middle east and are on the fast track to replace it with Islamic fundamentalist civil war. Yeah, that was a brilliant move! And we’ve proven we’re part of the big double standard in the process. It’s only OK for us, world police, to have “NUKULUR” weapons and use torture. The rest of you aren’t civilized enough to murder to get gain like good old Dick “Kishkumen” Cheney and his band of gadianton robbers who sit in high places and wage war for filthy lucre.”

    Let me begin with the egregious assertion “It’s only OK for us, world police, to have “NUKULUR” weapons and use torture. The rest of you aren’t civilized enough to murder to get gain like good old Dick “Kishkumen” Cheney and his band of gadianton robbers who sit in high places and wage war for filthy lucre.” You need to give your head a shake and stop reading the MSM and propoganda from the left. There are only 4 or 5 countries in the world that are held accountable under the Geneva convention regarding torture. The primary one is the U.S. Only Canadian, American, and British soldiers have held their soldiers accountable for treatment of enemy combatants. Every enemy of those nations has gotten a free ride, and in fact, don’t mind beheading, cigarette burning, cutting the bottoms of feet, or using other forms of extreme torture.

    If you really believe that Cheney orchestrated the war for the benefit of “his band of gadianton robbers who sit in high places and wage war for filthy lucre”, think about this. With about 1/10th the number of troops he could have seized the oilfields of Southern Iraq and one port for export. Since they would have been distant from Baghdad, they could have easily defended themselves, particularly in the open oilfields where their superior military would have quashed any resistance in short order, suffering little or no casualties, and then call in the Navy to defend the port and the shipment of oil to their fat-cat refineries.
    In fact, it is Europe that is the coward in all this. Check out Total Petroleum and their association, not only with Iraq, but also with Iran. And what about your favourite country, Russia,(given your vitriol for the U.S.) and their intentions and influence in the region.

    The geopolitical make-up of the Middle East is far more complicated than you seem to understand. It is a delicate game of checks and balances that must be played out on a nearly daily basis. You can never be right in whom you choose an an ally, because they will support you one day and turn their back on you the next. Therefore those who are ignorant of the realities will accuse you of supporting the enemy every time an ally on any particular day comes back to haunt you. (i.e. the Taliban who were instrumental in defeating the Soviets, with U.S. support – now their sworn enemy).

    With such a daunting task before them, those who have attempted to formulate American foreign policy have had little to gain. It has been well known for decades that China and Russia have a desire to control the oil from the Middle East. Were the U.S. not to have exercised it’s power in the region, it would have been a defacto concession to the other 2 powers and wouldn’t you have loved living in a world where they controlled the oil.

    So, in summary, think outside the box you head is stuck in and see the world the way it is and not the way you wish it were. There are evil men out there conspiring every day. At least Cheney has the guts to stand up and fight to defend what he feels is his responsibilities as VPOTUS and the interests of free men and take the heat for it personally instead of resting comfortably on his ranch in Wyoming.
    Having started the war, as you suggest, it would have been extremely dumb for him to stay in office, because he made significantly more in the private sector, and could have abandoned his post for the purpose of gain leaving others to clean up the mess.

  225. Julie M. Smith on March 31, 2007 at 7:57 am

    Larry, I think Rich’s argument is over the top, but I’m not much more impressed with yours.

    How is your second paragraph any different from “But MOOOOOOOOOM, everybody else is doing it!”?

    How is your third paragraph any different from “Nah–he’s too smart for *this* kind of evil?”

    Fourth paragraph: “It is a delicate game of checks and balances that must be played out on a nearly daily basis.” If that is the case (and I agree that it is), don’t you think our ham-fisted actions are even more disturbing? Let’s let Cheney answer that one himself:

    In April of 1991, Dick Cheney said the following, opposing calls to capture Baghdad and enforce a regime change:

    “If you’re going to go in and try to topple Saddam Hussein, you have to go to Baghdad. Once you’ve got Baghdad, it’s not clear what you do with it. It’s not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that’s currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime, or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists? How much credibility is that government going to have if it’s set up by the United States military when it’s there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens to it once we leave? I think to have American military forces engaged in a civil war inside Iraq would fit the definition of quagmire, and we have absolutely no desire to get bogged down in that fashion.”

  226. Rich on March 31, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Larry,

    War profiteering isn’t just about oil. All of the major “defense” contractors (Lockheed, ATK, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Halliburton, etc.) have seen their stock prices climb by as much as 30% in the last year alone. And Bush has put in another request to Congress for yet another 100 Billion. Chump change? These big corporations pay heavily into campaign coffers. Mr. Cheney still has 100K shares of Halliburton stock options. No conflict of interest?

    Meanwhile, there’s been a new law drafted in Iraq that intends to create a “Federal Oil and Gas Council” that will require Iraq to open up its oil fields to control by Western corporations. Instead of it being a nationally-owned resource, two-thirds of Iraqi oil would be subject to foreign control. Major oil companies would have seats on this council. Meaning big oil would get to approve its own bids. Also, these corporations would not be required to hire locals, or reinvest profits in Iraq, or share new technologies. So much for “Iraqi sovereignty”.

    Don’t kid yourself — war is very profitable — for some. And if it’s really some “righteous cause” that we are fighting there (worthy of invoking B of M scripture as justification like Pres. Hinckley did early on), then I say, put your money where your mouth is. Let’s institute a draft, that includes the rich, ivy-league Republican kids along with the disproportionately poor, less-educated volunteer troops that are dying for these profiteers. You would see this war come to a screeching halt in no time if we did.

  227. jose on March 31, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    #219 said: “someone that people have to listen to”.

    I’ve never been to a university commencement, that has been my choice because I think the orations are pedantic and boring. If Dick is so controversial, don’t go listen to him. I wouldn’t because I’m lazy. Take the opportunity to boycott the commencement and generate some buzz for the anti-war cause.

    #226
    Sounds like you’re just disgruntled because you didn’t buy some LMT or ATK and now its too late because the Dems are taking over.

  228. Larry on March 31, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Julie,

    Your response leaves me baffled. It’s not that every body else does it, therefore we should do it. Give it some thought.

    On your second point, let me know just how Cheney is benefitting from all this. Just give me one reason why a man that is one heart beat away from death would sacrifice himself on your altar of hate for the length of time and cost to his name that he has. What could he possibly be gaining? Character assassination is so easy. Just because one takes a stand different from your idealistic world is a poor argument against any point of view. I believe Cheney deserves better. Have all his decisions been good. No. But I find it difficult to impugn his motives.

    And finally, what’s wrong with his 1991 statement. He may still feel the same way, but under the circumstances surrounding 9/11 he felt the price needed to be paid.

    Rich,

    Perhaps if Nintendo were to produce the weapons needed you would feel better. As for major oil companies sitting on the Council, what if members of the Church were among those selected, would that change your mind, or is the fact that it’s a big oil company make everyone in it evil, wicked, bad, and nasty. That puts some pretty good men in very serious trouble.

  229. jeff hoyt on March 31, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Julie (#218)

    Do you really believe that anyone “advocating the right of gay couples to adopt” should be dismissed from consideration as a commencement speaker at BYU?

    In general, regarding the supposed constraints on civil liberties imposed by this administration: I can only presume you have not thought very hard about where the greater threat to civil liberties lies. I fear Cheney’s positions not at all. The opponents of Cheney, however, are willing to dictate to me about virtually every aspect of how I live my life (Who I can hire, fire and why; what I can say to my employees; what I can do with my property; restrict my gun ownership; how many miles per gallon my car must get; what my children can and cannot be taught in school; what kind of political speech I can support) A government willing to call me a criminal because of the capacity of my toilet tank will do anything, and I am afraid, due the scam of global warming things are going to get much worse.

  230. Carla K on March 31, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    bbell said (#174)
    \”Ms. Walsh,
    I have to say that my response to your opinion piece is…….
    Bell: Salt Lake Tribune in general and you specifically…. Shows true color- blue
    When columnists and newspapers take sides as the SLT has done for 100 years it ceases to be a relevant source of information.\”

    Not to quibble but the Trib endorsed Bush-Cheney in \’04. They also endorsed Rob Bishop (ranked as one of the 50 most-conservative House Republicans) in \’06. Not exactly true-blue.

  231. Mark N. on April 1, 2007 at 3:38 am

    Have all his decisions been good. No. But I find it difficult to impugn his motives.

    If you made a decision, and tens of thousands of people were affected negatively (some died, some were maimed for life, some suffered mental trauma that they would never in this life fully recover from) as a result, the survivors would probably want to see to it that you were to pay for that decision in some manner. And they wouldn’t give a rat’s patoot for your motives.

    But when we elect people to high office, suddenly they gain immunity from how these kinds of decisions affect the lives of millions of people. Purely on faith, we attribute to these people a level of wisdom that causes us to overlook the negative effects of their decisions, and tell ourselves that, yes, things turned out rather badly for a lot of people there, but, still, these leaders are wiser than we are and no doubt something good will arise as a result of the mayhem and death that was inflicted on a bunch of people that in no way deserved to have these things happen to them.

    This needs to stop. These people are not smarter or wiser than we are — the very fact that they have decided that war is the answer directly refutes that idea.

    I can see why people who have no knowledge of a Plan of Salvation or a Redeemer that has come to save us from our errors and weaknesses would place their faith in fallible human beings who see death and destruction of the other fellow as the answer to all our problems, but I can not comprehend how faithful Mormons could ever, possibly, in a million years, see leaders who are anxious to deal out death and destruction “to the least of these my brethren” as being on the Lord’s side.

    We have been told in the scriptures that there are far worse things than the mere death of the body (we can lose our souls in pursuit of the wrong goals), but I get the impression that there are an awful lot of Mormons out there that can’t quite bring themselves to believe it. Somebody out there is anxious to deal death and destruction to us, and they need to be killed first.

    I can’t help but believe that the Savior’s response to the statement “I want to see to it that they die first because (I’ve been told) they want me dead” would be a resounding “So what? And possibly lose your own soul as a result? You know that there is more to eternal life than just this one mortal existence. Why do you let their hatred for you drive your decisions?”

  232. Vince on April 1, 2007 at 7:30 am

    Mark N (#231) Amen, amen, amen.

    However when many hear
    We have been told in the scriptures that there are far worse things than the mere death of the body
    they see that as the death of someone else’s body, not there own. They thus use this to justify the killing of others

  233. Larry on April 1, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Mark N,

    Too bad. I guess Abraham Lincoln, FDR, George Washington etc. are all damned as well. None fought popular wars and had to put up with lots of opposition and vitriol. But then, what would you care – sitting in your comforatble home, plunking on your computer. Those that sacrificed and those that had to send them there bear responsibilities that you can only pretend to imagine.

    In the spirit of your resolve, I hereby decalre that we should bring all the troops home now. When your children and grandchildren suffer the consequences of not stopping this evil force, or doing the best we can, even at the price of lives now, make sure you document in your journal that you felt it was better that they suffer than you.

  234. Biebs on April 1, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Mark…
    \”but I can not comprehend how faithful Mormons could ever, possibly, in a million years, see leaders who are anxious to deal out death and destruction “to the least of these my brethren” as being on the Lord’s side.\”

    May I suggest that you read the Book of Mormon. As you read the Book of Mormon you will notice numerous accounts where defending truth and right and killing is allowed by God. And don\’t be confused, the armies that are being killed do not consist entirely of Saddam Hussein or Hitler style men. As sad as it is, innocent people die.

    As with Moroni (you will read about him in the Book of Mormon) I too believe that truth and right must be defended at all times and in all places. The true gospel must go forth across all the earth and as evil rulers are removed the gospel will move forward!

  235. Biebs on April 1, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Rich…

    Why are you on this blog if you aren’t LDS? Just curious to know why you care so much about LDS issues if you are not LDS.

  236. Larry on April 1, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Editor,

    Thanks for the edit. That bit was too much for me and I couldn’t call it back. Thanks again.

    Admin.: You’re welcome, Larry. Sometimes we are just carried away…

  237. Mark N. on April 1, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    As you read the Book of Mormon you will notice numerous accounts where defending truth and right and killing is allowed by God.

    Yup. Defending is the key. I fail to see how occupying a foreign country qualifies as “defending”. Looks darned offensive to me.

    And I note, for what it’s worth, the Nephites’ military campaigns were far more successful prior to the visit of the Savior in 3rd Nephi than they ever were afterwards. After the Savior’s visit, they had been given a higher law. We, too, are under that higher law, so, in my opinion, citing scriptural wars entered into prior to the coming of the Savior in the flesh as some kind of example of righteousness are no longer of any consequence to us whatsover. We have been shown a better way, and we are damned insofar as we refuse to follow it.

    As sad as it is, innocent people die.

    “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” — Thomas Jefferson

  238. Jack on April 1, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Rich,

    Let’s suppose that you’re right about western corporations one day dominating the oil industry in Iraq. What is likely to happen if such is the case? Well I’ll tell you what I think is likely to happen. Even if the west were to own 2/3′s of the oil industry there would be such an incredible up-swing of commercial growth in local appendaged industries that the country would be economically tranformed practically overnight. This would mean better infrastructure; better education; better health care; etc.

    This is what was happening in Venezuela 25 years ago until they foolishly kicked the Amreicans out. And now, after a continual downward spiral, they’re stuck with the likes of Chavez. And how much oil money do you think he is making available to the public?

    Surely it would be a terrible thing if the war in Iraq were being fought merely over oil; over money. But as no one is able to prove that such is the singular underlying motive, I’ll put my money on a good dose of capitalism being the economic salvation of Iraq.

  239. Rich on April 1, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Biebs, what gave you the idea I wasn’t LDS? (I’m actually an active HP and a former bishop).

    Do you really think that taking Saddam out has given us an opportunity to preach the gospel in Iraq? This guy was about as non-Muslim as they come. What’s rushing in to fill the power vacuum we created HATES Christianity. That will be some feat, selling Mormon theology to Islamic Jihadists.

    Jack said:

    I’ll put my money on a good dose of capitalism being the economic salvation of Iraq.

    Capitalism isn’t a sure-fire way to democracy. Just look at what’s happened in Russia. While there are several folks getting filthy rich over there at the moment, your average Russian is far worse off than ever. A lot of money that’s being made in Russia is leaving the country and ending up in Swiss bank accounts, and not getting recycled into the local economy.

    Yeah, some oil revenue may “trickle down” (after the Exxon execs bleed it off into their multi-billion dollar US bank accounts) into the local Iraqi economy, but it also may not. At this point it’s only wishful thinking. Meanwhile, millions of Iraqis have fled their homes as civil war rages. The country is an absolute mess, getting worse. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put that humptydumpty back together again.

  240. Larry on April 1, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Mark N.,

    Then the Revolutionary War, in your opinion, should never have occurred. I wonder what the consequences would have been re: the Restoration of the Gospel.
    Be careful how you respond, because contradictions will be too easy to pick out given your line of argument.
    Be careful also how you interpret the Constitution and its amending documents, since the arguments you seem to put forth have alternative interpretations as well. Quoting scripture to appear righteous won’t work either.
    And just as an addendum, lying down and doing nothing while your enemy plans your demise carries very serious consequences as well – eternally.

  241. Seth R. on April 1, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Larry,

    I don’t care much for Rich’s ranting either.

    But I don’t give these guys the leeway you do either.

    Let me summarize it for you:

    The Bush administration.

    It’s not always wrong.

    It’s not always dishonest.

    But it is, always, incompetent.

    We’ve had six years of these doofuses clowning around with our national destiny and it’s high time someone took the car keys away.

  242. Biebs on April 1, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Mark…

    “Yup. Defending is the key. I fail to see how occupying a foreign country qualifies as “defending”. Looks darned offensive to me.”

    I am not about to give a history lesson of the events leading up to the Iraq war. It was clearly (based on all of the facts) defensive. Saddam had WMD’s. We know this as fact because he used them on his own people. He was a brutal dictator responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people and he supported groups that identified their main objective as wiping the US off the face of the earth. The church is based in the US so without a free US the church will be negatively impacted.

    You cite that after Christ came to earth “we have been shown a better way”. Are you implying that we are not to fight and kill even to defend truth? In case you forgot, some of the early church members formed the mormon battalion. They were sent to fight for truth and right. Were they too evil?

  243. Administration on April 1, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Admin.: comment put in moderation. Comments are not to question the worthiness of other commenters. Thank you for adhering to the rules.

  244. Julie M. Smith on April 1, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    I’m going to close comments–I’m not convinced there is anything new to say.

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