Notes from All Over thru April 25th – Comments

April 25, 2009 | 27 comments
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Here’s the place to make your comments on our ‘Notes from All Over’ for last week.

  1. Largest US Cities without Temple
    • The Largest U.S. Cities Without a Temple by Matt. LDS Church Growth April 21, 2009. Miami, Tampa, Cleveland, Pittsburgh…
  2. Bybee’s Private Regret
    • Amid Outcry on Memo, Signer’s Private Regret: Friends Say Judge Wasn’t Proud of Outcome. By Karl Vick, Washington Post Staff Writer. Washington Post, April 25, 2009. The aura of regret described by Bybee’s friends and associates stands in contrast to the demeanor of Yoo, who served under Bybee and has maintained both a public profile and the fearless confidence that informed the memos.
  3. Harvard LDSSA Holds Dialogue
    • Mormons Clarify Beliefs. By BEVERLY F POZUELOS, Contributing Writer. Harvard Crimson April 24, 2009. The Latter-day Saint Student Association held its annual Meet the Mormons event to explain LDS beliefs to those interested.
  4. LDS Missionary Arrested at Cincinnati Airport in Transit from Mission
    • Missionary’s arrest sparks discussion, fear. By Sheena Mcfarland. Salt Lake Tribune 04/24/2009. An undocumented immigrant into the US, the missionary was detained because he didn’t have proper documentation.
  5. EmJen’s guided tour of the bloggernacle.
    • From Tabernacle to Bloggernacle. reviewed by Emily W. Jensen. BYU Studies Review, April 24, 2009.
  6. “During opening statements, the [Jim Matheson] detailed 14 big problems he had with the [global warming] bill, and [he] told me later that if he hadn’t been limited to five minutes, ‘I might have had more.’”
    • Global Warming Overreach. By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL. Wall Street Journal, APRIL 24, 2009. Matheson is one of several moderate Democrats who may stymie one of Obama’s core issues as liberal Democrats “overreach” in the opinion of Strassel.
  7. Former LDS Church Member Holmes to Discuss Missionary Service in Book
    • Deals: Hamish Hamilton set to publish Boyden’s next novel. By Stuart Woods. Quill & Quire, April 24, 2009. Actor Jessica Holmes signed a contract for her memoir I Love Your Laugh, to be published in 2010. The memoir reportedly discusses her “missionary training.”
  8. “Shadenfreude” behind conviction of “sleazy” Mormon, says columnist
    • Conviction centered on defendant’s pain. by Scott Hyder. East Valley (Phoenix) AZ Tribune, April 23, 2009. Former Phoenix Sun’s nutritionist Doug Grant was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for contributing to the death of his wife. He then married his mistress three weeks later.
  9. Whittier Stake Celebrate’s 50th Anniversary
    • Observing The Faiths: Mormon stake celebrates 50th anniversary, Staff and Wire Reports. Whittier CA Daily News, 04/23/2009. The Whittier stake was officially organized on April 26, 1959, by Elders Spencer W. Kimball and Gordon B. Hinckley.
  10. Cheever Biography Reveals Mormon Interest
    • Book Marks, by Richard Labonte. Pridesource 4/23/2009. A short review of “Cheever: A Life,” by Blake Bailey shows that the novelist had a “lust for a young Mormon writer.”
  11. Quirky Southern Play Includes Unusual Mormon Elements
    • Review: ‘Sugar Bean Sisters’ is out of this world. By CHRIS SILK. Naples FL Daily News, April 23, 2009. One of the sisters wants to move to Salt Lake and marry a Mormon.
  12. Latter-day Saint School Wins Under 14 Title
    • LDS takes the U14 Basketball title. Fijilive April 24, 2009. The School, part of the LDS Church’s educational system, won the Fiji Primary Schools Basketball finals.
  13. Romney testifies in federal court
    • Romney testifies in wrongful termination suit: Former state Civil Service commissioner William P. Monahan filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff. Boston Globe, April 23, 2009. Romney testified that Monahan’s mob ties were the problem.
  14. This link contains SPOILERS for Survivor Tocantins. Mouse over it at your own risk. You have been warned.
    • Will Mormon contestant Tyson Apostol survive his most serious challenge yet? Click for the story, at BuddyTV.com.
  15. Reason to move to or away from Contra Costa County, depending on your perspective
    • Budget Cuts Force Contra Costa County to Stop Prosecuting Misdemeanor Crimes: Criminals May Face No Consequences; Deputy DA Warns, ‘The Match Has Been Lit and We’re About to Go Up’ By LAURA MARQUEZ. ABC World News with Charles Gibson, April 23, 2009. Contra Costa County District Attorney Bob Kochly said his department will stop prosecuting many misdemeanor crimes after having to lay of 20% of his staff due to budget cuts.
  16. Does Jesus’ Skin Color Matter
    • IT’S MORE THAN WOOLY HAIR AND BRASS COLORED SKIN: Black Mormons debunk biblical myths on race, curses and inequality. EurWeb April 22, 2009. Two LDS researchers, Marvin Perkins and Darius Gray, have debunked the myth of skin color, curses and inequality in a 2-CD set called Blacks in the Scriptures, leading EurWeb to ask about Jesus’ skin color.
  17. Another Mormon Torture Connection
    • The Lede: The ‘Clockwork Orange’ Approach, By Robert Mackey. New York Times News Blogs April 22, 2009. Two apparently Mormon psychologists were behind torture techniques developed for the SERE program (meant to train US soldiers to resist torture) which were later used against detainees in US custody.
  18. Logan Cops Jest at Man’s Temple Recommend
    • Man not laughing at jailor’s jokes on condoms, religion. By Matthew K. Jensen. The Logan Herald Journal, April 23, 2009. After he was arrested because of a clerical error, John Zeugschmidt was shocked when the arresting officer said “Do you have any condoms in here? I better not find any opened ones. Condoms would go great with your temple recommend.”
  19. Should a professor’s anti-Prop 8 rant bother me? asks Mormon MA student on CHE forum. Farking train wreck ensues.
    • Professor stance on Same-sex marriage. by Jaber123. The Chronicle of Higher Education Forum 21 April 2009. SSM, Polygamy, Mormons are/aren’t Christians, baptism, rebaptism, baptism for the dead, NT textual history–a veritable cornucopia of fun topics!
  20. German Mormon Settlement is Demolished (in German)
    • Mormonensiedlung wird abgerissen: Häuser am Tannenweg waren schon lange baufällig / Bewohner hatten nur wenig Kontakt nach außen. von Detlef Sundermann. Frankfurter Rundschau 16 April 2009. A small, dilapidated Mormon settlement in Bad Vilbel, near Frankfurt, has been demolished. The unusual settlement was established in 1965.
  21. Abuse charges fail to stick
    • No charges for church member: Prosecutors say they do not have enough evidence to file charges of molestation against man who is also a former reserve officer.By Joseph Serna. Newport Beach CA Daily Pilot, March 21, 2009. But while charges were not filed, the victim has filed a civil lawsuit against Todd C. Summers of Cosa Mesa, California. See also:
      Church, member named in suit: Man claims his roller hockey coach and fellow church member molested him when he was a boy from 1990 to 1999. By Joseph Serna. Newport Beach, CA Daily Pilot, March 16, 2009. — http://dailypilot.com/articles/2009/04/21/topstory/dpt-summers031709.txt
  22. The Story of Grief Embers and the San Bernardino Saints
    • Man called Grief brought much joy. by Nicholas R. Cataldo, Correspondent. San Bernardino CA Sun: 04/20/2009. The 437 Mormon settlers who became the first settlers in San Bernardino, California, included 26 slaves, Grief Embers and his family was among them. When the Mormon settlers returned to Utah in 1857, Grief stayed behind and became the first black land owner in the Inland Empire.
  23. Vintage Card: “Any government that [allows same-sex marriage] is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.”
    • State job is not to redefine marriage. By Orson Scott Card. Mormon Times, Jul. 24, 2008.
  24. Former Mesa LDS Church member gets 7 years for Ponzi Scheme
    • Financial con artist gets 7 years in prison. by Craig Harris. The Arizona Republic, Apr. 20, 2009. Dennis Cope asked to be released so he could pay back his victims, but the judge sentenced him to 7 years in prison for his $10 million fraud.
  25. Mormon Literature’s Journal
    • Search for Mormon literature yields ‘Irreantum’: ‘Irreantum’ is a twice-yearly publication, with the next edition due to come out this fall. by Tony Potter. Rexburg ID Standard-Journal, April 15, 2009. BYU-Idaho English professor and author Jack Harrell joins the editorial staff of the twice-yearly Irreantum.
  26. “One Of The Most Honorable People You’ll Ever Meet.”
    • Hatch On Torture Memo Author: “One Of The Most Honorable People You’ll Ever Meet.” by Ryan Grimm. Huffington Post 04/21/09. Senator Orrin Hatch told the Huffington Post he was strongly opposed to impeachment of Judge Jay Bybee. “Bybee’s one of the most honorable people you’ll ever meet.”
  27. Bart Ehrman speaks on the messy transmission of the Bible.
    • Bart Ehrman: “Misquoting Jesus: Scribes Who Altered Scripture and Readers Who May Never Know.” Clean Cut April 21, 2009. Includes video of an educational presentation given at Stanford University, April 25th, 2007, by Bart Ehrman, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ehrman is also the author of the best selling book “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.”
  28. Democrats tag Hatch as among the most bipartisan senators
    • Democrats say Hatch among most bipartisan senators. By Lee Davidson. Deseret News, April 21, 2009. Hatch ranks No. 3 among Republicans whom Democrats say are the least partisan and most enjoyable to work with, according to a survey by The Hill newspaper.
  29. “He’s such an attractive male — rugged, strong — kind of an exemplary man… I wish I had a body like [him].” Orrin Hatch, revealing his man crush on Dwayne Johnson (aka, the Rock)
    • Hatch & the Rock: Man to Man’s Man. By The Reliable Source, Washington Post April 22, 2009. “The Rock’s biggest fan in Washington? Sen. Orrin Hatch! Who knew?”
  30. Deseret Book dumps the Twilight series
    • Deseret Book demotes ‘Twilight’. Popular vampire novels available by order only. By Ben Fulton. The Salt Lake Tribune 04/22/2009.
  31. A Mormon finds a new faith at Notre Dame
    • A Mormon Finds A New Faith at Notre Dame. by Robert King. Indianapolis Star Blogs April 22, 2009. The conversion of 21-year-old Levi Checketts of Vernal, Utah to Catholicism.
  32. “One of the most radical and challenging aspects of grace is that it pushes to the breaking point our sense of fairness.”
    • Worrying About Salvation. by Lynnette. Zelophehad’s Daughters, 21 April 2009. Is Universal Salvation possible in the context of LDS doctrine?
  33. Another casualty of the insidious gay agenda. Could also probably use a cheeseburger.
    • Carrie Prejean Says Answer to Gay Marriage Question Cost Her Miss USA Crown. Fox News, April 20, 2009. “In the Bible it says marriage is between Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!”, says pageant mom. She’s right, of course — Adam and Steve would make a terrible couple, they don’t get along at all.
  34. The presenters and papers for this year’s SMPT conference. It almost makes me wish that I lived in California.
    • Upcoming SMPT Conference – 21-23 May 2009. Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology. Conference will be held at the Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California.
  35. Dan Brown’s new book, purportedly dealing with Masons and Mormons, hits shelves in September
    • Dan Brown to publish long-awaited new novel, The Lost Symbol. By Ben Hoyle, Arts Correspondent. The Times of London, April 21, 2009. Dan Brown’s first new novel since The Da Vinci Code was announced yesterday. Inevitably, it involves a global cult and a race against time to unlock a secret formula.Details of the plot are likely to remain fiercely guarded until much nearer the publication date of September 15, but intrigue centres on whether Brown’s vast and conspiracy-crazed international fanbase can divine any clues about the novel from its title: The Lost Symbol.
  36. Orton’s Fight Against the Line-item Veto
    • Funeral arrangements for former Congressman Bill Orton. KSL TV April 20th, 2009. Orton’s anti-line-item-veto effort “may be the only time a member of the U.S. Congress has both voted on a matter then later successfully overturned that matter in a judicial decision before the U.S. Supreme Court.”
  37. Judiciary Committee Members Look for Bybee Impeachment
    • Nadler: Impeach Torture Memo Author. By Ryan Grimm. The Huffington Post 04/20/09. House Judiciary Committee members Jerald Nadler and Linda Sanchez both seek Bybee impeachment, and the Center for Constitutional Rights is asking for citizens to pressure congress to impeach. Impeachment proceedings begin in the Judiciary Committee.
  38. “To convert my students, not to a particular faith or lack of it, but to how crucial the study of religion is.”
    • The study of Mormonism is not just for Mormons. By Maddie Wilson. Deseret News, Apr. 20, 2009. Philip Barlow, who holds the Leonard J. Arrington Chair in Mormon Studies at Utah State University, says that the study of Mormonism is not just for Mormons. “I try to cast things in a framework to get people a little bit out of their native way of seeing things,” he said.
  39. Ender’s storm? LDS board membership in the Cards at Nat’l Org for Marriage.
    • Guv draws scrutiny over stance on civil unions. By Lisa Riley Roche. Deseret News, April 20, 2009. Princeton University Professor Robert George says that the LDS Church is not funding the National Organization for Marriage. But prominent LDS Church member Orson Scott Card is on the board of the organization. Utah Valley University President Matthew Holland, son of Elder Jeffrey Holland, was on the board but stepped down recently.
  40. Don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.
    • Back in the Saddle. by DKL. Mormon Mentality 20 April 2009. The “Banner of Heaven” blog has disappeared.
  41. Bloggernacle mom runs 8 minute pace for 26 miles in a row. Go, Shelah!
    • Shelah Miner (Feminist Mormon Housewives) finishes the Boston Marathon in 3:32.
  42. Huntsman’s comment may cause trouble at home
    • Salt Lake Crawler: Stormy weather for Huntsman. by Glen Warchol. Salt Lake Tribune Blogs, April 20, 2009. Huntsman’s comments on equal treament for homosexuals is winning him credit as a moderate, but may give him trouble among voters in Utah.
  43. Cults aplenty, but Mormons not one of them, says noted Christian blogger.
    • Mormon Inquiry: Nope, not a cult. by Dave Banack. Beliefnet, April 20, 2009. Banack observes that John Mark Reynolds objects to classifying Mormonism as a cult: “LDS willingness to produce careful and responsive scholarship is a nearly infallible sign that they are no cult.”
  44. Heather O. likes coupons more than my wife
    • Confessions of a Couponer by Heather O. By Common Consent, April 20, 2009. Is couponing the new homemaking art? asks guest blogger Heather O.
  45. Latest salvo in the SSM wars: “The Mormons are coming!” ad.
    • Californians Against Hate Kicks Off Ad Campaign in 6 Northeast States. Californians Against Hate, April 17, 2009. Campaign designed to counter the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) “A Gathering Storm” ad.
  46. Wingnut: “Opposition to gay marriage is not motivated, as a general rule, by bigotry.” (ht: RT)
    • The Wingnut explains why conservatives fear gay marriage. by Glenallen Walken. Salon 20 April 2009.
  47. Book About Canadian Polygamists Reviewed
    • Bountiful book exposes ’saints.’ Reviewed by Janet Nicol. Book-reviews News, April 19, 2009. The Secret Lives of Saints (Daphne Bramham, Random House Canada, Toronto, 2008. 445 pp $32.95 cloth). Reveals disturbing truths about a fundamentalist Mormon sect in Bountiful, a community of more than 1,200 people in south-eastern British Columbia.
  48. Comparing Depressions & Recessions
    • Don’t Panic: We’ve Been Here Before. The Liberal Mormon That Could, April 18, 2009. Recessions & Depressions in the US go back to the 1700s, and government only sometimes has intervened. A liberal mormon tries to tease out what works and what doesn’t.
  49. SVU launches a blog.
    • Southern Virginia Scoop, which delivers news, photos and announcements from Southern Virginia University, started April 1st.
  50. A Mormon Media History Timeline
    • Exploring how media changed the church. By Joel Campbell, Mormon Media Observer, Mormon Times, Apr. 18, 2009. A BYU Professor has put together a timeline looking at “how developments in media and technology have changed the history, culture and perceptions of truth about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
  51. How Many Mormons in Guyana?
    • Church Releases Membership Totals For 2008 For Countries Around the World. LDS Church Growth, April 15, 2009. The Church released the year end membership numbers for 2008 recently, and the “LDS Church Growth” blog took at look at what areas are growing fastest.
  52. Romney battles wrongful termination suit
    • Wrongful termination suit puts Mitt Romney in hot seat. By Laurel J. Sweet. Boston Herald, April 20, 2009. Former state Civil Service Commission chairman William Monahan claims then-Gov. Romney let him go for political reasons. Trial starts today.
  53. ATTN: Knifed intruders – Don’t mess with the Mormons.
    • Churchgoers tackle knife intruder: Churchgoers tackled a knife-wielding intruder and pinned him down until police officers arrived. BBC News 20 April 2009. This incident involved an LDS Church in Swindon.

27 Responses to Notes from All Over thru April 25th – Comments

  1. Dan on April 25, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I’ll wait for Bybee to publicly regret writing those memos before I reconsider my judgment of him. The more he hides behind his friends the more a coward he is. Com’on Bybee, don’t let your friends stand for what you want us to think you believe. If you truly regret writing those memos, SAY SO.

    Of course, saying that they were indeed badly written risks you losing your judgeship, and according to that article, Mr. Bybee really really wanted to be on the 9th Circuit. I doubt he will be manly enough to publicly regret those memos. Coward.

  2. Leftwing Centrist on April 25, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Hey folks,

    I’m a former member of the Church and returned missionary; most of my family are church members and I maintain strong ties to the community. I’ve been very disturbed at the reports of LDS members involved in developing and condoning the torture program. (Not just Bybee but also the CIA contractors who implemented the torture tactics, Mitchell and Jessen.) I hope you won’t mind if link to my blog (http://leftwingcentrist.blogspot.com/), where I’ve posted a pretty detailed discussion on what we know about Mormon member involvement so far and what may have contributed to it. I’m sure many of you won’t like my conclusions, but I think some of the questions deserve to be asked. Thanks.

  3. Kent Larsen on April 25, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Leftwing Centrist, perhaps you can straighten out one detail in your comment. Weren’t Mitchell and Jensen psychologists working for the SERE program? Isn’t the SERE program about preparing US soldiers and other personnel for torture?

    If so, they can hardly be responsible if the methods they devised (although controversial in their own right — but for effectiveness reasons, right?) were misappropriated for use against those the US has captured, right?

    I’m no expert on this stuff, but the above seemed clear to me until your comment.

  4. Dan on April 25, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Kent,

    I think that Mitchell and Jensen had pushed for the use of SERE on detainees. That was the impression I got so far, though I could be wrong. But once again, Mormons, who share such a small portion of this nation’s population are so enmeshed on the issue of torture, I just have to ask, how can that be based on the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  5. Leftwing Centrist on April 25, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Kent:

    Mitchell and Jessen were SERE psychologists, but they were sent to Thailand as contractors for the CIA after Zubaydah was captured to take over the interrogation duties from the FBI. (Zubaydah was initially held at a safehouse in Thailand.) When they got there, they implemented the reverse-engineered SERE techniques that have become so controversial. The FBI objected to the tactics and eventually pulled its own interrogators off the case over legal concerns. There’s speculation now that the psychological profile of Zubaydah that Bybee relied on in his memo may have been written by Mitchell or Jessen.

  6. Leftwing Centrist on April 25, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Also, not to be annoying, but if you wouldn’t mind checking out the post on this subject I’ve put on my blog at leftwingcentrist.blogspot.com, I would really appreciate any thoughts you might have. Thanks.

  7. danithew on April 26, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Just a note about one of the current links that mentions the South Park Creators and their continued interest/projects involving Mormons.

    Because there is such a long list of projects in the linked page, there should probably be specific mention of the words “Mormon Musical” (just so people can find it).

  8. Dan on April 26, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Kent, and everyone else, I want to apologize for calling Mr. Bybee a coward. That went beyond what should be. Please accept my apology.

  9. Dan on April 29, 2009 at 6:51 am

    Kent,

    Bybee is unrepentant. He will stand by the memos. It’s time to impeach.

  10. aloysiusmiller on April 29, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Bybee is a man of courage. I say start the impeachment proceedings. Let the truth out. Let him defend himself.

    But don’t expect it anytime soon. There isn’t enough courage in washington to more than talk.

  11. Dave on April 29, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Thank you, Dan [#8], that’s nice to hear.

  12. Kent Larsen on April 29, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Dan, I didn’t think I was defending Bybee. I don’t think I have the background to be a very good judge of the legal issues.

    I will say that I hope someone is held accountable for the torture policy, but personally, I hope that its someone above Bybee.

  13. Melanie2 on April 29, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I know this is premature, as it’s really a comment for next week’s Notes from All Over. But in the interest of nipping a rumor in the bud, I have to comment on your recent link to coverage of Susan Boyle. The mouseover describes her as LDS, but she’s not, nor does the linked Mormon Times article say so. (Her Catholicism is well-documented elsewhere.)

  14. Kari on April 29, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Kent, why does your current link about Susan Boyle state that she’s LDS? All the news I’ve seen about her states she sings in her local church choir, and in a little Scottish town it’s highly unlikely that it’s an LDS church choir.

  15. Dan on April 29, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Kent,

    I hope to hold those above him accountable, but frankly, he’s a sitting judge over an Appeals court. Based on his defending a memo that legalized what was normally illegal, he simply is not worthy to be a sitting judge over any people. Note that I don’t pick on Yoo all that much, even though he is far more despicable in his interpretation of the powers of the President. Yoo is a professor at Cal Berkeley. Bybee is a Federal Judge. There’s a big difference between the two. I would love to see Cal Berkeley fire Yoo, but I can’t say that much about it. But a federal judge? That’s just too much.

  16. Steve Evans on April 29, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    What Kari said. You’re misinforming people, Kent!

  17. Anne (UK) on April 29, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Susan Boyle isn’t a member here, to my knowledge. If she were LDS, it would be all over the papers,and Public Affairs wouldn’t have missed the opportunity! She sings in a Catholic Church choir. The only connection to the LDS Church I’m aware of is that she started singing as a teenager when she became a fan of Donny Osmond- she would apparently shut herself in her bedroom for hours singing along to her Donny records.

  18. Admin on April 29, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Sorry for the mis-description on Susan Boyle. We’ve corrected it.

  19. Dave on April 29, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Dan, one of the things that federal judges do is decide, in close cases, whether disputed actions of individuals or corporations were legal or illegal and why. The memos Judge Bybee signed while working as an attorney in the executive branch took a position on whether various interrogation techniques should be considered legal (and thus allowed) or illegal (and thus proscribed).

    So “legalizing what is normally illegal” is simply a description of what happens rather frequently in legal practice, and there is always debate over where, in grey areas, the line should be drawn. One may disagree with decisions taken by judges or positions taken by attorneys on close issues, but turning disagreement into a clearcut case that a judge or attorney was objectively “wrong” in their decision or position is much trickier. It’s clear you and others now disagree with Bybee’s earlier positions, but you need a lot more than political disagreement to establish that there was anything objectively wrong with Bybee’s conduct. That’s why the impeachment threat will probably not get past the headline stage.

  20. Dan on April 29, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Dave,

    It’s clear you and others now disagree with Bybee’s earlier positions, but you need a lot more than political disagreement to establish that there was anything objectively wrong with Bybee’s conduct. That’s why the impeachment threat will probably not get past the headline stage.

    But there is far more than political disagreement to establish that there was anything objectively wrong with Bybee’s conduct! There’s a heck of a lot more.

    1. The US justice system prosecuted and convicted Japanese soldiers of waterboarding American soldiers during World War II. Note that Bybee said nary a word about that when trying to assess the legality of waterboarding.

    2. Waterboarding was used by Pol Pot’s regime. Nary a word from Bybee on how it would look for America to be using the same technique used by Pol Pot!

    3. Waterboarding comes from the Spanish Inquisition, and was meant to force false confessions out of recalcitrant lay members.

    4. The combination of the techniques most certainly induced pain and suffering far beyond any allowed limits under the Geneva Convention and the UN Convention on Torture, which are both quite clear in their language and the Law of the Land. Nary a word from Mr. Bybee about the language found in both those conventions.

    5. Nothing in the memos shows that Mr. Bybee even considered where the SERE techniques came from (that would be the Chinese during the Korean War—see, the Chinese captured American soldiers, applied these techniques to them to force FALSE CONFESSIONS out of the American soldiers and reduce morale among the Americans), and why the US military uses SERE on American soldiers in case they are captured by countries that do not adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Odd isn’t it, that we would train our soldiers with techniques not allowed by the Geneva Conventions, but somehow using those same techniques not allowed by the Geneva Conventions somehow magically become allowed just because they are now used against hardened terrorists! Funny, I don’t recall any exception being given in the Geneva Convention.

    6. Lastly, if you read the memos carefully, you’ll note the circular logic in Mr. Bybee’s memo. He states that the CIA wants to know whether the techniques constitute torture or not, but the ONLY, I repeat, ONLY, thing Bybee uses to judge whether or not the techniques constitute torture are the words of the CIA! That’s circular reasoning. It’s not torture, according to Bybee, because the CIA tells him it isn’t torture!

    What Bybee should do is come clean. Reveal who authorized him to write those memos. Who was it that told him to provide this cover for CIA operatives. That’s who the real bad guy is, in this scenario. Doing so would of course mean Bybee loses his judgeship. Does he want to do that? That’s the proper thing to do. He should not be vilified. But the more he hides, or defends his pretty weak memos, the more he becomes the focal point.

    If he does reveal who the real bad guy is, we all know who it is. George W. Bush. and Dick Cheney. They are the real bad guys. What’s it gonna hurt Bybee to give America the real enemy? Like America has the guts to actually prosecute George W. Bush for war crimes. Or Dick Cheney. No, those two will get away with it. Their legacies won’t though.

  21. Mark Brown on April 29, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Dan, what is your position on rendition? Rendition is clearly forbidden under the Geneva protocols. What do you think should happen to presidents and their legal advisors who argue in favor of it?

    Since rendition often results in death by torture, I think it is worse than waterboarding.

  22. Dan on April 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Mark,

    Rendition is a practice that should be abolished and never be used. Because rendition basically says, “Look, we Americans don’t practice torture, but we think torture will get what we want out of detainees, so we’re going to send them off to Syria and let them get their hands dirty.” Of course, that just makes us even more filthy than the Syrians.

    You think I care who is in office, Mark? You think I care who does what? If something is abhorrent, I really don’t care who is in office. That Clinton practiced rendition means nothing to me. He is guilty too.

    I’m trying to understand why conservatives keep harping the “well Clinton did it” argument. I thought you guys were supposed to bring back civility and dignity to the White House! Why the heck would you lower your standards to that of Bill Clinton!?!?! So what if he practiced rendition? Does that in any way shape or form excuse George W. Bush?

  23. Dan on April 29, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    At least one conservative thinks torture isn’t a principle conservatives should be behind.

  24. Mark Brown on April 29, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    At ease, Dan, lol.

    I’m wondering why Obama gets a pass, that’s all.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-rendition1-2009feb01,0,4661244.story

  25. Dan on April 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Mark,

    From the piece,

    But the Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard

    Sad. He doesn’t get a pass, Mark. I voted for him in office so he could end these practices. Power corrupts even the very best, sadly.

  26. aloysiusmiller on April 30, 2009 at 3:06 am

    So when do we start demanding Obama’s impeachment? When does the left go crazy and start screaming “no renditions!”. Why not prosecute Bill Clinton, George Bush and Obama in the same dock? Why so rabid about a guy who wrote memos that included protections for detainees when we happily send people off to no protections at all?

    One detects a political witch hunt here. The only moral people in this mess are those who confronted the evil of terrorism at all and got their hands dirty in the process a la Bybee, Yoo, Cheney and yes Bush.

  27. Dan on April 30, 2009 at 8:00 am

    As Andrew Sullivan notes, Bybee’s memos were not written “in good faith.”

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