Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tortured by Self-Pity: The Sociopathic Judge Jay Bybee

The pious torturer: Jay Bybee, with his family and then-AG John Ashcroft.

Of those in the dock at the Nuremberg War Tribunal, Franz Schlegelberger was considered the most sympathetic, writes historian Doug Linder. In fact, he was the model for the character of Ernst Janning, the penitent German jurist portrayed by the incomparable Burt Lancaster in Judgment at Nuremberg.



From 1931-1942, Judge Schlegelberger worked in the German Ministry of Justice, which was intended to be the institutional guardian of the rule of law. After the Nazi Party came to power in 1933, Schlegelberger made one tentative effort to restrain executive power: He objected to a decree retroactively imposing the death penalty on those blamed for the Reichstag Fire. 

This was a violation of the ancient legal maxim nulla poena sine lege ("no punishment without law"), he complained. This was quite likely the last time Schlegelberger -- who joined the Nazi Party in 1938 --  would insist that anything other than the will of the Fuhrer was the supreme law.

In March 1940, Schlegelberger proposed an official policy requiring "that lawyers, like civil servants, be formally subject to release from their profession if they could no longer guarantee that they would at all times without reservation support the National Socialist state," recalls Eli Nathans in the Law and History Review. As Minister of Justice, Schlegelberger reiterated that demand in an extraordinary conference of German jurists and lawyers in April 1941. 

The first item on the agenda at that gathering, recalls German historian Ingo Muller in his book Hitler's Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich, was to hammer down any legal resistance to the Nazi Regime's T-4 euthanasia initiative, which would eventually kill over 170,000 Germans (and train key personnel for service in the death camps). 

"Schlegelberg acquainted the participants `with all the decisions of the Fuhrer,' so that `judges and public prosecutors would not cause grave damage to the legal system and the government by opposing measures they sincerely but mistakenly believe to be illegal, and would not place themselves in opposition to the will of the Fuhrer through no fault of their own,'" writes Muller. 

For reasons he never made clear, Schlegelberg resigned as Justice Minister in 1942. (One indirect consequence of that decision was the appointment of the deranged Ronald Freisler -- a fanatical Communist who became a "Beefsteak Nazi" -- brown on the outside, red in the middle -- to head the so-called People's Court, better known as the Blood Tribunal.) 

Although he never expressed contrition in terms akin to those used by his cinematic avatar Ernst Janning, Schlegelberger was perceived as a reluctant supporter of Hitler's rule and given a lenient sentence. From the available records it appears that Schlegelberger's most acute regrets dealt with what he experienced, rather than what he helped inflict on others.

The product of a pious Christian family, Schlegelberger was typical of the functionaries who implemented policies of torture and mass murder on behalf of the Nazi Regime. 

Those men "were not sadists or killers by nature," observed Hannah Arendt in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem. This meant that some method had to be devised "to overcome not so much their conscience as the animal pity by which all normal men are affected in the presence of physical suffering."

"The trick used by Himmler ... was very simple and probably very effective; it consisted in turning these instincts around, as it were, in directing them toward the self," Arendt continued. "So that instead of saying: What horrible things I did to people!, the murderers would be able to say: What horrible things I had to watch in the pursuance of my duties, how heavily the task weighed upon my shoulders!"

There are some striking similarities between Schlegelberger, the self-pitying instrument of Hitler's will, and Judge Jay S. Bybee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, who played a key role in devising the Bush junta's torture policies. Both of them came from conservative religious backgrounds; both believed in unqualified obedience to established authority. 

And as Bybee's May 26 testimony before a closed-door meeting of the  House Judiciary Committee demonstrates, he -- like Schlegelberger -- has mastered Himmler's method of redirecting pity from the victims of state-authorized crimes to the perpetrators thereof.

Bybee -- described in a flattering profile as a pious man, a Sunday School teacher who established a household rule forbidding his children to hit each other -- signed off on a series of memos written by John C. Yoo that "authorized" the torture of detainees, as long as the methods used fell short of "organ failure, impairment of a bodily function, or even death." That standard, as we will shortly see, was meant as a suggested guideline, rather than a rule.

Although he told the House committee that certain degrading techniques employed by the CIA "were not authorized," the memos he and Yoo devised purported to offer legal shelter for a torturer in the employ of the president who killed a detainee. 

Furthermore, since Yoo -- who fleshed out the details on behalf of Bybee -- has claimed that the president can authorize the sexual torture of a detainee's child, it's difficult to take at face value Bybee's May 26 claim that forcing detainees to wear diapers and soil themselves somehow ran afoul of the torture guidelines he devised.

As the song says, Bybee wasn't a bad man -- just ambitious. He was appointed assistant Attorney General in charge of the "Justice" Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) on the understanding that he would receive a coveted judicial appointment if his performance pleased his boss, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

For his part, Yoo had designs on Bybee's position, which -- although all but unknown to the public -- offers access to lucrative and powerful positions in both the government and major government-aligned private law firms.

Yoo dutifully devised specious arguments in favor of unlimited presidential "war powers," and Bybee eagerly gave them the OLC's imprimatur. As Judge Andrew Napolitano points out in his book Lies The Government Told You, this is exactly the opposite of how the OLC is supposed to function: "[T]he OLC is supposed to work as a check on the executive branch, representing a line of defense against unlawful executive activity."

The Bybee/Yoo view of presidential war powers was identical to that expressed by Schlegelberger. In an August 1, 2002 memo offering retroactive "authority" for the Bush regime's existing practice of torture, Bybee endorsed the claim that those who tortured a detainee to death on presidential orders were immune to prosecution. Permitting enforcement of anti-torture statutes in any way, he insisted, "would represent an infringement of the President's authority to conduct war."

Schlegelberger's work to institutionalize torture in the Third Reich displayed a hypocritical punctilio similar to that exhibited by Bybee. Muller points out that after defendants accused of "political" crimes began to display tell-tale signs of torture, the German Justice Ministry under Schlegelberger "legalized the terror, to such an extent that they even established a `standard club' to be used in beatings, so that torture would at least be regularized." 

Although torture of "normal" criminal defendants was still forbidden -- and punishable by a prison term -- Schlegelberger, like Bybee and Yoo, was willing to arrange a work-around on behalf of the Fuhrer's dutiful servants.

In 1941, Police Captain Wilhelm Klinzmann was convicted of torture for beating an arson confession out of a farm laborer named Robert Blodling. When the German Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of Klinzmann's sentence, Schlegelberger created a new procedure called "cancellation" that, in Muller's words, "gave the government a means to end every current investigation or trial independently of judicial decisions." Thus "Klintzmann was [set] free and was not even considered to have a criminal record." 

This practice of "cancellation" prefigured both the Bybee/Yoo doctrine of transcendent presidential war powers, and the Obama administration's de facto ratification of Bush-era torture in the interests of "closure" -- or, as the estimable Glenn Greenwald puts it, looking "forward" rather than "backward." 

In search of personal gain, Bybee and Yoo perverted the law in order to enable torture. They are therefore liable to prosecution under bribery statutes. At the very least, Bybee should face impeachment, since bribery is specifically mentioned in the Constitution as an impeachable offense.
"Cheer up -- Jay Bybee has it MUCH worse than you!"
Obviously, Jay Bybee has ample cause for remorse -- even leaving aside the fact that he enabled the torture of human beings, many of whom were (and are) completely innocent.

Yet when asked during the May 26 hearing if he had any regrets, Bybee displayed what Glenn Greenwald correctly describes as "sociopathic self-absorption." 

According to the New York Times, Bybee described himself as "proud" of the suborned memos he signed at the OLC,  insisting that they were "well researched” and "very carefully written."

"Still, he said the controversy surrounding his tenure there had been difficult," observed the Times:

"`I have regrets because of the notoriety that this has brought me,' he said. `It has imposed enormous pressures on me both professionally and personally. It has had an impact on my family. And I regret that, as a result of my government service, that that kind of attention has been visited on me and on my family.'"
Weep not for those drowned, beaten, blinded, suffocated, subjected to genital mutilation, and murdered because of policies Bybee crafted in the service of fuhrerprinzip and his own ambition. Spare your tears instead for Bybee himself, who -- despite a lucrative, life-tenure judicial position -- suffers profoundly as a result of being criticized for the pivotal role he played in institutionalizing such barbarism.

Himmler would recognize, and most likely admire, the ease with which Bybee has mastered the Nazi tactic of moral displacement. And Franz Schlegelberger may be driven to envy by the fact that his contemporary American counterpart found himself on the bench, rather than behind bars. 

(N.B. -- I'm constrained to observe that the Nuremberg Tribunal, as the heroic Robert Taft pointed out, was a corrupt and cynical exercise in victor's "justice." That body's lack of legitimacy in no way mitigates the crimes committed by the likes of Franz Schlegelberger.)

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liberranter said...

My first thought upon reading the description of Bybee as a "pious man" and "Sunday school teacher" was "what kind of 'church' would have this despicable piece of excrement as an esteemed and trusted member, rather than treat him as a redemption case meriting the most fervent prayer and intervention?" Then I read of his Mormon affiliation, which answered the question right then and there. To be completely fair, however, I can just as easily picture several prominent denominations of "evanglical 'Christian'" churches that would not only not deny him membership in their congregations, but that would put him up on a pedestal as an example to emulate. That neither the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints nor any "evangelical 'Christian'" churches have uttered so much as a public word of reproach against Bybee's barbaric and evil behavior, let alone called for his excommunication from the church and prosecution with the full force of the law, tells us all we need to know about the moral and spiritual state of "the church" in contemporary Amerika. This, perhaps better than anything else, demonstrates just how completely "the church" has been co-opted by the State and how completely "the National Religion" has replaced the Body of Christ in the hearts, minds, and souls of those who have been led astray. It is truly the culmination of the destruction deliberately set in motion by the Emperor Constantine almost exactly 1,700 years ago.

God help us! But, as I've said before, if He chooses not to, He can hardly be faulted for it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it is something particular with people involved with Mormonism, and Will would know better than me, but I find that because of the heavy top-down structure of authority, and subsequent indoctrination for the "faithful" within the LDS, that you find them drawn to authoritarian engines of government. Maybe because it is believed that since government is God ordained then they are being faithful by reinforcing and building up said bodies? Same could be said for Christian denominations that emphasize patriotism and militarism as extensions of godliness. Never the less these are some of my thoughts.

William N. Grigg said...

A couple of years ago I described the significant role played by a group of Mormon appointees (including Bybee) in fashioning the Bush Regime's doctrine of executive "war powers" --


Their diligence in promoting institutionalized lawlessness contrasted sharply with the principled rebellion of Helmuth Hubner, a German teenager who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church, and later executed by the government, for his opposition to the Nazi Regime.

Bybee reminds me a great deal of the Mormon Branch President who -- dutifully sustaining his political leaders-- excommunicated Hubner.

It used to be that Mormon teenagers who attended seminary were taught to revere Alexander Doniphan, the Missouri militia commander who defied an illegal order to carry out the summary execution of Joseph Smith in 1838. I doubt if that's still the case.

traitor2tyranny said...

In the latter part of 2006 the preacher where we attended church at the time told the congregation that the Bush administration was doing a good job of protecting us. We later stopped paying tithe and began looking for a more truth seeking group of people with whom to affiliate. I guess it's better to walk away from such teaching. The Bible nowhere teaches us to be dupes.

liberranter said...

It used to be that Mormon teenagers who attended seminary were taught to revere Alexander Doniphan, the Missouri militia commander who defied an illegal order to carry out the summary execution of Joseph Smith in 1838. I doubt if that's still the case.

I doubt it too. In fact, Doniphan's very existence has quite likely been stricken from the church history. Ditto for the story of young Helmuth Hubner.

Anonymous said...

"`I have regrets because of the notoriety that this has brought me,' he said. `It has imposed enormous pressures on me both professionally and personally. It has had an impact on my family. And I regret that, as a result of my government service, that that kind of attention has been visited on me and on my family."

Sadly, Mr. Bybee's family is not the only 'Mormon' family hurt by his glib authorization of torture.

Alyssa Peterson (27), a returned missionary for the LDS Church, was killed with her own assault rifle while on 'suicide watch' a few days after refusing to participate in the torture of Iraqi prisoners.

Although I think Peterson was naive in believing the US had any business in Iraq in the first place, I have no doubt the reality of what she witnessed there began a crisis of conscience not unlike that experienced by Pat Tillman.



Bybee & fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who serve as sycophants to the 'power elite' are ignorant of the very scripture they 'testify' to be the word of God.

We - I'm a 'Mormon' - believe that the Book of Mormon is especially directed to those of us living on this continent in the latter days. The Book of Mormon speaks particularly of those who uphold 'secret combinations', who are guilty of murder, extortion, immoral conduct, torture, preemptive war, abuse of prisoners, dishonesty in government, economic injustice, private oaths, etc.

Anonymous said...

Hoping I will be allowed to complete my thought...

Either Bybee and the two guys from Idaho - referred to by our favorite Boy's Club at Langley as the 'Mormon Nazis' - have never read the Book of Mormon or they have consciously chosen to work for the dark side. There is no other possibility. As Joseph Smith, Jr. wrote, "No man can be saved in ignorance."

In any case, not all 'Mormons' are ignorant of God's Law although even those who speak doctrine do not always behave according to God's Law.

Plug in present day Mormon sycophants of the 'power elite' with the term 'Nephites' from the following passage:

Helaman 6

21 But behold, Satan did stir up the hearts of the more part of the Nephites, insomuch that they did unite with those bands of robbers, and did enter into their covenants and their oaths, that they would protect and preserve one another in whatsoever difficult circumstances they should be placed, that they should not suffer for their murders, and their plunderings, and their stealings.
22 And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this covenant.
23 And thus they might murder, and plunder, and steal, and commit awhoredoms and all manner of wickedness, contrary to the laws of their country and also the laws of their God.
24 And whosoever of those who belonged to their band should reveal unto the world of their wickedness and their abominations, should be tried, not according to the laws of their country, but according to the laws of their wickedness, which had been given by Gadianton and Kishkumen.
38 And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.
39 And thus they did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God.

Some Mormons may be corrupt, maybe a lot of Mormons are corrupt. The Book of Mormon bears witness against them.

My sons know who Helmuth Hubner was. We aren't the only members of the Church who know of his courage and that of his companions.


William N. Grigg said...

I vividly remember the death of Alyssa Peterson:


From everything I've read about her, she appeared to be a wonderful and principled human being.

we're all socialists now (comrade) said...

Don't Woo and Stybee still work in the hallowed ivory towers of academia? I get people's names wrong as a symbol of disrespect.

idahobob said...

Short ropes, tall trees, or..... a .22 bullet to the head


jurassicpork said...

I briefly wrote about Bybee's admission before Congress last May. I still can't understand why this clown with the strangely infantile-sounding name is, #1, still a judge on the 9th Circuit and, #2, why he's not in a docket somewhere fighting for his life.

Well, today we find out if Mrs. JP’s layoff is permanent or temporary. In the meantime, we have zero chance of being able to pay the rent next month so whatever little anyone can do would be greatly appreciated.

William N. Grigg said...

J.P., I earnestly wish I could do something to help you. As it happens, we're in exactly the same predicament, which is why I'm spending more time job-hunting (it's like pursuing a unicorn snipe right now) than blogging.

Anonymous said...

One of the things that has eaten at me for a number of years with the LDS Church is the seeming willful blindness on the part of leadership to the "sins" of some members, especially those in influential areas of power or with large amounts of wealth.

I certainly cannot "prove" anything - call it a gut feeling or something akin to simple casual observation.

Examples include Mitt Romney's past support of abortion and gay rights - things the LDS Church has not been overly keen on over the years. Romney was noted during the 2002 Olympics to have used profanity in connection with a particular incident in which he was involved, another LDS "no no" (although not something that would subject any member to church discipline).

Or, how about the Marriott family's peddling of pornographic films in their hotels? Granted, the Marriott hotel chain is a publicly-traded company, but certainly the Marriott family would have a great deal of influence over the board of directors.

I could also mention Harry Reid's support of abortion, or other LDS politicians who take positions contrary to the public positions of the church to which they claim membership.

I am not suggesting that these problems do not exist in other churches, however, the average lay member of the LDS church certainly could not get away with operating a newsstand selling pornographic magazines for a very long time without being subject to church discipline. Nor, do I believe, could I could long advocate positions such as abortion without risking at least being disciplined in some way by the Church.

On the few occasions I have dared to raise these issues (and only with friends I have a deep trust in), the best answer I have received is what I have suggested - willful blindness. Perhaps, it has been suggested, these rich and powerful individuals and families pay a lot in tithing and donations and the church does not wish to upset them and risk losing those income streams.

My apologies for the rambling entry, but it seems to me that what constitutes "The Gospel", whether practiced by the LDS Church or another mainline Christian faith does not always line up with what I have perceived as being the gospel preached by Jesus Christ.

dixiedog said...

liberranter: ..."what kind of 'church' would have this despicable piece of excrement as an esteemed and trusted member, rather than treat him as a redemption case meriting the most fervent prayer and intervention?"

That's easy, the Laodicean church, or the modern manifestation of it anyway. IOW, a church plagued and infested with the damnable "go along to get along" mantra, to which most churches heed. They ostensibly speak LOUDLY against evil of every kind, but they carry a twig; their mouths are chock full o' pious and grandiose lard, but their withered hands wield no righteous barb. They fear Leviathan's temporal judgment much more than they fear the Lord God's eternal judgment, since many, if not most today, of the "Christians" genuinely (actions, deeds, behavior as opposed to what comes forth from their overheated bell clappers) know not and/or believe not the latter. In the final analysis, most humanoids whatever their respective worldview, are simply blinded, willfully or otherwise, to the near and far future rewards/consequences of today's deeds/misdeeds.

We can't expect shallow folk such as these to endeavor to risk losing their fat [government, corporatist] job, their fat house, their fat SUV, their disgustingly obese tax-feed bank account(s), etc. ad nauseam. I picture Mr. Bybee as just such an individual; unfortunately, he's merely one of millions.

Sigh...materialism's heady allure (especially the nauseating post-modern Amerikan variety), as well as attaining a powerful position, which often go hand in hand obviously, can certainly metamorphose any nominally righteous and moral "mere mundane" into a bona fide damned sadistic and hedonistic mundane. Part of the reason for this is that America's commoners, unlike most of the rest of the world, haven't yet suffered directly from multiple modern wars that produce society-wide destitution and destruction. This blessing has actually become a curse in some ways. Yet, since WWII their government has doled it out callously upon other nations' commoners. And, of course, the nations in question who are the usual blessed recipients of death and destruction are always mere fiefdoms.

Our day of reward may finally be at hand. On a side note, it's also nauseating to hear/read so many yap and yawl about life, liberty, property, and constitutional adherence, yet have no qualms about murdering babies and/or ignore the millions of murdered babies. It's quite simple to grok: if there's no protection of life to start with, what the hell good is the rest of it? This "principled" talk of life and liberty is mere meaningless noise.

liberranter: I can just as easily picture several prominent denominations of "evanglical 'Christian'" churches that would not only not deny him membership in their congregations, but that would put him up on a [pyre] as an example to [immolate].

Indeed, except that I would tend toward my edited version instead and be excommunicated or, as we say in my neck o' the woods, toss'd out of the flock.

I reckon I'm becoming more hard-hearted in some ways, but it's excruciatingly difficult to like some folk, nevermind love them. I'm dead serious. Unlike many, apparently, I loathe the Huffingtards and celebtards as well as the Hannitoids and Limbaughtomies of this world. Perhaps, my cynicism runs much deeper than most, as I've long been a quasi-loner of sorts anyway. Anyone or anything that attracts a horde of mundanes like flies to honey I immediately question. Flies are fond of corpses as well as honey, after all.

Anonymous said...

Please see article. I commented on it, but I wanted to let you know the tazer happy police killed another:


Swampfox said...

Dear Will,
This post, imho, is one of the best you've written.
Also, as Liberranter says so eloquently, "God Help Us".
In Peace,

liberranter said...

DD: Nice postscript to my original statement!

I would never dare suggest that even the most genuinely righteous among us humanoids (and I am DEFINITELY not a member of that elite group) are immune from occasional (or even frequent) lapses into the realm of the sinful. However, it really gives one serious pause to see so many creatures like Bybee (and he being a relatively minor example) who live lives in which the difference between their words and their deeds is so consistently and blatantly bi-polar. It simply staggers the mind to think that anyone with a functioning pair of eyes and ears and a functioning cerebrum capable of processing accepted moral distinctions between right and wrong established by nearly two millenia of Christian teachings and culture would give this guy, or the millions of others like him who have slithered their way into positions of "authoritah" the time of day, let alone entrust him with the fate of innocent lives. It would be bad enough, but absolutely expected, if he were a self-professed humanist/fascist or a self-professed Marxist nihilist. But to accept such behavior from one who professes to be a devoted follower of the Almighty and His Only Son, as so many of this nation's "Christians" apparently do, is inexcusable no matter how one tries to rationalize it. Your explanation of why they do is spot on - and carries ominous implications.

It is a sad, SAD commentary on the state of "Christianity" in what is left of this nation today when I can name a few self-professed atheists who live more Christ-like lives and who respect and protect God-given freedoms more genuinely than do those like Bybee, who wear their (faux) faith on their sleeves and who belligerently profess their "faith in Jesus" while behaving like soldiers of Satan.

Anonymous said...

One of the things that bothers me about Bybee in connection with his membership in the LDS Church is that church's teaching that the Constitution is divinely inspired.

While I believe each person is allowed to interpret that as he or she wishes, it would seem to me that if the Constitution is an inspired document, that written opinions which run counter to it would, naturally, be uninspired or inspired from the wrong source.

As I stated in my prior post, I have had concerns for a number of years concerning the connections of those with power and influence who are members of the LDS Church and the seeming willful blindness of the church's leadership.

William N. Grigg said...

The official LDS teaching about the Constitution, I believe, is that where human government is concerned, "more or less than this comes of evil."

This makes it very difficult for Bybee and his ilk (yeah, I'm looking at you, Mitt "Double Gitmo" Romney) to justify themselves -- or it would if anybody in that denomination's leadership took such matters seriously.

One would also think that Mormons of all people would be reflexively suspicious of government power, given some unfortunate 19th Century experiences(vide the "Extermination Order" and James Buchanan's invasion of Utah, to cite but two examples). One would think so, and apparently be wrong.

Of course, as my friend and fellow anti-statist Christian Laurence Vance reminds us, contemporary Evangelical leaders aren't distinguishing themselves as champions of principle, either.

Anonymous said...

I'm the 'anonymous' Mormon above. For some reason, registering with Google never works out quite right, so my apologies for remaining 'anonymous'.

I, too, puzzle over how those who profess a belief in Christian conduct behave in every way contrary to their espoused belief. I guess that's the problem with commitments to God; He - along with everyone who know us - expects us to actually conduct ourselves in accordance with the laws we claim to be His.

I've concluded there's no point in looking to 'leaders' to tell me what to do - whether church or civil. If I claim to know the difference between 'right & wrong' then I had best conduct myself that way. I can't make Romney, Reid, or Bybee wake up to their moral responsibilities. I don't know them. I certainly would not vote for a member of the LDS Church who behaves as they do.

Christ's mortal ministry was confined by distance, his lack of economic station in life, his standing as a citizen of an 'occupied' nation, his troubled access to influential persons within his religion, his often naive & prideful associates.

Somehow, from Christ's example I get the sense that we who claim to be his disciples are asked to literally follow in his lonely footsteps, influencing for good the best we know how within our own personal sphere of life's experience.

I suspect lots of 'Christians' aren't aware of that possibility and just do whatever they think best as they go along. Lots of Mormons view financial success as being an indication of godliness. Some actually believe that Christ was a General Contractor - not 'just' a carpenter.

I can't help people who think like that unless they recognize they need help. My responsibility is to be an example of Christlike behavior even with those I consider dangerous idiots.

There have been several accounts used in recent General Authority addresses & in offical publications of the LDS Church relating to how members of the church in Nazi & Communist occupied nations defied unjust government authority by helping others, escaping contrary to specific edicts, using 'deception' to pass checkpoints, etc.. I can only use such references as they apply to my own personal experience now & in the future.

Anonymous said...

One would also think that Mormons of all people would be reflexively suspicious of government power, given some unfortunate 19th Century experiences(vide the "Extermination Order" and James Buchanan's invasion of Utah, to cite but two examples). One would think so, and apparently be wrong

Spot on, and exactly where I was aiming with my comments. If any faith should be suspicious of government generally, it should be the Latter-Day Saints. However, it never ceases to amaze me how many "boot-licking" members of the Church there are...especially here in Utah...ugh!

Will, keep up the great work!

jdogg said...

Had Bybee been on trial at Nuremberg, he would have no doubt clarified that it wasn't so much that he was following orders, as it was that he was ordering followers, you see.

Anonymous said...

Dixie Dog
You're a kindred spirit. Many a day I wake up, interact with the world and come to the conclusion that humanity is one giant collective disappointment.
The irony is that I am by nature outgoing and, as my wonderful wife notes, people tend to like me.
Despite this I feel depressed when I see how man acts and where the world is headed. If I had no faith in Christ - my depression would most likely become suicidal.

Anonymous said...

"Despite this I feel depressed when I see how man acts and where the world is headed. If I had no faith in Christ - my depression would most likely become suicidal."

Many of us are in a state of shock over 'how man acts & where the world is headed'. It is beyond comprehension in most respects.

Daniel 12:1-3 is a comfort to me.

I heard a Christian pastor on radio discuss the following from Romans 8 a few days ago. Sometimes all we can muster is 'groanings which cannot be uttered'. Even then, the Lord 'searcheth' our hearts in order to make intercession in our behalf.

In verses 29 & 30 it kind of sounds as though we were 'assigned' to a particular mortal experience. Knowing we are sustained in that assignment can make it easier to bear.

Romans 8
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
29 For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

6-19 said...

No need to be mormon to be pious and conscience-less. You will be hard-pressed to find preachers in the United States who came out against this abominable war of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq. Just as the great white hope, Sarah the Palin, and her assembly cheer for the mindless goons who go over there to exterminate entire villages, and pray to some god to protect these red-coats while they are pillaging, american piety societies mindlessly fall in line and cheer for the government. Show me an american preacher who spoke out against torture (I only know of Matt Trewhella, and perhaps Colson).

The oh-so-christian Ashcroft, who lost the election to a dead man, was just as pious while setting up the American FatherLand Security as this Bybee. Did John Hagee and the 700 Club not also recommend torture as something good for prisoners of war in american captivity ?

The church of Rome reigned for a thousand years with an iron fist (we call some of that period the "dark ages"), and pious priests and cardinals sanctioned torture; in fact, recommended it as something good for other people's soul. In 1700 years of state-sponsored christianity church-goers -- with the indispensable help of preachers and theologians -- managed to prevent the Bible from effecting their world view.

People rejected God in Samuel 8:7 and whorshiped the state ever since.

Anonymous said...

Where are these exterminated villages? Where are the pilliaged peasents of these innocent countries that we invaded without cause? They dont exist because the wars in Iraq and Afgan. are not the wars you have constructed in your mind. They are not endless occupations that rape civilizations. The Iraqis and Afgans were not innocently lounging around in abject paradise only to be laid low by our war machine that forever destroyed their nations. Thats pacificst nonsense. I am not going to tell you that our aims were completely rightious but thats war its a murky thing. Its neither good nor bad it is both. Good will come of the bad. For every Iraqi that died in the fighting there are many more that will live longer more productive lives because we removed a tyrant who REALLY oppressed his people. One would think that spreading liberty to oppressed people would be considered a lofty goal but I guess that if it involves difficult decisions and death it must not be worth it to this crowd?

William N. Grigg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William N. Grigg said...

"One would think that spreading liberty to oppressed people" --

I don't recall the oppressed people in question inviting the United State (spelling intentional) to "liberate" them, do you? By way of contrast, the armed resistance consistently encountered by the Heroic Champions of Democracy and Progress (oh may they be exalted forever!) could be taken as a pretty compelling demand that they butt the hell out.

"... would be considered a lofty goal" --

I don't recall seeing pursuit of that "lofty goal" among the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government in the Constitution; is my copy out-of-date? Do you happen to have the edition that contains this otherwise unknown provision?

"... but I guess that if it involves difficult decisions and death it must not be worth it to this crowd?"

I gather the expression "difficult decisions" in this context refers to torture -- correct? What a splendidly emancipating euphemism! What other crimes can be cloaked in such sanctimonious terms?

"No, this wasn't assault rape; this nubile young lady resisted my efforts to `liberate' her sexually, so I was forced to make a difficult decision."

Y'see how that works?

I am not a pacifist. I will acknowledge that there is a just war in Iraq, and in Afghanistan; it is desperate armed resistance to foreign aggression. It is the same war I would be willing to fight were my home to be invaded in similar fashion.

Every armed agent of the U.S. government deployed in those countries is the moral (and, for that matter, legal) equivalent of an armed robber. It takes the soul of a Soviet propaganda commissar to perceive those ongoing crimes in any other terms.

6-19 said...

Thank you for answering it for me, Mr. Grigg; humanoids like this one make me speachless. I guess this person would have welcomed the liberating Red Army (or King George's order restoring Red Coat Army) in Philadelphia with bread and salt.

"The king of France had hesitated a long time. He wished to cripple England, and yet to assist the American insurgents seemed like wronging the cause of monarchy. But Prussia and Russia encouraged him to do everything to injure England, and when the greatest, the best, and the most far-reaching plan for crushing the rebellion broke down completely by the surrender of a whole army, there was no more need for hesitation. Three months afterwards, in spite of the protests of his most important ministers, except Vergennes, he signed a treaty of alliance with rebels, set the fashion for the aristocracy to run after Franklin and les insurgents, took upon himself the task of giving them independence, and changed their condition from absolute hopelessness to what proved in the end to be absolute security." --The True History of the American Revolution, (1902)

Lemuel Gulliver said...

I have been away for a while, and on returning am again impressed by the quality of comment on this blog. Liberranter and Dixiedog, your comments about what passes for "Christianity" in America ring so true.

Here is my take on all of this, for what it's worth, and I would welcome comments: There are several organizations extant whose top leadership, and I mean absolute upper-upper insiders, have allied themselves together in pursuit of a "New World Order" with a one-world government of a stupendously rich elite ruling the rest of humanity. Yes, I believe there IS a conspiracy, and the mass of little people in these organizations are blindly following where they are led. This would include Jay Bybee.

The organizations are: the Freemasons (Skull & Bones Society,) the Zionists, the shareholders of the Federal Reserve and other fractional reserve major central banks, Communism (now mostly discredited,) The Catholic Church, the CIA, the Mormon Church, and a number of mega-rich families. (Not all of them - mere wealth, eg Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, does not make someone an insider. There must be also a lust for immense power and a disdain for human life and for any ethics or morals.)

All of these organizations are centers of immense wealth and power over masses of men. Signs are here and there: The Israeli Supreme Court building in Jerusalem (which I am told and do believe is to be the capital city of the NWO,) was built by the Rockefeller family (Jewish - did you know?) according to Freemasonry designs. The Bolshevik Revolution (Karl Marx was a 33rd-degree Freemason,) was financed by the same Wall Street banks (mostly Jewish-run) that owned the Federal Reserve - the Warburgs, Schiffs, Kuhns, Loebs, et. al. The prize being Russia - one-sixth of the world's land mass, and immense natural resources. The Rockefeller family paid for thousands of missionaries to convert Amazon tribes to Christianity, so that family could exploit the oil and gas in the Ecuadorian and Bolivian Amazonas.

Here is the method of control: The rank and file of religions and religious denominations, the CIA, the KGB, (as it was) political parties, nations, economic classes, races, and ideologies, are roused to hatred and fury against each other, and every time that happens, the masses on either side are induced to cede some of their individual freedoms to those elites running the show behind the curtain, on both apparently opposing "sides," but who are in fact co-operating to share power over dumb humanity.

It is like the story of Edith Cavell, a famous British nurse during WWI in German-occupied Belgium, who discovered that the relief supplies of food and medicines being sent by the British to their allies on the Continent were being diverted to Germany, (which was supposedly under blockade,) so that the German people could keep fighting and thereby prolong the war. The Germans arrested her, allegedly for "helping Allied prisoners escape," and were inclined to not execute her, but the British insisted she should be shot, so that the secret of the diverted trains should not be revealed.

(Continued below...)

Lemuel Gulliver said...

From Wikipedia:

"Sir Horace Rowland of the Foreign Office said, "I am afraid that it is likely to go hard with Miss Cavell; I am afraid we are powerless." The sentiment was echoed by Lord Robert Cecil, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. "Any representation by us", he advised, "will do her more harm than good." The United States, which had not yet joined the war, did not agree. Hugh S. Gibson, First Secretary of the American legation at Brussels, made clear to the German government that executing Cavell would further harm their nation's already damaged reputation....The German civil governor, Baron von der Lancken, is known to have stated that Cavell should be pardoned because of her complete honesty and because she had helped save so many lives, German as well as Allied. However, the German military acted quickly to execute Cavell to deny higher authorities the opportunity to consider clemency."

("Quickly"... why? So nobody should have a chance to talk to her and hear what she had to tell. The last thing the military wanted was an end to the war. Too much money was being made.) For an explanation of this bizarre incident, everyone should read General Smedley Butler's essay, "War Is A Racket."

Righteous Allies, Evil Axis, Fascism, Communism, Democracy, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Freedom, Wars of Independence, Wars of Conquest, Catholicism, Protestantism, Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism, Zionism, Judaism, Republicanism, Democratism, Laborism, Trade Unionism, Capitalism, Toryism, Whigism, Patriotism, Treasonism, every one of them, are all carrots and sticks to control the donkeys of humanity - flim-flams, false issues, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Except... signifying the iron grip of the rich and powerful elites, on both sides, running the show. And every time, every conflict, every economic boom, every economic bust, every war, every peace, we human cattle are induced to give up a little more of our freedoms. It is like a python or boa constrictor: The coils squeeze ever tighter and tighter, and the end for us is inevitable.

How can we fight it? So simple: This is an empire of this world. This is an empire of Satan. We must worship God, and be grateful for His blessings, and share what God has given each of us, one with another. God has created a world with enough bounty to fill every belly and clothe every back. It is only our human selfishness, encouraged by the servants of Satan, that causes want and need. We Americans throw away 50 million tons of perfectly good food every year. Fifty million tons. With the encouragement of Cargill, Monsanto, Dow, Archer Daniels Midland, and Wall Street.

You get the idea.

Let us stop dancing to their tune. Let us tear back the curtain and see how we are being used. Let us refuse to hate our brother. Let us begin to love our brother. Let us refuse to worship "stuff." Let us start worshipping God instead. Then their evil empires of this world will dissolve and vanish like mist in the sun. There lies our true freedom.

Lemuel Gulliver

Anonymous said...

"We Americans throw away 50 million tons of perfectly good food every year. Fifty million tons." Lemuel Gulliver

I agree with nearly everything you said, Lemuel (and welcome back, I've missed you!), but I just have to comment on your comment about the amount of food we pitch each year. It drags me back to my childhood wherein my mother would not permit me or my siblings to leave food on our plates once we were full because, you know, the children in China were starving. Nearly got a backhand when I suggested that we should then send the food to China. So I still struggle with weight issues because I can't seem to just stop eating when I'm full if there's still food on my plate.

But the whole idea of balking at discarded food is a guilt trap. I suppose Americans aren't throwing away perfectly good steaks for the heck of it, right? As for restaurants and grocery stores, most donate what the local thugs will permit, the rest they are forced at gunpoint to keep out of the hands of the public if it's not sold timely. Blame the thugs for those tons. The food that's tossed in the dumper by ordinary Amerkans is opened packages, partially consumed but lacking an eater for the remainder.

Food, like water, is replenishable (if the goons in "government" would just leave the market alone.) It is no more practicable to pack the extra water I run down the drain while showering and send it to the United Arab Emirates for a family of 8 to bathe in than it is to send opened or raw and perishable foods to Sudanese refugees. They can grow and waste their own food if their own thugs would back off.

So, as an American who throws away perfectly edible food (in small daily quantities) because too much was served, or for the sake of discipline, or for some other reason, I'm not taking on any of the imputed guilt for the fifty million pounds per year.

In fact, we should be preparing to be grateful for good, unspoiled food in trash bins. Before those elites you named are through with us, we'll all be looking for someone else's wasted dinner roll.

I love your mind, Lemuel.

Linda June