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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Yoo's Super Secret Seminar

Christopher Edley, Jr
Professor of Law and Dean
Boalt Hall School of Law
University of California, Berkeley

Dear Dr. Edley,

I like the idea of holding former Bush inquisitor John Yoo's classes at a secret, undisclosed location. It's the kind of thing that weeds out the less dedicated law students from those who'll do whatever it takes to achieve their goals--people like Prof. Yoo. Those who wish to emulate him will quickly snatch the facilities manager, deny him or her habeas corpus, and proceed straight to the waterboarding, beatings, hosting the Tonight Show, and all the other intensive interrogation techniques for which Mr Yoo showed so much enthusiasm.

But I wonder if allowing them to do it without any kind of supervision is the best way to prepare them for the next Republican administration. Shouldn't they be required to do some lab time, so they learn how to properly conduct such interrogations--they'll need to know things like the optimum amount of volts and amps one should apply to a goatherd's testicles. And shouldn't there be some kind of lab the students could use to waterboard the facilities manager in a comfortable learning environment?

I'd like to head up an effort to raise funds for such a facility. We could call it the Dick Cheney Center for Positive Sadism and use that honor to lure him to Boalt Halll for a seminar on the "disposable sections of the constitution," or better yet, a demonstration on the proper way to eat the hearts of your enemies.

I'd like to start working on this immediately. Please respond at your earliest opportunity.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

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  1. Sweet Jeezus in Crisco, can't a torture-defending, law-eviscerating mercenary catch a break or what?

    I would like to suggest to Yoo Who that he hold his classes in the bathtub, for periods of time not to exceed fifteen seconds. He can do this over and over until the students tell him where the antidote to the poison they sprayed on him is.

    Good luck John!


  2. Anonymous1:31 AM

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  3. Look, to practice freedom-loving enhanced interrogation techniques, Yoo's stoos could get some teamwork from other trainees learning wherever the secret CIA classes are held. The CIAglets could snatch some "volunteers" off the street to serve as victims -- I mean "teaching assistants" -- for truth-getting tactic tutoring. And if some of the TA's should, ahem, not be in a proper state to be returned to society, then creating cover stories about their disappearance would also be a valuable lesson to learn. Oh, this will be so good! Unless you're one of the unfortunates kidnapped by CIA freshmen...

  4. Torture gets a lot of bad press. There's a whole culture we're overlooking that that social trailblazer Mr. Yoo is trying to communicate.

    We need to capitalize, not criticize torture. For example, we should have torture parlors where people could go on their lunch breaks to get 'toughened up'. Or the neighbours could pop by with a cake and branding irons.

    The possibilities are endless...

  5. Clever and funny, but as a Berkeley Law student I would like to share an observation.

    The Cheney/Bush administration managed to wrangle a lot of power in this country by demonizing terrorists and painting them as "others" and "sub humans" (consider the rhetoric -- "worst of the worst" etc.).

    This post uses the same device.

  6. Hmmmm...I thought Yoo was a visiting professor at Regent or some such. I had no idea Boalt had welcomed him home. Interesting...

    My favorite rundown of Yoo asshattery can be found here.

  7. Patrick: Turn that "wrangle a lot of power" into "mangled" and you might have something. One can argue the law as an abstraction until whoever is being waterboarded is blue in the face, but if the foundation of the arguments are built on cynical manipulation of language then the "rhetoric" of reason is nothing more than poop out of the proverbial ass. As Al Franken and others have stated: you are entitled to your own opinion but not entitled to your own facts. The facts involved in torturing prisoners are not abstractions: they are indictments against our Constitutional form of government, against our military and against our humanity.

    Last add: The use of satire in a political commentary has yet to kill anyone. If it did Jonah Goldberg would have wiped out Palestine by now.


  8. Oh, I agree with everything MJS said and I laughed out loud after following JNOV's link (particularly the last line of the "free time" section - if you haven't read it, do so).

    And MJS is right that satire has yet to kill anyone. Further, it may actually save us - two of the most incisive and informative television 'news' shows are the Colbert Report and the Daily Show, both of which heavily require, if not almost entirely upon, satire. Compare Colbert and Stewart to the 'serious' commentators out there and it is hard not to wonder how the hell a culture that hails in part from the framers of the First Amendment became washed out and crappy.

    None of that, however, goes to the observation I was trying to make. I agree wholeheartedly that the facts involving torturing of prisoners are not abstractions, and that they are indictments against our form of government and humanity. Satire is just like many of the Bush-era (and perhaps Obama-era) justifications we found so offensive: it is built on cynical manipulation of language and the "rhetoric" of reason. It divorces the cold, ugly, embarrassing facts from the discussion, and invites us to reach conclusions based on our pre-conceived notions. Satire, like the attempt to claim that some people (terror suspects) are entitled to fewer human rights because other people (Americans) are entitled to enhanced security is comforting but not - without more - defensible.

    Without disagreeing with the author of this post, I only wanted to suggest that I have found it difficult to criticize Yoo without relying upon some of the same devices I found so offensive about the "torture logic."

  9. Is Darth Cheny still alive?

    I'd heard that he'd passed in an unfortunate and unforseen irony attack.

  10. Patrick, Yoo is easily criticized. He is a war criminal. He participated in breaking the International Convention Against Torture as well as the Federal torture statute. He should be preparing for trial rather than classes at Boalt Hall.

    He's also amoral and perhaps even evil. Do you recall his House testimony when he stated that under some circumstances it may be ok for the President to torture a detainee's children?

  11. Gen. JC Christian, terror suspects are easily criticized. They are war criminals. They participated in breaking the International Conventions set forth at Geneva as well as basic standards of human decency (killing civilians). They should be preparing for summary execution rather than for trials in the United States, with due process rights.

    They are also amoral and perhaps even evil. Do you recall when Bin Landen said that the deaths of 2,700 civilians in the World Trade center was a "good idea", adding that "to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it."?

    I suspect we are in full agreement politically. My only point is that the similarity between rhetoric on both sides (right and left) is profoundly ironic. Both sides can can be extremist, which is unhelpful.

  12. Patrick, evil is when good men do nothing. Asshatery is when they offer false equivalencies. Double-secret probation for you.

  13. Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode.

  14. I suppose if we kill all the suspects we won't be needing any of you fancy lawyers with your fancy talk about human rights. Just more executioners. Yoo is a war criminal. And whoever is running Berkley's Blolat Halll ought to pull their head out. Next!

  15. Patrick's mimeograph machine seems to be in fine working order. Too bad it spews out so much stupid.

  16. "They should be preparing for summary execution rather than for trials in the United States, with due process rights."

    Yeah! We;ll give 'em a fair trial, and then we'll hang 'em!

    You can write your diatribes in circles for days, and everything boils down to that.

  17. Jeez. I’ve only been practicing law for goin’ on 23 years. Seems I’ve been schooled by a University of California law student! I had no idea that we went around “summarily executing” war criminals. Won’t them Nuremberg prosecutors be pissed when they find out they wasted all that time with trials and due process and all that pesky evidence and everything.

    Look, douche-nozzle. Time for you to get schooled. It requires absolutely no “tortured logic” to reject each and every bad faith argument Jon Yoo made to justify torture. In case you’re not aware of it, the United States Supreme Court rejected the central basis of all of Yoo’s arguments regarding the treatment of detainees – i.e., that the Geneva Conventions don’t apply to those detainees. Once the Court reached the patently obvious conclusion that Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions does, in fact, apply to detainees in the “war on terror,” the rest of Yoo’s bad faith arguments about the president’s mythical war powers simply evaporate. (And if you want to learn something about war powers, take a gander at Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. Turns out, virtually all of them so-called war powers are vested in the Congress, NOT the president. And you know what? There isn’t a single United States Supreme Court decision that holds otherwise. You do know the difference between the “holding” of a case and “dicta,” don’t you?)

    So please, learn something about the law before you come ’round here lecturing us. And if they won’t teach you the basic principles of international and constitutional law at Berkley, you may want to try a real law school. Like, maybe, I dunno … the University of Illinois?

  18. Patrick said...

    Both sides can can be extremist, which is unhelpful.

    Yeah, you smarty-pants egghead sniggerers! Your satire is as extreme as people who write legal memos saying it's OK to torture people. You're the same as them, with your intolerance and meany-weenie words. How many people have DIED because you sit there laughing behind your Cheeto-crusted keyboards? A Fox on both your houses!

  19. As for me, I say "FREE TRIALS FOR EVERYONE! WOO-HOO!!!" I mean "YOO-HOO!!!" Let's put those dirty egg-sucking terrrrrizzzzzers on TRIAL, Goddamit! And put the Muzzies on trial too. It's only fair.

  20. You do know the difference between the “holding” of a case and “dicta,” don’t you?
    Councillor Von Ebers, I think it's clear that Patrick doesn't know "dicta"

  21. I would like to object to Patrick's equating Colbert with Steward. I watched Steward's softball interview with Yoo Hoo and was disgusted, Colbert would have eviscerated him without a doubt. The idea that this guy would be housed in some academic ivory tower churning out more little Yoo's like Patrick who don't just mangle English (calling it wordsmithing gives it way more status than it deserves) but render it completely and utterly meaningless and without function or further use.

  22. Okay, I apologize for the snide University of Illinois reference in the above comment. Yes, sometimes I get a little hacked off when people affiliated with the supposedly top-tier law schools (like Yoo and his followers at Berkley, or University of Michigan alumna Anne Coulter) say unbelievably stupid shit. Those a-holes’d be the first people to run down my somewhat humbler alma mater, yet they’d likely flunk out of any half-way decent law school if they tried to spew their inane shit on, say, a final exam in constitutional law or international law. Much of what they say is so facially absurd that their respective “top tier” law schools oughta repossess their goddam diplomas. So I had to get that little dig in. Is it petty? Yes. Does it make me feel better? Ditto.

  23. I think you're entitled to it Dave.

  24. Buh, buh, buh... Don't you know that the U.S. is run by grads from these prestigioulostical schools, DvonE? That MUST be proof that they are better than everyone who toiled through lesser schools. Just look what a good job the grads from Harvard and Yale are doing managing the country. Take Lawrence Summers in particular...

  25. I know dicta, and dicta know me. Sadly, I've held so much dicta that I can't let it go.

  26. Bukko, my friend, as they say in the law biz, “I rest my case.”

  27. Sayeth DvonE "I rest my case" which the learned know is lawyerese for "Suck on THAT, muthafucka!"


We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.