Some dursn’t call it treason

· American Glasnost

But the Editors have no such delicate scruples:

If Rove were working for the CPUSA, the Constitution Party, or the Black Panther Party, I doubt anyone would have a problem calling him “traitor”. But he doesn’t: he works for the premier establishment political party, a party with tens of millions of blindly loyal partisans. Somehow, clout and popularity seem to change this equation.

When Rove used national security secrets as tokens in his sectarian battle, he betrayed his country, a confidence, and a trust placed in his hands by the American people, and betrayed everyone around the world who benefits from a strong America, whose numbers are legion, and shrinking daily. He violated his allegience toward his country, and helped her enemies. The question of whether he knew he was helping her enemies, or if he was unsure, indifferent, or mistaken, is a very important question, and my personal suspicion is that the thought never crossed his mind. He is a professional political operative, who understands the requirements for winning the internecine political “war” he spent his life fighting. He has no experience in national security, and probably little training in or aptitude for it. We all make mistakes our first day on the job. This doesn’t excuse anything, but I think a more sensible objection to the word would focus on his supposed lack of anti-American intent, rather than his lack of loyalty to any particular foreign enemy.

Nonetheless, like Kristof’s objection to calling the reflexively dishonest Bush a “liar”, I think an unspoken component of Kleiman’s position is that “traitor”, even more than “liar”, is a very strong word, and strong words make people uncomfortable. But in strong situations, strong words apply, and while I can understand not feeling that “traitor” applies to Rove, it seems pretty clear how one could understand the opposite as well. Being upset by bad words is normal, but when the bad words are describing something accurately, the word is not the problem.

Furthermore, in America today, it is routinely described as “treason” when one disagrees with the President, reports accurate bad news, or fails to wave one’s GOP pom-poms with sufficient single-mindedness. Arguments about whether this word quite reaches every abstract threshold for proper use, while certainly high-minded and all that, are, today, a bit like worrying if you wore the wrong ascot to a $3 crack deal. Distasteful as it is, this is the context in which this discussion is taking place, and, in consideration of this, it is hard to see the sense in having it.

What he don’t know won’t hurt him

· American Glasnost

According to Editor and Publisher:

Lawrence O’Donnell, the MSNBC analyst who first broke the Rove/Cooper link on Friday, wrote on the Huffington Post blog today, that Rove’s lawyer had “launched what sounds like an I – did – not – inhale defense. He told Newsweek that his client ‘never knowingly disclosed classified information.’ Knowingly.
“Not coincidentally, the word ‘knowing’ is the most important word in the controlling statute ( U.S. Code: Title 50: Section 421). To violate the law, Rove had to tell Cooper about a covert agent ‘knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States.'”

No time to go wobbly

· American Glasnost

Last November I voted against torture. I voted against the party that was making excuses for, defending, and facilitating torture. I’m not particularly proud of myself for this, but I did wonder how others could convince themselves that supporting the party of torture was OK or justified or necessary. Now (Setting the bar, absolutely) I’m starting to understand:

Gregory Djerejian gets comments I can only dream about:

let me put this delicately. some in my circles view your blog as giving aid and comfort to terrorists, which, if treasonous, is not protected under the first amendment… at the very least, you could be shut down, and, in the US at least, I trust you know the consequences of treason if determined by a court of law (other countries have no such compunction… in your travels, I suggest you watch your back). you call yourself a patriot. don’t you know we are at war? just a friendly reminder to someone I believe has good intentions, but whose actions are misguided. don’t let them lead you down the path of dishonor. prisoner abuse, if you look hard enough (and sometimes not so hard) can be found in any country and should be criticized, much less condoned… but in dwelling on such issues, I think you have your priorities way off. when prosecuting a war against terrorism, caring about our enemies (in the sense of placing mint-chocolate on their pillows every evening for their efforts before they go bed, i.e. their state of mind, welfare and general wellbeing) should be the least of our worries… in basketball, if you commit an offensive foul, you take note of it and move on. if you get enough of them you sit out, but that doesn’t mean you stop the game. you see it to its conclusion doing everything you can to help the team win. like the president (coach) sez, you’re either with us or against us. which side are you on?

This apparently comes in response to this….

I realize that this throws a really icky asymmetry into the Aristotelian universe of polite American centrism, but I’ve crunched the numbers. As I said in January:

You don’t want a partisan battle. I don’t want one either – that’s exactly the opposite of what I want. I want you to actively oppose the Gonzales nomination and the legitimization of extra-legal torture. I want Republicans to fight against this damned thing so it stops and never happens again. There will be no ratification of torture if both sides oppose it. But if we don’t come together on this, and if it turns into partisan fight, and if it ends up validating the President’s supra-legal authority to torture who he pleases, the fault will not lie with those who tried to stop it. The blame will be on those who excused it, and on those who, while claiming opposition, stood around and did nothing….

I propose this: a scale, inspired by the invaluable Crackpot Index, by which to measure anyone’s level of seriousness in dealing with the full panoply of issues presented by the torture/abuse scandals. Everyone starts at a base of zero; positive scores represent positive stands against torture, negative scores represent disingenuous pro-torture stands. This Sabermetric Torture Apologist/Adversary Rating, or STAR, can then be used to determine not just the pro or con position of a given argument, but even the absolute magnitude of such a position. It can be divided into STAR Per Word or STAR Per Minute Average (SPWA or SPMA), and plotted over time, or used to give a normalized measure of how intensely one supports or opposes torture. This ruleset could perhaps be written into some kind of internet robot, which could spider through the world wide web, and, through the magic of computers, automate the process completely, leaving everyone free to pursue other interests, like embroidery or necrophilia.

Be sure to read the Editors’ full post because, in penance for highjacking so much of his buttery rich copy, I’ve left out some good bits from the above and I’ve cut his full delineation of the STAR calculation systems at the end of his last entry before rehab / detox / hiatus / ‘n’ shit.

Nondenial denials

· American Glasnost

Holden at Eschaton is obsessed with the White House press corps’ daily gaggle:

Q Why don’t you answer the question? Do we have secret detainees and is it possible that they could be subjected to the same treatment as in Baghdad prisons?
MR. McCLELLAN: We work to address these issues that the Red Cross raises directly with the Red Cross. And any issues that they have, we respond directly to the —
Q That’s not the answer to the question.
MR. McCLELLAN: — Red Cross. We meet with them on a regular basis at a variety of levels, and we stay in close and constant contact with them. And I really don’t have anything else to add to this issue.
Q You don’t know whether we have secret detainees —
MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, Helen, I don’t have anything else to add to this issue.
Q Why?


· American Glasnost

I have taken to looking at the paper every day for articles about the place that harbored the people who attacked our country in the first place (remember afghanistan?), and it seems that nobody cares about it anymore. They are typically in the “and in other news” column, and the news is never good. Couldn’t find any today, but this evening found something on Yahoo about three or four attacks in various places in an attempt to disrupt the election on October 9.
Did you know they were about to have elections? Does Bush know? Does John Kerry know? Does anyone want to talk to us about it? Or are we just going to let it go to hell again?
I would love to see Kerry start attacking Bush on Afghanistan and start re-educating the people about it. But I’m sure that will just annoy people. Best just to keep it in the margins. Literally.
Well, at least the heroin trade will be booming.