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Posts tagged Ann Coulter

Aid and Comfort

Thanks to our War President, equating political dissent with an act of treason has become something of a national pastime in Republistan. Tom Tomorrow has already commented on this phenomenon in connection with televised sociopath Ann Coulter, but while Coulter is certainly a dangerous lunatic there is at least this one point in her favor: a significant part of her book is devoted to documenting what she takes to be overt acts of war, and material assistance to the enemies of the United States (especially the Soviet Union). Of course, her case is based mainly on distortions, fabrications, and nonsense; but it still puts her a step above the foot-soldiers of tyranny who simply drag out the language of “aid and comfort to the enemy” explicitly and directly on the basis of nothing more than peaceful dissent from the President’s war policy.

Consider, for example, a fellow named Dan Kuykendall, who (during my time in the Auburn Peace Project) decided that it would be best to notify the Opelika-Auburn News that rallies opposing the war on Iraq give aid and comfort to the enemy, and mused that Isn’t the definition of treason giving aid and comfort to the enemy? Since then, the rhetorical tactics haven’t changed much; consider this contribution to Blockheads for Bush, commenting on Ted Kennedy’s recent missives against Mr. Bush’s war:

Let us be clear about this – there are legitimate criticisms to be made about the liberation of Iraq; about whether or not we should have gone in, and about the manner in which we went in, and about how we have performed since we went in; there are, however, no legitimate criticisms to be raised about the reason we went in, nor can there be any legitimate point for an American to make other than that we should be doing more to win this fight. To criticise the reasons we went in and/or to do anything which indicates an unwillingness to see this thing through to final victory is the statement of a fool, or a traitor. No two ways about it.

We’ve given the left a pass long enough – its [sic] time for those who are of leftwing opinion to make their final call: which side of the river are you on? If you’re on America’s side, then you want total and overwhelming US victory – and just to really spell it out; this means that our enemies are dead or begging for mercy. I challenge you – choose, and let you be known for what you are by what you choose – patriot, or traitor.

(Subsequent comments make it clear that most of the Bush League takes the traitor horn of the dilemma. Some offer the charitable suggestion that Ted Kennedy might be both stupid, and a traitor.)

I sent a letter to the editor of the Opelika-Auburn News in reply to Mr. Kuykendall back in April 2003; since the underlying rhetoric hasn’t changed any in the ensuing year, the reply was a useful template for my comment on the BfB article:

Treason is a federal crime, defined in Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, which says Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. Apparently at least some of the commentators on this weblog have read the passage, as they refer to the aid and comfort language. Unfortunately, it seems that they have also failed to read Amendment I, which reads Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The Founders did their best to make very sure that the Constitution prevented the government from using charges of Treason to suppress peaceful dissent. That is why the language of the article clearly states that the law of treason to be invoked only for overt acts with the intent to wage war on the United States, or to provide concrete, material assistance to those who do.

If anyone has evidence that Ted Kennedy has committed such a serious federal crime, they should contact the FBI field office in Boston at (617) 742-5533. Otherwise, baseless insinuations against Mr. Kennedy, for nothing more than disagreeing with George W. Bush’s foreign policy, amounts to little more than a shameful proposal for tyranny. You have every right to agree or disagree with Mr. Kennedy’s policy; you have no right to make such scurrilous attacks against fellow citizens on the basis of mere political disagreement.

Posted by: Rad Geek at April 10, 2004 11:51 AM

The comment has been posted directly on the Blockheads for Bush article; we’ll see how long it remains in their echo chamber as it was posted.

Who Has the Better Argument? We Report, You Decide.

One of the favorite satirical devices of Karl Kraus, an acerbic critic writing in the last days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was to simply print verbatim quotes from prominent Viennese figures, without any additional commentary. Sadly, the tactic has only become more necessary since the end of the Great War–particularly within the discursive world of televised debate.

(link thanks to Tom Tomorrow)

Hannity & Colmes: Debate on Impeaching Bush

While inspectors in Iraq continue searching for weapons of mass destruction, some Americans are outraged at the president that so far no weapons of mass destruction have been found. Our next guest thinks that’s grounds for impeachment.

We’re joined by the publisher of Harper’s magazine, John MacArthur, who’s with us. And the author of the best selling book, Treason, Ann Coulter is with us.

It’s not even really intellectually worth discussing. After reading your article, my first reaction is to bubble and fizz and get mad. My second reaction is this is beyond silly, you know, but you really believe this?

Why do you invite me to go on the show if you think it’s beyond discussion?

Because Alan wanted you on. That’s why.

OK. But clearly…

It wasn’t my first choice.

Clearly, if the president of the United States has lied on a grand scale to Congress…

Name me one lie. Name me one lie.

Let me finish.

If you’re going to call him a liar, back it up.

I will, yes. I’ll talk about what he said to Bush…Blair at the press conference on September 7 at Camp David. He said…he cited a non-existent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying that Saddam was six months away from developing a nuclear weapon and infamously said, What more evidence do we need? And from there…

We don’t have time for a speech.

… we moved on to aluminum tubes. We moved on to connections with Al Qaeda.

Did you call…

We talked about an atomic bomb threat that did not exist. Sean, this didn’t exist. This didn’t exist.

This isn’t a speech time.

You need me to give you the facts.

I’ve got to ask you, did you call for the impeachment of Bill Clinton?

I wasn’t interested in the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

You weren’t interested? So you’re only interested in the impeachment of Republicans?

No, no, no, no. I mean, it’s…Listen, I can’t stand Bill Clinton.

Did Bill Clinton lie to the American people?

Yes.

Why do you have one standard for him and another standard for a Republican?

I have the same standard for both of them.

No, you don’t. Because you didn’t write an article asking for his impeachment.

Actually, what I’m trying to tell you is that if you, as Senator Graham put it a few months ago very intelligently, if you apply the same standard to Bush that was applied to Clinton, then it’s impeachable. He should be impeached. Absolutely.

Ann…

Because as Alexander Hamilton said in The Federalist Papers, this has to do with the immediate consequences and harm done to society. What could be greater harm than the deaths of American soldiers…

Excuse me. The immediate consequences…Sir, you have yet to…

… in Iraq, who have been sent to Iraq on a fraudulent pretext, utterly…

My patience is really running thin.

… and they’re dying.

Could you please be quiet, because there are other people on the panel?

OK. Sure.

The idea here, he cannot give a specific example.

I did give a specific example.

He’s full of crap.

I did give an example.

And this is just, hatred of George W. Bush now has become a sport for these guys.

Ann Coulter?

First of all, I agree with you. I hate to treat this seriously by responding, but the particular lie that he cited as his leading, case in chief of the president lying, yes, Bush cited something like the Atomic Energy Commission. He misspoke.

Right.

It was the International Institute for Strategic Studies or something. He misspoke about the name of the institute.

No, he didn’t. He didn’t.

It’s my turn now. You stop that.

OK.

Point two, as you know, I’m something of an authority on the grounds for impeachment. And this is precisely the sort of thing that impeachment is not for. I mean, it’s not for policy disagreements. It’s certainly not for something that is in the president’s prerogative, such as waging war, for example.

To take a decision that I think is appalling, but is not grounds for impeachment. Bill Clinton sending a small Cuban boy back to a Bolshevik monster in Cuba. That is not grounds for impeachment, because that is part of the president’s authority.

Ann…

You don’t impeach for disagreements over policy. It is for misbehavior; that is what misdemeanor means. It’s for bad decorum.

Ann, we didn’t let Rick make a speech. You can’t make a speech, either.

Well, actually, you did.

I know it’s hard, but if you look to your left, I know that’s difficult.

Look, I don’t think he should be impeached. I disagree with Rick about that.

That’s very big of you.

Thank you. I think I’d rather put our time and effort toward 2004, and just like I don’t think Bill Clinton should have been impeached, I don’t.

But I understand Rick’s point. There are many Americans who increasingly seem to feel that we were not leveled with, for whatever reason, whether it was Bush who did it or people in his administration who gave him false information.

He did say the IAEA reported that Iraq was six months away from a nuclear capability, which turned out not to be true. It’s a scare tactic.

He got the name of the institute wrong.

Saying I misspoke, and they said they misspoke about a number of things. Misspoke about uranium. They misspoke about tubes, misspoke about how many things.

Right.

Misspoke lets him off the hook?

No. Liberals don’t want to fight terrorism. You want there to be lots of 9/11’s.

I mean, seriously…

A question has been rolling around in my mind for the past day or so. Why in the hell does anyone take Ann Coulter seriously? For a while I had hoped that Rightists generally recognized that she is absolutely bonkers, but kept her around for the PR purpose of having a token female to point to when criticized for their overwhelmingly rich, white, and male (Ann Coulter is only two of the three) cadre of talking heads. However, I have seen one too many online comment raving to preach on after her sociopathic gibberish and I simply must accept that some people other than Ann Coulter actually believe this shit.

Perhaps I should not be too surprised; after all, Ann’s writings are currently carried by FrontPage Magazine, the house organ of the equally insane David Horowitz. But still…

A couple of months ago, National Front candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen managed to make it into the runoff for France’s Presidential race before he was crushed by a popular front vote for the incumbent President Jacques Chirac. 19.5% voted for Chirac and 17.5% for Le Pen in the first round; in the runoff, Le Pen received the same 17.5% and the 2/3 of voters who had voted for neither all swung behind Chirac. Despite Le Pen’s crushing defeat and the failure of the National Front to gain any parliamentary seats in the June elections, the fact that Le Pen pulled such a large minority of French voters to his side troubled many Leftists.

Three days before his imminent defeat, Ms. Coulter set out on a quixotic mission to defend his candidacy and ruminate on why the cabal of liberals was directing such blind rage against him. However, somehow, in the process of her delirious, racist ravings (In addition to mutilating girls and burning synagogues, another popular Muslim pastime in France is to steal cars, set them on fire and push them off cliffs), she somehow neglected to mention–either because she doesn’t know or doesn’t care–the fact that Jean-Marie Le Pen is an unreconstructed fascist, who founded his National Front party with Vichy collaborators. In her musings on the murky issue of why Le Pen is described as an anti-Semite, his notorious description of the Holocaust as a mere detail in the history of World War II also slips her mind.

But enough on past foibles. Her most recent column, entitled Liberalism and Terrorism, was brought to my attention by Tom Tomorrow, who noted that Coulter attacked him for not being a real American… because of his satirical cartoon against Right-wing rhetoric that dissenters are not real Americans (Irony’s obituary will be featured in today’s New York Times).

Not that that is all that is ludicrous about her column, of course:

  • No matter what defeatist tack liberals take, real Americans are behind our troops 100 percent, behind John Ashcroft 100 percent, behind locking up suspected terrorists 100 percent, behind surveillance of Arabs 100 percent. (Apparently Arab-Americans who object to being singled out for legal harassment and intimidation aren’t real Americans; neither is anyone who is the least bit queasy about mounting assaults on basic Constitutional guarantees. Anyone who fights for the full protection of constitutional due process against arbitrary seizure of power and tyranny by the Executive, is clearly a terrorist-lover who hates our freedom.)

  • These people simply do not have an implacable desire to kill those who cheered the slaughter of thousands of American citizens. (Let us simply meditate in silence on Ann Coulter’s apparent endorsement of having an implacable desire to murder people on the basis of cheering an evil event–that is to say, slaughtering people for having bad thoughts.)

Coulter goes on to cite George Orwell in an attempt to support massive centralization of power in the hands of the Executive branch, disregard for civil liberties, perpetual war against vaguely-defined enemies, and extensive State surveillance.

I mean, seriously.

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