‘The penalty of treason is death’

I’m appalled by the execution of Anwar al-Awlaki. Don’t I get to be? I really hate this kind of asshole mouthing-off:

So proclaimed supposed left-winger Bill Maher to the applause of his supposed left-wing audience Friday night. The question: a brief consideration of Ron Paul’s critique of Obama’s assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. Seth MacFarlane commented that while he trusted Obama with this power, he would be troubled with the exercise of such power by someone like Michelle Bachmann. Salman Rushdie, apparently unbothered by any consideration of irony regarding unilateral issuance of death edicts, informed us that those who commit treason forfeit any claim to rights, a comment which prompted Maher’s succinct editorial conclusion: “…And the Penalty of Treason is Death.”

That was the cue for the audience applause, but it also served as a reminder that what supposedly passes for “liberal” is usually anything but. The liberal would have corrected Rushdie that US presidential edict is not sufficient to establish the crime of treason. It has to be substantiated in open court. And the liberal would have reminded Bill Maher that death is not the only the punishment prescribed by congress for this crime. The penalty for those convicted is either death or imprisonment not less than five years. However, the liberal would also be quick to remind both Rushdie and Maher that “treason” hitherto has been a very rare charge/prosecution in American history, with conviction even rarer still, and execution yet even rarer. Indeed, there have been as many pardons of “treason” convictions as executions.

4 thoughts on “‘The penalty of treason is death’

  1. “Ass” also refers to the art of assuming something that isn’t warranted, since my use of the term “liberal” is always meant in the historical, legal, and academic sense, and not in any partisan sense, which is what you seem to be suggesting here. I am not a “cultural warrior,” thank you.


  2. The liberal as s/he exists today has no agenda except to rubber stamp, modify, talk opposition, ignore the activism of the conservative right that holds all the cards for action on things people are concerned about: immigrants;jobs;crime;etc.

    The conservative right asserts, the liberal left does the above.

    It is useless to present them with facts, with alternative action, different ways of behaving. You are not going to teach these old dogs new tricks. They don’t want to learn them. Go teach a class where students are just putting in time for a certificate and try to teach them something when they don’t want to learn.

    We have to stop the buck here in places like this. A new strategy is required. The dialectic is over so counter arguments are just that. Voiced air in the wind. The situation is going to get a lot worse and RD bettr get her 401K out of the hands that are holding it or she will lose the whole goddamn thing.

  3. Good call. Rushdie of all people should be wary of endorsing this sort of “execution.” I think he and Maher and many others with liberal reputations regarding some issues go out of their way to be hawkish on other issues, especially in regard to foreign policy. Maher fears he’ll lose his politically incorrect status if he’s consistent in his opinions. The man can be a bore, especially regarding his atheism.

  4. Good old fashioned revenge. That’s all this cooks down into, in the end.
    They kill us, we kill them. It’s the human way.

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