Battlepanda: Chop chop, hurry up!


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Chop chop, hurry up!

I see. The only way to save our Freedom is to destroy our freedoms one by one, starting with the freedom of the press. Last night on Hardball:
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. George Bush and Dick Cheney today slammed the media for reporting the administration‘s secret program to track bank records around the world. In defending their decision to run the story, the editor of “The New York Times” cited the Bay of Pigs back in 1961 and the Iraq war itself as two examples where the press in retrospect failed to dig deep enough.

Here to pick apart the politics of this story is former presidential candidate Al Sharpton and radio talk show host, Melanie Morgan. Melanie, what‘s the issue here as you see it?

MELANIE MORGAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I see it as treason, plain and simple, and my advice to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at this point in time is chop chop, hurry up, let‘s get these prosecutors fired up and get the subpoenas served, get the indictments going and get the guy behind jail.

MATTHEWS: What would be the crime, what‘s the crime?

MORGAN: Treason. You do not reveal secrets in a time of war. And for what purpose? Bill Keller made some sort of incomprehensible defense on his Web site of “The New York Times” decision to unveil secrets, statewide secrets with this financial data plan.

I do not understand what he‘s talking about. It‘s something about oh, well, the public has a right to know if there‘s a change of policy. What in the world does that mean? What I do know is that you cannot risk American lives who are fighting overseas at war in order to, what, get a Pulitzer Prize?
Chop chop, hurry up. Let's get over that freedom of the press thing already. It gets better.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Melanie, we just had on Ron Suskind, whose book is called “The One Percent Doctrine.” I was reading it over the weekend. And he reports in his book, and whatever—I don‘t know what his politics are, but he‘s a damn good reporter, he‘s a “Wall Street Journal” guy. He said that the enemy out there was aware that we were surveilling them in terms of their financial transfers a long time ago because they noticed how we were picking up people. We were getting them on the base of their financial transfers. In other words, he said the story is already out, the “Times” reported something we didn‘t know but the enemy did.

MORGAN: Well that doesn‘t matter to me. And I am aware of the fact...
Wow. The audacity. Did this woman really just admit that whether or not the revealations actually helped Al Qaeda is completely irrelevent? I guess in her eyes, publishing information that could undermind the government in any way qualifies as treason. I hope she remembers that respectful attitude when a Democrat comes to power.
MATTHEWS: We now know on the record, that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby both talked to two reporters and gave away the identity, the undercover identity of a CIA undercover agent. Should they face any criminal time for that?

MORGAN: Chris, I know that you have been fixated on Karl Rove.

MATTHEWS: We‘re talking about 20 year sentences. I‘m just asking should they suffer any penalty their behavior?

MORGAN: I am trying to tell you that they broke no laws when there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever by saying that name out loud, that she was even covert.

SHARPTON: They talked to two reporters. That‘s not treason?

MORGAN: That‘s their job.

SHARPTON: Oh, so they can talk to reporters and confirm or give or in

some way discuss names -

MORGAN: You know ...

SHARPTON: I didn‘t interrupt you. They can discuss with the press what they want that is classified but it‘s treason if Bill Keller or somebody does? This is obviously a different standard.

MORGAN: No it is not. There is a 1917 law that is on the books that deals with media responsibility, in terms of leaking classified secrets.

SHARPTON: What about government responsibility? What about a president in the White House leaking or confirming the name of a CIA operative? There‘s no laws on the books to protect that?

MORGAN: It was a covert CIA operative and there was no evidence that Valerie Plame was ever a covert operative.
Valerie who? Look! A 1917 law!

I would really like to think that this Morgan woman is some grotesque outlier Matthews found by turning over big mossy rocks. But the more I read, the more I realize that she represents the median opinion on the right, at least when it comes to bloggers and pundits. Do they really believe this tripe? Or is it a just a spectacular exercise in working the refs?

I usually think of Sharpton (who was on the program with her) as being a fairly pugilistic debator. But compared to Ms. Morgan, he was restraint himself. She cut him off repeatedly in the middle of sentences, which he didn't reply in kind. And when he refused to yield to her interruptions, the result was a grating crosstalk that made me want to turn the TV off and pop a few aspirins. What she lacked in cogency and valid points, she made up for in rage and spittle. And they call us the angry left?

By the way, as Glenn Greenwald pointed out, Bush himself effectively announced to the world that we are tracking banking records in the 2004 speech. I guess Morgan would have him sent down the river for 20 years too?
Before September the 11th, law enforcement could more easily obtain business and financial records of white-collar criminals than of suspected terrorists. See, part of the way to make sure that we catch terrorists is we chase money trails And yet it was easier to chase a money trail with a white-collar criminal than it was a terrorist. The Patriot Act ended this double standard and it made it easier for investigators to catch suspected terrorists by following paper trails here in America.