Reality Check

Congress has begun debating whether we should imprison journalists for publishing classified information. As usual Glenn Greenwald has the must-read commentary.

I would add, imagine that we had this debate one month after terrorists destroyed the WTC and part of the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Let’s say that Congress had the balls to propose then what they are belatedly trying to do now. Should America respond to external danger by imprisoning reporters who anger the government? It would have been a short debate. In theory the idea sounds stupid and horrendously un-American. So why now and not then? Between then and now reporters have released blockbuster scoops which have forced resignations, ended careers and severely damaged the president and his party. No doubt the same investigative journalists are chasing down as many leads and more, and a party with exclusive claim to power has far greater opportunity to abuse it. If you want to test an American’s loyalty to our country’s fundamental values you don’t ask the question as an abstracted idea, you wait until his every political interest lies in violating them.

“I believe the attorney general and the president should use all of the power of existing law to bring criminal charges,” said Representative Rick Renzi, Republican of Arizona.

You flunk, Rep. Renzi. Who wants to join him?






94 replies
  1. 1
    Paddy O'Shea says:

    Ignoring the good news coming out of Iraq is treason.

  2. 2
    Punchy says:

    CNN constitutional scholar and academic Dr. I-can’t-remember-his-name just said today that we are in a serious constitutional crisis, in that the executive branch is simply ignoring all separation of powers doctrines. If Crappy News Network can finally catch on, there may be hope.

    Of course, this kinda shit scares the crap outta me and leads me to believe we’re too late.

  3. 3
    PeterJ says:

    It’s time for one official news source. The administration should ban everything except FOX News which they should take over and then rename to something more catchy. Like ‘The Truth’.

  4. 4
    Tim F. says:

    Call me jaded, but CNN is probably freaking out because rightwingers just realized that Bush isn’t just declaring the right to stifle liberals. The GOP staffers and low-level operatives who feed CNN most of its political narratives just shat their pants.

  5. 5
    srv says:

    If we just shot the messengers, there wouldn’t be any bad news.

    Imagine if a reporter had published details of the Bojinka plot back in the 90’s or 2000. You know, that plan to blow up 11 airliners and crash one into Langley that we never heard about until after 9/11. No, we are much better off with the state leaving all those details to themselves.

    Only the gov’t and terrorists have a need to know.

  6. 6
    Pb says:

    Weren’t these the same idiots who were whining about the need for a reporter shield law when administration stenographer Judy Miller was in prison for obstructing a federal investigation into who outed a CIA agent and blew the cover of a CIA front company?

  7. 7
    Ancient Purple says:

    The sad truth is that there are plenty of people who still think that Woodward and Bernstein’s Watergate reporting did more harm than good.

  8. 8
    Otto Man says:

    Call me jaded, but CNN is probably freaking out because rightwingers just realized that Bush isn’t just declaring the right to stifle liberals. The GOP staffers and low-level operatives who feed CNN most of its political narratives just shat their pants.

    I think that’s about right.

    I’ve never understood the idea that CNN is somehow liberal. Maybe once upon a time, when Ted Turner was actively at the helm, but they’ve been trying to outfox Fox for a long time now.

  9. 9
    Par R says:

    In his fevered post, Tim asks:

    Should America respond to external danger by imprisoning reporters who anger the government?

    If the basis for imprisonment was solely due to angering the government, then the easy answer to this question is a resounding: NO.

    If charges are ultimately brought against reporters, the basis will be the harm done to the nation’s national security. The most likely basis for such charges may be found in Section 798 of the US Criminal Code dealing with the “Disclosure of Classified Information.” This statute made it a federal crime for any unauthorized person to publish classified information “concerning the communication intelligence of the United States or any foreign government.” The statute was carefully crafted to focus on the vitally important area of communications intelligence, which was defined as “all procedures and methods used in the interception of communications and the obtaining of information from such communications by other than the intended recipients.” The Congress understood that intelligence on the activities of foreign adversaries would dry up if they are tipped off as to what information we have and by what means we gathered it. Thus, the disclosure or publication of classified communications intelligence was singled out by Congress as a violation of the law.

    My understanding is that the NYT General Counsel is already at work with outside counsel in attempting to forestall charges by the Justice Department.

  10. 10
    Pooh says:

    Par, I hear the weather…er climate is lovely in Pyongyang this time of year. You might find it more to your liking.

  11. 11
    Anderson says:

    Par R, “national security” is a great argument for prosecuting the leakers. Not so good for prosecuting the journalists.

    Apparently, you’re happy living in a country where the gov’t can violate the law with impunity, provided that it stamps “CLASSIFIED” on its doing so. I just don’t want that to my *my* country. Let me second the virtues of Pyongyang. Or are you residing there already?

  12. 12
    Par R says:

    Anderson, you may wish to go read the referenced Cite above as it clearly provides for prosecution of the leakers as well as the publisher/disseminator.

    And as to you second point, it is far from proven that the government has violated “the law with impunity.”

  13. 13
    Remfin says:

    That is a complete and utter lie about what that statute says. The statute says an AUTHORIZED person(because only an authorized person would be able to know about what they are doing – the crime requires intent and knowledge) commits a crime when they communicate to an UNAUTHORIZED person. It does NOT APPLY IN THE LEAST to ANY unauthorized person repeating information – like a reporter

    It also only protects the communication modes – it’s basically a law about encryption, and bypassing/breaking encryption

  14. 14
    ppGaz says:

    You realize you are talking to a spoof?

  15. 15
    Par R says:

    Remfin, you don’t have even the slightest idea what you are saying. To elaborate on the comments above: Section 793 of the federal espionage law prohibits authorized persons possessing “information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation . . . ” from disclosing it to persons not entitled to it. Section 798 of the espionage law prohibits the disclosure of classified communications intelligence activities to unauthorized persons “in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States . . . ” The violation of these statutes is a felony. Because their disclosures to the Times may fall within these statues, the “current and former government officials” referred to in the Risen/Lichtblau NYT story sought the promise of confidentiality from the Times to protect their identity.

    Therefore, assuming as noted in my initial comment that these statutes apply to the leaks involved in the NSA story, has the Times itself violated the statutes and committed a crime? The answer is clearly affirmative. Section 798, for example, makes knowing and willful “publication” of the proscribed information a crime. Moreover, under the basic federal aiding and abetting statute–18 U.S.C. S 2–in willfully helping the leakers publish their disclosures, the Times is as culpable as they are, and punishable as a principal

  16. 16
    PeterJ says:

    An unauthorized person could get imprisoned by repeating something classified… You probably all should check what your co-workers know before discussing the NSA wire tapping with them…

    Obviously the government will need help from loyal citizens to report on all those who are breaking the law. Maybe these patriots even can get paid.

  17. 17
    Par R says:

    The really good news is that the vast, overwhelming majority of Americans “GET IT.” That, of course, is in stark contrast to the silly fools commenting here by posting versions of the blather that they get from other loony-tunes, such as Glenn Greenwald.

  18. 18
    PeterJ says:

    What “vast, overwhelming majority”?

    Even if you looked at the only poll the president cares about, the elections, only 50.7% supported Bush in the last one. That’s neither a “vast, overwhelming majority” nor a mandate…

  19. 19
    Par R says:

    PeterJ, you might start by looking at the polls on the NSA programs, which is what we’re talking about here. Further to that point, you will note that all but a handful of congressional nutjobs have stopped talking about the NSA programs. Hell, the former head of the NSA was just overwhelmingly confirmed as new Director of the CIA.

  20. 20
    PeterJ says:

    Par R said:

    PeterJ, you might start by looking at the polls on the NSA programs, which is what we’re talking about here.

    Like I said, those polls doesn’t count, only elections count. Isn’t that the republican talking point? If those polls counted then Bush would have to step down from office and there wouldn’t be any American troops left in Iraq.

  21. 21
    Zerthimon says:

    So I’m guessing all the people who agree that journalists should never be imprisoned for publishing classified info also believe that Novak shouldn’t have been imprisoned for leaking Plame’s name?

    Personally, I’m generally against punishing journalists for publishing classified info. As that would hurt the media’s ability to report and curtail abuses by our government. However it does make me wonder how we discourage journalists from publishing classified info that actually will harm national security.

  22. 22
    PeterJ says:

    Zerthimon said:

    So I’m guessing all the people who agree that journalists should never be imprisoned for publishing classified info also believe that Novak shouldn’t have been imprisoned for leaking Plame’s name?

    Novak didn’t leak the name. If the person telling Novak had security clearance, then that person leaked it.

    Anyway, as stated before, if Novak should be imprisoned for writing that Valerie Plame was an undercover agent then everybody else who told anyone else the same thing should also be imprisoned.

    To date no journalist has been imprisoned for it, nor accused of it.

  23. 23
    Thomas says:

    Zerthimon, the answer is pretty simple. Make it clear that national security means national security and not things that make the government look bad, which is the current case.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that Bob Novak isn’t in prison. Last time I checked he wasn’t.

  24. 24
    Brian says:

    I am supplying this op-ed from last Sunday’s L.A. Times as a counterpoint to Tim’s sarcastic and ill-informed post.

    What the hell makes you think that journalists, JOURNALISTS!!, are beyond the reach of the law regarding state secrets?

  25. 25
    CaseyL says:

    So I’m guessing all the people who agree that journalists should never be imprisoned for publishing classified info also believe that Novak shouldn’t have been imprisoned for leaking Plame’s name?

    When was Novak in prison? I must’ve missed that one.

    And Miller didn’t go to prison for leaking information. She went to prison on contempt charges, for refusing to cooperate with an investigation into a leak. World of difference.

    And if Libby goes to prison, it won’t be for outing a CIA agent; it’ll be for perjury and obstruction of justice during an investigation into the outing of the CIA agent.

    Finally, there’s a big difference between disclosing the identity of an intelligence asset and disclosing abuse of power by a President. The NSA program is an abuse of power, because it’s targeted tens of millions of Americans without probable cause, without review by FISA, and without a warrant from FISA. The Bush Administration could have carried out the surveillance program legally, by complying with the law mandating FISA review. It didn’t. The only reason it didn’t is because it knew the program was illegal; that is, that FISA would have refused to approve the program.

    These are obvious, straightforward distinctions between the Plame and the NSA case. Right Wingers can’t see the distinction because they don’t want to. They don’t want to because they’ve decided to support Bush no matter what, even if that means selling out the rule of law, Constitutional checks on Executive authority, and the rights of American citizens.

    Right Wingers had a choice ‘way back when, between being lickspittle lackies to the Bushists and standing tall as American citizens in defense of the country. They chose to be lickspittle lackies.

  26. 26
    Par R says:

    CaseyL, another ill informed nitwit says:

    “The NSA program is an abuse of power, because it’s targeted tens of millions of Americans without probable cause, without review by FISA, and without a warrant from FISA.”

    The program has not targeted “millions of Americans.” Telephone numbers without names and addresses have been accumulated in order to see if there are commonalities/patterns of association with identified al Qaeda individuals. No court has determined that such an activity is illegal, and there are responsible legal authorities who have asserted that the program, as it is now understood, is legal. Further, it is far from clear that this program is even covered by FISA.

  27. 27
    Remfin says:

    So I’m guessing all the people who agree that journalists should never be imprisoned for publishing classified info also believe that Novak shouldn’t have been imprisoned for leaking Plame’s name?

    I haven’t seen anyone argue that reporters should be immune to all consequences. It’s divided along the distinction between “whistleblowing” and just stirring things up. The programs that have been leaked lately have been programs that were secret not because they needed to be secret for national security – they were secret because the “new” part of them was ILLEGAL. Look at the NSA story – there is nothing new in this story – we know FISA exists, we know wiretaps exist, we know the NSA uses them both – the only NEW part of this story is that the NSA was avoiding the existing legal avenues to pursue illegal avenues. Ditto with rendition. Ditto with the Guatanamo/Abu situation

    Contrast that with the Plame leak which had 1.) nothing to do with Plame herself, or her work 2.) was a lie (the junket stuff) 3.) doesn’t impeach Wilson’s factual points anyway if it were true and 4.) is wayyyyyy out of scope with the “error” trying to be corrected – burning a CIA front company because you don’t like an op-ed? It was vindictive and meant to stir shit up, not whistleblow

    That is what I wish journalists would do – start telling their anonymous sources that if what they are telling is a lie, they WILL reveal them to the public. Both the sources and the journalists will have to get serious about the truth or face serious embarassment (and consequences)

  28. 28
    Tim F. says:

    So I’m guessing all the people who agree that journalists should never be imprisoned for publishing classified info also believe that Novak shouldn’t have been imprisoned for leaking Plame’s name?

    This is just silly. People think that Novak should stand trial for obstructing justice, if anything at all. Everybody who is not relatively slow understands that the legal culpability lies with the leaker and not with the reporter.

  29. 29
    demimondian says:

    We-ell…not exactly.

    Under the National Security Act of 1953, the intentional dissemination of classified material by any person is punishable by a possible fine and imprisonment. There’s no exemption for people who come into possession of such material illicitly, as a reporter receiving a leaked document does. No administration has ever tried to enforce that clause, though, as it is a poster child for unconstitutional infringements of First Amendment speech guarantees.

  30. 30
    Pooh says:

    Brian’s link doesn’t even get past the subhead before getting the gong:

    Why prosecute two small-fry lobbyists but let the New York Times endanger national security?

    Which is it, is Al Qaeda the fiendish bunch who will kill us all, tommorow, if we don’t submit to the will of the Supreme Soviet administration and divest ourselves of all rights? Or are they nitwits who didn’t realise we were tapping their phones until they read it in the NYT? I eagerly await a reasoned response.

  31. 31
    Zifnab says:

    As a matter of course, there is no Constitutional Amendment which preserves the right of the US Government to conduct any sort of espionage. The US Gov’t has the duty (not the right) to defend the public good and the national sovereignty. There is nothing in the Constitution that explicitly protects “State Secrets”. No Constitutional power to mark a document ‘classified’. No Constitutional authority to suppress a statement for national security. Any such powers given to the government in that regard have required statutes passed by Congress (a la the National Security Act), powers excercised through the President (as commander-in-chief), or authority extended to the Federal Government with permission from the courts. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Thus one could argue that Free Press trumps any Presidential, Judicial, or Congressional self-proclaimed powers. Of course, you’d be arguing that against an FBI offical, in a court of law, having violated a piece of Congressional legislation. So in that case, all rights are relative.

  32. 32
    Gary Farber says:

    My own questions and comments were here, by the way.

  33. 33
    Brian says:

    Pooh,

    I understand that reading is hard for you and your types, but please read the whole op-ed, rather than the first graf or so and shooting down the rest because you’re too lazy to engage arguments.

    Once you have done this, get back to us.

  34. 34
    demimondian says:

    Brian: If you were in my presence, you wouldn’t talk like this.

    That’s not due to either cowardice or discretion, though. It’s just that you’re too stupid to breathe and move your tongue at the same time.

  35. 35
    Poopstain says:

    I’m not sure whether to admire or deplore your bravery/contempt for futilile actions, Par. Speaking logic to liberal America-haters? Surely you know that no facts that do not reinforce the received truth promulgated by the anti-rational religous cult that is modern “progressivism” can be considered? Oh, and BTW, bush+hitler…..

  36. 36
    chopper says:

    The programs that have been leaked lately have been programs that were secret not because they needed to be secret for national security – they were secret because the “new” part of them was ILLEGAL.

    exactly. the reasons these programs were marked ‘secret’ was because there were serious ethical and constitutional questions (also major possible impacts on our relationships with certain allies), none of which the administration wanted to deal with. i mean, like the proverbial tree faling in the forest, it isn’t unconstitutional if noone knows about it, right?

    besides, all this talk about what does and does not impact ‘national security’ is so arbitrary it isn’t even funny. its a slippery slope that leads to the argument (which i’ve actually seen on some rightie blogs) that pretty much anything which makes the president look bad in any way, shape or form is damaging to national security and ’emboldens our enemies’. like if G-Dubs takes a spill on his mountain bike and chips a tooth, there should be a media blackout on the story cause otherwise some dudes in a cave in pakistan with directv are gonna be sitting there laughing, and we don’t want to embiggen those types. that’s practically treason.

  37. 37
    slickdpdx says:

    So, if a person gives classified information to a spy the giver and the spy are in trouble. If a person gives classified information to a reporter, only the giver is in trouble?
    Or, how about his: giver could give to reporter, reporter (and who can’t be a reporter?). Reporter doesn’t publish, but gives to spy. Hmmm.

  38. 38
    demimondian says:

    [I]f a person gives classified information to a spy the giver and the spy are in trouble. If a person gives classified information to a reporter, only the giver is in trouble

    Yup.

    A First Amendment defense is essentially an affirmative defense: yes, the putatively illegal act took place, but in this case, it was not illegal (because the law was unconstitutional, ergo not actually a law.) The broad principle is that public disclosure of inappropriate government activity is generally a good thing, and that secret disclosure of appropriate government activity to foreign power is generally a good thing. We depend on citizens to make that distinction.

    If there’s a question, though, we can look at many factors to determine which category an act falls into: breadth of disclosure, apparent intent of the actor, etc. That’s why we have these things called “trials”.

  39. 39
    Brian says:

    Brian: If you were in my presence, you wouldn’t talk like this.

    Not sure at all what you mean. And why do you think the comment after this is so clever? You and others are adept at stringing together words that are meaningless, and yet attempt to sound tough, intelligent, funny, deep, progressive, or anti-establishment. You’re just another idiot like DougJ. I have yet to find a Lefty on this site worthy of a sincere debate on anything, and you leave me still searching.

  40. 40
    Pooh says:

    I understand that reading is hard for you and your types, but please read the whole op-ed, rather than the first graf or so and shooting down the rest because you’re too lazy to engage arguments.

    I understand that it is hard for you to respond sans insult, so I won’t hold it against you. The argument is based on a manifestly false premise. If we want to have an argument about “what ifs” we can do that, I suppose, but as a professor of mine liked to say to recalcitrant students, “if you want to change the hypothetical, pay more tuition.”

  41. 41
    demimondian says:

    Hey, Goys and Birls, Brian the Tripodal Goatse guy has found a new jackalope to…err…mount: lefties are stupid. Wow! And it’s another b*cking bronco!

    Hey, Brian, why don’t you get off the poor animal and try really debating something? Here’s a hint, snookums: trading insults has nothing to do with genuine debate. Those of us who left the schoolyard behind when we reached adulthood know that. C’mon, pumpkin: defend the notion that a broad effective ban on publication is constitutional. I’m really, really waiting with baited breath.

    (Hint: you could start by reading the decision in a little case called _New York Times v. the United States_. I think you’ll find it illuminating.)

  42. 42
    slickdpdx says:

    Regarding my comment above: Everybody’s a reporter!

    In its ruling, the appeals court said online and offline journalists are equally protected under the First Amendment. “We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish ‘legitimate’ from ‘illegitimate’ news,” the opinion states. “Any attempt by courts to draw such a distinction would imperil a fundamental purpose of the First Amendment.”

    Which means the problem could be even bigger. Why can’t the ‘leaker’ be a reporter? All s/he needs is a blog. Or a photocopy machine and some token attempt to ‘publish’ (to subscribers?)

  43. 43
    ether says:

    there’s no distinction between “classified information” and stories that “anger the government?”

    huh.

  44. 44
    ppGaz says:

    You’re just another idiot like DougJ.

    Please don’t talk about yourself in the third person.

    It’s an affectation.

  45. 45
    Pooh says:

    Slick – I don’t think that “reporter” gives blanket immunity – more that in the roll of reporter qua reporter, if that makes sense.

  46. 46
    demimondian says:

    Slick — you’ll notice that I didn’t actually use the word reporter in my answer. As you imply, any person can be the conduit through which a critical disclosure passes, and all such disclosures need to be judged on a case-by-case basis.

    (Yes, that theory does allow the pernicious and selective prosecution of “leakers” that this administration has been pursuing. Taking the government on is never safe.)

  47. 47
    Sherard says:

    Seriously, Tim, I think you should seek help for the insanity.

    Should America respond to external danger by imprisoning reporters who anger the government?

    Categorically, NO. Absolutely No. Should America, however, respond to people undermining national security by imprisoning the people undermining national security even if -GASP- they pretend to be “journalists” (often code for partisan hack) ???

    Why, yes, I think that might actually be a prudent thing to do. When they start imprisoning people for angering the government, you be sure to let me know. I won’t hold my breath waiting though.

  48. 48
    Kimmitt says:

    Proof that the cognitive dissonance survives even the closest juxtaposition of the facts with the rhetoric.

  49. 49
    Dosaq says:

    DOJ passed on a criminal conspiracy. This affected the global community and global intelligence community. The reporters were just left there.

  50. 50
    Krista says:

    demi says:

    I’m really, really waiting with baited breath.

    What’d you bait it with today? Anything interesting?

  51. 51
    demimondian says:

    What’d you bait it with today?

    Flame bait, of course.

  52. 52
    Krista says:

    Sounds spicy. :)

  53. 53
    slickdpdx says:

    What I am trying to get at is that the issues are more complex and the task of writing a good statute is more difficult than a person might conclude or be led to believe.

  54. 54
    demimondian says:

    the task of writing a good statute is more difficult than a person might conclude or be led to believe.

    Not necessarily. The key is intent — if I release classified information to you with the intention of undermining national security, then I’ve (usually) committed a crime. If I carelessly leak information to you, with no particular intent, but without thinking, then I’m guilty of negligence. If I release classified information to you with the intent of protecting the nation after carefully agonizing over it, aware that I’ll lose my clearance, then…well, I don’t know of a single conviction when malice or negligence wasn’t clearly shown.

  55. 55
    slickdpdx says:

    Why would intended result be an important part of a statute aimed at preventing the disclosure of classisified information? The relevant intent would be knowing disclosure of classified information. (Since those with access to classified information voluntarily take on special responsibilities you could make the relevant mental state “negligent”. Even strict liability might be fair). Anyhow, your motivation for disclosing information might be relevant to the punishment to be imposed, but it wouldn’t be a proper element of the crime itself.
    However, my point was that deciding “reporters” should not have any criminal exposure is not as easy a fix as implied above.

  56. 56
    Santa Claus says:

    Well, I’m back at the North Pole now. But that stint in a Florida jail taught me some things about life… things no man should have to know. But now I’m free, prancing and jumping and capering and skipping bail. And I’ve decided to retire from the toy-making business, and settle down in Tijuana with a stripper I’ve met named “Mrs. Claus.” (Oh, you think I’m a pig? Well, Mrs. Claus and I have an understanding- Mrs. Claus understands that what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her. Anyway, my children have all grown up and had children of their own, as have their children and their children, unto the hundredth generation; currently, 4% of America is genetically linked to Santa Claus, as is 60% of Norway and 100% of Iceland. So if you don’t like it, why don’t you just declare war on Iceland, you fucking prude?)

    It’s not like I can’t afford to retire, I’ve been saving up money for the last 1700 years. And it’s not like I don’t deserve to retire- I’m 1800 years old, for Chrissakes. One of my helpers will take over the toy-making operation, but they’ll keep my name on the product line just for old times’ sake. Hopefully, my successor will have better luck dealing with those crazy Canuck criminal cranks who keep fighting TWOC against me. Those bastards broke through our frontlines last night, but I sent the reserves in to plug the gap, so hopefully things are stabilized now.

    But you really can’t have a fighting chance in the tundra when you only have polar bears and elves, and the secular humanists have modern artillery, B-52s, and assault rifles. I just wish the American people and their government would shut down the purveyors of TWOC once and for all. That would really take the steam out of those Canadians’ sails. But here I go, getting all political again. I’m sure you have better things to hear about, and I’m trying not to anger myself, so I’ll pipe down about it for now. I will say that that Easter Bunny fellow hasn’t made things any easier on me. Hate me all you want, fine. But don’t pretend the Marxists and the Darwinists won’t come after YOU next, once they’ve settled scores with me. Fucking stupid rodent bastard.

    Well, anyhow, this ripe jolly old elf is feeling pretty horny right now, so I’m gonna head down the toy shop with “Mrs. Claus”. (Don’t tell Mrs. Claus, she’s staying in Rivendell for the weekend with Gladys and Edith.) And then two days from now, I’ll be retired, and you suckers can kiss my anus adios!

    Ho ho ho, bitches.

  57. 57
    Krista says:

    But now I’m free, prancing and jumping and capering and skipping bail.

    Careful with that — if you’re going to be getting into aerobic activity at your age, you really need to ease into it a bit more. I’d recommend sauntering, with perhaps the odd promenade thrown in, before diving right into the prancing and capering.

  58. 58
    demimondian says:

    Hey, Claus? Would you like, hold up on the capering? It’s fine when you’re up in the air, but the whole “make the hou-hou-house shake thing”? Not so much.

  59. 59

    I will say that that Easter Bunny fellow hasn’t made things any easier on me. Hate me all you want, fine. But don’t pretend the Marxists and the Darwinists won’t come after YOU next, once they’ve settled scores with me. Fucking stupid rodent bastard.

    Kiss my cottontail, you fat fuck. Your fear-mongering and demonization of the harmless Canucks is disgusting. They worship a Moose God, for fuck’s sake; theirs is a religion of peace.

    You should have retired a long time ago, you tubby bitch. Maybe if you hadn’t been huffing glue fumes and elf-musk in that shitty workshop of yours for 1700 years you wouldn’t be such a paranoid nutjob.

  60. 60
    Maj, Ischemic Event says:

    Hey, Bunny, Hunny. Your campaign has been a brilliant stroke, and I know from strokes. But now it’s time to step back and resume your proper role as a mascot for early-onset tooth decay. Let the professionals take over here.

  61. 61
    Santa Claus says:

    Attention, readership of Balloon Juice. This is Elrond speaking, using Santa’s call sign. It is with a heavy heart that I must announce to you, and the rest of the citizens of the world, that Santa Claus was killed today in a terrorist attack by members of the Army of the Moose-God. According to survivors, he was sitting in his toyshop drinking bourbon, as usual, when a Canucki fundamentalist ran in and detonated himself. A few moments later, his cohorts detonated their car outside by the reindeer stable. The carnage is completely indescribable. Blood, toys, Christmas tree branches, and cards and letters from children around the world are strewn all over the North Pole. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years of working for Santa- not even in my earlier years of fighting against Mordor did anything approaching this horrible incident transpire.

    In addition to Santa, sixteen elves were also killed, as was a young woman unidentified at this time. Two of the reindeer- Dasher and Blitzen- had to be euthanized due to the injuries they sustained in this horrific incident. I want to stress that Legolas is unhurt, and was quickly sent to an undisclosed location.

    The cowards who perpetrated this act of evil will not go unpunished. We will find you under whatever Canadian rock you cower, we will smoke you out, and we will destroy you. The Canuckistanists and their allies in the War on Christmas, the secular humanists and Marxist-Darwinists, will answer for this horrible crime. I know that many Americans have scoffed at these evildoers, and some even secretly side with them. I hope that Rudolph’s tears will shake you out of this malaise, which can only abet the forces of tyranny. I hope that this incident will cause the United States and the rest of the world to wake up to this horrific strife we’ve undergone for the last 2 years here in the Arctic Circle. How long must this bloodshed go on before the peoples of the world wake up to the fact that the enemies of Christmas are the enemies of freedom? They hate us for our religion, and they hate us for our freedom, and they’re jealous of our toys. Can anyone seriously suggest that we bargain with monsters, with murderers, with those who would destroy the elven way of life itself?

    I’m sorry if I sound emotional. Santa and I were very close. I can remember coaling the young future emperor Justinian with him at Christmas in 520 AD. For now, I suppose I’ll have to put on a Santa suit this Yuletide season, until a suitable replacement can be found.

    This fight is not over, it’s just beginning. The Canuckistani leadership is wanted dead or alive, and the elven people will have their revenge.

    Thank you all, and God bless Christmas.

  62. 62
    demimondian says:

    Elrond —

    Our hearts go out to you in this time of sorrow, and your loss will be in our prayers. Santa was a sorry old right-wing pelf…er, that is, right jolly old elf, and his loss will be dearly felt here.

    We in the demi-bunker are available to help you stabilize the world during this trying season. We would be more able to help if the purified beryllium metal which Santa had mentioned in passing last Saturday were to actually be delivered.

    Yours in nuclear peace,
    demi “Protecting your demi-interests since 1690” mondian

  63. 63

    My fellow Americans,

    Today is a sad day for all good boys and girls, as we are forced to bid farewell to one of our most beloved holiday icon – You know what? Fuck this. The fat bastard’s dead, kiddies. Blown into thousands of chunks of whale blubber by Canuckistani suicide bombers. If he comes down your chimney again, it’s going to be in the form of ashes conveyed along the jet stream from the North Pole.

    Maybe that makes you sad. Maybe you’re crying right now. And I say, we don’t have time for that, you little pussies. Our nation, our very way of life, is under attack. Do you think the Canuckofascists will be satisfied now that they’ve struck the decisive blow in the War on Christmas? I used to believe that, but today’s horrific attack has shown me the error of my ways. No. The terrorists will not rest until they’ve exterminated all Christian holiday icons. And maybe not even then, so you can wipe that smug fucking look off your face, Great Pumpkin.

    An implacable foe lurks in the frozen tundra to our north. I have ignored that unpleasant truth for far too long, but no longer. Now we must all be vigilant. The enemy may be moving among us even now, sowing doubt and turning brother against brother. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t trust anyone from Minnesota. We really don’t know where their loyalties lie.

    I’m sure some of you liberal sissies and closet al Queda sympathizers don’t like what I have to say. That’s because you’re stuck in a pre-5-29 mindset, you stupid douchebags. 5-29 changed everything. We don’t have the luxury of waiting until we’re attacked again. It’s time we took the fight to the Canucks. And possibly the Minnesotans and North Dakotans.

    As of now, I hereby pledge my legions to the Global Struggle Against Crazy Canuckis. I will wed my forces to Elrond’s, and together we shall forge a blazing sword of righteousness that will cleanse the moose-worshipper-infested woods of Canuckistan.

    Peeps, bitches. Peeps . . .

  64. 64
    Krista says:

    Oh. Shit.

  65. 65
    demimondian says:

    Krista, we who dwell within the demi-bunker seek to expand peace and security in our world. Towards that end, we seek to interfe…err, intervene, in a strictly peaceful manner to mediate between parties that have disagreements.

    If you are willing to seek our assistance, we are more than willing to seek a peaceful final solution to your problems with TEB, Elrond, and the rest of the imaginary crew. We would need direct access to the tar sands of Albirda as a staging area, but, if you can provide that, we believe that we can guarantee that no single canuckistani will suffer attack by Elrond, TEB, or any of their elven or rodential allies.

    Yours in neighborly non-agression,
    demi “We didn’t say anything about married ones. Why do you ask?” mondian

  66. 66

    […] Apparently, Santa Claus was killed today in a terrorist attack: It is with a heavy heart that I must announce to you, and the rest of the citizens of the world, that Santa Claus was killed today in a terrorist attack by members of the Army of the Moose-God. According to survivors, he was sitting in his toyshop drinking bourbon, as usual, when a Canucki fundamentalist ran in and detonated himself. A few moments later, his cohorts detonated their car outside by the reindeer stable. The carnage is completely indescribable. Blood, toys, Christmas tree branches, and cards and letters from children around the world are strewn all over the North Pole. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years of working for Santa- not even in my earlier years of fighting against Mordor did anything approaching this horrible incident transpire. […]

  67. 67

    Worry not, Krista. Our quarrel is not with the peaceful, non-moose-worshipping denizens of Greater Canuckistan. Provided that you cooperate with us, quarter our soldiers, and provide unfettered access to your ports, airfields, and rail lines, you have nothing to fear.

    Cross us, however, and we will rain fury down upon you hotter than a million sons. Just ask Demimondian, but do it quickly unless you have a spirit medium handy.

  68. 68
    demimondian says:

    TEB — We, the peaceful denizens of the demi-bunker, call upon you give up your failed ideology, and look back to the gentle being whose resurrection you were repurposed to serve. You need to let go of the bacchinalia of the season-turning fires, to turn truly to the religion you have come (so many times) to serve. I know that is hard for you after all these years of service to the baser springtime appetites of bunnys and their honeys, but, in the interests of our mutually assured future, I ask you to once and for all turn your back on the failed ideology of the West, and to return to the mystical roots of your calling.

    Yours in neighborly non-aggression,
    demi “What do you mean, playing for time?” mondian

  69. 69
    Krista says:

    Well, I definitely don’t worship moose — not after one of those buggers dented my car once. I am truly sorry to hear about Santa. He once brought me a Fisher-Price horsie, and when you lifted the plastic reins, it’d whinny really loudly. I’d wake up and pad out to the living room in my footie pyjamas, and start playing with the horsie.

    In retrospect, I’m surprised my Dad didn’t kill Santa Claus back then.

    TEB – I can’t quarter your soldiers, hon. My dog would eat them. The timothy grass in my field however, is all yours.

  70. 70
    demimondian says:

    Krista–We, the peaceful denizens of the demi-bunker, urge you in our strongest diplomatic tones to seriously consider the long term consequences of occupation by the forces of the War on Canuckistan. Have you ever seen the mess that’s left behind when one of TEB’s soldiers is quartered? It’s not so bad when the soldier is properly drawn first, but Elrond’s forces are hungry for a victory, and the possibility of friendly fry cannot be ruled out.

    In the spirit of communal decision-making, we urge you to consider also the fury of a million sons which they threaten to unleash upon you. It doesn’t stop with just a million sons — you also get the corresponding daughters, and *their* offspring. It’s not for nothing, and not a coincidence, that the slang term for fecundity has to do with rabbits and breeding.

    The Easter Bunny wants nothing so much as to dominate the canuckistani with his sons, while spreading his daughters around your fair land. It starts, remember, with quartering his soldiers — what will it end up quartering?

  71. 71
    srv says:

    Press Rlease – WH
    For Immediate Release

    My fellow Americans, it is with deep sadness we learn to day of the passing of our beloved Santa Clause. This symbol of freedom and liberty to us all was killed by a cowardly Canucki-Fascist terorist. Our intelligence agencies have informed us that this act was performed by Ansar Al-Manitoba, an obscure terrorist group with connections to Al Qaida.

    Tonight, I pledge an unending war on those who would war on Christmas. I will not accept Christmas presents until these terrorists are brought to justice. As a result of this attack on our freedoms, on this holiest of memorial days, I have ordered our forces to attack Iran.

    May God Bless America,
    Goodnight

  72. 72

    Deminondian – thus far we have forgiven your interference and posturing, as we have not forgotten your assistance in the Cupid affair some years ago. It is a changed world, however, and such consideration will not hold should you continue to impede our Holy Mission. Your bunker’s location is known to us and our gopher shock troops stand ready to storm it at a moment’s notice. They are armed with depleted rabbit pellet rounds, which would ravage your lands for a generation.

    Consider yourself warned, mofo.

  73. 73
    Krista says:

    demi – I’m not particularly worried. The offer was made more as a gesture of diplomacy. Frankly, TEB would be foolhardy to want to use my place as quarters. For starters, my location has no strategic value, unless he wants to wage a War on Lobsters. And as well…we have bears. Around here, bunnies are like nature’s french fry.

  74. 74
    DougJ says:

    I think it is possible — no, probable — that Jesse MacBeth was invovled with Santa’s death. Santa was the only thing standing between him and a a MacBeth-Churchill Democratic ticket in 2008.

    But don’t expect the librul MSM to explore this possibility, as glaringly obvious as it it.

  75. 75
    demimondian says:

    You know, DougJ, I think that’s an interesting line to follow up. I hear that he was a real spoofter, MacBeth, and god…have you met his weird sisters? Put ’em together with Hellery, and it’s double trouble.

    Krista — aren’t rabbits nature’s french fry everywhere?

  76. 76
    demimondian says:

    TEB — Ah, yes, L’affaire Cupid…good times! Good times. That was on fierce Psyche we pulled on him, eh?

    Hey, dude — word to the wise. If you’re going after the canuckistani, watch out for bears. They’re everywhere up there, you know, and some of them are…moose worshippers, I hear. And, while you’re at it — you can’t trust your gopher troops to stay completely loyal in Minnesota. They worship the Golder Gopher up there, you know…

  77. 77
    Krista says:

    demi – yeah, they probably are. Here’s definitely not a great spot for them, though. If the cars and RVs don’t get them, the bears, coyotes, and hawks do.

    Besides, TEB – are you sure it was the canuckistani? Has anybody claimed responsibility? Who could have a beef with the Easter Bunny, AND with Canada? Well, Easter candy is bad for one’s teeth, right? Who has bad teeth? And…who might want to be able to re-gain control over Canada after our defenses are weakened from prolonged warfare with TEB’s forces?

    It’s the frigging Brits.

    I mean, really — think about it. Santa (may God rest his soul) was a major Anglophile. But, the man was a mess. By offing Santa and framing us, the Brits get rid of their embarassing self-appointed spokesman, while also getting the opportunity to re-establish the British Empire. They’re just playing TEB for the sheer desire for revenge at the havoc wreaked on their blood sugar levels and dental hygiene.

  78. 78
    demimondian says:

    You know, Krista, there’s a lot of other reasons to consider the role of the Brits in this terrible thing. Santa was, after all, the creation of an American writer; all the Brits could manage was Dickens _A Christmas Carol_. I mean, really, can you see “God bless us, every one” really competing with swag, swag swag…and, hey, given the choice between Marley’s ghost (complete with chains and guilt) and a right jolly old elf (with flying reindeer).

    And besides, Plame and Wilson are both BRITISH names. ANd let’s not get started on Sheehan, ok?

    This is looking very suspicious!

  79. 79
    DougJ says:

    “God bless us, everone”? Sounds like terrorist-coddling to me. Sounds like the mushy-mouthed moral relativism of the left. God bless us Christians who support the president. But God bless Ward Churchill, Cindy Sheehan, Howard Dean, Alec Baldwin, Zarqawi, and Kofi-the-pimp Anan? I think not.

  80. 80
    demimondian says:

    Not to mention that British “cuisine” includes the two greatest terror weapons ever: blood pudding and…I shudder to speak of it, and within my soul, the incessant chittering of the rodents as they come, they come, inevitably, their buck teeth grawing gnawing at the studs…

    [transmission ends]

  81. 81

    Clearly you’re all objectively pro-Canuckofascist. Maybe you’ll change your tune when you’re being waterboarded in my secret detention warren in Wyoming, bitches.

    And blaming the horrible attack that cost Santa his life on his countrymen? Keep talking, kooks, so the American people can see just how twisted and dishonest you are.

  82. 82
    demimondian says:

    It’s good to see TEB continuing to follow his master’s voice, by attempting to intimidate his loyal political opposition. We have no sympathies for the small minority of the canuckistani who pursue polcies that genuinely endanger our society. You can see that from the whole-hearted support we offered to TEB and to Santa during the Cupid Missal crisis. The threat of the distortions of the Mass was real, and, when there was a real threat, we supported you.

    On that day, we were all Easter Bunnies.

    But this? You need to convince a neutral international body that there is a clear threat to our way of life from the canuckistani Wheat-thins of Mass Destruction.

  83. 83

    While Elrond and the other survivors of the horrific 5/29 attack pick Santa blubber and reindeer meat out of the rubble of the great toy factory, The Demimondian wants to offer therapy and understanding to our attackers. He thinks we should pass a “global test” before we can defend ourselves from the deranged moose-worshipping hordes. Clearly, he and his ilk cannot be trusted with the security of this great nation.

    If you’re not with us, you’re against us, bitches.

  84. 84
    demimondian says:

    As we are repeatedly seeing, TEB is misrepresenting the facts. I was against therapy before I was in favor of it, and when I was in favor of it, I was only in favor of that part of which I was in favor.

    In this case, we are only asking that TEB provide clear evidence that the Canuckistani actually possess deviant communion wafers. What of the rumors that the intelligence has been cherry-picked? Will there be enough paws on the ground in Eastern Canuckistan?

  85. 85

    Will there be enough paws on the ground in Eastern Canuckistan?

    The Demi-mon betrays his pre-5/29 mindset here. Our new, leaner, more mobile forces don’t require the massive ground and underground troops of previous campaigns. Advanced egg delivery technology and burrowing techniques allow us to adapt quickly to the asymmetrical warfare of this 21st-century campaign. Our elite Peep special forces are capable of delivering devastating force with a minimal ground presence, as in Eastern Canuckistan.

    Shock and awe, bitches.

  86. 86
    demimondian says:

    We ask only if the cost, in blood and candy, of the war in Eastern Canuckistan will be justified by the benefits. Is Eastern Canuckistan really a breeding ground for terrorists, or is TEB trying to get his “revenge” for the bears of Eastern Canuckistan using his father as an Ursine French Fry?

    Just saying…

  87. 87
    Krista says:

    Hang on here…how the hell did Eastern Canuckistan get roped into this? You’re making a classic mistake, ignoring the societal tensions and differences between the various Canuckistani regions and factions. You know nothing of our culture, our history, our way of life. To you, we are simply “Canuckistani”, and you ignore the fact that we are a peace-loving people. Mooseianity is a religion of peace, and we have long had cordial relations with the fat bearded one that you call Santa Claus. We urge to you reconsider your course of action, and will work with you to bring the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice.

  88. 88

    we have long had cordial relations with the fat bearded one that you call Santa Claus.

    Maybe you should have given that tubby bitch a heads-up before he was blown into a million blobs of lard by that Canuckistani bomb, then.

    Look, it’s real simple. We’re not interested in negotiation. You’re either with us or against us. Any nation that harbors the Canuckistani menace will be dealt with accordingly. So turn over the moose-worshippers now, or feel the righteous thumping of our mighty Feet.

  89. 89
    demimondian says:

    TEB — we, the peaceful denizens of the demi-bunker, have been receiving alarming reports of large-scale rodent movements along the borders of our region. We would be deeply troubled were any offensive operations against the Canuckistani to violate our territorial integrity.

    Yours in neighborly *mutual* non-aggression,
    demi “don’t go there” mondian

  90. 90
    Krista says:

    TEB – Have I mentioned how adorable you are when you’re angry? All fuzzy and beligerent…I could just hug you.

  91. 91
    demimondian says:

    Krista–We, the peaceful denizens of the demi-bunker, are eager to avoid any conflict in Canuckistan. We repeat our offer of monitoring forces based in the Albirdan tar sands.

    Yours in neighborly non-aggression,
    demi “peace on our borders, peace in our time” mondian

  92. 92

    Have I mentioned how adorable you are when you’re angry? All fuzzy and beligerent…I could just hug you.

    Sorry, babe. Your Canuckistani sexual wiles aren’t going to work on me. Frankly, I have all I can handle “comforting” Mrs. Claus. That girl is a super-freak in the sack . . . sackcloth and ashes, I mean. Yeah.

  93. 93
    Krista says:

    demi – Well, I’m not an official spokesthingie for my country, so I’ll have to bring your offer to the higher authorities. I thank you for your kind offer, and share your hope that this can be resolved without bloodshed.

  94. 94

    Dawn Patrol

    Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics – from the MilBlogs, other blogs, and the mainstream media. If you’re a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link…

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Dawn Patrol

    Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics – from the MilBlogs, other blogs, and the mainstream media. If you’re a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link…

  2. […] Apparently, Santa Claus was killed today in a terrorist attack: It is with a heavy heart that I must announce to you, and the rest of the citizens of the world, that Santa Claus was killed today in a terrorist attack by members of the Army of the Moose-God. According to survivors, he was sitting in his toyshop drinking bourbon, as usual, when a Canucki fundamentalist ran in and detonated himself. A few moments later, his cohorts detonated their car outside by the reindeer stable. The carnage is completely indescribable. Blood, toys, Christmas tree branches, and cards and letters from children around the world are strewn all over the North Pole. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years of working for Santa- not even in my earlier years of fighting against Mordor did anything approaching this horrible incident transpire. […]

Comments are closed.