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Traitors are among us. On talk radio and cable tv, the right-wingers are alerting good patriotic Americans who work hard and play by the rules to the spreading menace of treasonous acts commited by those who hate America. Hardly a day goes by without a new act of treason against the world's sole superpower that represents everything good.

The list of traitors has grown to include Hollywood liberals, commie progressives, pot head libertarians, America-hating Democrats, paleoconservative relics, lunatic anarchists, anti-war protestors, flag burners, isolationists, open borders activists, privacy advocates, and journalists. The crimes commited by these traitors are numerous and ongoing, according to the right-wing patriot pundits.

The crimes are generally associated with giving comfort and aid to the enemy. We are told that criticism of war, foreign policy, torture, rendering, domestic spying, data mining, suspension of habeus corpus, or the USA PATRIOT Act constitutes treason. Especially egregious to the right-wingers are the treasonous acts of protesting and divulging state secrets.

The one act that really provokes the passions of super patriots is flag burning. This act of treason is thought to be such a problem that righteous Republicans tried to pass an amendment to the Constitution allowing Congress to deal with this crime against America. The amendment failed by just one vote in the Senate despite the emotional pleas made by Senators running for re-election.

While some people think that the flag represents the republic, and to others, the original 13 colonies along with the 50 states, patriotic Republican Senators believe the flag represents dead soldiers, freedom, and democracy. To illustrate the importance of the flag to politicians it is instructive to note that they pledge allgience to the flag every time Congress meets. By contrast, they only take an oath to uphold the Constitution when they are sworn into office.

Exposing government secrets is another act of treason that gets right-wingers very upset. Since Bush declared war on evil, there has been a rash of evil whistleblowers and evil journalsts who have gone public with information that could help al Qaida overthrow America. These treasonous acts supposedly threaten the lives and freedom of all Americans - unless the information is released by the White House.

For example, it is treasonous when the New York Times publishes articles about NSA spying or the surveillance of bank accounts. However, it is not treason when administration officials brag about intercepting al Qaida phone calls or confiscating the assets of terrorists.

Immediately after September 11, 2001, accounts of untranslated tapes of terrorist phone calls and a tape of Osama talking to his mom were in the media. Somehow though, al Qaida terrorists could not figure out that their phones could be tapped after hearing this information. But, nearly five years later when the New York Times ran the NSA eavesdropping story, it was treason because it tipped off the terrorists that their phones might be tapped.

Similarly, when administration officials boasted about confiscating terrorist funds, al Qaida couldn't figure out that their bank transactions had been monitored. But when the New York Times recently ran an article about America monitoring bank transactions, this was treasonous because it tipped off terrorists that their transactions were being scrutinized.

The right-wingers' poster girl for treason, Cindy Sheehan, is killing American soldiers, according to many of those obsessed with treason. They make the case that when someone protests against the war, it hurts troop morale and emboldens the enemy, thereby causing more American troops to be killed. In addition to this odd argument, the outraged patriots insist that you are against America, want the terrorists to win, and don't support the troops unless you support the war(s).

Hurting troop morale by extending tours of duty or emboldening the enemy through strategic blunders does not constitute treason - apparently because government cannot commit treason against itself. I suppose it also has something to do with intent. Bush and his underlings don't hate America like anti-war protesters and they have only the most wonderful intentions - unlike those who only want the terrorists to win.

To my knowledge, none of the many traitors identified by the patriot pundits have been charged with treason. Aside from vague threats to look into the crimes of the New York Times (the NSA and banking surveillance stories - not pre-war propaganda about WMD), there doesn't seem to be any movement towards prosecuting the traitors - yet.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of
the scoundrel" - Samuel Johnson

This article contributed by Tom Blanton of Richmond, Virginia.