Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Dream Paper

"War in Iraq Ends." "U.S. Patriot Act Repealed." "All Public Universities To Be Free." "Court Indicts Bush On High Treason Charge."

How would you feel if you saw those headlines splattered across your local newspaper? Well, Americans who got a spoof edition of the New York Times earlier this week can answer that question for you.

On November 12th, a group that calls themselves The Yes Men distributed fake copies of a New York Times paper across the country. The paper was dated July 4, 2009, and had articles that described the future as most of us would wish to see it.

The Yes Men, pranksters claiming to work in the service of humanity, used a blend of satire, political criticism, and utopian ideals to create a paper that makes you want to both laugh and cry. But if anything, the taste of seeing those headlines in print makes you want to turn them into a future reality.

July 4, 2009? Maybe that's a little over-ambitious. But a couple of years down the line, that's not too bad, is it?

Here's an article on the spoof NYT paper.

And for those of you outside the U.S. that couldn't get your hands on a copy, here's the spoof NYT website:



Luz said...

If only...When will that be? I think this may actually boost our faith or for those who are very negative, just remind us that it isn't true. I choose the first :) for the time being...


Zaid said...

What does the charge of "high treason" mean?
It would be interesting to see what sort of a life Bush has after his presidency's over. Starting wars and devastating millions of lives must have a price - and not just for him, but for everyone that was involved in executive decision making in the Administration.

Nicholas Karavatos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicholas Karavatos said...

US Constitution
Article III
Section 3

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.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

Commentary by Cornell University Law School:

The treason clause is a product of the awareness of the Framers of the “numerous and dangerous excrescences” which had disfigured the English law of treason and was therefore intended to put it beyond the power of Congress to “extend the crime and punishment of treason.”[1283] The debate in the Convention, remarks in the ratifying conventions, and contemporaneous public comment make clear that a restrictive concept of the crime was imposed and that ordinary partisan divisions within political society were not to be escalated by the stronger into capital charges of treason, as so often had happened in England.[1284]

Thus, the Framers adopted two of the three formulations and the phraseology of the English Statute of Treason enacted in 1350,[1285] but they conspicuously omitted the phrase defining as treason the “compass[ing] or imagin[ing] the death of our lord the King,”1286 under which most of the English law of “constructive treason” had been developed.[1287] Beyond limiting the power of Congress to define treason,[1288] the clause also prescribes limitations upon Congress’ ability to make proof of the offense easy to establish1289 and its ability to define punishment.[1290]

1283 2 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions on Adoption of the Constitution (Philadelphia: 1836), 469 (James Wilson). Wilson was apparently the author of the clause in the Committee of Detail and had some first hand knowledge of the abuse of treason charges. J. Hurst, The Law of Treason in the United States—Selected Essays (Westport, Conn.: 1971), 90–91, 129–136.
1284 2 M. Farrand, op. cit., n.1, 345–350; 2 J. Elliot, op. cit., n. 1283, 469, 487 (James Wilson); 3 id., 102–103, 447, 451, 466; 4 id., 209, 219, 220; The Federalist No. 43 (J. Cooke ed. 1961), 290 (Madison); id., No. 84, 576–577 (Hamilton); The Works of James Wilson, R. McCloskey ed. (Cambridge: 1967 ed), 663–669. The matter is comprehensively studied in J. Hurst, op. cit., n. 1283, chs. 3, 4.
1285 25 Edward III, Stat. 5, ch. 2, See J. Hurst, op. cit., n. 1283, ch 2.
1286 Id., 15, 31–37, 41–49, 51–55.
1287 Ibid. “[T]he record does suggest that the clause was intended to guarantee nonviolent political processes against prosecution under any theory or charge, the burden of which was the allegedly seditious character of the conduct in question. The most obviously restrictive feature of the constitutional definition is its omission of any provision analogous to that branch of the Statute of Edward III which punished treason by compassing the death of the king. In a narrow sense, this provision perhaps had no proper analogue in a republic. However, to interpret the silence of the treason clause in this way alone does justice neither to the technical proficiency of the Philadelphia draftsmen nor to the practical statecraft and knowledge of English political history among the Framers and proponents of the Constitution. The charge of compassing the king’s death had been the principal instrument by which ‘treason’ had been used to suppress a wide range of political opposition, from acts obviously dangerous to order and likely in fact to lead to the king’s death to the mere speaking or writing of views restrictive of the royal authority.” Id., 152–153.
1288 The clause does not, however, prevent Congress from specifying other crimes of a subversive nature and prescribing punishment, so long as Congress is not merely attempting to evade the restrictions of the treason clause. E.g., Ex parte Bollman, 4 Cr. (8 U.S.) 75, 126 (1807); Wimmer v. United States, 264 Fed. 11, 12–13 (6th Cir. 1920), cert den., 253 U.S. 494 (1920).
1289 By the requirement of two witnesses to the same overt act or a confession in open court.
1290 Cl. 2, infra, pp. 827–828.

George Bush, etc., despite our personal feelings would not be guilty of treason ("high treason" being occuring during a time of war). He could be found guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors" which is the basis of the Articles of Impeachment:

US Constitution
Article II
Section 4

The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Zaid said...

Thanks for that, Professor.

Nicholas Karavatos said...

About the faux newspaper, this political pranksterism happens more often than you think. And I love it.

Anybody out there want to take on the UAE's issues with a faux Gulf News?

We only heard about this one because it was done in a big way with the NYT.

When I lived in Humboldt County this was done with the San Francisco Chronicle regarding ecological issues.

This kind of prankerism is different than