Friday, July 29, 2005


WMAL, a local radio station here in DC, the local Himbaugh/Lannity organ, just suspended some fool named Michael Graham " for repeatedly describing Islam as a "terrorist organization" on his program."

Graham, 42, said on his mid-morning program on Monday that the fault for recent acts of terrorism lies not with Islamic radicals alone but also with Muslims generally because religious leaders and followers have tacitly supported extreme elements. "The problem is not extremism," Graham told listeners. "The problem is Islam." He also said, "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam."

I've never listened to Michael Graham, and, if and when his suspension is rescinded, I won't, but this dope does provide an opportunity to bash the morons who insist on misunderstanding the nature and the motivations of those who are committing what I think we can all call acts of terrorism.

I'm not going to; bash that is: I mean, you know. But this does give an opportunity to post two articles that offer convincing arguments that those I've chosen not to bash deserve to be bashed (just not on a Friday afternoon when I'm suffering a bout of outrage-fatigue).

The first, a transcript from Monday's Newshour with Lehrer, is an interview with Prof Samer Shehata from Georgetown (disclaimer: I work at Georgetown and know Prof Shehata, albeit very casually) and Michael Scheuer, a former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit).

The second, an article from the latest NYRB by Max Rodenbeck, is called "The Truth about Jihad."

Read both and then ask yourself: as long as a significant number of Americans believe Michael Graham's analysis of the war on terror is more accurate than the analysis of Shehata and Scheuer and Rodenbeck, what hope for any outcome other than more terror (from both sides) is possible?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Roberts Not Change the Subject? Change the Subject

Dateline June 24, 2005 : "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called any deadline for withdrawal from Iraq “a terrible mistake” that could undermine U.S. forces' progress against the insurgency."

Dateline July 27, 2005: "Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld met with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari and the top U.S. commander in Iraq Wednesday and discussed specific steps to speed preparations for the withdrawal of some of the 135,000 U.S. troops in Iraq beginning as early as next spring."

Jeez, what could have changed in a month?

The most interesting sentences in the Post article: "Using unusually blunt language, Rumsfeld called on Iraq's leaders to make the tough political compromises necessary to meet an Aug. 15 deadline for drafting a constitution, emphasizing that a delay could cost American lives and dangerously weaken the political momentum critical to defeating a violent insurgency."

Two points:

First: the Bush exit strategy rationale is being laid - it's all the Iraqis' fault.

Second, even if, and I emphasize that if is hypothetical only, Bushco's plan to withdraw troops was honorable, how could anyone seriously believe that its balloon-floating now is simply an attempt to change the debate and how could anyone not seriously note that its timetable coincides with midterm elections?

Troops were sent to Iraq for political gain, troops will be withdrawn for political gain, but consider this: if Bushco is only floating the withdrawal balloon to change the domestic political debate, what does that say about Bushco concerns about troop morale and safety? Exactly.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I pretty much snorted my club soda through my nose.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Look What's Crawled Out

Back on July 13 I wondered why all images and mentions of Emperor Dick had mysteriously disappeared from TV screens and newspaper pages. I speculated, I still think correctly, that by the time Fitzgerald unearths the rotting corpse of truth stenching the country under the misleading name Plamegate, the Dickster or one of its surrogates will be the perpwalker, and that, coward that it is, the Emperor was trying a strategic invisibility.

But some things are more important than protecting its ass, and so, over the weekend, the Emperor unhitched the right side of its face to defend its right to torture whoever the hell it pleases and to not be held accountable to such small trifles as human decency and the rule of law.

And here's the kicker: it had to chastise Republicans - Republicans! those rockless toadies, which tells me the more important issue on Emperor Dick's agenda, more than guaranteeing free-access torture, was toady-herding. After all, to keep lickspittles in line, what's a little publicity?
Modus Operandi

Well, that didn't take long. John Roberts is a liar. Turns out he was a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal club. "Working with the Federalist Society would provide some clue of his sympathies. The organization keeps its membership rolls secret, but many key policymakers in the Bush administration are acknowledged current or former members," says the Post.

Roberts is claiming he doesn't remember belonging, even though his name appears on the roles.

"Over the weekend, The Post obtained a copy of the Federalist Society Lawyers' Division Leadership Directory, 1997-1998. It lists Roberts, then a partner at the law firm Hogan & Hartson, as a member of the steering committee of the organization's Washington chapter and includes his firm's address and telephone number.

"Yesterday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Roberts "has no recollection of being a member of the Federalist Society, or its steering committee."

I am NOT saying that belonging to a conservative organization disqualifies Roberts from SCOTUS. I am NOT saying that this revelation disqualifies Roberts from SCOTUS. So why deny his membership?

I am saying two things: this is exactly how Bushco operates, pretending to be less conservative, less reactionary, than they are. In their hankering for power, which they believe to be, yes, divinely appointed, they act in a moral vacuum in which any method that delivers that power is justified. Truth is either useful or inconvenient, but it is never, ever, a moral imperative; the moral imperative is to advance the agenda, truth be damned.

And I'm saying this: the duty of the Democrats in the Senate is NOT to stonewall this nomination, it is to make sure to show all Americans just who John Roberts is, who he associates with, what he believes, and who owns him.