Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Put Down the Shovel, Pat

Pat Robertson just keeps digging himself deeper. Having clearly called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, Robertson now denies that he did any such thing. We now have a minister of the Gospel not only urging our government to commit an illegal act of murder but also lying about having done so.

This is what Robertson said on Monday night's 700 Club: "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we are trying to assassinate him, we should go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot easier than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

By today he was backpedalling away from the clear meaning of his words: "I didn't say 'assassination," Robertson clarified during a broadcast of his "The 700 Club" Wednesday morning. "I said our special forces should go 'take him out,' and 'take him out' could be a number of things, including kidnapping."

He blamed The Associated Press for making him seem to advocate the assassination of a foreign leader. "There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him," Robertson said. "I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time."

Sorry, Pat, but this is pretty lame. We'd like to stand with you, but as we wrote here, your position is simply indefensible. You know it, too, or else you wouldn't be claiming to having been misquoted.

Of course, the MSM is all over this story, but when liberals suggest that George Bush or other prominent Republicans ought to be killed the only way you find out about it is to read the blogs. Whenever anyone is actually called to task for such ugly and despicable talk they shrug it off as just a joke. The media evidently thinks that a minor figure in the Republican party advocating murder of a foreign president is big news, but that similar figures in the Democratic party advocating the murder of an American president is a yawner.

Casey Sheehan

Blackfive has a lot of background on the kind of young man Casey Sheehan was and the circumstances surrounding his death. America is blessed to have young men like him serving in our armed forces.

The Democrats' Predicament

The Democrats are in a pickle and their inability to build any kind of political capital while George Bush's poll numbers sag is evidence of their predicament. The problem is the true believers on the far left of the party, which is, of course, a sizable segment of the Democratic population.

These folk - the Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, and George Soros types - are indispensible to the Democrats because they have money and the ability to turn out the party's base, i.e. the uneducated urban poor and the rich, effete narcissists in the media and entertainment industries. If the party ignores these radicals to the point where they feel they've been thrown overboard, the party is doomed.

On the other hand the left's vitriolic, anti-Bush, show-no-quarter rhetoric, and their extremist positions on almost every issue are distasteful and unpopular with much of the electorate. The port-side of the Democratic party comes across as strongly anti-American and resolutely anti-common sense. Such positions are sure-fire winners only in Berkeley and Hollywood and the salons of Manhatten and Georgetown.

Thus if the party caters to the left it dooms itself as well. Thus what moderates there are among Democrats seem to be trying to navigate between Charybdis and Scylla. They can't afford to dismiss the left and they can't afford to appease them either.

Hillary is no moderate, but she's trying hard to walk this tightrope. The left believes that she's really one of them and that gives her some wiggle room to say things that sound moderate because the lefties know she doesn't really believe what she's saying. Other Democrats will be doing the same thing as the elections approach. Look for Democrats to take a firm stand against illegal aliens and to sound hawkish on Iraq while at the same time vaguely endorsing imminent withdrawal.

These politicos, by affecting a Kerryesque slipperiness, will succeed only in alienating voters fed up with candidates who have no strong principles they're unwilling to compromise upon. They really have little alternative, however, given the ideological dynamics of their party.

Michael Graham, PC Victim

Talk radio host Michael Graham who had been suspended for making the following statement on his radio show at WMAL 630 has now been fired by ABC, the parent company. Here's the offending statement:

I take no pleasure in saying it. It pains me to think it. I could very well lose my job in talk radio over admitting it. But it is the plain truth: Islam is a terror organization.

For years, I've been trying to give the world's Muslim community the benefit of the doubt, along with the benefit of my typical-American's complete disinterest in their faith. Before 9/11, I knew nothing about Islam except the greeting "asalaam alaikum," taught to me by a Pakistani friend in Chicago.

Immediately after 9/11, I nodded in ignorant agreement as President Bush assured me that "Islam is a religion of peace." But nearly four years later, nobody can defend that statement. And I mean "nobody." Certainly not the group of "moderate" Muslim clerics and imams who gathered in London last week to issue a statement on terrorism and their faith.

When asked the question "Are suicide bombings always a violation of Islam," they could not answer "Yes. Always." Instead, these "moderate British Muslims" had to answer "It depends."

This was too much free speech for the Jeffersonians at CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) an organization which seeks to inhibit any negative publicity about Islam in the United States. CAIR insisted that Graham be fired, and the pusillanimous weenies at ABC bowed low and granted their wish. After his firing Graham released this statement:

The First Amendment and I have been evicted from ABC Radio in Washington, DC. On July 25th, the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that I be "punished" for my on-air statements regarding Islam and its tragic connections to terrorism. Three days later, 630 WMAL and ABC Radio suspended me without pay for comments deemed "hate radio" by CAIR.

CAIR immediately announced that my punishment was insufficient and demanded I be fired. ABC Radio and 630 WMAL have now complied. I have now been fired for making the specific comments CAIR deemed "offensive," and for refusing to retract those statements in a management-mandated, on-air apology.

ABC Radio further demanded that I agree to perform what they described as "additional outreach efforts" to those people or groups who felt offended. I refused. And for that refusal, I have been fired.

It appears that ABC Radio has caved to an organization that condemns talk radio hosts like me, but has never condemned Hamas, Hezbollah, and one that wouldn't specifically condemn Al Qaeda for three months after 9/11.

As a fan of talk radio, I find it absolutely outrageous that pressure from a special interest group like CAIR can result in the abandonment of free speech and open discourse on a talk radio show. As a conservative talk host whose job is to have an open, honest conversation each day with my listeners, I believe caving to this pressure is a disaster.

I for one cannnot apologize for the truth and I cannot agree to some community-service style "outreach effort" to appease the opponents of free speech. If I had made a racist or bigoted comment -- which my regular listeners know goes against everything I believe in -- I would apologize immediately, and without coercion. When I have made inadvertent fact errors in the past, I apologized promptly and without hesitation.

But we have now gone far beyond that, with demands that I apologize for the ideas my listeners and I believe in. It is not a coincidence that, after my suspension on July 28th, WMAL received more than 15,000 phone calls and emails protesting my removal from the airwaves.

Why such a huge response? It wasn't about me; The listeners I spoke to said they felt betrayed by my suspension because the vast majority of them agree with me on the subject of Islam. By labeling my statements as unacceptable, these listeners felt that WMAL management was insulting them, too.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I care about the listeners of 630 WMAL. I respect them and I appreciate the amazing support they have given me. I could not dishonor their principled support for free speech by giving into these demands. I cannot join ABC Radio in bowing to CAIR's wishes. And I will not apologize for my opinions or retract the truth.

The whole point of the Michael Graham Show is what my listeners and I call the "natural truth," those obvious facts about modern life that the p.c. police and mainstream media believe should never be discussed. That includes the tragic, but undeniable relationship between terrorism and Islam as it is constituted today.

The conversations my listeners and I had on this subject were not offensive or bigoted in the least. In fact, Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR (who has appeared on my show several times) credited "criticism from talk radio" in part for the recent fatwa against terrorism issued by a group of US Muslim scholars. Ironically, it was issued the day before I was suspended.

That's the real tragedy here. The people who most need free speech and open dialogue on the issues facing Islam today are America's moderate Muslims. These are people of good will who have the difficult job ahead of reforming and rescuing their religion. They need all the help they can get.

The decision to give CAIR what it wants-a group with well-publicized ties to terrorists and terror-related organizations--will make it harder for the reformers to successfully face Islam's challenges. Still worse, silencing people like me will make it easier for Islamist extremists to dismiss all sincere calls for reform as mere "bigotry."

When CAIR is able to quell dissent and label every critic a "bigot," the chilling effect is felt far beyond ABC Radio and 630 WMAL. If anyone is owed an apology, it is the moderate, Muslim community who have been failed once again by the mainstream media.

Thanks to Brian Maloney at Radio Equalizer for the information. Maloney has more details at his site.

UPDATE: Matt Drudge has a flash that Graham has just been hired by a station in LA that "still believes in free speech." It'll be interesting to see what CAIR has to say about that.