Happy Halloween

October 31, 2008

Spike.

Disgusting II

October 31, 2008

Here’s what the McCain camp has accused Khalidi of:
1. He’s an antisemite.
2. He called Israel’s policies “racist.”
3. He said Israel has an “apartheid” system for Palestinians or is moving toward one.
4. He supported the killing of Israeli soldiers.
5. He was a spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Khalidi himself in the NY Times:

“In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Khalidi said then that he ‘may have used the word “racist” about Israeli policies,’ and acknowledged saying in a speech that if the movement of Palestinians continued to be restricted, ‘it would develop into worse than the apartheid system.’
Addressing an accusation that he had endorsed the killing of Israeli soldiers as legitimate ‘resistance’ to occupation, he said: ‘Under international law, resistance to occupation is legitimate. I didn’t endorse killing Israeli soldiers. These people will take anything out of context. Anyone who knows me knows the last thing I am is extreme. I’ve called suicide bombings a war crime. I’m a ferocious critic of Arafat.'”

As for being an antisemite:

“Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, a liberal synagogue on the Upper West Side, said he has known Mr. Khalidi for years and called the allegations ‘completely absurd and uncalled for and malicious.’
Referring to comments he had seen on blogs and television, he said, ‘In no way has he ever indicated that he favors the destruction or disappearance of Israel,’ and added, ‘He has always been consistently in favor of dialogue and common ground.'”

And this:

“At Columbia, Mr. Khalidi is known as a gregarious scholar who takes a special interest in students, often meeting them for lunch near campus and hosting dinners featuring Palestinian food cooked by his wife, Mona, an assistant dean at the university. After he came under attack this week, students created a Facebook group called ‘I stand by Rashid Khalidi,’ with 205 members by Thursday night.”

And this:

“‘It just seems really ironic to me that Rashid would be singled out as a figure in the trumped-up controversy,’ Alan Brinkley, Columbia’s provost and a friend of Mr. Khalidi’s since 1985, said in a telephone interview Thursday. ‘In a field that is often politicized, he is respected by people on the right as well as the left.'”

And this:

“Martin Peretz, the Israel-based editor of The New Republic, and a man who is to Zionists what Sarah Palin is to moose-shooting anti-abortionists, says ‘I have written more appreciative words about Khalidi than Obama ever uttered. In fact, I even invited Khalidi to speak for a Jewish organization with which I work.’”

Some antisemite this guy is, being supported by rabbis and pro-Israel writers. What’s next, is he going to be supported by the Republicans themselves? Actually, yes:

“But McCain has his own connection to Khalidi.
In 1993, McCain became chairman of the International Republican Institute. He still chairs that respected organization.
That same year, Khalidi helped found the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, self-described as “an independent academic research and policy analysis institution” created to meet “the need for active Palestinian scholarship on issues related to Palestine.” (Its archived Web site is HERE.)
Khalidi was on the board of trustees through 1999.
According to tax returns, the McCain-chaired IRI funded the organization Khalidi founded and served on to the tune of $448,873 in 1998 (click HERE to see the tax return)* as first reported by Seth Couter Walls at HuffPo.
The IRI continued to give money to the CPRS after Khalidi left the group as well.”

McCain’s palling around with terrorists!! Yet here’s McCain adviser Michael Goldfarb (I’m putting the actual video here, because this needs to be seen to be believed):

Wow. This is America?

As for Khalidi calling Israel an “apartheid” system, if that makes you an antisemite and terrorist, then I suppose US President Jimmy Carter is an antisemite and a terrorist. The title of his book is Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

I can’t believe this is really happening, but it is. But most of all, do we really need this??!!:

Seriously?? Even the people at FOX NEWS can’t believe this!! JOE THE FUCKING PLUMBER is going to set us straight on the Israel-Palestine conflict??!! Yes, this is obviously ridiculous, but someone needs to tell John McCain that. He’s been trotting Joe out all over the country to rally the knuckleheads. McCain: “I’m going to Washington and I’m going to bring Joe the Plumber with me!”

Maybe Josh Marshall is right after all. Maybe even launching a defense like this is beneath us all. I mean, you don’t actually believe that McCain and the people in his campaign BELIEVE any of this stuff, do you? None of this has anything to do with reality, in the end. The real message they want to get out is this: Barack Hussein Obama is friends with a guy named Rashid Khalidi, and those are both Terrorist names. And Khalidi is of Palestinian and Lebanese descent, i.e., he’s an A-rab. And his father was a Muslim, just like Obama’s father. And we all know what that means. Too bad he’s not black, too – that’d be worth another couple of points in the polls for McCain. And just imagine if we had a photo of him in a turban.

One last thing – the LA Times wrote about that tape in APRIL. McCain brought this up in the last week of the election. In OCTOBER.

Disgusting

October 31, 2008

Here’s Josh Marshall on the new Rashid Khalidi scandal invented by the McCain thugs:

“The McCain campaign has been throwing around so much mud and smears in recent weeks that it’s easy to miss just how ugly and shameful their character assassination of Rashid Khalidi is. This is an entirely respectable, highly respected scholar. To go further into making a case for him would only be to enable and indulge McCain’s sordid appeal to racism. For McCain, personally, to compare Khalidi to a neo-nazi, it’s just an offense McCain should never be forgiven for. It’s right down in the gutter with Joe McCarthy and the worst of the worst. Khalidi is in this new McCain set piece for one reason — as a generic Arab, to spur the idea that Obama is foreign, friendly with terrorists and possibly Muslim.”

I couldn’t agree more, and I share his disgust. I differ on one point, though – I am so angry over this that I am compelled to make a strong defense of Prof. Khalidi.

Prof. Khalidi is, by all accounts, an honorable man. A New Yorker by birth, he attended Yale for his undergraduate studies and received his PhD from Oxford in 1974. He was a professor at the University of Chicago where he was director of the Center for International Studies (with such radical, left-wing colleagues as Bob Pape and John Mearsheimer). He is now director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. His books are frequently found on the syllabi of university classes on the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Here’s the NY Times describing him:

“Mr. Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia, was born in Manhattan in 1948. His father, a Palestinian Muslim born in Jerusalem, worked for the United Nations, and his mother, a Lebanese-American Christian, was an interior decorator. He graduated from the United Nations International School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1970 and a doctorate from Oxford University in 1974.
He taught at universities in Lebanon until the mid-’80s, and some critics accuse him of having been a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization. Mr. Khalidi has denied working for the group, and says he was consulted as an expert by reporters seeking to understand it.
He was an adviser to the Palestinian delegation during Middle East peace talks from 1991 to 1993. From 1987 until 2003, he was a professor at the University of Chicago, where he became friends with Mr. Obama.”

Prof. Khalidi left the University of Chicago for Columbia University in 2003. Obama attended and spoke at Khalidi’s going-away party. A videotape of the event was given to the Los Angeles Times, under the condition that the Times could report on what’s on the tape provided the tape itself wasn’t released (for, I’d say, obvious reasons – you can imagine the McCain TV ad). This, btw, is not an unusual request from a source, and the LA Times readily agreed to the condition. This is no different than any other sort of confidentiality agreement with a source, which is absolutely standard practice. Here’s Bill Sammon, the deputy managing editor of none other than FOX NEWS(!):

“To me, it’s pretty simple. Reporter Peter Wallsten made an agreement with a source to refrain from publicly disclosing the tape. Unless that source lets Wallsten off the hook, the reporter is journalistically bound to abide by the agreement, regardless of how much heat his newspaper takes from pundits on TV. Indeed, Wallsten has little choice in the matter. If he were to cave in to mounting public demands for the tape, no self-respecting source would ever give him another shred of information. Nor should they.”

Here’s Megan McGinley of the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review:

“Yesterday, the Times published an article explaining its decision to withhold the video. Here’s editor Russ Stanton:
‘The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it. The Times keeps its promises to its sources.’
Stanton’s explanation is beyond plausible; in fact, such deals with sources are quite common in journalism. Anyone who has worked as a reporter has been given access to a document, allowed to take notes on that document and write a story based on those notes, but not allowed to publish or otherwise distribute the document. So unless we’re prepared to call Stanton a liar, there shouldn’t be any problem taking him at his word.”

Yet John McCain has personally demanded that the Times release the videotape, and had this to say:

“Now why that should not be made public is beyond me. I guarantee you, if there was a tape with me and Sarah Palin and some neo-Nazi or one of those, you think that that tape wouldn’t be made public?”

Not content with that, here’s Sarah Palin:

“If there’s a Pulitzer Prize category for excelling in cow-towing [sic], then the LA Times, you’re winning.”

So there you go. Attending the going-away party for this Chicago professor is akin to McCain attending a neo-Nazi event, and the LA Times is a terrorist outfit.

A short disclaimer here: I have had lunch with Juan Cole, the highly controversial Middle Eastern history professor at Michigan. He’s been accused, by the right wing, of far worse than Khalidi – anti-semitism, terrorist-coddling, etc., etc. I had lunch with him in broad daylight at Legal Seafoods, for the world to see. I’ve never had lunch with Prof. Khalidi, but if I had the opportunity to do so and refused for poltiical reasons, I could kiss my career goodbye. But you see, this is the same as giving Hitler a sloppy wet kiss on the mouth. With tongue. In church. In front of Christ.

So what’s the big deal with this guy? In nutshell, the issue is Prof. Khalidi’s take on the Arab-Israeli conflict. He’s described as anti-semitic, pro-Palestinian terrorists, in favor of anti-Israeli violence, and extremists views.

Yet here’s the Washington Post (yes, that evil mouthpiece for the Communist Muslim Party):

“It turns out that McCain is treading on tricky ground when he cites the Khalidi case as an example of Obama consorting with terrorist sympathizers. The Obama campaign was quick to point out that an organization co-founded by Khalidi has received large sums of grant money from the International Republican Institute, chaired by McCain since 1993. One such grant was for $448,873 in 1998 to assist the Center for Palestine Research and Studies in its work in the West Bank.

This is a case of guilt by association gone haywire. Both President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice have had extensive dealings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is much more closely identified with the PLO than Rashidi ever was. Verdict: the McCain camp has wildly exaggerated the significance of the Obama-Ayers-Khalidi triangle.”

And more:

“For the record, Mr. Khalidi is an American born in New York who graduated from Yale a couple of years after George W. Bush. For much of his long academic career, he taught at the University of Chicago, where he and his wife became friends with Barack and Michelle Obama. In the early 1990s, he worked as an adviser to the Palestinian delegation at peace talks in Madrid and Washington sponsored by the first Bush administration. We don’t agree with a lot of what Mr. Khalidi has had to say about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the years, and Mr. Obama has made clear that he doesn’t, either. But to compare the professor to neo-Nazis — or even to Mr. Ayers — is a vile smear.”

Ireland’s Next?

October 30, 2008

Looks like Ireland’s going the way of Iceland. They’re in a full-blown recession. Housing prices there are down 30%, unemployment is skyrocketing, new housing developments sit vacant, and the banking sector is in ruins.

Europe Is Funny

October 30, 2008

This from the BBC:

“A French judge has rejected President Nicolas Sarkozy’s attempt to stop sales of a ‘voodoo doll’ in his image.
Dismissing the case, the Paris judge said the doll was ‘within the authorised limits of free expression and the right to humour’.
Mr Sarkozy’s lawyer said the president would appeal against the decision.
The doll comes with pins which users can stick into memorable quotes from the president printed on the doll, such as ‘work more to earn more’.
Mr Sarkozy took the makers of the kit – publishing company K&B – to the courts after it went on sale on 9 October. His lawyer said Mr Sarkozy had “exclusive and absolute rights” over his own image.”

Yes, they have universal healthcare over there and fantastic public transit (compared to here at least). And they treat their workers better. And apparently most of their leaders don’t talk like stupid hicks. But sometimes, like during this campaign season, you really need a reminder that not everything in America sucks.
Can you imagine even our current President Shitferbrains suing over a doll that mocks him? A DOLL, people. Unless you believe in voodoo, the fact that this doll is a voodoo doll is irrelevant. It’s funny doll that talks and makes fun of the president. And note the grounds of the lawsuit: whether or not Sarkozy has “exclusive and absolute rights” over his own image. By this standard, Tina Fey’s impression of Palin could be grounds for legal action.

Just for the record, NY Times vs. Sullivan (1964) recognized first-amendment protection of speech (even false) against public figures unless both falsity and malice can be demonstrated. Hustler vs. Falwell (1988) recognized first-amendment protection of parody of public figures no matter how outrageous.

Obama’s Informercial

October 30, 2008

Steve Benen in Washington Monthly on Obama’s 30-minute commercial last night:

“Nearly as interesting as what Obama said was what he didn’t. The audience did not hear Obama utter the words ‘McCain,’ ‘Bush,’ or ‘Republican.’ There were no cheap shots, no pointed jabs, and really, no partisan remarks at all. Obama simply focused all of his attention on making the case for his agenda, highlighting the struggles of America’s middle class, and telling voters what he wants to do.”

Two questions:
1. If McCain had a 30-minute commercial, how would it go? Do you think he’d go without mentioning Obama? Do you think he’d just focus on the big issues?

2. Did I miss the part in the commercial where Obama proposes a totalitarian communist dictatorship led by himself and Bill Ayers, and suggests renaming the capital city from Washington to Lenin-Osama-opolis?

Fight The Power

October 30, 2008

Ohio.

Crazy News From The Fringe

October 30, 2008

Question 1 on the Massachusetts ballot Tuesday is the abolition of state income taxes. No, that’s not a joke. I could probably just end this post here, as the craziness of the proposition should speak for itself, however, apparently about 1 in every 2 or 3 voters in the Commonwealth believe this to be a good idea. I’m assuming they don’t all live in makeshift wooden shacks out in the forest.

The proposition is supported by crazy woman Carla “Small Government is Beautiful” Howell and her partner Michael Cloud. Howell and Cloud are both former Libertarian Party candidates for office. Howell’s grandfather was governor of the Commonwealth, her grandmother a famous Boston socialite. Howell and Cloud live together with their cats in Wayland and operate their organization out of their home.

The first line of their argument on the ballot in favor of the proposition is, “41% of government spending is wasted.” That’s a startling number for two reasons. First, that’s an awful lot of waste. Second, that’s pretty remarkable, measuring “waste” to such precision – what statistics geniuses managed to do that? Well, according to the Boston Globe:

“That figure doesn’t come from a line-by-line review of the state budget or an audit of government practices. It’s merely perception.”

Merely perception?!? That can’t mean what I think it means, could it?

Yes it does. The figure comes from – wait for it – “an April poll that asked 500 voters to speculate on the share of every tax dollar that state government wastes.”

I just want to be perfectly clear about this. Let it really sink in. They surveyed 500 voters. They asked each of them to take a wild, random guess about how much of their taxes they think are wasted. Then they averaged out their responses, and got 41%. I couldn’t make stuff like this up if I tried, folks.

And apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this is batshit insane:

“‘It’s an absurd number,’ said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed budget research group. ‘That’s pulled out of the air. The public may think there’s 41 percent waste, but that has nothing to do with the facts.'”

Now, of course, that’s Michael “Workers Of The World United” Widmer of the MTF, which is a business-backed group. And I read “business-backed” to mean “somewhere to the left of Trotsky,” of course. And he probably supports the Terrorists.

And it’s all good, you see:

“Supporters of repealing the income tax say the figure is meaningful whether or not voters know its origins – and whether or not it’s precise.
‘We put it in quotes,’ said Carla Howell.”

Oh! They put it in quotes! Why didn’t you say so! Then of course it doesn’t matter that they pulled it out of their Libertarian asses!

“Howell, a former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, said she found it useful to be able to cite a number; the survey of 500 likely Massachusetts voters – conducted by the Republican pollster Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates – provided her with a tangible figure.”

Sounds fair to me. They didn’t have a number. They really, really, wanted a number. So they made one up! Or, more precisely, they took one from a Republican-sponsored poll that has nothing to do with the actual amount of government waste. What’s wrong with that?

“The actual percentage, 41, is not essential, she said.
‘It could be low. It could well be that the state government is wasting 70 percent of our dollars, or more,’ Howell said. ‘It’s the nature of government to be wasteful.'”

There you go. We’re going to say there’s 41% waste (not 40%, because that would sound like we’re making up a number – we’re going to say 41% because using a not-so-even number makes it look science-y and intellectual-y). But look, people, we really have no idea. And it doesn’t matter! It could be 70%. It could be 2%. But the thing is, it’s probably a lot. Probably even more than the 41% we made up. Because government is wasteful (which is what we’re trying to argue using the 41% number in the first place).

In related news, Carla Howell’s IQ is exactly 41, which makes her a moron. You see, I asked a bunch of people I know what they think her IQ is. I got a whole bunch of answers, and then I averaged them. I used Excel, so it’s real super-science-y. Anways, the average – let’s call it the “mean” to make it sound super-duper-science-y! – was 41. Now, I don’t know if that’s her IQ in REALITY, you see, so I’m going to use quotes. Carla Howell’s IQ is “41.” There, that looks about right. Now, I don’t know if that’s accurate at all, but you see, that’s not ESSENTIAL. In fact, her IQ is probably lower. It’s probably about 10. And I say that because it is the NATURE of Carla Howell to be a moron. Which justifies my saying that her IQ is “41.”

But listen, Joe-the-Plumber-Average-Six-Pack-Joe is eating it up:

“Charles Ormsby, who gave $65 to the committee and put its yellow-and-black campaign sign in his North Andover yard, said he has no qualms about displaying the figure, although he thinks the exact percentage is unknowable.”

Unknowable!!! Kinda like the existence of God! Can you prove that it’s NOT 41%??

“‘If I had to guess, I’d say it’s even greater,’ said Ormsby, who is retired from the defense and computing industries and serves on his town’s School Committee, as a fiscal conservative and opponent of overrides.
Ormsby said he wants government to be able to operate more like the private sector, without things like union contracts, lifetime pensions for employees, and prevailing-wage laws for contractors. He sees cutting the income tax – and the revenue it generates – as a start.”

Right on! Goddamn prevailing-wage laws! Fuck ’em! Get a second job!

I’m tempted to go on at length to make a serious argument defending income tax, but you know, it’s so absolutely stupid that I don’t know if I can do it. My brain already hurts from the above. And is Carla Howell really worth the effort? Yes, about 40% of the public is going to support this insanity. I don’t know what to say. A far as I can tell, the Libertarians have 2 arguments to make: (1) why should I pay for your fill-in-the-blank, and (2) now you’re being ridiculous. As in:

POOR PERSON: I need the state to pay for my kids’ education because I’m poor.

LIBERTARIAN: Why should I have to pay for YOUR kids’ education?

POOR PERSON: Well, I don’t own a house and you do. Why should I have to pay for a police force to protect YOUR HOUSE? Pay for your own private security guards. And pave your own road while your at it.

LIBERTARIAN: Well, now you’re just being ridiculous.

I’m not sure the thinking is any deeper than that. “I no like pay tax. Would rather pay Disney trip. Me hungry now. No like fire.” That’s about it.

Needless to say, VOTE NO ON QUESTION 1. That is, if you like having a government.

This is what they do, people:

When they can’t win fair and square by talking about issues (even at the baby-level of our political discourse) they resort to this insane batshit. Watch out!! The Democrats hate God!!! And they’re socialist Muslims who support The Terrrrr’sts!!

Hagan, just for the record, is a Presbyterian who is an elder at her church and has taught Sunday School. Who apparently loves Satan, or at least that what I heard on the tee vee.

Here at Moxie’s World we’re atheists. So just imagine what they’d do to US in a campaign!!! Oh, and btw, if you read this blog, you probably ARE going to go to hell. Just so you know.

He’s gonna be a country music star:

“Joe the Plumber is being pursued for a major record deal and could come out with a country album as early as Inauguration Day.
‘Joe’ — aka Samuel Wurzelbacher, a Holland, Ohio, pipe-and-toilet man — just signed with a Nashville public relations and management firm to handle interview requests and media appearances, as well as create new career opportunities, including a shift out of the plumbing trade into stage and studio performances.”

I’m getting that I’m-the-only-sane-person-in-the-nuthouse feeling…