I've been trying to ignore the presidential race and all things political here at The Wagger, where I generally report news and information related to the band Phish and nothing else (although this Blog did not start out that way), but there is something going on today I simply cannot ignore. It disgusts me and needs to be uncovered for what it is -- a desperate attempt by a desperate man willing to do anything to become President of the United States.
So, here comes political rant No. 1 for the 2008 presidential campaign. Please excuse this interruption to The Wagger's regularly scheduled program.
Sarah Palin is leading a charge today, helped along by none other than a report from the far-right-leaning FOX News, for Sen. John McCain, saying that a Los Angeles Times article that came out six months ago reported that Sen. Barack Obama was at a dinner in 2003 where a professor, originally from Syria, called Israel the perpetrator of terrorism in that part of the world. Palin then said, "It's not known how Sen. Obama responded to that remark."
Palin was talking about a guy named Rashid Khalidi, who from 1976 to 1982 was reportedly a director of the official Palestinian press agency, WAFA, while in exile from Beirut. Khalidi often spoke to reporters on behalf of Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, according to the LA Times article Palin is referring to.
The LA Times article says, and I quote: "His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been 'consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases . . . . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table,' but around 'this entire world.'"
The article also says "a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, 'then you will never see a day of peace.' One speaker likened 'Zionist settlers on the West Bank' to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been 'blinded by ideology.' Obama adopted a different tone in his comments and called for finding common ground."
So, Palin blatantly lied because right there is Obama's response to the statement, which was not even made by the man Palin claimed to have originally said it.
The LA Times article goes on to quote Hussein Ibish, a federal employee and senior fellow for the American Task Force on Palestine, saying "I am confident that Barack Obama is more sympathetic to the position of ending the occupation than either of the other candidates, Ibish said, referring to the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that began after the 1967 war. 'More than his rivals for the White House,' Ibish said, 'Obama sees a 'moral imperative' in resolving the conflict and is most likely to apply pressure to both sides to make concessions.'"
That is a direct response to Obama's position from one of the main guys with the U.S. whose job is to deal with the 2,000-year-old conflict in Israel.
Also, McCain said on TV today that Bill Ayers, the so-called Chicago terrorist and the guy who served on the same board as Obama several years ago, was also known to have been at the same dinner. Nowhere in the article is Bill Ayers' name even mentioned. Apparently, the LA Times has a tape of the event but will not release it saying it violates a source agreement. McCain says that tape is important because it shows Obama in the presence of Ayers at that dinner, again which occurred in 2003. So what if Ayers was there? A lot of prominent Chicagoans were there. It's not like Obama was holding hands with Ayers.
Additionally, McCain's press spokesman, Michael Goldfarb, said today in a written statement, "Khalidi was a frequent dinner guest at the Obama's home and at his farewell dinner in 2003 Obama joined the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers in giving testimonials on Khalidi's role in the community. The election is one week away, and it's unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that (our) campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job -- make information public."
What the article actually says is, "While teaching at the University of Chicago, Khalidi and his wife lived in the Hyde Park neighborhood near the Obamas. The families became friends and dinner companions." It does not say he was a frequent guest in Obama's home; in fact, in the second paragraph the LA Times article says Obama often ate dinner at their house.
Furthermore, the article says, "Obama has called himself a 'stalwart' supporter of the Jewish state and its security needs. He believes in an eventual two-state solution in which Jewish and Palestinian nations exist in peace, which is consistent with current U.S. policy."
The article is freely available to the public, although McCain's campaign claims otherwise; you, I and anyone else in the world with an Internet connection can read it by clicking here. So, McCain's spokesman is also lying about the availability of the LA Times piece, just like Palin said.
This whole thing is such a concocted scheme of B.S. it's almost impossible to believe that McCain and Palin think that no one will check their claims. If I'm checking their assertions you can believe CNN and other news organizations are checking them as well.
So, the assertion McCain, Palin and their campaign is making is that Obama is down on Israel, supports the views of the PLO (which has become a two-bit player in Middle Eastern politics, especially since Arafat died followed by the rise of Hezbollah). Furthermore, they are trying to say Obama has sympathetic leanings to terrorists and cannot be trusted as President of the United States to keep the peace in the Middle East, and in fact could eventually be responsible for the complete dismantling of Israel and the Jewish state.
This is utterly and completely shameful and disgusting. I no longer can view McCain as a capable leader on any level, or even as a decent person. Spreading lies and disinformation like this, which I believe I have completely dispelled in this e-mail through easily available sources, are a crass abuse of power and a cheap attempt to win election to the White House. How could we ever trust a man running for the most powerful office in the world who blatantly takes printed words, and twists and distorts and spins them for his own pathetic, egocentric needs, well beyond the normal spin associated with politicians? How could we ever present someone like this to the world as the best choice to lead Western civilization and a role model for societies everywhere? Why, when things like this continue coming from the McCain/Palin ticket, do intelligent people continue to overlook such actions and say to themselves, "This is OK to do because it could help elect McCain, whom I would rather see in the Oval Office than Obama?"
And why doesn't someone from GOP leadership step up and say enough is enough? Run against Obama. Point out weaknesses in his policies where they exist. That's best for every voter -- every sentient being -- in the country.
This entire scenario makes me feel ashamed to have ever wanted to elect McCain back in 2000, and for still believing in him as a good person, a true American who stands for truth and good in all things, as recently as this morning.
What do you think all of this? I mean, if The Wagger can uncover all of these lies using a desktop computer with a cable Internet connection and no special access to any database that is not available to the general public, so could anyone else.
I believe this situation really exposes how desperate McCain has become, and the GOP because no one is calling for McCain/Palin to stop with the ridiculous lies. And if people actually believe McCain's assertions -- FOX News ran with this story and printed it as truth, so many Americans do/will -- then I think the widely-held truth, especially in Europe, that Americans are generally uninformed and idiotic has come to pass.
And now, we will return to our regularly scheduled program of reporting all things Phish.