Saturday, April 26, 2008
No comment; speaks for itself. These wingnuts don't get it: their version of America isn't America, therefor who cares enough to fight for it other than other anti-Americans?
When Specialist Jeremy Hall held a meeting last July for atheists and freethinkers at Camp Speicher in Iraq, he was excited, he said, to see an officer attending.[more]
But minutes into the talk, the officer, Maj. Freddy J. Welborn, began to berate Specialist Hall and another soldier about atheism, Specialist Hall wrote in a sworn statement. “People like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!” Major Welborn said, according to the statement.
Major Welborn told the soldiers he might bar them from re-enlistment and bring charges against them, according to the statement.
Last month, Specialist Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group, filed suit in federal court in Kansas, alleging that Specialist Hall’s right to be free from state endorsement of religion under the First Amendment had been violated and that he had faced retaliation for his views. In November, he was sent home early from Iraq because of threats from fellow soldiers.
Allen Sherman is best known -- correction: best remembered -- for a whole different song. But this one's so witty, it almost makes me pee my pants. And nostalgic for a time when New York was full of modest, low key yet cool nightclub acts sorta, kinda like this....
You know you want more of the same.
Via the Weekly Standard's blog (always an entertaining read), I see that in a blogger conference call on Friday John McCain had this to say when asked about recent positive comments a top Hamas advisor made about Barack Obama:All I can tell you is that I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States ... I think that people should understand that I will be Hamas' worst nightmare ... If Sen. Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments accordingly.Tough talk from McCain, but -- no matter what that advisor had to say about Obama -- it's tough talk at odds with reality. American foreign policy under President Bush, which McCain has largely embraced, has been anything but a nightmare for Hamas. It's been a dream, actually. Here's some of what David Rose reported in a recent article for Vanity Fair:According to [Muhammad Dahlan, Mahmoud Abbas' former national security advisor], it was Bush who had pushed legislative elections in the Palestinian territories in January 2006, despite warnings that Fatah was not ready. After Hamas -- whose 1988 charter committed it to the goal of driving Israel into the sea -- won control of the parliament, Bush made another, deadlier miscalculation.
Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America's behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)
But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza.
Actually, the straight-talking truth is that he was never a leader. Shooting off the mouth is not leadership. His role as part of the so-called Keating Five is far more instructive. Sim., his current wife and father-in-law's influence.
But all that, those are facts.
Regrettably, more important is what the media -- his lovers -- say.
Holy crap! Look at this!
But all that, those are facts.
Regrettably, more important is what the media -- his lovers -- say.
Holy crap! Look at this!
Now that he is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, however, McCain is marching straight down the party line. The economic package he has laid out embraces many of the tax policies he once decried: extending Bush's tax cuts he voted against, offering investment tax breaks he once believed would have little economic benefit and granting the long-held wishes of tax lobbyists he has often mocked.[more]
McCain's concerns -- about budget deficits, unanticipated defense costs, an Iraq war that would be longer and more costly than advertised -- have proved eerily prescient, usually a plus for politicians who are quick to say they were right when others were wrong. Yet McCain appears determined to leave such predictions behind.
Friday, April 25, 2008
The Top 25 Election 2008 Haikus
Evil Viet Cong
And their horrid torture camps?
No match for this crap!
Said he saw UFOs, then
Disappeared in one.
The time has long past.
The fat lady sings to thee,
Huckabee, go home!
Hillary's *so* tired.
Pranksters won't stop calling her
Right at 3 a.m.
John McCain am I.
So strong, can crush you like bug.
Do not look at me!
Who wants the lesser
Of three evils? Bill Bradley,
Won't you please come home?
John McCain makes speech:
"My fellow Americans,
Get off my damn lawn!"
Barack, be like Bill.
He *does* love America --
One chick at a time.
Ron Paul is still in.
Waiting for the mothership?
Fades like Mets in fall.
Just say what you mean!
Don't start every speech with
"What I meant to say..."
John McClain? "Die Hard"?
Hey, Iran: Yippie-kay-yay,
You evil mofos!
Fighting Barack Obama?
You two get a room!
GOP to Dems:
Good luck choosing nominee.
Wake us in August.
Hillary was the
Odds-on favorite to win --
Like the Patriots.
All of them equally bad.
Write in for Chris White!
Can indeed be quite bitter --
Like Reverend Wright.
When will it be safe
to watch my TV again?
I'm sick of this crap.
Who won't die, but comes
Once again to eat our brains?
Zombie Ralph Nader!
Hi. I'm John McCain.
Some say I'm too old to run
Hi. I'm John McCain...
Over a decade later
Shoot holes in Clinton.
Forget the war and
Economy plummeting --
Where's his flag pin?!?
I'm watching Fox News.
Apparently, the sun shines
Out of McCain's ass.
3 a.m. phone call
Hillary answers, first ring
It's Trixi, for Bill.
Winning my heart and my vote:
Obama Girl's boobs.
Is this not the story of the day? I can't even think about the primaries or Iraq or anything else with this buzzing around in my mind....
Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.Link.
Reports of so-called penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, where belief in traditional religions and witchcraft remains widespread, and where ritual killings to obtain blood or body parts still occur.
Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.
Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure.
"You just have to be accused of that, and people come after you. We've had a number of attempted lynchings. ... You see them covered in marks after being beaten," Kinshasa's police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, told Reuters on Tuesday.
Police arrested the accused sorcerers and their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis snatchers were beaten to death by angry mobs. The 27 men have since been released.
"I'm tempted to say it's one huge joke," Oleko said.
"But when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it's become tiny or that they've become impotent. To that I tell them, 'How do you know if you haven't gone home and tried it'," he said.
Some Kinshasa residents accuse a separatist sect from nearby Bas-Congo province of being behind the witchcraft in revenge for a recent government crackdown on its members.
"It's real. Just yesterday here, there was a man who was a victim. We saw. What was left was tiny," said 29-year-old Alain Kalala, who sells phone credits near a Kinshasa police station.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
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On four occasions during February 27 and 28 broadcasts, while highlighting an exchange between Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain over the future of Al Qaeda in Iraq, CNN aired reports that uncritically repeated McCain's assertion that, "if we left [Iraq], [Al Qaeda in Iraq] wouldn't be establishing a base. They wouldn't be establishing a base; they'd be taking a country." But on April 19, The New York Times reported that "[f]ew, including Mr. McCain, expect Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia [Iraq], a Sunni group, to take control of Shiite-dominated Iraq in the event of an American withdrawal. The situation they fear and which Mr. McCain himself sometimes fleshes out is that an American withdrawal would be celebrated as a triumph by Al Qaeda and create instability that the group could then exploit to become more powerful." The article went on to quote McCain's senior foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, as saying of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq: ''[Y]ou might not necessarily see a single entity taking charge." However, since the Times' article, CNN has yet to follow up on its prior reporting by noting* that McCain apparently does not believe his previous assertion that "if we left" Iraq, Al Qaeda in Iraq would "be taking a country."Link.
McCain was addressing Obama's remarks during the February 26 Democratic presidential debate when he made his Al Qaeda in Iraq statement. During the debate, co-moderator Tim Russert asked Obama: "[D]o you reserve a right as American president to go back into Iraq, once you have withdrawn, with sizable troops in order to quell any kind of insurrection or civil war?" Obama replied:
OBAMA: Now, I always reserve the right for the president -- as commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if Al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad. So, that is true, I think, not just in Iraq, but that's true in other places. That's part of my argument with respect to Pakistan.
I think we should always cooperate with our allies and sovereign nations in making sure that we are rooting out terrorist organizations, but if they are planning attacks on Americans, like what happened in 9-11, it is my job -- it will be my job as president to make sure that we are hunting them down.
On February 27, McCain said of Obama's comments:
McCAIN: I am told that Senator Obama made the statement that if Al Qaeda came back to Iraq after he withdraws -- after the American troops are withdrawn -- then he would send military troops back, if Al Qaeda established a base in Iraq. I have some news: Al Qaeda is in Iraq. Al Qaeda -- it's called Al Qaeda in Iraq. And my friends, they wouldn't -- if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base. They wouldn't be establishing a base, they'd be taking a country. And I'm not going to allow that to happen, my friends. I will not surrender. I will not surrender to Al Qaeda.
But as Media Matters for America documented, McCain falsely suggested that Obama had said that Al Qaeda currently has no presence in Iraq. In fact, Obama was speaking of the future and said: "[I]f Al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad." Notwithstanding, CNN uncritically aired McCain's attack on Obama in two different reports by CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, which aired on the February 27 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, the 10 and 11 p.m. ET hours of the February 27 edition of Anderson Cooper 360, and the 9 a.m. ET hour of the February 28 edition of CNN Newsroom.
A Media Matters for America review* of the Nexis database found that CNN has not subsequently noted reports that McCain and his campaign have backtracked from McCain's February 27 assertion that Al Qaeda in Iraq would "be taking a country" following a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
From the April 19 New York Times article:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who wants to begin withdrawing troops, has spoken of leaving some troops behind to fight Al Qaeda, deal with Sunni insurgents, deter Iranian aggression, protect the Kurds and possibly help the Iraqi military. She warned last year of the dangers if Iraq turned into a failed state "that serves as a petri dish for insurgents and Al Qaeda."
Few, including Mr. McCain, expect Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a Sunni group, to take control of Shiite-dominated Iraq in the event of an American withdrawal. The situation they fear and which Mr. McCain himself sometimes fleshes out is that an American withdrawal would be celebrated as a triumph by Al Qaeda and create instability that the group could then exploit to become more powerful.
"Al Qaeda in Iraq would proclaim victory and increase its efforts to provoke sectarian tensions, pushing for a full-scale civil war that could descend into genocide and destabilize the Middle East," Mr. McCain said this month. "Iraq would become a failed state. It could become a haven for terrorists to train and plan their operations."
Randy Scheunemann, Mr. McCain's senior foreign policy adviser, said during a recent conference call with reporters that in the event of an American pullout, "you might not necessarily see a single entity taking charge." But such a withdrawal could empower Shiite militias in the south and Kurds in the north, leaving Al Qaeda "free to try to impose its will" and lead to increased sectarian violence that "would be very likely to draw neighbors into the conflict," he said.
From the February 27 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:
CROWLEY: As she [Sen. Hillary Clinton] battles in the primary arena, Barack Obama once again finds himself in the middle of a premature general campaign.
John McCain, his nomination bid predicated on foreign policy expertise, jumped all over Obama's statement at last night's debate that he would return U.S. troops to Iraq if Al Qaeda resurges and Iraq is in chaos.
McCAIN: I have some news: Al Qaeda is in Iraq. Al Qaeda -- it's called Al Qaeda in Iraq. And my friends, they wouldn't -- if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base. They wouldn't be establishing a base, they'd be taking a country -- and I'm not going to allow that to happen, my friends. I will not surrender.
CROWLEY: The man who makes opposition to the war a cornerstone of his campaign is only too happy to have this argument.
OBAMA: I have some news for John McCain: And that is that there was no such thing as Al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq.
From the February 27 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:
CROWLEY: It does not help her cause that John McCain is tuning up for a general campaign in a way that suggests he expects Obama will be his opponent. Flashing his foreign policy credentials, McCain is mocking Obama for saying, after U.S. forces are withdrawn, he would send them back if Al Qaeda resurges and Iraq was in chaos.
McCAIN: I have some news: Al Qaeda is in Iraq. Al Qaeda -- it's called Al Qaeda in Iraq. And my friends, they wouldn't -- if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base. They wouldn't be establishing a base, they'd be taking a country -- and I'm not going to allow that to happen, my friends. I will not surrender.
CROWLEY: Without offering a direct answer, Obama, nonetheless, is happy to have this discussion.
OBAMA: I have some news for John McCain: And that is that there was no such thing as Al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq.
CROWLEY: It is a fall preview of a story not yet written.
And from here on in, Hilary's no longer an issue for him....
The Pennsylvania Primary was Hillary Clinton's last chance to deliver a game changing blow to Obama's campaign for the nomination. She failed to deliver.Link.
Pennsylvania provided her with her final real opportunity to knock the wheels off the Obama campaign. She needed a crushing victory of 18% to 25% to have any real chance of altering the math or the psychology. Demographically, Pennsylvania was made for Hillary: the second oldest state in the nation, heavily blue collar, Catholic and rural -- Hillary's voter profile. She started with a lead of almost 20 points. But her final margin -- which the Pennsylvania Secretary of State says was only 9.2% -- fell far short of what was needed to stop Obama's nomination. Here's why:
1). Pledged Delegates. By CNN's count, Clinton netted about 14 pledged delegates in Pennsylvania. That still leaves Obama up by 151 pledged delegates. It is likely that after Guam, Indiana and North Carolina, there will be no net change in pledged delegates, even if Clinton wins Indiana, since Obama will certainly pick up delegates in North Carolina. But at that point only 251 pledged delegates will remain to be chosen.
Even if she got 80% of all of the pledged delegates that remain after Indiana, she would still trail Obama at the end of the day.
The battle for the pledged delegate advantage is over.
2). Popular Vote. Pennsylvania was her best opportunity to really close in on Obama's popular vote lead. She picked up about 216,000 net votes. But that still leaves her over 600,000 votes behind, and Obama will likely increase his popular vote margin further after the contests on May 6th. Her failure to blow Obama out in Pennsylvania makes it almost impossible for her to close the popular vote gap.
3). Electability. Clinton's entire strategy rests on the premise that she can convince Super Delegates that Obama is unelectable. Only a massive win in Pennsylvania would have credibly made that case. Clinton's victory did little to enhance her argument.
Regardless of the passions of the moment, history shows us that just because voters prefer one candidate in the primary, it doesn't mean they won't vote for her Democratic opponent in a general election when the choice is a Republican. When all is said and done, primary voters almost always vote for the candidate of their party in a general election - regardless of what they might say (on either side) in the middle of a primary fight.
In fact, the people who decide general elections rarely set foot in primary voting booths. They are the independent voters who vote only in general elections and unengaged voters who are would vote Democratic, but have to be mobilized to go to the polls.
The fact is that to whatever degree Hillary might have more appeal among independent rural and blue collar voters, Obama more than makes up in additional appeal to independent suburban voters. Obama's ability to mobilize new young and African American voters in the general election is indisputably greater than Clinton's.
And of course, Obama will not go into the General Election burdened by the towering Clinton negatives that her own negative campaign strategy increases daily.
The polls, and even Pennsylvania Governor and Clinton supporter Ed Rendell, make it clear that Obama can win Pennsylvania in the general election. But Obama can also broaden the playing field with a shot at winning states like Colorado and Virginia.
4). Super Delegates. Finally is a fact that is generally overlooked by pundits. At the close of the primaries, Obama will not need a stampede of Super Delegates to clinch the nomination. In fact he will only need about 40% of those that remain today.
Let's make the most conservative assumptions about the outcome of the remaining races: Guam, even; North Carolina, 58%-42% Obama; Indiana, 54%-46% Clinton; Kentucky, 60%-40% Clinton; West Virginia, 60%-40% Clinton; Oregon, 56%-44% Obama, Montana 56%-44% Obama; Puerto Rico, 60%-40% Clinton. That would leave Obama at 1,846 delegates at the close of the Primaries.
He would need only 41% of the Super Delegates remaining today to clinch the nomination with 2,025. And let's remember, he has picked up almost one Super Delegate a day for the last month. There is no reason to believe he won't keep picking up Super Delegates as the contest continues. So by the end of the primaries he will need an even lower percentage of the Super Delegates that remain.
All that remains for Clinton are more opportunities for her own campaign to be shut down. If she loses Indiana and North Carolina it will be extremely hard for her to continue. But there is no longer any opportunity for her to defeat Obama.
Clinton's may have won last night, but she failed to do what she needed to do to derail Obama's march to the nomination. In retrospect, Pennsylvania will appear as Clinton's Waterloo.
This ain't about military or policy or fixing what we bust. It's all about the McCain campaign because Our Leaders still have no clue what to do with Iraq. This is all about strengthening the B.S. forces for the McCain campaign.
And there's more here and here and here.
President Bush is promoting his top Iraq commander, Army Gen. David Petraeus, and replacing him with the general's recent deputy, keeping the U.S. on its war course and handing the next president a pair of combat-tested commanders who have relentlessly defended Bush's strategies.[more]
And there's more here and here and here.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Some of those who benefit from the rising tide are the first to be hurt when the inevitable lowering of the tide occurs....
So much for the Constitutional freedom of travel....
The people of the San Juan Islands tend to be independent sorts, espousing a do-it-yourself, leave-me-be ethos as natural and ever-present as the tide.[more]
But for many of the 17,000 people of this island county, the normal rhythms of small-town life have hit a dissonant chord lately.
A couple of months ago, the U.S. Border Patrol began occasional "spot checks" of every vehicle and passenger arriving in Anacortes off state ferries, the lifeline between these islands and the mainland.
A second US university has had the moxy to stand up for its students instead of instanty caving into to RIAA extortion.[more]
Following the path laid out in Oregon, where the state attorney general and University of Oregon jointly told Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG’s RIAA they weren’t going to stand still for blackmail, Marshall University in West Virginia has become the second known US university to attempt to quash an RIAA subpoena.
This won’t come as a surprise, however.
It’s also one of the few universities to point out the RIAA sue ‘em all campaign is having a seriously debilitating effect on universities and their staffs.
“We have to protect our institutions as well as our students, but we have yet to find a solution,” the university’s Jan Fox was last year quoted as saying, reported p2pnet.
We went on that the so-called trade organisation has been successfully using the mainstream media to create the illusion that thousands of people in America, students and children included, have been found guilty of file sharing, never mind that no such crime or offence exists in civil or criminal law, and that Jammie Thomas is the only RIAA victim to have actually been inside a court.
At Marshall, the file sharing issue has been so time-consuming for Fox and her staff, “she fears many employees can’t focus on the real issues that need to be confronted,” Fox told the Parthenon.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
So where's the straight talk why corruption and hypocrisy are good?? Just asking....
Senator John McCain has campaigned on curbing the influence of money in politics.Link.
But an examination by The New York Times of a list of 106 elite fund-raisers who have brought in more than $100,000 each for Mr. McCain found that about a sixth of them were lobbyists. The list of "bundlers" was released on Friday by the McCain campaign.
The sizable number of lobbyists, who are outnumbered on the list only by those working in the financial services industry, offers another example of the balancing act that Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is having to strike as he campaigns for the presidency and seeks to maintain his reputation as a reformer.
The McCain campaign's disclosure on Friday of its top bundlers of contributions was part of its efforts to furnish a sense of financial transparency to the public, in keeping with Mr. McCain's past focus on overhauling campaign finance and his criticism of the influence of special interests in Washington.
But Mr. McCain, of Arizona, has drawn scrutiny for the fact that many of his top advisers hail from K Street lobbying firms, including Rick Davis, his campaign manager, and Charles Black, a senior adviser who only recently stepped down as chairman of his lobbying firm to avoid accusations of conflict of interest.
Mr. McCain has steadfastly insisted that he does not give preferential treatment to those lobbying him, even if they happen to be close friends. Although Senator Barack Obama, who could become Mr. McCain's general election opponent, has made a point of refusing to accept money from federally registered lobbyists, Mr. McCain has continued to collect cash from them and allow them to bundle campaign contributions. His supporters argue in his defense that Mr. McCain has a record of independence and has, in fact, often clashed with corporate interests over the years.
But the potential for conflicts of interest are obvious. Several of Mr. McCain's top fund-raisers, for example, lobby for the telecommunications industry, which regularly does business before the Senate Commerce Committee, where Mr. McCain is a senior member and once served as chairman.
Kirk Blalock, of the lobbying firm Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, leads Mr. McCain's young professional group and has raised over $250,000 for him; his clients include Sprint Nextel and Viacom.
Kyle McSlarrow, chief of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the lobbying arm for the cable industry, has raised over $100,000 for Mr. McCain. He and others in the cable industry recently butted heads with Mr. McCain over a proposal that would allow customers to pick and choose which channels they received.
In an interview Sunday, Wayne Berman, who is deputy finance chairman of the McCain campaign and a veteran lobbyist whose clients include Verizon and Verizon Wireless, dismissed the notion that some lobbyists might be raising money for Mr. McCain to curry influence.
"When it comes to McCain," Mr. Berman said, "there's just absolutely no concern whatsoever that he is going to be influenced by lobbyists. He takes on issues as he sees them. It doesn't matter whether his best friends are on the other side or not."
But the McCain campaign, which struggled over much of the past year in raising money, is now seeking to emulate the record-setting money machine that powered George W. Bush to victories in 2000 and 2004, bestowing special titles upon bundlers who exceed certain financial targets.
Instead of "Pioneers" and "Rangers," as President Bush's top fund-raisers were called, Mr. McCain is dubbing the 73 people so far who have brought in $100,000 or more "Trailblazers," while the 33 who brought in $250,000 or more are being called "Innovators."
Campaign finance watchdogs criticized the Pioneer and Ranger system for establishing an elite class of donors, many of whom went on to ambassadorships and other political appointments. But Mr. McCain's advisers believe the system offers the best chance for the campaign to encourage as many people as possible to raise large amounts of cash for him.
Mr. McCain has badly trailed both Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in fund-raising - in March, for example, he brought in $15 million, compared with Mr. Obama's $40 million and Mrs. Clinton's $20 million. While Mr. McCain's Democratic counterparts, especially Mr. Obama, have enjoyed much success in harvesting small-dollar donations over the Internet, Mr. McCain has not built an effective Internet fund-raising machine, forcing him to depend on a circle of wealthy donors.
But in a sign that Mr. McCain is still working on building up his bundler network, fewer than 20 people on the list were former participants in the powerful Bush Pioneer and Ranger system.
Most of the people on the list released Friday have been with the campaign for months. Although the campaign has been working to sign up fund-raisers for former candidates like Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mitt Romney, few of them have had the opportunity to raise enough money yet to make the list.
But there are at least some new supporters of the campaign. B. C. Clippard, who was national finance chairman of Fred D. Thompson's presidential campaign, has now raised $100,000 or more for Mr. McCain. Former Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato of New York also supported Mr. Thompson but recently helped organize a fund-raiser in New York that netted over $1 million for Mr. McCain. Peter Newman, a former fund-raiser for Mr. Giuliani from Pebble Beach, Calif., has since become a Trailblazer for Mr. McCain.
The list also includes something of a who's who of his national finance team, including Tom Loeffler, a former congressman, and Lewis Eisenberg, a former Goldman Sachs partner and longtime player in Republican fund-raising. Some recent notable additions to Mr. McCain's finance team are not on the list yet, like Mercer Reynolds, an Ohio businessman who led Mr. Bush's fund-raising in 2004 and had been seen as an important conduit to others from the Bush Pioneer network for Mr. McCain.
It appears that at least some on the list had been hedging their bets earlier in the primary season. About a fifth of the fund-raisers on the list appear to have given to other candidates as well as Mr. McCain, splitting their contributions fairly evenly between other Republican candidates and Democrats.
John McCain is not a very nice man. I have made that abundantly clear in my new book The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him And Why Independents Shouldn't. When I wrote it, I endeavored to write about the actual man, not the myth or the media legend. Perhaps that was where I crossed the line.Link.
McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker accused me of trading in "trash journalism." Me! Can you believe it? But that was not enough, apparently. The McCain folk then decided they would smear me to try and prevent the truth from setting their man free from the all-encompassing grip of his faux "straight-talk" persona.
Another spokeswoman, Crystal Benton, dissuaded a major European newspaper from writing a review of my book, by accusing me of possessing a "a hate streak," and proffering that I was "known to make outlandish comments." For example, that time I said that we should be in Iraq for 100 more years. Oh wait, that was Senator McCain.
Ok, how about the fact that in earshot of others I have hurled expletives at Senators Domenici, Cornyn and Grassely, called my wife an unspeakable term for a female body part and have physically assaulted another Senator (the late Strom Thurmond) and a congressman (Rep. Rick Renzi). Oh, that's right, that was also Senator McCain.
I just don't get where all the "outlandishness" and "hate" comes from on the McCain side. I am only a humble author trying to do my job, sharing facts that are 100% sourced. It's not like I included in my book the account of a former AP reporter who recounted to me seeing John McCain wander off into the Red Light District of Hanoi in 1996 when he was there to normalize relations with the Vietnamese. Or that it was known among reporters that he used to disappear into that part of town alone at night. I never said that in my book. And why would I? That would supposedly be "trash journalism."
Or let's just say that a few reporters told me that the McCains don't really live together anymore, and that until the presidential campaign Cindy McCain was spending much of her time in San Diego with their daughter Bridgette, because her husband was just not Johnny-on-the-spot anymore. I'd never report such an unfounded charge, if those few sources could not provide any more concrete details. The New York Times stoops that kind of reporting, but not me.
You see, Mr. McCain, I have purposely chosen to rise above any "outlandishness." And instead, I relied upon pure, 100% all-American (at least pre-Bush) facts. I would think a "straight-talker" like you would have at least a modicum of respect for my taking that tack.
The surgical removal of an aerosol can from a man's rectum.
God invented the internet so things like this would be availeable to hundreds of millions....
God invented the internet so things like this would be availeable to hundreds of millions....
John McCain cupped a fist and began pumping it, up and down, along the side of his body. It was a gesture familiar to a participant in the closed-door meeting of the Senate committee who hoped that it merely signaled, as it sometimes had in the past, McCain's mounting frustration with one of his colleagues.
But when McCain leaned toward Charles E. Grassley and slowly said, "My friend . . ." it seemed clear that ugliness was looming: While the plural "my friends" was usually a warm salutation from McCain, "my friend" was often a prelude to his most caustic attacks. Grassley, an Iowa Republican with a reputation as an unwavering legislator, calmly held his ground. McCain became angrier, his fist pumping even faster.
It was early 1992, and the occasion was an informal gathering of a select committee investigating lingering issues about Vietnam War prisoners and those missing in action, most notably whether any American servicemen were still being held by the Vietnamese. It is unclear precisely what issue set off McCain that day. But at some point, he mocked Grassley to his face and used a profanity to describe him. Grassley stood and, according to two participants at the meeting, told McCain, "I don't have to take this. I think you should apologize."
McCain refused and stood to face Grassley. "There was some shouting and shoving between them, but no punches," recalls a spectator, who said that Nebraska Democrat Bob Kerrey helped break up the altercation.
Grassley said recently that "it was a very long period of time" before he and McCain spoke to each other again, though he declined, through a spokesman, to discuss the specifics of the incident.
Since the beginning of McCain's public life, the many witnesses to his temper have had strikingly different reactions to it. Some depict McCain, now the presumptive Republican nominee for president, as an erratic hothead incapable of staying cool in the face of what he views as either disloyalty to him or irrational opposition to his ideas. Others praise a firebrand who is resolute against the forces of greed and gutlessness.
"Does he get angry? Yes," said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who supports McCain's presidential bid. "But it's never been enough to blur his judgment. . . . If anything, his passion and occasional bursts of anger have made him more effective."
Former senator Bob Smith, a New Hampshire Republican, expresses worries about McCain: "His temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind, it should disqualify him."
A spokesman for McCain's campaign said he would be unavailable for an interview on the subject of his temper. But over the years, no one has written more intimately about McCain's outbursts than McCain himself. "My temper has often been both a matter of public speculation and personal concern," he wrote in a 2002 memoir. "I have a temper, to state the obvious, which I have tried to control with varying degrees of success because it does not always serve my interest or the public's."
That temper has followed him throughout his life, McCain acknowledges. He recalls in his writings how, as a toddler, he sometimes held his breath and fainted during moments of fury. As the son of a naval officer who was on his way to becoming a four-star admiral, McCain found himself frequently uprooted and enrolled in new schools, where, as an underappreciated outsider, he developed "a little bit of a chip on my shoulder," as he recalled this month.
During a campaign stop at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, the most famous graduate of the Class of 1954 opened a window on what swirled inside him during his school years. "I was always the new kid and was accustomed to proving myself quickly at each new school as someone not to be challenged lightly," he told students.
"As a young man, I would respond aggressively and sometimes irresponsibly to anyone who I perceived to have questioned my sense of honor and self-respect. Those responses often got me in a fair amount of trouble earlier in life."
He defied authority, ridiculed other students, sometimes fought. The nicknames hung on him at Episcopal mocked his hair-trigger feistiness: "Punk" and "McNasty." Hoping to emulate his father and grandfather, also an admiral, he went on to the Naval Academy, where his pattern of unruliness and defiance continued, landing him near the bottom of his class. "I acted like a jerk," McCain wrote of the period before he righted himself to become a naval aviator, a Vietnam POW and eventually a career politician.
The trajectory of his temper, studied ever more intently as his White House ambitions took shape, includes incidents from his years in the House and in the Senate, leading up to the early days of his current presidential campaign. In 2007, during a heated closed-door discussion with Senate colleagues about the contentious immigration issue, he angrily shouted a profanity at a fellow Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, an incident that quickly found its way into headlines.
Reports recently surfaced of Rep. Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, taking offense when McCain called him "boy" once too often during a 2006 meeting, a story that McCain aides confirm while playing down its importance. "Renzi flared and he was prickly," McCain strategist Mark Salter said. "But there were no punches thrown or anything."
'Everyone Has a Temper'
According to aides, McCain's frequent comments about his temperament reflect a recognition that the issue persists for some voters and the media. At times he expresses regret about his temper, often tracing it to the same resentments that ignited him as a boy: "In all candor, as an adult I've been known to forget occasionally the discretion expected of a person of my many years and station when I believe I've been accorded a lack of respect I did not deserve," he said at Episcopal.
On other occasions, he has contended that his blowups have served a purpose. In a recent interview with CNN, while referring to his temper as "a very minor thing," McCain declared that voters occasionally want him to vent: "When I see corruption, . . . when I see people misbehaving badly, they expect me to" be angry.
Salter, who has co-written five books with McCain that, among other things, explore the origins of his feistiness, said he thinks McCain's temper first became an issue after an incident in 1989, during McCain's first term in the Senate.
The nomination of a beleaguered John Tower to become defense secretary was already in trouble when Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, a conservative Democrat who later became a Republican, helped doom it by voting against Tower. A furious McCain, believing that Shelby had reneged on a commitment of support, accosted him, got within an inch of his nose and screamed at him. News of the incident swiftly spread around the Capitol.
"I think it started there," Salter said, though by 1989, many of McCain's colleagues had already heard stories about other eruptions during his two terms in the House.
Part of the paradox of McCain is that many of the old targets of his volcanic temper are now his campaign contributors. Former Phoenix mayor Paul Johnson is one example. In 1992, during a private meeting of Arizona officials over a federal land issue that affected the state, a furious McCain openly questioned Johnson's honesty. "Start a tape recorder -- it's best when you get a liar on tape," McCain said to others in the meeting, according to an account of their "nose-to-nose, testosterone-filled" argument that Johnson later provided to reporters.
But Johnson, who once was quoted as saying that he thought McCain was "in the area of being unstable," today says that he has mellowed, citing a 2006 face-to-face apology that he said he received from his old adversary. "He's not the same guy, as far as I'm concerned," Johnson said. "And nothing has happened during the course of this year's campaign."
Cornyn is now a McCain supporter, as is Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, himself a past target of McCain's sharp tongue, especially over what McCain regarded as Cochran's hunger for pork-barrel projects in his state. Cochran landed in newspapers early during the campaign after declaring that the thought of McCain in the Oval Office "sends a cold chill down my spine."
Indeed, aside from a single testy exchange in March with New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller over whether he had had a conversation in 2004 with Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry about being his running mate -- a tape of which appeared immediately on YouTube -- McCain has been noticeably unflappable throughout the primaries. Advisers posit that his temperament ought to be a dead issue.
"Everyone has a temper . . . but there has been no evidence of a temper problem here," said Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager. "In our campaign, he has done give-and-take with people everywhere, regardless if someone agrees or disagrees with him. There is no more probing process than a presidential campaign. He has performed well under the most intense kind of pressure."
Friends and Enemies
McCain has been down this road before. During his 2000 presidential run, responding in part to questions about his temper and what effect, if any, his 5 1/2 years as a POW had on his psyche, he released about 1,500 pages of his medical and psychiatric records, which presented a clean bill of mental health.
"I'm not saying he doesn't have a temper, but it's governable," Salter said. "When he has a heated argument, it's usually with one of his peers, who are unaccustomed to being addressed that way by anyone, really. Sometimes he can't govern his tongue. He's just blunt -- he's a straightforward person."
McCain has built much of his appeal, especially with independents, as the fiery maverick willing to defy both parties. His tempestuousness has girded him in high-stakes confrontations, especially against Republican conservatives who regard his occasionally moderate stances as proof that he has sold them out.
"You will damn well do this. You will make this a holiday. You're making us look like fools," he privately exploded two decades ago at a stunned group of Arizona Republicans who opposed creating a state holiday in remembrance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Early during their days together in the Senate, Smith came to believe that McCain often used his temper as a strategic weapon, that if he "couldn't persuade you, he was going at least to needle you or [sometimes] belittle you or blow up into trying to have you believe you were beneath him, so that you'd be less likely to challenge him. He needed to be the top guy."
Smith admits to not liking McCain, a point he has often made over the years to reporters. "I've witnessed a lot of his temper and outbursts," Smith said. "For me, some of this stuff is relevant. It raises questions about stability. . . . It's more than just temper. It's this need of his to show you that he's above you -- a sneering, condescending attitude. It's hurt his relationships in Congress. . . . I've seen it up-close."
Smith, whose service in the Navy included a tour on the waters in and around Vietnam, said he stood stunned one day when McCain declared around several of their colleagues that Smith wasn't a real Vietnam War veteran. "I was in the combat zone, off the Mekong River, for 10 months," Smith said. "He went on to insult me several times. I wasn't on the land; I guess that was his reasoning. . . . He suggested I was masquerading about my Vietnam service. It was very hurtful. He's gotten to a lot of people [that way]."
While in the course of a policy disagreement at a luncheon meeting of Republican senators, McCain reportedly insulted Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico with an earthy expletive. Domenici demanded an apology. "Okay, I'll apologize," McCain said, before referring to an infuriated Domenici with the same expletive.
Salter insists that many of McCain's run-ins with colleagues and activists have resulted from McCain's conviction that his honor in some way has been questioned. "If he feels a challenge to his integrity, then he'll say something," Salter said. "If he thinks you betrayed him . . . he'll tell you, he'll be angry. . . . But he's also exceedingly forgiving."
During the early 1990s, McCain telephoned the office of Tom Freestone, a governmental official little known outside Arizona's Maricopa County. McCain had an unusual request. He wanted Freestone, then chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, to reject a job applicant named Karen S. Johnson, whose last governmental position had been in the office of a former Arizona governor and who had just interviewed for a position as an aide in Freestone's office.
According to two employees in the office, McCain told Freestone that the applicant's past political associations left her carrying unflattering baggage.
The pair of Freestone staffers thought it odd that a U.S. senator would even know that Johnson had applied for a job in their office, let alone that he had taken time out of his workday to pick up a phone and weigh in on a staffing matter so removed from the locus of Washington power. But McCain's disenchantment with Johnson was personal: A few years earlier, he had an angry exchange with her while she was the secretary for Republican Arizona Gov. Evan Meacham, who was impeached and forced out of office for campaign finance violations.
Around the time of Meacham's ouster, Johnson said, McCain paid a visit to him. Johnson recalled that McCain swiftly used the opportunity to lecture Meacham: "You should never have been elected. You're an embarrassment to the [Republican] Party."
A stupefied Meacham just stared at the senator. An indignant Johnson, as she tells the story, snapped at McCain: "How dare you? You're the embarrassment to the party."
As Johnson and another person working in Freestone's office remember, the surprised supervisor told Johnson about McCain's objections to her. "But I'm hiring you anyway," Freestone told her.
For Johnson, McCain's call raised questions as to whether he bore a lasting animosity against anyone who ever challenged him. "Everyone in [Freestone's] office thought it was all ridiculous . . . and petty," remembers Johnson, a devout Republican conservative who today is an Arizona state senator.
"Senator McCain says he has no recollection of ever making a phone call to block a job for Karen Johnson," Salter said.
During roughly the same period, McCain requested the firing of an aide to Arizona's senior U.S. senator, Dennis DeConcini, according to two top figures in DeConcini's office.
The aide, a veterans affairs expert named Judy Leiby, first ran into problems with McCain in the late '80s, when she sought to correct what she regarded as a McCain misstatement about DeConcini's record on a veterans issue. She was attending a Phoenix meeting between McCain and some veterans when she rebutted a McCain assertion that DeConcini, a Democrat, favored a bill that included a cut of some veterans benefits. "That is incorrect," Leiby said, detailing the specifics of DeConcini's position as McCain listened stonily.
Sometime afterward, McCain called DeConcini and asked that he dismiss Leiby, insisting to the senator that his aide had become a toxic, partisan figure. According to the two people in the office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, DeConcini defended Leiby and, praising what he characterized as her bipartisan fairness and expertise, urged McCain to give her a second look. McCain refused, repeating his demand that Leiby be fired.
DeConcini "politely told McCain to go to hell," according to a source close to the conversation, adding: "Not once in [DeConcini's 18-year Senate tenure] did another senator ask for an aide to be dismissed. Not once did anyone speak about an aide like that."
Episodes such as the Johnson and Leiby incidents, along with McCain's oft-chronicled blowups on Capitol Hill, have led critics to say he has a vindictive streak, that he sees an enemy in anyone who challenges him.
"I heard about his temper more from others," said Grant Woods, McCain's first congressional chief of staff, who is generally regarded as McCain's closest confidant in his early political years. "According to them, he really unleashed on some of them, and they couldn't figure out why. . . . It happened enough that it was affecting his credibility with some people. If you wanted a programmed, subdued, always-on-message politician, he wasn't and will never be your guy."
Woods helped orchestrate McCain's first House campaign in 1982 and worked to get him elected to the Senate in 1986. That year the Arizona Republican Party held its Election Night celebration for all its candidates at a Phoenix hotel, where the triumphant basked in the cheers of their supporters and delivered victory statements on television.
After McCain finished his speech, he returned to a suite in the hotel, sat down in front of a TV and viewed a replay of his remarks, angry to discover that the speaking platform had not been erected high enough for television cameras to capture all of his face -- he seemed to have been cut off somewhere between his nose and mouth.
A platform that had been adequate for taller candidates had not taken into account the needs of the 5-foot-9 McCain, who left the suite and went looking for a man in his early 20s named Robert Wexler, the head of Arizona's Young Republicans, which had helped make arrangements for the evening's celebration. Confronting Wexler in a hotel ballroom, McCain exploded, according to witnesses who included Jon Hinz, then executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. McCain jabbed an index finger in Wexler's chest.
"I told you we needed a stage," he screamed, according to Hinz. "You incompetent little [expletive]. When I tell you to do something, you do it."
Hinz recalls intervening, placing his 6-foot-6 frame between the senator-elect and the young volunteer. "John, this is not the time or place for this," Hinz remembers saying to McCain, who fumed that he hadn't been seen clearly by television viewers. Hinz recollects finally telling McCain: "John, look, I'll follow you out on stage myself next time. I'll make sure everywhere you go there is a milk crate for you to stand on. But this is enough."
McCain spun around on his heels and left. He did not talk to Hinz again for several years. In 2000, as Hinz recalls, he appeared briefly on the Christian Broadcasting Network to voice his worries about McCain's temperament on televangelist Pat Robertson's show, "The 700 Club." Hinz's concerns have since grown with reports of incidents in and out of Arizona.
In 1994, McCain tried to stop a primary challenge to the state's Republican governor, J. Fife Symington III, by telephoning his opponent, Barbara Barrett, the well-heeled spouse of a telecommunications executive, and warning of unspecified "consequences" should she reject his advice to drop out of the race. Barrett stayed in. At that year's state Republican convention, McCain confronted Sandra Dowling, the Maricopa County school superintendent and, according to witnesses, angrily accused her of helping to persuade Barrett to enter the race.
"You better get [Barrett] out or I'll destroy you," a witness claims that McCain shouted at her. Dowling responded that if McCain couldn't respect her right to support whomever she chose, that he "should get the hell out of the Senate." McCain shouted an obscenity at her, and Dowling howled one back.
Woods raced over, according to a witness, and pulled Dowling away. Woods said he has "no memory" of being involved, "though I heard something about an argument."
"What happens if he gets angry in crisis" in the presidency?" Hinz asked. "It's difficult enough to be a negotiator, but it's almost impossible when you're the type of guy who's so angry at anybody who doesn't do what he wants. It's the president's job to negotiate and stay calm. I don't see that he has that quality."
Having reunited with his old boss after a falling out in the '90s, Woods is back on board. Barbara Barrett, too. Other Arizona Republicans, once spurned or alienated from McCain, have accepted invitations to rejoin him, though not Sandra Dowling or Jon Hinz, who said, "I've just seen too much. That temper, the intolerance: It worries me."
How Big a Factor?
Historians are generally ambivalent over whether hot-tempered leaders have fared any worse than the placid. Harry S. Truman once threatened bodily harm in a letter to a reviewer who wrote disparagingly about the musical talents of his daughter. Richard M. Nixon ranted, and so did Bill Clinton. George Stephanopoulos once described Clinton's "purple rages," which left Stephanopoulos, often the subject of Clinton's private lashings, so shaken that he broke out in hives, sunk into depression and began taking an antidepressant.
"Clinton could flare up," remembers John D. Podesta, a former Clinton chief of staff. "You might have to endure five minutes of him yelling. But you could challenge him. . . . He would sometimes get mad when [aides] pushed back -- but it was a passing moment; tomorrow would be fine. You didn't get in the doghouse for pushing back."
"Temper can sometimes be a political instrument," said James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. "There are sometimes calculated displays of temper, which is what Lyndon Johnson used to persuade people. . . .
"But sometimes somebody's temperament can get in the way of aides telling him the truth, which happened [during the Vietnam War] with LBJ. His temper scared some [aides] away, which was not good for anyone. . . . That's always part of the risk with a strong temper . . . and so it's always relevant."
After his failed 2000 presidential campaign against George W. Bush, McCain sensed the political cost of his temperament. During a debate, he had snapped at Bush: "You should be ashamed. . . . You should be ashamed." In May 2006, he told CNN: "My anger didn't help my campaign. It didn't help. People don't like angry candidates very much."
McCain's defenders today include an old nemesis -- Grassley.
"It doesn't mean I'm buddy-buddy with McCain," the senator said recently. "He may have a short fuse. . . . But I've come to the conclusion that his strong principles, sometimes backed up by considerable" -- Grassley paused -- "not temper, but considerable conviction, is what a president ought to have."
One man's bulldozer is another's bully. "I don't think that he forgets anyone who ever opposed him, that he can ever really respect or trust them again," said Karen Johnson, the targeted secretary-turned-state senator. "That goes for people here and overseas."
A top advisor to John McCain recently described his sense of what the media's role should be in the presidential campaign -- the press, the advisor said, should "play referee on what is a bogus claim and what isn't."
That sounds about right. Clearly, news outlets have broader responsibilities, but at a minimum, journalists should help the public differentiate between fact and fiction, myth and reality. When high-profile media personalities do the opposite -- repeat bogus claims that are demonstrably false -- they fail on two levels: They're misleading the public and neglecting to "play referee on what is a bogus claim and what isn't."
Consider Tim Russert on "Meet the Press," who Sunday asked Obama strategist David Axelrod about "Barack Obama with his hands clasped in front of him rather than holding his heart during the pledge of allegiance." That, of course, never happened, right-wing e-mail chains notwithstanding.
As Josh Marshall noted, "With his supposedly crack research staff, how does Russert manage to make a mistake like that? Where's the retraction and apology? Or is it intentional?"
I'd really hoped we were past this nonsense by now, but if the D.C. bureau chief for NBC News still doesn't understand reality, then chances are, there are plenty of Americans who are confused, too. So, once again, it's not true.
During the pledge, Obama recites it with his hand over his heart. During the national anthem, he sings. The U.S. Code makes it optional: "We spoke with Anne Garside, director of communication for the Maryland Historical Society -- home of the original manuscript of "The Star-Spangled Banner," and asked if anyone could be punished for not placing their hands over their hearts during the national anthem. She quickly replied, 'Oh, of course not,' adding that 'there is no obligation to put your hand over your heart.' Garside told us she has been asked numerous times about this rumor and finds the controversy to have 'gotten a little bit ridiculous.'"
Garside made that comment in January. It's even more ridiculous now, and even more ridiculous still that the host of the highest-rated Sunday-morning public affairs show is still screwing it up.
Enough people will surely find this crap acceptable.
See it here if you can stomach it...
Texas televangelist John Hagee has called the Roman Catholic Church "the Great Whore," the "apostate church," the "anti-Christ" and "a false cult system" that inspired Adolf Hitler to initiate the Holocaust. He also endorsed John McCain's presidential campaign after the Republican senator sought out his support.Ho, ho, ho....
The subject came up briefly on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" Sunday.
There was this ...Stephanopoulos: So was it a mistake to solicit and accept [Hagee's] endorsement?... followed a few seconds later by this.
McCain: Oh, probably, sure.Stephanopoulos: So you no longer want his endorsement?Classic McCain. He thinks it was a mistake to accept Hagee's endorsement, but now that he has it, he's not giving it up.
McCain: I'm glad to have his endorsement.
Interestingly enough, the discussion on the program came shortly after McCain blasted Barack Obama for knowing Bill Ayers. Watching the interview, I got the sense that McCain missed the irony.
See it here if you can stomach it...
Donald R. Diamond, a wealthy Arizona real estate developer, was racing to snap up a stretch of virgin California coast freed by the closing of an Army base a decade ago when he turned to an old friend, Senator John McCain.[more, if you're registered]
When Mr. Diamond wanted to buy land at the base, Fort Ord, Mr. McCain assigned an aide who set up a meeting at the Pentagon and later stepped in again to help speed up the sale, according to people involved and a deposition Mr. Diamond gave for a related lawsuit. When he appealed to a nearby city for the right to develop other property at the former base, Mr. Diamond submitted Mr. McCain’s endorsement as “a close personal friend.”
Writing to officials in the city, Seaside, Calif., the senator said, “You will find him as honorable and committed as I have.”
Courting local officials and potential partners, Mr. Diamond’s team promised that he could “help get through some of the red tape in dealing with the Department of the Army” because Mr. Diamond “has been very active with Senator McCain,” a partner said in a deposition.
For Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican who has staked two presidential campaigns on pledges to avoid even the appearance of dispensing an official favor for a donor, Mr. Diamond is the kind of friend who can pose a test.
Monday, April 21, 2008
The Journal seems to have a weekly columnist on the economic populism beat?? I mean, can you picture this running in Fox Bidness Journal??
Allow me to introduce myself. According to the general clucking of the national punditry, my 2004 book – "What's the Matter With Kansas?" – is supposed to have persuaded Barack Obama to describe the yeomanry of Pennsylvania as "bitter" people who "cling to guns or religion or . . . anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Mr. Obama's offense is so grave that the custodians of our national consensus have elevated it to gatehood: "Bittergate."
In truth, I have no way of knowing whether some passage of mine inspired Mr. Obama's tactless assertion that the hard-done-by clutch guns and irrationally oppose free-trade deals. In point of fact, I oppose many of those trade deals myself.
But I know one thing with absolute certainty. The media flurry kicked up by Mr. Obama's gaffe powerfully confirms an argument I actually did make: That as they return again to the culture war, what the soldiers on all sides are doing is talking about class without actually addressing the economic basis of the subject.
Consider, for example, the one fateful charge that the punditry and the other candidates have fastened upon Mr. Obama – "elitism." No one means by this term that Mr. Obama is a wealthy person (he wasn't until last year), or even that he is an ally of the wealthy (although he might be that). What they mean is that he has committed a crime of attitude, and revealed his disdain for the common folk.
It is a stereotype you have heard many times before: Besotted with latte-fueled arrogance, the liberal looks down on average people, confident that he is a superior being. He scoffs at religion because he finds it to be a form of false consciousness. He believes in regulation because he thinks he knows better than the market.
"Elitism" is thus a crime not of society's actual elite, but of its intellectuals. Mr. Obama has "a dash of Harvard disease," proclaims the Weekly Standard. Mr. Obama reminds columnist George Will of Adlai Stevenson, rolled together with the sinister historian Richard Hofstadter and the diabolical economist J.K. Galbraith, contemptuous eggheads all. Mr. Obama strikes Bill Kristol as some kind of "supercilious" Marxist. Mr. Obama reminds Maureen Dowd of an . . . anthropologist.
Ah, but Hillary Clinton: Here's a woman who drinks shots of Crown Royal, a luxury brand that at least one confused pundit believes to be another name for Old Prole Rotgut Rye. And when the former first lady talks about her marksmanship as a youth, who cares about the cool hundred million she and her husband have mysteriously piled up since he left office? Or her years of loyal service to Sam Walton, that crusher of small towns and enemy of workers' organizations? And who really cares about Sam Walton's own sins, when these are our standards? Didn't he have a funky Southern accent of some kind? Surely such a mellifluous drawl cancels any possibility of elitism.
It is by this familiar maneuver that the people who have designed and supported the policies that have brought the class divide back to America – the people who have actually, really transformed our society from an egalitarian into an elitist one – perfume themselves with the essence of honest toil, like a cologne distilled from the sweat of laid-off workers. Likewise do their retainers in the wider world – the conservative politicians and the pundits who lovingly curate all this phony authenticity – become jes' folks, the most populist fellows of them all.
But suppose we read on, and we find the news item about the hedge fund managers who made $2 billion and $3 billion last year, or the story about the vaporizing of our home equity. Suppose we become a little . . . bitter about this. What do our pundits and politicians tell us then?
That there is no place for such sentiment in the Party of the People. That "bitterness" is an ugly and inadmissible emotion. That "divisiveness" is a thing to be shunned at all costs.
Conservatism, on the other hand, has no problem with bitterness; as the champion strategist Howard Phillips said almost three decades ago, the movement's job is to "organize discontent." And organize they have. They have welcomed it, they have flattered it, they have invited it in with millions of treason-screaming direct-mail letters, they have given it a nice warm home on angry radio shows situated up and down the AM dial. There is not only bitterness out there; there is a bitterness industry.
Consider the shower of right-wing love that descended in February on small-town newspaper columnist Gary Hubbell, who penned this year's great eulogy of the "angry white man," the "man's man" who "works hard," who "knows that his wife is more emotional than rational," and who also, happily, knows how to "change his own oil and build things."
This stock character, unchanged since his star turns in the culture-war battles of the last few decades, is said to be as furious as ever, and still blaming the same villains for his problems: namely intellectuals, in the guise of "judges who have never worked an honest day in their lives." But what he really wants is a chance to vote against Hillary Clinton, and "make sure she gets beaten like a drum." I guess our angry toiler didn't yet know about the Crown Royal.
If Barack Obama or anyone else really cares to know what I think, I will simplify it all down to this. The landmark political fact of our time is the replacement of our middle-class republic by a plutocracy. If some candidate has a scheme to reverse this trend, they've got my vote, whether they prefer Courvoisier or beer bongs spiked with cough syrup. I don't care whether they enjoy my books, or would rather have every scrap of paper bearing my writing loaded into a C-47 and dumped into Lake Michigan. If it will help restore the land of relative equality I was born in, I'll fly the plane myself.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Surely, this makes the 5+ year old invasion totally justified.
Via Raw Story:
Via Raw Story:
Suicide bombings have risen to their highest levels in recorded history since the invasion of Iraq, according to a new report buried on page A18 of Friday's Washington Post.
Of the 1840 suicide bombings since 1983, the year a suicide bomber attacked the US Embassy in Lebanon, 920 -- or 50 percent -- of suicide bombings have occurred since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.More than 82% of the suicide bombings last year were in Iraq. The number of bombings last year, 658, was more than twice the number of attacks at any point in the last 25 years.
The unpublished research was compiled by US government experts and leaked on condition of anonymity.
Suicide bombers engaged in 658 strikes across the globe in 2007; 542 were in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan and Iraq.
More than four-fifths of the suicide bombings over that period have occurred in the past seven years, the data show. The bombings have spread to dozens of countries on five continents, killed more than 21,350 people and injured about 50,000 since 1983, when a landmark attack blew up the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
Today is the 25-year anniversary of that attack, the first of a series of large suicide bombings targeting Americans overseas.
"Increasingly, we are seeing the globalization of suicide bombs, no longer confined to conflict zones but happening anywhere," said Mohammed Hafez of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and author of the book "Suicide Bombers in Iraq." He calls the contemporary perpetrators "martyrs without borders."
The unpublished data show that since 1983, bombers in more than 50 groups from Argentina to Algeria, Croatia to China, and India to Indonesia have adapted car bombs to make explosive belts, vests, toys, motorcycles, bikes, boats, backpacks and false-pregnancy stomachs.
Of 1,840 incidents in the past 25 years, more than 86 percent have occurred since 2001, and the highest annual numbers have occurred in the past four years. The sources who provided the data to The Washington Post asked that they not be identified because of the sensitivity of the tallies.
The data show more than 920 suicide bombings in Iraq and more than 260 in Afghanistan, including some that killed scores of U.S. troops. All occurred after the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.
The exact number of U.S. casualties from the bombs in Iraq is classified "because it might show the effectiveness of the enemy's weapon," said Maj. Brad Leighton, a U.S. spokesman in Iraq. "They won't even give the number to me."
There's what matters to us and what matters to them.
I'm still digesting the NYT Magazine profile of Chris Matthews. It's remarkable that it even exists as whatever its merits it's rare for members of the media attack their own like this. More than that, profile pieces of any kind are rarely this vicious. As our stupid discourse focuses on elitism this week, it's worth staring at this paragraph until your eyes bleed.“I don’t think people look at me as the establishment, do you?” Matthews asked me. “Am I part of the winner’s circle in American life? I don’t think so.”Annual salary: $5 million.
He's an absolute, utterly worthless demented scumbag.
Twice-divorced former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani took Communion at a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict on Saturday, breaching rules that bar those who remarry outside the Church from doing so.Link.
As he left New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral with his third wife, Judith, the failed presidential candidate confirmed to Reuters that he took Communion from a priest.
Asked if he was uncomfortable with having broken the Church ban on the divorced and remarried taking Communion, Giuliani said, "No."
I'm no anti-Zionist. But Israel started to go down the tubes politically (which has nothing to do with the nation's continued healthy secure existence) when it elected a democracy-hating ex-terrorist. Israel continued on that road enabled, aided and abetted by its rightist-sympathizing lobbyists here.
Now there's an alternative; Israel can be supported without supporting the wingnuts (or relying on their support).
Sign up here.
Now there's an alternative; Israel can be supported without supporting the wingnuts (or relying on their support).
Sign up here.
In a speech yesterday, leader of the Israeli opposition, Binyamin Netanyahu, said that Israel faces many problems but that not everything is bleak.Link.
"We are benefiting from one thing that happened, which is the terror attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the Americans' battle in Iraq. This changed US public opinion significantly in our favor."
Netanyahu's remarks echoed those he made on September 11, 2001 when he said about the day's attacks: "It's very good. Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.''
He predicted that the attacks would ''strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we've experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.''
Pretty amazing talk for a leader of an allied country although happily not representative of Israelis at large. Still, Netanyahu may become Prime Minister again so this is worth noting. Also, Netanyahu is every neoconservatives favorite Israeli, probably John McCain's too. Feith, Perle, Krauthammer, Bolton, Kristol, Wurmser, Podhoretz (ad nauseam) consider Netanyahu a hero and a mentor.
And this hero and mentor thinks 9/11 was "very good. Well not very good" but good enough. All the more reason that we have to get these neocons far, far away from the levers of power after 1-20-09.
9/11 was good. Iraq is good. Iran, well, it's just a dream...so far.
What if Hillary Clinton released her income tax records showing relatively unremarkable (by senate standards, where almost everyone is fairly wealthy) income and said that Bill files separately and he's a private person so he wouldn't be releasing his?
I do not think she'd get a very easy ride from the press since Bill now makes all the money and it's against his sources of income that any potential conflicts of interest or sources of embarrassment would likely arise.
So why does John McCain get to pull the same stunt with his wife? I was thinking of this when I saw McCain's tax return release today since I know McCain is actually an extremely wealthy man. His wife is reportedly worth more than $100 million because she is the heir to her father's beer distributorship, which played a key role in McCain's political rise. And if you note down on his disclosure page it states that "In the interest of protecting the privacy of her children, Mrs. McCain will not be releasing her personal tax returns."
Besides being a wingnut, McHenry's actually a borderline traitor.
Rep. Patrick McHenryFollw the link for the links in this actually very well sourced piece.
Founder, Rep. McHenry's Hostel for Strapping Young Republican Lads
Dear Rep. McHenry,
It surprises me that so few people understand just how important you are. After all, you are a Congressman. That's important. You're also the go-to-guy for strapping, young, Republican lads who need a bed for the night. That's important. You've been tied to a multiple-murder investigation involving homosexual prostitutes and organized crime figures. That's important too. So why don't people see you that way?
I know it's not your fault. You've tried very hard to publicize your importance. In just the last few weeks alone, you bragged to an audience at a Republican dinner that you had berated a security guard in Iraq. And then there's that video you put up on your website--the one in which you proved your importance my broadcasting all the secret operational military information you had.
But, unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working. If anything, it's backfired. Your own local newspapers are calling for your head.
We need to turn that around. Below, you'll find my suggestions for other ways to make yourself seem important:
Ways to make Patrick McHenry seem important
Get on Fox and announce the exact location of Dick Cheney's undisclosed location.
Go to NYC, do the Pope, and put it on YouTube.
Do a public demonstration on how to build a dirty bomb with easily obtainable materials.
Call Barack Obama, "boy."
Take 20 items to the "nine items or less" check out stand. If anyone complains, tell them you can have them "gitmo'd."
Bitch slap Geraldo and say "I'm getting away with it, just like Fox."
Take Sen. Lieberman's place at the podium the next time a torturer is honored.
Stand up in the middle of a floor debate and announce that you're so respected in conservative circles, you often put your "little, but important, congressman" inside Lindsey Graham's mouth without fear of being bitten.
I hope my suggestions help.
Gen. JC Christian, patriot
Besides being a wingnut, McHenry's actually a borderline traitor.
Loads more here.
John McCain’s been getting kid-glove treatment from the press for years, ever since he wriggled free of the Keating scandal and his profitable association – another collaboration, you might say -- with the nation’s top bank swindler in the 1980s. But nothing equals the astounding tact with which his claque on the press bus avoids the topic of McCain’s collaborating with his Vietnamese captors after he’d been shot down.Raw data; we report, you decide:
How McCain behaved when he was a prisoner is key. McCain is probably the most unstable man ever to have got this close to the White House. He’s one election away from it. Republican senator Thad Cochrane has openly said he trembles at the thought of an unstable McCain in the Oval Office with his finger on the nuclear trigger.
What if a private memory of years of collaboration in his prison camp gnaws at McCain, and bursts out in his paroxysms of uncontrollable fury, his rantings about “gooks” and his terrifying commitment to a hundred years of war in Iraq. What if “the hero” knows he’s a phony?
Doug Valentine has written the definitive history of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. He knows about the POW experience. His dad, an Army man, was captured by the Japanese and sent to a POW camp in the Philippines for forced labor. Many of his mates died. Doug wrote a marvelous book about it, The Hotel Tacloban.
Now Valentine has picked up the unexploded bomb lying on McCain’s campaign trail this year. As he points out, he’s not the first. Rumors and charges have long swirled around McCain’s conduct as a prisoner. Fellow prisoners have given the lie to McCain’s claims. But Valentine has assembled the dossier. It’s devastating. We’re running it in our current CounterPunch newsletter and we strongly urge you to subscribe.
Some excerpts from Valentine’s indictment.“War is one thing, collaborating with the enemy is another; it is a legitimate campaign issue that strikes at the heart of McCain’s character. . .or lack thereof. In occupied countries like Iraq, or France in World War II, collaboration to that extent spells an automatic death sentence.. . .The question is: What kind of collaborator was John McCain, the admitted war criminal who will hate the Vietnamese for the rest of his life?
“Put it another way: how psychologically twisted is McCain? And what actually happened to him in his POW camp that twisted him? Was it abuse, as he claims, or was it the fact that he collaborated and has to cover up? Covering-up can take a lot of energy. The truth is lurking there in his subconscious, waiting to explode. ”
“McCain had a unique POW experience. Initially, he was taken to the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp, where he was interrogated. By McCain’s own account, after three or four days he cracked. He promised his Vietnamese captors, “I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital ...
“His Vietnamese captors soon realized their POW, John Sidney McCain III, came from a well-bred line in the American military elite. . .The Vietnamese realized, this poor stooge has propaganda value. The admiral’s boy was used to special treatment, and his captors knew that. They were working him.”
“. . .two weeks into his stay at the Vietnamese hospital, the Hanoi press began quoting him. It was not ‘name rank and serial number, or kill me’. as specified by the military code of conduct. McCain divulged specific military information: he gave the name of the aircraft carrier on which he was based, the number of U.S. pilots that had been lost, the number of aircraft in his flight formation, as well as information about the location of rescue ships.”
“…McCain was held for five and half years. The first two weeks’ behavior might have been pragmatism, but McCain soon became North Vietnam’s go-to collaborator…..McCain cooperated with the North Vietnamese for a period of three years. His situation isn’t as innocuous as that of the French barber who cuts the hair of the German occupier. McCain was repaying his captors for their kindness and mercy.
“This is the lesson of McCain’s experience as a POW: a true politician, a hollow man, his only allegiance is to power. The Vietnamese, like McCain’s campaign contributors today, protected and promoted him, and, in return, he danced to their tune. . .”
The impression that McCain and the media has attempted to portray of McCain's 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam is about as far from the truth that one could possible go. McCain, from the first moments of his capture, had behaved as a COLLOBORATOR and propaganda tool for his North Vietnamese captors. McCain had engaged in no less than 30, and likely as many as 38 anti-American propaganda broadcasts for Radio Hanoi during the period of his captivity. Far from the image of a dedicated American "hero" sweating it out in a North Vietnamese prisoner's "hotbox" for 5 1/2 years, McCain was often given "special" treatment by his captors, who were fully aware of his father's and grandfather's 4 star admiral positions with the Navy. No one has ever witnessed McCain's supposed "torture" at the hands of his jailers. The consensus opinion of other POWs in McCain's camps was that McCain was NEVER tortured by the North Vietnamese. McCain's disgraceful and wholly reprehensible conduct (along with John Kerry) during the 1991-93 Senate Committee on POW/MIAs leaves no doubt that McCain is a traitor to this country and its veterans and especially to the families of POWs and MIAs. ..Ken Adachi].Link.
By Ret. Col. Earl Hopper < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Interviewer, Jerry Kiley
Audio Transcriped by Ken Adachi
February 8, 2008
The video interview is divided into 5 parts:
Part 1: http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnmccain.com/Hopper_Interview_Part1_Corrected.wmv
June 22, 2007 interview between Ret. Army Col. Earl Hopper and Interviewer Gerard "Jerry" Kiley of Veterans Against John McCain (http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnmccain.com)
Earl Hopper: I'm a US Army retired colonel. I spent 30 year in the Army. I was Airborne Special Forces, I fought in Europe, Korea, and Vietnam. My oldest son was also on active duty, He was in the Air Force and shot down over North Vietnam. He remains missing in action. Although the government has declared him dead, we have no body; no evidence of his death.
I first became familiar with the present senator from Arizona, John McCain (and I hate to say "from Arizona" because I'm a native of Arizona. I was born and raised there, and still live there) but, from the very beginning, in talking to the returned POWs, in the very beginning we began to hear some very bad things about John McCain and his activities while he was in the POW camps.
As an example (and I'll quote this because it can be checked out), he personally wrote an article in the magazine [US News & World Report] , wherein he stated that during the time he was in prison (in fact I think it was 5 or 7 days after he was captured) he asked the [North] Vietnamese to take him to the hospital, the Vietnamese hospital. And in so doing, he promised them that he would would give them classified military information.
They did. He did.
They took him to the hospital, questioned him, and he gave highly classified information. The most important of which was he gave the "package route", which was the route to bomb North Vietnam. He told in detail the altitude they were flying, the direction, if they made a turn, and how to get (into N. Vietnam ?) He also gave them where the targets were; of their primary entry. Whether it was a railroad; whether is was a bridge; whether it was an ammunition or fuel dump; or whatever it was, he gave them the primary targets the United States was interested in.
After he gave them that information, the Vietnamese naturally moved their anti- aircraft defenses into those areas and built them up and strengthened them. They also moved the rockets, aircraft weapons, into the "package route" of where the airplanes were flying in or egressing. The result of this, according to the information that came out later on, in intelligence, was that the Vietnamese started knocking down our aircraft in greater amounts than they had before. In fact, there was an estimate that we started losing 60% more aircraft and more men than we had previously. This went on for about a month, and it got so bad, that they finally called off the bombing of North Vietnam because of the information that McCain had given to them.
(Video clip 2)
When he returned, there were several of the American prisoners, to include five colonels, Colonel Ted Guy, was the one that wanted to prefer charges against McCain and two or three other returned POWs because during the time they were in prison, they were not acting in accordance with the military code. And as a result of these other colonels wanting to prefer charges against them, the Secretaries of the services got together and they decided that, No, they did not want these 'renegade' (my word, renegade) prisoners of war coming home to be charged and court marshaled.
They had played up the prisoners of war as "heroes" during their homecoming [Operation Homecoming-negotiated return of American POWS to America]. They didn't want anything now to "disturb" that view that they had given to the American people; that the American people picked up. All returned POWs, if you remember, were "heroes" when they first come home. And they didn't want to disturb that view.
So the Secretaries of the armed services decided and told the other POWs that they would not allow these particular POWs to be charged and be court marshaled over their activities while in the POW camps. Consequently, none of the POWs ever went into the court; [and] never had any legal action taken against them for being traitors while they were in captivity.
Interviewer: Earl, is it true that I heard mentioned before, that McCain did not receive any increase in his military rank, which was common. Could you just talk about that for a second?
A man, if he's in captivity, and either a prisoner of war or missing in action, is on active duty; the very same as if he was stationed right here in the United States. He gets his promotions, along with his peers. He gets his increase in pay, his wife still gets the allowance that he sent to her and so forth. And he is promoted, along with his peers, here in the States. Both in the same year group, as prisoners of war, missing in action; gets promoted along with the active duty people.
McCain did not do it. He did not get promoted even when he returned.
Now, the Navy knew of his activities while he was in the POW camp because the enemy [North Vietnamese] widely broadcast over their radio, what McCain was doing. And in fact, praised McCain for doing it.
So he got no promotion at all while he was in captivity.
Other POWs, that were in captivity at the same time, they got their promotion at the time they were supposed to.
(video clip 3)
Interviewer: And I understand that most POWs in that time frame that McCain was there, 5 1/2 years, would have received at least one promotion, if not two promotions, during that time frame. Is that correct?
They would have received, yes, at least one, and possibly two. It all depends on when their date of rank was before they went down. Many of them got a promotion early after their captivity, after they were captured, and then they stayed long enough to get another promotion after that. My son, for example, was shot down and was carried as 'missing in action'; not as a prisoner of war, but 'missing in action'. And he went from first lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel in a 'missing in action' status before they finally declared him dead.
Interviewer: And Earl, some people say that what McCain did was at the very least collaboration and at worst, treasonous. Would you say that you would agree with that?
No. I agree with only one part of it. He was treasonous.
McCain, for what he did while he was in captivity, was a traitor. Because he gave information to the enemy, classified, military information to the enemy, which caused the deaths of many of his fellow aviators that came in behind him.
Interviewer: He is your senator and he's running for president. What's your feelings about that?
My feeling is: first, he's not MY senator. He is just from Arizona. He's not a native of Arizona, thank God. He came in there because certain political influences here in the States, say "if you go to Arizona, Barry Goldwater is retiring, and that's a good place where you can fill in, and you got the name of a hero." The Republican Party got behind him and he went in there and he got the nomination and the election-unfortunately.
I have never liked McCain, either professionally, militarily, politically, or personally. I just never did care for him. And it's certainly nothing personal that we had over him. [However,]It became personal.
One day there was a hearing here in Washington on the [Earl said "Korean", but meant Vietnam] prisoners of war, missing in action by the Senate POW committee. McCain came into the Hart Senate office building from his office about the same time that I came in from the outside and we kind of came together and I said "Hello John"
He turned around and looked at me and said: "I don't like what you said about my wife!"
I never met his wife. I didn't know his wife. I couldn't even tell you her name, even today.
I said "Well, what did I say about your wife, John? I don't remember saying anything."
And he said "Oh, forget it".
I said "No, I want to know. You said I said something about your wife. I want to know what it is you're accusing me of" . And he wouldn't answer me.
I said "John, you're a liar".
And we were within, oh, five feet of each other.
(video clip 4)
And he turned, and he turned as red as the bars on the United States flag; from his neck up, you could see, the red come out. And I said "John, I said you were a God damn liar!".
It was plenty loud. He heard it because he was only a few steps away from me. He said nothing and continued to walk away.
John has no courage of any kind. I wouldn't allow someone, even though... if I were a senator and a taxpayer come in and called me a liar, I would stop and get it settled right there. And in his case, all he had to do was say "I'm sorry, I made a mistake" and that's all. But he didn't have the nerve to do it or the courage.
No, McCain is not MY senator. I have no respect for him personally or professionally.
Interviewer:: And as far as the presidential, eh, do you think he would make a decent president?
Absolutely not! That would be the biggest mistake the voters of this country could make if they elected John McCain as president. John McCain doesn't have nerve enough to do anything. He would do whatever money PAID him to do, from the voters, that's all. He has no personal courage whatsoever.
Interviewer: Do you feel betrayed by McCain?
Absolutely. Every American should feel betrayed by McCain, and especially every military man and especially the pilots that flew in Vietnam after McCain was captured.
I've been to Hanoi. I've seen that sign that they put up for him where he was captured, there by the lake. The sign even made [had] a mistake on it. They called him [said] that he was from the US Air Force. They also called him McCann, not McCain.
So everything dealing with that man is wrong, and it would be the worst mistake this country could make to nominate and select him president.
Interviewer:: Could you just, eh because I don't think we touched on it, your credentials. You were a board member of the National League of Families?
Yes, I was a charter member of the national league of families. I was in Washington here when we first met, with Senator Barry Goldwater from Arizona, and Senator Bob Dole from Kansas, And they encouraged us, as a family group, to incorporate . By being incorporated, we could have more effect on congress and other politicians; rather than just have a loose group of family members. And I was one of the original ones. As a matter of fact, I think I'm the only living member of that original group now.
(video clip 5)
In the following year, 1970, we met again here in Washington, and after discussion, we incorporated and become The National .... Families of American Prisoners (???) in Southeast Asia. I ran for the board of directors after one or two years and was elected to it. I was a member of the board of directors for some 12 or 14 years. I was the chairman of the board of directors for about 8 years at that time. I also served two years as the executive director of the National League of Families and I ran their national Washington office. I was also state coordinator for the League in Arizona. I'm now the vice chairman or the vice president if you will, of the POW organization known as Task Force Omega which is incorporated.
We do an awful lot on POW/MIA work. My wife is a research analyst . She's written a book that lists every man as missing, prisoner, returned, or unreturned. And she gets calls from all over the country-including the government- asking her for information that we have on the POW/MIAs . She's a wonderful researcher.
Interviewer:: We were against John Kerry and we defeated him when 4 years ago, when he ran, or less than 4 years ago, but the last election. What's your feelings as far as Kerry's relationship or McCain's relationship with Kerry?
They're two of a kind.
Kerry is a liar. He put himself in for a Silver Star which the actions were not true. He put himself in three times for the Purple Heart, when he was not qualified, because a Purple Heart has to be treated by a doctor. And the wound has to be caused by the enemy.
In Kerry's case, and he omitted this, his Purple Heart was caused were by, some of them, by rushing scratches. But all of them were treated by his local boat medic, who was not a doctor, who was just an aids man. So his Purple Hearts didn't even qualify. And this was evidenced by a number of members of his crew that turned against Kerry while he was running and said no, Kerry was lying. And I believe them.
Interviewer:: And their relationship, though, in terms of.., you said they were two of a kind. Two of a kind in terms of..how did they affect-both of them together-the POW issue?
They're both liars. Neither of them has any effective combat command experience, as they claim they do. They're very low character. You can't trust either of them because they do not tell the truth.
Interviewer:: And as far as their effect on the POW issue, in terms of information gathering and the release (?) (words trail off)
Neither of them. Neither of them has ....on the POW issue.
Patty Hopper: Earl, when they were on the Senate Select Committee, what effect did their behavior have on the POW/MIA issue, both John Kerry and JOhn McCain?
John McCain,. when he was on the Senate POW/MIA committee, was not loyal to our POWs. Every time a witness appeared that was on our side, to include family members, he would pressure them. John McCain is not pro-POW.
Interviewer: Just to clarify, what committee are we talking about?
John McCain was on the Senate POW/MIA committee which was composed of about ten members from the Senate on that committee.
Interviewer: 1992, correct?
John was not pro-family member; he was not a pro-POW, unreturned POW member. He was opposed to anything that we tried to do. As a result, John McCain again reflected his disloyalty to the US service man and their families by not working for the prisoners of war, not attempting to (return them home ?).
So, I have no confidence in John McCain. It would be the biggest mistake this country could make to ever put that man in the White House. I'm not a Republican anymore, I was at one time, but if I were, if the Republicans nominated John McCain, they would lose two of their members, my wife and I.
Patty Hopper: Earl, how did John McCain treat POW/MIA families?
In his questioning of the various witnesses, we had several POW/MIA family members that would testify at the committee hearings. McCain made a special effort, especially on the ladies, to criticize them, speak harshly, and get them to crying. He wanted to break down the family members and break their spirit so that they would not come out and appear good at the hearings.
He did that also on one or two government witnesses who testified in favor of the returned POWs, or I should say the unreturned POWs and their families. He went to great length to try to get the government witnesses prove what they were saying by producing the evidence, the papers, which they were quoting. He did. It didn't bother McCain.
During his 23rd mission over Vietnam on Oct. 26, 1967, Lt. Commander John McCain was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.Link.
To relate the event, McCain later recalled that he was "flying right over the heart of Hanoi in a dive at about 4,500 feet, when a Russian missile the size of a telephone pole came up--the sky was full of them--and blew the right wing off my Skyhawk dive bomber. It went into an inverted, almost straight-down spin. -U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
"I pulled the ejection handle, and was knocked unconscious by the force of the ejection--the air speed was about 500 knots. I didn't realize it at the moment, but I had broken my right leg around the knee, my right arm in three places and my left arm. I regained consciousness just before I landed by parachute in a lake right in the center of Hanoi, one they called the Western Lake. My helmet and my oxygen mask had been blown off. "I hit the water and sank to the bottom . . . I did not feel any pain at the time, and I was able to rise to the surface. I took a breath of air and started sinking again." -U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
After bobbing up and down, he was eventually pulled from the water by Vietnamese who had swam out to get him.
A mob gathered on shore and McCain was bayoneted in the foot and his shoulder was smashed with a rifle butt. He was put on a truck and taken to Hanoi's main prison.
After being periodically slapped around for "three or four days" by his captors who wanted military information from him, McCain called for an officer on his fourth day of captivity. He told the officer, "O.K., I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital." -U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
McCain was taken to Gai Lam military hospital normally unavailable to American POWS. (U.S. government documents)
"Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I [McCain] did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship's name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant." Page 193-194, Faith of My Fathers by John McCain.
Nov. 9, 1967 (U.S. government documents) Hanoi press began quoting him giving specific military information.
One report dated read, "To a question of the correspondent, McCain answered: 'My assignment to the Oriskany, I told myself, was due to serious losses in pilots, which were sustained by this aircraft carrier (due to its raids on the North Vietnam territory - VNA) and which necessitated replacements. From 10 to 12 pilots were transferred like me from the Forrestal to the Oriskany. Before I was shot down, we had made several sorties. Altogether, I made about 23 flights over North Vietnam.'"
In that report, McCain was quoted describing the number of aircraft in his flight, information about rescue ships, and the order of which his attack was supposed to take place.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. Veteran Dispatch acquired a declassified Department of Defense (DOD) transcript of an interview prominent French television reporter Francois Chalais had with McCain.
Chalais told of his private interview with POW McCain in a series titled Life in Hanoi, which was aired in Europe. In the series, Chalais said his meeting with McCain was "a meeting which will leave its mark on my life."
"My meeting with John Sidney McCain was certainly one of those meetings which will affect me most profoundly for the rest of my life. I had asked the North Vietnamese authorities to allow me to personally interrogate an American prisoner. They authorized me to do so. When night fell, they took me---without any precautions or mystery--to a hospital near the Gia Lam airport reserved for the [North Vietnamese] military. (passage omitted) The officer who receives me begins: I ask you not to ask any questions of political nature. If this man replies in a way unfavorable to us, they will not hesitate to speak of 'brainwashing' and conclude that we threatened him.
"'This John Sidney McCain is not an ordinary prisoner. His father is none other than Admiral Edmond John McCain, commander in chief of U.S. naval forces in Europe. (passage omitted)'"
". . . Many visitors came to talk to me [John McCain]. Not all of it was for interrogation. Once a famous North Vietnamese writer-an old man with a Ho Chi Minh beard-came to my room, wanting to know all about Ernest Hemingway . . . Others came to find out about life in the United States. They figured because my father had such high military rank that I was of the royalty or governing circle . . . One of the men who came to see me, whose picture I recognized later, was Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the hero of Dienbienphu." U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
Vietnamese doctors operate (early December 1967) on McCain's Leg. Later that month, six weeks after he was shot down, McCain was taken from the hospital and delivered to a POW camp, Room No. 11 in "The Plantation" and into the hands of two other U.S. POWs, Air Force majors George "Bud" Day and Norris Overly. They helped further nurse him along until he was eventually able to walk by himself. --Faith of My Fathers by John McCain
McCain, Day and Overly, were relocated (early January 1968) to "another end of the camp, a place we called 'the Corn Crib.'" A group of "obviously senior" Communist Party members visited and talked with McCain. --Faith of My Fathers by John McCain
Overly was offered and he accepted early release. He was released February 16. --Faith of My Fathers by John McCain
Overly was released with David Matheny and John Black. "They were the first three POW's to be released by the North Vietnamese." U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
In March, Day was "relocated" to another cell.--Faith of My Fathers by John McCain. A month later, McCain was "moved into another building, the largest cell block in the camp, 'the Warehouse.'" Day was moved to another prison (the Zoo). McCain began solitary confinement.--Faith of My Fathers by John McCain
For nearly two years, McCain's communist handlers kept him isolated from other U.S. prisoners. Because they considered him a "special prisoner," McCain became the target of intense indoctrination and psychological programs the communists had perfected during the Korean War.
The communists were very much aware that POW McCain would be under great psychological pressure not to do or say anything that would tarnish his famous military family and they considered that to be the key to eventually breaking and then "turning" him. McCain's handlers kept meticulous records of his behavior, including his personal strengths, weaknesses and any special favors he may have accepted while under the pressure of isolation.
McCain's interrogators considered him a "special prisoner." They believed that because he came from a "royal family," he would, when finally released, return to the United States to some important military or government job.
Because he was kept isolated from other U.S. prisoners during these years of captivity, no one, except McCain and his captors, know exactly to what he was subjected or how he responded. Most information in the public record detailing McCain's experience with the North Vietnamese during this time frame came from McCain and McCain only.
"In May of 1968, I [McCain] was interviewed by two North Vietnamese generals at separate times." U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
McCain claimed (page 133 of The Nightingale's Song, by Robert Timberg) that he was first offered early release (parole) in late June, 1968. He said that after months of interrogation he was "summoned" to a room that had soft chairs and a glass table on which were "cookies, a pot of tea, and cigarettes."
He said "Major Bai, known to the prisoners as the Cat," was waiting for him. He said "a second Vietnamese known as the Rabbit, stood by to serve as translator."
McCain said that as he "helped himself" to the cookies, tea and cigarettes, the Cat began speaking through the translator. He said they talked about "his father, other members of his family, the war." McCain said that after about two of talk, the Cat asked him if he wanted to be released. The Cat, according to McCain, told him to go back to his cell and think about it.--The Nightingale's Song.
McCain said that three nights later the Cat sent for him and again asked him if he wanted to go home. McCain said he answered No. --The Nightingale's Song
A week later, according to McCain, he was taken to a room in which the camp commander, who the prisoners had nicknamed Slopehead, was waiting. McCain said ten guards and an interrogator nicked named The Prick was also in the room. --The Nightingale's Song
McCain said the guards charged into him beating and kicking him until he 'lay on the floor, bloody, arms and legs throbbing, ribs cracked, several teeth broken off at the gumline." The Vietnamese, according to McCain, wanted him to confess to being a "black criminal." --The Nightingale's Song
McCain said he was next introduced for the first time to the "torture ropes." He said the torture went on for several days before he broke and agreed to write and sign a confession that he was a "black criminal." McCain said that he was moved to another building away from the other POWs. --The Nightingale's Song
McCain said (page 136) that he was so distraught because he had signed the statement that he attempted suicide but was stopped when a guard burst into the room. --The Nightingale's Song
In August 1968, other POWs learned for the first time that John McCain had been taken prisoner (page 137) after Charlie Plumb and Kay Russell figured out that the "mystery" prisoner in a neighboring cell is McCain. --The Nightingale's Song
A September 13, 1968, cable from Averell Harriman, U.S. ambassador-at-large, to the State Department confirmed that McCain's captors had offered him early release, but that he had refused. The cable reported that, according to the Vietnamese, "Commander McCain feared that if he was released before the war is over, President [Lyndon] Johnson might 'cause difficulties' for his father because people will wonder if McCain had been brainwashed." Harriman speculated that instead, McCain was abiding by the Code of Conduct.-- The Phoenix New Times March 25, 1999
June 1969 - "Reds Say PW Songbird Is Pilot Son of Admiral. . . Hanoi has aired a broadcast in which the pilot son of United States Commander in the Pacific, Adm. John McCain, purportedly admits to having bombed civilian targets in North Vietnam and praises medical treatment he has received since being taken prisoner." New York Daily News, June 5, 1969
"The English-Language broadcast beamed at South Vietnam was one of a series using American prisoners. It was in response to a plea by Defense Secretary Melvin S. Laird, May 19, that North Vietnam treat prisoners according to the humanitarian standards set forth by the Geneva Convention." The Washington Post
In December, McCain was moved out of "The Plantation" and into a "one man cell" in the "Hanoi Hilton.". On Christmas Eve, McCain chatted with the Cat. They talked about McCain refusing early release. --The Nightingale's Song
"There was pressure to see American antiwar delegations, which seemed to increase as the time went on. But, there wasn't any torture.
In January 1970, I [McCain] was taken to a quiz with 'The Cat.' He told me that he wanted me to see a foreign guest." U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain
A declassified DOD document reports an interview between POW McCain and Dr. Fernando Barral, a Spanish psychiatrist who was living in Cuba at the time. The interview was published in the Havana Granma in January 1970.
According to the DOD report, the meeting between Barral and McCain (which was photographed by the Vietnamese) took place away from the prison at the office of the Committee for Foreign Cultural Relations in Hanoi. During the meeting, POW McCain sipped coffee and ate oranges and cakes with his interrogator.
While talking with Barral, McCain seriously violated the military Code of Conduct by failing to evade answering questions "to the utmost" of his ability when he, according to the DOD report, helped Barral by answering questions in Spanish, a language McCain had learned in school.
1973 - McCain was released from the Hilton on March 15, 1973.
Two Former POWs Say They Doubt McCain Was Physically Abused
1999 - March 25, 1999, The Phoenix New Times: Ted Guy and Gordon "Swede" Larson, two former POWs, who were McCain's senior ranking officers (SRO's), at the time McCain says he was tortured in solitary confinement, told the New Times that while they could not guarantee that McCain was not physically harmed, they doubted it.
"Between the two of us, it's our belief, and to the best of our knowledge, that no prisoner was beaten or harmed physically in that camp [known as "The Plantation"]," Larson says. ". . . My only contention with the McCain deal is that while he was at The Plantation, to the best of my knowledge and Ted's knowledge, he was not physically abused in any way. No one was in that camp. It was the camp that people were released from."
In 1993, during one of his many trips back to Hanoi, McCain asked the Vietnamese not to make public the records they hold pertaining to returned U.S. POWs.
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