Monday, June 30, 2008

A Former POW's Letter About John McCain You Need to See

(By way of Timothy L. Smith on DKos):

Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain By Phillip Butler, PhD Cdr, USN (ret.)

Dear friends:

As some of you might know, John McCain is a long-time acquaintance of mine that goes way back to our time together at the U.S. Naval Academy and as Prisoners of War in Vietnam. He is a man I respect and admire in some ways. But there are a number of reasons why I will not vote for him for President of the United States.

When I was a Plebe (4th classman, or freshman) at the Naval Academy in 1957-58, I was assigned to the 17th Company for my four years there. In those days we had about 3,600 midshipmen spread among 24 companies, thus about 150 midshipmen to a company. As fortune would have it, John, a First Classman (senior) and his room mate lived directly across the hall from me and my two room mates. Believe me when I say that back then I would never in a million or more years have dreamed that the crazy guy across the hall would someday be a Senator and candidate for President!

John was a wild man. He was funny, with a quick wit and he was intelligent. But he was intent on breaking every USNA regulation in our 4 inch thick USNA Regulations book. And I believe he must have come as close to his goal as any midshipman who ever attended the Academy. John had me "coming around" to his room frequently during my plebe year. And on one occasion he took me with him to escape "over the wall" in the dead of night. He had a taxi cab waiting for us that took us to a bar some 7 miles away. John had a few beers, but forbid me to drink (watching out for me I guess) and made me drink cokes. I could tell many other midshipman stories about John that year and he unbelievably managed to graduate though he spent the majority of his first class year on restriction for the stuff he did get caught doing. In fact he barely managed to graduate, standing 5th from the bottom of his 800 man graduating class. I and many others have speculated that the main reason he did graduate was because his father was an Admiral, and also his grandfather, both U.S. Naval Academy graduates.

People often ask if I was a Prisoner of War with John McCain. My answer is always "No - John McCain was a POW with me." The reason is I was there for 8 years and John got there 2 ½ years later, so he was a POW for 5 ½ years. And we have our own seniority system, based on time as a POW.

John's treatment as a POW:

1. Was he tortured for 5 years? No. He was subjected to torture and maltreatment during his first 2 years, from September of 1967 to September of 1969. After September of 1969 the Vietnamese stopped the torture and gave us increased food and rudimentary health care. Several hundred of us were captured much earlier. I got there April 20, 1965 so my bad treatment period lasted 4 1/2 years. President Ho Chi Minh died on September 9, 1969, and the new regime that replaced him and his policies was more pragmatic. They realized we were worth a lot as bargaining chips if we were alive. And they were right because eventually Americans gave up on the war and agreed to trade our POW's for their country. A damn good trade in my opinion! But my point here is that John allows the media to make him out to be THE hero POW, which he knows is absolutely not true, to further his political goals.

2. John was badly injured when he was shot down. Both arms were broken and he had other wounds from his ejection. Unfortunately this was often the case - new POW's arriving with broken bones and serious combat injuries. Many died from their wounds. Medical care was non-existent to rudimentary. Relief from pain was almost never given and often the wounds were used as an available way to torture the POW. Because John's father was the Naval Commander in the Pacific theater, he was exploited with TV interviews while wounded. These film clips have now been widely seen. But it must be known that many POW's suffered similarly, not just John. And many were similarly exploited for political propaganda.

3. John was offered, and refused, "early release." Many of us were given this offer. It meant speaking out against your country and lying about your treatment to the press. You had to "admit" that the U.S. was criminal and that our treatment was "lenient and humane." So I, like numerous others, refused the offer. This was obviously something none of us could accept. Besides, we were bound by our service regulations, Geneva Conventions and loyalties to refuse early release until all the POW's were released, with the sick and wounded going first.

4. John was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart for heroism and wounds in combat. This heroism has been played up in the press and in his various political campaigns. But it should be known that there were approximately 600 military POW's in Vietnam. Among all of us, decorations awarded have recently been totaled to the following: Medals of Honor - 8, Service Crosses - 42, Silver Stars - 590, Bronze Stars - 958 and Purple Hearts - 1,249. John certainly performed courageously and well. But it must be remembered that he was one hero among many - not uniquely so as his campaigns would have people believe.

John McCain served his time as a POW with great courage, loyalty and tenacity. More that 600 of us did the same. After our repatriation a census showed that 95% of us had been tortured at least once. The Vietnamese were quite democratic about it. There were many heroes in North Vietnam. I saw heroism every day there. And we motivated each other to endure and succeed far beyond what any of us thought we had in ourselves. Succeeding as a POW is a group sport, not an individual one. We all supported and encouraged each other to survive and succeed. John knows that. He was not an individual POW hero. He was a POW who surmounted the odds with the help of many comrades, as all of us did.

I furthermore believe that having been a POW is no special qualification for being President of the United States. The two jobs are not the same, and POW experience is not, in my opinion, something I would look for in a presidential candidate. (Emphasis added.--JM)

Most of us who survived that experience are now in our late 60's and 70's. Sadly, we have died and are dying off at a greater rate than our non-POW contemporaries. We experienced injuries and malnutrition that are coming home to roost. So I believe John's age (73) and survival expectation are not good for being elected to serve as our President for 4 or more years.

I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.

It is also disappointing to see him take on and support Bush's war in Iraq, even stating we might be there for another 100 years. For me John represents the entrenched and bankrupt policies of Washington-as-usual. The past 7 years have proven to be disastrous for our country. And I believe John's views on war, foreign policy, economics, environment, health care, education, national infrastructure and other important areas are much the same as those of the Bush administration.

I'm disappointed to see John represent himself politically in ways that are not accurate. He is not a moderate Republican. On some issues he is a maverick. But his voting record is far to the right. I fear for his nominations to our Supreme Court, and the consequent continuing loss of individual freedoms, especially regarding moral and religious issues. John is not a religious person, but he has taken every opportunity to ally himself with some really obnoxious and crazy fundamentalist ministers lately. I was also disappointed to see him cozy up to Bush because I know he hates that man. He disingenuously and famously put his arm around the guy, even after Bush had intensely disrespected him with lies and slander. So on these and many other instances, I don't see that John is the "straight talk express" he markets himself to be.

Senator John Sidney McCain, III is a remarkable man who has made enormous personal achievements. And he is a man that I am proud to call a fellow POW who "Returned With Honor." That's our POW motto. But since many of you keep asking what I think of him, I've decided to write it out. In short, I think John Sidney McCain, III is a good man, but not someone I will vote for in the upcoming election to be our President of the United States.


Wes Clark Being Attacked FOR TELLING THE TRUTH

Check his remarks out in context here:

HE DID NOT DISRESPECT McCAIN'S MILITARY SERVICE. That's Right Wing Noise Machine BULLSHIT. Wes Clark simply stated a fact: John McCain doesn't deserve a free pass on his warmongering and ROTTEN JUDGMENT just because he was a war hero. Obama has been forced to disassociate himself from Clark, which is too bad. Clark is RIGHT. Clark is TELLING THE TRUTH. But I guess in this country that's something you can't get away with.

: You can show your support for Wes Clark by signing the Vote Vets petition on this issue here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

T. Boone Pickens: Liar and Coward

The big money crook behind the Swift Boat bastards reveals his true colors. Pickens is just rich, right-wing Republican slime of the worst kind, and this is simply more proof of it. He's been a suck-buddy to the Bush family for decades, and his oil wheeling and dealing and corporate raiding border on the criminal. He is, in short, the epitome of conservative businessmen. It's no surprise, therefore that he's welshing on a bet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Questions for McCain

From the mind of davefromqueens on DKos. My favorites:

Do you think the American economy is better off now than it was 8 years ago? Explain why or why not.

Define for us specifically what events need to happen in Iraq in order for American troops to withdraw from this country. I don't want spin. I want specific criteria.

What role, if any, did Saddam Hussein play in the attack of September 11, 2001?

Why has Osama Bin Laden not been caught?

Two days after September 11, 2001, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell said that America got exactly what it deserved on 9/11. Why did you actively seek the endorsement of these two men after they made these anti-American comments?

Explain the cultural similarities and/or differences between Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds.

How would your foreign policy differ from George W Bush's if at all?

For over a year you solicited the support of John Hagee, who calls for the Jews' destruction, who blames the Holocaust on Jews, said Hurricane Katrina was god's way of punishing the citizens of New Orlens for their sinful life, and who once referred to the Catholic Church as the Great Whore. Why did you solicit the support of John Hagee when all these comments were known prior to your solicitation?

Do you believe that the United States should be bound by the terms and conditions of the Geneva Convention which it signed? Explain why or why not.

How did you celebrate your 69th Birthday? Who were you with at the time and what kind of cake did you eat? What major event was occurring at this time?

Why did you vote against emergency funding for the victims of Hurricane Katrina?

Has the national debt increased or decreased under George W Bush's presidency? By how much?

In 2007 you said that you look to Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower as models. Why isn't the name George W Bush on that list?

Did you ever curse at a Senate colleague while on the job? If yes, how many different colleagues have you cursed at?

Have you ever gotten into a physical altercation with any member of Congress. If yes, how many physical altercations did you get into with any member of Congress.

Give 'em a look. They're all pretty good. And then ask yourself:

Why isn't McCain being asked these questions by the national media?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Glenn Beck: Idiot

Of course, my title is redundant. He is claiming that the ANWR oil field will yield 100 million barrels of oil a day, an overstimate of SEVEN THOUSAND PER CENT. (The true figure would be, at maximum, about 1.45 million.)

Will CNN correct him? Don't hold your breath.

Again: why does this ludicrous right-wing hack deserve a show on CNN?

McCain's ASTOUNDING Record of Flip-Flops

Steve Benen has the remarkable list here. Highlights:

* McCain supported the drilling moratorium; now he’s against it.
* McCain strongly opposes a windfall-tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was
perfectly comfortable with the idea.
* McCain thought Bush’s warrantless-wiretap program
circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.
* McCain defended “
privatizing” Social Security. Now he says he’s against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)

Wait, I’m not done with the last two weeks yet….

* McCain
wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn’t.
* McCain thought
the estate tax was perfectly fair. Now he believes the opposite.
* He
opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”
* McCain said he would “not impose
a litmus test on any nominee.” He used to promise the opposite.

Benen notes that McCain has switched positions on major issues FORTY-EIGHT TIMES. This is so he can basically grovel to the wishes of right-wing fanatics.

John McCain: Don't like his positions? Wait a week.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Condolences to Tim Russert's Family and Friends

Fifty-eight is way too early to check out. I often was critical of Russert, but this is still very sad news.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Still Think McCain Won't Be a Bush Clone?

Check it out:

More Evidence of the Republican Gutter-Level Campaign Against Obama

Sheer, despicable racism, pure and simple. (Scroll up to see image.) It really is, after all, the foundation stone of American conservatism.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

John McCain: Right-Wing Fanatic on Reproductive Rights

McCain: Opposed to abortion under ANY circumstances, even if a woman has been raped, even if she's a 14 year-old who's been molested by her father, even if the woman will die if the pregnancy continues.

McCain: Siding with those who want to abolish ALL forms of birth control, even going so far as to hint that he would favor overturning the key Supreme Court decision that legalized birth control.

McCain is a full-throated enemy of women's rights in every area, but no more so than in reproductive issues. He wants to reduce women to 2nd class status, just like the rest of Radical Extreme Right. I would hope any self-respecting, independent woman would reject McCain out of hand.


Monday, June 09, 2008

This is Why We Need to Win This Year

(Click for larger image. Hat Tip: Bartcop)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Prominent Republican Says, Yes, McCain WOULD Be An Extension of Bush

Read and weep, right here, wingnuts of America.

A John McCain Quote We Need to Ask Him About

Digby has linked to this, and it's a powerful statement written by John McCain some years ago in a forward to a book about the Vietnam War. Check it out:

It was a shameful thing to ask men to suffer and die, to persevere through god-awful afflictions and heartache, to endure the dehumanizing experiences that are unavoidable in combat, for a cause that the country wouldn’t support over time and that our leaders so wrongly believed could be achieved at a smaller cost than our enemy was prepared to make us pay. No other national endeavor requires as much unshakable resolve as war. If the nation and the government lack that resolve, it is criminal to expect men in the field to carry it alone.

Does it sound like any conflict we're involved in now?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

More on Phil Gramm, McCain's Walking Disaster of an Advisor

Involved in the creation of the massive Reagan deficits? Check. Involved in the S&L fiasco under Bush I? Check. Mixed up in the Enron stench? Check. Involved in deregulating the finance sector with catastrophic results? Check. Involved in the subprime meltdown? Check. Everything Phil Gramm has touched has turned to crap, in typical right-wing reverse Midas fashion.

Joe Conason and his commenters lay it all out here.

Electing McCain: Recipe for disaster? Check.

Friday, June 06, 2008

McCain vs. McCain, Round 2

This is HILARIOUS! Spread it around!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

John McCain's Chief Economic Advisor, Phil Gramm: Out-and-Out Bastard

From the late, great Molly Ivins, a deeply insightful column about one of the worst human beings who has ever sat in Congress--Master Con-Man/Insider/Right-Wing Fanatic Phil Gramm. Excerpts:

Gramm both looks like a snapping turtle and has the personality of one. When he ran for president in 1996 and finished fifth in Iowa, all the profiles written of him included the line "Even his friends don't like him." Self-righteous and strident, Gramm demonized his opponents and used bitter, polarizing rhetoric. During a Senate debate over Social Security, a member pointed out that the proposal under consideration would hurt 80-year-old retirees. "Most people don't have the luxury of living to be 80 years old," Gramm scoffed, "so it's hard for me to feel sorry for them." Well, there is that.

On another occasion, Gramm ridiculed a newspaper photo of poor people who were forced to cut corners to put food on the table. "Did you see the picture?" Gramm asked a crowd. "Here are these people who are skimping to avoid hunger and they are all fat!... We're the only nation in the world where all our poor people are fat." During the fight over health care reform, Gramm said, "We have to blow up this train and the rails and the trestle and kill everyone on board." When an elderly widow in Corsicana told him that cutting Medicare would make it more difficult for her to remain independent, Gramm said, "You haven't thought about a new husband, have you?"

When he first ran for Senate in 1984, Gramm's main attack ad focused on how his opponent, a young state senator, had received a check for $600 raised by a gay group at a male strip joint in San Antonio. He had not solicited the contribution and promptly returned it, but Gramm ran lurid ads about the gay strip show for months.


Gramm, the great crusader against government spending, has spent his entire life on the government tit. He was born at a military hospital, raised on his father's Army pay, went to private school at Georgia Military Academy on military insurance after his father died, paid for his college tuition with same, got a National Defense Fellowship to graduate school, taught at a state-supported school, and made generous use of his Senate expense account. In 1987, a Dallas developer named Jerry Stiles flew a construction crew to Maryland to work on Gramm's summer home. Stiles spent $117,000 on the project but was kind enough to bill Gramm only $63,433. When Stiles got in trouble for misusing funds from a savings and loan he owned, Gramm did him some "routine" favors with regulators. Stiles was later convicted on 11 counts of conspiracy and bribery.

As a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the recipient of enormous banking contributions, Gramm did an even bigger favor for the financial industry in 1999 when he sponsored the Financial Services Modernization Act allowing banks, securities firms, and insurance companies to combine. The bill weakened the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires banks to help meet the credit needs of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Gramm described community groups that use the CRA as "protection rackets" that extort funds from the poor, powerless banks. The bill is also a disaster for the privacy of bank customers and weakens regulatory supervision. As Gramm proudly declared, "You're not going to find a single bank, insurance company, or securities company that will say they were hurt financially by this bill."

To be fair, Gramm occasionally found it in his heart to assist the poor -- like the time he suggested that mothers on welfare would be better off working for $2.50 an hour. A more typical Gramm vote, though, came on an energy bill that benefited oil and gas companies at the expense of consumers. "There are winners and losers in every economic decision," Gramm said portentously. He was then getting more oil and gas money than any other member of the Senate.

Gramm has been a MAJOR player in the subprime mortgage meltdown that is wreaking so much havoc. One observer has put it well: There isn't a single predatory financial practice that Gramm hasn't supported, worked for, and lobbied for. He is the lowest of the low, a right wing Welfare Queen who basically defecates on the poor while lining his own pocket and the pockets of his rich buddies with government cash. AND THIS IS McCAIN'S CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR. One of the architects of our current fiscal insanity is giving advice to the Republican candidate for president.

Want four more years of Bush-style catastrophe? Support McCain. Want a total scumbag like Gramm running our nation's economic policies? Support McCain. Want to turn America toward a more hopeful future? Hell, that's easy:


Monday, June 02, 2008

Vincent Bugliosi is My New Hero

This will blow your mind:


McCain's Pro-Iranian Senior Advisor and Lobbyist Friend

It's none other than ultra-low life Charlie Black, who has had his hands in more dubious business than almost any other fixer and hustler in Washington politics. The highlights from this story:

In the summer of 2005, John McCain's chief strategist Charlie Black, working for his firm Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, was paid $60,000 to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of the Chinese oil conglomerate CNOOC. At the time, CNOOC was mounting an aggressive bid to buy Unocal, a California-based oil giant, and Black was tasked with churning up congressional support. But the bid ultimately fell through, in part because of objections over the China oil industry's ties to Iran, a country in which it had already invested tens of millions of dollars.

"This transaction poses a clear threat to the energy and national security of the United States," wrote Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican. "U.S. national energy security depends on sufficient energy supplies to support U.S. and global economic growth. But those supplies are threatened by China's aggressive tactics to lock up energy supplies around the world that are largely dedicated for their own use."

Flash-forward nearly three years and Black's old client -- which later scored a $16 billion deal with the Iranian government -- could now create major headaches for his current boss. On Monday, McCain, in a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, called for a broad and aggressive international campaign to divest from Iran.

Remember, folks, with these right-wing Republicans, it's ALWAYS do as I say, not as I do.
BTW, this Charlie Black is a real piece of work. Check this out: