B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘2008_election’ tag

McCain is a Coward

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part the 234,432nd.

and Biden:

Written by Seth Anderson

October 10th, 2008 at 11:24 am

Posted in politics

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Economic Snake Oil

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Thomas Frank notes the inherent cynicism contained within Republican politicians. Republicans of the last few decades got elected by running against Big Gomnet1, and once elected, proceed to gut, damage and otherwise destroy the mechanisms of the very bureaucracy they were supposed to be in charge of. Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq War, the current fiscal mess, these are all direct results of electing anti-government Republicans.

now we are supposed to vote for more conservative Republicans because we learned from the last bunch of conservative Republicans that government just doesn’t work.

That is the advice of Sarah Palin, Republican vice-presidential nominee, in last week’s debate with her Democratic counterpart, discussing the dread prospect of universal health care: “Unless you’re pleased with the way the federal government has been running anything lately, I don’t think that it’s going to be real pleasing for Americans to consider health care being taken over by the feds.”

Conservative misrule, prompted by conservative disdain for government, proves that government cannot be trusted — and that the only answer is to elect another round of government-denouncing conservatives.

“Cynicism” seems too small a word for this circular kind of political fraud. One reaches instead for images of grosser malevolence. It’s like suggesting that the best way to recover from pneumonia is to stand in the rain for three hours. It’s like arguing that the way to solve nuclear proliferation is by handing out weapons-grade plutonium to everyone who asks for it.

[From The GOP Peddles Economic Snake Oil - WSJ.com]

Snake oil, in other words, pure malevolent snake oil, containing mercury, BPA, perchlorate, and who knows what else.

Footnotes:
  1. also known as Big Government, or worse []

Written by Seth Anderson

October 8th, 2008 at 10:04 pm

McCain and Gordon Liddy

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Talk about criminal associations! Gordon Liddy is a convicted criminal, and domestic terrorist, and a close friend of John McCain.

McCain has been friends with another violent political extremist: Gordon Liddy.

Liddy, who worked for President Nixon’s campaign, was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for multiple crimes in burglarizing the Democratic National Committee office in the Watergate building–part of a broader plot to steal the 1972 election through sabotage, illegal spying and other dirty tricks. He even planned the murder of a journalist, though that idea was overruled. Bombings? He proposed the firebombing of a liberal think tank.

Liddy, now a conservative radio host, has never expressed regret for this attempt to subvert the Constitution. Nor has he developed any respect for the law. After the 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, he endorsed the shooting of federal agents: “Kill the sons of bitches.”

Yet none of this bothers McCain. Liddy has contributed thousands of dollars to his campaigns, held a fundraiser for McCain at his home and hosted the senator on his radio show, where McCain said, “I’m proud of you.” Exactly which part of Liddy’s record is McCain proud of?

[From Steve Chapman | Chicago Tribune | Blog]

So if you are eight years old, you have to exercise better judgement than when you are actively running for President? Double standard much?

Written by swanksalot

October 7th, 2008 at 9:46 pm

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McCain proposes to Destroy Health Care

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We’ve discussed McCain’s devious plan to destroy the American Healthcare system, and replace it with a wink; Paul Krugman sketches what the end result would turn out to be quite clearly:

Any Porthole in a Storm

But the people gaining insurance would be those who need it least: relatively healthy Americans with high incomes. Why? Because insurance companies want to cover only healthy people, and even among the healthy only those able to pay a lot in addition to their tax credit would be able to afford coverage (remember, it’s a $5,000 credit, but the average family policy actually costs more than $12,000).

Meanwhile, the people losing insurance would be those who need it most: lower-income workers who wouldn’t be able to afford individual insurance even with the tax credit, and Americans with health problems whom insurance companies won’t cover.

And in the process of comforting the comfortable while afflicting the afflicted, the McCain plan would also lead to a huge, expensive increase in bureaucracy: insurers selling individual health plans spend 29 percent of the premiums they receive on administration, largely because they employ so many people to screen applicants. This compares with costs of 12 percent for group plans and just 3 percent for Medicare.

In short, the McCain plan makes no sense at all, unless you have faith that the magic of the marketplace can solve all problems. And Mr. McCain does: a much-quoted article published under his name declares that “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”

I agree: the McCain plan would do for health care what deregulation has done for banking. And I’m terrified.

[From Paul Krugman - Health Care Destruction - NYTimes.com]

Those who can afford it already won’t be affected, much, by this plan, but the rest of us will be screwed. Note: I did the math for myself, and I would come out about even, at the moment. But, my rates went up 14%1 this year, and about the same last year2, and presumedly would increase again next year. So the McCain healthcare tax credit would soon be insuffecient for paying for my plan, and my deductible is quite high already.

Footnotes:
  1. my tweet: Because of “inflationary trends in health care”, my health insurance premium went up 14%. Whippee. []
  2. too lazy to look back []

Written by Seth Anderson

October 7th, 2008 at 9:20 am

Posted in health,politics

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Pal Around McCain

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Speaking of pallin’ around with terrorists, Harold Meyerson notes the well-known financial terrorist Phil Gramm is quite close to McCain. Kissin’ close, if fact.

But if the McCain people want to rummage through presidential candidates’ associations, real or imagined, to turn up figures who threaten to pull down this proud republic, they should begin in-house. Chief among those to whom responsibility attaches for the financial crisis that is plunging the nation into recession is former Texas senator Phil Gramm, McCain’s own economic guru.

Gramm was always Wall Street’s man in the Senate. As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee during the Clinton administration, he consistently underfunded the Securities and Exchange Commission and kept it from stopping accounting firms from auditing corporations with which they had conflicts of interest. Gramm’s piece de resistance came on Dec. 15, 2000, when he slipped into an omnibus spending bill a provision called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA), which prohibited any governmental regulation of credit default swaps, those insurance policies covering losses on securities in the event they went belly up. As the housing bubble ballooned, the face value of those swaps rose to a tidy $62 trillion. And as the housing bubble burst, those swaps became a massive pile of worthless paper, because no government agency had required the banks to set aside money to back them up.

The CFMA also prohibited government regulation of the energy-trading market, which enabled Enron to nearly bankrupt the state of California before bankrupting itself.

The problem with this exercise, of course, is that Gramm’s relationship to McCain is not comparable to the relationships that Ayers or Wright have with Obama. The idea that either Ayers or Wright would have any impact on the workings of an Obama administration is nonsensical. But Gramm and McCain do have an enduring political and economic alliance. McCain chaired Gramm’s short-lived presidential campaign in 1996; Gramm is co-chair of McCain’s current effort. McCain has not repudiated reports that Gramm is on the shortlist to become Treasury secretary if McCain is elected, even after Gramm labeled America “a nation of whiners.”

[From Harold Meyerson - A Pal Around McCain - washingtonpost.com]

Will Obama mention Phil Gramm in the debate tonight? Keating is one thing, but Gramm is still closer, albeit just as corrupt.

Written by Seth Anderson

October 7th, 2008 at 9:05 am

Long Strange Trip of Bill Ayers

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Fascinating1 article published in the Chicago Reader, circa 1990, about the man John McCain is trying his best to link to Barack Obama.

Haymarket Riot memorial, old version.
[The Haymarket Riot Memorial plaque that was placed at the Haymarket Riot location, 147 N. Desplaines, Chicago, IL 60661, after Bill Ayers (link to his blog) blew up the memorial to policemen. Now replaced by yet another memorial]

The students are already seated, quiet and polite in perfectly aligned rows of chairs, when Bill Ayers walks into the classroom.

It’s a Monday-evening political-science class at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a class devoted to the study of the “impact of the 60s on the 90s.”

“We’re very lucky to have Bill Ayers here,” says Victoria Cooper-Musselman, the instructor. “Bill was an active player in the 60s. You read about him in all the books.”

Ayers smiles, a boyish grin, and steps to the podium. He’s 45, but doesn’t look much older than most of the students. He wears his curly blond hair over his ears, with a rattail down the back. His T-shirt reads: “America is like a melting pot: The people at the bottom get burned and the scum floats to the top.”
He wears shorts.

“To me it’s funny that the 60s are studied,” Ayers begins. “I get rolled in like a Civil War veteran. I feel strange.”

The students laugh. As he continues, they fall quiet. His voice is raspy, sexy, a little mesmerizing. He’s completely at ease.

The story he tells, a condensed version of his life, is a tale of extremes. He wasn’t just any all-American, suburban-bred boy; his father, Thomas Ayers, ran Commonwealth Edison. And he didn’t just rebel; he was a leader of the Weathermen, the most radical of all 1960s revolutionaries, who among other things bombed the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol and sprung Timothy Leary from jail.

For three years Ayers’s wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was on the FBI’s list of ten most wanted criminals. They spent nearly 11 years as fugitives, living on the run “underground.”

“We were anarchists,” he tells the class. “We were willing to get thrown out of school. We were willing to go to jail. I make no apologies. There comes a time in your life when you face a moral challenge. You have to ask yourself: ‘Will I bow to conformity and accede to the world as it is, or will I take a stand?’”

These days, he takes his stands aboveground. He’s an assistant professor of education at UIC. He works in the university’s elementary teacher education program. His specialty is school improvement. He’s written one book on early childhood education, and he’s writing another about teaching. He publishes regularly in scholarly journals. Each year he trains dozens of would-be teachers for private, public, and parochial schools.

[Click to read more from Reader Archive--Extract: 1990/901109/The Long, Strange Trip of Bill Ayers He wasn't just any suburban-bred all-American boy; his father ran Commonwealth Edison. And he didn't just rebel; he was a leader of the Weathermen, the group that bombed the Pentagon and sprung LSD guru Timothy Leary from jail. Now he's an assistant professor of education at UIC and an influential thinker in the school reform movement. And yes, he would do it all again]

Personally, the McCain smear is so weak to be laughable. I mean come on, Obama was 8 when Ayers was on the lam. Not every politician is Billy Pilgrim, able to look into the past of everyone they meet like the past was a Chinese New Year parade float. Now, McCain’s guilt by association trick actually works quite well on connections between McCain and Keating – actually as some wag put it, the McCain Keating connection is more of a “guilt by guilt” association.

(h/t Whet Moser via Twitter)

Footnotes:
  1. albeit horribly formatted []

Written by Seth Anderson

October 6th, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Keating Economics

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In case you hadn’t already watched this elsewhere

The current economic crisis demands that we understand John McCain’s attitudes about economic oversight and corporate influence in federal regulation. Nothing illustrates the danger of his approach more clearly than his central role in the savings and loan scandal of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

John McCain was accused of improperly aiding his political patron, Charles Keating, chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee launched investigations and formally reprimanded Senator McCain for his role in the scandal — the first such Senator to receive a major party nomination for president.

At the heart of the scandal was Keating’s Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which took advantage of deregulation in the 1980s to make risky investments with its depositors’ money. McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating with federal regulators tasked with preventing banking fraud, and championed legislation to delay regulation of the savings and loan industry — actions that allowed Keating to continue his fraud at an incredible cost to taxpayers.

When the savings and loan industry collapsed, Keating’s failed company put taxpayers on the hook for $3.4 billion and more than 20,000 Americans lost their savings. John McCain was reprimanded by the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee, but the ultimate cost of the crisis to American taxpayers reached more than $120 billion.

The Keating scandal is eerily similar to today’s credit crisis, where a lack of regulation and cozy relationships between the financial industry and Congress has allowed banks to make risky loans and profit by bending the rules. And in both cases, John McCain’s judgment and values have placed him on the wrong side of history.

[Click to continue reading Keating Economics]

Higher resolution QuickTime version available for download [148 Megs]

Written by Seth Anderson

October 6th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Posted in politics

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Debate 2 Notes

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Joey the Shark vs. the Caribou Barbie.

The agreed-to debate format was skewed heavily in favor for Sarah Palin; she didn’t have to answer any question she didn’t have an answer to, and the faux-moderator, Gwen Ifill, didn’t mind. Ifill might as well had been a preprogrammed machine, reciting question discussed by the candidates twenty weeks ago for all the relevant response Ifill’s questions obtained.

Palin lied, and evaded more than half of the questions, maybe even 80% of the questions asked were answered instead with Republican talking points from her note cards. I’m pretty sure Palin would be totally lost being President, let us all actively work to stop that from happening.

Palin seems to be under the assumption that John McCain was instrumental in winning some war. I’m not sure which war that was. Vietnam? Nope, Iraq? Nope. Maybe she meant McCain knew how to win against the media, except that wouldn’t be factual.

Sudan bill actually was derailed by Sarah Palin, so she shouldn’t be claiming credit for passing divesture.

Sarah Palin’s Administration Was Complicit In Killing Sudan Divestment Bills In Committee. On February 9, 2008, Governor Sarah Palin’s appointed Deputy Commissioner of Revenue spoke to the Alaska House State Affairs Committee on bipartisan HB 287, which would require the state to divest from Sudan. He agreed with another speaker who said divestment was ‘not the right tool.’ On April 1, Commissioner of Revenue paid lip service to SB 227 in the Alaska Senate State Affairs Committee, saying that the bill “should be amended…in the Finance Committee” and said that the Department of Revenue was “working with the Department of Law… to actually take certain actions with regard to divestiture that would still be compliant with the state investment laws.” The Legislature adjourned Sine Die on April 13. [Minutes Of The 25th Alaska Legislature]

Oh, there’s more to say, but I’m too busy to say it.

Written by Seth Anderson

October 4th, 2008 at 4:45 pm

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Cokie Roberts Is Such a Republican

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Cokie Roberts has a real problem sticking to facts, especially when the facts support Democrats. During the VP debate, I heard a word I didn’t know, and so I looked it up. Took me about 5 seconds to discover that Bosniaks is a valid word. Apparently, Ms. Roberts doesn’t know how to use any of the internets or their traditions.

During coverage of the October 2 vice-presidential debate on PBS’ Charlie Rose, Rose asked, “Did either of them make any mistakes that you noticed?” National Public Radio senior news analyst Cokie Roberts responded that Sen. Joe Biden “talked about the Bosniaks.” Roberts later said: “[I]f [Gov. Sarah Palin] had said ‘Bosniak,’ everybody would be making a big deal of it, you know.” In fact, Biden correctly referred to certain residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Bosniaks. According to the U.S. State Department, as of 2002, the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina consisted of the following ethnic groups: “Bosniak 48.3%, Serb 34.0%, Croat 15.4%, others 2.3%.”

The CIA World Factbook states: “Bosniak has replaced Muslim as an ethnic term in part to avoid confusion with the religious term Muslim — an adherent of Islam.”

[From Media Matters - On PBS, Cokie Roberts falsely suggested Biden's reference to "Bosniaks" was a gaffe]

Cokie Roberts has never heard a Republican talking point she won’t repeat.

Written by Seth Anderson

October 3rd, 2008 at 3:39 pm

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Medicare and Totalitarianism

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Sarah Palin1 voiced an odd statement2 about freedom being one generation from extinction. Turns out she was quoting that nutjob Ronald Reagan when he was fulminating about Medicare in the 1960s. Yeah, Medicare really ruined the country, didn’t it?

Rockefeller and Reagan

It was Ronald Reagan who said that freedom is always just one generation away from extinction. We don’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream; we have to fight for it and protect it, and then hand it to them so that they shall do the same, or we’re going to find ourselves spending our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children about a time in America, back in the day, when men and women were free.

When did he say this? It was on a recording he made for Operation Coffee Cup — a campaign organized by the American Medical Association to block the passage of Medicare. Doctors’ wives were supposed to organize coffee klatches for patients, where they would play the Reagan recording, which declared that Medicare would lead us to totalitarianism.

[From Raising the white flag of surrender to Medicare - Paul Krugman - Op-Ed Columnist - New York Times Blog]

Funny, if it wasn’t so sad3

Footnotes:
  1. or her note-card writers []
  2. well, one of many []
  3. which could be said about most of the McCain-Palin campaign []

Written by Seth Anderson

October 3rd, 2008 at 11:09 am

Posted in politics

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YouTube Pulls Obama Spot

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Now I’m really curious to see the ad, I wonder if it is available.

Google-owned YouTube has pulled a Barack Obama ad from its site at the insistence of NBC, which charged that the spot infringed on its copyrighted content and that it did not give Obama’s campaign permission to use the material.

The ad, titled “Bad News,” is designed to get out the vote by appealing to voters and potential voters who do not want John McCain to win the election. At one point, NBC’s Tom Brokaw and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann are shown — with Olbermann announcing that McCain has “won.”

NBC has demanded that Obama stop using the clip altogether. But his campaign balked and instead attached a disclaimer to it that said, “NBC and MSNBC did not cooperate in the making of this video.”

[From YouTube Pulls Obama Spot]

I checked YouTube, and found the ad, removed, with this disclaimer: This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by NBC

If I find a copy, I’ll post it. Must have really irked NBC to be hoisted with their own petard.

Written by swanksalot

October 2nd, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Make-Believe Maverick

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Reckless and dishonest, that about sums the man up. Also, if McCain hadn’t been Navy royalty, he would have never flown, nor kept his wings after destroying two planes in questionable circumstances.

Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone has a long, good article about the life and career of John McCain. A few excerpts:

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

In its broad strokes, McCain’s life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers’ powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives’ evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

[Keep reading Make-Believe Maverick : Rolling Stone]

Incompetent, reckless, and dishonest: not characteristics of good presidents.

But the subsequent tale of McCain’s mistreatment — and the transformation it is alleged to have produced — are both deeply flawed. The Code of Conduct that governed POWs was incredibly rigid; few soldiers lived up to its dictate that they “give no information . . . which might be harmful to my comrades.” Under the code, POWs are bound to give only their name, rank, date of birth and service number — and to make no “statements disloyal to my country.”

Soon after McCain hit the ground in Hanoi, the code went out the window. “I’ll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital,” he later admitted pleading with his captors. McCain now insists the offer was a bluff, designed to fool the enemy into giving him medical treatment. In fact, his wounds were attended to only after the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a Navy admiral. What has never been disclosed is the manner in which they found out: McCain told them. According to Dramesi, one of the few POWs who remained silent under years of torture, McCain tried to justify his behavior while they were still prisoners. “I had to tell them,” he insisted to Dramesi, “or I would have died in bed.”

Dramesi says he has no desire to dishonor McCain’s service, but he believes that celebrating the downed pilot’s behavior as heroic — “he wasn’t exceptional one way or the other” — has a corrosive effect on military discipline. “This business of my country before my life?” Dramesi says. “Well, he had that opportunity and failed miserably. If it really were country first, John McCain would probably be walking around without one or two arms or legs — or he’d be dead.”

Once the Vietnamese realized they had captured the man they called the “crown prince,” they had every motivation to keep McCain alive. His value as a propaganda tool and bargaining chip was far greater than any military intelligence he could provide, and McCain knew it. “It was hard not to see how pleased the Vietnamese were to have captured an admiral’s son,” he writes, “and I knew that my father’s identity was directly related to my survival.” But during the course of his medical treatment, McCain followed through on his offer of military information. Only two weeks after his capture, the North Vietnamese press issued a report — picked up by The New York Times — in which McCain was quoted as saying that the war was “moving to the advantage of North Vietnam and the United States appears to be isolated.” He also provided the name of his ship, the number of raids he had flown, his squadron number and the target of his final raid.

and the confession: McCain was1 the only one of his group of 600 POWs to confess to war crimes. I can’t criticize someone breaking down under torture – that is what torture is designed to accomplish – break down the resistance of weak willed men, but is this really John McCain’s main qualification for running the country?

In the company of his fellow POWs, and later in isolation, McCain slowly and miserably recovered from his wounds. In June 1968, after three months in solitary, he was offered what he calls early release. In the official McCain narrative, this was the ultimate test of mettle. He could have come home, but keeping faith with his fellow POWs, he chose to remain imprisoned in Hanoi.

What McCain glosses over is that accepting early release would have required him to make disloyal statements that would have violated the military’s Code of Conduct. If he had done so, he could have risked court-martial and an ignominious end to his military career. “Many of us were given this offer,” according to Butler, McCain’s classmate who was also taken prisoner. “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.”

“He makes it sound like it was a great thing to have accomplished,” says Dramesi. “A great act of discipline or strength. That simply was not the case.” …

The brutal interrogations that followed produced results. In August 1968, over the course of four days, McCain was tortured into signing a confession that he was a “black criminal” and an “air pirate.” “

“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,” says Butler. “John was just one of about 600 guys. He was nothing unusual. He was just another POW.”

McCain has also allowed the media to believe that his torture lasted for the entire time he was in Hanoi. At the Republican convention, Fred Thompson said of McCain’s torture, “For five and a half years this went on.” In fact, McCain’s torture ended after two years, when the death of Ho Chi Minh in September 1969 caused the Vietnamese to change the way they treated POWs. “They decided it would be better to treat us better and keep us alive so they could trade us in for real estate,” Butler recalls.

By that point, McCain had become the most valuable prisoner of all: His father was now directing the war effort as commander in chief of all U.S. forces in the Pacific. McCain spent the next three and a half years in Hanoi biding his time, trying to put on weight and regain his strength, as the bombing ordered by his father escalated. By the time he and other POWs were freed in March 1973 as a result of the Paris Peace Accords, McCain was able to leave the prison camp in Hanoi on his own feet.

Even those in the military who celebrate McCain’s patriotism and sacrifice question why his POW experience has been elevated as his top qualification to be commander in chief. “It took guts to go through that and to come out reasonably intact and able to pick up the pieces of your life and move on,” says Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, who has known McCain since the 1980s. “It is unquestionably a demonstration of the character of the man. But I don’t think that it is a special qualification for being president of the United States. In some respects, I’m not sure that’s the kind of character I want sitting in the Oval Office. I’m not sure that much time in a prisoner-of-war status doesn’t do something to you. Doesn’t do something to you psychologically, doesn’t do something to you that might make you a little more volatile, a little less apt to listen to reason, a little more inclined to be volcanic in your temperament.”

John McCain has never been interested in consistency, another aspect of his dice-throwing personality.

In June of this year, McCain reversed his decades-long opposition to coastal drilling — shortly before cashing $28,500 from 13 donors linked to Hess Oil. And the senator, who only a decade ago tried to ban registered lobbyists from working on political campaigns, now deploys 170 lobbyists in key positions as fundraisers and advisers.

Then there’s torture — the issue most related to McCain’s own experience as a POW. In 2005, in a highly public fight, McCain battled the president to stop the torture of enemy combatants, winning a victory to require military personnel to abide by the Army Field Manual when interrogating prisoners. But barely a year later, as he prepared to launch his presidential campaign, McCain cut a deal with the White House that allows the Bush administration to imprison detainees indefinitely and to flout the Geneva Conventions’ prohibitions against torture.

What his former allies in the anti-torture fight found most troubling was that McCain would not admit to his betrayal. Shortly after cutting the deal, McCain spoke to a group of retired military brass who had been working to ban torture. According to Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former deputy, McCain feigned outrage at Bush and Cheney, as though he too had had the rug pulled out from under him. “We all knew the opposite was the truth,” recalls Wilkerson. “That’s when I began to lose a little bit of my respect for the man and his bona fides as a straight shooter.”

But perhaps the most revealing of McCain’s flip-flops was his promise, made at the beginning of the year, that he would “raise the level of political dialogue in America.” McCain pledged he would “treat my opponents with respect and demand that they treat me with respect.” Instead, with Rove protégé Steve Schmidt at the helm, McCain has turned the campaign into a torrent of debasing negativity, misrepresenting Barack Obama’s positions on everything from sex education for kindergarteners to middle-class taxes. In September, in one of his most blatant embraces of Rove-like tactics, McCain hired Tucker Eskew — one of Rove’s campaign operatives who smeared the senator and his family during the 2000 campaign in South Carolina.

“I’m sure John McCain loves his country,” says Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar under Bush. “But loving your country and lying to the American people are apparently not inconsistent in his view.”

Footnotes:
  1. as far as I know []

Written by Seth Anderson

October 2nd, 2008 at 9:57 am

Posted in politics

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McCain gets testy

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Angry McLame strikes:

Tuesday, during a question and answer session with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register in Iowa, that infamous McCain temperament seemed to surface. The entire interview is fascinating, with McCain appearing far less restrained and carefully managed than he has for much of the campaign.

McCain became testy when asked about whether Sarah Palin had enough experience to assume the role of president if necessary, answering, “So, with due respect, I strongly disagree with your premise that she doesn’t have experience and knowledge and background.” McCain added that Palin has “been a member of the PTA, been a governor, been a mayor.” Then, seeming to realize that he’d lost his cool somewhat, McCain said “I’ll stop there.” He went on anyway, however, concluding, “But you and I just have a fundamental disagreement and I’m so happy that the American people seem to be siding with me.”

McCain became especially sarcastic when asked about backlash from some conservatives over his selection of Palin. “Really? I haven’t detected that,” he said. “Now if there’s a Georgetown cocktail party person who quote calls himself a conservative and doesn’t like her, good luck.”

And adding to the confrontational nature of the interview, McCain challenged a questioner who asked whether the Straight Talk Express had been derailed by less than truthful attacks on Obama. Saying that he “always had 100 percent truth” in his political career, McCain supported the claims made in one of his campaign ads, that Obama supports comprehensive sex education for children in kindergarten. Many news organizations have judged that a perversion of Obama’s actual policy stance on the issue.

Perhaps McCain’s reaction to his Iowan inquisitors came out of the fact that he seems to have little chance of winning the state. Polling results consistently show Barack Obama firmly in the lead there.

A clip from the interview is [here]. The entire series of videos can be found on the Des Moines Register’s Web site. (While you’re there, you can also check out the paper’s footage of the Iowa Oktoberfest festivities, which included keg rolling and beer balance beam competitions, assuming you can watch that sort of thing without being jealous because you’re stuck at a computer.

[From McCain gets testy]

Hey, sign me up for beer balance beam contests, I’d do great! As far as Angry McSame, I would doubt if that aspect of his personality emerged in the constrained atmosphere of a debate, but I’d love to see it. Well, as long as it doesn’t cause McCain to have another stroke. I don’t wish death on McCain, just electoral defeat, humiliation even.

Written by swanksalot

October 1st, 2008 at 4:06 pm

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Palin Was A Formidable Foe in Alaska Debates

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Palin sounds she should be more than able to hold her own in tomorrow’s debates, so there is no reason for Joey the Shark to hold back. I hope he demolishes her.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — There are two things people here remember about Sarah Palin’s debating style during her race for governor two years ago.

One is the stack of color-coded cue cards she took to the podium for help whenever she was asked a policy question. The other is how quickly she was able to shuck those props, master the thrust-and-parry of jousting with her opponents and inquisitors, and project confidence to an audience of television viewers watching from home.

“That’s the Sarah Palin I remember from the 2006 debates: positive, confident and upbeat,” recalls Libby Casey, an Alaska public-radio reporter who served as a debate moderator on two occasions that year.

But Gov. Palin’s telegenic gifts could help neutralize some shortcomings. Ms. Casey, the public-radio reporter, credits Gov. Palin’s training as a TV sportscaster for her ability to connect with a broadcast audience at home.

In her debates during the 2006 campaign, Ms. Palin would often thank the reporters serving as debate moderators — invariably addressing them by their first names, and adding a compliment for their insightful questions. She would then turn immediately to the camera to speak directly to a home audience.

“Like a sportscaster, she’s learned to be good at dropping the g’s, and relating to the viewer as a fan,” Ms. Casey explains. “You know: ‘It’s a big game this weekend and it’s gonna be tough. But we’re all in this together.’”

[From Palin Proved to Be Formidable Foe in Alaska Debates - WSJ.com] [Digg-enabled link for non WSJ subscribers]

She is no delicate flower, let’s stop treating her as anything but an odious politician, with questionable judgements.

Written by swanksalot

October 1st, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

Palin and Six Thousand Year Old Earth

with 2 comments

I would be very interested if Sarah Palin was asked, point blank, in the upcoming debate if she believes the Earth is 6,000 years old. If she has conviction of her beliefs, she shouldn’t lie in response just to obscure and deny her religion, but have the courage to actually say what she believes.

Dinosaur Invasion
[Dinosaur Invasion - click to embiggen, if you aren't easily frightened]

ANCHORAGE — Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago — about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct — the teacher said.

After conducting a college band and watching Palin deliver a commencement address to a small group of home-schooled students in June 1997, Wasilla resident Philip Munger said, he asked the young mayor about her religious beliefs.

Palin told him that “dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time,” Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said “she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks,” recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.

The idea of a “young Earth” — that God created the Earth about 6,000 years ago, and dinosaurs and humans coexisted early on — is a popular strain of creationism.

Though in her race for governor she called for faith-based “intelligent design” to be taught along with evolution in Alaska’s schools, Gov. Palin has not sought to require it, state educators say.

[From Palin treads carefully between fundamentalist beliefs and public policy - Los Angeles Times]

Palin has not sought yet, but she’s probably just biding her time.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 29th, 2008 at 10:41 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,