March 2008





Troubling questions:

queen_of_diamonds1.jpgNews pundants [sic] have elevated McCain to “the most popular national political figure in the country” by repeatedly describing him as a “war hero” based on his refusal accept a communist offer of “early release” from captivity.

What the media has carelessly refused to acknowledge is that the camp’s senior ranking U.S. POW (SRO) had issued unquestionable orders that if a POW was to be released, “it would be the longest held prisoner” Because McCain was not the longest held POW, he would have faced a military court-marshal if he had accepted the offer.

It is incumbent upon McCain to prove to the American people that the 5 1/2 years he spent at the mercy of communist interrogators did not leave him with mental health issues that could hinder him in making snap decisions “if the White House phone rang at 3 a.m.”

Is McCain taking any kind of pain or “nerve” medicines? If so, do the medicines cause emotional and physical reactions?

McCain was once treated for Posttraumatic [sic] Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is said to get worse over time for former POWs, what is the status of his treatment?

patpearle.jpgDoes McCain still harbor stress triggered suicidal tendencies?

Where was McCain and what was happening to him during the months he was missing from the POW camp?

McCain implies that he made only one propaganda broadcast for the communists, but Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers say he made over 30. How many did he make and what did he get in return?

Why does McCain still deny that the Soviets were involved in the interrogation of U.S. POWs in Vietnam?

Does McCain’s former interrogators [sic], the communist Vietnamese, Russians, Chinese and Cubans have anything in their secret intelligence files about his behavior as a prisoner with which they could blackmail a President John McCain?

mccainbush_bffs.jpgWere the Pyramids piloted by Ancient Astronauts? If I learned anything from the 2004 campaign, it’s that people like Ted Sampley are very serious and deserve to have their charges repeated over and over and over and over and over and over in all media outlets, and that the number of people who dispute their charges on-air cannot exceed the number of people who sit there like stuffed frogs before pronouncing that the allegations constitute a “controversy” and “are troubling, if true.” Mission accomplished.

Some would say that John McCain lied about his war record so he could cynically use it to his own political advantage. SOME WOULD SAY:

In all the tales of wartime courage peppering John McCain’s presidential campaign trail, perhaps the most outstanding example of selfless heroism involves not the candidate but a humble Vietnamese peasant.

patpearle.jpgOn October 26, 1967, Mai Van On ran from the safety of a bomb shelter at the height of an air raid and swam out into the lake where Lieutenant Commander McCain was drowning, tangled in his parachute cord after ejecting when his Skyhawk bomber was hit by a missile.

In an extraordinary act of compassion at a time when Vietnamese citizens were being killed by US aerial bombardments, he pulled a barely conscious McCain to the lake surface and, with the help of a neighbour, dragged him towards the shore.

And when a furious mob at the water’s edge began to beat and stab the captured pilot, Mr On drove them back.

Nearly three decades later, a Vietnamese government commission confirmed he was indeed the rescuer and, in a 1996 meeting in Hanoi, McCain embraced and thanked Mr On and presented him with a Senate memento.

From that brief encounter to his death at the age of 88 two years ago, Mr On never heard from the senator again, and three years after their meeting, McCain published an autobiography that makes no mention of his apparent debt to Mr On.

It is a snub Mr On took to his death.

His widow, Bui Thi Lien, 71, said: “In his last years, my husband was very sad sometimes.

He would say, ‘Mr McCain has forgotten me.’

That’s how straight-shooting mavericks say ‘thank you for saving my life’, Late Mr. On.

mccainbush_bffs.jpgWhether or not McCain believed Mr On is unclear.

But his refusal to acknowledge his heroism is likely to fuel other, more damaging allegations that McCain exaggerated elements of his PoW ordeal in Hoa Lo prison.

Phung Van Chung, 70, who was a Communist Party official at the time, claims McCain was quickly singled out for softer treatment, adding: “I found out he was the son of an American admiral, so the top people wanted to keep him as a live witness so they could use him for negotiations.”

Barack Obama must denounce Biz Markie. He’s scary.

Don Siegelman is free.

So is Scooter Libby.

Steve Benen:

As for the 11 seconds of interrogation footage, I suspect this is largely a matter of taste. Some will see this as yet another reminder of what McCain had to endure during his military service as a young man, some will see this as ghoulish. I assume the focus groups must have liked it, or the footage wouldn’t have been included.

It did remind me, though, of what McCain had to say about these kinds of tactics. In 2004, for example, he criticized John Kerry for reminding voters of his own heroic service. McCain said he was “sick and tired of re-fighting the Vietnam War,” and disparaged Kerry, saying his emphasis on his military record is “clearly a tactical or strategic move.” McCain said he intentionally avoided talking about his service during his 2000 campaign.

And yet, eight years later, he’s building a campaign ad around interrogation footage taken from a Vietnamese prison. It’s quite a departure from McCain’s previous strategy.

Do I smell unlikely romance in the air? For those about to tsk-tsk, I ask you this question: how can it be wrong when it feels so right? Paradox! It can’t be wrong – logic forbids it. We’ll play through.

An auspicious beginning:

On his radio show yesterday, Hugh Hewitt played excerpts of Barack Obama reading from his autobiography, Dreams of My Father.

Journalism: you’re soaking in it! On my internet weblog today, I will excerpt Mickey excerpting Hewitt excerpting Barack excerpting Rev. Wright:

It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, aprtheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere … That’s the world! On which hope sits.”

Deep thoughts by Mickey Kaus:

unibrowkaus.jpgSounds … controversial! Keep in mind: a)Obama isn’t disapproving of this sermon. In the book he weeps at the end of it; b)Demonstrating that at least some blaming of “white greed” for the world’s sins–which Obama now criticizes– isn’t an exceptional topic for Rev. Wright in a few wacky sermons (“the five dumbest things“) that Obama may or may not have missed. It’s at the quotidian core of the Afrocentric philosophy that Obama says drew him to the church; c) Indeed, in his big Feb. 18th race speechObama reads the passage from his book that describes his emotional reaction to this very sermon (his “first service at Trinity”)–how it made “the story of a people” seem “black and more than black.” d)This is also the sermon that gave Obama the title of his next book, The Audacity of Hope. e) The “profound mistake” of this sermon is not that Wright “spoke as if our society was static”–Obama’s analysis on Feb. 18th. The problem is that “white folks’ greed” is not the main cause of a “world in need.”

Well, that’s one problem. The other problem is that God/gods is/are made up hooey; religion as cosmology insults the intelligence of anyone over the age of 7; that most people use church to catch up on their sleep; that they aren’t missing anything; that nobody ever reads the Bible because it’s so God-awful dull; that they aren’t missing anything, either; and that nobody actuallybelieves any of it, or even really knows what it is they are claiming to believe on pain of eternal sermonizing. Oh, and also Rev. Wright conflated “rich people” with “white people”, much like you conflate “people who share my opinion that Obama voters are voting for a skin tone” with “white voters in heartland states I’ve read about in David Brooks’ Adventure Tales for Aristocratic Boys“. Or like you appear to have – judging by the well-digested passage above – conflated claims of rich/white people’s indifference to suffering with their creation of suffering. Although it’s very hard to tell, as you haven’t done even the minimal work of actually reading the book and determining if maybe – perish the thought! – talk radio Hugh Hewitt might not be the most objective source of information on the planet. (Imaginary Kaus counters: well why don’t you do the ‘minimal work’, then? A: I learned it by watching you!) Better yet, why not pay attention to something that isn’t the most overexposed who-fucking-gives-a-shit fad/story of the moment?

Darling Mickey is at this, I believe, because he wants someone to call him “a racist”. He wants someone to point out, for example, how Tom DeLay – at the time one of the most powerful figures in government – regularly blamed all the worlds’ sufferings on uppity wimmins and public schoolin’, and Mickey and his ilk all pretended nobody farted, and he wants someone to believe this discrepency is do to racial bias, rather than, say, being a hack who everyone should [continue to] ignore. I believe he wants this to happen so someone will pay attention to him, so that he can finally move on from, the Home for Wayward “Sensible” Wing-Nuts Who Can’t Even Get Gigs At The Atlantic. Or maybe he’s just as bored as his readers. Unfortunately, I can’t very well call him “a racist” until he says something racist, so I’m going to have to continue to call him “a very boring person with silly eyebrows and a wholey unnatural interest in talk radio sillyperson Hugh Hewitt’s interpretations of the sermons of the Right Rev. Some Black Guy I Don’t Fucking Care About.” Or you could find something more useful to do with your time than novelizations of Hugh Hewitt shows. (Someone needs to do a sermon about the spiritual and moral costs of boring me to death. God will Smite and Damn America if she persists in being such a wicked snore!)

Full disclosure: I tried to read Dreams of My Father a while back. It was awful. Nobody should write an autobiography at the age of 30. Nobody. Not as dire as the Bible, but still pretty tedious. Note to authors: more and better dick jokes!

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