Category Archive 'John McCain'
03 Sep 2018

The Media and McCain

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Dr. Bastiat:

Watching the media coverage of McCain’s presidential campaign against Barack Obama, I was surprised that he didn’t personally beat up black orphans on stage during campaign stops. Watching the media coverage of McCain’s funeral, I was surprised that he didn’t rise on the third day.

12 May 2018

Trump Not Invited to John McCain’s Funeral

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Not in the best of taste, of course, but it does make an important point in recognizing that an awful lot of voting Americans really do like Donald Trump’s combativeness.

05 Jan 2017

Assange: “Podesta’s Password Was ‘Password’ “

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The Senate is right now holding a hearing based on the entirely questionable premise that Russian hacking “interfered with” the presidential election. As on any occasion in which democrats are screwing over the Republicans, there was John McCain playing a prominent part.

Just two nights ago, Julian Assange told Sean Hannity that the Wikileaks source was no state actor at all.

As the Townhall quotation makes clear, hacking the DNC was hardly difficult:

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange revealed to Sean Hannity in an interview that aired Tuesday night that Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta’s email password was “password.” As such, a 14-year-old could have hacked into the system.

    “We published several … emails which show Podesta responding to a phishing email,” Assange said during the first part of the interview, which aired on “Hannity” Tuesday night. “Podesta gave out that his password was the word ‘password’. His own staff said this email that you’ve received, this is totally legitimate. So, this is something … a 14-year-old kid could have hacked Podesta that way.”
19 Jul 2015

POW “War Heroes” and Mr. Trump

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William G. Zincavage, Special Troops, USMC Third Division 1942-1945, Guadalcanal, Vella la Vella, Guam, Iwo Jima

When the last colliery in the Region closed in 1954, my father borrowed several thousand dollars to pay the bribe necessary to gain entry to the Steamfitters Union. The nearest construction work was far away in Westchester County, New York. My father worked on various construction jobs in Westchester, commuting home only on weekends, until he retired in the late 1970s.

When I got to be a teenager, my father was able to pull strings to get me work as a helper on construction. One of the regular journeyman plumbers I used to work with was a thin, depressive Polish guy, named Walter Something-ski.

Walter was always complaining about how rough he’d had it as a prisoner of war in WWII. Walter had been an infantryman in the 28th Division. The 28th Division was roughly handled and finally overrun during the Battle of the Bulge by Hasso von Manteuffel’s 5th Panzer Army, and Walter was one of many Americans who surrendered and became prisoners.

Walter felt that former prisoners of war, like himself, deserved greater recognition for their war-time sufferings. He thought there ought to be a special POW medal. And he was always talking about his terrible POW experiences and complaining about the POW’s post-war lack of status and recognition. Walter felt he ought to be getting a special pension for having been kept in captivity by the Germans behind barbed wire.

My father was the wrong guy to ask for sympathy. And when Walter would start bitching, my father used to rib him mercilessly in response. My father would tell Walter that, “In the Marine Corps, we were told we were not supposed to surrender.” Or, he’d say, “What are you complaining about? You were safe, being fed, living indoors, and nobody was shooting at you.” Or, my father would say, “If you didn’t like it there, why didn’t you do what you were supposed to do and escape?” Walter would exhibit frustration and do a visible slow burn of indignation but, as I expect WWII proved, Walter was not much of a fighter, and my father was a very tough hombre, so Walter never dared to express his resentment of my dad’s remarks in any more direct way.

I was, of course, reminded of my father’s lack of sympathy for poor old Walter by Donald Trump’s unkind recent remarks concerning John McCain.

In Ames, Iowa, Republican pollster Frank

Luntz had asked Trump about his reaction to McCain’s comment that Trump had stirred up the “crazies” with his candidacy. When Trump attacked McCain, Luntz asked if Trump was comfortable with that kind of criticism of a war hero.

“He’s not a war hero,” said Trump. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Commentators on the left and on the Right, Republicans and democrats, responded by jumping gleefully on the Donald, declaring his candidacy over on the basis of this particular remark.

Of course, nobody, except possibly Donald Trump himself, has ever expected Trump to become the Republican Presidential Nominee in 2016.

And, despite all the old ladies of both sexes throwing up their skirts over their faces at such an outrageous and unseemly exhibition of indecorum, I expect a lot of Americans find it more than a little refreshing to have one candidate out there who shoots from the hip, who says what he thinks, and who refuses to be careful not cross any controversial politically correct lines.

Yes, I think Trump was being a bit unfair to poor old John McCain who did suffer all sorts of genuine torture and abuse at the hands of those communist bastards in North Vietnam but, after all, a few unkind words from Donald Trump are pretty small potatoes compared to being turned down for the presidency in favor of a community agitator state senator with no actual record of accomplishment whatsoever whose claim to the chief magistracy of the nation was based purely upon the color of his skin. I’d say 69.5 million American voters insulted John McCain a lot more seriously in 2008.

And, then, too, points for John McCain’s Vietnam prisoner-of-war sufferings eventually run out. McCain used them up extravagantly over the years by being the US Senate’s leading Republican sell-out and by betraying Conservatism and the GOP again and again and again in every major legislative confrontation. Personally, I’m pretty much out of gratitude for John McCain’s Vietnam services.

10 Apr 2014

“Waterboard Him Some More”

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Abu Zubaydah

Left-wing sissies (HuffPo, SullyDish) have their panties in a twist over a John McCain revelation from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s (partisan) report on interrogation techniques leaked to the National Journal:

McCain… elaborated on an event that was reported Monday by The Post, noting that officials waterboarding a terror suspect reported to CIA headquarters that they had “gotten everything we can out of the guy.”

“The message came back, ‘Waterboard him some more.’ That is unconscionable,” McCain said.

Poor Abu Zubaydah, after all, merely, as Wikipedia notes:

Quickly rose from very low level mujahedin to third or fourth man in al Qaeda.

Served as Osama Bin Laden’s senior lieutenant.

Managed a network of training camps.

Was instrumental in the training of operatives for al Qaeda, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist elements inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Acted as the Deputy Camp Commander for al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, personally approving entry and graduation of all trainees during 1999–2000.

Approved all individuals going in and out of Afghanistan to the training camps from 1996–1999.

No one went in and out of Peshawar, Pakistan without his knowledge and approval.

Acted as al Qaeda’s coordinator of external contacts and foreign communications.

Acted as al Qaeda’s counter-intelligence officer and had been trusted to find spies within the organization.

Was involved in every major terrorist operation carried out by al Qaeda.

Was a planner for the Millennium plot to attack U.S. and Israeli targets during the Millennium celebrations in Jordan.

Served as a planner for the Paris Embassy plot in 2001.

Was one of the planners of 9/11.

Engaged in planning future terrorist attacks against U.S. interests.

Wrote al Qaeda’s manual on resistance techniques

Abu Zubaydah was one of the principal planners of the 9/11 attacks which killed more than 3000 innocent non-combatants. If I’d been in charge at the CIA and the interrogators at the scene phoned home to report that “they had gotten everything they can out of the guy,” and asked me what to do next. I would have said exactly the same thing. And that demonstrates precisely why decisions about how to deal with terrorists and illegal combatants should be made by “rough men”* and not by wimps and sissies.

*”People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

–attributed to George Orwell.

01 May 2012

Spiking the Football Backfires on Obama Campaign

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click on cartoon for larger image

Barack Obama’s reelection campaign of 2012 is increasingly looking like Michael Dukakis’s campaign of 1988, in which the conspicuously Dove-ish Massachusetts liberal governor tried bolstering his commander-in-chief creds by being photographed wearing a helmet and riding in the turret of an M1 Abrams tank.

First, there was the attempt to portray Mitt Romney as mean to dogs for taking his Irish setter along on a vacation trip in a rooftop carrier which exploded in a nationwide gale of jokes after Jim Treacher pointed out that Barack Obama had referred, in his famous autobiography, to eating dog as a child in Indonesia.

Then, there was the short-lived attempt to push voters’ buttons by having various democrats note that Mitt Romney was a descendant of Mormon polygamists. This one also failed when Republicans responded that it was true that, like many Mormons, Mitt Romney had fairly remote polygamous ancestry, a great-grandfather, but Barack Obama’s father was also a polygamist.

The latest attempt on the part of the Obama campaign to gain advantage involved putting Bill Clinton in a video to praise Barack Obama for making the oh-so-very-difficult decision to send in the Navy SEALs to take out Bin Ladin.

The response to what is being referred to as the Obama campaign “spiking the football” has been a combination of criticism of the president for exploiting the bravery of members of the US military and ridicule.

Mitt Romney retorted that even Jimmy Carter would have made the same decision.

John McCain, in a follow-up rejoinder, delivered a withering response.

I’ve had the great honor of serving in the company of heroes. And, you know the thing about heroes, they don’t brag.”

And, worst news of all for the Obama team, this particular campaign ploy provoked pushback from former SEALs.

Daily Mail:

Serving and former US Navy SEALs have slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as ‘ammunition’ for his re-election campaign. …

Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call.

‘I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice – it was a broader team effort.’

Mr Zinke, who is now a Republican state senator in Montana, added that MR Obama was exploiting bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid. ‘The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition.

Some political observers think many SEALs are so infuriated by the Obama Administration’s exploitation of their valor for political gain that they are bitterly angry. SEALs commonly believe that, from the time of the actual operation, the White House has shamelessly used the Abbottabad raid, hastily and irresponsibly making details public, and placing its own interests above the safety and security of SEAL team members and American long-term strategic goals.

There is active speculation that an organized group of SEALs may play an active role later in the campaign to “Swift Boat” Barack Obama.

01 Aug 2011

“Unfit to Govern”

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Fighting hobbits

“Tea party Republicans may be a noisy and effective protest movement, but they’re unfit to govern,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said at a news conference on Friday.

Speaker John Boehner’s task in working out a deal with Barack Obama and the democrat leadership of the Senate to avert a default crisis was made more difficult by 22 fiscally-irredentist Tea Party Republicans who refused to support his compromise solution.

John McCain made headlines by labeling the conservative extremists as “hobbits.”

I think “the hobbits” were wrong tactically and philosophically on insisting on trying to pass a balanced budget amendment. The democrats could never accept a balanced budget amendment. Their base and constituencies would never tolerate it. But, even more importantly, a balanced budget amendment is an unworkable idea which is constitutionally highly problematic.

Publius Huldah is quite right: a balanced budget amendment would strike directly at the concept of enumerated powers and it would effectively transfer decision-making authority from Congress to the courts.

The hobbits were wrong about the balanced budget amendment, but I think their hearts were in the right place and I still think they served a highly useful purpose in holding the GOP leaderships’ feet to the fire and restricting their ability to compromise too far elsewhere.

Mr. Boehner was enabled by their existence to go to Barack Obama and Harry Reid and say, “You know, guys, I’d like to compromise further and let you throw in some class-warfare taxes on the rich, but those crazy hobbits are fierce and fanatical. They’d never put up with any tax increases at all. I’d like to settle for more modest spending reductions, but Bandobras “Bullroarer” Took (R-VA) is insisting on blood.” It’s useful in negotiations to have a “Mr. Jones” you have to answer to, who is completely unreasonable and who is making maximalist demands.

Marc A. Thiessen contends that, in the end, in fact, the Tea Party hobbits did win.

The reported debt-limit deal appears to be a victory for the Tea Party. It includes around $1 trillion in spending cuts and creates a special committee of Congress to recommend cuts of $1.2 trillion more. If Congress does not approve those additional cuts by year’s end, automatic spending cuts go into effect. The package sets an important new precedent that debt-limit increases must be “paid for” with commensurate cuts in spending. According to Sen. Rob Portman, a former White House budget director, if we cut a dollar of spending for every dollar we raise the debt limit, we will balance the budget in 10 years — something that even the Paul Ryan budget would not achieve. And all this is accomplished with no tax increases. …

The Tea Party is also winning the battle of ideas. Last week, Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod crowed that the debt-limit battle was shaping up as a “definitional fight” in which voters would see Obama as defending the reasonable center against Republicans who are “pandering to the extremes.” Well, if Axelrod is so confident that Obama is winning this “definitional fight,” why was the White House so adamant about ducking a second round next year? The president said that “the only bottom line that I have is that we extend this debt ceiling through the next election.” If he were winning the argument, he would have been eager to have this fight again just before the next election.

And Glenn Reynolds notes complacently: Well, you know the hobbits won in the original story too.

The fact that the Conservative Movement is large and diverse enough to have its own more extreme fringe is really a positive sign. Political coalitions large enough to win are never tidy, compact, perfectly ideologically pure, all neat and discreet. A successful political movement inevitably even attracts people you would just as soon not have on your own side along with all the opportunists who can tell which way the wind is blowing.

25 Apr 2009

Begala is Wrong

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Paul Begala, at Huffington Post, thinks he’s very clever in quoting the not-clever-at-all John McCain who is also completely wrong.

In a CNN debate with Ari Fleischer, I said the United States executed Japanese war criminals for waterboarding. My point was that it is disingenuous for Bush Republicans to argue that waterboarding is not torture and thus illegal. It’s kind of awkward to argue that waterboarding is not a crime when you hanged someone for doing it to our troops. My precise words were: “Our country executed Japanese soldiers who waterboarded American POWs. We executed them for the same crime we are now committing ourselves.” …

I was referencing the statement of a different member of the Senate: John McCain. On November 29, 2007, Sen. McCain, while campaigning in St. Petersburg, Florida, said, “Following World War II war crime trials were convened. The Japanese were tried and convicted and hung for war crimes committed against American POWs. Among those charges for which they were convicted was waterboarding.”

Sen. McCain was right and the National Review Online is wrong. Politifact, the St. Petersburg Times’ truth-testing project (which this week was awarded a Pulitzer Prize), scrutinized Sen. McCain’s statement and found it to be true. Here’s the money quote from Politifact:

    “McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as ‘water cure,’ ‘water torture’ and ‘waterboarding,’ according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning.” Politifact went on to report, “A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps.”

Actually, murders, massacres, and death marches head the International Military Tribunal for the Far East’s list of war crimes, and the use of water simply happens to the first item addressed in a subsequent heading titled “Torture and Other Inhumane Treatment.” Since burning, flogging, strappado, and pulling out finger and toe nails are mentioned after the “water cure,” it is far from obvious that the authors of the Tribunal’s list of war crimes were intending to rank it as more inhumane than the others.

Politifact’s anonymous authorities (drawn from presumably the staffs of the St. Petersburg Times and the Congressional Quarterly which created Politifact as a joint venture) are betraying their own liberal journalist prejudices and manipulating the available data to suit their own preferences.

They, and Paul Begala and John McCain, are most particularly and obviously in error in equating the Japanese “water cure” torture with US water-boarding.

In the “water cure,” according to the Tribunal’s war crimes description, [t]he victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach until he lost consciousness. Pressure was then applied, sometimes by jumping upon his abdomen to force the water out. The usual practice was to revive the victim and successively repeat the process.

The Tribunal does not mention it, but historically the “water cure” torture technique was often performed with sufficient brutality that internal organs would be ruptured with fatal results, or merely performed excessively to the point where the victim’s body’s electrolyte balance was fatally compromised, producing death by “water intoxication.”

In the “water-cure,” the victim’s mouth is forced open, and enormous quantities of water are poured down his throat. If he fails to swallow any of the rapidly-poured water, it goes into his lungs and he really does experience drowning.

In the US-government-authorized water-boarding of three mass murderers, a cloth or cellophane barrier was placed over the criminal’s face and water poured on it for intervals of 10 to 40 seconds. Water was specifically prevented from entering the subject’s respiratory system.

Elaborate and carefully calculated protocols had been laid down, in precisely the opposite manner of the Japanese case, 1) confining the use of such comparatively harsh interrogation techniques to a tiny number of extremely guilty terrorists likely to possess extremely vital information on major threats to the lives of many thousands of innocent American civilians, and 2) assuring that no real lasting physical or mental harm was ever actually inflicted on the three major terrorist prisoners.

Those are extremely significant differences, Mr. Begala.

Beyond that, Begala, Politifact, and even Senator McCain overlook another very important consideration: the laws and customs of war.

We punished the defeated Japanese after WWII, and US troops commonly punished Japanese encountered in the field by offering no quarter, for Japanese disregard of the civilized European world’s military customs of avoiding the practice of perfidy (i.e. not falsely surrendering and then opening fire, not wearing the wrong uniform, and so on) and according prisoners of war honorable status and treating them humanely.

We do not owe Al Qaeda terrorists prisoner of war status. We do not, in fact, owe them, by the conventional laws and customs of war, anything beyond summary execution following drumhead courts martial at the pleasure of the officer in immediate authority. United States military forces, in fact, would by traditional standards not only possess every right to extract forcibly by any measures necessary any and all information necessary to preserve innocent life, they would have a grave obligation to do so.

It is the Al Qaeda terrorists who, like the Japanese in WWII, reject the civilized world’s customs of limiting behavior in war. And, as we punished the Japanese during and after WWII for failing to adopt our customs, we ought to be punishing Al Qaeda terrorists the same way for the same reasons. That is how the laws and customs of war are enforced.

Terrorist prisoners, in their capacity as hostis humani generis, by the conventional laws and customs of war for thousands of years, are entitled to nothing whatsoever in the form of rights, judicial proceeding, or sympathy. They deserve absolutely nothing other than execution by some harsh method particularly expressive of contumely like hanging.

18 Nov 2008

How Obama Got Elected

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This 9:54 video looks at the impact of media coverage on average voters’ knowledge of the candidates.

13 Nov 2008

Oak Park Fails T-shirt Test

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Catherine Vogt

John Kass, at the Chicago Tribune, has a little story of a middle school student’s experiment which tells us a lot about life in America today. Catherine Vogt’s Oak Park, Illinois could just as easily have been any other fashionable upper middle class community from coast to coast.

Just before the election, Catherine consulted with her history teacher, then bravely wore a unique T-shirt to school and recorded the comments of teachers and students in her journal. The T-shirt bore the simple yet quite subversive words drawn with a red marker:

“McCain Girl.”

“I was just really curious how they’d react to something that different, because a lot of people at my school wore Obama shirts and they are big Obama supporters,” Catherine told us. “I just really wanted to see what their reaction would be.”

Immediately, Catherine learned she was stupid for wearing a shirt with Republican John McCain’s name. Not merely stupid. Very stupid.

“People were upset. But they started saying things, calling me very stupid, telling me my shirt was stupid and I shouldn’t be wearing it,” Catherine said.

Then it got worse.

“One person told me to go die. It was a lot of dying. A lot of comments about how I should be killed,” Catherine said, of the tolerance in Oak Park.

“In one class, I had one teacher say she will not judge me for my choice, but that she was surprised that I supported McCain,” Catherine said.

If Catherine was shocked by such passive-aggressive threats from instructors, just wait until she goes to college. …

One student suggested that she be put up on a cross for her political beliefs.

“He said, ‘You should be crucifixed.’ It was kind of funny because, I was like, don’t you mean ‘crucified?’ ” Catherine said.

Other entries in her notebook involved suggestions by classmates that she be “burned with her shirt on” for “being a filthy-rich Republican.”

Some said that because she supported McCain, by extension she supported a plan by deranged skinheads to kill Obama before the election.

12 Nov 2008

Campaign Finance Reform in Action

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The Politico blog describes government in action enforcing honesty and fairness in campaign finance. John McCain should be proud of his own contributions to the present system.

The Federal Election Commission is unlikely to conduct a potentially embarrassing audit of how Barack Obama raised and spent his presidential campaign’s record-shattering windfall, despite allegations of questionable donations and accounting that had the McCain campaign crying foul.

Adding insult to injury for Republicans: The FEC is obligated to complete a rigorous audit of McCain’s campaign coffers, which will take months, if not years, and cost McCain millions of dollars to defend.

Obama is expected to escape that level of scrutiny mostly because he declined an $84 million public grant for his campaign that automatically triggers an audit and because the sheer volume of cash he raised and spent minimizes the significance of his errors. Another factor: The FEC, which would have to vote to launch an audit, is prone to deadlocking on issues that inordinately impact one party or the other – like approving a messy and high-profile probe of a sitting president.

McCain, on the other hand, accepted the $84 million in taxpayer money, which not only barred him from raising or spending more – allowing Obama to fund many times more ads and ground operations – but also will keep his lawyers busy for a couple years explaining how every penny was spent.

Through the end of September, McCain had socked away $9.4 million in a special fund to pay for the audit.

The Obama campaign does not expect to be audited, but spokesman Ben LaBolt said it would be ready in the event it is.

05 Nov 2008

Post-Electoral Gloom

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Ross Douthat contemplates the debacle of the 2008 election, and is depressed while being glad that it’s at least over.

I had a succession of meals last week with smart conservative friends, and I found them all relatively sanguine. … Each of them, in different ways, express a mix of enthusiasm for the “whither conservatism” battles ahead and relief at the prospect of finally closing the books on the Bush years. This has been an exhausting Presidency for conservatives as well as liberals, and for many people on the Right the prospect of being out of power has obvious upsides: No longer will every foul-up and blunder in Washington be treated as an indictment of Conservatism with a capital C; no longer will right-wingers feel obliged to carry water, whether in small or large amounts, for a government that’s widely perceived as a failure; and no longer will the Right have the dead weight of an unpopular president dragging it down and down and down. Defeat will be depressing, of course – none of my friends were Obamacons by any stretch – but it could be liberating as well.

This was how I expected to feel about a McCain defeat, too, and I’ve been trying to figure out why I don’t – why I feel instead so grouchy and embittered (clinging to my guns and my religion, and all that), and more dispirited than liberated…

I think the deeper reason for my political gloom has to do with something that Jonah Goldberg raised in our bloggingheads chat about conservatism – namely, the sense that the era now passing represented a great opportunity to put into practice the sort of center-right politics that I’d like to see from the Republican Party, and that by failing the way it did the Bush Administration may have cut the ground out from under my own ideas before I’d even figured out exactly what they were. ..

I’m not counseling despair here: There were people in 1976 who thought Richard Nixon had irrevocably squandered the chance to build a new right-of-center majority, and looked how that turned out.

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