John McCain: War Hero or Criminal? What He Doesn’t Want You To Know

First let me specifically state that I am a 56-year-old, white, college educated, Bible believing Christian female. I feel that this is important for those of you who are judging Barack Obama on the basis of his skin color, the false assumption that he is a terrorist with Middle Eastern ties, or that he is a Muslim. If you have read his biography or studied the politics involved you would know that much of what you are reading is propaganda and not true fact.

Saying that the opposite is also true of what is being said about John McCain. I hope that the following information may clarify some misconceptions regarding not only John McCain’s POW Hero status but also his current policies.

One thing that I have wondered about is why there is no mention of John McCain’s religious preferences since so much was made of both Mitch Romney’s and Barack Obama’s. Well the reason may be that McCain himself does not know which way he wants to lean in order to gain the vote of the Fundamentalist who vote according to church preference. Fact is that he grew up Episcopalian, went to an Episcopalian high school and for at least 15 years he has been listed as an Episcopalian in authoritative directories such as the Almanac of American Politics and Congressional Quarterly’s Politics in America 2008. He even told a reporter form McClatchy News Service in June 2007 that he was an Episcopalian. However, now that he is running for President and needs the Fundamentalist vote he informed a group meeting in South Carolina last September that he is a Baptist. Could this have anything to do with South Carolina being a state heavily populated with Baptists? When pressed, he said he’s attended the North Phoenix Baptist Church in Arizona for more than 15 years, though he has never been baptized in that church. Now see, that’s exactly the problem. Baptism is kind of a big thing in the Baptist Church. (That’s how they got the name.) No baptism, not Baptist.

Ethical behavior is also a problem for McCain who openly cheated on his first wife despite the fact that she was faithful to him and waited for him the entire time that he was held in a Viet Cong prison camp.

Anyway, details aside, this is one very clear indication of how McCain has changed into just another hungry politician, happy to pander if it helps him win.

Another indication that I see of his inconsistency is his desire to be seen with the current President, George W. Bush, when it fits his campaign fund raising needs but to hide his close association with him from the American people who disagree with Bush’s policies. This was seen just recently when he attended a fund raiser with Bush but made sure that the cameras did not show him with the President until he was sure that the film would not reach the nightly news that evening.

Next, I find it amazing that he is trying to cash in on Obama’s stand that no lobbyists or big corporation dollars will contribute to or be a part of his campaign. This is ridiculous. McCain’s national campaign general co-chair is former Texas Senator Phil Gramm who, according to Keith Olbermann, was found in lobbying disclosure forms, filed by the giant Swiss bank UBS, to be a lobbyist dealing specifically with legislation regarding the mortgage crisis as recently as December 31, 2007 and was not deregistered as a professional lobbyist until April 18, 2008.. This was during the same period, according to federal records, that he was advising McCain about his economic policy. To top that off, Gramm continues to serve as a UBS vice chairman and it wasn’t until two weeks ago that McCain banned four other of his advisors who just happen to be lobbyists from advising him on the same subjects covered by their lobbying work.

Despite how this may look to the American people who are tired of Big Business and lobbyists controlling our government McCain openly says that Gramm had input on his March 26 policy speech about the mortgage crisis and often cites Gramm’s influence as a way to establish bona fides with economic conservatives. McCain has also reportedly hinted that Gramm might serve as his Treasury secretary. To understand where we as Americans might stand if Gramm is made Treasury Secretary is to remember that he authored and helped pass a law easing regulation of energy-commodity trading and as a result California experienced a sharp run-up in energy costs. The energy-trading company Enron was blamed and soon collapsed.

Then we have the issue of how McCain would respond to Iran. Remember we are already at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, Bush declares McCain should be his successor and that his successor would stick with the Bush policy. I don’t know about you but I want our soldiers to come home in one piece. I am saddened by the number of soldiers being brought home in coffins or so disfigured/damaged that they will never be able to enjoy life in the same manner as before they went to war. It is not just Bush who has stated that McCain will follow his strategy, however, as McCain himself has already voiced his support for the Bush administration’s views on Iran and stressed that the military option is on the table to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weaponry. Maybe most important to his campaign, however, is his insistence that he was a war hero. I do not question that McCain suffered terrible brutalities at the hands of the Viet Cong but it takes intentional action and bravery to be considered a hero and I do not see that in McCain’s case. McCain did not choose to be shot down on October 26, 1967, which resulted in his being captured and tortured. In fact when all is said and done the result of his imprisonment was that he became a traitor to the United States when he broke down and made a video tape describing war crimes committed by the United States military. Others who were tortured just as severely or even worse refused to surrender and in my mind they were the heroes not John McCain. That does not mean that I could have survived what he endured it is just that I don’t think he should keep touting himself as hero when I don’t think he was. However, even if he had withstood the torture that makes him a brave war criminal, not a war hero. In essence not only did McCain turn against the United States it should be noted that he was shot down after 23 bombing missions and while he was assigned to destroy a power plant in the center of Hanoi, in a country that had never committed a crime on American soil or attacked an American citizen until they themselves were attacked. Isn’t this a perfect illustration of what one would expect to see in a terrorist or a war criminal?

It is questionable if his criminal affiliations ended there as in 1995, McCain sent birthday wishes, and regrets for not attending, a birthday party for Joseph “Joe Bannas” Bonano, the head of the New York Bonano crime family. The only other known official to send their regrets was Governor Fife Symington, who has since been kicked out of office and convicted of seven felonies relating to fraud and extortion.

Lastly, one cannot help to point out his involvement in the 1980s Savings and Loan scandal where he was one of the Keating Five. During that investigation he was investigated on ethics charges for strenuously helping convicted racketeer Charles Keating after Keating donated large sums of money to his campaign. In the end it turned out that Keating was convicted of racketeering that cost taxpayers $3.4 billion dollars after his Lincoln Savings and Loan collapsed.

While McCain was never convicted of anything he did intervene on Keating’s behalf after Keating gave him at $112,000 in contributions. During the mid-1980s McCain also made at least 9 trips on Keating’s airplanes, and 3 of those were to Keating’s luxurious retreat in the Bahamas. McCain’s wife and father-in-law were also involved with Keating becoming the largest contributors to Keating’s shopping center in Phoenix.

Sources:

“McCain Says He’s Been Baptist For Years”, by Bruce Smith, The Associated Press, September 12, 2007

“Candidates invite questions about their faith”, by Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, September 18, 2007

“The Pampered Politician”, by Amy Silverman, The Phoenix New Times, May 15, 1997

“See John Run Off at the Mouth”, Phoenix New Times, October 1, 1998

“Symington Gets Slammer”, Phoenix New Times, February 2, 1998

Election 98: Arizona Governor, Fox News web site, 1998 coverage (no longer on web)

“Famed McCain Temper is Tamed”, By Michael Kranish Boston Globe, January 27, 2008

So, who should vote for McCain? Anyone who believes that he is really a war hero because he bombed a country that never did anything to America and then made a video describing American War crimes. Anyone who isn’t concerned about electing an honest politician to office. Anyone who thinks that we can afford to send more troops to fight in the Mid East. Anyone who doesn’t care if America’s infrastructure and economic crisis is able to find a credible solution.

That obviously means that I am not voting for John McCain. America needs a fresh voice and I believe that Barack Obama is that voice but what ever you do decide please utilize your right to vote or don’t complain about who is elected to office.

Mired in Broken Campaign Promises – Hold Elected Officials Responsible

With the political soup getting as thick as peanut butter as we approach the 2008 elections one wonders if the voters are ready for all the rhetoric. It currently seems that the war of the sound bytes and gaffes of the modern day American Presidential elections began as soon as George Bush took his second oath of office in 2005. Today that means you might as well avoid CNN unless you want to hear who Hillary is allying with this week or whether Obama is managing to keep his fundraising on par with his rivals.

 

With the all hoop a la one can hardly help but wonder to whom the candidates are playing this week. In other words, which demographic group have their analysts advised them to address in order to win them over. Of course, we know that this tactic only leads to another debate between candidates to try to derail any points that one or the other has won. Given that, I have basically given up hope in the candidates ever offering us anything that they truly believe in. Since 2000 it has become obvious to many of us that all we are going to hear from those running for office are a pack of false promises that tend to overtake the truth and keep us all teetering precariously on the edge of oblivion, as was seen in the Florida debacle when George Bush stole the presidency from Al Gore.

 

However, while I can appreciate voter’s apathy in relationship to national elections where they feel that their vote rests in the hands of the electorate and has little significance that does not excuse voters from getting involved in their local races. Contrary to national races where we know that the candidates have no intention in living up to their campaign promises and allow themselves to be choked out by the machinery of big business and corruption local officials can be held accountable by the locals that they represent. Some of these elections while seemingly less important to many are for alderman or city councilman who determine things like where you can build a house, where you can eat, and whether you will have adequate police and fire services if there is significant growth in your area.

 

Simply put, now is the time for you to make a decision to be involved in your community. If you are 18 years of age, you are legally able to run for local offices in most communities and you don’t need to be wealthy or hold a specialized degree to do so. What you do need is a desire and willingness to serve your community while realizing that it is often going to require hard work and resolve to work through the tough issues. With that said, I challenge you to not only support your elected officials but also to consider serving as one if you are needed. If you are unable to serve it is still your responsibility as a citizen to keep track of those ordinances and decisions made by your local government to ensure that they are making intelligent and well thought out choices that are sure to affect all the members of your community.

[tags]Campaign Promises, Elected Officials, local government, Florida elections, national elections, presidential elections, George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Obama, political corruption[/tags]

Presidential Campaign Needs Someone Other Than Hillary Clinton

While none of her proposals are off the charts and she doesn’t vary much from the other Democratic candidates, we must remember that Bill Clinton set up America for 9/11 by not responding in an appropriate manner to foreign policy issues.

Another factor against her is that for the next four years our intelligence is sure to be challenged as Hillary cries “Bush did it” for any problems that she encounters. At least this seems likely since it has become the rallying cry any time somebody criticizes one of President George Bush’s decisions. An example is when Bush fired U.S. attorneys for political reasons rather than performance ones and everyone chose to ignore the fact that Bill Clinton had done the same thing.

Another blatant example is the commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence for lying to prosecutors during a federal investigation that has evoked the response, “Look at what Clinton did.” Sadly, it is true that Clinton handed out pardons and made many dubious decisions but have we lost all ability as a nation to see a decision for what it is, and discuss its relative merits or flaws, without resorting to the “he did it first” mentality?

Given that Bush has made his share of mistakes, it will be virtually impossible to define any decision Clinton would make without “Bush did it first” being the cry of the Clinton defense. However, none of this really seems to matter in the heat of the political moment, which is why I would dread another Clinton presidency.

I would argue that instead of another president with a schoolyard mentality, be it bullying, or hiding his/her head in the sand, we need a president with moral fortitude like Colin Powell to heal the nation’s political rift. I’m not sure that Powell is the answer but it is important to the nation that we believe either party can produce a viable candidate that could unify the nation in the same manner as Ronald Reagan did during his presidency. Like Reagan, we need a charismatic leader who will not only be intelligent and honest but also one who will take responsibility for his/her own decisions without crying “he did it first.”

[tags]Presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Colin Powell, Scooter Libby, Democratic candidate, Clinton[/tags]

Does Wicca, a Neo-Pagan Belief, Threaten Christian Values

George W. Bush denounced Wicca, an earth-centered religion, in 1999, when as Governor of Texas; he insisted, “The military should rethink their position regarding Wicca because it was not a religion”. Given that statement, one has to wonder what frame of reference or political stance, he used as a basis for his argument since the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof “.  However, it must be noted that George Bush is not the only politician to make statements or perform acts that are profoundly, religiously intolerant or violate the federal constitution in a major way. Other examples include Governor Mike Johanns (R, NE) who signed a proclamation on MAY 6, 1999, officially recognizing that day as a March for Jesus Day. In response, Carole Shields, president of People for the American Way Foundation, commented that:  “This action, far from promoting religious faith and freedom, undermines it by creating a second-class status for all faiths other than Christianity in
Nebraska.” At the time, reporters asked Governor Johanns whether he would sign a proclamation for a religion other than Christianity to which he replied: “I wouldn’t hesitate to sign a proclamation for the Jewish faith, Hinduism, whatever …. so long as it doesn’t require me to sign something I personally don’t agree with.” Then there was ” U.S. Representative Bob Barr (R, GA): who currently serves on the House Judiciary, Government Reform and Banking Committees who stated that he was offended that the U.S. army extended equal religious freedom to all soldiers on the Fort Hood, TX, army base, including Wiccans. He attempted to pressure the army into terminating religious freedoms for Wiccans on all army bases thus inspiring a coalition of conservative Christian groups to mount a boycott against army recruitment, until the U.S. Army complied. I myself am a Christian and believe in the principles set forth in the Christian Bible but one of these includes not casting the first stone at those who are different, which to me means extending tolerance to all and acknowledging others rights to believe as they choose.
 

Wiccan’s appear to be harmless, worshipping in much the same way as the Native American do by giving homage to the rain, wind, and nature in general. According to Edain McCoy, Wiccans celebrate their beliefs through the cycles of nature using the earth as their temple and its plants and creatures as their teachers. They “worship a deity that is both male and female, a mother Goddess and a father God who created all that is, or will be very similar to what Christians believe while respecting life and cherishing the free will of sentient beings and the sacredness of all creation.”

On May 4, 2004 Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, addressed the World Evangelical stating that, Once started religious strife has a tendency to go on and on, to become permanent feuds. Today we see such intractable inter-religious wars in Northern Ireland, between Jews and Muslims and Christians in Palestine, Hindus and Muslims in
South Asia and in many other places. Attempts to bring about peace have failed again and again. Always the extremist elements invoking past injustices, imagined or real, will succeed in torpedoing the peace efforts and bringing about another bout of hostility.
” This statement’s truth is obvious as we see the intolerance of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the many religious wars in
Africa. My fear is that if we as Americans, who founded America on the basis of religious freedom, become intolerant to any religion, be it Wiccan or Muslim, we set ourselves up to become the Nazi’s of the twenty-first century who during World War II, through their hatred and intolerance, massacred millions of Jews in the Holocaust. To date, one must be thankful that religiously based lynchings, fire bombings, and economic attacks have been limited in the United States and
Canada to some extremists but some of our political leaders keep the evil that fueled these attacks alive today.
 

Several years ago, I stopped attending a church edifice, despite my beliefs because of the judgmental attitude and intolerance I found there. It seemed to always appear as if the same people who were held up in the church as holy and who were the first to tell you how to live your life were the same ones you couldn’t trust in a business situation and the ones who spent all of Sunday dinner criticizing the preacher and other church members. My firm belief is that Jesus came to earth to teach us of God’s love, forgiveness and tolerance for others which means that while we ourselves may not agree with the beliefs or philosophies of others, even those self-called humanists with their non-theistic philosophy, we are not in a position to judge them. Therefore, when it comes to Wiccan’s with their nature beliefs, Muslims with their belief in Allah, or fellow Christians of different denominations one must guard themselves against feeling superior and allow each person to seek God in their own manner. [tags]Wicca, Neo-Pagan, Native Amerian, Tolerance, Abuse of 1st Amendment, George Bush, Military, Fort Hood, Freedom of religion, Christian Values, Judgement, God[/tags]