Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

John-McCain-VODI’m SO conflicted about John McCain. He fought in Vietnam, a war that I had actively opposed. But it’s long been my feeling that war is in the providence of civilian leadership. I understand that McCain, son, and grandson of four-star admirals, found his own way to serve his country, after his carousing youth, and suffered five and a half years of torture as a result.

After returning from Vietnam, McCain remained in the Navy until 1981, after which he embarked on a second career in politics. He was elected to the House of Representatives as a congressman from Arizona in 1982, then to the Senate in 1986.

His Vietnam experience made him a powerful advocate against “enhanced interrogation” by the United States, which this country, to its shame, surely participated in. And it created in him a great supporter for veterans. But it also helped make him an unrelenting war hawk, with whom I largely disagreed.

The first time I participated in the ABC Wednesday, in October 2008, it was re: the Keating Five when I wrote about McCain receiving about $112,000 in political contributions from Keating and his associates in 1987, but hesitant about intervening on the financier’s behalf in the dealings with the Lincoln Savings and Loan.

That lapse, which he owned up to, led him to be an advocate for campaign finance reform with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) in legislation now rendered moot by the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling.

The Weekly Sift captured the reason why I would have voted for John McCain in the New York Republican primary for President in 2000, had I been eligible to do so, against George W. Bush.

“Presidential politics in New Hampshire traditionally has revolved around the town hall meeting, and McCain was the absolute master of that form. No matter what they’re asked, shallow candidates find a way to segue into their canned talking points. But… McCain always answered the questions he was asked. Usually, he did it knowledgeably and articulately while radiating a sense of earnestness tempered by self-deprecating humor.”

Then, of course, he blows it by pandering to South Carolina voters over the Confederate flag then hanging over the statehouse. Later that year, he admits he was wrong.

During the Iraq war, John McCain was right about those non-binding resolutions the Democrats tried to pass: it’s immoral to continue to, on one hand, fund the war and on the other hand, suggest the war is wrong.

During the 2008 campaign for President, McCain went to Selma, Alabama where on March 7, 1965, peaceful civil rights demonstrators were attacked by state and local lawmen. “I’m aware of the fact that there will be many people who will not vote for me. But I’m going to be the president of all the people and I will work for all of the people and I will listen to all of the people, whether they decide to vote for me or not.”

I became sure that John McCain would finally become President that year because of the Clinton/Obama infighting. He had considered then-Senator Joe Lieberman, a hawkish Democrat from Connecticut to be his Vice-President. But once again, to his greatest detriment, he essentially allowed the party to pick the relatively unknown former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin.

Frank Schaeffer, a longtime supporter of John McCain, wrote in October 2008 that McCain-Palin rallies were starting to resemble lynch mobs. “If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as ‘not one of us,’ I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.”

Does that sound familiar? No wonder he had to correct that woman during a town hall event.

If not for Palin, or maybe Tina Fey, McCain might have won. Or not. I thought in September 2008: “McCain’s self-declared lack of strength in the economic side is problematic. His economic policy, deemed ‘incomplete’ by the hardly liberal US News makes the rich richer. He declares that fundamentals of the economy are strong even as Wall Street collapses.”

John McCain and Ted Kennedy, Died August 28, 9 Years Apart, of Brain Cancer (Jim Watson, Getty Images)

In August 2009, McCain noted that the health care debate has been stymied in part because his friend Ted Kennedy (D-MA), the “Lion of the Senate”, wasn’t able to participate in the debate fully. Kennedy, like McCain, was an “old-time” senator who really DID work “across the aisle.”

In 2012, McCain called out the sheer lunacy of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) when she and four Republican colleagues accused Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin of being circuitously connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. He needed to do that sort of thing more often.

And of course, there were three Republican Senators who voted against the so-called “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare, in July 2017. One was John McCain, who made a dramatic return to DC that week after a diagnosis of brain cancer.

In his October 30, 2017 speech to the Naval Academy, he said: “We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions. We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on earth by tearing down walls, not building them.”

In a most divisive time in history, two former presidents, Obama and Bush 43, the guys who kept him out of the Oval Office – have been asked to deliver eulogies at the funeral.

His Farewell Statement, written back in March 2018, showed that John McCain might be the last good Republican.


Change Can Happen Faster Than You Think

Sierra Club secures 24,000 pages of EPA emails, calls logs, and documents which expose the culture of corruption in and around Scott Pruitt

NYSUT congratulates Albany Med nurses on the decision to unionize

Waging Peace: Two Billboards Outside Albany, New York

Speaking in Code: Two phrases that no longer mean what they used to

Roy Cohn, the Original Donald Trump

America’s Word is Worthless

‘Project Trumpmore’ to Carve President’s Face into Melting Iceberg

Federal Employees Face Cuts To Retirement Benefits And Pay Freezes

Cartoon: Circular Sarah

What ‘Daily Show’ host Trevor Noah means by ‘the 5:30 curse’

The point at which the US politics firmly pivoted toward the Right

It’s A Toxic Myth That Celibacy Makes Men Violent

Monica Lewinsky: What We All Can Learn from My Disinvitation Debacle

Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World’s Largest

New Yorker cartoon: Late at night is my sacred time to catalog every single instance of when and how I am a terrible person

Is this the loneliest generation?

She was the first woman senator. Her term lasted exactly a day

Culture Cruise: ‘Homer’s Phobia’

Did Little Syria in Lower Manhattan Consist of Asian-Americans?

Their Ancestors Were on Opposite Sides of a Lynching. Now, They’re Friends

Free press: the future of Boulder, CO’s Daily Camera

The architecture of First Presbyterian Church in Albany, an article by Warren Roberts, who died this week, struck by two cars in Florida.

Science Marches On

Wait But Why: A thing happened while I was at the coffee shop

This Video is about Red-Eyed Tree Frogs? and How to Win

Ken Levine on the state of network TV

Internet Wading: The return

“Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

Why Whales Got So Big

Gone to the dogs

Names list offers origins, statistics and popularity rankings for people names

Now I Know: The Color Changing Building (and Democracy Experiment) and The Accident and the Musical Savant and Why Dippin’ Dots Never Became the Ice Cream of the Future and When the NBA Doubled Its Money and I Can’t Believe It’s All Butter

Magnolias In The Park

Credit and Debt Management

The Best Coffee in Every State

MUSIC

Confounds the Science – parody of Sound of Silence

My Last Day Without You – Nicole Behari

Dire Straits’ “Sultans Of Swing” Played on the Gayageum, a Korean Instrument Dating Back to the 6th Century

Birdsong – Kina Grannis

I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You – Louis Armstrong

I’m Not in Love – Don’s Mobile Barbers (UK surf act)

Slow Turning – John Hiatt

Coverville: 1215: Cover Stories for Adele and Captain & Tennille and 1216: The Irving Berlin Cover Story

Uptown Funk- Big Daddy

When I’m Sixty-Four -MonaLisa Twins

The Hamilton Polka – The Casts of Hamilton

Black Water – some Doobie Brothers and the Playing for Change Band

Riley B King – Keb’ Mo’

In The Mood – Henhouse Five Plus Two

Beatle For 13 Days

Hit Parade: The B-Sides Edition

There’s a lot about Al Gore, 45th Vice-President of the United States, under Bill Clinton, that seems misunderstood to me.

It is suggested that he ran such a lousy campaign when he ran for President in 2000 that he lost his home state of Tennessee. But it is understood in some circles that
egregious intimidation and disenfranchisement of certain voters wasn’t limited to Florida.

The former college roommate of Tommy Lee Jones didn’t say he invented the Internet. The then-senator did create and introduce the High Performance Computing Act of 1991, which “led to the development of the National Information Infrastructure and the funding of the National Research and Education Network (NREN).

“The act built on prior US efforts of developing a national networking infrastructure, starting with the ARPANET in the 1960s, and the funding of the National Science Foundation Network (NSFnet) in the 1980s. The renewed effort became known in popular language as building the Information superhighway.”

“A spirited defense of Gore’s statement penned by Internet pioneers Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf (the latter often referred to as the ‘father of the Internet’) in 2000 noted that ‘Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development’ and that ‘No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution [to the Internet] over a longer period of time.'”

There was the kiss of his wife Tipper at the 2000 Democratic national convention. From all reports he wasn’t the wooden figure he had been portrayed.

“Claire Shipman of NBC speculated… the kiss sent a message. It signaled that Al Gore (unlike some presidents we know) is a faithful husband. Excellent point; imagine what would have happened if the Clintons had dared such a scene. Though some viewers were charmed by the Gore kiss and others squirmed, no one doubted that it was based on reality. There you have what really makes it seem odd. The kiss struck everyone as a political gesture based on truth, and nothing is rarer than that.”

Then there’s his wonky slide show presentation An Inconvenient Truth, which won the Academy Award in 2007 as Best Documentary, Feature.

Did any of this actually ‘save the world?’ “OK, you got us. Ten years after the movie’s release, climate change is still a growing threat and a polarizing issue, with record-breaking heat unable to stop skeptics from tossing snowballs on the Senate floor.

“But we’re also seeing corporate, political, and societal mobilization against the crisis on a scale that would have been hard to imagine 10 years ago, and there’s no question the film played a big part in getting us there.”

As Albert Arnold Gore Jr. said recently, “In 2017, Mother Nature certainly got our attention with a series of devastating extreme weather events. Our thoughts continue to be with the people of the US Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, and California as they recover from the floods, powerful hurricanes, and wildfires made ever-more severe by our warming world.”

When Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was appointed Secretary of State by President Barack Obama in 2009, New York governor David Paterson selected Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the Senate vacancy.

Liberal Democrats, primarily from downstate (New York City) were not happy with the pick of the upstate Congresswoman with moderately conservative credentials. But, as Paterson knew, Gillibrand had won her House seat in 2006 and 2008 in a district gerrymandered to be in the Republican column.

As a Senator, she moved her political positions towards a far more liberal/progressive agenda. Her first early issue that I was aware of, though, didn’t seem to skew left or right, as she worked hard for passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

She has become a champion for victims of sexual assault, first in the military and then nationwide. She said, “This is a moment in time, unlike any other, with the ‘Me Too’ movement. Women are feeling the ability to tell what happened to them, some of the worst moments they’ve lived, and tell it publicly, and that is powerful and it is affecting everything.”

She’s also championed female candidates for office with the group Off The Sidelines, which professes not taking any corporate PAC money.

In 2017, no senator voted more often against the regime’s Cabinet nominees than Kirsten Gillibrand. She said recently: “We have a president who silences and demeans women, rigs the economy so corporations and the wealthiest few get richer while American families get by on less, allows the NRA to dictate his gun policy and threatens Dreamers with deportation from the country they call home. And what’s worse, the Republican Party has fallen in line behind him.”

A vulgar and suggestive message from the Tweeter-in-chief may have done her more political good than harm. The Washington Post reported that he raised her profile and fired up her supporters. She denies that she’s a contender for the 2020 presidential election.

She has been quite visible on television of late, including a 60 Minutes profile. “We are here to help people. We are here to put others first, to live a day in their shoes, to understand what their life is like and try to make it better.”

Kirsten Gillibrand is running for re-election to the Senate in 2018, and it appears extremely unlikely that she could lose.

For ABC Wednesday

Maurice Hinchey (NY-22), 112th Congress

I was president of student government at Binghamton Central High School. I served on the Financial Council when I was an undergraduate at New Paltz, and restarted the library school governance.

Until recently, I never thought much about actually running for a standard elective office. I did work on a few campaigns, always for Democrats, although not always the establishment choice. Before I could vote, I blew up balloons for Bill Burns’ failed 1969 campaign to succeed his brother John as mayor of Binghamton; he lost to Al Libous, who I did not like.

Some poli sci types did some polling for a state assembly candidate named Maurice Hinchey in 1972, and I did a little phone calling. Alas, he lost to the incumbent, H. Clark Bell.

But 1974 was different. It was a Watergate year. The incumbent member of Congress, Howard Robison of Owego decided that he didn’t want to run again in a district that spanned 150 miles across, from Ithaca to Woodstock. The New Paltz Democratic Club, of which I was a member, had four candidates to consider. One was the town supervisor from Union, near Binghamton, who didn’t bother to come. One was a Binghamton lawyer who a couple of folks supported. Most backed a Woodstock attorney named Bill Schecter (sp?), the local guy. But a few people, including me, favored Matt McHugh, the Tompkins County District Attorney at the other end of the district.

You’d think an anti-establishment sort like me wouldn’t support a DA, but he was a really strong on the issues. I carried petitions and got at least 125 signatures. Schecter may have won Ulster County, but McHugh carried the town of New Paltz.

Again, the poli sci folks did phone poling, for McHugh, running against the ambitious Libous, and Hinchey, who was in a rematch with Bell. The Democrats both won. McHugh spent 18 years in Congrsss, and was succeeded there by Hinchey (pictured), who, sadly, died recently.

I worked a handful of campaigns after that in Albany, carrying petitions at least four times.

When the possibility of a constitutional convention cropped up in 2017, I gave serious consideration about running as a delegate if it passed, which fortunately, it did not.

The only other times I thought about running for office was when a certain person was running for the Albany library board, four or five years in a row. If he had been running for, say one of two positions, and there was only one other person on the ballot, I would have launched a write-in campaign. As the then-President of the Friends of the APL, I thought I might have had a chance against a collector of Nazi paraphernalia, whose views seemed to match his hobby.

After the last guy was elected President, someone said to me, “Well, I guess it doesn’t matter WHAT skeleons are in your closet.” That’s SUCH 2016 thinking.

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