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PostSubject: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:16 am

well it looks like hotlinks and image posting is here already. whew.

just got to figger out how to use the fucker. well i don't know how to do it. focck.


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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:23 am

Pro-War Group Offering Cash For Frats To Demonstrate At VP Debate

October 1, 2008 11:19 AM

In hopes of organizing a robust demonstration for the vice presidential debate this Thursday in St. Louis, the pro-Iraq War (and ostensibly pro-McCain) organization, Vets for Freedom, is resorting to offering local college fraternities hundreds of dollars if their members come and hold signs.

In an email obtained by the Huffington Post, Vets for Freedom field staffer Laura Meyer offered a fraternity at St. Louis University a "sizable donation" - plus free lunch - if it could use their pledges to demonstrate outside the VP debate.

"I was emailing you today," wrote Meyer, "because I am trying to find people who would be willing to hold up signs for a few hours in the afternoon this Thursday outside the VP debate site. It's only for a few hours and you can gain a lot from it.... first off, lunch for any guys who agree to volunteer will be on me. Secondly, they will get lots of media attention! My organization did a similar thing in Mississippi last week and a ton of them were on TV. Meaning, the guys could wear their [REDACTED] gear while holding up our signs and get attention for their frat. Also, they will get to hang out with a bunch of really cool Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

"Lastly, and here's the kicker.... if you guys can get us at least 20 volunteers for those few hours, my organization will make a sizable donation to your fraternity. If you use pledges you could look at it as 'free money and free publicity'. If this sounds like something you may be willing to help us out with, please let me know ASAP!"

Reached by phone, Meyer said the total amount of cash the frat could earn was between $200 and $250 for organizing 20-plus members. She also noted that the program was a success in generating publicity during last Friday's presidential debate.

Judy Mayka, a spokesperson for the national chapter, said that the practice of paying for demonstrators had been going on without their knowledge and would subsequently end.

"Obviously this was not a direction from national and we have contacted the Missouri staffers and volunteers and told them it is not appropriate in our policy," she said. "And those who choose to attend the vice presidential debate should not be compensated."

As for the payments made for volunteers during the Mississippi presidential debate, Mayka added: "We will be looking into that."

The practice of paying volunteers is perfectly legal, and having scores of rowdy pro-war supporters cheering on the backdrop of TV sets can be an effective way for Vets for Freedom to disseminate its message.

But keep in mind, some of the people demonstrating outside the VP debate had a choice to make: take the money from Vets for Freedom or subject themselves to a night of hazing and binge drinking. On Thursday, we will see how many chose the former.
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:33 am

Make-Believe Maverick

A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty

illustration by Robert Grossman


Posted Oct 16, 2008 7:00 PM

The Double-Talk Express
Mad Dog Palin: The Full Story

At Fort McNair, an army base located
along the Potomac River in the nation's capital, a chance reunion
takes place one day between two former POWs. It's the spring of
1974, and Navy commander John Sidney McCain III has returned home
from the experience in Hanoi that, according to legend, transformed
him from a callow and reckless youth into a serious man of
patriotism and purpose. Walking along the grounds at Fort McNair,
McCain runs into John Dramesi, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who
was also imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam.

McCain is studying at the National War College, a prestigious
graduate program he had to pull strings with the Secretary of the
Navy to get into. Dramesi is enrolled, on his own merit, at the
Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the building next

There's a distance between the two men that belies their shared
experience in North Vietnam — call it an honor gap. Like many
American POWs, McCain broke down under torture and offered a
"confession" to his North Vietnamese captors. Dramesi, in contrast,
attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for
a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His
partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn't survive the
mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his
heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service's
highest distinctions. McCain would later hail him as "one of the
toughest guys I've ever met."

On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat
between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a
prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor
a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and
political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.

"I'm going to the Middle East," Dramesi says. "Turkey, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Iran."

"Why are you going to the Middle East?" McCain asks,

"It's a place we're probably going to have some problems,"
Dramesi says.

"Why? Where are you going to, John?"
"Oh, I'm going to Rio."
"What the hell are you going to Rio for?"
McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.
"I got a better chance of getting laid."
Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air
Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air
Command, was not surprised. "McCain says his life changed while he
was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today.
"But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he
went in."

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

cont'd below
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:35 am

This, of course, is not the story McCain tells about himself.
Few politicians have so actively, or successfully, crafted their
own myth of greatness. In Mc- Cain's version of his life, he is a
prodigal son who, steeled by his brutal internment in Vietnam,
learned to put "country first." Remade by the Keating Five scandal
that nearly wrecked his career, the story goes, McCain re-emerged
as a "reformer" and a "maverick," righteously eschewing anything
that "might even tangentially be construed as a less than proper
use of my office."

It's a myth McCain has cultivated throughout his decades in
Washington. But during the course of this year's campaign, the mask
has slipped. "Let's face it," says Larry Wilkerson, a retired Army
colonel who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin
Powell. "John McCain made his reputation on the fact that he
doesn't bend his principles for politics. That's just not

We have now watched McCain run twice for president. The first
time he positioned himself as a principled centrist and decried the
politics of Karl Rove and the influence of the religious right,
imploring voters to judge candidates "by the example we set, by the
way we conduct our campaigns, by the way we personally practice
politics." After he lost in 2000, he jagged hard to the left
— breaking with the president over taxes, drilling, judicial
appointments, even flirting with joining the Democratic Party.

In his current campaign, however, McCain has become the kind of
politician he ran against in 2000. He has embraced those he once
denounced as "agents of intolerance," promised more drilling and
deeper tax cuts, even compromised his vaunted opposition to
torture. Intent on winning the presidency at all costs, he has
reassembled the very team that so viciously smeared him and his
family eight years ago, selecting as his running mate a born-again
moose hunter whose only qualification for office is her ability to
electrify Rove's base. And he has engaged in a "practice of
politics" so deceptive that even Rove himself has denounced it,
saying that the outright lies in McCain's campaign ads go "too far"
and fail the "truth test."

The missing piece of this puzzle, says a former McCain confidant
who has fallen out with the senator over his neoconservatism, is a
third, never realized, campaign that McCain intended to run against
Bush in 2004. "McCain wanted a rematch, based on ethics, campaign
finance and Enron — the corrupt relationship between Bush's
team and the corporate sector," says the former friend, a prominent
conservative thinker with whom McCain shared his plans over the
course of several dinners in 2001. "But when 9/11 happened, McCain
saw his chance to challenge Bush again was robbed. He saw 9/11 gave
Bush and his failed presidency a second life. He saw Bush and
Cheney's ability to draw stark contrasts between black and white,
villains and good guys. And that's why McCain changed." (The McCain
campaign did not respond to numerous requests for comment from
Rolling Stone.)

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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:35 am

Indeed, many leading Republicans who once admired McCain see his
recent contortions to appease the GOP base as the undoing of a
maverick. "John McCain's ambition overrode his basic character,"
says Rita Hauser, who served on the President's Foreign
Intelligence Advisory Board from 2001 to 2004. But the truth of the
matter is that ambition is John McCain's basic character. Seen in
the sweep of his seven-decade personal history, his pandering to
the right is consistent with the only constant in his life: doing
what's best for himself. To put the matter squarely: John McCain is
his own special interest.

"John has made a pact with the devil," says Lincoln Chafee, the
former GOP senator, who has been appalled at his one-time
colleague's readiness to sacrifice principle for power. Chafee and
McCain were the only Republicans to vote against the Bush tax cuts.
They locked arms in opposition to drilling in the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge. And they worked together in the "Gang of 14,"
which blocked some of Bush's worst judges from the federal

"On all three — sadly, sadly, sadly — McCain has
flip-flopped," Chafee says. And forget all the "Country First"
sloganeering, he adds. "McCain is putting himself first. He's
putting himself first in blinking neon lights."

John Sidney McCain III has spent most of
his life trying to escape the shadow of greater men. His
grandfather Adm. John Sidney "Slew" McCain earned his four stars
commanding a U.S. carrier force in World War II. His deeply
ambitious father, Adm. "Junior" McCain, reached the same rank,
commanding America's forces in the Pacific during Vietnam.

The youngest McCain was not cut from the same cloth. Even as a
toddler, McCain recalls in Faith of My Fathers, his
volcanic temper was on display. "At the smallest provocation," he
would hold his breath until he passed out: "I would go off in a mad
frenzy, and then, suddenly, crash to the floor unconscious." His
parents cured him of this habit in a way only a CIA interrogator
could appreciate: by dropping their blue-faced boy in a bathtub of
ice-cold water.

Trailing his hard-charging, hard-drinking father from post to
post, McCain didn't play well with others. Indeed, he concedes, his
runty physique inspired a Napoleon complex: "My small stature
motivated me to . . . fight the first kid who provoked me."

McCain spent his formative years among the Washington elite. His
father — himself deep in the throes of a daddy complex
— had secured a political post as the Navy's chief liaison to
the Senate, a job his son would later hold, and the McCain home on
Southeast 1st Street was a high-powered pit stop in the Washington
cocktail circuit. Growing up, McCain attended Episcopal High
School, an all-white, all-boys boarding school across the Potomac
in Virginia, where tuition today tops $40,000 a year. There, McCain
behaved with all the petulance his privilege allowed, earning the
nicknames "Punk" and "McNasty." Even his friends seemed to dislike
him, with one recalling him as "a mean little fucker."

McCain was not only a lousy student, he had his father's taste
for drink and a darkly misogynistic streak. The summer after his
sophomore year, cruising with a friend near Arlington, McCain tried
to pick up a pair of young women. When they laughed at him, he
cursed them so vilely that he was hauled into court on a profanity

McCain's admittance to Annapolis was preordained by his
bloodline. But martial discipline did not seem to have much of an
impact on his character. By his own account, McCain was a lazy,
incurious student; he squeaked by only by prevailing upon his
buddies to help him cram for exams. He continued to get sauced and
treat girls badly. Before meeting a girlfriend's parents for the
first time, McCain got so shitfaced that he literally crashed
through the screen door when he showed up in his white midshipman's

His grandfather's name and his father's forbearance brought
McCain a charmed existence at Annapolis. On his first trip at sea
— to Rio de Janeiro aboard the USS Hunt — the captain
was a former student of his father. While McCain's classmates
learned the ins and outs of the boiler room, McCain got to pilot
the ship to South America and back. In Rio, he hobnobbed with
admirals and the president of Brazil.

Back on campus, McCain's short fuse was legend. "We'd hear this
thunderous screaming and yelling between him and his roommate
— doors slamming — and one of them would go running
down the hall," recalls Phil Butler, who lived across the hall from
McCain at the academy. "It was a regular occurrence."

When McCain was not shown the pampering to which he was
accustomed, he grew petulant — even abusive. He repeatedly
blew up in the face of his commanding officer. It was the kind of
insubordination that would have gotten any other midshipman kicked
out of Annapolis. But his classmates soon realized that McCain was
untouchable. Midway though his final year, McCain faced expulsion,
about to "bilge out" because of excessive demerits. After his
mother intervened, however, the academy's commandant stepped in.
Calling McCain "spoiled" to his face, he nonetheless issued a
reprieve, scaling back the demerits. McCain dodged expulsion a
second time by convincing another midshipman to take the fall after
McCain was caught with contraband.

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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:36 am

"He was a huge screw-off," recalls Butler. "He was always on
probation. The only reason he graduated was because of his father
and his grandfather — they couldn't exactly get rid of

McCain's self-described "four-year course of insubordination"
ended with him graduating fifth from the bottom — 894th out
of a class of 899. It was a record of mediocrity he would continue
as a pilot.

In the cockpit, McCain was not a top gun,
or even a middling gun. He took little interest in his flight
manuals; he had other priorities.

"I enjoyed the off-duty life of a Navy flier more than I enjoyed
the actual flying," McCain writes. "I drove a Corvette, dated a
lot, spent all my free hours at bars and beach parties." McCain
chased a lot of tail. He hit the dog track. Developed a taste for
poker and dice. He picked up models when he could, screwed a
stripper when he couldn't.

In the air, the hard-partying McCain had a knack for stalling
out his planes in midflight. He was still in training, in Texas,
when he crashed his first plane into Corpus Christi Bay during a
routine practice landing. The plane stalled, and McCain was knocked
cold on impact. When he came to, the plane was underwater, and he
had to swim to the surface to be rescued. Some might take such a
near-death experience as a wake-up call: McCain took some
painkillers and a nap, and then went out carousing that night.

Off duty on his Mediterranean tours, McCain frequented the
casinos of Monte Carlo, cultivating his taste for what he calls the
"addictive" game of craps. McCain's thrill-seeking carried over
into his day job. Flying over the south of Spain one day, he
decided to deviate from his flight plan. Rocketing along mere feet
above the ground, his plane sliced through a power line. His
self-described "daredevil clowning" plunged much of the area into a

That should have been the end of McCain's flying career. "In the
Navy, if you crashed one airplane, nine times out of 10 you would
lose your wings," says Butler, who, like his former classmate, was
shot down and taken prisoner in North Vietnam. Spark "a small
international incident" like McCain had? Any other pilot would have
"found themselves as the deck officer on a destroyer someplace in a
hurry," says Butler.

"But, God, he had family pull. He was directly related to the
CEO — you know?"

McCain was undeterred by the crashes. Nearly a decade out of the
academy, his career adrift, he decided he wanted to fly combat in
Vietnam. His motivation wasn't to contain communism or put his
country first. It was the only way he could think of to earn the
respect of the man he calls his "distant, inscrutable patriarch."
He needed to secure a command post in the Navy — and to do
that, his career needed the jump-start that only a creditable war
record could provide.

As he would so many times in his career, McCain pulled strings
to get ahead. After a game of tennis, McCain prevailed upon the
undersecretary of the Navy that he was ready for Vietnam, despite
his abysmal flight record. Sure enough, McCain was soon transferred
to McCain Field — an air base in Meridian, Mississippi, named
after his grandfather — to train for a post on the carrier
USS Forrestal.

With a close friend at the base, an alcoholic Marine captain,
McCain formed the "Key Fess Yacht Club," which quickly became
infamous for hosting toga parties in the officers' quarters and
bringing bands down from Memphis to attract loose women to the
base. Showing his usual knack for promotion, McCain rose from "vice
commodore" to "commodore" of the club.

In 1964, while still at the base, McCain began a serious romance
with Carol Shepp, a vivacious former model who had just divorced
one of his classmates from Annapolis. Commandeering a Navy plane,
McCain spent most weekends flying from Meridian to Philadelphia for
their dates. They married the following summer.

That December, McCain crashed again. Flying back from
Philadelphia, where he had joined in the reverie of the Army-Navy
football game, McCain stalled while coming in for a refueling stop
in Norfolk, Virginia. This time he managed to bail out at 1,000
feet. As his parachute deployed, his plane thundered into the trees

By now, however, McCain's flying privileges were virtually
irrevocable — and he knew it. On one of his runs at McCain
Field, when ground control put him in a holding pattern, the
lieutenant commander once again pulled his family's rank. "Let me
land," McCain demanded over his radio, "or I'll take my field and
go home!"

Sometimes 3 a.m. moments occur at 10:52
in the morning.

It was July 29th, 1967, a hot, gusty morning in the Gulf of
Tonkin atop the four-acre flight deck of the supercarrier USS
Forrestal. Perched in the cockpit of his A-4 Skyhawk, Lt. Cmdr.
John McCain ticked nervously through his preflight checklist.

Now 30 years old, McCain was trying to live up to his father's
expectations, to finally be known as something other than the
fuck-up grandson of one of the Navy's greatest admirals. That
morning, preparing for his sixth bombing run over North Vietnam,
the graying pilot's dreams of combat glory were beginning to seem
within his reach.

Then, in an instant, the world around McCain erupted in flames.
A six-foot-long Zuni rocket, inexplicably launched by an F-4
Phantom across the flight deck, ripped through the fuel tank of
McCain's aircraft. Hundreds of gallons of fuel splashed onto the
deck and came ablaze. Then: Clank. Clank. Two 1,000-pound
bombs dropped from under the belly of McCain's stubby A-4, the
Navy's "Tinkertoy Bomber," into the fire.

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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:37 am

McCain, who knew more than most pilots about bailing out of a
crippled aircraft, leapt forward out of the cockpit, swung himself
down from the refueling probe protruding from the nose cone, rolled
through the flames and ran to safety across the flight deck. Just
then, one of his bombs "cooked off," blowing a crater in the deck
and incinerating the sailors who had rushed past McCain with hoses
and fire extinguishers. McCain was stung by tiny bits of shrapnel
in his legs and chest, but the wounds weren't serious; his father
would later report to friends that Johnny "came through without a

The damage to the Forrestal was far more grievous: The explosion
set off a chain reaction of bombs, creating a devastating inferno
that would kill 134 of the carrier's 5,000-man crew, injure 161 and
threaten to sink the ship.

These are the moments that test men's mettle. Where leaders are
born. Leaders like . . . Lt. Cmdr. Herb Hope, pilot of the A-4
three planes down from McCain's. Cornered by flames at the stern of
the carrier, Hope hurled himself off the flight deck into a safety
net and clambered into the hangar deck below, where the fire was
spreading. According to an official Navy history of the fire, Hope
then "gallantly took command of a firefighting team" that would
help contain the conflagration and ultimately save the ship.

McCain displayed little of Hope's valor. Although he would soon
regale The New York Times with tales of the heroism of the
brave enlisted men who "stayed to help the pilots fight the fire,"
McCain took no part in dousing the flames himself. After going
belowdecks and briefly helping sailors who were frantically trying
to unload bombs from an elevator to the flight deck, McCain
retreated to the safety of the "ready room," where off-duty pilots
spent their noncombat hours talking trash and playing poker. There,
McCain watched the conflagration unfold on the room's
closed-circuit television — bearing distant witness to the
valiant self-sacrifice of others who died trying to save the ship,
pushing jets into the sea to keep their bombs from exploding on

As the ship burned, McCain took a moment to mourn his
misfortune; his combat career appeared to be going up in smoke.
"This distressed me considerably," he recalls in Faith of My
. "I feared my ambitions were among the casualties in
the calamity that had claimed the Forrestal."

The fire blazed late into the night. The following morning,
while oxygen-masked rescue workers toiled to recover bodies from
the lower decks, McCain was making fast friends with R.W. "Johnny"
Apple of The New York Times, who had arrived by helicopter
to cover the deadliest Naval calamity since the Second World War.
The son of admiralty surviving a near-death experience certainly
made for good copy, and McCain colorfully recounted how he had
saved his skin. But when Apple and other reporters left the ship,
the story took an even stranger turn: McCain left with them. As the
heroic crew of the Forrestal mourned its fallen brothers and the
broken ship limped toward the Philippines for repairs, McCain
zipped off to Saigon for what he recalls as "some welcome

Ensconced in Apple's villa in Saigon,
McCain and the Times reporter forged a relationship that
would prove critical to the ambitious pilot's career in the years
ahead. Apple effectively became the charter member of McCain's
media "base," an elite corps of admiring reporters who helped
create his reputation for "straight talk."

Sipping scotch and reflecting on the fire aboard the Forrestal,
McCain sounded like the peaceniks he would pillory after his return
from Hanoi. "Now that I've seen what the bombs and napalm did to
the people on our ship," he told Apple, "I'm not so sure that I
want to drop any more of that stuff on North Vietnam." Here, it
seemed, was a frank-talking warrior, one willing to speak out
against the military establishment in the name of truth.

But McCain's misgivings about the righteousness of the fight
quickly took a back seat to his ambitions. Within days, eager to
get his combat career back on track, he put in for a transfer to
the carrier USS Oriskany. Two months after the Forrestal fire
— following a holiday on the French Riviera — McCain
reported for duty in the Gulf of Tonkin.

McCain performed adequately on the Oriskany. On October 25th,
1967, he bombed a pair of Soviet MiGs parked on an airfield outside
Hanoi. His record was now even. Enemy planes destroyed by McCain:
two. American planes destroyed by McCain: two.

The next day, McCain embarked on his fateful 23rd mission, a
bombing raid on a power plant in downtown Hanoi. McCain had cajoled
his way onto the strike force — there were medals up for
grabs. The plant had recently been rebuilt after a previous bombing
run that had earned two of the lead pilots Navy Crosses, one of the
force's top honors.

It was a dangerous mission — taking the planes into the
teeth of North Vietnam's fiercest anti-aircraft defenses. As the
planes entered Hanoi airspace, they were instantly enveloped in
dark clouds of flak and surface-to-air missiles. Still cocky from
the previous day's kills, McCain took the biggest gamble of his
life. As he dived in on the target in his A-4, his surface-to-air
missile warning system sounded: A SAM had a lock on him. "I knew I
should roll out and fly evasive maneuvers," McCain writes. "The A-4
is a small, fast" aircraft that "can outmaneuver a tracking

But McCain didn't "jink." Instead, he stayed on target and let
fly his bombs — just as the SAM blew his wing off.

To watch the Republican National Convention and listen to Fred
Thompson's account of John McCain's internment in Vietnam, you
would think that McCain never gave his captors anything beyond his
name, rank, service number and, under duress, the names of the
Green Bay Packers offensive line. His time in Hanoi, we're to
understand, steeled the man — transforming him from a fighter
jock who put himself first into a patriot who would henceforth
selflessly serve the public good.


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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:38 am

There is no question that McCain suffered hideously in North
Vietnam. His ejection over a lake in downtown Hanoi broke his knee
and both his arms. During his capture, he was bayoneted in the
ankle and the groin, and had his shoulder smashed by a rifle butt.
His tormentors dragged McCain's broken body to a cell and seemed
content to let him expire from his injuries. For the next two
years, there were few days that he was not in agony.

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

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.


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." In fairness, it is
difficult to judge McCain's experience as a POW; throughout most of
his incarceration he was the only witness to his mistreatment.
Parts of his memoir recounting his days in Hanoi read like a bad
Ian Fleming novel, with his Vietnamese captors cast as nefarious
Bond villains. On the Fourth of July 1968, when he rejected the
offer of early release, an officer nicknamed "Cat" got so mad,
according to McCain, that he snapped a pen he was holding,
splattering ink across the room.

"They taught you too well, Mac Kane," Cat snarled, kicking over
a chair. "They taught you too well."

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."

The reckless, womanizing hotshot who
leaned on family connections for advancement before his capture in
Vietnam emerged a reckless, womanizing celebrity who continued to
pull strings. The real difference between the McCain of 1967 and
the McCain of 1973 was that the latter's ambition was now on
overdrive. He wanted to study at the National War College —
but military brass turned him down as underqualified. So McCain
appealed the decision to the top: John Warner, the Secretary of the
Navy and a friend of his father. Warner, who now serves in the
Senate alongside McCain, overruled the brass and gave the POW a
slot. McCain also got his wings back, even though his injuries
prevented him from raising his hands above shoulder height to comb
his own hair.

McCain was eager to make up for lost time — and the times
were favorable to a high-profile veteran willing to speak out in
favor of the war. With the Senate moving to cut off funds for the
Nixon administration's illegal bombing of Cambodia, the president
needed all the help he could get. Two months after his release,
McCain related his harrowing story of survival in a 13-page
narrative in U.S. News & World Report, at the end of which he
launched into an energetic defense of Nixon's discredited foreign
policy. "I admire President Nixon's courage," he wrote. "It is
difficult for me to understand . . . why people are still
criticizing his foreign policy — for example, the bombing in

In the years to come, McCain would continue to fight the war his
father had lost. In his meetings with Nixon, Junior was known for
chomping on an unlit cigar, complaining about the "goddamn gooks"
and pushing to bomb enemy sanctuaries in Cambodia. His son was
equally gung-ho. "John has always been a very bellicose hawk," says
John H. Johns, a retired brigadier general who studied with McCain
at the War College. "When he came back from Vietnam, he accused the
liberal media of undermining national will, that we could have won
in Vietnam if we had the national will."

It was the kind of tough talk that made McCain a fast-rising
star in far-right circles. Through Ross Perot, a friend of Ronald
Reagan who had championed the cause of the POWs, McCain was invited
to meet with the then-governor of California and his wife.
Impressed, Reagan invited McCain to be the keynote speaker at his
annual "prayer breakfast" in Sacramento.

Then, at the end of 1974, McCain finally achieved the goal he
had been working toward for years. He was installed as the
commanding officer of the largest air squadron in the Navy —
the Replacement Air Group based in Jacksonville, Florida —
training carrier pilots. It was a post for which McCain flatly
admits, "I was not qualified." By now, however, he was
unembarrassed by his own nepotism. At the ceremony commemorating
his long-sought ascension to command, his father looking on with
pride, McCain wept openly.


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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:39 am

If heroism is defined by physical
suffering, Carol McCain is every bit her ex-husband's equal.
Driving alone on Christmas Eve 1969, she skidded out on a patch of
ice and crashed into a telephone pole. She would spend six months
in the hospital and undergo 23 surgeries. The former model McCain
bragged of to his buddies in the POW camp as his "long tall Sally"
was now five inches shorter and walked with crutches.

By any standard, McCain treated her contemptibly. Whatever his
dreams of getting laid in Rio, he got plenty of ass during his
command post in Jacksonville. According to biographer Robert
Timberg, McCain seduced his conquests on off-duty cross-country
flights — even though adultery is a court-martial offense. He
was also rumored to be romantically involved with a number of his

In 1977, McCain was promoted to captain and became the Navy's
liaison to the Senate — the same politically connected post
once occupied by his father. He took advantage of the position to
buddy up to young senators like Gary Hart, William Cohen and Joe
Biden. He was also taken under the wing of another friend of his
father: Sen. John Tower, the powerful Texas Republican who would
become his political mentor. Despite the promotion, McCain
continued his adolescent carousing: On a diplomatic trip to Saudi
Arabia with Tower, he tried to get some tourists he disliked in
trouble with the authorities by littering the room-service trays
outside their door with empty bottles of alcohol.

As the Navy's top lobbyist, McCain was supposed to carry out the
bidding of the secretary of the Navy. But in 1978 he went off the
reservation. Vietnam was over, and the Carter administration,
cutting costs, had decided against spending $2 billion to replace
the aging carrier Midway. The secretary agreed with the
administration's decision. Readiness would not be affected. The
only reason to replace the carrier — at a cost of nearly $7
billion in today's dollars — was pork-barrel politics.

Although he now crusades against wasteful military spending,
McCain had no qualms about secretly lobbying for a pork project
that would pay for a dozen Bridges to Nowhere. "He did a lot of
stuff behind the back of the secretary of the Navy," one lobbyist
told Timberg. Working his Senate connections, McCain managed to
include a replacement for the Midway in the defense authorization
bill in 1978. Carter, standing firm, vetoed the entire spending
bill to kill the carrier. When an attempt to override the veto fell
through, however, McCain and his lobbyist friends didn't give up
the fight. The following year, Congress once again approved funding
for the carrier. This time, Carter — his pork-busting efforts
undone by a turncoat Navy liaison — signed the bill.

In the spring of 1979, while conducting official business for
the Navy, the still-married McCain encountered Cindy Lou Hensley, a
willowy former cheerleader for USC. Mutually smitten, the two lied
to each other about their ages. The 24-year-old Hensley became 27;
the 42-year-old McCain became 38. For nearly a year the two carried
on a cross-country romance while McCain was still living with
Carol: Court documents filed with their divorce proceeding indicate
that they "cohabitated as husband and wife" for the first nine
months of the affair.

Although McCain stresses in his memoir that he married Cindy
three months after divorcing Carol, he was still legally married to
his first wife when he and Cindy were issued a marriage license
from the state of Arizona. The divorce was finalized on April 2nd,
1980. McCain's second marriage — rung in at the Arizona
Biltmore with Gary Hart as a groomsman — was consummated only
six weeks later, on May 17th. The union gave McCain access to great
wealth: Cindy, whose father was the exclusive distributor for
Budweiser in the Phoenix area, is now worth an estimated $100

McCain's friends were blindsided by the divorce. The Reagans
— with whom the couple had frequently dined and even
accompanied on New Year's holidays — never forgave him. By
the time McCain became a self-proclaimed "foot soldier in the
Reagan Revolution" two years later, he and the Gipper had little
more than ideology to bind them. Nancy took Carol under her wing,
giving her a job in the White House and treating McCain with a
frosty formality that was evident even on the day last March when
she endorsed his candidacy. "Ronnie and I always waited until
everything was decided and then we endorsed," she said. "Well,
obviously, this is the nominee of the party."

As his marriage unraveled, McCain's naval
career was also stalling out. He had been passed over for a
promotion. There was no sea command on the horizon, ensuring that
he would never be able to join his four-star forefathers. For good
measure, he crashed his third and final plane, this one a
single-engine ultralight. McCain has never spoken of his last crash
publicly, but his friend Gen. Jim Jones recalled in a 1999
interview that it left McCain with bandages on his face and one arm
in a sling.

So McCain turned to politics. Receiving advance word that a GOP
congressional seat was opening up outside Phoenix, he put the
inside edge to good use. Within minutes of the incumbent's official
retirement announcement, Cindy McCain bought her husband the house
that would serve as his foothold in the district. In sharp contrast
to the way he now markets himself, McCain's campaign ads billed him
as an insider — a man "who knows how Washington works."
Though the Reagans no longer respected him, McCain featured
pictures of himself smiling with them.

"Thanks to my prisoner-of-war experience," McCain writes, "I
had, as they say in politics, a good story to sell." And sell it he
did. "Listen, pal," he told an opponent who challenged him during a
candidate forum. "I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of
growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place
like the first district of Arizona, but I was doing other things.
As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived
the longest in my life was Hanoi."

To finance his campaign, McCain dipped into the Hensley family
fortune. He secured an endorsement from his mentor, Sen. Tower, who
tapped his vast donor network in Texas to give McCain a much-needed
boost. And he began an unethical relationship with a high-flying
and corrupt financier that would come to characterize his cozy
dealings with major donors and lobbyists over the years.

Charlie Keating, the banker and anti-pornography crusader, would
ultimately be convicted on 73 counts of fraud and racketeering for
his role in the savings-and-loan scandal of the 1980s. That crisis,
much like today's subprime-mortgage meltdown, resulted from
misbegotten banking deregulation, and ultimately left taxpayers to
pick up a tab of more than $124 billion. Keating, who raised more
than $100,000 for McCain's race, lavished the first-term
congressman with the kind of political favors that would make Jack
Abramoff blush. McCain and his family took at least nine free trips
at Keating's expense, and vacationed nearly every year at the
mogul's estate in the Bahamas. There they would spend the days
yachting and snorkeling and attending extravagant parties in a
world McCain referred to as "Charlie Keating's Shangri-La." Keating
also invited Cindy McCain and her father to invest in a real estate
venture for which he promised a 26 percent return on investment.
They plunked down more than $350,000.

McCain still attributes the attention to nothing more than
Keating's "great respect for military people" and the duo's
"political and personal affinity." But Keating, for his part, made
no bones about the purpose of his giving. When asked by reporters
if the investments he made in politicians bought their loyalty and
influence on his behalf, Keating replied, "I want to say in the
most forceful way I can, I certainly hope so."

In congress, Rep. John McCain quickly
positioned himself as a GOP hard-liner. He voted against honoring
Martin Luther King Jr. with a national holiday in 1983 — a
stance he held through 1989. He backed Reagan on tax cuts for the
wealthy, abortion and support for the Nicaraguan contras. He sought
to slash federal spending on social programs, and he voted twice
against campaign-finance reform. He cites as his "biggest"
legislative victory of that era a 1989 bill that abolished
catastrophic health insurance for seniors, a move he still cheers
as the first-ever repeal of a federal entitlement program.

McCain voted to confirm Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas to the
Supreme Court. In 1993, he was the keynote speaker at a fundraiser
for a group that sponsored an anti-gay-rights ballot initiative in
Oregon. His anti-government fervor was renewed in the Gingrich
revolution of 1994, when he called for abolishing the departments
of Education and Energy. The following year, he championed a
sweeping measure that would have imposed a blanket moratorium on
any increase of government oversight.

In this context, McCain's recent record — opposing the new
GI Bill, voting to repeal the federal minimum wage, seeking to
deprive 3.8 million kids of government health care — looks
entirely consistent. "When jackasses like Rush Limbaugh say he's
not conservative, that's just total nonsense," says former Sen.
Gary Hart, who still counts McCain as a friend.

Although a hawkish Cold Warrior, McCain did show an independent
streak when it came to the use of American military power. Because
of his experience in Vietnam, he said, he didn't favor the
deployment of U.S. forces unless there was a clear and attainable
military objective. In 1983, McCain broke with Reagan to vote
against the deployment of Marine peacekeepers to Lebanon. The
unorthodox stance caught the attention of the media —
including this very magazine, which praised McCain's "enormous
courage." It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. McCain
recognized early on how the game was played: The Washington press
corps "tend to notice acts of political independence from
unexpected quarters," he later noted. "Now I was debating Lebanon
on programs like MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and in the pages
of The New York Times and The Washington Post. I
was gratified by the attention and eager for more."

When McCain became a senator in 1986, filling the seat of
retiring Republican icon Barry Goldwater, he was finally in a
position that a true maverick could use to battle the entrenched
interests in Washington. Instead, McCain did the bidding of his
major donor, Charlie Keating, whose financial empire was on the
brink of collapse. Federal regulators were closing in on Keating,
who had taken federally insured deposits from his Lincoln Savings
and Loan and leveraged them to make wildly risky real estate
ventures. If regulators restricted his investments, Keating knew,
it would all be over.

In the year before his Senate run, McCain had championed
legislation that would have delayed new regulations of savings and
loans. Grateful, Keating contributed $54,000 to McCain's Senate
campaign. Now, when Keating tried to stack the federal regulatory
bank board with cronies, McCain made a phone call seeking to push
them through. In 1987, in an unprecedented display of political
intimidation, McCain also attended two meetings convened by Keating
to pressure federal regulators to back off. The senators who
participated in the effort would come to be known as the Keating

"Senate historians were unable to find any instance in U.S.
history that was comparable, in terms of five U.S. senators meeting
with a regulator on behalf of one institution," says Bill Black,
then deputy director of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance
Corporation, who attended the second meeting. "And it hasn't
happened since."

Following the meetings with McCain and the other senators, the
regulators backed off, stalling their investigation of Lincoln. By
the time the S&L collapsed two years later, taxpayers were on
the hook for $3.4 billion, which stood as a record for the most
expensive bank failure — until the current mortgage crisis.
In addition, 20,000 investors who had bought junk bonds from
Keating, thinking they were federally insured, had their savings
wiped out.

"McCain saw the political pressure on the regulators," recalls
Black. "He could have saved these widows from losing their life
savings. But he did absolutely nothing."

McCain was ultimately given a slap on the wrist by the Senate
Ethics Committee, which concluded only that he had exercised "poor
judgment." The committee never investigated Cindy's investment with

The McCains soon found themselves entangled in more legal
trouble. In 1989, in behavior the couple has blamed in part on the
stress of the Keating scandal, Cindy became addicted to Vicodin and
Percocet. She directed a doctor employed by her charity —
which provided medical care to patients in developing countries
— to supply the narcotics, which she then used to get high on
trips to places like Bangladesh and El Salvador.

Tom Gosinski, a young Republican, kept a detailed journal while
working as director of government affairs for the charity. "I am
working for a very sad, lonely woman whose marriage of convenience
to a U.S. senator has driven her to . . . cover feelings of despair
with drugs," he wrote in 1992. When Cindy McCain suddenly fired
Gosinski, he turned his journal over to the Drug Enforcement
Administration, sparking a yearlong investigation. To avoid jail
time, Cindy agreed to a hush-hush plea bargain and court-imposed

Ironically, her drug addiction became public only because she
and her husband tried to cover it up. In an effort to silence
Gosinski, who was seeking $250,000 for wrongful termination, the
attorney for the McCains demanded that Phoenix prosecutors
investigate the former employee for extortion. The charge was
baseless, and prosecutors dropped the investigation in 1994 —
but not before publishing a report that included details of Cindy's
drug use.

Notified that the report was being released, Sen. McCain leapt
into action. He dispatched his top political consultant to round up
a group of friendly reporters, for whom Cindy staged a seemingly
selfless, Oprah-style confession of her past addiction. Her drug
use became part of the couple's narrative of straight talk and
bravery in the face of adversity. "If what I say can help just one
person to face the problem," Cindy declared, "it's worthwhile."
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:40 am

In the aftermath of the Keating Five,
McCain realized that his career was in a "hell of a mess." He had
made George H.W. Bush's shortlist for vice president in 1988, but
the Keating scandal made him a political untouchable. McCain needed
a high horse — so his long-standing opposition to
campaign-finance reform went out the window. Working with Russ
Feingold, a Democrat from Wisconsin, McCain authored a measure to
ban unlimited "soft money" donations from politics.
The Keating affair also taught McCain a vital lesson about
handling the media. When the scandal first broke, he went ballistic
on reporters who questioned his wife's financial ties to Keating
— calling them "liars" and "idiots." Predictably, the press
coverage was merciless. So McCain dialed back the anger and turned
up the charm. "I talked to the press constantly, ad infinitum,
until their appetite for information from me was completely
satisfied," he later wrote. "It is a public relations strategy that
I have followed to this day." Mr. Straight Talk was born.

Unfortunately, any lessons McCain learned from the Keating
scandal didn't affect his unbridled enthusiasm for deregulating the
finance industry. "He continues to follow policies that create the
same kind of environment we see today, with recurrent financial
crises and epidemics of fraud led by CEOs," says Black, the former
S&L regulator. Indeed, if the current financial crisis has a
villain, it is Phil Gramm, who remains close to McCain. As chair of
the Senate Banking Committee in the late 1990s, Gramm ushered in
— with McCain's fervent support — a massive wave of
deregulation for insurance companies and brokerage houses and
banks, the aftershocks of which are just now being felt in Wall
Street's catastrophic collapse. McCain, who has admitted that "the
issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I
should," relies on Gramm to guide him.
McCain also did his part to loosen regulations on big
corporations. In 1997, McCain became chairman of the powerful
Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the insurance and
telecommunications industries, as well as the CEO pay packages of
those McCain now denounces as "fat cats." The special interests
with business before the committee were big and well-heeled. All
told, executives and fundraisers associated with these firms
donated $2.6 million to McCain when he served as the chairman or
ranking member.
The money bought influence. In 1998, employees of BellSouth
contributed more than $16,000 to McCain. The senator returned the
favor, asking the Federal Communications Commission to give
"serious consideration" to the company's request to become a
long-distance carrier. Days after legislation benefiting the
satellite-TV carrier EchoStar cleared McCain's committee, the
company's founder celebrated by hosting a major fundraiser for
McCain's presidential bid.
Whatever McCain's romantic entanglements with the lobbyist Vicki
Iseman, he was clearly in bed with her clients, who donated nearly
$85,000 to his campaigns. One of her clients, Bud Paxson, set up a
meeting with McCain in 1999, frustrated by the FCC's delay of his
proposed takeover of a television station in Pittsburgh. Paxson had
treated McCain well, offering the then-presidential candidate use
of his corporate jet to fly to campaign events and ponying up
$20,000 in campaign donations.
"You're the head of the commerce committee," Paxson told McCain,
according to The Washington Post. "The FCC is not doing
its job. I would love for you to write a letter."
Iseman helped draft the text, and McCain sent the letter.
Several weeks later — the day after McCain used Paxson's jet
to fly to Florida for a fundraiser — McCain wrote another
letter. FCC chair William Kennard sent a sharp rebuke to McCain,
calling the senator's meddling "highly unusual." Nonetheless,
within a week of McCain's second letter, the FCC ruled three-to-two
in favor of Paxson's deal.
Following his failed presidential bid in 2000, McCain needed a
vehicle to keep his brand alive. He founded the Reform Institute,
which he set up as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit — a tax status that
barred it from explicit political activity. McCain proceeded to
staff the institute with his campaign manager, Rick Davis, as well
as the fundraising chief, legal counsel and communications chief
from his 2000 campaign.
There is no small irony that the Reform Institute —
founded to bolster McCain's crusade to rid politics of unregulated
soft money — itself took in huge sums of unregulated soft
money from companies with interests before McCain's committee.
EchoStar got in on the ground floor with a donation of $100,000. A
charity funded by the CEO of Univision gave another $100,000.
Cablevision gave $200,000 to the Reform Institute in 2003 and 2004
— just as its officials were testifying before the commerce
committee. McCain urged approval of the cable company's proposed
pricing plan. As Bradley Smith, the former chair of the Federal
Election Commission, wrote at the time: "Appearance of corruption,

Over the years, John McCain has
demonstrated a streak of anger so nasty that even his former flacks
make no effort to spin it away. "If I tried to convince you he does
not have a temper, you should hang up on me and ridicule me in
print," says Dan Schnur, who served as McCain's press man during
the 2000 campaign. Even McCain admits to an "immature and
unprofessional reaction to slights" that is "little changed from
the reactions to such provocations I had as a schoolboy."
McCain is sensitive about his physical appearance, especially
his height. The candidate is only five-feet-nine, making him the
shortest party nominee since Michael Dukakis. On the night he was
elected senator in 1986, McCain exploded after discovering that the
stage setup for his victory speech was too low; television viewers
saw his head bobbing at the bottom of the screen, his chin
frequently cropped from view. Enraged, McCain tracked down the
young Republican who had set up the podium, prodding the volunteer
in the chest while screaming that he was an "incompetent little
shit." Jon Hinz, the director of the Arizona GOP, separated the
senator from the young man, promising to get him a milk crate to
stand on for his next public appearance.
During his 1992 campaign, at the end of a long day, McCain's
wife, Cindy, mussed his receding hair and needled him playfully
that he was "getting a little thin up there." McCain reportedly
blew his top, cutting his wife down with the kind of language that
had gotten him hauled into court as a high schooler: "At least I
don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt."
Even though the incident was witnessed by three reporters, the
McCain campaign denies it took place.
In the Senate — where, according to former GOP Sen. Bob
Smith, McCain has "very few friends" — his volcanic temper
has repeatedly led to explosive altercations with colleagues and
constituents alike. In 1992, McCain got into a heated exchange with
Sen. Chuck Grassley over the fate of missing American servicemen in
Vietnam. "Are you calling me stupid?" Grassley demanded. "No, I'm
calling you a fucking jerk!" yelled McCain. Sen. Bob Kerrey later
told reporters that he feared McCain was "going to head-butt
Grassley and drive the cartilage in his nose into his brain." The
two were separated before they came to blows. Several years later,
during another debate over servicemen missing in action, an elderly
mother of an MIA soldier rolled up to McCain in her wheelchair to
speak to him about her son's case. According to witnesses, McCain
grew enraged, raising his hand as if to strike her before pushing
her wheelchair away.
McCain has called Paul Weyrich, who helped steer the Republican
Party to the right, a "pompous self-serving son of a bitch" who
"possesses the attributes of a Dickensian villain." In 1999, he
told Sen. Pete Domenici, the Republican chairman of the Senate
Budget Committee, that "only an asshole would put together a budget
like this."
Last year, after barging into a bipartisan meeting on
immigration legislation and attempting to seize the reins, McCain
was called out by fellow GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. "Wait a
second here," Cornyn said. "I've been sitting in here for all of
these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day.
You're out of line." McCain exploded: "Fuck you! I know more about
this than anyone in the room." The incident foreshadowed McCain's
11th-hour theatrics in September, when he abruptly "suspended" his
campaign and inserted himself into the Wall Street bailout debate
at the last minute, just as congressional leaders were attempting
to finalize a bipartisan agreement.
At least three of McCain's GOP colleagues have gone on record to
say that they consider him temperamentally unsuited to be commander
in chief. Smith, the former senator from New Hampshire, has said
that McCain's "temper would place this country at risk in
international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind,
it should disqualify him." Sen. Domenici of New Mexico has said he
doesn't "want this guy anywhere near a trigger." And Sen. Thad
Cochran of Mississippi weighed in that "the thought of his being
president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is
McCain's frequently inappropriate humor has also led many to
question his self-control. In 1998, the senator told a joke about
President Clinton's teenage daughter at a GOP fundraiser. "Why is
Chelsea Clinton so ugly?" McCain asked. "Because her father is
Janet Reno!"

More recently, McCain's jokes have heightened tensions with
Iran. The senator once cautioned that "the world's only superpower
. . . should never make idle threats" — but that didn't stop
him from rewriting the lyrics to a famous Beach Boys tune. In April
2007, when a voter at a town-hall session asked him about his
policy toward Tehran, McCain responded by singing, "bomb bomb bomb"
Iran. The loose talk was meant to incite the GOP base, but it also
aggravated relations with Iran, whose foreign minister condemned
McCain's "jokes about genocide" as a testament to his "disturbed
state of mind" and "warmongering approach to foreign policy."

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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:42 am

The myth of John McCain hinges on two
transformations — from pampered flyboy to selfless patriot,
and from Keating crony to incorruptible reformer — that
simply never happened. But there is one serious conversion that has
taken root in McCain: his transformation from a cautious realist on
foreign policy into a reckless cheerleader of neoconservatism.
"He's going to be Bush on steroids," says Johns, the retired
brigadier general who has known McCain since their days at the
National War College. "His hawkish views now are very dangerous. He
puts military at the top of foreign policy rather than diplomacy,
just like George Bush does. He and other neoconservatives are
dedicated to converting the world to democracy and free markets,
and they want to do it through the barrel of a gun."
McCain used to believe passionately in the limits of
American military power. In 1993, he railed against Clinton's
involvement in Somalia, sponsoring an amendment to cut off funds
for the troops. The following year he blasted the idealistic aims
of sending U.S. troops to Haiti, taking to the Senate floor to
propose an immediate withdrawal. He even started out a fierce
opponent of NATO air strikes on Serbia during the war in the
But such concerns went out the window when McCain began gearing
up to run for president. In 1998, he formed a political alliance
with William Kristol, editor of the neoconservative Weekly
, who became one of his closest advisers. Randy
Scheunemann — a hard-right lobbyist who was promoting Iraqi
exile Ahmad Chalabi — came aboard as McCain's top
foreign-policy adviser. Before long, the senator who once cautioned
against "trading American blood for Iraqi blood" had been reborn as
a fire-breathing neoconservative who believes in using American
military might to spread American ideals — a belief he
describes as a "sacred duty to suffer hardship and risk danger to
protect the values of our civilization and impart them to
humanity." By 1999, McCain was championing what he called "rogue
state rollback." First on the hit list: Iraq.
Privately, McCain brags that he was the "original neocon." And
after 9/11, he took the lead in agitating for war with Iraq,
outpacing even Dick Cheney in the dissemination of bogus
intelligence about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. "There's
other organizations besides Mr. bin Laden who are bent on the
destruction of the United States," he warned in an appearance on
Hardball on September 12th. "It isn't just Afghanistan.
We're talking about Syria, Iraq, Iran, perhaps North Korea, Libya
and others." A few days later, he told Jay Leno's audience that
"some other countries" — possibly Iraq, Iran and Syria
— had aided bin Laden.
A month after 9/11, with the U.S. bombing Kabul and reeling from
the anthrax scare, McCain assured David Letterman that "we'll do
fine" in Afghanistan. He then added, unbidden, "The second phase is
Iraq. Some of this anthrax may — and I emphasize may —
have come from Iraq."
Later that month on Larry King, McCain raised the specter of
Saddam's weapons of mass destruction before he peddled what became
Dick Cheney's favorite lie: "The Czech government has revealed
meetings, contacts between Iraqi intelligence and Mohamed Atta. The
evidence is very clear. . . . So we will have to act." On
Nightline, he again flogged the Czech story and cited Iraqi
defectors to claim that "there is no doubt as to [Saddam's] avid
pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver
them. That, coupled with his relations with terrorist
organizations, I think, is a case that the administration will be
making as we move step by step down this road."
That December, just as U.S. forces were bearing down on Osama
bin Laden in Tora Bora, McCain joined with five senators in an open
letter to the White House. "In the interest of our own national
security, Saddam Hussein must be removed from power," they
insisted, claiming that there was "no doubt" that Hussein intended
to use weapons of mass destruction "against the United States and
its allies."
In January 2002, McCain made a fact-finding mission to the
Middle East. While he was there, he dropped by a supercarrier
stationed in the Arabian Sea that was dear to his heart: the USS
Theodore Roosevelt, the giant floating pork project that he had
driven through over President Carter's veto. On board the carrier,
McCain called Iraq a "clear and present danger to the security of
the United States of America." Standing on the flight bridge, he
watched as fighter planes roared off, en route to Afghanistan
— where Osama bin Laden had already slipped away. "Next up,
Baghdad!" McCain whooped.
Over the next 15 months leading up to the invasion, McCain
continued to lead the rush to war. In November 2002, Scheunemann
set up a group called the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq at
the same address as Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. The groups
worked in such close concert that at one point they got their
Websites crossed. The CLI was established with explicit White House
backing to sell the public on the war. The honorary co-chair of the
committee: John Sidney McCain III.
In September 2002, McCain assured Americans that the war would
be "fairly easy" with an "overwhelming victory in a very short
period of time." On the eve of the invasion, Hardball host
Chris Matthews asked McCain, "Are you one of those who holds up an
optimistic view of the postwar scene? Do you believe that the
people of Iraq, or at least a large number of them, will treat us
as liberators?"
McCain was emphatic: "Absolutely. Absolutely."
Today, however, McCain insists that he predicted a protracted
struggle from the outset. "The American people were led to believe
this could be some kind of day at the beach," he said in August
2006, "which many of us fully understood from the beginning would
be a very, very difficult undertaking." McCain also claims he urged
Bush to dump Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "I'm the only one
that said that Rumsfeld had to go," he said in a January primary
debate. Except that he didn't. Not once. As late as May 2004, in
fact, McCain praised Rumsfeld for doing "a fine job."
Indeed, McCain's neocon makeover is so extreme that Republican
generals like Colin Powell and Brent Scowcroft have refused to
endorse their party's nominee. "The fact of the matter is his
judgment about what to do in Iraq was wrong," says Richard Clarke,
who served as Bush's counterterrorism czar until 2003. "He hung out
with people like Ahmad Chalabi. He said Iraq was going to be easy,
and he said we were going to war because of terrorism. We should
have been fighting in Afghanistan with more troops to go after Al
Qaeda. Instead we're at risk because of the mistaken judgment of
people like John McCain."

In the end, the essential facts of John
McCain's life and career — the pivotal experiences in which
he demonstrated his true character — are important because of
what they tell us about how he would govern as president. Far from
the portrayal he presents of himself as an unflinching maverick
with a consistent and reliable record, McCain has demonstrated an
unwavering commitment to taking whatever position will advance his
own career. He "is the classic opportunist," according to Ross
Perot, who worked closely with McCain on POW issues. "He's always
reaching for attention and glory."
McCain has worked hard to deny such charges. "They're drinking
the Kool-Aid that somehow I have changed positions on the issues,"
he said of his critics at the end of August. The following month,
when challenged on The View, McCain again defied those who
accuse him of flip-flopping. "What specific area have I quote
'changed'?" he demanded. "Nobody can name it."

In fact, his own statements show that he has been on both sides
of a host of vital issues: the Bush tax cuts, the estate tax,
waterboarding, hunting down terrorists in Pakistan, kicking Russia
out of the G-8, a surge of troops into Afghanistan, the GI Bill,
storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, teaching intelligent
design, fully funding No Child Left Behind, offshore drilling, his
own immigration policy and withdrawal timelines for Iraq.
In March, McCain insisted to The Wall Street Journal
that he is "always for less regulation." In September, with the
government forced to bail out the nation's largest insurance
companies and brokerage houses, McCain declared that he would
regulate the financial industry and end the "casino culture on Wall
Street." He did a similar about-face on Bush's tax cuts, opposing
them when he planned to run against Bush in 2001, then declaring
that he wants to make them larger — and permanent —
when he needed to win the support of anti-tax conservatives this
year. "It's a big flip-flop," conceded tax abolitionist Grover
Norquist. "But I'm happy he's flopped."
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.
Throughout the campaign this year, McCain has tried to make the
contest about honor and character. His own writing gives us the
standard by which he should be judged. "Always telling the truth in
a political campaign," he writes in Worth the Fighting
, "is a great test of character." He adds: "Patriotism that
only serves and never risks one's self-interest isn't patriotism at
all. It's selfishness. That's a lesson worth relearning from time
to time." It's a lesson, it would appear, that the candidate
himself could stand to relearn.
"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."
[From Issue 1063 — October 16, 2008]
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:55 am

well that was a long one but important reading. well important being relative and all.
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:57 am

now i have to do shit. damn. well this is the direction i'll be taking, and later on finding ways to get linked to google and the other search engines.
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:24 pm

Last edited by spock on Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:27 pm

not my bag, dad. read:

In Iraq, progress itself brings risks

By Alissa J. Rubin

Published: October 2, 2008

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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:30 pm

Homer Simpson tries to vote for Obama
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:33 pm

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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:36 pm

Report fears potential 'partisan manipulation' in voter purges

10/01/2008 @ 9:47 am

Filed by David Edwards and Muriel Kane

It is normal for states to periodically review lists of voters and remove
any who have moved, died, or been convicted of felonies. However, with
no national standards to control this process, it has become "chaotic,"
"riddled with inaccuracies," and "vulnerable to manipulation" for
partisan purposes.

Those are the conclusions of a new report
from the Brennan Center for Justice obtained by CBS News. Brennan
Center Executive Director Michael Waldman told CBS, "Officials are
making tons of errors, and it's all happening in secret, without public

One problem that has previously
been noted is that some voters are being improperly removed from the
rolls because of clerical errors or small mismatches in names or
addresses and may not even find out until they show up and attempt to

However, in addition to accidental errors, there is also a possibility
of voter purges being used selectively to target minorities or other
groups for partisan purposes. "We don't know all the problems, but we
know that there's a huge potential for partisan mischief," Waldman

Although exact figures are difficult to obtain, the report notes that
one election official in Mississippi was recently found to have purged
10,000 voters "from her home computer." Another 21,000 voters have been
purged in Louisiana.

Increasing the concerns, another study
cited by CBS has found that "nineteen states are ignoring a federal law
banning systematic purges within 90 days of a federal election."

Blogger Brad Friedman comments, "So CBS News has noticed. Where the hell are the Democrats, and why aren't they raising holy hell about all of this stuff everywhere.
... In the meantime, the Republicans are out with phony 'reports' and
lawsuits damned near every day --- and not just on Fox 'News' ---
declaring 'evidence' of completely non-existant 'voter fraud' by
"Democrats". Yet, in the meantime, the Dems continue to bring a knife
to a gunfight, and, as we've noted many times of late ... seem to have
no clue that they are in a War on Democracy being waged by their GOP

CBS News has more details here.

This video is from CBS' Evening News, broadcast September 30, 2008.

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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:37 pm

wow this is working out better than i thought! you can pretty much make a whole page per post with grafix and linx.
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:41 pm

Mobile phones
Bizarre phone lets users see through walls

Multiple sensors give us perhaps the world's oddest phone

Wednesday at 04:49 BST | Tell us what you think [ 2 comments ]

Why not use one of these to see what's around the corner?

This week's CEATEC
technology show just outside Tokyo is home to not just the latest
mainstream gadgets, but also some of the weirdest tech you'll ever come
across.In the latter category we have a mobile phone application that is supposed to let users see through walls.

Sensors galore
The 'Real Space See-through Mobile' software comes from KDDI's R&D laboratory

and Tokyo University and is – you'll not be surprised to learn – still just a prototype.
Although we weren't able to see it in action, we can tell you that it is
supposed to be able to judge its surroundings, including those on the
other side of a wall, using six different sensors.Graphical renderThree
acceleration sensors combine with a similar number of geomagnetic
sensors and a GPS chip to work out exactly where the phone is and in
what direction it's pointing.Using some sort of digital voodoo,
the software then uses OpenGL to draw on the screen what it has
'sensed' is in the immediate surroundings.Calorie counterBetter
yet (we think), it also has the ability to work out whether the user is
walking, running or in a vehicle and calculate calories burned in doing
so. We're told it even uses the phone's microphone to work that
one out, although quite why the engineers bothered, we're still pretty
much clueless.

By J Mark Lytle
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:44 pm

New York Dolls: Photos From Legendary Rock Photographer Bob Gruen's

Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Johnny Ramone and more talk about the glam
punks' legacy

story and more fotoz:
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:49 pm

Daily Show: The John McCain ‘meltdown continues’

by David Edwards

Stewart went after Republican presidential candidate John McCain on
Tuesday for his grandstanding over the bailout bill, suggesting
ironically that “McCain had no choice but to spend his entire weekend
personally saving the country.”
“It’s not my style to simply phone it in,” McCain claimed.
“No one was saying it is your style, were they?” Stewart asked,
before showing a clip of McCain “working the phones” two days earlier.
Stewart then showed Lindsay Graham saying passionately, “Thank God,
John came back!” and suggested that this meant McCain was “like Daniel
Day-Lewis in Last of the Mohicans — he will find us!”
When it seemed the bailout bill would pass, McCain attempted to take
credit and criticized Obama for not applying his own hands-on approach.
“Senator Obama took a very different approach to the crisis
our country faced. At first, he didn’t want to get involved. Then he
was ‘monitoring the situation,’” said McCain, making exaggerated
airquotes around “monitoring” and arching his eyebrows dismissively.
“Obama’s such an asshole! He makes me so mad!” paraphrased Stewart.
“So while Obama was doing Jack Diddly-Bullsquat, John McCain personally
corralled the House Republicans to support the bailout. Check and mate!”
Of course, the bailout vote failed on Monday, and McCain suggested
afterward that “Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused
unnecessary partisanship into the process. Now is not the time to fix
the blame.”
“You should mention that to your previous sentence,” Stewart noted wryly.
After blasting both the Republicans for blaming what Stewart
described as Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “salty talk” for their refusal to
pass the bailout, and Pelosi’s congratulations to her own party “for a
job not done,” Stewart exploded over the news that Congress had
recessed for the Jewish New Year.
“This is a rudderless ship!” he yelled. “How many Jews are even in
Congress? Wall Street’s open. I’ll guarantee you they’ve got more Jews
on Wall Street. … The Daily Show’s on. I’ll guarantee you we’ve got
more Jews at the Daily Show than Congress. So get back to saving the
economy — and if you have to do it without Feingold and Lieberman, so
be it.”
This video is from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, broadcast September 30, 2008.

Download video via

Posted October 1st, 2008 at 8:41 am By David Edwards
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:07 pm

Check if Your Gmail is Hacked with Activity Monitor

Sep. 30th, 2008 | by Aibek


Back in February Mark wrote an article, Are You Sure Your Email Isn’t Being Hacked.
It provided step by step instructions on how to setup “electronic
tripwire” in your email. When someone opens it the account owner gets
This time I want to go over one new Gmail feature. It watches your
account and displays a notification when someone else logs into your
account. Basically a nice little feature from Gmail team that lets you
check if someone has hacked into your Gmail account.
When you’re in Gmail go all the way down to the bottom of the page.
There you should see something starting with “Last account activity …”,
that’s the feature I am going to tell you about.

As you can see above it shows the last time someone logged in into
your account and the IP address of that person. If you have logged in
just now you should see it right there.
<blockquote>Last account activity: 2 minutes ago at this IP (</blockquote>
Now here comes the cool part, if at some point while you’re logged
in someone else logs into your account the bottom line will change to
something like:
<blockquote>This account is open in 1 other location at this IP (</blockquote>
This basically tells you that there is someone else in your
account,unless you have it also opened in other browser or left it open
on other PC (at home and you are at work).
As you have probably noticed there is also a ‘Details’ link. This
one gives you a bit more than just who is logged in right now but also
recent account access times, the IP addresses and the way account was
accessed (i.e. using Browser, via POP3, etc.)

Here are 3 things you should pay attention to:
    1. IP Address - If you usually signin to Gmail using a
    single computer then your IP address should be the same. Or at least
    have identical first two sets of numbers (ex. 212.10.xx.xx).
    2. Access Type - This column displays the way your
    account was accessed. For instance if you read your email from browser
    (Firefox, IE, Safari etc.) but one of the entries showing POP access,
    there is a good chance your account is compromised. 3. Concurrent Sessions - If your mail is currently being accessed from another location, you’ll see it here. However, as I mentioned earlier if you have your Gmail account open
    in some other browser (or PC), those sessions will appear here as well.
    If you want to sign out these other sessions you can do so using ‘Sign
    out all other sessions’ button. This won’t affect your current session.

If at one point you notice that something is not right and feel that
your account is compromised the first thing you should do is change
your password.
That’s about it. Did you find this useful? Let me know what you think about it in comments.
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PostSubject: Re: NEWS OF THE DAY, THURSDAY 2 OCTOBER, HCMC TIME   Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:08 pm

just so you know, on the white posts, the link is invisible. float your mouse down and it will hilite in blue. i'll try to fix that.
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PostSubject: Battleground Polls Show Stunning Shift To Obama   Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:53 pm

Battleground Polls Show Stunning Shift To Obama

Barack Obama has opened up
significant leads in virtually every key battleground state, according
to multiple polls released Wednesday. The size of the shift towards the
Democratic nominee may indeed be historic.

"It is difficult to find a modern competitive presidential race that
has swung so dramatically, so quickly and so sharply this late in the
campaign," says Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling
Institute. "In the last 20 days, Sen. Barack Obama has gone from seven
points down to eight points up in Florida, while widening his leads to
eight points in Ohio and 15 points in Pennsylvania."

The latest Quinnipiac polls show Obama crossing the 50 percent threshold in all three of those states:

<blockquote>Florida: 51 - 43

Ohio: 50 - 42

Pennsylvania: 54 - 39 </blockquote>

A set of five CNN/Time battleground polls also show Obama breaking away in some key states:

<blockquote>Florida: Obama 51%, McCain 47%

Minnesota: Obama 54%, McCain 43%

Missouri: Obama 49%, McCain 48%

Nevada: Obama 51%, McCain 47%

Virginia: Obama 53%, McCain 44%</blockquote>

Said pollster Keating Holland: "Obama has gained ground among
moderates in all five states. That may have something to do with the
first presidential debate. Some commentators knocked Obama for agreeing
with McCain as often as he did, but moderates tend to like it when
candidates appear willing to see the other side's point of view."

Republicans appear understandably frustrated, perhaps despondent. Marc Ambinder notes:
"I'm getting lots of e-mails speculating about the 2012 frontrunner for
Republicans." But at least some see a sliver of...hope. The AP reports,
"Obama's failure to achieve a double-digit lead and maintain it 'has
given a lot of hope to Republicans,' GOP pollster Whit Ayres said."
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