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When can McCain misstatements be called lies?

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McCain: Misinformed (again), or lying?

As disclosure, in 2000 I bit my tongue, my lip, drew a very deep breath to reregister in Santa Clara County, California, from a Democrat to a Republican. This was no easy thing for me; after Watergate, after the innumerable moral and criminal (literally: more investigations, indictments, trials and convictions and pled sentences than ever before or since) depravities in the Reagan administration, I felt I'd rather dine on my own putrefaction than affix GOP after my name - that from one whose first and most lengthy political identification had once been the party of Lincoln. By their deeds, however, the party had come to represent everything that was most vile and foul on earth, sea and heaven.

As I said, it was no easy thing.

I took that emotional leap into the pit of vipers for one, and only one reason: to be able to vote for John McCain in the June, 2000 primary; something that Bush's Brain, Karl Rove made to no purpose by spreading the rumor earlier in South Carolina, that putrid swamp of backwoods hypertensive racial intolerance and pervasive Dark Ages unenlightenment, that McCain had fathered a black love child. But that's it: I was that enthusiastic for the senior senator from Arizona.

Thus it is with the deepest disillusionment that I now regard John McCain as one of the least suitable individuals for the Oval Office I can imagine. Either I didn't get it in 2000, or Senator McCain has changed; dramatically and disastrously . . . for the worse. Here is just the latest of what is becoming a most unbecoming train of examples.

"By the way, thirty of the people that have already been released from Guantanamo Bay have already tried to attack America again; one of them just a couple of weeks ago as a suicide bomber in Iraq." (June 17, 2008, in a Pemberton, NJ Town Hall meeting.)

Those sentiments were in response to the recent Supreme Court decision ruling that the Constitution's right of the habeas corpus protection extends to all persons confined by any entity of the US government, which, for any who have ever taken the time to actually read what the document states rather unequivocally in Article 1, Section 9 (Read that marvelous document for yourself; no hard-to-understand words) is a correct finding. McCain called the ruling "one of the worst in this country's history." I'm not going to opine on the utter ignorance and stupidity of that remark; suffice it to say it just is an utterly ignorant and incredibly stupid thing for anyone to say.

No, what this is about is how John McCain is playing an eerie character, so closely resembling the duplicity-driven, misremembering mumble-mindedness and scary-as-hell-other-world-fantasmagorical delusions of George W. Bush. So much of what McCain says just ain't so; just ain't even close to so! The example above is one more tragic example that, tragically, almost no one in the mainstream media is bothering to cross-check for accuracy. When you do check, and when you find the "truth" of what McCain claims is somewhere else, you're left with no option but to seriously ask whether the candidate just doesn't realize that what he's saying is not factual, or whether he just doesn't care, or whether he's so hungry for the job he will say anything to land the job. And that would make of the practice, my friends naught but a disgusting and cheap lie.

And that, my friends, is what we and the world have paid dearly for, for the past seventeen thousand years, or at least the 'W' years have come to seem that interminable.

Here's the truth of the cited example. But first the attribution: It's a Pentagon fact sheet on "former GITMO detainee terrorist trends" . . . what's become of Guantanamo detainees who have been released. (I know, it's a Pentagon document, and there will be those who refuse to believe it because it's from the Pentagon, and others, from some other planet, in some other galaxy "far, far away" who will propose the Pentagon is a hive of left-wing plotting and propaganda. Personally, I think those folk are the ones we should detain in rendition camps beyond our shores.)

Remember, John McCain said there were 30. The official report confirms that 13 former GITMO prisoners participated in some form of terrorist activity, and not a one has been confirmed as having attempted to attack an American target. A handful of the confirmed have attacked "coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of the 13 were three Chechens who were transferred to Russia, where they were rearrested for terrorist activities. But when do attacks by Chechen separatists in Chechnya become, according to McCain, "attacks on America"? And precisely how much misunderstanding or exaggeration is necessary to expand 13 to 30? And does exaggeration to make a point ever become susceptible to a charge of having flat-out lied?

Again . . . NO! Do NOT believe me, read the report. You have the URL.

This should be troubling not only for those who had no intention of voting for McCain. It should be especially deeply disturbing for those who were planning to vote for the fellow, and yet exponentially more so for those who were premising their conclusions because of his "experience." This is the very same candidate who, a short time ago, confused Shia and Sunni and al Qaida in Iraq, being trained in Iran, and heading back to Iraq, and having his slip corrected when attending Senator Joe Lieberman whispered in his ear . . . And then Senator "bomb, bomb, bomb - bomb, bomb Iran" McCain REPEATED THE VERY SAME ERROR THE FOLLOWING DAY!!!!!

You decide. Is it just plain mumble-mindedness, or are his efforts deliberate lies, and does it matter? Remember please this most consequent consideration of all: this is the candidate who would have at his hand the most lethal military might the world has ever known.

Please also bear in mind, what I have penned is from one who once stepped anxiously over the most toxic cesspool to try to nominate Senator McCain, because I believed in him. But the John McCain of today is not at all the John McCain of 2000. I don't know who he is, and, as it does Mississippi's highly conservative GOP Senator Chad Cochran, it terrifies the hell out of me to contemplate that, other than fulfilling his lifelong quest to demonstrate his life story is equivalent to those of his Navy admiral father and grandfather, John McCain doesn't know who he is either.

- Ed Tubbs

Oakland, CA

P.S. - Of course I welcome responses, those that disagree as well as those that agree. But I've got to insist that only those retaining the courage of their convictions to include their real name and the city where they reside, exactly as they would at any letter to the editor. No others will be read or responded to. Now is the time for all of us to live up to the words in our National Anthem.

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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."

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