Is Sarah Palin a Baby Mama or Baby Grandmama?


August 30, 2008. The presidential campaign has just turned into a soap opera. is hearing rumors that John McCain’s VP pick, Sarah Palin , may have a scandal in her past. Word is coming from MTO readers in Alaska (yeah, we got readers in Alaska) and from a bunch of left-wing bloggers that McCain’s VP may have hid her daughter’s pregnancy. And that the child which she claims is hers, might actually be her daughter’s.

Here’s a report (excerpted from the popular blog The Moderate Vpoice):

[Governor Palin’s] oldest girl is rumored to have actually been the one who had the last baby, the one with Down’s Syndrome. She was taken out of school the last 4 or 5 months of her mother’s pregnancy.

On March 5th, 2008 Alaska’s Republican Governor, Sarah Palin, announced to the media that she was 7 months pregnant with her 5th child. She is currently 44.

Palin’s daughter Bristol is 16 and attends an Anchorage high school. Students who have attended class with her report that she has been out of school for months, claiming a prolonged case of mono.

Palin does not appear pregnant in any recent photographs. The announcement came as quite a shock to people who had worked closely with her, and have been quoted as saying that she did not appear pregnant whatsoever during the prior 7 months.

And there’s more – check out the photo above taken with Palin’s daughter having a bulge in her stomach. And the below pic shows the governor when she was supposedly 6 months pregnant.

And even more. Since these rumors have begun circulating, the Alaska Department of State has taken down ALL PHOTOS of the governor and her family from the state’s website.

Now y’all know that we’re not knocking the lady for trying to protect her daughter. But if you have that kind of scandal in your recent past, you really have no business running for vice president. If that’s what she wanted to do, she could have done like Janet and Rebe and just stayed out of the limelight for a minute…..

Anyway, even though the mainstream press is too chicken to report on this, has learned that The National Enquirer is all over this one. Expect the scandal to get bigger (if it is true) in coming weeks…

2 Top Alaska Newspapers Question Palin’s Fitness

Sarah Palin won the Miss Congeniality prize in the Miss Alaska Contest But There Isn't Much More "There, There"

Sarah Palin won the Miss Congeniality prize in the Miss Alaska Contest But There Isn

By Greg Mitchell, The Huffington Post

Since yesterday’s shocking arrival of Gov. Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate there has been the usual cable news and print blathering about the pick from those who know little about her. But what about the journalists close to home — in Alaska — who know her best and have followed her career for years?

For the past 24 hours, the pages and web sites of the two leading papers up there have raised all sorts of issues surrounding Palin, from her ethics problems to general lack of readiness for this big step up. Right now the top story on the Anchorage Daily News web site looks at new info in what it calls “troopergate” and opens: “Alaska’s former commissioner of public safety says Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain’s pick to be vice president, personally talked him on two occasions about a state trooper who was locked in a bitter custody battle with the governor’s sister.

“In a phone conversation Friday night, Walt Monegan, who was Alaska’s top cop until Palin fired him July 11, told the Daily News that the governor also had e-mailed him two or three times about her ex-brother-in-law, Trooper Mike Wooten, though the e-mails didn’t mention Wooten by name. Monegan claims his refusal to fire Wooten was a major reason that Palin dismissed him. Wooten had been suspended for five days previously, based largely on complaints that Palin’s family had initiated before Palin was governor.”

A reporter for the Anchorage daily, Gregg Erickson, even did an online chat with the Washington Post, in which he revealed that Palin’s approval rating in the state was not the much-touted 80%, but 65% and sinking — and that among journalists who followed her it might be in the “teens.” He added: “I have a hard time seeing how her qualifications stack up against the duties and responsibilities of being president…. I expect her to stick with simple truths. When asked about continued American troop presence in Iraq, she said she knows only one thing about that (I paraphrase): no one has attacked the American homeland since George Bush took the war to Iraq.”

His paper found a number of leading Republican officeholders in the state who mocked Palin’s qualifications. “She’s not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?” said Lyda Green, the president of the State Senate, a Republican from Palin’s hometown of Wasilla. “Look at what she’s done to this state. What would she do to the nation?”

Another top Republican, John Harris, the speaker of the House, when asked about her qualifications for Veep, replied with this: “She’s old enough. She’s a U.S. citizen.”

Here are excerpts from the editorials in the two leading papers.
From the Daily News-Miner in Fairbanks:

Sen. John McCain’s selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate was a stunning decision that should make Alaskans proud, even while we wonder about the actual merits of the choice…. Alaskans and Americans must ask, though, whether she should become vice president and, more importantly, be placed first in line to become president.

In fact, as the governor herself acknowledged in her acceptance speech, she never set out to be involved in public affairs. She has never publicly demonstrated the kind of interest, much less expertise, in federal issues and foreign affairs that should mark a candidate for the second-highest office in the land. Republicans rightfully have criticized the Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, for his lack of experience, but Palin is a neophyte in comparison; how will Republicans reconcile the criticism of Obama with the obligatory cheering for Palin?

Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it.

And from the Anchorage Daily News:

It’s stunning that someone with so little national and international experience might be heartbeat away from the presidency.

Gov. Palin is a classic Alaska story. She is an example of the opportunity our state offers to those with talent, initiative and determination…

McCain picked Palin despite a recent blemish on her ethically pure resume. While she was governor, members of her family and staff tried to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the Alaska State Troopers. Her public safety commissioner would not do so; she forced him out, supposedly for other reasons. While she runs for vice-president, the Legislature has an investigator on the case.

For all those advantages, Palin joins the ticket with one huge weakness: She’s a total beginner on national and international issues.

Gov. Palin will have to spend the next two months convincing Americans that she’s ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency….

Greg Mitchell’s new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits — and the President — Failed on Iraq. He is editor of Editor & Publisher. His email is:

John McCain Thinks We Are Stupid

Why does John McCain think that a woman, anywoman who also happens to be conservative, a right to lifer, who endorsed right wing nut Patrick Buchanan for President, who has a cloud hanging over her for insisting that her ex-brother-in-law be fired from his state job for no valid reason, etc. is enough to get Hillary Clinton supporters excited?

This shows a blatant disregard for the intelligence of the American people. The fact that he met her once last spring and talked to her once on the phone before he selected her is nothing less than downright juvenile.

Did he think he was choosing a new BFF? Was he angry with Cindy Lou, and then decide to get back at her by by choosing any woman?

Does he think a young former beauty queen, bouffant hairstyle included, would make his wife jealous? After all, they will spend a lot of time together on the campaign trail.

Miss bouffant talks so much that he won’t be able to get a word in edgewise. Yappy, yap, yap, she goes with that screeching voice.

This old dude’s age is showing. What if he suddenly becomes incapacitated? Can you imagine her as president? We can’t. Stay tuned for this saga is just getting started.

More Contributions from Active Military for Obama

The Center for Responsive politics has come out with a new study on donations from military personnel to presidential candidates, and the results are actively embarrassing for Senator John McCain.  Despite McCain’s own veteran status and a media narrative that paints him as a foreign policy expert (despite all evidence to the contrary), the troops which have the most on the line have The Center for Responsive politics has come out with a new study on donations from military personnel to presidential candidates, and the results are actively embarrassing for Senator John McCain.  Despite McCain’s own veteran status and a media narrative that paints him as a foreign policy expert (despite all evidence to the contrary), the troops which have the most on the line have overwhelmingly favored Senator Obama with their donations.

According to an analysis of campaign contributions by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Democrat Barack Obama has received nearly six times as much money from troops deployed overseas at the time of their contributions than has Republican John McCain, and the fiercely anti-war Ron Paul, though he suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination months ago, has received more than four times McCain’s haul.

What’s arguably even more embarrassing for Senator McCain than Barack Obama’s fundraising prowess is that Ron Paul out raised him by more than a 4:1 margin from active overseas military.  Ron Paul, despite being borderline certifiable with some of his policy ideas, was the only Republican candidate who was anti-war in the primary.  Between the contributions that Ron Paul and Barack Obama have received, it’s clear that active duty military that are deployed overseas are sending a clear message that they are ready to end America’s military engagement in Iraq.


The study also goes on to analyze the contributions from all active duty military, regardless if they are stationed here or abroad.  While Senator Obama’s lead over John McCain is not as commanding as it is with just overseas troops, Senator Obama still leads John McCain when it comes to military contributions.  What’s more amazing though, is that Senator McCain actually performs much worse than the Republican party when it comes to military fundraising.


Despite McCain’s status as a decorated veteran and a historically Republican bent among the military, members of the armed services overall — whether stationed overseas or at home — are also favoring Obama with their campaign contributions in 2008, by a $55,000 margin. Although 59 percent of federal contributions by military personnel has gone to Republicans this cycle, of money from the military to the presumed presidential nominees, 57 percent has gone to Obama. (emphasis mine)

So despite the Republican party leading the Democratic party overall in military contributions by an 18 percent margin, John McCain trails Barack Obama by a 14 percent margin in overall contributions.  Maybe it’s been brought to the attention of active military members that when it comes to Veteran Care, Senator Obama is clearly the better candidate than John McCain.  Or maybe they are sick and tired of being the ones stuck in a never ending war.  But whatever the reason, this year it’s clear that John McCain will not be able to count on the military vote like Republicans have in the past (Bush beat Gore 2-1 in the active military vote), and that should be very worrying to his campaign.


UPDATE: Barack Obama has raised $60,642 from 134 donors (overseas troops) and $335,536 from 859 donors (all military personnel).  John McCain raise $10,665 from 26 donors (overseas troops), and $280,513 from 558 donors (all military personnel).  It’s important to point out that this study only covers donations over $200 that are reported to the FEC, and does not include the $25 and $50 donations that Barack usually racks up.”

Cindy McCain’s Tarnished Halo

Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 01:44:54 PM PDT

5/1/08 Update: I’m not the only one interested in Wes Gullett’s adoption of the other baby that Cindy McCain brought home from Bangladesh. Karl Rove spun the story in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

Can Cindy McCain Really Be That Perfect? – CNN, 3/5/08

For years, the media have allowed the McCains to promote their version of their life stories without question. Take a closer look at the McCain legend and the McCains look, shall we say, less than noble.

Most of us know the McCains adopted a sick baby from Bangladesh and that Cindy McCain was a drug addict. Cindy is almost always asked about both events and her response hardly varies from interview to interview. The media seem quite happy to laud the McCains for adopting the baby and the story of Cindy’s drug addiction is portrayed as one of redemption.

The media never, ever put the adoption in the same time frame as Cindy’s drug addiction, the Keating Five scandal and John McCain’s upcoming 1992 senate campaign but I did.

Let’s take a look at the facts.

Sometime in 1991 after the devastating April 29th cyclone in Bangladesh, Cindy McCain spent a month there with her charity, the American Voluntary Medical Team (AVMT). Impulsively, she decided to take two sick infant girls she found in Mother Teresa’s orphanage back to the United States with her for medical treatment. One baby had a cleft palate and the other had a heart condition.

The McCains adopted the baby with the cleft palate and named her Bridget. The other baby was adopted by Wes Gullett, Senator McCain’s administrative assistant, who named the baby “Nikki”. Gullett, after managing McCain’s 1992 campaign, went on to become Arizona governor Fife Symington’s chief of staff, a spot he wouldn’t have gotten without help from a grateful John McCain.  

By 1991, Cindy had been addicted to narcotics for at least two years. She stole drugs from her charity and forged prescriptions for four to five hundred pills at a time. Cindy has blamed her drug addiction on two back surgeries and stress from Keating Five scandal. (She was the bookkeeper who “lost” the cancelled checks for thousands of dollars in Keating-related expenses.)

Cindy was also the mother of three young children whose father, the senator, was seldom at home. Neither was she. Before her trip to Bangladesh, Cindy had been in Kuwait City with her charity after Desert Storm ended. After bringing home an infant with special needs, Cindy made even more AMVT trips including ones to Vietnam and Somalia. All in all, she made 55 such trips lasting two weeks or more between 1988 and 1995. For the mathematically challenged, that works out to an average of at least four months away from home every year for seven years. During at least four of those years, she was addicted to drugs.

In 1991, Cindy was in no condition to make decisions about her own life, let alone anyone else’s but you’ll never hear that from Cindy.

Cindy’s version of how the adoption went down:

That wrath was reserved for Bangladesh’s minister of health and human welfare, who in 1991 tried to stop her from leaving his country with two sick, abandoned baby girls, one of whom is now the McCains’ 15-year-old adopted daughter, Bridget. In Bangladesh for a month with the American Voluntary Medical Team (a nonprofit founded and funded by Cindy), she arrived at Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Dhaka to find “160 baby girls who’d been dumped. And I just came upon this one baby — though I absolutely believe Bridget picked me — with a cleft palate so severe that, if it wasn’t fixed, she’d die because the nuns couldn’t feed her. Each time we returned, I’d hold her, play, marvel even then at her tenacious strength. Finally I wound up getting medical visas for her and another baby with a heart condition — not thinking about adoption — just getting them help.”

As she was leaving for the airport, Cindy got a message from the minister of health, “wanting to see me and the babies. I went, and there were all these men talking to each other while I sat with two infants, not understanding a word. Finally one said, ‘We can do surgery on this child.’ But they had no intention of helping her, and I had to make a plane, so I just slammed my fist on the table, shouting: ‘Then do it! What are you waiting for?’ They were so stunned, he immediately signed the papers. I don’t know where I got the nerve. I could’ve been arrested.”

By the time she landed in the United States, Cindy “realized I couldn’t give up this child” and called her husband, telling him about her charges and asking him to meet her at the airport. “When I disembarked carrying Bridget, John said, under his breath, ‘Where’s she going?’ I said, ‘To our house.’ He laughed. ‘I thought so.'” She chuckles. “I brought home a baby without telling him, and he not only took it in stride but loved it, immediately embracing Bridget, who shares John’s very dry sense of humor, so she and her dad do pretty well together. If I hadn’t taken Bridget out, I think she would have become a prostitute or, worse, died.” (The other infant was adopted by another family.) Her children, meanwhile, completely accepted their new sister. “They saw no difference; they never did. Nor did she, until recently.”

To be blunt, Cindy had spent a month bopping around Bangladesh whacked out of her skull. If the minister of health heard any of the gossip, he certainly should have had reservations about giving those babies to Cindy McCain. It also sounds like Cindy circumvented normal procedures and to get around the rules, she pitched a hissy fit worthy of a rich US senator’s wife. “I could’ve been arrested” is laughable.

I am somewhat skeptical about Cindy’s claim that she landed in the United States and then called her husband to tell him about her two “charges”. I’m not familiar with the necessary procedures to obtain medical visas but I suspect that obtaining one in under a month requires the intercession of someone with influence, i.e. Senator McCain.

I’m sure John McCain did meet his wife at the airport when she disembarked carrying a sick infant from a country devastated by a natural disaster. My question is whether McCain had the press in tow that day. Presumably the airport was in Phoenix. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if McCain rushed from DC to Phoenix for a photo op and was back in DC the next day.

I don’t have access to Arizona newspaper archives so I don’t know how Cindy McCain was covered in the local press in 1991. Today, the McCain campaign uses a photo of Cindy with Baby Bridget and Mother Teresa-like woman in campaign literature as evidence of McCain’s anti-abortion stance.

I did search the Washington Post archives for 1991 news stories about the McCains.

Here is a sample:

1/5/91 – Senator McCain admits that 1987 meeting with regulators “probably” created the air of impropriety.

1/7/91 – Senator McCain takes his second trip to Vietnam to inquire about MIAs.

2/28/91 – Senator McCain mildy rebuked by Senate Ethics Committee for his role in the Keating Five scandal.

3/14/91 – Senator McCain takes a three-day tour of Gulf Region after Desert Storm.

6/14/91 – Senator McCain invites lobbyists to a fundraiser.

7/1/91 – Widely syndicated columnist Jack Anderson writes about Cindy McCain’s charitable mission in the Gulf Region. Text of the column not available.

8/27/91 – Senator McCain’s ratings soar from 16% in January to 40%.

Insight into Cindy McCain’s penchant for self-promotion comes from entries in Tom Gosinski’s private journal published in the Phoenix News in 1994. From September 1991 to January 1993 when he was fired, Tom Gosinski was the AMVT’s director of government and international affair. He was the one who alerted the DEA about Cindy forging presecriptions and he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit which caused Cindy’s drug addiction to become public knowledge.

From Gosinki’s journal:

August 14, 1992: Work started off at a relatively normal pace this morning. And then–Kathy received a call from Royal Norman at Ch 3 regarding a possible AVMT trip to Somalia. Before Kathy informed me of her conversation with Royal she told Cindy and Cindy jumped all over the issue. Now Cindy wants to airlift a load of supplies to Somalia and use Ch 3 to get the coverage she so desperately goes after. I think the whole idea is crazy as we have so much to do with the Navajos but Cindy seems intent on making it happen.

August 28, 1992: Work has been crazy–Cindy decided we should take a load of supplies to the Miami area to assist in the Hurricane Andrew relief efforts. It would be simple to complete the task if Cindy would not interfere with the rest of us doing our jobs, however, she is constantly stirring things up.

We are also contemplating a trip to Somalia–Mark Salter in John McCain’s Washington office has stated that the State Department and the Department of Defense believe it is not safe to travel to Somalia or the northern regions of Kenya. Cindy insists that we are going to go on the trip and that it may be wise for us to pack guns.

She is absolutely crazy–I don’t know how to load a gun let alone shoot one. . . .

September 2, 1992: This past week at AVMT has certainly been a challenge. All of us that work for Cindy have been asked to put in extended hours at night and on the weekend and have not even received a thank you. Cindy is the most demanding and thankless person I have ever met.

September 3, 1992: Work is crazy as usual. The trip to Florida on Monday is on schedule–we are now traveling as a cleanup crew in blue hospital scrubs. I questioned wearing scrubs but Cindy insisted that the ‘visual’ is important, so–we are going to rummage through the rubble of Hurricane Andrew in scrubs. [Cindy wear blue scrubs in the campaign photo I linked to above. – Mrs P.]

Whatever . . . Per Mrs. McCain the AVMT schedule for the next couple of weeks is as follows: Miami cleanup from September 7 through September 11; Navajo Nation parade September 12; and depart for Somalia on September 13. Cindy must think that we have a staff of 20 as she has certainly not sat down, looked at a calendar and rationally thought about what she is suggesting we accomplish. . . .

September 29, 1992: Regardless of what happens with Cindy McCain, it is time for me to get out of AVMT. I have so little respect for Cindy and her objectives–she has made AVMT a media event–that even under the best of circumstances I do not think this organization merits existence. . . .

January 11, 1993: . . . It is evident to me that AVMT is in serious need of an organizational change. . . . Our shot gun approach to providing medical care has minimal impact when a focused approach on a specific area or type of care could significantly impact the target constituency. . . .

Reading Gosinski’s journal, I am becoming more convinced that the AMVT was a vanity operation set up to promote the McCains’image. Really, what could a tiny little operation do in a couple of weeks in Miami? Or Somalia, for that matter? The AVMT’s 990s filed with the IRS, if available, could give us an idea about the size of the operation and how money was spent.

In his journal, Gosinski also gives us a glimpse into the backstory of Cindy’s drug addiction:

October 2, 1992: Well, it is done. Last night Jim and Smitty [Cindy’s parents]confronted Cindy regarding her dependency to prescription drugs and she admitted to her addiction. I understand that she told the Hensleys her addiction was rooted in her unhappiness–her marriage–and that she took the pills to mask her depression. The Hensleys told Cindy they knew she had a problem because of her severe mood swings and her change in character. They also said her meanness towards others was not excusable and must stop. . . .

To this day, Cindy claims that her husband had no idea about her drug addiction until she fessed up.

As far as I know, one question about Cindy’s drug addiction has never been satisfactorily answered. Was she treated for addiction in 1991 and 1992 or did she lie to the DEA investigators?

From the Phoenix News:

Although she told reporters she went into a residential drug treatment program earlier this year, she told investigators she had treatment during 1991 and 1992. Whom did she lie to–investigators or reporters?

More to come.

(Crossposted at TPM Cafe on 5/1/08)

~The Measure of The Man~

Cindy Lou and John Sidney McCain

Cindy Lou and John Sidney McCain

Anyone who has had an adversarial relationship with John McCain will tell you that there are few with less self-control than the senator from Arizona. Many have questioned his ability to maintain a clear head in a time of crisis. For those of us who have seen these sparks of insanity from McCain, we know all too well that what lies beneath is something dark, ominous and certainly not presidential. John McCain makes reference to his service to our great nation by almost daily reminding us of his five and a half year captivity in the Hanoi Hilton. Yet few have been able to look beyond McCain, the POW, to examine his political record, as if it were taboo somehow to be critical of a former prisoner of war. But what about this former prisoner of war and his criticism of the very same people who fought to bring him home from the dark dank cell he likes to remind us about so much? – The POW/MIA Families of those less fortunate than McCain, those who still have yet to be returned to the soil they gave their lives for.

Since his return from Hanoi, McCain has …

~Ignored pleas of POW/MIA Family Members for his political influence in the overall POW/MIA Issue as well as with their individual cases

~Verbally abused POW/MIA Family Members in public and private

~Attempted to negatively influence those who testified before the 1992 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs

~Diminished legislation that gave oversight and protection to the families

~Dismantled protection to any future servicemen that go missing.

Yes, John McCain, the American politician, the man who many think would and should be the primary advocate and activist for the POW/MIA Issue is in fact the Issue’s primary adversary. You read correctly, the Issue’s primary adversary. John McCain has not provided one positive contribution to these same families that fought along side the first Mrs. McCain for close to six years to bring home all of those who were known to be captured by the Vietnamese. One would think that McCain would feel almost beholden to these fine American military families who united in one of their darkest hours to keep the POW/MIA Issue in the forefront of the War in Vietnam. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

Cruel Encounters with McCain by POW/MIA Family Members

In the beginning, when McCain’s political aspirations began to pan out at the national level, many POW/MIA families made the erroneous assumption that John McCain would be a logical ally as they still fought with the Department of Defense for answers on the fate of their loved ones. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. There are many very well known encounters between John McCain and POW/MIA family members. Here we will quickly focus on three of these encounters. The first is with the family of fellow Air Force pilot David Hrdlicka’s wife Carol and Jane (Duke) Gaylord, mother of missing civilian Charles Duke.

Col. David Hrdlicka, USAF while in captivity

A recent statement put out in January of 2008 by Mrs. Hrdlicka’s attorney reads;

According to Mrs.Carol Hrdlicka, when POW/MIA family members confronted Sen. John McCain in the halls of Congress after the conclusion of the Committee’s Report, he shoved the wheelchair of handicapped POW mother Jane Gaylord out of his way knocking it into her niece who was behind the chair attending to her aunt and she was pushed up against a wall. Subsequently Mrs. Gaylord filed a complaint for assault against the Senator but the matter was squelched by the powers that be. As Senator McCain attempted to jump on an elevator to make a quick escape from the POW/MIA family members gathered, he shouted at Mrs. Hrdlicka, “You don’t know what I’ve been through”(indicating he was a former POW and inferring Mrs. Hrdlicka had no comparable experience or appreciation of his great suffering and sacrifice). As the door to the elevator began to close around the cowering Senator who was making good his get-a-way, Mrs. Hrdlicka raised a large photo of her POW husband Col. David Hrdlicka and thrust it at the elevator doors to show the Senator that she did indeed share in the suffering of POWs and family members and shouted that she had clear proof her husband David was still alive in captivity. Unfortunately, Mrs. Hrdlicka’s cries and pleas for help from government officials bent on closing the chapter on POWs fell on deaf ears and blackened hearts!“

The 1991-92 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs

Victor J. Apodaca, Jr., USAF

Another incident and most likely the most disturbing occurred in 1992 while McCain was an outspoken member of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. The senator from Arizona continually interrupted, argued with and ridiculed testimony given by various governmental employees involved in the POW/MIA Issue as well as family members. In fact, he brought the sister of a missing Air Force pilot to tears during one of his confrontational rants, Dolores Apodaca Alfond. Her testimony (p.379) at a hearing of the POW/MIA committee Nov. 11, 1992, was revealing. She pleaded with the committee not to shut down in two months, as scheduled, because so much of its work was unfinished. Also, she was critical of the committee, and in particular Kerry and McCain, for having “discredited the overhead satellite symbol pictures, arguing there is no way to be sure that the [distress] symbols were made by U.S. POWs.” She also criticized them for similarly discounting data from special sensors, shaped like a large spike with an electronic pod and an antenna, that were airdropped to stick in the ground along the Ho Chi Minh trail. These devices served as motion detectors, picking up passing convoys and other military movements, but they also had rescue capabilities. Specifically, someone on the ground — a downed airman or a prisoner on a labor detail — could manually enter data into the sensor pods. Alfond said the data from the sensor spikes, which was regularly gathered by Air Force jets flying overhead, had showed that a person or persons on the ground had manually entered into the sensors — as U.S. pilots had been trained to do — “no less than 20 authenticator numbers that corresponded exactly to the classified authenticator numbers of 20 U.S. POWs who were lost in Laos.”

Other than the panel’s second co-chairman, Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., not a single committee member attended this public hearing. But McCain, having been advised of Alfond’s testimony, suddenly rushed into the room to confront her. His face angry and his voice very loud, he accused her of making “allegations … that are patently and totally false and deceptive.” Making a fist, he shook his index finger at her and said she had insulted an emissary to Vietnam sent by President Bush. He said she had insulted other MIA families with her remarks. And then he said, through clenched teeth: “And I am sick and tired of you insulting mine and other people’s [patriotism] who happen to have different views than yours.”

One of the many faces of John McCain

Here is the link to the video, just posted on YouTube

By this time, tears were running down Alfond’s cheeks. She reached into her handbag for a handkerchief. She tried to speak: “The family members have been waiting for years — years! And now you’re shutting down.” He kept interrupting her. She tried to say, through tears, that she had issued no insults. He kept talking over her words. He said she was accusing him and others of “some conspiracy without proof, and some cover-up.” She said she was merely seeking “some answers. That is what I am asking.” He ripped into her for using the word “fiasco.” She replied: “The fiasco was the people that stepped out and said we have written the end, the final chapter to Vietnam.” “No one said that,” he shouted. “No one said what you are saying they said, Ms. Alfond.” And then, his face flaming pink, he stalked out of the room, to shouts of disfavor from members of the audience. As with most of McCain’s remarks to Alfond, the facts in his closing blast at her were incorrect. Less than three weeks earlier, on Oct. 23, 1992, in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, President Bush — with John McCain standing beside him — said: “Today, finally, I am convinced that we can begin writing the last chapter in the Vietnam War.”

The committee did indeed, as Alfond said they planned to do, shut down two months after the hearing. It is highly recommend that you take a few moments to follow the link provided below which will take you to the Library of Congress website and the specific record of the hearings from the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. To give you a sampling of McCain’s treatment of witness who appeared before the Committee, click on the November, 1991 hearings and proceed to page 437 of the record where Mr. Tracy Ursry, the Minority Staff chief investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with regard to legislative inquiries on the POW/MIA Issue, is “cross-examined” by McCain. McCain’s segment begins on p. 443. After reading that portion, you will see that McCain did not sit on the Committee with an open mind but with a methodical agenda, that of giving then President Clinton the necessary cover to re-establish trade with Vietnam at the expense of the full and accurate accounting of our missing servicemen. Make no qualms about it, a few years later both McCain and Sen. John Kerry were there by design for the photo op with President Clinton when the official announcement regarding lifting the trade embargo with Vietnam was made public.

Re-establishment of Trade with Vietnam at the expense of our missing men

The Truth Bill

In 1989, 11 members of the House of Representatives introduced a measure they called “The Truth Bill.” A brief and simple document, it said: “[The] head of each department or agency which holds or receives any records and information, including live-sighting reports, which have been correlated or possibly correlated to United States personnel listed as prisoner of war or missing in action from World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam conflict shall make available to the public all such records and information held or received by that department or agency. In addition, the Department of Defense shall make available to the public with its records and information a complete listing of United States personnel classified as prisoner of war, missing in action, or killed in action (body not returned) from World War II, the Korean conflict, and the Vietnam conflict.” Bitterly opposed by the Pentagon, “The Truth Bill” got nowhere. It was reintroduced in the next Congress in 1991 — and again disappeared. Then, suddenly, out of the Senate, birthed by the Arizona senator, a new piece of legislation emerged. It was called “The McCain Bill.” This measure turned “The Truth Bill ” on its head. It created a bureaucratic maze from which only a fraction of the available documents could emerge. And it became law. So restrictive were its provisions that one clause actually said the Pentagon didn’t even have to inform the public when it received intelligence that Americans were alive in captivity. First, it decreed that only three categories of information could be released, i.e., “information … that may pertain to the location, treatment, or condition of” unaccounted-for personnel from the Vietnam War. (This was later amended in 1995 and 1996 to include the Cold War and the Korean conflict.) If information is received about anything other than “location, treatment or condition,” under this statute, which was enacted in December 199l, it does not get disclosed. Second, before such information can be released to the public, permission must be granted by the primary next of kin, or PNOK. In the case of Vietnam, letters were sent by the Department of Defense to the 2,266 PNOK. More than 600 declined consent (including 243 who failed to respond, considered under the law to be a “no”).

Finally, in addition to these hurdles and limitations, the McCain act does not specifically order the declassification of the information. Further, it provides the Defense Department with other justifications for withholding documents. One such clause says that if the information “may compromise the safety of any United States personnel … who remain not accounted for but who may still be alive in captivity, then the Secretary [of Defense] may withhold that record or other information from the disclosure otherwise required by this section.” Boiled down, the preceding paragraph means that the Defense Department is not obligated to tell the public about prisoners believed alive in captivity and what efforts are being made to rescue them. It only has to notify the White House and the intelligence committees in the Senate and House. The committees are forbidden under law from releasing such information. At the same time, the McCain act is now being used to deny access to other sorts of records. For instance, part of a recent Freedom of Information Act request for the records of a mutiny on a merchant marine vessel in the 1970s was rejected by a Defense Department official who cited the McCain act. Similarly, requests for information about Americans missing in the Korean War and declared dead for the last 45 years have been denied by officials who reference the McCain statute.

The 1995 Missing Service Personnel Act

In the years following the 1992 –93 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, the POW/MIA Community along with family members began working with concerned legislators and crafted legislation to strength their battles with the Department of Defense as they have little if any oversight from anywhere within the government when they were deceived or even outright lied to by POW/MIA agencies. Wanting to shield future military families from the pain they had suffered for close to three decades they included language that would make the reporting of an MIA more responsive. McCain, in short ordered weakened this act if not stripped it entirely making it almost worthless.

In the 1995 act, the theater commander, after receiving the MIA report, would have 14 days to report to his Cabinet secretary in Washington. His report had to “ certify” that all necessary actions were being taken and all appropriate assets were being used “to resolve the status of the missing person.” This section was stricken from the act in 1996 by McCain and replaced with language that made the Cabinet secretary, not the theater commander, the recipient of the report from the field. All the certification requirements also were stricken. ‘Turn commanders into clerks’ “This, ” said a McCain memo, “transfers the bureaucracy involved out of the field to Washington.” He argued that the original legislation, if left intact, “ would accomplish nothing but create new jobs for lawyers and turn military commanders into clerks.”

One final blow in the law was McCain’s removal of all its enforcement teeth. The original act provided for criminal penalties for anyone, such as military bureaucrats in Washington, who destroy, cover up or withhold from families any information about a missing man. McCain erased this part of the law. He said the penalties would have a chilling effect on the Pentagon’s ability to recruit personnel for its POW/MIA office. Well, this writer would have to questions this line of thinking as we, thankfully live in a democracy where we all are innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, these criminal penalties would have to be proven before any penalties could be enforced. Just as with anyone accused or suspected with a crime, if you are innocent and have nothing to hide, then there should be no grounds for concern. Does McCain no have faith in our federal judicial system?

Cpl. Greg Harris, USMC

This last portion of McCain’s heartless manipulation of this legislation has some present day ramifications. Case in point, that of Marine Corporal Greg Harris. During a recent meeting with the case analyst, the family has reported that they were lied to and deceived by their case analyst in an attempt to cover up a report that confirmed Harris’ captivity. The report was kept from the family and reported to them in writing and again during the meeting as being hearsay information. Yet, the family had obtained the report without the knowledge of the analyst. The report clearly stated that the information was a firsthand account of Harris’ capture yet the case analyst, with no fear of repercussions, knowingly lied to the family trying to pass off the contents of the report as hearsay thus belittling its value. According to family members who were present at this meeting, when the case analyst was confronted with this contradiction between “firsthand” and “hearsay” reporting, she simply replied, “Well, it says firsthand, but it doesn’t mean firsthand”. If McCain had not purposefully taken away the prosecutorial clause in the original Missing Service Personnel Act, the Harris case analyst would have been much less likely to lie to the family knowing the ramifications. Yet, with no oversight whatsoever, case analysts and any other government official involved with the POW/MIA Issue can do and say what they like with the knowledge that John McCain has covered their six.


If indeed actions do speak louder than words, then the measure of the man that is John Sidney McCain is one of questionable character. Being a former POW himself, knowing the pain and agony that his own family members and first wife went through during his captivity, how can he, in good conscience, prolong and even in some cases make more excruciating that same pain his loved ones endured? Does what has been referenced here give Americans a sigh of relief or cause for grave concern with regard to a potential McCain Presidency? Do the families of the four missing American soldiers in Iraq know how John McCain weakened their position and took control of their son’s fate from those on the ground and transferred it to the political spin doctors in Washington? This is the measure of the man and he simply does not measure up.

P.S. – Although not POW/MIA related, here is another “measure of the man” during a visit to a wounded warrior at Walter Reed. Major Z is indeed a true American Hero!